Week Ahead (14 March)
Monday, 14 March - Eurogroup to meet to discuss 13th Greek Surveillance Report
At today's Eurogroup, Eurozone finance ministers are expected to sign off on the European Commission’s 13th enhanced surveillance report of Greece. The report finds that Greece has broadly met the terms of its post-programme surveillance but flags seven specific areas where the agreed timetable of reforms has not been met. The 13th report is not linked to a release of the next set of policy-contingent debt measures, which could take place on the basis of the 14th report – due for publication in May 2022.
The government meanwhile has indicated that it will announce a support package to address the increases in the cost of living, which is threatening the government’s popularity. In February, household electricity bills in Greece were up 27% year on year and measures are likely to focus on this area.
Monday, 14 March - MiCA vote to be held on Monday with rapporteur potentially reliant on far-right votes for compromise amendment
Following the dropping of measures that would have seen the banning of the "proof-of-work" mechanism behind leading cryptocurrencies, the lead rapporteur for the Markets in Crypto Assets bill has said that a final vote on the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) committee's position will be held today. The vote was originally scheduled for last week; however, after outcry from MEPs from the European People's Party and industry, the rapporteur, Stefan Berger, dropped the measures and postponed the vote.
Berger's proposed compromise is that the Commission would investigate the green credentials of varying type of crypto currency, which will involve assessment under the EU taxonomy for green investments. It is understood that the proposed amendment is not supported by the Greens and Socialists, which is likely to mean that Berger will have to rely on the votes of the representatives of right and far-right groups in ECON.
Tuesday, 15 March - Next round of trilogue negotiations on Digital Services Act to be held
The next round of inter-institutional negotiations on the Digital Services Act (DSA), which aims to force tech companies to increase advertising transparency, take more responsibility for illegal content on their platforms, and improve data access, take place on Tuesday. It is envisioned that the DSA, when enacted, will allow companies to be fined up to 6% of their annal global revenues if they fail to police themselves adequately and take steps to limit the spread of illegal content on their networks.
The European Parliament has inter alia sought to more clearly define the responsibilities and obligations of online platforms, with micro and small enterprises to be exempted from some of the obligations foreseen in the legislation. Further measures contemplated by the European Parliament focus on the transparency of the algorithms being used, the use of "nudging" techniques to steer consumers to particular decisions, guidelines over compensation in the event of an infringement of consumer rights, and obligations to target the spread of disinformation.
Thursday, 17 March – Bank of England monetary policy meeting
On Thursday, the Bank of England monetary policy committee (MPC) will meet, with nearly two-thirds of economists surveyed by Reuters expecting an increase in the Bank Rate to 0.75%. At February’s meeting, nearly half of the MPC members voted to increase rates to 0.75%. While the MPC settled on 0.5%, this inclination among MPC members, plus strong GDP figures reported by the ONS last week, suggests that further tightening at next week’s meeting is likely.