Friday

21st Jul 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 and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

Trump, Ukraine and NGO sea rescues This WEEK

The US president will be back in Europe for France's Bastille Day, while the EU and Ukraine will hold a summit in Kiev, and MEPs will discuss migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary