18th Mar 2018


MEPs put troika in spotlight this WEEK

  • EU building in Ireland - troika officials engineered and oversaw several bailout schemes (Photo: Valentina Pop)

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.

Brexit and trade will top This WEEK

A crucial EU summit will decide whether to give a green light to the Brexit transition period, while the EU is also fighting to get exemptions from the new US steel and aluminium tariffs.

'Selmayrgate' moves to the EU Parliament This WEEK

As a global trade war looms over the new US steel tariffs, the EU's attention will shift to Strasbourg - where MEPs are expected to debate the Martin Selmayr appointment, trade, Brexit, journalism and the budget.

Italy and migration will top This WEEK

Italy will have voted for a government, Germany's social democrats will have voted to confirm a government (or not): the dynamics in European politics may change, while Brussels will focus on Brexit again.

Election fever picks up This WEEK

Italian general elections, a German coalition in the balance, and the European parliament fighting to get a voice in nominating an EU commission president. This and much more in a week packed with intrigue.

Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant

Niger has temporarily stopped all evacuations from Libya detention centres under an EU funded programme because so few are being resettled to Europe. Many of those that have been evacuated are pregnant, with some asking for HIV testing.

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