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Week Ahead (7 October)

Monday 7 October, Hearings for designated European Commissioners continue

Last week’s European Parliament hearings for designated Commissioners were dramatic. Hungarian Laszlo Trocsanyi and Romanian Rovana Plumb were rejected by the legal affairs committee due to alleged conflicts of interest, while France’s Sylvie Goulard and Poland’s Janusz Wojciechowski will need to reappear before their respective committees. The hearings will continue this week with the three Executive VPs- Latvian Valdis Dombrovskis, Dutchman Frans Timmermans and the Dane Margarethe

Vestager appearing before the EP on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019 - Ireland to announce 2020 Budget

The Irish government will publish its 2020 Budget this week. Budget 2020 will be formulated on the assumption of a no-deal disorderly Brexit. The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) – a body set up in the wake of the financial crisis to avoid boom and bust cycles – indicated that the State's underlying finances have deteriorated since 2015.

Ireland's gross national debt increased by €6.6bn in 2018 to €205.3bn. At the end of 2018, Ireland's general government debt was 65% of GDP - 5% above the 60% threshold set under EU fiscal rules. The budgetary estimates foresee GDP growth of by 5.5% in 2019, slowing to 0.7% in 2020. Growth in 2020 has been revised down by 2.6 percentage points since the Department of Finance’s spring forecasts reflecting a weaker global economy and the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

Thursday, 10 October 2019 – ECB Minutes to show extent of division over stimulus package

Following the September Governing Council meeting, there was an unprecedent level of public dissent from ECB Governing Council (GC) members, with the Dutch Governor taking the unprecedented step of criticising the measures by issuing a press release through his national central bank.

The minutes will shed further light on extent of discord at GC level. This is important as it could limit Christine Lagarde’s ability to deal with financial crisis at a time when a group of six former Eurozone central bankers published a memo excoriating the new stimulus package and the German tabloid press portrays Mario Draghi as “Count Draghila” sucking the bank accounts of German savers dry.

Friday, 11 October 2019 – Soft deadline for tweaking of UK government’s backstop proposal

During a call with Macron yesterday, Boris Johnson was told the EU would want to “evaluate by the end of the week if a deal is possible.” With an EU summit on 17-18 October, EU officials will need to have agreed a negotiating position by not much later than Friday. The UK government is offering to publish its confidential legal papers and to make concessions on the Stormont veto in order to move things along.

Meanwhile, this morning in Edinburgh, judges at the Court of Session are expected to rule on a case taken by SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who was among the protagonists in the successful case against prorogation, which would force Johnson to ask for the extension required under the Benn act. Being ordered by the court to request the extension may suit Boris Johnson as it would make it more difficult for the Brexit party to accuse him of selling out.

Sunday, 13 October 2019 - Polish parliamentary election, 2019

Poland will hold a parliamentary election on Sunday 13 October. All 460 members of the Sejm and 100 senators will be elected. Polling over recent months indicates that PiS (Law and Justice), the party currently in power, is likely to win the election, consistently polling around 20% above its closest rival, the Civil Coalition, or KO, at approximately 47% compared to 28-30%. The PiS won its popularity by focusing on investment in social services and implementing its vision of a social welfare state.

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