28th May 2023


Italian mess dominates this WEEK

Politicians and investors in the EU will this week continue to focus on Italy, where recent inconclusive elections are making it difficult to form a government and raise concerns that the euro-crisis may pick up again.

President Giorgio Napolitano and outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti have given assurances that a government will emerge in the coming weeks.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But the three main forces that could cobble together a coalition remain at odds.

The anti-establishement Beppe Grillo has rejected an alliance either with the centre-left Democratic Party, which won the lower house, or the centre-right People of Freedom party, which got the most seats in the Senate.

Social-Democrat leader Pier Luigi Bersani has ruled out a grand coalition with former PM Silvio Berlusconi (seen as the main reason for Italy's economic mess). Bersani is instead hoping for a minority government that would gather support from Grillo's senators, but such a government is likely to be short-lived.

Meanwhile, Berlusconi is keeping his options open.

But any involvement of his party in a coalition is expected to include a trade-off on amnesty in his ongoing trials for corruption and sex abuse.

The European Central Bank's (ECB) take on the Italian situation will be closely watched on Thursday (7 March) when the ECB governing council holds its monthly meeting.

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz will also take the pulse in Rome on Monday, when he meets with Napolitano, whose mandate ends mid-May, further complicating the coalition talks.

Eurozone finance ministers are likely to discuss Italy when they meet in the Eurogroup on Monday evening.

The topic is not formally on the agenda, which is dominated by the Cypriot bailout request. Nicosia's bid is likely to gather momentum after its new President signalled more willingness to abide by foreign creditors' demands.

Ministers will also discuss the situation in Greece, where tax collection is behind schedule and tax inspectors themselves keep dodgy foreign bank accounts. No decisions are expected, however.

On Tuesday, the British finance minister is joining his EU colleagues for a vote on bankers' bonuses and rules on how much capital banks must hold.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said Britain will oppose the new scheme, but the decision is taken by majority, not unanimity.

If the UK, the home of Europe's biggest financial centre, does not get its way, it would be the first time it has been outvoted on EU finance legislation.

On the foreign affairs front, EU institutions will host Burmese VIPs on Tuesday and Israeli head of state, Shimon Perez, on Wednesday.

Perez is expected to urge EU countries to designate Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist entity.

The leader of the Liberal group in the EU parliament Guy Verhofstadt will also host the commander-in-chief of the Free Syrian Army, Salim Idriss, on his first visit to the EU capital.

On Thursday, members of the civil liberties committee will hear from the head of the EU border agency Frontex.

They will also discuss developments in Hungary, where the Conservative government has clamped down on media and limited the rights of judges.

The President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, is in Brussels on Wednesday for talks with top EU officials.

The government of Bulgaria resigned on 20 February after austerity protests turned violent, with early elections due in coming months.

Early elections are also taking in place in Malta on Saturday, after the government of Conservative PM Lawrence Gonzi lost a confidence vote over the country's budget.

Russia sanctions and EU elections on top This WEEK

The parliament's constitutional affairs committee is set to vote on a draft proposal on the number of seats in the European Parliament, and their distribution among EU countries, ahead of the 2024 elections.

Keeping China at arm's length is in focus This WEEK

The G7 aims to send a signal to China by announcing a joint effort to counter "economic coercion," with the EU hoping to avoid becoming a "vassal" in a US-China clash, as French president Emmanuel Macron said recently.

Visions of war and peace in Europe This WEEK

Russian president Vladimir Putin will cheer on a mini war-parade in Moscow on Tuesday, as German chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks of peace in Europe in Strasbourg.

Hungary's EU funds and corruption in focus This WEEK

EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn is set to travel to Budapest on Tuesday (2 May) as negotiations to unlock billions of EU funds, held up because of concerns over judicial independence, made some progress last week.

Ammunition to, and grain from Ukraine top This WEEK

During the week, the European Parliament special committee on foreign interference is set to adopt its proposals to fight foreign actors, particularly Russia and China, using information manipulation — which is likely to increase as the 2024 European elections approach.


How the EU's money for waste went to waste in Lebanon

The EU led support for the waste management crisis in Lebanon, spending around €89m between 2004-2017, with at least €30m spent on 16 solid-waste management facilities. However, it failed to deliver.

Latest News

  1. How the EU's money for waste went to waste in Lebanon
  2. EU criminal complicity in Libya needs recognition, says expert
  3. Europe's missing mails
  4. MEPs to urge block on Hungary taking EU presidency in 2024
  5. PFAS 'forever chemicals' cost society €16 trillion a year
  6. EU will 'react as appropriate' to Russian nukes in Belarus
  7. The EU needs to foster tech — not just regulate it
  8. EU: national energy price-spike measures should end this year

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  2. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  3. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics
  6. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  2. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us