Friday

22nd Nov 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 20 year's of archives. 30-day 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.

Key moments for new commission This WEEK

MEPs will decide on Monday if they want the Hungarian commissioner-designate to come back for a second hearing, as commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen hopes to finally take office on 1 December.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament votes on new commission next week
  2. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  3. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  4. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  5. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  6. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  7. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  8. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us