UK & Europe


CNBC: Germany alone cannot keep the European Union together, it needs France, says finance minister

The Franco-German relationship has been fundamental to develop the European Union over its 60 years of existence. Breaking that relationship would mean the dismantling of the European Union, the German finance minister said.

“We need a strong France, Germany alone cannot hold Europe together,” Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, told a news conference on Tuesday.

France, the second-largest euro economy, has seen a rise in anti-EU sentiment as the country comes closer to a presidential election in late April.

Adding to the uncertainty, Germans go to the polls to choose a new chancellor in September. Polls suggest that the powerful Angela Merkel could be overtaken at the ballot by her socialist rival.


  1. Missy

     /  March 9, 2017

    Today is budget day.

    The Chancellor is expected to announce tax increases, but will be looking to shore up reserves for Brexit.

    The Telegraph is doing a live feed here:

    I will update as I can during the day.

    • Missy

       /  March 9, 2017

      Well, it was essentially a rather bland budget to be honest.

      The Key points are:

      – UK growth up this year
      – Increase in taxes for the self-employed
      – Tax free dividend allowance drops from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018
      – Measures for business rates amount to a £435m cut, including a £1,000 cut for 90pc of pubs
      – £2bn for social care, and £100m for new triage programmes at English hospitals next winter
      – Funding for a further 110 new free schools on top of the existing 500, including new specialist maths schools

      Other points of interest are:
      – The Government is expected to maintain a £26bn headroom to cushion against shocks to the economy in the wake of the Brexit vote
      – In November the OBR (Office of Budget Responsibility) forecasted a growth rate of 1.4% for this year, this has been revised to 2%
      – Borrowing is down £16.4bn on November forecast to £51.7bn, also down on the pre-Brexit vote projection of £55.5bn
      – Sugar tax rates have been set at 18p (5g or more sugar per litre) and 24p (for those with 8g or more sugar). Though the tax take from the Sugar Tax is expected to be less than originally thought as companies lower the amount of sugar in drinks to avoid the tax.

  2. Missy

     /  March 9, 2017

    Lord Heseltine – a Conservative Peer – has been sacked from his role as a consultant for the Government, a position he has held for the last 6 years. Lord Heseltine led the rebellion in the House of Lords against the Government, and has been vocal about not wanting Brexit.

    Lord Heseltine has also been accused of sexism, a couple of weeks ago a report indicated that the only leaders he has gone against in Parliamentary votes are Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May – with the implication being it is because he is a sexist. Today that debate was revived when on a Sky News interview he told the journalist interviewing him that Theresa May has a man-sized job.

  3. Missy

     /  March 9, 2017

    Later this month EU Leaders will celebrate 60 years since the Treaty of Rome (minus Theresa May).

    A draft of the document that will become the Rome declaration has been leaked, and it issues a warning that countries that leave the EU will be side-lined by Global Dynamics.

    The EU apparently do not plan to make a direct reference to the UK, but the planned wording will belittle the aspirations of those that believe their is a better future outside the EU.

    The document will apparently stress the importance of unity, and to emphasise the importance of strengthened common defence and security and a Europe with a more integrated Defence Industry. Whilst discussing greater unity, it is expected that the EU will also say member states should integrate at their own pace – essentially a two speed Europe.

  4. Missy

     /  March 9, 2017

    One of the claims of the Stronger In campaign was that leaving the EU referendum would be bad for equality, and that much of the equality legislation was due to the EU (it isn’t), but I am not sure they counted on Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke making headlines – first last week, and then again today, which just happens to be International Women’s Day (that is relevant).

    Last week in the European Parliament Korwin-Mikke declared that it was only right that women were paid less than men because they are smaller, weaker, and less intelligent – and no he wasn’t joking, or being ironic, he truly believes this. He also believes that Blondes are paid more than Brunettes, and short people should be paid less than tall people.

    This morning Piers Morgan interviewed him on Good Morning Britain, now Piers can be obnoxious and rude at times, but he very rarely gets angry – or loses it – with guests, this was an exception. Morgan called him an incredibly stupid man and told him that he was the best advert for leaving the EU. Piers Morgan (who voted Remain) also said to this MEP that he would have single handedly convinced him (Morgan) to vote to Leave.

    • Nelly Smickers

       /  March 9, 2017

      To be far though *Missy*, no matter wot that knob Piers Morgan mite think, I reckin that wot Mr Korwin-Mikke had to say about *Blondes and short people* was right absolutely correct !

      • Missy

         /  March 9, 2017

        hey, don’t diss Piers, he isn’t a knob, just a little misunderstood! 😉

  5. Missy

     /  March 9, 2017

    Nicola Sturgeon and her Civil Servants have been called out and told they need to come clean over claims from the 2014 Independence Referendum.

    During the campaign the SNP claimed that the North Sea oil and gas reserves was a bonus, and that their economic output was virtually the same as the rest of the UK without the oil and gas revenues, and those were just a bonus. These claims were made in at least two Scottish Government publications written by civil servants.

    It has emerged that these claims were a lie, and now the SNP leaders have been called on to come clean and admit to these lies. Alex Salmond was the first Minister at the time and has been asked to admit he misled voters, but the Scottish Conservatives say that Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney (deputy First Minister) also made the claims and are culpable also.

  6. Missy

     /  March 9, 2017

    A bit of humour to finish my evening, and bring a smile to your Thursday.

  1. UK & Europe – NZ Conservative Coalition