17th Jan 2022


Another 'make-or-break' EU summit next WEEK

  • The EU summit on Thursday and Friday will seek greater economic and monetary integration. (Photo: Images Money)

The EU's pre-summer-break summit looms large on next week's agenda, as the crisis, which wrecked Greece, threatens to engulf Italy and Spain.

The centerpiece of the event will be proposals drafted by the EU commission, the EU Council, the central bank and eurozone leaders on a future banking union and political Union.

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Several previous summits were already billed as make-or-break events for the single currency and the world economy.

In the run-up to this one, Moody's cut the rating of 15 major European lenders, including bulwarks of stability, such as Deutsche Bank.

Italy's Mario Monti warned that if EU leaders do not get it right, markets will wreak havoc on Madrid and Rome.

A recent €100 billion pledge to help Spanish banks did nothing to improve Spanish or Italian bond yields, which still trade at close to 7 percent.

But Germany, the EU's paymaster, refuses to budge on proposals such as eurobonds, European Central Bank intervention or a speedy banking Union - considered by many experts as the only way to stop the rot.

On Monday, EU foreign ministers will debate the situation in Bosnia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and Syria.

They will endorse a new action plan for how the European External Action Service can better protect human rights around the world.

Belarus is also on the agenda. The EU is considering more sanctions against regime-linked oligarchs and wants Minsk to agree on softer EU visa rules for Belarusian citizens.

On Tuesday, European Commission vice president Antonio Tajani will present plans on how to help European scientists create more high-tech products in the fields of nano-technology, electric cars and satellites.

On Wednesday, taxation commissioner Algirdas Semeta will unveil a report on how to fight tax fraud and tax evasion.

Trillions of euros - dwarfing the EU's bail-out programmes to date - are said to be hidden by Europe's rich in tax havens around the world. But Austria and Luxembourg have said No to a new EU law to clamp down on cheats.

Later in the week, the secretary general of the Paris-based economic club, the OECD, along with home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and employment commissioner Laszlo Andor, will present findings on recent developments in migration movements and policy.

The European Parliament, for its part, will be meeting the Danish EU presidency on Wednesday to seek agreement on new legislation on detention conditions for asylum seekers.

The new law would also cover access to the labour market, free legal assistance and the identification of vulnerable asylum seekers.

Parliament chief Martin Schulz is to meet Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili on Wednesday.

Once a darling of EU efforts to bring democracy to post-Soviet countries, Saakashvili has struggled to get top-level meetings in EU capitals after starting a war against Russia in 2008 and clamping down on opposition.

Greek election aftermath to dominate this WEEK

With Greek voters having given a majority to pro-bailout parties on Sunday, the EU's immediate agenda is likely to centre on offering some sort of sweetner to any future coalition government.

New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK

The lead candidate is the centre-right European People's Party's (EPP) Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, who has been outspoke against corruption and rule-of-law issues - but some MEPs are concerned over her anti-abortion voting record.

Key talks with Russia over European security This WEEK

The Nato-Russia council will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, as western and Russian officials begin a series of meetings this week in an effort to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine's eastern border - where Russia has amassed troops.

Recovery and green financing plus Omicron This WEEK

Energy has emerged as a key dividing issue between EU countries, with leaders failing to agree on a common statement on the rise of energy prices (and how to tackle them) last week at their summit in Brussels.

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