Two quick ones, related to last week’s budget negotiations in the European Council of Heads of States.

. First of all, a column in Helsingin Sanomat (Fin.) by economic journalist Pekka Hakala. I haven’t had much good to say about the covering the Finnish press has given of European affairs, but this one was good. It consisted essentially of two interviews knitted together, one with Juhana Aunesluoma (Head of the Network for European Studies in the University of Helsinki) and one with Teija Tiilikainen (Head of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs). Both of them emphasize the problems of the current system, the impossibility to nudge this system forward because of political unwillingness to do so, and the solutions that would make this system a bit better, like for example a direct fiscal capacity for the EU. We shall see how things will unfold once the European Parliament starts looking into last week’s decision. Not that I am expecting much to change from the Parliament’s pressures, apart from small changes meant by the member-states to sooth the parliamentary groups’ fury.

. And here, just the title of a small news brief read in the International Herald Tribune (section “in the News”, World business, feb. 9-10, 2013): “German exports rise, but demand from its neighbors remains weak.” Small wonder: if everybody is on austerity mode at the same time, then of course demand will remain weak in Europe. At the same time, Germany’s exports towards countries outside the EU have risen – even if the majority of Germany’s exports are still directed towards EU countries. But for how long? And what kind of consequences on Germany’s policy towards the EU could have a situation where Germany exports a majority of its trade to non-EU countries?

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