Week Ahead (28 November)
Wednesday, 30 November – UK Supreme Court to hear appeal against Northern Ireland Protocol
A group of Unionist politicians have challenged the Northern Ireland protocol in judicial review proceedings, claiming it was unlawful because it conflicted with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the Acts of Union. In June 2021 a High Court judge in Belfast ruled that the protocol was legal – a ruling which was upheld by the Court of Appeal in March 2022. The Supreme Court will be the last opportunity for the litigants to challenge the legality of the protocol and the hearing gets underway on Wednesday.
Wednesday, 30 November – Eurostat flash inflation estimates for November to be released
On Wednesday, Eurostat will publish its latest flash estimate of inflation for November. While most of the ECB Governing Council has indicated that the 15 December meeting should result in a more modest hike in interest rates, should inflation surprise to the upside on Wednesday, a 75 bp hike remains very much on the table. Austrian Central Bank Governor Robert Holzmann and ECB Executive Board Member Isabel Schnabel have both indicated that the ECB has limited scope to slow the pace of rate hikes, unless inflation surprises to the downside.
Wednesday, 30 November – European Commission to formally decide on suspending €13.3 billion of EU funds to Hungary
On Wednesday, the European Commission is expected to formally decide whether to withhold €7.5 billion in cohesion funds and a further €5.8 billion in pandemic recovery funds from Hungary due to rule of law and anti-corruption concerns. The Commission concluded this week that Budapest has failed to adequately implement the 17 measures agreed upon last September.
Despite freezing these funds, the European Commission is also likely to approve Hungary’s post-pandemic recovery plan this week. The approval will aim to keep open the option of disbursement, by increasing pressure on the Hungarian government to proceed with the implementation of the required milestones.
The final approval of the suspension of the disbursements will be decided with a qualified majority by member states in the upcoming financial affairs Council, scheduled for 6 December. At the same meeting, finance ministers will also aim to adopt the regulation on the global minimum tax and an €18 billion loan to Ukraine, both of which are being blocked by Budapest.
Thursday, 1 December - ECON meeting to consider amendments to legislative proposal on Single Access Point for company disclosures
The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will meet on Thursday to consider over 200 amendments tabled by MEPs to the Commission’s legislative proposal for a Single Access Point for company disclosures.
The Commission feels that the provision of a user-friendly and harmonised structure allowing companies to disclose company data would help to strengthen access to capital markets for smaller and medium size entities and improve the prospects of cross-border investment. However, several MEPs have lodged amendments to prevent the proposal from creating extra reporting obligations for financial players.