Tuesday

19th Jan 2021

Agenda

Budget talks shift gear This WEEK

  • EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel will have a mini-summit ahead of EU leaders' meeting (Photo: Council of the European Union)

Negotiations on the EU's long-term budget and the recovery package will shift into higher gear as European Council president Charles Michel is expected to present his compromise proposal to capitals in the second half of the week.

Michel has been conducting bilateral talks with EU leaders to find a "landing zone" for diverging positions among the 27.

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A good proposal is key to create the room for EU leaders to agree when they meet in Brussels on 17-18 July on the economic stimulus for the European economy which has been hit hard by the corona crisis.

Michel is expected to offer a lower 2021-2027 budget figure in exchange for keeping the recovery fund at €750bn - as several net payers argued for a smaller budget and fund.

On Wednesday (8 July), German chancellor Angela Merkel will give a speech to the European parliament on the main goals of the German EU presidency, which lasts until the end of 2020.

MEPs will have a debate with the German chancellor, and in a series of meetings, German ministers will outline their priorities in the parliamentary committees.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Michel will also speak to MEPs.

Later on von der Leyen will meet with Merkel, Michel, and parliament chief David Sassoli to look at the European recovery and budget package.

Eurogroup vote

The new head of the eurogroup, the finance ministers of the eurozone, will be elected on Thursday (9 July).

The competition is believed to be close, between Spanish economy minister Nadia Calvino, Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe, and Luxembourg's finance minster Pierre Gramegna.

The president will be elected by a simple majority (at least 10 votes) of the Eurogroup ministers.

If none of the candidates receives at least 10 of the 19 votes, each candidate will be informed of the number of votes received and has the opportunity to withdraw.

Voting will take place until a simple majority is reached on one of the candidates.

Corruption cases

On Monday (6 July), there will be a hearing with the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) director-general Ville Itala and chief European public prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi on Olaf case files, fighting fraud, corruption and other irregularities in the member states in the budget control committee.

On Wednesday, MEPs will debate with health commissioner Stella Kyriakides reforming the EU's public health policy to ensure that health systems across the EU are better equipped and coordinated in times of pandemics.

European legislators on Wednesday will have their final vote on the new rules for drivers, drivers' rest times, fairer pay for drivers, and the use of so-called 'letterbox companies' in transportation.

MEPs will also debate on Wednesday the commission's plans to fight money laundering and financing of terrorism, and will vote on a resolution on the issue on Friday.

There will be a first vote on the Just Transition Fund, part of the European Green Deal's financing, in the regional development committee in the parliament on Monday.

On Monday, justice minsters will have an informal meeting, and then there is an informal meeting of home affairs ministers on the next day.

Finally, von der Leyen will also host Slovenian PM Janez Jansa on Thursday (9 July).

Analysis

EU Commission's €1.85trn recovery package - key points

With an eye-watering over a trillion euro revised budget and a €750bn recovery package, the EU Commission hopes to restart Europe's economy. Here are some of the key aspects of the proposals.

New EU public prosecutor has four staff for 3,000 cases

Laura Kovesi who heads the new European Public Prosecutor's Office, tasked to tackle fraud linked to VAT, money laundering, and corruption across the EU, warned she is dangerously understaffed and underfunded.

EU leaders seek to speed up vaccinations This WEEK

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