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Thursday, February 21, 2013

E.U. Passes Financial Transactions Tax (FTT)

Out of a “desire to ensure that the financial sector fairly and substantially contributes to the costs of the crisis and that [the sector] is taxed in a fair way [relative to] other sectors for the future, to disincentivise excessively risky activities by financial institutions, [and] to complement regulatory measures aimed at avoiding future crises and to generate additional revenue for general budgets or specific policy purposes,” the Council of the European Union took a decision on 14 January 2013 to allow 11 states, including Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy, to act in a coordinated fashion with the Commission and each other in establishing and administrating a tax on financial transactions. That is to say, the tax is to be jointly administered by the Commission and the states, and both levels would share in the proceeds. A few states, most notably Britain and the Czech Republic, abstained in the voting.

The full essay is at Essays on the E.U. Political Economy, available at Amazon. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Challenges for E.U. Foreign Policy

Foreign policy is typically one of the domains of power that goes to the federal level in a Union of states. The history of the E.U. in its development provides a counter-example, as traditionally lower-level functions, such as government regulation of business, were the first to be federalized. Even as a counter-example, the E.U. is nonetheless a federal system, as such a system is not defined by which competencies are federalized. Even so, there are downsides to leaving foreign policy at the state level. In the case of the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation (1781-1789), the foreign policies at the state level involved the risk that European states would try to break apart the new American union by giving the American republics different geo-political foreign interests.

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires.

         Should the Syrian Rebels have more powerful weapons, or would they eventually wind up in the hands of anti-Western forces?  This question is difficult enough without having to come to consensus on the question in the E.U.    Source; ABC News.