Wednesday

1st Apr 2020

Agenda

Bad banks and better loans on the agenda this WEEK

  • The ECB chief will be in Brussels to discuss bank loans with MEPs (Photo: European Parliament)

Implementing the EU response to minimising the public cost of future financial crises and getting banks to offer up loans top the agenda this WEEK.

European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi on Monday (22 September) is set to debate the so-called targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) with MEPs in the committee on economic affairs.

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The idea is to improve bank lending to the eurozone by offering banks extra liquidity at a fixed rate for up to four years.

But the scheme attracted just €82.6bn (out of the €400bn on offer) of interest from banks this month.

Draghi had earlier this month surprised analysts by slashing interest rates to a historic low in an effort to stimulate lending.

The ECB cut is part of a larger attempt by EU policymakers to kick start member states’ overall sluggish economies and put millions of unemployed back to work.

But with the prospect of possibly having to fend off another financial crisis, lawmakers also tasked the ECB to oversee the financial health of around 130 banks with the power to shut them down.

Also known as the single supervisory mechanism, the newly endowed ECB oversight of banks is part of the single resolution mechanism (SRM), which aims to minimize bank bailout costs to taxpayers.

It is the SRM, which is the topic of discussion in the same committee but with the EU’s out-going internal market commissioner, Michel Barnier.

Banking and economic woes aside, the EU’s deteriorating relations with Russia also continues to stimulate heated debate.

On Wednesday, MEPs will discuss jobs, money, and fruit producers hit by Russia’s food import ban EU produce.

EU fruit producers complain the Russian embargo has cut into their profits.

To ease the financial shortfall and risk of job cutting, the European Commission promised some €158 million for aid to fruit and vegetable farmers and another €30 million for diary suppliers. The money is set to start flowing in October.

Meanwhile, seven nominees for the 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be presented by political groups and individual MEPs on Tuesday.

The European Commission, for its part, will see president Jose Manuel Barroso and other commissioners in New York attending the UN's climate leaders summit on Tuesday.

The event is being billed as the biggest gathering of world leaders to discuss climate change since the summit in Copenhagen in 2009, which was largely considered a flop.

Barroso, along with EU trade chief Karel De Gucht, will also attend the Canada-EU Summit in Ottawa at the end of the week.

All eyes on Scottish independence vote this WEEK

This week most of the EU's attention will focus on Scottish voters who, on Thursday, will decide whether they want their country to break away from its 300-year union with rest of the UK.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

EU goes fully online in lockdown This WEEK

EU leaders will discuss the coronavirus reponse online, while MEPs will vote on urgent measures by email. Starting accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia will also be high on the agenda.

EU-Africa strategy and circular economy plan This WEEK

The European Commission is set to unveil the EU-Africa and the circular economy strategy this week. Additionally, MEPs will hold the plenary session in Brussels after the president David Sassoli cancelled the plenary in Strasbourg due to the coronavirus outbreak.

EU climate law and Thunberg visit This WEEK

The European Commission will on Wednesday unveil the first-ever EU climate law, while environmental activist Greta Thunberg is in Brussels to meet with the college of commissioners and MEPs. Environmental ministers will also gather to discuss future climate developments.

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