Saturday

3rd Dec 2016

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

  • Mr Barroso ponders how to make the EU more competitive (Photo: European Commission)

Boosting Europe’s economic competitiveness is the Barroso Commission’s main aim for the next five years. The Commission President will unveil his plans to do this before the European Parliament on Wednesday (2 February).

MEPs will hear the Commission’s proposals to reform the so-called Lisbon Strategy – which aimed to make the EU the most competitive, knowledge-based economy in the World by 2010.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

A leaked copy of the draft proposal, obtained by the EUobserver two weeks ago, makes no mention of this ambitious target and aims to refocus the Lisbon Strategy around three core goals: creating jobs, improving knowledge and innovation and "ensuring that Europe remains an attractive location for employment".

According to the document, the relaunch of the strategy might be summarised as "more and better jobs in an innovative and attractive Europe".

The Commission report will incorporate some of the recommendations of the report drawn up by former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, who will also be in Brussels this week to address a meeting of the European Venture Capital Association (EVCA) the day before Mr Barroso unveils his plans.

This meeting seeks to share ideas on boosting Europe’s competitiveness through private equity and venture capital.

Also within the context of the Lisbon Strategy, the Commission will on Tuesday launch the "Europass", its attempt to improve labour mobility across the Union and improve competitiveness.

The Europass will offer job-seekers a harmonised format for presenting their qualifications that can be assessed by employers across the EU.

Iraqi elections

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday will give the EU’s reaction to the elections in Iraq taking place on 30 January. Also on the ministers’ agenda is the Middle East, the Balkans, Ukraine, war-torn Sudan and the EU’s continuing response to the Tsunami disaster in south-east Asia.

Also in the domain of foreign affairs, the Romanian foreign minister Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu will appear before the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament to discuss with MEPs his country’s bid to join the EU.

Commission President José Manual Durao Barroso told Romania’s prime minister last week that the country is still on track to join the EU as expected in 2007 but that much work remains to be done. Corruption and state aid continue to concern the Brussels executive.

In a relatively full agenda for MEPs, Parliamentary committees will also meet to scrutinise the work of several commissioners this week, including Peter Mandelson (trade), Siim Kallas (budgetary control and anti-fraud), Charlie McCreevy (internal market), Günter Verheugen (industry), Jacques Barrot (transport) and Jan Figel (education and culture).

Money talks

Commissioners will also meet two of the World’s richest men this week.

On Tuesday, Günter Verheugen, Charlie McCreevy and Peter Mandelson will meet Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft.

And on Friday, regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner will meet renowned financier George Soros, who has accumulated an enormous fortune through currency speculation.

Defence and competition

Finally, two gatherings in Brussels this week will examine Europe’s role in global defence and global competitiveness.

The European Policy Centre will on Wednesday hold a conference entitled, "Europe in the age of global competition". And on Thursday, a group called the New Defence Agenda will host an international conference entitled "towards an EU Strategy for collective security".

Keynote speakers include Gijs de Vries, the EU’s Counter-Terrorism co-ordinator and commissioners Verheugen and Frattini (Justice, Freedom and Security).

Interview

Polish government in bid to defund NGOs

Ruling Law and Justice has promised to overhaul the NGO sector. The move could strain relations with Norway, a major donor to Polish civic life.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Davis brings Brexit back to reality

Brexiteers will be shocked to hear the government is considering slaughtering the sacred cow, offering up contributions to the EU budget in exchange for market access.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  2. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  3. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  4. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  5. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  6. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  7. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  8. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  9. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  10. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  11. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security
  12. ACCAThe Future of Audit Means Adaption to Today’s Global and Digital World