9th Jun 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.

Asylum and SLAPP positions in focus This WEEK

Home affairs ministers will work on trying to clinch a common position among EU governments on the migration management system regulation and the asylum procedure regulation, two key parts of the bloc's asylum reform.

Russia sanctions and EU elections on top This WEEK

The parliament's constitutional affairs committee is set to vote on a draft proposal on the number of seats in the European Parliament, and their distribution among EU countries, ahead of the 2024 elections.

Keeping China at arm's length is in focus This WEEK

The G7 aims to send a signal to China by announcing a joint effort to counter "economic coercion," with the EU hoping to avoid becoming a "vassal" in a US-China clash, as French president Emmanuel Macron said recently.

Visions of war and peace in Europe This WEEK

Russian president Vladimir Putin will cheer on a mini war-parade in Moscow on Tuesday, as German chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks of peace in Europe in Strasbourg.

Hungary's EU funds and corruption in focus This WEEK

EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn is set to travel to Budapest on Tuesday (2 May) as negotiations to unlock billions of EU funds, held up because of concerns over judicial independence, made some progress last week.

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