17th Oct 2021


This WEEK in the European Union

  • The drop-off in Rusian gas is "not a crisis" the commission said on Friday (Photo: eastpole)

Greek debt and - potentially - a new Russia gas crisis will dominate EU affairs in the coming week.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Friday (3 February) said Greece is in the "final phase" of talks with private bondholders on how much debt they will write off to stop the country going bust.

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The talks were supposed to end weeks ago. If Papademos gets a deal, eurozone finance ministers will later in the week - on a date still to be confirmed - rubber stamp the second Greek bail-out and breathe a sigh of relief.

If the talks break down, the crisis will enter a dangerous new phase that could see Greece leave the euro.

Cuts in Russian gas supplies are also likely to top the agenda after 10 EU countries on Friday reported drops in volumes, while Moscow and Kiev began trading blame in echoes of the 2009 gas crunch.

Top EU officials will mid-week fly to Calcutta for an EU-India summit designed to expedite the already-five-years-long talks on a free trade agreement.

Back in Brussels, EU junior ministers on youth and culture will next Friday look at how to reduce unemployment among Europe's under-25s.

The European Commission and the EU parliament will have a low-key week in terms of planned events.

The commission will on Tuesday unveil a "scoreboard" on which EU countries are best at promoting innovation. It will on Wednesday put forward plans on how to cut back on EU red tape in its next seven-year budget, as well as a bill on creating EU-level "stiftungs" - foundations with tax breaks which do charity work or political advocacy.

MEPs in committees on Monday will vote on how long the EU will keep giving free food to its poor, debate an anti-insider-trading law and vent thoughts on the commission's 2013 EU budget.

Brussels will also host two interesting visitors - Turkey's EU affairs minister and China's deputy FM.

The Turkish visit comes amid fraying EU-Turkey relations over stalled enlargement talks and Armenian genocide denial. The Chinese fixture comes as EU leaders solicit China for EU bail-out money and ask it not to buy Iranian oil.

Berlin digs in heels on extra €15bn for Greece

Germany has ruled out any extra contribution from national governments or the European Central Bank to the second Greek bail-out - as requested by the Greek government. Meanwhile, sources close to the negotiations speak of a €15bn funding gap.

EU points to oil reserves after Iran threat

The European Commission has noted that "there is a lot of oil around" inside reserves in EU countries even if Iran makes good on threats to stop shipments next week.

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