30th Mar 2020


Merkel in search of government deal this WEEK

  • EU decisions on key policies are on hold until Merkel's new government is in place (Photo:

Most key EU policy decisions remain on hold this week while Angela Merkel is busy with negotiations on how to form a new coalition to govern Germany after Sunday's (22 September) general elections.

European Commission spokesperson Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen told reporters in Brussels that the commission “will proceed as planned,” irrespective of the election results of Europe’s paymaster.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

“We have elections in the EU regularly and we also have a plan on what we are going to do next,” she said on Friday.

On Sunday, representatives from the commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank - the so-called Troika - arrived in Greece once more to oversee the country's reform programme.

The country needs a successful audit by the international lenders to see a pay out of €1 billion next month.

EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and a handful of commissioners will be are heading to New York city.

On Monday, Barroso is set to address the United Nations General Assembly where he will discuss the UN millennium development goals and sustainable development.

Back in Brussels, policy and communication announcements are on the light side.

Internal market commissioner Michel Barnier on Monday will launch an "EU Single Market Month" where the public can debate online with EU policy makers and leaders on issues like jobs, social rights, banks, and e-commerce.

On Wednesday, EU telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes and EU education commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will launch a joint communication on education for a better skilled workforce.

Industry commissioner Antonio Tajani, on the same day, is set to publish his annual report on competitiveness in the EU.

The European Parliament, for its part, is set to hold a number of debates and votes.

Euro-deputies in the economic and monetary affairs committee on Monday will face off with European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi where they will discuss EU recovery and a resolution system for troubled banks.

The German Bundesbank said the system might not be so effective.

It noted that the banking union, composed of a single supervisor for the eurozone's 150 largest banks and a new agency deciding what banks should be closed down and who should pay for it, “is not going to solve the crisis on its own.”

On Tuesday, the same committee will also debate the European Stability Mechanism with its managing director Klaus Regling.

The civil liberties committee will hold its third meeting on Tuesday into the surveillance of EU citizens by the US intelligence agency NSA.

MEPs will look into allegations that the NSA tapped into Swift, the global interbank transfer network database.

Belgian Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstad, along with Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in t'Veld and German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, have called on the commission to suspend the EU-US terrorist financial tracking programme (TFTP) agreement following press reports that the NSA secretly plundered Swift for data.

Wednesday will see MEPs in the environment committee vote on two EU legislative policies.

Deputies will vote on increasing safety standards and regulation on medical devices in reaction to the PIP breast implant and "metal on metal" hip implant scandals.

They will also vote on safety rules on in-vitro medical devices.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

EU goes fully online in lockdown This WEEK

EU leaders will discuss the coronavirus reponse online, while MEPs will vote on urgent measures by email. Starting accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia will also be high on the agenda.

EU-Africa strategy and circular economy plan This WEEK

The European Commission is set to unveil the EU-Africa and the circular economy strategy this week. Additionally, MEPs will hold the plenary session in Brussels after the president David Sassoli cancelled the plenary in Strasbourg due to the coronavirus outbreak.

EU climate law and Thunberg visit This WEEK

The European Commission will on Wednesday unveil the first-ever EU climate law, while environmental activist Greta Thunberg is in Brussels to meet with the college of commissioners and MEPs. Environmental ministers will also gather to discuss future climate developments.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.


Poland's sham presidential election in a pandemic

Declaring a state of emergency is not even an option on the table for Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) chairman Jarosław Kaczyński - as it would render the 10 May election impossible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. EU struggles to remain united This WEEK
  2. How Europe coped with pandemic 100 years ago
  3. Coronavirus crisis deepens, but solidarity booms
  4. Romania: Inside the EU's worst healthcare system, as virus hits
  5. Pandemic is time to recognise gig economy workers' rights
  6. EU doctors: bring refugees on Greek islands to safety
  7. Russia's top coronavirus 'fake news' stories
  8. WHO warning on lockdown mental health

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us