EU top jobs and economic prospects to dominate this WEEK
By Benjamin Fox
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.