22nd Mar 2018


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 for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

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.

'Selmayrgate' moves to the EU Parliament This WEEK

As a global trade war looms over the new US steel tariffs, the EU's attention will shift to Strasbourg - where MEPs are expected to debate the Martin Selmayr appointment, trade, Brexit, journalism and the budget.

Italy and migration will top This WEEK

Italy will have voted for a government, Germany's social democrats will have voted to confirm a government (or not): the dynamics in European politics may change, while Brussels will focus on Brexit again.

Election fever picks up This WEEK

Italian general elections, a German coalition in the balance, and the European parliament fighting to get a voice in nominating an EU commission president. This and much more in a week packed with intrigue.

Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing

An Austrian police unit headed by a far-right town councilor and tasked to tackle street crime was sent to raid the offices and homes of people working for Austria's domestic intelligence agency - prompting German counterparts to review cooperation.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections