By Ata Ufuk ┼×eker
Brussels Letter for week beginning May 23


Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the Euro area and the Greek economy specifically the state of play of the first review of the macroeconomic adjustment program for the country. Greek authorities and institutions are due to inform the ministers on the finalization of the package of reforms to complete the first review. These include the contingency mechanism to secure the achievement of the agreed primary surplus targets of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) program as well as the state of implementation of prior actions. The Eurogroup will also discuss possible debt measures which aim at ensuring that Greece's gross financial needs remain at a sustainable level, on the basis of technical work carried out by the Eurogroup Working Group, with a view to reaching a political agreement.


The Economic and Financial Affairs Council will meet on Wednesday in Brussels to discuss corporate tax avoidance. Council members will be called on to agree on a draft directive addressing some of the practices most commonly used by large companies to avoid paying taxes. The Council is due to adopt a directive on the exchange of tax-related information on multinational companies. It is also due to adopt conclusions on third country aspects of tax transparency. The Council will discuss the Commission's VAT action plan and a Court of Auditors report on VAT fraud, and will be called on to adopt conclusions. The EU’s foreign policy, banking union, macroeconomic imbalances and structural reforms in member states will also be discussed.

The EU’s Foreign Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on Monday to start a debate on the EU's regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the Daesh threat. Foreign ministers will discuss the EU’s global foreign and security policy. The Council will then discuss the external aspects of migration after which conclusions are expected to be adopted.

-G7 in Japan

A meeting of G7 representatives will take place in Japan this week. The European Union will be jointly represented by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. G7 leaders are expected to discuss coordinated action to tackle global challenges such as economic growth, the refugee crisis, terrorism and various foreign policy issues.

-Digital Market

The European Parliament will discuss the Digital Single Market legislative proposal. Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Gunther Oettinger will explain the proposal in Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs will also discuss the Commission's EU-U.S. "privacy shield" proposal for a new EU-U.S. arrangement to protect the fundamental rights of Europeans whose data is transferred to the U.S. for commercial purposes while ensuring legal security for businesses.

-Energy Union.

In the presence of Commission Vice-President Maros Sefkovic, Parliament will examine various policy options to put citizens at the heart of the Energy Union and make sure it delivers a new and better deal for consumers while helping to tackle energy poverty.

-Milk crisis

 Agriculture Committee MEPs will meet dairy sector representatives in a public hearing on Wednesday evening to discuss new measures to stabilize prices. In a plenary debate on Thursday morning, MEPs will address the sharp decline in milk producers’ income since EU milk quotas ended in April 2015. 

23 May,2016