Sunday

22nd Jan 2017

Portugal and financial transactions tax top agenda this WEEK

  • The European Commission will publish its spring economic forecasts on Monday (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Siim Kallas, the acting commissioner for the eurozone, will present the bloc's spring economic forecast on Monday (5 May).

The report will assess whether EU countries are set to meet their economic growth projections, as well as targets to cut budget deficits.

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  • The governing board of the ECB meets Thursday (Photo: ECB)

Later on Monday, eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday for the monthly eurogroup meeting.

Portugal said on Sunday that it would exit its €78-billion bailout this month without a precautionary credit line, after three years of painful austerity reforms.

Portugal will become the second eurozone country after Ireland to exit an assistance programme.

Following the Eurogroup, finance ministers from 11 EU countries backing a financial transactions tax will meet.

Last week, the European Court of Justice threw out a legal challenge to the tax from the UK.

France and Germany, the main backers of the plan, widely known as the Tobin tax, want to seal agreement on how the levy will operate before EU voters go to the polls in three week's time. But there remains some confusion about which financial services the tax will apply to and how it would be collected.

The financial transactions tax is also likely to be high on the agenda when all 28 EU finance ministers gather in Brussels on Tuesday (6 May).

EU trade and agriculture ministers will also hold their monthly gatherings this week.

For its part, the European Central Bank's governing board will meet on Thursday (8 May) although it is not expected to take any money-printing measures to stimulate the eurozone economy.

On Wednesday (7 May) EU leaders will gather for an EU-Japan summit expected to focus on ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement. Both sides have promised to conclude an agreement by the end of 2015.

Also of interest is a meeting between EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht and Klaus Muller, the Chair of Germany's Consumer Organisations. De Gucht is mid-way through a public consultation on whether rules allowing foreign companies to sue European governments should be included in a trade deal with the United States and is anxious for German support on the issue.

Trump pledges US-first foreign policy

Economic protectionism and war on Islamist terrorism will form the heart of US foreign policy, Trump has said. He did not rubbish Nato, but indicated interest in a new Russia alliance.

GMO opt-out plan remains in waiting room

The commission wants to give the power to member states to reject EU-approved genetically modified organisms, but the Maltese presidency is unlikely to approach the issue any time soon.

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