Sunday

17th Feb 2019

Agenda

Still waiting for Greece, this WEEK

  • The Greek government has been promising its list of reforms since late February (Photo: YoungJ523)

The long wait for the list of Greek reforms is due to end on Monday (30 March), but its government has missed deadlines before.

The European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and a Greek government spokesman set the new deadline in remarks last week. But the Greek leader, one week earlier, had already promised it to Germany in “the next few days”. The Greek finance minister said the same thing in late February.

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

If it comes, it will have to add up to austerity for Germany, while not looking like austerity to Greek voters.

It will likely trigger a snap meeting of eurozone ministers, who will evaluate if the cutbacks and/or tax hikes are enough to release €7.2 billion of aid.

If it doesn’t come, Greece will move closer to zero hour: It needs the money to finance loan repayments and to pay civil servants’ wages. It also needs to recapitalise banks, with Greek savers withdrawing over €7 billion last month alone amid fears Athens will go bust and quit the euro.

For her part, Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, wants to strike an even mightier blow against the Union.

She said last week, after her party came second in local elections, that if she becomes French president in 2017 she’ll hold a referendum on EU membership.

It’s a dim prospect, but if France left the EU, there would be no EU, with the second round of local elections, on Sunday, to gauge the impact of her statement.

For his part, Juncker, together with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, will travel to Kiev on Monday.

Unlike his predecessor, Jose Manuel Barroso, he hasn’t shown much interest in Ukraine or in foreign affairs since coming to office.

But the visit, which will see him co-chair a meeting of the Ukrainian cabinet, is his first bilateral trip abroad and is meant to symbolise EU solidarity.

Mogherini will the next day go with EU Council chief Donald Tusk to Tunisia, where a terrorist attack killed European tourists earlier this month.

The council and the commission have a quiet week in the run-up to the Easter vacation. The main item on the agenda is pledging extra aid money for Syria at a conference in Kuwait.

The European Parliament is a little more busy.

The defence sub-committee will speak with the Nato secretary general and with the EU’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator on Monday about Libya and about the Islamic State's threat to Europe.

MEPs will the next day quiz economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici on tax avoidance.

The debate is to focus on member states’ tax perks for multinationals. The commission has promised to take action, but critics fear it’s little more than a face-saving exercise for Juncker, who oversaw Luxembourg’s tax avoidance regime in his time as PM.

MEPs in the monetary affairs committee will the same day vote on new rules on financial market benchmarks.

The rule-change was prompted by the Libor scandal. Libor - the London Interbank Offered Rate - is an interest rate benchmark which underpins $350 trillion of derivatives trading. In 2012, it emerged the London rate had been fiddled to maximise banks’ profits for the past 20 years.

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.

Greece's creditors study new reform plans

Greece's creditors are studying new reforms put forward by Athens on Friday. Meanwhile, leading centre-right German MEPs have warned Greece not to seek help from Russia.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

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.

Saudis paying College of Europe to lobby MEPs

The Bruges-based College of Europe is setting up private meetings with the EU institutions for seven ambassadors plus seven high-level officials from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us