Monday

16th Jul 2018

Agenda

Greece and Ukraine top EU agenda this WEEK

  • The Greek vote will be digested this week (Photo: YoungJ523)

EU finance chiefs will this week digest Syriza’s victory in Greece, while top diplomats attend an emergency meeting on Ukraine.

The 19 eurozone ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday (26 January) and are joined by the rest of their EU peers on Tuesday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

The victory by the far-left party comes amid talks on whether to extend Greece’s bailout programme beyond 28 February to keep international aid flowing.

Syriza had earlier threatened to tear up the bailout contract and call for a debt amnesty, raising fears that Greece will leave the single currency.

Its leader, Alexis Tsipras, moderated his position in the run-up to the vote, indicating he might settle for softer terms on debt repayment instead.

But his big win will send a political shockwave through the EU, emboldening other far-left parties, such as Podemos in Spain.

It will also see the European Commission make way for its first far-left member, with the current Greek commissioner tipped to run for the Greek presidency.

Mariupol attack

Russia’s new offensive in south-east Ukraine will see EU foreign ministers hold a snap meeting on Thursday.

German chancellor Angela Merkel called Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Sunday to urge “de-escalation”. France’s Francois Hollande also voiced “grave concern” and said he would try to “calm the situation”.

Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, and the US have already called for extra sanctions.

Meanwhile, Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja likened the behaviour of Russia-controlled forces to the Milosevic regime in former Yugoslavia.

He said their attack on Mariupol, in south-east Ukraine, in which they fired rockets at a residential area, reminded him of a mortar attack by Serb forces on Sarajevo in 1994.

EU agriculture ministers will on Monday also discuss Russia’s ban on EU food exports.

The commission, earlier this month, agreed to let Russia choose which countries can resume exports based on Russian health inspections. The deal has raised alarm Russia will use it to divide the EU by rewarding doves and punishing hawks.

Hebdo fall-out

For their part, EU interior ministers will, at an informal meeting on Thursday, discuss security reforms in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Ideas - to be taken forward at a summit in February - include criminalising “foreign fighters”, clamping down on Internet radicalisation, getting EU airlines to share data on passengers, and tightening up Schengen passport-free travel rules.

Finance will also top the agenda in the European Parliament.

Jyrki Katainen - the man in charge of the commission’s €315 billion investment fund - will explain latest thinking on the project to MEPs on the economic affairs committee on Monday.

The finance ministers of Germany and Italy will on Tuesday tell the committee if they see room for flexibility in EU debt and deficit rules.

EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic will brief deputies on the industry and environmental committees on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, on plans to reduce EU gas dependence on Russia.

Amid the Greek drama, ECB chief Mario Draghi will also be in the EU capital on Monday to meet competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Her spokeswoman told EUobserver "they will discuss the broader perspectives - the economic situation in the EU and how to increase the competitiveness of the European economy”.

Auschwitz

Elsewhere in Europe, a handful of VIPs will on Monday go to a WWII memorial in the Czech Republic.

A bigger turnout is expected for Poland’s 70th anniversary on Tuesday of the liberation of Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz death camp.

The Auschwitz event has been marked by Putin’s decision to stay away even though he was invited in the same way as other guests.

Polish authorities told EUobserver they sent a note to the Russian embassy in Warsaw asking it to send a delegate "at the highest level". Putin's spokesman later said he isn't going because he didn't get a "personal" invitation.

Syriza to win Greek election

Greece's anti-austerity Syriza party is on course to win Sunday's parliamentary elections. The country "is turning a page," said party leader Alexis Tsipras.

Feature

Greece turns left: What next?

“First we take Athens and then we take Madrid” has become a regular slogan amongst Syriza supporters.

News in Brief

  1. VW owners to get diesel software update free until 2020
  2. Airbnb breaches EU consumer rules, Commission says
  3. EU sees no China free-trade talks
  4. Italy accepts migrant boat after help promises
  5. EU opens case on Siemens' Alstom buyout
  6. Trump: May found my Brexit advice 'too brutal'
  7. Italy will reject EU-Canada trade deal, says deputy PM
  8. Commission: Juncker suffered from sciatica attack at Nato

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. EU and China agree on words, not yet on action
  2. EU is 'foe', as Trump seeks to make friends with Putin
  3. Let's not be 'naive' with Chinese partner, says senior MEP
  4. Trump, trade, and Brexit in EU headlines This WEEK
  5. EU and China edge closer in Trump's 'America First' world
  6. How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism
  7. Stage set for Trump-Putin finale
  8. Trump scuppers trade deal with UK under May's Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us