Friday

10th Apr 2020

Agenda

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: consilium.europa.eu)

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.

Coronabonds clash continues This WEEK

Finance ministers will hold all-important online meeting to find ways to mitigate the econmic fallout from the pandemic and heal wounds between northern and southern member states.

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.

News in Brief

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  2. EU anti-crisis budget 'could be up to €1.5 trillion'
  3. Western Balkan states appeal for EU help with masks
  4. Spain's lockdown could be extended until 10 May
  5. IMF: Pandemic crisis will be worse than great depression
  6. German economy minister expects progress on EU deal
  7. Italian PM: EU is at risk if no deal on recovery plan
  8. Belgian region to block EU Green Deal

Opinion

Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders

The rise in support for mainstream parties has been paired with stagnation or decline for far-right populist parties and figures - the AfD has dropped to 10 percent in Germany and Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are treading water.

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