Monday, September 06, 2010

ECOFIN to debate US plan to end Europe's dominance of the IMF, etc.

Although there is no mention of removing several EU board members from the IMF appearing on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting of ECOFIN, the Euractiv web site covers the matter in some detail and is linked from here. I quote a passage of interest:

Germany, France and Britain have their own seats on the board, while EU members Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Denmark represent groups of countries. Switzerland, although not part of the EU, also has a chair.

The United States' unprecedented move last month to block plans that would have maintained Europe's long-running dominance over the 24-member board will be discussed. The US Senate has also voted to block use of its taxpayers' money for IMF rescues such as the bail-out of Greece.

If the eurogroup of countries wish to be taken seriously as a block with a single currency it follows they should be represented by one board member. Britain and Switzerland with their own currencies should naturally retain their representation. Turning to greater issues facing the world's economies, a good summary of the total gloom prevailing at the Ambrosetti conference on Lake Como during last Friday and the weekend is available from here. EU troughing returns full throttle although for once PM Cameron appears ready to make a token protest at the costs of the new EU External Action Service under Lady Ashton according to an FT report, linked here. On domestic politics we await the resignation of William Hague and hopefully also Andy Coulson. Lib Dems should exert their muscle in both instances. Should Osborne move to the Foreign Office and would David Laws accept the challenge of being Chancellor in such difficult times, perhaps he is the best placed candidate to take the country with him through the drastic cuts and economic turmoil that certainly now lies ahead? Could Nick Clegg risk the possibility of his party's final extinction should Laws fail for the almost certain kudos which would almost certainly follow any success ----- interesting times! Can Cameron risk a revitalised Osborne free from the stigma of certain economic mismanagement and the added gravitas of former Foreign Secretary? What will Osborne give away tomorrow? Can he politically ever recover if he confirms the Prime Minister's acquiesence to the loss of the powers of taxation ovcr the City of London, as accomplished at the European Council on the 17th June 2010?

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