So the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, North Korea launched a long-range rocket and finally it is summit time once again.
Read all you need to know about the European Union in this weekly digest.
It has hardly gone by anyone’s attention, but the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this week. Yes that’s right, because “The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”, as The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated.
“Ich bin ein Europäer”, said President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, proudly paraphrasing the words of Cicero that John F. Kennedy in 1963 conformed into “Ich bin ein Berliner” to underline the American support of West Germany.
Eurosceptics have called the nomination a farce. Panos Skourletis, spokesperson of the Greek party Syriza equally denounced the prize: ”I just cannot understand what the reasoning would be behind it. In many parts of Europe, but especially in Greece, we are experiencing what really is a war situation on a daily basis, albeit a war that has not been formally declared. There is nothing peaceful about it.”
Wednesday morning Europeans woke up to the troubling news that North Korea has succeeded in launching a long-range rocket, that has apparently put a satellite into orbit. You can watch a North Korean television special on the launch here.
After sound condemnation from the US, South Korea and Japan Catherine Ashton, High Representative for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, calls it “a clear violation” on the country’s international obligations.
North Korea insists the launch was part of a peaceful satellite program. But the republic is banned from using ballistic missile technology according to UN resolutions following Pyongyang’s nuclear explosives tests in 2006 and 2009.
“The EU will consider an appropriate response, in close consultation with key partners… including possible additional restrictive measures,” says Catherine Ashton.
The common response possibly leading to further sanctions towards North Korea is to be discussed at the UN Security Council Wednesday 12 December according to presstv.com.
The 13 and 14 December is summit time in Brussels. The European Council is meeting up to primarily discuss “the achivement of a genuine economic and monetary union”. The goal is to give the European Central Bank in Frankfurt real auditing powers of the European banks by introducing a single supervisory mechanism for banks in the euro area.
A proposal by the EC presented in a press release in October stated:
“Today’s proposals for a single supervisory mechanism (SSM) for banks in the euro area are an important step in strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In the new single mechanism, ultimate responsibility for specific supervisory tasks related to the financial stability of all Euro area banks will lie with the European Central Bank (ECB). National supervisors will continue to play an important role in day-to-day supervision and in preparing and implementing ECB decisions.”
But where France agrees with the proposal of the Commission Germany does not agree to let “all Euro area banks” be supervised, arguing “that no single supervisor can possibly be put in charge of 6,200 banks from Estonia to Portugal and from Ireland to Greece”, writes the EUobserver.
To satisfy German interests a draft compromise has therefore been prepared by the Cypriot EU presidency placing banks with assets worth less than €30 billion under national supervision.
The eurosceptic UK will not be joining the banking Union and according to a recent statement by finance minister Anders Borg, Sweden is set to join the British.
The EU has given itself until Christmas to come up with a solution on a framework for a banking union. Until then, let’s call it the EBD, the European Banking Disunion.
To be continued.