Merkel gets royal reception in London this WEEK
21.02.14 @ 18:44
Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be received with the highest level of pomp during her visit to London on Thursday (27 February).
She is to meet the queen, Prime Minister David Cameron and speak to the joint houses of the British Parliament, a rare invitation among foreign dignitaries.
This stands in stark contrast to a Franco-British summit in January, when French President Francois Hollande was received by Cameron on an airfield in Oxfordshire and held a short press conference in a hangar.
Cameron is seeking German support for his push to reform the EU and possibly renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership.
Merkel has always sought not to isolate Britain and is sympathetic to some "repatriation of powers" from Brussels, as formulated in her party's EU election platform.
On the economic front, the EU commission Tuesday will forecast how all 28 member states will fare this year and in 2015 in terms of gross domestic product, unemployment, inflation, budget deficit and public debt.
With the risk of deflation still looming in the eurozone, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi is likely to test the idea of further lowering the ECB key interest rate - unpopular in Germany - when he visits Merkel on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in Strasbourg, the European Parliament on Wednesday will turn its attention to recent events in Ukraine and will hear from the Czech President, Milos Zeman.
MEPs are also set to adopt stricter tobacco rules aimed at discouraging children taking up smoking, as well as adopt rules on preventing insurance salespeople from misleading their customers.
Members of the economics committee on Monday will adopt a first report scrutinising the work of the so-called troika of international lenders (European Commission, ECB and International Monetary Fund) in bailed-out eurozone countries.
EU trade ministers will gather in Athens on Friday for informal talks - likely to focus on the ongoing EU-US trade negotiations.
Back in Berlin, Angela Merkel will receive her European People's Party colleague Nicolas Sarkozy, the former President of France who is seeking a return to the political scene and is being tipped to run again in the presidential elections in 2017.
On Saturday, Merkel and EU commission chief Barroso will participate in an attempt to find a "new narrative for Europe." The event involves artists, writers and scientists and is aimed at countering populism and nationalism ahead of the May elections for the European Parliament.