POLITICO Brussels Playbook, presented by Google: Trade tornado — Get ready for President Valls
If you enjoy reading Brussels Playbook, please share it with your colleagues and friends.
MARS LANDING TODAY: Starting at 21,000 kilometers an hour and slowing down in just six minutes, the 2.4-meter wide Schiaparelli craft is scheduled to touch down on the red planet’s surface today at 2:42 p.m. Brussels time. Check out the European Space Agency’s animated simulation here: http://bit.ly/2eCUSlY
15 HELD HOSTAGE IN FOREST SUPERMARKET: Belgian police said they detained a man who held about 15 people hostage in a supermarket on Tuesday evening in the Brussels suburb of Forest, adding that nobody was harmed. http://reut.rs/2eiI0NQ
EU, UNIONS, CEOs MEET AT 2 PM: The meeting is known as the annual “tripartite social summit.” Teaching more skills and addressing uneven growth will top of the agenda.
FINAL US PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: From 3 a.m. tonight Brussels time.
**A message from Google: Google enables small companies to compete. NeoSenTec is a Spanish developer that makes an augmented reality app for visually impaired people. With Android, they can distribute the same app to thousands of different devices around the world. Click here for more on Lazzus and Android.**
TUSK’S INVITATION LETTER FOR EU LEADERS SUMMIT: http://bit.ly/2dl0VKU
EPP PARTY SUMMIT IN MAASTRICHT, THURSDAY: Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko will take part in the expanded summit of EPP heads of government and opposition leaders in Maastricht on Thursday. They will gather in the border town to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Maastricht, upon the invitation of Sybrand van Haersma Buma, leader of the Dutch Christian Democrat party CDA. Conveniently, the Maastricht location will keep Poroshenko well away from the EU summit in Brussels: Playbook is a aware of several leaders who think he is too fond of invites to the EU summits.
THE TRADE TRAUMA TRIAGE CORNER …
NEW COMMISSION DEFENSES AGAINST CHINESE DUMPING: Since 2013, the British government, along with several other northern EU countries, has blocked progress on a Commission proposal to update the tools it has at its disposal to stop China dumping subsidized goods on the European market. The pressure to agree on the changes is intensifying: China is due to receive “market economy” status in the World Trade Organization from December 11, making it even harder to impose even modest duties on imported goods. France, Germany, Italy and Poland have had enough of British objections and are likely to demand some sort of compromise, which Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is expected to put on the table today. The big test, though, is for U.K. PM Theresa May, whose ability to persuade her EU counterparts is in doubt in the post-Brexit-vote era.
Here is the full Commission communication: http://bit.ly/2erqRlg
First reaction is from AEGIS Europe: European manufacturers say they like the rhetoric but think the legal possibilities in the new policy are too limited: “The entire legal basis for action against imports from China would be diluted.” See full statement: http://politi.co/2dpqdTe
RECAP OF LATEST CETA DEBACLE NEWS: Trade ministers Tuesday could not reach agreement on the EU-Canada trade deal because of the objection of Belgium’s Wallonia region, while Romania and Bulgaria made their signatures conditional on visa reciprocity from Canada. Germany also secured a safeguard clause obliging EU governments to scrap the provisional application of the EU-Canada trade deal if one European country later votes it down.
The minister-president of Wallonia, Paul Magnette, also flatly rejected suggestions that the region had to sign off (or sink the deal) by the end of Friday’s EU leaders summit. A bright spot came from Romania’s EU ambassador, who said Tuesday that a solution on a visa dispute with Canada “is within reach.” Hans von der Burchard and Christian Oliver: http://politi.co/2dpd2BM
WHAT THE CETA DEBACLE MEANS FOR EU LEADERS SUMMIT: Once again ambassadors and ministers have punted an issue up to the top deck of leaders. With Friday the last obvious chance to green-light the deal to allow Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to co-sign it at a planned bilateral summit next week, the new plot twist tells us …
Council systems and formations are creaking and in need of an update.
Smaller countries will be center-stage on Thursday and Friday: Step up Belgium, Romania and Austria.
Belgium has to move first: Until Belgium is certain to sign, Canada isn’t entertaining other compromises. Yet because of the Belgian uncertainty, national leaders would be foolish to not keep a demand up their own sleeves (such as Germany did with its ‘safeguard clause’) as a re-insurance policy.
Socialists will be in the spotlight: German and French Socialists were prominent in insisting the deal be sent to national parliaments for debate instead of being signed off in Brussels by ministers. Then Austria’s Socialists caused heartburn, and now Belgian Socialists are causing head-banging across town.
Daggers aimed at Jean-Claude Juncker: Officials in DG Trade were skeptical (as was Playbook and plenty of others) that involving national parliaments would work out. The skeptics have been proven right, and Italy has cried foul, saying it was the only government that dared to back the EU to settle the deal.
Maybe no Justin Trudeau selfies next week. The Canadian PM isn’t lending himself out to unreliable partners.
WHAT THE CETA DEBACLE MEANS FOR OTHER EU TRADE POLICY …
For a UK trade deal: Commissioner Malmström’s wake-up call was sharp: “If we can’t make it with Canada, I don’t think we can make it with the U.K.,” she said.
For the EU-US TTIP deal: It’s already been clear for months that TTIP would not be finished during the Obama administration. Now calls for a restart of the whole agreement have begun. “The European Commission’s trade policy is increasingly unable to extricate itself from its internal contradictions … TTIP needs a restart with a new negotiating mandate after a new U.S. president is inaugurated,” according to German Greens MEP Reinhard Bütikofer.
For the rest of world: Argentina shares the optimism and hope Australia expressed Monday. POLITICO’s Hans von der Burchard reports that Argentina’s Secretary of Commerce Miguel Braun told reporters he believed the EU and Mercosur could conclude their trade deal by the end of 2017, despite Europe’s sensitivities over beef imports. Countries such as France, Ireland and Poland are extremely worried that Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will undercut European agricultural markets if they win big low-tariff quotas for exporting meat into Europe. For POLITICO Trade Pros: http://politi.co/2doMfW9
**Save the date: The 18th EU Studies Fair is taking place on February 10-11, 2017 in Brussels. Some of the world’s best academic institutions will showcase their Master’s programs in EU studies, international relations, business, law, public policy and economics. To find out more, visit www.eustudiesfair.com**
MIGRATION — PUSH TO REDUCE IRREGULAR MIGRATION IS GETTING RESULTS: That’s the view of EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in a new progress report. http://politi.co/2dME7A6
PARLIAMENT — SCHENGEN TASK FORCE STARTS WORK: The first meeting of a task force set up to examine the workings of the Schengen area and recent temporary reintroduction of border controls is today. The chair is the EPP’s Carlos Coelho. The Parliament is using powers it received as part of the Schengen Evaluation Mechanism.
GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS: http://bit.ly/2ehYjew
THE PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW — WITH IVAILO KALFIN …
Ivailo Kalfin, Bulgaria’s former foreign minister and Socialist MEP, is running to become his country’s president, while at the same time working with commissioners and other EU grandees on budget reform proposals. He’s currently fourth in the polls, and is taking a more moderate line towards Russia than Bulgaria’s current president, Rosen Plevneliev.
Bulgaria and Russia go way back: “Unlike other countries in Central-Eastern Europe, historically Bulgaria doesn’t have bad relations with Russia, who liberated us from 500 years of Ottoman rule … That’s not in contradiction to the affiliation to the values of NATO and the EU.”
On the anti-Russia rhetoric of President Rosen Plevneliev: “He’s developing these speeches abroad. In Bulgaria he’s not speaking like that.”
Russian aggression in Ukraine shouldn’t come as a surprise “It’s very strange that nobody sees that when NATO goes to the borders of Russia, Russia behaves in exactly the same manner … The more you press [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, the more popular he becomes.”
Brexit fallout: “There are things in Europe that are not very well understood or supported by the citizens. Unless we start changing and making the EU more understandable, we might see referenda in other countries … When you have a system which is totally unclear, it’s easy to misuse that.”
