Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

  • Ireland will vote on the fiscal compact treaty in a referendum on Thursday (Photo: topgold)

Ireland will vote on the fiscal compact treaty on Thursday (31 May) amid a strong debate in the country about the exact consequences of a No.

Polls put the Yes camp in the lead (50 percent to 31 percent, with 19 percent still undecided according to a Red C poll conducted between 14 and 16 May).

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Ireland is the only member state to put the budget-balancing treaty to a vote, although the result will not affect the process of ratification elsewhere. The German-inspired document goes into place once 12 of the 17 eurozone countries ratify it. But a No vote could have economic consequences for the country, the recipient of a €85 billion bail-out in 2010.

A rejection would mean that Ireland would not have access to the eurozone's permanent bailout fund, the ESM - a fact that would likely make markets more jittery and negatively affect Dublin's hopes of re-entering bond trading in 2014.

The No camp say that this is scare-mongering. They argue that the treaty risks trapping the country in an austerity-driven downward spiral for years and claim that Ireland, if needed, could still ask for a loan from the International Monetary Fund.

On Wednesday, the European Commission is to publish its highly-anticipated economic policy recommendations for the 27 member states.

The recommendations will tell countries what they have to do to achieve the agreed economic priorities for 2012. Of particular interest will be what Brussels sets out for Spain, which is widely seen as unlikely to make its deficit-cutting target for next year amid worsening economic conditions, and France, the eurozone's second largest economy. In addition to the "country specific" reports, the commission will also publish in-depth reviews of 12 economies suffering from imbalances, including Spain, France, the UK, Italy and Finland.

Immigration issues will also feature heavily this week.

The EU's finger-printing system for asylum seekers will be given an upgrade on Wednesday, so that rules on when and how data should be entered and accessed are clearer.

The commission will also publish a report on immigration trends and a poll on migration, security and cross-border mobility. The data will come amid a rise in far-right and nationalist parties with anti-immigrant platforms. In the 6 May Greek election, the neo-facist and xenophobic New Dawn party won 7 percent of the vote, getting itself into parliament for the first time.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the political groups in the European Parliament will meet the Cypriot President and other Cypriot politicians ahead of the divided island taking over the six month EU presidency in just over a month's time.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi will also appear before the parliament's economic affairs committee on Thursday.

Draghi has recently begun making statements about the importance of further integration in the eurozone. But Spain has said that any moves the ECB makes to lower Madrid's borrowing costs, which are hovering near bail-out levels, would be more important than talk of long term integration.

Netanyahu, Panama Papers, and Brexit This WEEK

The run-up to the Christmas break sees a packed schedule, including the EU summit on Brexit, migration and other issues, a rare visit by Israeli PM Netanyahu, and issues such as fishing quotas and the Panama Papers.

May-Juncker meeting sets the tone This WEEK

As Brexit negotiations approach the (possibly) grand finale of their first phase, the EU's attention this week is turning to the eurozone - who is the new boss and how to deepen and expand it.

Africa and EU summit This WEEK

Billed as a new partnership, the EU and Africa summit in Abidjan will focus on youth and jobs. The gathering takes place against the backdrop of migratory flows towards Europe and reports of open slave auctions in Libya.

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.

EU will not start Brexit future talks before March

Transition talks could start in January, and detailed negotiations on the future and trade relations in mid-April, as Brussels awaits for London to say what sort of relationship it wants. Last week's deal is now 'Davis-proofed', one EU official said.

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