Sunday

19th Jan 2020

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

The leaders of France and Germany will kick off the week with a bilateral meeting on the eurozone crisis with the single currency still facing many of the same problems - only exacerbated - that it did one year ago.

President Nicolas Sarkozy will travel to Berlin for a working lunch with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday (9 January) to prepare for a meeting of EU leaders at the end of month, where a first draft of a new fiscal discipline pact will be discussed.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The crisis has seen Merkel and Sarkozy meet often and with varying degrees of success (Photo: diplomatie.gouv.fr)

The new treaty - an intergovernmental agreement after the UK last month refused to allow full EU treaty change - is supposed to calm markets by forcing its signatories into improved budget discipline.

But its wished-for effectiveness is already being questioned by investors who believe EU politicians are getting distracted by side issues. To compound this view, a fight is already brewing over how the EU institutions could be used in the new treaty.

Merkel and Sarkozy held several meetings over the course of 2011 focussing on dealing with debt crisis but the outcomes tend to underscore the amount of work that still needs to be done to get a comprehensive solution to the eurozone's woes.

Next week will also see the formal kick-off of the Danish EU presidency. The Scandinavian country is hoping to focus on green growth in the EU as well as guide first talks on the EU's next multi-annual budget. But it is set to find its best intentions undermined by the continuing efforts to stem the eurozone crisis.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has already indicated that one of her biggest tasks will be making sure no lasting divisions occur between euro and non-euro countries - of which Denmark is one.

The European Commission will de-camp to Copenhagen on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the political programme for the next six months. But Brussels already has a strong ally in Thorning-Schmidt, a stanchly pro-EU former MEP.

The European Parliament meanwhile will be gearing itself up for its mid-term change during its plenary session beginning 16 January where it will elect a new president and 14 vice-presidents. Due to a deal made in 2009 between the two biggest parties, the presidential outcome is already clear - German centre-left MEP Martin Schulz will take over from Jerzy Buzek, a centre-right Polish MEP. However, other candidates will be lobbying to get support anyway.

The powerful economic and monetary affairs committee will discuss further strengthening budgetary surveillance in the eurozone area - although the ink is barely dry on the so-called six-pack of legislation that gives the European Commission unprecedented powers over national budgets.

The commission on Wednesday has the internet economy in its sights. It will publish a discussion paper on how to raise the number of electronic payments in the EU, which remain stubbornly low due to a lack of trust among consumers.

It will also put out an 'action paper' on e-commerce with a Brussels goal being to double the share of the internet economy by 2015.

This WEEK in the European Union

Last week's EU summit deal on creating a fiscal compact is set to be dissected in Brussels and beyond with markets already responding with scepticism. MEPs travel to Strasbourg for an end-of-the-Polish-presidency roundup.

Denmark to battle for European unity

Denmark takes over the EU rotating presidency on Sunday, kicking off what is expected to be another traumatic year for the eurozone and its single currency.

Merkel and Sarkozy plan 'true economic government'

Under pressure to restore confidence in the eurozone, the leaders of France and Germany on Tuesday outlined plans for what they said was true economic governance but shied away from financial measures seen by markets as necessary to stem the euro debt crisis.

Davos and Libya in focus This WEEK

The all-powerful will meet in Davos after Berlin tries to resolve the Libyan conflict over the weekend, while MEPs will set the stage for final ratification of the Brexit deal.

Green money and Iran tensions in focus This WEEK

The EU Commission will unveil the financial backbone for its Green Deal, and also debate a possible minimum wage with MEPs. Lawmakers will also hear from the Jordanian king and the EU's foreign affairs chief.

Iran, Brexit test 'geopolitical' commission This WEEK

The EU foreign affairs chief attempts to salvage whatever is left of the Iran nuclear deal by inviting the Iranian foreign minister to Brussels - while the EU commission president heads to London for Brexit talks.

News in Brief

  1. 'No objection in principle' on Huawei cooperation, EU says
  2. French aircraft carrier goes to Middle East amid tensions
  3. EU suggests temporary ban on facial recognition
  4. EU industry cries foul on Chinese restrictions
  5. 'Devil in detail', EU warns on US-China trade deal
  6. Trump threatened EU-tariffs over Iran, Germany confirms
  7. EU trade commissioner warns UK of 'brinkmanship'
  8. Germany strikes coal phase-out deal

Boost for Right in post-Brexit EU parliament

The far-right Identity and Democracy will overtake the Greens as the fourth-largest party in the European Parliament on 1 February, after the UK's MEPs vacate their seats.

Opinion

Why EU minimum wage is actually bad idea for workers

As president of one of the largest trade union confederations in the EU, I see the need for good working conditions and decent pay in all member states - but an EU-wide minimum wage could be used to lower wages.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us