17th Feb 2020


EU economic forecast this WEEK

  • EP chief Martin Schulz is seen as a leading candidate for the centre-left nomination for the commission post (Photo:

The European Commission will Tuesday publish its economic forecasts for the 28 member states - prognoses that shape Brussels' recommendations to national governments to keep their economies in line with EU fiscal rules.

One of the big questions will be the state of Germany's budget surplus, which was €8.5bn in the first half of this year. Several analysts have said Germany needs to do more - such as raising wages and boosting domestic demand - help struggling southern Eurozone countries.

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The issue has been a flashpoint in relations with other countries. France's social minister Benoit Hamon has accused Berlin of wage dumping at the expense of euro partners. Similar accusations have come from Belgium.

The European Court of Auditors is also due to publish its annual report on the EU budget the same day.

Each year the assessment is full of examples of how EU money is being misspent at the national level. The ongoing misuse of money and the court's yearly decision not to sign off the Union's accounts has prompted the commission to push ahead with plans for a European Public Prosecutor with the authority to investigate fraud claims.

The economic affairs committee in the European Parliament will Tuesday hold a hearing on the troika - the trio of international lenders (EU commission, IMF and ECB) that oversees the terms of bailout for crisis Eurozone countries.

The troika has come increasingly under the spotlight in recent months, with questions arising over how it arrives at its conclusions and policy recommendations for bailout countries.

Deputies in the civil liberties committee will Thursday again attempt to shed some light on the US surveillance affair.

It will hold its eighth hearing on the extent of the NSA's snooping on Europeans. This hearing will come after a group of MEPs travelled to Washington to try and elicit more information on the affair following revelations that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone had also been tapped.

At the end of the week (8-10 November), the European Green Party will launch its primary to select candidates for the post of European Commission president. The two leading candidates - to be chosen in an online vote - are to front the election campaign for the Greens ahead of the May European election.

On Wednesday the European Socialists are due to announce the list of candidates for the commission post. Nominees have been put forward by the socialist parties in member states and a single candidate is to be chosen by February 2014.

Plastic bags will be targeted Monday when the EU commission publishes a proposal aiming to reduce the number appearing in the market every year (98.6 billion or 198 per citizen).

Policies to reduce the use of plastic bags exist at the national level but not at the EU level. Governments will be able to choose between different measures - such as charges or national reduction targets - to reduce the number of plastic carriers.

EU budget battle gears up This WEEK

Member states get ready for their first real negotiations on the next seven-year EU budget, while MEPs discuss the next Brexit phase, enlargement, and vote on a highly-controversial trade deal with Vietnam.

Second phase of Brexit starts This WEEK

In its first week without the UK, the EU will reveal how it wants to negotiate future relations with London, will propose a new enlargement methodology to calm Paris, and MEPs will hear from EU chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi.

Davos and Libya in focus This WEEK

The all-powerful will meet in Davos after Berlin tries to resolve the Libyan conflict over the weekend, while MEPs will set the stage for final ratification of the Brexit deal.

Green money and Iran tensions in focus This WEEK

The EU Commission will unveil the financial backbone for its Green Deal, and also debate a possible minimum wage with MEPs. Lawmakers will also hear from the Jordanian king and the EU's foreign affairs chief.

News in Brief

  1. Michel proposes GNI 1.074 percent for budget
  2. Five Star Movement to protest against own government
  3. France pushing for tougher EU line on Brexit alignment
  4. Facebook delays EU roll-out of dating app
  5. Coronavirus a 'key risk' in EU's economic forecast
  6. Von dey Leyen defends record at German parliament inquiry
  7. Johnson loses finance and N. Ireland ministers in reshuffle
  8. Eight EU states warned over money-laundering delay


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