27th Sep 2023


This WEEK in the European Union

In attempt to deal with the economic consequences of the current financial crisis, the European Commission will unveil its ideas on possibilities of a co-ordinated fiscal stimulus.

The commission is due to adopt its proposal on Wednesday (26 November), following reports in the German press suggesting that the EU executive would propose a €130 billion fund for various investments and tax cuts to help revive national economies.

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  • Not everyone needs the same pill to ease economic pain (Photo: ec.europa)

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso played down such reports as "pure speculation" on Thursday (20 November), adding: "The final decision may be very, very different from anything that you have seen so far."

Mr Barroso pointed out that the college will abstain from taking "a one-size-fits-all approach."

"Everyone is suffering from this crisis and everyone needs treatment but not everyone needs the same pill," he told journalists.

Apart from the stimulus package, the commission will open a consultation procedure on consumer collective redress and also adopt several legislative proposals concerning the EU's cohesion policy, dubbed the "Roadmap for recovery."

Ireland under the spotlight

Meanwhile, European Parliament President Hans Gert Poettering will on Tuesday meet Ireland's foreign minister, Micheal Martin, to hear his views on how Dublin is planning to solve the institutional problem with the Lisbon treaty in his country.

Irish voters rejected the document in a June referendum - the only nation voting on the EU's new reform. A survey published on Monday (17 November) suggested that the treaty could be adopted in a new referendum if certain guarantees were given to the Irish, with the government admitting they are in talks with EU partners to seek out what to offer Ireland's electorate.

MEPs have been pressing hard for a re-run of the poll early next year before the June elections to the European Parliament, with the constitutional committee adopting a report urging Dublin do so to enable EU citizens to vote for the bloc's legislature under the new rules, as set by Lisbon treaty.

Parliamentarians also urged the Czech Republic to hurry up its ratification of the document. The country's constitutional court is due to give its verdict on whether the Lisbon treaty is in line with the Czech constitution on Tuesday.

Roaming on text messages

Later this week, telecoms ministers will seek to agree on EU regulation for fees on calling and sending text messages from abroad.

According to the proposal on the table, the 2007 legislation fixing the fees at agreed levels across the EU would be extended until 2012. Moreover, its scope would extend to cover text messages and data transfer.

Ministers will also discuss the possibility of including high-speed internet access within the framework of universal service provision as it has become an "essential commodity."

Finally, they are expected to adopt revisions of EU regulatory framework covering electronic communication, tackling such issues as easier access to radio-electric frequencies, protecting consumers and reinforcing network safety and integrity.

Home affairs and justice

At the same time at other Brussels' venues, interior ministers will discuss the fight against terrorism and justice chiefs are due to adopt common EU rules for pre-trial procedures across the continent at the last series of meetings chaired by French presidency.

On Thursday, home affairs ministers will hear the annual report by the EU's counter-terrorism co-ordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, along with his priorities for the coming period.

French interior minister Michele Alliot-Marie will suggest that her colleagues agree to a concerted strategy and practical measures aiming to widen the area of the fight against cybercrime, arguing that it needs to be made more effective and consistent.

She will also inform them about the French presidency's progress on the "European Passenger Name Record" project, which seeks to allow national law enforcement agencies to use data on air passengers for counter-terrorism purposes, similar to the US model, previously criticised by Europeans.

On Friday, ministers of justice hope to reach a political agreement on the European supervision order in pre-trial procedures between member states, to boost the principle of mutual recognition across the Union.

China trade tension and migration deal This WEEK

An EU-China high-level economic is scheduled on Monday amid renewed tensions. Later this week, EU home affairs ministers will discuss the EU-Tunisia deal and the state of play of the EU pact on asylum and migration.

Spain's EU-language bid and UN summit This WEEK

While the heads of EU institutions are in New York for the UN high level meeting, Spain's EU presidency will try to convince ministers to make Catalan, Basque, and Galician official EU languages.

Von der Leyen's State of the Union address This WEEK

The EU's political season is back in full swing after the summer break, with the EU Commission president's State of the Union address on Wednesday. Meanwhile, exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will also address the European Parliament.

La Rentrée and MEPs anti-corruption reform This WEEK

The European Parliament's committee on constitutional affairs will vote on a 14-point anti-corruption reform, after the Qatargate allegations. Meanwhile, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will participate in the first Africa Climate Summit.

EU aims to revive cooperation with Latin America This WEEK

The EU-CELAC summit will take place in Brussels this week, after after eight years of hiatus. But disagreements over the condemnation of Russia's war in Ukraine have complicated the finalisation of the joint agreement.


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