FRANCE — GET READY FOR PRESIDENT VALLS: The French prime minister used to defer to the incumbency of President François Hollande. Privately he no longer does, and in public his allies openly speak about him as the left’s only chance in 2017. From a speech on European Affairs last week to an opinion article on similar themes in the Financial Times, the signs of a Valls candidacy are multiplying, report Nicholas Vinocur and Quentin Ariès: http://politi.co/2e4r93z
FRANCE — MACRON SAID FRANCE HAS MADE MISTAKES IN TREATMENT OF MUSLIMS: Former French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday at a rally in Monpellier that France had on occasion unfairly targeted Islam in attempting to ensure the state was strictly secular. “No religion is a problem in France today,” he told the crowd, according to Reuters. “If the state should be neutral, which is at the heart of secularism, we have a duty to let everybody practice their religion with dignity.” Still no confirmation of his bid for the French presidency. http://reut.rs/2eDxo0f
GERMANY — SCHÄUBLE WANTS TO EXTEND THE EUROPEAN STABILITY MECHANISM: The European Stability Mechanism could take on oversight of euro-area budget rules, replacing the Commission, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told Stuttgarter Zeitung and Stuttgarter Nachrichte. Under this new structure — a kind of European monetary system — national budgets would be judged by an independent agency, not Commission officials. http://bit.ly/2dZHSDQ
Schäuble also wants EU defense budget: Speaking at a think tank event in Germany on Tuesday, Schäuble said the EU should pool its resources in a joint defense budget, which would be several times bigger than Russia’s. http://on.ft.com/2dN7odK
NETHERLANDS — MARK RUTTE TRIES TO KEEP A LID ON ‘NEXIT’: As Brexit negotiations approach, there’s a distinct chill in the air between Britain and the Netherlands, reports Naomi O’Leary. “The U.K. may be the Netherlands’ third-biggest export market,” but Dutch leader Mark Rutte “has compelling reasons for wanting Britain to squirm as it leaves the EU. Like many European leaders, he’s facing a strong Euroskeptic challenge in next March’s election.” http://politi.co/2ePqmF1
ITALY — HOW THE US STATE DINNER PLAYED: Renzi played smart for him and safe for U.S. President Barack Obama, and put forward an image of Italy first at Italy’s first state dinner since 2008. Renzi refrained from even mentioning his upcoming referendum, though some Italian media have criticized Obama’s references to the vote. Renzi did take a swipe at Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, saying the future of the world is about building bridges, “not walls.” http://politi.co/2ejJPuq
ITALY — MONTI WILL VOTE NO: Former Italian PM and European Commissioner Mario Monti announced in the Corriere della Sera daily that he would be voting against Renzi’s constitutional reforms in the December referendum. Monti dismissed the potential a “No” vote will sink the euro. “The EU never asked for this constitutional change, and it can stay calm. Italy does not risk falling over and crushing the euro, like it did five years ago,” he said. http://bit.ly/2dJPCIn
UK — LONDON US EMBASSY DELAYED DUE TO HEIGHTENED SECURITY: http://bloom.bg/2ejdZgD
WHAT THEY’RE WATCHING IN DENMARK: Rufus Gifford, the American ambassador with Hollywood looks and his own reality TV show, “I am the Ambassador.” Felicia Schwartz. http://on.wsj.com/2eOWKaD
CROATIA — PM DESIGNATE TO ATTEMPT TO FORM GOVERNMENT: Igor Illic on Andrej Plenković’s undisclosed list of new ministers that now requires parliamentary approval. http://reut.rs/2eD2pkS
BREXIT CORNER …
European Parliament gets ready to brainstorm Brexit: Maïa de la Baume reports: http://politi.co/2ehScqn
Boris Johnson will meet Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende around lunchtime.
FOCUS ON ROMANIA …
Castle Dracula opens its doors for Halloween: Via Euronews, VIDEO: http://bit.ly/2e3WEKZ h/t Anca Gurzu.
