Friday

20th Apr 2018

Agenda

Greek bailout and EU border corps This WEEK

  • Greece is at the centre of both the eurozone and refugee crisis.

The week kicks off with a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg on Monday (10 October) where they are expected to unlock a tranche of international financial aid to Greece.

Athens could receive €2.8 billion if its international creditors - the European Union, the European Central Bank, the European Stability Mechanism and the International Monetary Fund - say it has fulfilled all 15 conditions, such as new welfare cuts and privatisations.

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Meanwhile, the IMF still hasn’t decided whether it would participate in the bailout programme agreed last year. According to two senior sources speaking to Reuters, the fund will likely go for a special advisory status instead.

The IMF has said it will stay on board only if it considers that Greek debt is sustainable. It has been arguing that Greece’s debt is already so massive that the country will never be able to pay its dues back. But major lender Germany is blocking all debt relief talks before German elections next year.

The issue of debt relief, pushed by the IMF, will not be formally discussed by ministers but will be in all heads on Monday. Discussions will take place before the end of the year.

Greece will stay centre-stage as EU ministers of interior meet next Thursday (13 October) in Luxembourg for a discussion on the shortfalls in implementation of EU migration measures. A particular hot button issue concerns the failure to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to the rest of the EU.

The European Commission put forward relocation plans last year as a way to persuade so-called ’frontline’ countries to register and ’keep’ refugees, rather than letting them move on to other EU countries.

But less than 6,000 people have been moved from Greece and Italy one year after the scheme’s launch, making the attempt look increasingly like a farce.

Austria, Hungary and Poland haven’t been willing to shelter a single refugee, while Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have only taken a dozen or so each.

Ministers will also set out the way forward for the bloc’s new European Border and Coast Guard, which was officially launched last week.

But despite the pomp accompanying its unveiling, marked by the presence of Bulgarian top politicians and high-ranking EU officials, the agency still needs to be staffed with a pool of 1,500 border guards by December.

EU states also need to prepare for a so-called ’stress test’, to take place early next year. Five member states are due to dry-run methods to protect the EU’s border, say in the instance of the arrival of refugees.

Climate change and EU cheerleading, This WEEK

The European Parliament will try this week to give the EU a good name, with votes and debates on issues where conventional wisdom says that citizens expect results.

EU leaders in Brussels This WEEK

Migrant deals with African states, a trade deal with Canada, and big questions over Russia's role in Syria will be discussed by EU leaders gathering in Brussels.

Macron and Syria top EU agenda This WEEK

French president to deliver speech on EU democratic model after populist victories in Hungary and Italy and amid an escalation of the Syria crisis.

Facebook and Hungary top EU agenda This Week

The US internet giant's massive data breach will be discussed in the EU, while Europe will find out whether Viktor Orban and his party are re-elected for another term to lead Hungary.

Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK

The EU will maintain pressure on the US to resolve a tariff dispute. On Monday, European Commission president Juncker, along council president Tusk, will discuss relations with Turkey's president Erdogan. Additional national measures against Russia are also expected.

Brexit and trade will top This WEEK

A crucial EU summit will decide whether to give a green light to the Brexit transition period, while the EU is also fighting to get exemptions from the new US steel and aluminium tariffs.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

News in Brief

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