MEPs put troika in spotlight this WEEK
MEPs gathering in Strasbourg this week will hold hearings with key officials from the so-called troika of international lenders (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) about their activities in Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Ireland.
EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn will appear Monday evening in front of MEPs dealing with economic affairs to defend the commission's actions as part of the troika.
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The next day, the series of hearings continues with Jean-Claude Trichet - the former head of the European Central Bank who is accused of having overstepped his mandate when he sent secret letters to the Irish, Italian and Spanish governments demanding reforms.
Eurozone bailout fund chief Klaus Regling will appear in front of the economics committee on Wednesday, also as part of the troika inquiry. The two MEPs tasked with drafting a report by March - Othmar Karas and Liem Hoang Ngoc - will give a state of play of their work on Wednesday, after having travelled to Cyprus and Portugal in recent weeks.
The controversial role of private consultancies in supplying the troika with "independent" assessments despite potential conflicts of interest, as reported by EUobserver, is among the issues MEPs are seeking to raise.
EU employment and social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor will present a "practical guide" on Monday outlining what member states are allowed to do under EU law to prevent welfare abuse. The move comes amid a heated debate in the UK on the issue.
MEPs in Strasbourg will also debate the right to freedom of movement within the EU after restrictions applying to Romanian and Bulgarian workers expired on 1 January.
On Wednesday, MEPs will debate the sale of EU citizenship as planned by Malta to boost its revenues.
Draft legislation capping CO2 emissions for commercial vehicles will be put to a vote on Thursday.
Meanwhile, officials at the European Central Bank on Monday will unveil the new 10 euro banknote.
Also this week EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, is touring the Gulf countries - Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.