Juncker bows out as Eurogroup chief this WEEK
By Benjamin Fox
Jean Claude Juncker is to bow out as President of the Eurogroup this week when the 17 eurozone finance ministers gather in Brussels for their first meeting of 2013.
Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem who already has the support of France and Germany, will take his place on Monday (21 January), having formally declared his candidacy for the role.
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Juncker, a veteran of more than 20 years at the centre of EU politics, has held the Eurogroup role since its creation in 2005. Pressed on his future at a hearing with MEPs earlier this month, he indicated he would stick to his day-job as Prime Minister of Luxembourg, a post he has held since 1995.
EU Finance ministers are then expected to focus on negotiations to establish the European Central Bank as the single supervisor of the eurozone banking sector on Tuesday.
Talks between ministers and MEPs began in December to finalise the legal framework for the ECB and the European Banking Authority created in 2010, as well as the number of banks falling within the scope of the ECB. Although lawmakers missed their self-set deadline of the end of 2012 to agree the deal, EU officials expect agreement to be reached in early spring.
The Irish EU Presidency will also re-open negotiation on the Capital Requirements rules aimed at increasing the levels of core capital held by banks as well as rules on bank bonus payments.
The minds of MEPs will also turn to the state of the eurozone crisis. Italian finance minister Vittorio Grilli will address deputies on the Parliament's Economic committee on Monday (21 January) just weeks before crucial parliamentary elections in February.
The following day Irish finance minister Michael Noonan will make his first appearance before MEPs under the six-month Irish presidency.
Meanwhile, MEPs on the Agriculture committee are expected to resist plans by the European Commission to put a €300,000 cap on farm subsidies when they vote on four pieces of legislation aimed at reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The EU executive had recommended the cap as well as new provisions to link subsidies closer to environmental protection standards. However, on Thursday (24 January) MEPs are set to tailor the rules so that farmers receiving payments from agri-environment schemes are also eligible for the direct subsidies tied to environmental action.
Government ministers have yet to advance talks in Council, with the package dependent on the outcome of the EU's next 2014-2020 seven year budget framework.
Elsewhere, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius will be in Brussels on Monday to discuss the recent military action in Mali with MEPs on the foreign affairs and defence committees. For their part, the Parliament's sub-committee on defence will hold an additional debate on the conflict with officials from the EU's external action service on Thursday.
The sixth EU-Brazil summit will take place on Thursday in Brasilia. EU council president Herman Van Rompuy and commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will discuss the global economic situation, trade and climate change with their Brazilian counterparts.
The week will start with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Elyseé treaty between France and Germany, agreed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer in 1963, which enshrined post-war reconciliation between the two countries.
Dignitaries will also mark Holocaust Remembrance Day the following day.
Meanwhile, EU Commissioners and ministers will convene in Davos, Switzerland for the annual meetings of the World Economic Forum.