The Colour of Steel

First of all many thanks to the kind folk of Afoe offering me the possibility of expressing my views on some European reactions to the Mittal Steel bid for the European steel giant Arcelor. By now most of you must have heard about this sitation. Mittal Steel is the world’s largest steelmaker and was founded (and is still currently run) by the Indian-born steel maker Lakshmi Nivas Mittal, the third richest man in the world.
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And speaking of Eurovision

Just a quick update on Croatia’s EU candidacy.

Eight countries have signed a letter to British PM Tony Blair supporting Croatia’s membership. The letter was presented to Blair — who currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, and will until January 1 — in the recent confence at Newport, in Wales.

The signing countries were Austria, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
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‘Euro Overvalued’

The euro is apparently overvalued. Actually I happen to agree, but today this opion comes to us from a most surprising person: Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, at this point in time President of the European Union. Now I am surprised by this, since he is neither Economics commisioner, nor spokesperson for the ECB, so I am not clear why it is he feels himself compelled to express an opinion.

Really this just highlights the fact that the institutional labyrinth we have created is such that not even those who administer it have sufficient clarity about who is responsible for what. In theory his press conference was about the forthcoming budget negotiations, but judging by what he said, I’m not clear he got round to reading that memo from Barroso about maintaining a sense of calm.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who holds the European Union presidency, warned on Friday that failure to agree on a new long-term EU budget this month would turn a political problem into a full-blown crisis.

Juncker, who also chairs euro zone finance ministers, said the single currency shared by 12 EU countries had been weakened by the “No” votes to the European constitution in France and the Netherlands but was still overvalued compared to the dollar.

“A failure on the financial perspective (budget) would turn the big European difficulties (after the referendums) into a big European crisis,” he told a news conference.

“As a result of the referendums, the euro is weakened. What helps the economy for the moment could in the long term become a burden,” he said, adding: “I think the euro is overvalued in relation to the dollar.”

He also informed the press that he would resign as PM if, as expected, the Luxembourg referendum voted ‘no’ on July 10. Anybody seen an actual Luxembourg poll recently?