Seven Days in Europe

The European Parliament voted for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The reforms include the end of discards – the practice of throwing unwanted dead fish back into the sea to avoid exceeding the quotas which were introduced in the 1980s in an attempt to reduce overfishing and preserve fish stocks. Suggested new measures which were rejected included a plan to introduce “catch shares” that could be traded amongst fleets. The new regime has an eco-friendly focus based on “maximum sustainable yield” and will take effect in 2014. Predictably, UK tabloids have printed scaremongering articles about the reform of the CFP, with Defra publishing a statement reassuring the public that British sovereignty of its seabed will not be the slightest bit affected.

The opening of the EU budget summit was delayed to allow more time for discussions on a compromise. The latest round of talks will attempt to reach an agreement on a spending plan for the next seven years. Previous summits have failed, with net budget contributors such as Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden at loggerheads with net beneficiaries including the Commission and European Parliament.

French president François Hollande suggested that the ECB should intervene to bring down the value of the Euro. In arguing for a medium-term exchange rate for the currency he said:

“The euro should not fluctuate according to the mood of the markets. A monetary zone must have an exchange rate policy. If not, it will be subjected to an exchange rate that does not reflect the real state of the economy.”

Hollande has been met with opposition on the matter from Germany, who expressed fears that the move may weaken the currency without improving competitiveness.

It became officially impossible to arrest a woman in Paris for wearing trousers. A 200-year old Parisian law requiring women to ask permission from police to “dress as men” was repealed by France’s minister of women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Although the law has been ignored in recent times it was amended in 1909 to allow women to wear trousers without fear of arrest only “if the woman is holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse.” A public request to revoke the law due to its symbolic importance was upheld, with the ordinance deemed “incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men, which are listed in the Constitution, and in France’s European commitments.”

 

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