Monday

23rd Jan 2017

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

  • Jose Manuel Barroso will be giving his second state of the union speech on Wednesday (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will be in the spotlight mid-week as he stands before parliament to give a state of the union address. The speech comes at one of the most testing times in the EU's history as the eurozone struggles to find a solution to its worsening debt crisis.

Barroso has repeatedly called for more EU integration as a way out of the crisis, but leaders have so far baulked at taking such steps even as force of the markets demand they consider it.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In a rare piece of good news and a highly-needed symbol that the EU is getting things done, MEPs are this week set to pass a six-pack of legislation designed to tighten economic governance in the eurozone. Among the new rules, to be voted on Wednesday, is a more automatic process to sanction misbehaving states as well as a direct fine for those fiddling the statistics books to boost economic credentials. However critics of the legislation say the eurozone crisis has in the meantime become so acute that the laws are already out of date.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will appear before MEPs on Tuesday to discuss rising tensions between Turkey and EU member Cyprus. The debate comes after Ankara last week signed a deal with Turkey-recognised northern Cyprus to pave the way for offshore gas exploration. The deal was in retaliation for drilling in the southeastern Mediterranean by Cyprus and Israel, recently described by Prime Minister Erdogan as "madness". Israel and Turkey's relations have soured since Israel's refusal to apologise for killing Turkish activists on a ship carrying aid to Gaza last year.

On the same day, eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker will also face MEPs for questioning on how the 17-nation single currency is tackling the crisis. Once in the top echelon of EU politicians, Juncker has moved somewhat out of the limelight, with French president Nicolas Sarkozy said to have been displeased by his actions in the eurozone crisis. Paris and Berlin in August suggested that EU council president Herman Van Rompuy should be Mr Euro, but there is little clarity for the moment on how all the euro actors should interact.

Tuesday will also see MEPs vote on a trade agreement allowing direct exports of farm and fisheries products from the Palestinian Territories to the EU from early 2012. Deputies unanimously backed the move in the parliament's trade committee earlier this month. Trade between the bloc and the Palestinian territories is tiny - around €6.1 million from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in 2009 - but MEPs hope the trade agreement will act to boost exports. Palestine and the Middle East Process will Tuesday also be the subject of a debate between deputies and Ashton, who was unable to forge a common EU line on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' bid for full UN membership.

At the end of the week many EU leaders will head to Warsaw for the Eastern Partnership summit. The event, long prepared for by the Polish EU presidency, is overshadowed by the fact that there is little political appetite among member states for enlargement-friendly overtures to any of the six eastern states, including Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Belarus, led by political pariah Aleksander Lukaschenko. Meanwhile, the reform momentum among the states themselves has slackened off. The lethargy of both sides is reflected in a weak draft conclusions, signed off last week.

Far-right groups pledge allegiance ahead of elections

Far-right leaders Le Pen, Wilders, Petry and others gathered in Koblenz in the hope of gaining political momentum ahead of national elections this year. The event was met with thousands of protestors.

News in Brief

  1. Fury over UK 'cover up' of failed missile test
  2. Theresa May: I will not be afraid to stand up to Trump
  3. Brexit will destroy NI peace deal, says Gerry Adams
  4. EU housing price increase by 4.3%
  5. EU trade chief says UK deal will take 'couple of years'
  6. German defence spending boost not enough for Nato goal
  7. Belgian MPs refuse to give up free alcohol
  8. Merkel last leader to get call from Obama

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. World VisionEU Urged to do Better Ahead of Helsinki Conference on Syria
  2. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  3. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  5. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  6. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  7. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  8. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  10. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  11. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!

Latest News

  1. Future of euro on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Pope warns populism could lead to 'saviours' like Hitler
  3. How the EU can protect the world’s forest by tackling corruption
  4. Leftist newcomer takes lead in French Socialist primary
  5. Far-right groups pledge allegiance ahead of elections
  6. Trump pledges US-first foreign policy
  7. GMO opt-out plan remains in waiting room
  8. Trump: New sheriff in town