Monday

5th Dec 2016

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

The EU will on Thursday (19 April) present proposals on how to get Europe back to work and increase economic growth.

Some 10.8 percent of the eurozone population is unemployed - a record high since the euro was introduced in 1999.

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  • The is shifting focus from austerity to growth (Photo: European Community, 2006)

The initiative reflects European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's statement in early March, saying "it is time to move from crisis mode to growth mode."

EU social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor will present the details of the plan in Strasbourg at the European Parliament plenary.

Andor will point out sectors which can help to create jobs. He will also explain how EU funds can be used to make long-term investments. The investments will aim to help Europe meet its goal to insure a 75 percent employment rate by 2020.

Around 23 million people in Europe have no jobs. The situation is among the most acute in Greece, where the EU is shifting attention away from austerity-dominated policies to get the country moving again.

On Wednesday, it plans to adopt a special communication on how to increase growth and create more jobs in Greece.

The programme includes disbursing financial assistance over the coming three years as well as reforming the business environment and the Greek administration.

Meanwhile in Brussels on Monday, United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon will, along with Barroso, attend the so-called "EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit."

Development commissioner Andris Piebalgs will co-chair the event, which will cover gender-related issues and access to energy ahead of the United Nations conference on sustainable development in Rio in June.

The commission also plans to update existing rules on EU statistical exchnage on Tuesday. The aim - says the executive - is to increase the reliability of statistics coming in from member states.

MEPs will in Strasbourg vote on the controversial passenger-data-screening treaty (PNR)on Thursday.

The civil liberties committee voted on 27 March to recommend the European Parliament endorse the text. But Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie In 't Veld, who drafted the parliament's report on PNR, opposes it on grounds of data protection.

Barroso, along with European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, will also attend the plenary on Wednesday to debate the eurozone crisis. This will be followed by a debate on measures to combat tax fraud and tax evasion.

On Tuesday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will discuss with MEPs latest developments in Syria, Mali and Burma and also the EU's Black Sea strategy.

On Wednesday, King Abdullah II of Jordan - another Arab country on the edge of instability - is scheduled to deliver a formal address at the plenary at around noon.

Austrians ponder shift to far right

Austrian voters will on Sunday decide whether to stay in the EU centre, or lurch to the radical right, with Hofer slightly ahead in polls ahead of the presidential election.

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