Friday

20th Jan 2017

Agenda

EU budget, Merkel on agenda this WEEK

Negotiations on the EU's next seven-year budget start on Monday (5 November), with sources predicting a deal on €200 billion cuts.

EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy's head of cabinet, Didier Seeuws, will chair bilateral talks with member states' ministers, ambassadors and sherpas during the week.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The European Commission's top civil servant, Catherine Day, will also take part.

She will be there to defend the commission's €1,033 billion spending proposal.

But when member states' ambassadors met last week, a powerful group - France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Nordic countries - pushed for a lower number.

"I think we'll have a deal on cuts of up to €200 billion," an EU source said.

"At the end of the meeting, Didier [Seeuws] said if we don't agree at the November summit then we can't do it in December because there are other important issues to deal with and we probably won't do it next year because of the heavy political agenda. We have elections in Germany, in Italy - we have to do it now," the EU contact added.

EU finance ministers will try to agree the 2013 EU budget at a meeting with MEPs and EU officials on Friday.

With EU institutions keen to get €138 billion - €9 billion more than member states want to give - the meeting is expected to drag into Saturday morning.

The big political event of the week will be a debate with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and MEPs at the EU parliament in Brussels on Wednesday.

Merkel - who has emerged as the Union's top decision-maker in recent months - will set our her views on the future of Europe and on the financial crisis. But with the plenary chamber closed due to cracks in the ceiling, the venue remains "to be confirmed."

Later the same day, Merkel goes to London to see if British leader David Cameron really plans to veto the seven-year EU budget deal.

Dalligate rumbles on

The parliament's budgetary control committee will on Tuesday talk to the supervisory board of the EU's anti-fraud office, Olaf.

The hearing comes after the board President resigned over irregularities in the case of ex-commissioner John Dalli and tobacco bribes.

Dalli's potential replacement - Maltese foreign minister Tonio Borg - will also meet EU parliament chief Martin Schulz on Wednesday ahead of his official hearing on 13 November.

In terms of general financial hygiene, the European Court of Auditors, anti-fraud commissioner Algirdas Semeta, commission accountant Manfred Kraff and budgetary control MEPs will on Tuesday examine 2011 EU spending.

The commission will on Wednesday unveil its latest economic forecasts.

It will also publish non-binding ideas on visa-facilitation for EU tourism (Wednesday) and on the European car-making industry (Thursday).

Meanwhile, Catalan leader Artur Mas will be in the EU capital on Wednesday to discuss the northern Spanish region's future.

The debate - organised by think tank Friends of Europe - will take place ahead of Catalonia's elections on 25 November and amid speculation on whether breakaway territories can automatically become EU member states.

Global agenda

On the global agenda, top EU officials, French PM Francois Hollande, Italian PM Mario Monti and up to 50 other European and regional leaders will on Monday go to Vientiane, Laos for trade-dominated EU-Asia talks.

But the main event will be the election of the next leader of the world's lone superpower - the US presidential vote on Tuesday.

Polls say most Europeans would like to see Barack Obama stay in office four more years. But for the American citizens casting the ballots, surveys put Obama neck-and-neck against Mormon tycoon Mitt Romney.

GMO opt-out plan remains in waiting room

The commission wants to give the power to member states to reject EU-approved genetically modified organisms, but the Maltese presidency is unlikely to approach the issue any time soon.

New EU parliament coalitions get in shape

Social-democrats and their allies scored a major win on Thursday with the adoption of a report on social rights. But questions remain on the parliament's power balance after the end of the left-right grand coalition.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey