Austria to ban import of nuclear fuelled energy

Stephen Tindale
13 July 2011
The Prague Post
"Renewables are the best form of electricity, but it will probably take the EU a long time - several decades - to be 100 per cent reliant on renewables," said Stephen Tindale, an associate fellow at the Centre for European Reform in London. "Before then, we need a low carbon bridge to get [away] from dependence on oil and coal. My advice to the Czech government would be to continue to use nuclear, because it is a low carbon source for significant amounts of electricity Germany is supposed to reach 18 per cent of total energy from renewables by 2020 based on EU targets.

Understanding US-Czech relations on missile defence

13 July 2011
ISN Insights
"The Czechs tell me that the role of the facility, which was going to be based there, was gradually diminishing," said Tomas Valasek, director of foreign policy and defense at the Centre for European Reform. "It was not going to be a central part of the missile defence system at all, which is what the Czechs would have liked. So to say that Vondra rejected ABMS as such is nonsense – if anything, he wanted to be a more integral part of it.

European leaders must step up their game

11 July 2011
Financial Times
George Soros is right that Germany's new approach to Europe bears some responsibility for the eurozone crisis. Germany's leaders are finding it hard to consider broader European rather than immediate national interests.

Europe's state of anxiety

05 July 2011
Charles Grant from the Centre for European Reform describes the government's policy towards Europe as "doing as little as possible". He believes British Prime Minister David Cameron is guided by one simple maxim: "Do not awaken the sleeping dogs of Conservative euroscepticism." He questions whether the British are missing a trick and should be part of the emerging conversation.

Europe's central bank faces credibility test

Philip Whyte
02 July 2011
The Wall Street Journal
"The ECB has been flexing its muscles" after being "very much on the back foot last year," said Philip Whyte, an analyst at the London-based Centre for European Reform. Still, "the threat the ECB is wielding (to reject Greek bonds) is a threat you might say it can never actually carry through given the consequences it would unleash."

Greece passes austerity package

29 June 2011
Los Angeles Times
"The Greeks have actually pulled off an unprecedented amount of fiscal austerity, but it's had a bigger knock-on effect on their economy than was projected," said Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London. "They're deep in a debt trap. Further cuts in public spending are just compounding the underlying problem in the economy, which is a huge lack of economic activity."

US backs Lagarde to lead IMF

28 June 2011
New York Times
"For the IMF to be devoting so much financial and human capital to try to combat a problem in Europe which is largely political in origin and can only be solved by political agreement is controversial," said Simon Tilford, the chief economist of the Centre for European Reform in London. "It threatens the IMF's credibility. There is a risk that her perceived objectivity will be brought into question because of this," Mr Tilford said.

Turkey, EU search for way forward

Katinka Barysch
28 June 2011
Katinka Barysch, deputy director at the Centre for European Reform, warns that the EU's leverage may be eroding. "Turks have a point when they ask why it should implement the difficult steps needed for opening while EU politicians say that Turkey should not become a full member of the club. Turkey's growing self-confidence as a regional power probably makes many Turks feel that they have an alternative to the EU." Meanwhile, Barysch added, "the EU looks less appealing now that it is bogged down in the eurozone debt crisis.

Christine Lagarde named IMF head

28 June 2011
The Guardian
Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform, said: "There's no doubt she is a talented politician, but I don't think this was the right choice for Europe or the IMF." He believed that the IMF's policy in Greece, supported by Lagarde, had failed, and appointing another European to the IMF sent the wrong signal to the rest of the world. "You can't demand that these countries show greater responsibilities while continuing to exclude them from the top jobs."

EU ties fray over debt crisis, border control

24 June 2011
Los Angeles Times
"European integration was a top-down [enterprise]: If you build it, they will come," said Hugo Brady, an analyst with the London-based Centre for European Reform. "People did make use of the benefits it brought. But it didn't mean that they moved any closer culturally or on the organisation of society. We have some commonality, but we're not as alike as people thought." Even if the euro pulls through its crisis, the trauma of the experience will probably cool the dreams of ever-closer co-operation and expanding European power, Brady said.

Obama moves toward exit from Afghanistan

22 June 2011
"I don't see how this ends in anything other than a run to the exit. I cannot think of one European country that wants to be in Afghanistan more than the Americans," said Tomas Valasek of the Centre for European Reform in London. "What will be important is what happens in two or three years from now If Obama gets re-elected, and it all goes wrong, and Kabul has turned into another Mogadishu - then he would clearly have some explaining to do."

Some Greeks fear government is selling nation

22 June 2011
New York Times
"The Greeks have been told to accept more of the medicine that has already failed to treat the disease," said Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London. The Greeks have already reduced their deficit by five percentage points of the gross domestic product, "unprecedented cuts in a modern economy ... But the cuts have had a much stronger negative impact on the economy than the troika imagined, and fiscal austerity has pushed the economy deep into recession. Debt can only be paid out of income, and that means growth."

Q&A: Will Greece exit the euro?

21 June 2011
"It would be a mistake to say they can never leave," says Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform. Tilford said an orderly transition could be planned with temporary backing from the rest of the eurozone to ensure that there is no panicked withdrawal of Greek investments. "If you argue that it can never happen you must be arguing that Greece must default on its debts in the eurozone and remain in the currency, that's possible and it might be the most likely outcome. But I think it would be mistake to say they can never leave.

Greek government wins vote of confidence

21 June 2011
The Washington Post
Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform, a think tank in London, predicted a tough fight for Papandreou in the coming week — and no guarantee that Greece is close to renewed growth. "No government in Europe would be able to push through austerity of this level without light at the end of the tunnel. And there is no light the economy is pretty much in free fall."

France seeks suitable successor for Lagarde

21 June 2011
The Wall Street Journal
Ms Lagarde has also proven her ability to engage with Germany on eurozone reform. In March 2010 she made a bold call on Germany to boost its domestic demand, much to the relief of other smaller countries in the eurozone, said Simon Tilford, chief economist at EU think tank Centre for European Reform. While she may have pulled her punches more recently as France privileges its relationship with Germany, she is better placed than any other to take a more assertive line in Europe, he said.

A smaller eurozone would be stronger

20 June 2011
The Times
A single European currency has the merit of encouraging trade and investment across frontiers, and thus growth. But countries with inflexible, badly-run economies should never have been allowed to join the euro. The sooner the eurozone shrinks, the sooner it will stabilise.
A country such as Greece with large budget and...

Compétitivité ou productivité pour relancer la croissance européenne?

20 June 2011
Les Echos
Une mauvaise compréhension de ce que sont les moteurs de la croissance économique menace la reprise en Europe. Ses dirigeants sont obsédés par la compétitivité et paraissent croire sincèrement que prospérité rime avec excédent commercial.

Europeans wince at austerity, and markets fear their wrath

16 June 2011
New York Times
"It's hard enough to get the electorate to support austerity at the best of times," said Simon Tilford, the chief economist of the Centre for European Reform in London. "They promised endless austerity with no prospects of a return to growth, and there will be mounting opposition to this. The EU and IMF are insisting on a course of action that has already failed," Mr Tilford said. "That is not going work but is going to impose huge economic and social costs."

Europe’s competitiveness trap

16 June 2011
Project Syndicate
A flawed understanding of what drives economic growth has emerged as the gravest threat to recovery in Europe. European policymakers are obsessed with national “competitiveness,” and genuinely appear to think that prosperity is synonymous with trade surpluses.

Welche Länder sperren sich gegen das Hilfspaket?

15 June 2011
Der Tagesspiegel
In den Niederlanden falle die Frage, wie man die Eurozone künftig zusammenhalten könne, "einem zunehmenden Populismus zum Opfer", urteilt Simon Tilford vom Londoner Think Tank Centre for European Reform. ... "Die Niederlande können sich jetzt nicht einfach von dieser Krise lossagen", sagt Tilford.