5th Jun 2023


Juncker commission starts this WEEK

  • EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici (l) will be presenting economic forecasts (Photo:

The new European Commission headed by president Jean-Claude Juncker kicks off for the first time this week while MEPs return to Brussels from their constituencies to discuss climate change and finance ministers gather to debate tax laws.

Among the new commission’s first tasks is to announce the 2014 autumn economic forecasts, which assess whether EU countries are set to meet their economic growth projections, as well as targets to cut budget deficits.

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The EU jobs commissioner and vice-president, Jyrki Katainen, and economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici will deliver the forecast reports on Tuesday.

But Moscovici, as the French former minister of finance, is likely to be tested on France’s inability to meet the EU’s 3 percent budget deficit target set out in its stability and growth pact.

France was given a two-year reprieve in 2013 to bring its deficit below 3 percent, which it then failed to meet while under Moscovici’s watch as finance minister.

Last month, Francois Hollande's government said it does not expect to hit the 3 percent target until 2017, despite planning spending cuts worth around €50 billion over the next three years.

Persistent failure to keep within the deficit limits can result in a fine of up to 0.2 percent of GDP.

France’s public debt is also set to hit a new record of 98 percent of GDP next year.

Italy is also under pressure from the EU executive having announced that its expansionary budget plan would take its deficit up to 2.9 percent.

The national governments say that sluggish economies and high unemployment are the main reasons not to slash budgets even further and risk falling back into recession.

On Sunday, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) will publish its fifth assessment report. The report will provide an update on the available scientific knowledge of climate change in the lead up the Paris climate summit in 2015.

IPCC chair Dr Rajendra Pachauri will present the key findings of the report at the European Parliament on Tuesday, when MEPs debate, at a separate event, the results of the EU summit of 23 and 24 October on climate and energy policies.

Tackling climate change will also be on the agenda on Tuesday when ministers are set to adopt conclusions setting out the EU position for the Lima Climate Change Conference in December.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday Kristalina Georgieva will make her first appearance at the European Parliament as EU budget commissioner.

Georgieva, along with the head of the European Court of Auditors, will discuss the court’s annual report on the regularity of financial transactions by EU institutions to the budgetary control committee.

Eurozone finance ministers will meet Thursday while the following day EU finance ministers are to probe EU laws on common taxation and enhanced co-operation on the financial transaction tax (FTT).

A Brussels-based event at the Bozar art museum will see top EU officials, including EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament president Martin Schulz, debating policy with ministers and others on Thursday and Friday.

Asylum and SLAPP positions in focus This WEEK

Home affairs ministers will work on trying to clinch a common position among EU governments on the migration management system regulation and the asylum procedure regulation, two key parts of the bloc's asylum reform.

Russia sanctions and EU elections on top This WEEK

The parliament's constitutional affairs committee is set to vote on a draft proposal on the number of seats in the European Parliament, and their distribution among EU countries, ahead of the 2024 elections.

Keeping China at arm's length is in focus This WEEK

The G7 aims to send a signal to China by announcing a joint effort to counter "economic coercion," with the EU hoping to avoid becoming a "vassal" in a US-China clash, as French president Emmanuel Macron said recently.

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