Wednesday

22nd Nov 2017

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

  • Greece: a euro exit could prompt ratings agencies to downgrade all eurozone countries (Photo: danoots)

Eurozone finance ministers will gather in Brussels on Monday (14 May) amid heightened speculation about Greece's future in the single currency.

The minimum-needed aid was recently transferred to the indebted country as Greek politicians struggled to form a government after the 6 May election. EU politicians are pressing Greece to stick to the tough conditions attached to its two bail-outs. But around two-thirds of the population voted for anti-austerity parties.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The other country set to be discussed is Spain. Forecasts released Friday by the European Commission showed that Spain would be in recession in 2012 and 2013. Much greater savings will be needed if it is to reach its deficit-cutting targets, but these increase the chances of a deficit spiral.

The big question is whether Brussels will allow Madrid to relax its fiscal targets. This is a political as well as economic question as Brussels seeks to maintain the credibility of its beefed-up budgetary surveillance rules.

All 27 finance ministers will meet the following day when they are set to revisit discussions on a new law on setting minimum capital for banks - the trigger for an ill-tempered debate with the UK at the ministers' last meeting. They are also expected to discuss a report prepared by the Danish EU presidency on the economic impact of Europe's ageing population.

Meanwhile finance ministers will meet Werner Hoyer, head of the European Investment Bank, with political consensus forming on the idea that the institution should get more money so it can support more growth projects.

Members of the parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee are Monday due to vote on two draft laws on further tightening Brussels' budgetary surveillance powers. The new laws would require that all national budgets are presented to the commission by mid autumn and would give the commission the power to ask for changes.

Foreign ministers will on Monday in Brussels tackle three of the biggest problems in the EU neighbourhood: the Middle East peace process; the civil war in Syria; and Afghanistan.

The Middle East discussion is set to cover Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes on occupied land, a long-term trend making the EU-favoured two-state solution ever less viable. Ministers will add another handful of Syrian notables and companies to their blacklist in view of violations of the UN-brokered ceasefire.

The Afghanistan talks come ahead of a Nato summit in Chicago on 20 May, with EU states seeking to co-ordinate ideas on state-building efforts after International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) pull out from 2014 onward.

Ministers will also hold informal talks on Russia and Ukraine. The EU's political boycott of Ukraine over its crackdown on opposition leaders has

raised fears in Poland that Ukraine might abandon its EU integration plan in favour of closer ties with Russia.

Meanwhile, Francois Hollande will be sworn in as president of France on 15 May, paving the way to keenly anticipated meeting with centre-right German Chancellor Angela Merkel the following day.

Key to their meeting will be how much each side will give in the "growth" discussion. Hollande made reorientation towards economic growth the backbone of his election campaign. Merkel, conscious of her own electorate, has refused to consider growth underpinned by debt-enhancing spending.

On Tuesday, the focus in Brussels is set to briefly divert away from economic and monetary affairs issues to relations with its eastern neighbours.

The European Commission is set to release assessments on how 12 of them are implementing EU norms and rules - with ingredients and expectations varied according to the country.

But the news is scarcely brighter on this front. The European Neighbourhood policy is suffering from lack of political will on both sides, exacerbated in the EU's case by its current economic problems.

First coalition attempt fails in Greece

Greek Conservatives failed to cobble together a coalition on Monday, with leftist leader Alexis Tsipras set to try and form a government opposing the "barbaric" bail-out, a move that would put into question the country's future in the eurozone.

Hollande makes low-key debut on EU stage

France's president-elect has made a low-key debut on the EU stage in talks with EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy and Irish leader Enda Kenny.

EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK

EU ministers will vote on where to relocate two EU agencies from the UK, while later EU leaders will host six eastern European countries in Brussels. Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic awaits his verdict in the Hague.

Mali blames West for chaos in Libya

Mali's foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop told the EU in Brussels that the lack of vision and planning following the Nato-led bombing campaign in Libya helped trigger the current migration and security crisis.

News in Brief

  1. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  2. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  3. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers
  4. French banks close Le Pen accounts
  5. Commission relaxes rules on labelling free range eggs
  6. Commission issues €34m fine over car equipment cartel
  7. Estonian presidency 'delighted' with emissions trading vote
  8. Mladic found guilty of genocide and war crimes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  2. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  3. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  4. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  6. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  7. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  8. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  9. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  10. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  11. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  12. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure

Latest News

  1. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  2. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  3. Commission warns Italy over high debt level
  4. Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes
  5. Uber may face fines in EU for keeping data breach secret
  6. EU counter-propaganda 'harms' relations, Russia says
  7. The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik
  8. Glyphosate: 1.3 million EU citizens call for ban