By Ata Ufuk ┼×eker
Brussels letter, March 20

 -Treaty of Rome celebrations 

This week the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome will be celebrated in Italy with the gathering of all EU leaders on Saturday.

Leaders will discuss Europe’s current position and its future and are expected to adopt a declaration setting out a joint future vision.


-Greek bailout review 

The Eurogroup will meet on Monday in Brussels with the participation of EU finance ministers who are using the euro as a common currency.

The ministers will also discuss developments on the second review of Greece's macroeconomic adjustment program.

The European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Stability Mechanism and the Greek Minister for Finance, Euclid Tsakalotos, are expected to report on progress achieved towards concluding a staff-level agreement on the required policy reforms.

A staff-level agreement is a step towards concluding a review of the program. A completed review, in turn, is a condition for releasing further installments of financial support available under the program.


-VAT amendment on e-publications, country analysis, G20 meeting outcome

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council, which consists of finance ministers from all EU countries, will gather in Brussels on Tuesday. The Council will debate a proposal to amend the EU VAT directive to allow electronic publications, such as electronic books, newspapers, and periodicals, to benefit from reduced VAT rates, along the same lines as physical publications.

The Council will also discuss the each member state’s reports, which shows an analysis of each member state's economic situation, the necessary structural reforms, and progress achieved in implementing the recommendations made by the Council in 2016.

The Council will discuss the outcome of a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors that will take place in Baden-Baden in Germany between March 17 and 18.


-EU-Japan meeting

An EU-Japan leaders meeting will be held in Brussels on Tuesday. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Council President Donald Tusk and

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker will meet and hold a joint press conference.


-International Trade meeting

The European Parliament Committee on International Trade will meet on Tuesday to adopt a draft report on a new trade framework between the EU and Turkey and the modernization of the Customs Union.

The European Parliament’s Development Committee will discuss the textile industry on Tuesday in Brussels. MEP’s may call for binding due diligence checks throughout the whole supply chain, conditional trade preferences, and clothing label requirements.


-Last Week:

European Council prolonged restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months, until Sept. 15, 2017. The measures consist of asset freezes and travel bans.

The European Commission invited comments from all interested parties on commitments submitted by Russia’s Gazprom to address the Commission's competition concerns as regards gas markets in Central and Eastern Europe. The commitments will enable cross-border gas flows at competitive prices.

The European Commission has re-adopted a cartel decision against 11 air cargo carriers and imposed a fine totaling €776 million for operating a price–fixing cartel. The General Court annulled the Commission's original decision on procedural grounds.

The European Commission has found Belgian plans to compensate Engie-Electrabel and EDF Belgium for potential financial risks linked to long-term operation of three nuclear reactors to be in line with EU state aid rules.


20 Mar,2017