Monday

21st Aug 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

Trump, Ukraine and NGO sea rescues This WEEK

The US president will be back in Europe for France's Bastille Day, while the EU and Ukraine will hold a summit in Kiev, and MEPs will discuss migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

EU summit and Brexit This WEEK

Security and defence, along with Brexit and migration, are among the big issues to be discussed as leaders from all 28 EU states converge in Brussels for meetings and a summit.

Brexit realities dawn in UK

Just over a year after a small majority voted for Britain to leave the EU, new realities are dawning on both the in and the out camps.

News in Brief

  1. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  2. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  3. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  4. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week
  5. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  6. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  7. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  8. European Union returns to 2 percent growth

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides
  2. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  3. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  4. Martens CentreWeeding Out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  6. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Ep. 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  7. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  8. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  9. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  10. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School
  11. EPSUEP Support for Corporate Tax Transparency Principle Unlikely to Pass Reality Check
  12. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament Improves the External Investment Plan but Significant Challenges Ahead