31st Mar 2023


Energy and inflation in focus This WEEK

  • UK foreign secretary Liz Truss is far ahead in the leadership contest to become the next Conservative leader - and thus new prime minister (Photo: Council of the European Union)
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Welcome back after the summer! As life (and officials) return to the Brussels bubble, worried attention is turning to gas prices and energy resources in preparation for a tough European winter.

On Friday (9 September) energy ministers will meet for an extraordinary council session, to build consensus for the energy price caps.

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With energy markets at record highs this month, Europeans are facing massive increases in energy bills driven by rocketing gas prices in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia supplied the EU with 40 percent of its natural gas before it invaded Ukraine in February, with some EU countries importing over 70 percent of their gas from Russia.

With EU plans on cutting electricity demand and putting a cap on prices are taking shape, wholesale gas prices have already decreased sharply.

At the beginning of the week, on Monday (5 September) Ukraine's prime minister Denys Shmyhal will be in Brussels for the EU-Ukraine association council.

He will discuss EU-Ukraine cooperation, and the status of Kyiv's membership application with EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, and meet with other top EU officials.

The next day Irakli Garibashvili, the prime minister of Georgia will meet Borrell as part of the EU-Georgia association council meeting.

Fighting inflation

The European Central Bank will hold its meeting on Thursday (8 September) in Frankfurt where a landmark decision is expected.

The ECB is expected to raise the interest rate by 75 basis point, its steepest single rate hike since the creation of the euro, as the bank struggles to fight increasing inflation.

Back in July, the ECB raised the interest rate by 50 basis points, in its first hike in over a decade.

On Thursday EU auditors are releasing their special report on how the EU Commission assessed the national recovery and resilience plans.

The following day eurozone finance ministers will meet to discuss the macroeconomic situation.


The European Parliament is also gearing up for the big plenary week next week, where EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her annual State of the EU speech on Wednesday (14 September).

This week, however, the focus will be more on the committees, especially the special committee on the Pegasus and the modes of surveillance.

MEPs will discuss on Thursday (8 September) the Greek spyware scandal with journalist Thanasis Koukakis.

Greek state intelligence service EYP, which reports to the office of prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had allegedly tapped Mitsotakis' political opponent.

Another highlight be the first debate on Monday of the parliament's special committee on Covid-19.

MEPs will discuss with four pharmaceutical companies that worked on developing vaccines and therapeutics during the pandemic, including Gilead Sciences, Sanofi, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

On Wednesday, the EU Commission is expected to lay out the so-called EU Care Strategy — using EU funds to improve the provision of care across the EU, with targets based on reliable data.

Bye Boris

Finally, on Monday (5 September), the UK will have a new prime minister, after Boris Johnson earlier this sumer announced he would step down after less than three years in the job, following multiple gaffes and scandals.

Tory leadership hopeful, foreign secretary Liz Truss is likely to become the UK's next prime minister.

The winner is decided by a vote among the Conservative party's members, about 160,000 people, who make up less than one percent of the UK population, and the new PM's name will be announced around lunchtime.

Johnson is expected to formallly announce his resignation to the Queen to the Balmoral Caste in Scotland on Tuesday.

His successor appointed by the monarch after the new leader makes her — or his, if rival Rishi Sunak upsets the pollsters — trip to Scotland.

Greek PM embroiled in spyware scandal

Greece has become embroiled in a wiretapping scandal that led to the resignation of its intelligence chief as well as the Greek prime minister's top aide.


The emperor has no clothes, why won't the EU see it?

Instead of programming structural investments to achieve energy independence and shatter the oligopoly of big energy companies, the EU delayed any kind of statement or intervention that could reveal that the Emperor — the market — has no clothes.


Aid agencies clam up in Congo sex-for-work scandal

The European Commission has 25 documents, including emails, in its possession that contains "information about potential crimes" involving aid agency staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. EUobserver received a partial disclosure of the documents.


Ukraine — what's been destroyed so far, and who pays?

More than 50 percent of Ukraine's energy infrastructure, large parts of its transport network and industrial capacity, around 150,000 residential buildings damaged or destroyed. The bill is between €378bn to €919bn.

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