Sunday

17th Oct 2021

Agenda

Juncker hoping for 'strong endorsement' of investment fund this WEEK

  • Jyrki Katainen heads to Romania this week to promote the Juncker fund (Photo: European Parliament)

EU leaders gather in Brussels at the end of this week to, the European Commission hopes, give a "strong political endorsement" to the investment fund proposed by President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The fund, unveiled last month, is supposed to result in €315bn investment in the EU economy over the coming years, using a guarantee of €16 billion from the EU budget and €5 billion from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It has come in for criticism for relying on high leverage premises (€1 is to yield €15) and no new money - but the commission has argued that it was hemmed in by member states, particularly Germany, not wanting to create new debt.

A spokesperson Friday (12 December) said that the commission was expecting the endorsement of the fund to be "so loud and clear that it will be understood by all concerned".

Jyrki Katainen, the EU commissioner in charge of the fund, will travel to Romania, the first country in a tour to persuade investors to put their hands in their pockets to support a series of projects meant to boost growth in Europe. His tour continues in January when he heads to Germany.

2015 work programme

The commission is also due to present its to-do list for 2015 to MEPs next week. The work programme is expected to include plans for legislation to clamp down on tax avoidance and further economic integration.

It is also expected to improve transparency in the institutions; overhaul its controversial way of dealing with GM product approvals and bring the EU closer to being an energy union.

A series of laws are also up for the scrap heap, as part of the commission's new drive to get rid of obsolete legislation, and cull laws that are unlikely to ever see the light of day.

Among those being binned are a maternity leave proposal; one on labelling of organic goods; a proposal on loans to nuclear power states and a law on recycling waste - the inclusion of the waste law has drawn criticism that the commission is abandoning green initiatives to fit a deregulation agenda.

Commission president Juncker as well as Frans Timmermans, commissioner in charge of cutting down red tape, will discuss both this and the 2015 work programme with MEPs on Tuesday. Deputies from the left, in particular, are set to ask Juncker in detail about plans to ensure fairer tax regimes in the EU.

Juncker will face MEPs once more on Wednesday when they hold a debate on the EU's economy and the planned investment fund.

CIA report

Later that day, MEPs will debate the US Senate's report on the CIA's use of torture on detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Several member states having been accused over the years of aiding the CIA by hosting secret facilities on their territory.

Former Polish leader Aleksander Kwasniewski admitted last week that his country hosted one of these US cites, but other countries have also been implicated in the past, including Lithuania and Romania.

MEPs will also vote on a resolution on whether Palestine should be recognised as a state. The vote follows similar moves in several member states. Assemblies in Ireland and France have voted in favour of state recognition while Sweden recently recognised Palestine.

On Tuesday, EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly will find out if her term in office is to be renewed. MEPs will hold a secret ballot on handing the post for five more years.

O'Reilly, who is the only candidate, has over the past year shaken up the position, making it much more high-profile and pro-active. She has made transparency her key issue, pushing for light to be shed on the ongoing EU-US trade talk and lately opening an investigation into the EU's handling of corruption allegations at Eulex, its rule of law mission in Kosovo.

EU foreign ministers will meet Monday with Iraq, Syria and IS the main topics on the agenda - how to deal with EU-based fighters heading to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State has proved a huge political challenge for governments.

Ministers will also discuss the situation in Ukraine amid reports that Moscow is lobbying some member states to oppose a renewal of sanctions against Russia next year.

Fish ministers will also gather in Brussels for their traditional end-of-year gathering to discuss fishing quotas and stocks for the coming year.

News in Brief

  1. Poland legalises refugee pushbacks
  2. Report: China's Xi to snub UK climate summit
  3. Norway killings 'appeared to be' Islamist 'terrorism'
  4. Le Pen vows to 'dismantle' wind-power plants
  5. Slovenia PM tweets antisemitic conspiracy theory
  6. Italy sentences ship captain for Libya pushback
  7. Polish PM and von der Leyen to clash in Brussels next week
  8. MEPs call for improved roaming rules

Feature

Italy on edge as neo-fascists stir violence

Neo-fascist groups are planning new protests in Rome after last weekend's riots, in a heady climate in which the pandemic and immigration have fuelled extremist feeling.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge Sassoli to sue EU Commission on rule of law
  2. MEPs seek EU law on bogus anti-media litigation
  3. Africa seeks EU help on global vaccine-waiver
  4. Giant of 20th century European design recognised by EU
  5. Italy on edge as neo-fascists stir violence
  6. Gas-price spike will backfire on industry, energy guru says
  7. Scientists raise alarm on Greenland's ice-sheet loss
  8. EU calls for ban on Arctic oil and gas drilling

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us