Wednesday

20th Feb 2019

Agenda

Tsipras to meet Merkel in Berlin this WEEK

  • Merkel will receive Tsipras in Berlin (Photo: Bundesregierung)

After several weeks of increasing tension between Germany and Greece, the two countries’ leaders are meeting in Berlin on Monday (23 March).

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras told Greek daily Kathimerini that the talks “will not be pressurised by negotiations” on the Greek bailout, so that “we can both discuss the important issues that are burdening Europe, as well as improving bilateral relations between the two countries”.

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.

... or join as a group

German chancellor Angela Merkel also said Monday's visit is “a bilateral visit, just as prime minister Tsipras has made it to other European capitals”.

She spoke at a press conference in Brussels last Friday, after an EU summit in which Greece was urged to put forward a “full list” of reforms in the next few days in order to keep getting aid money.

Merkel said she didn’t expect Tsipras to bring the list of reforms to Berlin, however.

“This is not the time and place for anyone to receive a list of reforms. … These have to be given to the institutions, not to Germany”, Merkel said, referring to Greece's international creditors - the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and European Commission.

However, in Germany, one prominent member of Merkel's coalition partner said in an interview over the weekend that his patience is running out.

“I expect that [Tsipras] will submit this list at his meeting with chancellor Merkel on Monday”, Thomas Opperman, the leader of the centre-left social-democrat party, told Der Spiegel.

“I finally want to know if Greece is really preparing for real reforms or not.”

Monday's meeting will begin at 5pm local time.

Also this week, EU diplomats will continue their nuclear negotiations with Iran in the Swiss city of Lausanne

US secretary of state John Kerry has said “substantial progress” was made in the last round of talks, as the deadline - 31 March - for a final agreement approaches.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has also expressed cautious optimism, saying “there is nothing that cannot be resolved … shared points of view emerged in some of the areas where there had been a difference of opinion”.

EU ministers will this week meet in Riga, the capital of the EU's current 6-month president, Latvia.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, trade ministers will look at progress in EU-US free trade talks, including the controversial subject of “ISDS” - an arbitration mechanism that allows private firms to force governments to change legislation.

On Thursday and Friday, competetiveness ministers will discuss the EU digital economy, including the role of the EU's single market.

The commission's digital vice-president, Andrus Ansip, will on Wednesday in Brussels give a presentation to his fellow commissioners, and discuss the obstacles the EU's digital market and its consumers are facing. He is expected to present a digital strategy for the EU in May.

Also on Wednesday in Brussels, the European Parliament will meet for a one-day plenary session.

MEPs will discuss financial assistance to Ukraine, the results of last week's summit of EU government leaders, the future of the EU's neighbourhood policy, and tax transparency.

EU offers €2bn in unspent aid to Greece

The EU is to send Greece €2bn this year to be used to combat the country's social crisis, while a mini-meeting to discuss the country's problems is being hailed as having cleared the air after a fractious few weeks.

Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK

Brexit talks will continue in Brussels, as UK PM Theresa May's government is trying to find a way out of the political impasse at home. Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee will speak at the European Parliament next week.

Brexit votes set for This WEEK

Brexit looks to dominate news this week as British MPs gear up for a vote on how to break the internal deadlocks over the proposed deal with the European Union.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to batter against EU wall on Brexit
  2. Hungary and Slovakia break EU line on Jerusalem
  3. Germany and France to overhaul EU competition law
  4. Estonia kicks out Danske Bank over money laundering scandal
  5. May and Juncker meet over Brexit on Wednesday
  6. EU promises to open up advisory groups
  7. EU agrees to limit CO2 emissions by trucks
  8. Juncker under attack in Hungary government ad

EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news

The European Commission has branded the latest campaign by the Hungarian government as 'fake news', after Orban's government accused Juncker of pressing ahead with migration proposals that threaten the country's security.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  2. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  3. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  4. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties
  5. EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news
  6. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  7. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat
  8. Italian populists could be second biggest force in EU parliament

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us