This week's view from Europe, courtesy of Edith Rigler :
Enlargement is EU´s DNA – European Commission, 9 May 2012
Just in time for 9 May (“Europe Day”), EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said that the Commission was determined to keep up the level of progress in accepting new members. He stated that enlargement was "not the cause of the challenges that the EU was facing but a part of the solution". The EU is still growing: Croatia will join soon, Serbia has received candidate status for membership, while negotiations with Montenegro will begin next month.
European Commission kicks off public consultation and asks citizens to set future agenda – European Commission, 8 May 2012
The Commission is calling on all EU citizens to help set the policy agenda for the next years and shape the future of Europe in the biggest ever EU public consultation on citizens' rights. Until September, the public will be asked about the obstacles they face in exercising their rights as EU citizens, be it when travelling in Europe, when voting or standing as a candidate in elections or when shopping online. The Commission adopted the first EU Citizenship Report in 2010. From 9 May until 9 September 2012, a short questionnaire can be completed online.
Germany drafts national SEPA law – Bundesministerium für Finanzen, 25 April 2012
In late April, Germany´s Finance Ministry drafted a national law accompanying the new SEPA End-Date Regulation. Under this law, Germany will continue to operate the ELV direct debit product until February 2016, and consumers can still use national domestic bank account and sort code numbers which banks are allowed to convert to IBAN and BIC free of charge.
German investors have confidence in financial markets – Bankmagazin, 4 May 2012
A survey of investors conducted by Stuttgart Stock Exchange reveals confidence in the German share index DAX . Investors agree that the government debt crisis in Europe is still not resolved but only 9% think that the Eurozone will be terminated. Due to the positive economic environment in Germany, 79% plan to invest in German stocks and funds.
Germans trust online payment schemes – Bankmagazin, 4 May 2012
Online payments are the new competitors of payment methods such as direct debit, credit transfers and other classic payment means. 40% of Germans claim they use PayPal or Click&Buy “often” or “very often”. Although security is of paramount importance, 65% trust online services.