Monday

19th Nov 2018

Agenda

Estonia presidency and Google fine This WEEK

  • Estonia is set to take over the EU presidency (Photo: EC)

Estonia is preparing to take over the six-month rotating EU presidency as Google faces a massive fine from the European Commission this week.

Estonia's prime minister, Juri Ratas, has signalled the country's intention to make the digital single market and the development of a digital society a top priority for his country's term of presiding over the Council of the EU, where member states sit.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The digital priorities have already been merged into agenda plans by the next two EU presidencies, in a so-called trio programme made up of Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria.

“If every presidency steered Europe in a different direction during their six months at the helm, it would be very difficult to keep Europe strong, decisive and united," said Ratas in a statement, last week.

Estonia, the digitally-minded EU member state, will be making its debut in the presidency, while the European Commission prepares to impose a €1 billion fine on Google.

The anti-trust case against the California-based internet search giant is likely to be unveiled this Wednesday (28 June), with the firm's Google Shopping online search service at the centre of the pending legal dispute.

The possible move by EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager risks triggering a transatlantic spat, similar to last year's when she launched a record €13 billion tax bill for Apple.

It also risks complicating broader policy areas, spearheaded by the Estonian presidency.

Those issues may resurface when EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and his team of commissioners travel to Tallinn on Thursday and Friday to discuss Estonia's policy priorities.

The EU commission is also set to present a reflection paper on Wednesday about the future of EU finances. The paper is part of debate launched earlier this year on the future of Europe.

Money laundering and security

The paper also follows the entry into force of the EU's fourth anti-money laundering directive on Monday. The directive is among a group of legislative initiatives, which will crack down on tax scams and cheaters.

EU commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, in a statement on Monday, described the new law as "a big step forward" in undercutting laundered money.

The new directive aims to make it more difficult for criminals and terrorists to use laundered money.

Other aspects relating to terrorism will also be discussed this week when the EU commission publishes its monthly report on the so-called Security Union.

But the push at EU level to clean up dubious tax schemes also faces national challenges.

Malta, which is now leaving its six-month term in the EU presidency, has come under intense scrutiny over allegations that its prime minister and other senior officials were linked to offshore tax havens.

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 dominates EU affairs This WEEK

All eyes on London this week, where May struggles to hold onto power against Brexit rebels, while EU leaders meet in Brussels on Sunday to try to clinch agreement.

Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

The now-outgoing German chancellor will outline her vision for Europe in the EU parliament, as political parties gear up for the election next May. Brexit will also dominate, even though talks have yet to yield a breakthrough.

EU elections and Italy's finances are in focus This WEEK

A debate among would-be EPP 'Spizenkandidat' candidates next week in Helsinki will be the first of many clashes of ideas ahead of European elections next May. The liberals are also holding their own congress.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us