Wednesday

23rd Aug 2017

Agenda

Merkel to visit Greece this WEEK

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be in Greece on Tuesday (9 October) to meet Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in her first visit to the debt-ridden country since the eurozone crisis began.

Announcing the visit, her spokesperson said that Samaras government has "increased reform efforts" and that Germany wants to show support.

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.

But the visit comes as Greece's eurozone future remains uncertain.

The government is having trouble finding the billions of euros needed to make the further saving cuts demanded by creditors and Greeks themselves are tired of living through tax hikes and social spending cuts.

Germany, as the eurozone's biggest lender, has been at the forefront of those saying that Athens needs to do more, prompting charges from Greek politicians that the Germans do not appreciate the efforts that have already been made.

EU finance ministers meeting on Tuesday will be given an update on the difficult path to a financial transactions tax (FTT).

Having concluded that this is not politically possible among all 27 member states, efforts are now concentrating on a splinter group going ahead. But finding the minimum nine member states needed is also proving difficult.

So far, five - Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Portugal - have made it clear that they are willing to press ahead. The FTT issue affects wider EU budget talks as the money raised from the tax could feed into the budget or into the mooted eurozone-only budget increasingly being mentioned.

Eurozone ministers will meet on Monday amid a backdrop of mounting speculation about Spain asking for a full state bailout.

Madrid is already in line for a €100 billion loan for its banks but its poor economic situation has made increasingly likely that it will need more aid, something its PM Mariano Rajoy has been seeking to avoid.

Meanwhile, the boards of governors and directors of the permanent bailout fund, the €500 billion ESM, will have their inaugural meetings on 8 and 9 October following months of delay to the fund due to a legal challenge in Germany.

Enlargement will be on the agenda on Wednesday when the European Commission is to adopt an overall strategy paper on future expansion of the EU, as well as progress made by Western Balkan countries, Turkey and Iceland towards EU membership.

There will also be a paper on the feasibility of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo - an issue fraught with difficulty as a handful of EU member states do not recognise the break-away former Serb province as a country.

Economic and monetary union will be in the air in the European Parliament.

The presidents of the three main EU institutions as well as the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, will discuss the issue on Tuesday.

Draghi will also appear before MEPs separately the same day to discuss the eurozone bank's bond purchasing scheme as well as plans to create a single European banking supervisor.

The EU capital will also see about 6,000 regional experts and administrators descend for "open days" - an annual event celebrating all things regional and local.

This year's gathering comes as member states fight over how much to reduce the Cohesion Policy pot (a series of aid lines for regions) in the next longterm budget (2014-2020).

Hollande and Merkel in show of unity on Greece

The German and French leaders put on a careful display of unity on Greece on Thursday in Berlin, appearing briefly before press to urge Athens to continue reforms.

Eurozone gives Greece 10-day ultimatum

Eurozone ministers have given Greece 10 days to implement budget cuts in return for a bailout cash, as Germany Merkel braves protesters on a visit to Athens.

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.

Opinion

Managing migration: a European responsibility

"The EU now needs to bring its weight to bear, to ensure non-EU countries cooperate on taking back their nationals arriving as economic migrants", writes migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

News in Brief

  1. Air Berlin insolvency talks begin amid 'stitch-up' accusation
  2. EU calls on Serbia and Macedonia to remain calm
  3. Schulz wants US to remove nuclear weapons from Germany
  4. Ukraine and Russia to announce another ceasefire
  5. EU to investigate Monsanto-Bayer merger
  6. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  7. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  8. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference