Monday

24th Apr 2017

Agenda

EU top jobs and economic prospects to dominate this WEEK

  • Talks on the EU's top jobs will shift to the European Parliament this week (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The EU's top jobs saga, economic future and a possible tax probe are likely to dominate the agenda in the EU this week.

The European Commission will host the 10th edition of the annual high-level meeting of religious leaders on Tuesday.

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It is also set to decide on whether to launch a formal investigation into tax breaks that countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands use to attract international companies. Such an investigation would examine whether the tax breaks breach the EU’s state aid rules.

EU countries have promised to crack down on loopholes which have allowed the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and Apple to pay tiny amounts of tax on their European operations.

The commission says that tax avoidance and evasion in the EU costs about €1 trillion each year.

On Tuesday, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will deliver the keynote speech at the end of the Brussels Economic Forum.

The gathering of finance ministers and economists includes economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn, Portuguese finance minister Maria Luis Albuquerque, and Jorg Asmussen, formerly of the European Central Bank’s executive board and now a German government minister.

Elsewhere, the saga of who will get the EU’s top jobs is set to continue as leaders bicker over whether Jean-Claude Juncker should be the next commission president.

In the European Parliament, the main political groups are expected to begin several weeks of talks on how to allocate the assembly’s top jobs, including the chairs of key legislative committees and Martin Schulz’s replacement as European Parliament chief.

Last week the centre-right EPP group, which remains the Parliament’s largest group following last month’s elections, elected German deputy Manfred Weber as their new leader.

In the Socialist group, Italian Gianni Pitella is seen as a favourite to replace outgoing leader Hannes Swoboda, who did not seek re-election in May.

The Parliament will vote on the new posts during its constitutive session in Strasbourg in the first week of July.

Meanwhile, budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski will present the Commission's draft budget for 2015 on Wednesday.

Outside of Brussels, ECB boss Mario Draghi will have an audience with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a week after cutting the bank’s interest rates to a record low of 0.15 percent and imposing negative rates on bank deposits.

Obama back in Brussels this WEEK

US President Obama is back in the EU capital this week for a summit of G7 wealthy nations to be dominated by Ukraine.

Post-election wrangling kicks off this WEEK

EU leaders will meet in Brussels Tuesday to discuss the outcome of the EU and Ukrainian elections, kicking off the nomination process of the next European Commission chief.

MEPs decide Parliament top jobs this WEEK

751 MEPs from 186 national parties will gather in Strasbourg this week, as the eighth European Parliament is formally constituted on Tuesday (1 July).

Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK

European leaders will adopt their negotiating position on the Brexit summit on Saturday, whereas the situation of Hungary's democracy and post-referendum Turkey will be under scrutiny in the EU this week.

Brexit, Syria and Greece on the agenda This WEEK

The European Parliament will adopt its position on the UK's exit, and eurozone finance ministers will try to break a deadlock on the Greek bailout talks. Meanwhile in Brussels, there will be discussions on ending the war in Syria.

UK to file EU divorce This WEEK

UK prime minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty on Wednesday, with the EU expected to respond within 48 hours.

Voters 'change face' of French politics

Newcomer Macron and far-right leader Le Pen qualified for the presidential election run-off in a vote that pushed aside the two main traditional parties.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

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