4th Feb 2023


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.

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“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.

Fears on migration plus Ukraine summit this WEEK

MEPs are expected to present their migration and asylum priorities on Wednesday (1 February), before EU leaders will focus on the issue at the 9-10 February special European Council.

New sanctions and democracy in focus This WEEK

On Monday, Brussels will see EU foreign affairs ministers focusing on a 10th sanctions package against Russia, a special tribunal, and preparing the EU-Ukraine summit on 3 February in Kyiv.

Gas price-cap tops agenda This WEEK

On Monday, we will also find out of there is a deal among European Parliament and EU government negotiators on the agreement to reform the bloc's Emissions Trading System (ETS) and on the Social Climate Fund.

Pre-Xmas EU summit push on This WEEK

This week officials from the parliament and council are also set to try and find an agreement on three major bills which are part of the Fit for 55 initiative to make the EU climate neutral by 2050.

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