Sunday

30th Apr 2017

Agenda

Future of euro on EU agenda This WEEK

  • The court ruling could complicate the British government's Brexit plans (Photo: Jaypeg)

Euro-area ministers will discuss the viability of the Greek bailout this week, while court rulings in Rome and in London could pose questions for the future of the single currency and of Brexit.

The eurozone finance ministers’ meeting, in Brussels on Thursday (26 January), will evaluate whether Greece is meeting the terms of its lenders on issues such as labour reform.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Fall of Renzi (r) likely to see Five Star Movement contest elections before 2018 (Photo: Italian PM office)

The talks on the so-called second review of Greece’s bailout programme could see a clash between Athens and its partners on the International Monetary Fund's (IMF's) participation in the rescue package.

EU institutions insist that the IMF must stay on board, but Greece says the IMF’s demands for further austerity are too harsh. Meanwhile, the IMF itself is pushing for the EU to write off some of Greece’s debt if its finances are ever to return to normal - a bitter pill to swallow for Germany, Greece’s main creditor, in the run-up to elections.

The US ratings agency, Fitch, believes the second review talks could drag into April.

The uncertainty over the old Greek crisis, which, at its height, had threatened to see Greece exit the euro, comes amid an Italian court ruling that could also shake faith in the future of the single currency.

The constitutional court in Rome is expected the deliver a verdict on electoral reform, the so-called Italicum law, on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The legislation, passed last year, would see any party that wins 40 percent or more of votes to automatically get a 54-percent majority in parliament.

With Italy ever-closer to snap elections after its former prime minister Matteo Renzi lost a referendum and resigned, the 40-percent rule could help the anti-euro Five Star Movement take power and move Italy out of the single currency area.

The future of the EU as a whole was thrown into doubt by last year’s Brexit referendum, but a court ruling in London, due also on Tuesday, could complicate the British government’s plans to leave.

The Supreme Court in London is expected to say that the British parliament, where most MPs had wanted to remain, should hold a vote on the government’s Brexit arrangements.

It could also say that the devolved parliaments in Northern Ireland and Scotland, where most of the population wanted to remain, should hold votes on Brexit.

Malta meetings

The EU’s reaction to Brexit will be discussed by junior ministers for European affairs in Malta, which holds the EU presidency, on Monday.

The informal talks will discuss preparations for a summit, due in February, on EU reforms.

Justice and home affairs ministers, meeting in Valetta on Thursday and Friday, will talk about the migration crisis as Malta, which lies on the front line for EU-bound migrants from Libya, attempts to put the issue centre stage over the next six months.

Back in Brussels, the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo will on Tuesday hold a further round of talks on “normalisation of relations”.

The mini-summit comes amid heightened tensions in the region after Kosovo blocked a train from Serbia painted with the slogan “Kosovo is Serbia” from calling at stations in majority-ethnic Serb enclaves in Kosovo.

EU farm and fisheries ministers will in Brussels on Monday discuss the impact of free-trade pacts on European agriculture.

Free trade

The EU is currently concluding talks on a trade deal with Canada.

MEPs in the international trade committee will vote on the accord on Tuesday, but the new US president, Donald Trump’s inauguration speech last week, which railed against globalisation, indicated that an EU-US trade deal will go into the deep freeze.

MEPs will on Monday and Tuesday also select the new chairs of the committees in a regular, mid-term hand over of powers.

On Tuesday, the environment committee will vote on wether European Commission proposals to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills were ambitious enough.

The same day, MEPs in a special enquiry committee will hear from Audi executives to try to determine whether the German car maker cheated on emissions tests.

Later on Thursday, the internal market committee will vote on commission and member states’ plans to curb private gun ownership in Europe for counter-terrorist purposes.

The EU meetings will take place amid growing tensions in its southern neighbourhood.

Southern neighbourhood

The Israeli government over the weekend announced plans to vastly expand settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The programme could ignite Palestinian resistance and could make the EU and UN's preferred solution to the crisis - the creation of Jewish and Palestinian states living side by side - impossible.

Turkish MPs will on Thursday and Friday also vote on plans to alter the constitution to enable president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to concentrate power in his office, pushing the EU and Nato ally further down the path to authoritarianism.

Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK

European leaders will adopt their negotiating position on the Brexit summit on Saturday, whereas the situation of Hungary's democracy and post-referendum Turkey will be under scrutiny in the EU this week.

Brexit, Syria and Greece on the agenda This WEEK

The European Parliament will adopt its position on the UK's exit, and eurozone finance ministers will try to break a deadlock on the Greek bailout talks. Meanwhile in Brussels, there will be discussions on ending the war in Syria.

UK to file EU divorce This WEEK

UK prime minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty on Wednesday, with the EU expected to respond within 48 hours.

EU-27 to back integration This WEEK

EU leaders meet in Rome to recommit to European integration after Brexit, but Greece and Poland serve as reminders of economic and political divisions.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EU boasts unity on Brexit talks
  2. May’s election juggernaut
  3. EPP scolds Orban over university and NGO laws
  4. Oxford-Studie besorgt über 'Schrott' News in Frankreich
  5. Alte Freundschaft zwischen Le Pen und Putin
  6. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  7. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  8. One year later: EU right to open internet still virtual

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  2. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  3. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  4. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society
  6. European Free AllianceAutonomia to Normalnosc - Poland Urged to Re-Grant Autonomy to Silesia
  7. UNICEFHitting Rock Bottom - How 2016 Became the Worst Year for #ChildrenofSyria
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  10. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  11. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  12. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved