7th Jun 2023


EU leaders meet this WEEK

EU leaders gather in Brussels for their last summit of the year with a discussion agenda that includes economic integration, jobs and defence.

Pre-prepared conclusions for the summit show member states are willing to proceed with Berlin's idea of contractual arrangements - whereby member states undertake to carry out "home grown" economic reforms in return for a loan, grant or guarantee.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

The part on banking union - seen as key to ensuring the future stability of the eurozone - will depend on what finance ministers manage to hammer out during their meeting earlier in week. Ministers loosely agreed a framework on how ailing banks should be wound down and how a common fund would eventually be set up. However, there are concerns about its proposed intergovernmental nature and complex decision-making procedure.

Meanwhile finance ministers may revisit the savings tax directive - after Austria and Luxembourg continued to block agreement last week - earning themselves criticism from other member states and the European Commission.

EU leaders are also due to examine where all countries are with the implementation of a scheme to help get young people into jobs or training. The initiative was announced by the European Commission a year ago but progress on getting it into place - requiring fundamental changes in some member states - has been slow.

Defence is the headline theme of the EU summit - put on the agenda by council president Herman Van Rompuy.

The draft conclusions promise member states will make a "strong commitment for the further development of a credible and effective" common defence policy.

Among the few concrete steps is a call for an EU cyber defence policy framework next year and the adoption of a maritime security strategy in June.

EU leaders are also set to welcome "concrete cooperative projects" to work on drones in the "2020-2025" timeframe, the development of air-to-air refueling capacity as well as preparation for the next generation of satellite communications.

Foreign ministers will gather in Brussels on Monday with Ukraine featuring high on the agenda. The EU has admitted it has lost patience with Kiev amid apparent attempts by President Viktor Yanukovych to play Brussels and Moscow - also keen to get Ukraine within its sphere of influence - off one another.

"Told Arbuzov that further discussion is conditioned on clear commitment 2sign. Work on hold, had no answer," EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele tweeted Sunday.

"Words and deeds of president and government further and further apart. Their arguments have no grounds in reality."

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is also due to attend the meeting for what is expected to be heated exchange on the developments of the past weeks - a period that saw Ukraine refuse to sign a deal on deeper ties with the EU. Ukrainian citizens have protested in their thousands in Kiev against the decision.

Setting the tone of the meeting, Lavrov commented over the weekend that the EU's reaction to Ukraine's cold shoulder was “bordering on hysterical."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Wednesday. The visit will come shortly after Merkel's governing coalition is to receive the formal go-ahead following elections in September.

Relations between the Paris and Berlin are cool, exacerbated by the two countries different economic fortunes - with France suffering from stagnating growth and high unemployment. The two sides also differ on the future development of economic and monetary union.

The European Commission is due Wednesday to adopt new state aid rules. A new draft regulation would automatically exempt a number of state aid measures from falling foul of EU rules - particularly if the government funding is meant to help achieve the EU2020 economic goals.

Meanwhile the commission's competition unit is set to open an investigation into planned British support for a new nuclear power plant in south west England.

The UK is the first government to ask for the commission green light for its support for nuclear power. Brussels' decision on the matter will be watched closely by other EU governments.

Asylum and SLAPP positions in focus This WEEK

Home affairs ministers will work on trying to clinch a common position among EU governments on the migration management system regulation and the asylum procedure regulation, two key parts of the bloc's asylum reform.

Russia sanctions and EU elections on top This WEEK

The parliament's constitutional affairs committee is set to vote on a draft proposal on the number of seats in the European Parliament, and their distribution among EU countries, ahead of the 2024 elections.

Keeping China at arm's length is in focus This WEEK

The G7 aims to send a signal to China by announcing a joint effort to counter "economic coercion," with the EU hoping to avoid becoming a "vassal" in a US-China clash, as French president Emmanuel Macron said recently.

Visions of war and peace in Europe This WEEK

Russian president Vladimir Putin will cheer on a mini war-parade in Moscow on Tuesday, as German chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks of peace in Europe in Strasbourg.


Part of EU middle class 'being squeezed out', MEP warns

EUobserver interviewed Spanish MEP Jordi Cañas to discuss the situation of Europe's middle class, the dangerous political reaction if certain groups feel neglected, and the role that member states and the EU can play at the policy level.

Latest News

  1. Israeli settlers encircling Jerusalem, EU envoys warn
  2. No clear 'Qatargate effect' — but only half voters aware of EU election
  3. Part of EU middle class 'being squeezed out', MEP warns
  4. Migration commissioner: Greek pushback film 'clear deportation'
  5. In 2024, Europe's voters need to pick a better crop of MEPs
  6. ECB president grilled over €135bn interest payout to commercial banks
  7. EU political ads rules could be 'hotbed for retaliatory flagging'
  8. Final steps for EU's due diligence on supply chains law

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  2. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  3. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics
  6. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  2. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us