Thursday

23rd Mar 2017

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

  • Bail-out funds will dominate this week's summit. (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

The European Council summit scheduled for the end of the week tops this week’s agenda.

The two-day summit starts on Thursday (1 March) with EU leaders set to discuss the European Commission’s annual growth survey, austerity measures, labour market reforms, employment and competitiveness.

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.

Eleven prime ministers including the UK's David Cameron last week signed a joint letter on growth, which will also be discussed.

The summit will kick-off around 5pm local time, with European Parliament president Martin Schulz set to make statements on the controversy surrounding the international anti-piracy treaty, Acta. By then, the European Parliament will have decided on whether or not it will approve the treaty when it meets to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

Schulz on Thursday will also make statements about Greece following his visit to Athens on Tuesday where he will address the Greek parliament.

Summit leaders except Cameron and the Czech Prime Minister are expected to sign the treaty for a fiscal compact on Friday and discuss Serbia’s candidate status for EU membership. Syria and Kosovo are also on Friday’s agenda.

Thursday evening will also see eurozone finance ministers meet to discuss Germany’s position on a firewall designed to stop the crisis from spreading to Italy or Spain.

Germany has so far opposed any attempts to boost the two bail-out funds - the temporary European Financial Stability Facility and the permanent European Stability Mechanism. The ceiling of the combined funds totals €500 billion but the IMF and some euro country partners want to add another €250 billion.

“The position of the federal government has not changed. There is no need [to boost the firewall]”, Germany government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin on Wednesday.

However, a separate, parallel summit of eurozone leaders may materialise on Friday if Germany does agree to increase the bail-out fund.

If Germany does not agree to the firewall and the eurozone summit falls through, then European Council President Herman Van Rompuy may be formally appointed to chair the eurozone summits on Thursday evening. If the Germans do agree to a firewall, then EU leaders will formally appoint Van Rompuy after lunch on Friday.

The finance ministers will also discuss progress made in the so-called private sector involvement (PSI) aimed at relieving Athens of some €100 billion worth of debt, as well as a release of the seventh €5 billion tranche for Greece on Thursday.

Greece currently runs the risk of a sovereign default if it fails to pay back €14.5 billion in debt yields on 20 March.

Meanwhile, the European Commission on Monday will adopt its monthly infringements package against member states that have so far failed to enforce EU laws.

On Wednesday, the executive will present its European Innovation Partnerships aimed to boost European competitiveness.

And on Thursday, it will propose new rules to ensure the transparency surrounding the pricing and reimbursement of EU citizens' medical costs.

IMF: No money for Greece until Europe boosts its firewall

One of the many loose ends to the Greek bail-out agreed Tuesday is the lack of a firm commitment from the International Monetary Fund, pending a decision by eurozone leaders next week to merge the firepower of two bail-out funds.

Southern euro-countries worst hit by recession

The EU economy is expected to grind to a halt in the 27 member states and to contract by an average of 0.3% in the eurozone, with recession hitting Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain worst, fresh EU forecasts show.

Serbia gets political support for EU bid

Leaders from Germany, France, Italy and Austria have voiced their support for Serbia to become a future member of the EU. The move comes ahead of next week's EU summit which is due to discuss the matter.

Germany prompts cancellation of euro summit

A meeting of eurozone leaders planned for Friday after the EU summit in Brussels has been cancelled because Germany is still saying No to increasing the firepower of eurozone bail-out funds.

EU-27 to back integration This WEEK

EU leaders meet in Rome to recommit to European integration after Brexit, but Greece and Poland serve as reminders of economic and political divisions.

News in Brief

  1. British police make first arrests in London terror probe
  2. EU commission has received Facebook reply on WhatsApp
  3. Rome expects thousands of protesters at summit
  4. Dijsselbloem says his comments had 'Dutch directness'
  5. Ukraine spy agency bars Russian Eurovision singer
  6. Turkish president Erdogan threatens Europeans
  7. Russia invites EU diplomats to occupied Crimea
  8. UK parliament in lockdown after reported attack

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EJCExpresses Concern That Extremists Still Have the Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  3. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  4. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  5. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  7. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  8. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  9. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  11. Malta EU 2017Consumer Protection Laws to Be Strengthened by EU-Wide Cooperation
  12. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted

Latest News

  1. Ending the migrant deal with Turkey may save the EU
  2. Poland unlikely to face EU discipline on rule of law
  3. Rutte courted Wilders' voters, now he must deliver
  4. Barnier to UK: trade talks will come after settling accounts
  5. EU declaration to voice unity in troubled times
  6. Terror attack shuts down UK parliament
  7. Catalonia and Scotland at core of Europe's geopolitical conundrum
  8. La présidentielle française sous cyber-alerte maximale