Saturday

27th May 2017

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

This week sees the EU start its long slide into summer recess - especially welcome after the flurry to bring the Convention on Europe's future to a successful close, and the diplomatic furore surrounding the beginning of the Italian Presidency.

However, there are still some things to watch out for.

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  • PARIS is hosting an international conference on Aids/HIV, tuberculosis and malaria (Photo: EUobserver)

On Tuesday and Wednesday, finance ministers will gather in Brussels for a ministerial meeting (ECOFIN). One of the points of the agenda will be confirming Jean-Claude Trichet as the next head of the European Central Bank (ECB). He is set to replace the incumbent Wim Duisenberg on 1 November after having been vetted by MEPs in September. EU leaders confirmed Mr Trichet's candidacy at the Thessaloniki summit on 20 June - this follows a backroom deal by French President Jaques Chirac in 1998.

The finance ministers are also set to discuss the recent statements by Germany calling on the ECB to intervene on the strong euro and controversial Italian presidency plans for an EU-wide treaty on taxation - part of ambitious proposals to kickstart growth in Europe's economy.

As usual, ECOFIN will be preceded on Monday evening by a meeting of the ministers from the 12 Eurozone countries.

Extraordinary Budgetary Control Committee meeting

Following extensive revelations by the Commission about fraud in its statistical arm, Eurostat, the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee will hold an extaordinary meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

MEPs will discuss whether the proposed measures, which include setting up a 20-person enquiry team to look into the scandal, are enough. Many have already indicated their concern that the team will be headed by the Commission's Secretary General and not an independent auditor.

Expected to attend are Jules Muis, the Commission's audit chief, Franz-Hermann Brüner, head of OLAF (the EU's anti-fraud office) and Michel Vanden Abeele, the newly-appointed head of Eurostat.

Handing over the new constitution

Member state ambassadors meeting this week are set to agree the mandate for the intergovernmental conference to tie up the loose ends of the freshly drafted EU constitution. This will then be discussed by foreign ministers at a meeting on July 22.

Convention president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing will on Friday (18 July) entrust the freshly agreed draft EU constitution to the Italian Presidency. The President will pass on a strong message to Rome that the finely worked out compromise not be re-opened by the member states during the IGC - he will also offer himself for consultation throughout the member states' negotiation on the treaty blueprint.

International Aids/HIV conference

Commission President Romano Prodi will attend the international conference on Aids/HIV, tuberculosis and Malaria in Paris on Wednesday. The conference follows hot on the heels of US president George W. Bush's trip to Africa which saw him pledge billions of dollars to help fight Aids.

False advertising

On Wednesday, the commission is set to approve a proposal for a new law on advertising by the Consumer affairs Commissioner, David Byrne. The new legislation would tackle any advertising that makes unfounded claims - such as providing dietary or weight loss benefits, when this is not proven.

Within a similar advertising ballpark, Enterprise Commissioner, Erkki Liikanen will give a press conference on Tuesday on how to address the problem of unsolicited emails - otherwise known as 'spam'.

Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK

European leaders will adopt their negotiating position on the Brexit summit on Saturday, whereas the situation of Hungary's democracy and post-referendum Turkey will be under scrutiny in the EU this week.

Brexit, Syria and Greece on the agenda This WEEK

The European Parliament will adopt its position on the UK's exit, and eurozone finance ministers will try to break a deadlock on the Greek bailout talks. Meanwhile in Brussels, there will be discussions on ending the war in Syria.

UK to file EU divorce This WEEK

UK prime minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty on Wednesday, with the EU expected to respond within 48 hours.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Ukip's last electoral stand

Nigel Farage's anti-EU party is unlikely to win any seats at the 8 June elections. After the loss of his charismatic leadership, the party is just a rag-tag of third raters.

EUobserved

Scramble for UK agencies paves way for Trumpian claims

The Spanish health minister this week bragged that Barcelona was “the best city”, had “the best building”, and “the best infrastructure” to host the EU's medicines agency post-Brexit.

News in Brief

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