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Week Ahead (9 November)




Monday, 9 November - EU Trade Ministers to meet to finalise retaliatory tariffs on US goods

EU Trade Ministers will meet today to discuss its future trade strategy with the incoming US administration. Also on the agenda is the approval of retaliatory tariffs on up to €4 billion worth of US goods. The meeting follows the World Trade Organisation's ruling last month that the EU was entitled to apply such tariffs in response to the US granting illegal subsidies to the American aircraft maker, Boeing. The WTO ruling was the most recent twist on a long-running dispute on subsidies; a separate WTO decision last year granted the United States the right to apply $7.5 billion worth of tariffs on European goods after a ruling that the EU had provided Airbus with similarly illegal subsidies.

Monday, 9 November - ECON voting on recovery and resilience fund

The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will vote on a series of amendments to the draft recovery and resilience fund today. The vote follows parliament's reaching of a deal on how the €672.5 billion recovery funding should be spent, including offering more financing to member states in the short term as well as setting a 40% target for spending on green projects. The European Council agreed its position in early October; pending the parliament vote on amendments, inter-institutional negotiations on a final version of the recovery fund will begin in short order.

There are several areas of divergence between the positions of the two institutions. For example, MEPs want to allow member states to access up to 20% of the fund in advance of completing the reforms they have committed to in their individual recovery plans, whilst the Council plan limits this to 10%. Parliamentarians have also called on member states to invest in industrial, social and youth policies, beyond the green and digital priorities of the Council. Despite the divergence of approach, Romanian MEP Siegfried Muresan, one of the co-rapporteurs, said that "If Council is ready to engage with us … then I believe we can close negotiations fast, within several weeks".

W/C Monday, 9 November - UK economic data to be released as Lords vote on the Internal Markets bill

New UK economic data will be released through this week, including monthly employment figures, monthly estimate of GDP and monthly trade figures.

Separately, the House of Lords will vote today on the Internal Markets bill which would, by the UK government's own admission, break international law. The introduction of the bill in September led to the European Commission launching legal proceedings against Britain for breach of the Withdrawal Agreement. The European Commission said this week that the UK has not responded to its legal letter on the bill, despite the deadline for a reply passing on Sunday. A spokesperson for the European Commission said that it was, "considering … issuing a reasoned opinion", the next step in infringement procedures, and noted, "this dispute will have to be resolved".

Friday, 13 November - Flash Q3 estimates of EU GDP and employment data to be released

Flash estimates for EU and Eurozone GDP for Q3 2020 will be released on Friday. The results will show strong improvements on the Q2 dataset, which covered a period in which most of Europe was in lockdown. GDP fell by 11.8% in the Eurozone and by 11.4% in the EU overall between April and June. This represented a decline of -14.7% and -13.9% respectively when compared to the same period last year. These were the worst results observed since Eurostat's time series started in 1995.

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