Romania and the Roma: The country’s technocratic government has made progress in reducing discrimination faced by the million or so Roma in the country. “We were very fortunate to have the technocratic government,” said Valeriu Nicolae, a Roma activist who was a secretary of state in the Cioloș government before being appointed to the Council of Europe to draft a charter on Roma rights. “We’ve seen an explosion of radical attitudes among political parties across Europe … Most politicians think that doing anything for the Roma is political suicide.” Even so, Nicolae is not entirely pessimistic. “In 2004, the thought of any targeted measure for Roma was absurd … The progress is incredible.”
The PM’s list of illusions: That’s how Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s Social-Democrat Party, slammed Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș’ policy pitch that he’s asking his successor, whoever that may be, to adopt. “I would have expected such a document from a respectable NGO, not from a government in function,” he said, according to the news agency Mediafax. He also accused Cioloș of plagiarizing the title of the plan, Romania 100, from a 2014 document produced by the then Social-Democrat-led government. http://bit.ly/2dypW3H
MEDIA — BUZZFEED’S UK BOSS PASSES THE BBC SNEER TEST: Janine Gibson has added journalistic muscle to a site once known purely for lighthearted lists. By Alex Spence http://politi.co/2erZbNi
TRANSPORT — GERMAN CARMAKERS SWAP HORSEPOWER FOR FIREPOWER: “Unlike the internal combustion engines pioneered by the likes of Benz and Rudolf Diesel, the next decades will be driven more by computer code than gears,” report Matthew Karnitschnig and Janosch Delcker. “Even though German auto execs boast that they’re up to the challenge, it’s far from clear they can compete in a world where software is more important than horsepower.” http://politi.co/2dpEnnw
BRUSSELS EVENT CORNER …
BOZAR’S BRUSSELS DAYS: It’s one of those events with a title that makes no sense (every day in Brussels is a Brussels day, no?) but with so many high level sponsors the name may be a detail that’s too hard to renegotiate. Most importantly, Emmanuel Macron, Margrethe Vestager and Carlos Moedas are speaking this evening from 5:30 p.m. Frans Timmermans will speak from 2:30 p.m. After 2015’s black and white ‘Last Chance Europe’ theme, BOZAR writes on its website, “nothing has happened to indicate that the European Union may now have seized this ‘last chance.’” So the 2016 theme is even more fatalistic: “The end of Europe? What’s next?” http://bit.ly/2effz65
PROTEST TO SUPPORT SHUTTERED HUNGARIAN PAPER: On Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., supporters of the closed Hungarian newspaper Népszabadság will hold a demonstration in front of the Berlaymont.
SHOW AND TELL: Nokia is hosting a demonstration of some very cool technology that Playbook had the opportunity to test in Finland earlier in 2016, as part of a “Gigabit Society” event. There’ll be traffic management drones, 4G “network in a backpack,” and the Commission’s Günther Oettinger. Also appearing, Belgian Deputy PM Alexander De Croo and Nokia’s Markus Borchert, who is also president of Digital Europe. http://bit.ly/2dAV9B5
COMMUNISM: EPP Chair Manfred Weber is opening an event about Eastern Europe under Communism from 2 p.m. in the Parliament’s Yehudi Menuhin space. http://politi.co/2dKN9xr
LOBBYING: Red Flag is launching a report on industry influence on EU policy-making at the Renaissance hotel from 6:30 p.m. Details here: http://bit.ly/2dKVcu2
PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT Harry Cooper and Zoya Sheftalovich.
THANKS to Christian Oliver, Carmen Paun, Anca Gurzu, Daniel Lippman, Nicholas Hirst and Hans von der Burchard.
**A message from Google: Lazzus was created in 2014 to help the blind navigate in Spain, where more than 1M live with a form of visual impairment. Android’s open platform was key: “A single programming language produces homogeneous results across the majority of devices, which has enabled us to devise an app that is suitable for a huge number of models and brands,” says CEO Pedro Javier. “Android has saved us a lot of work and has enabled a small team to create something benefiting thousands of people. Launching in a new country takes just four days. That would just be inconceivable with another platform.” Click here for more on Lazzus and Android.**
SUBSCRIBE to the POLITICO newsletter family: Brussels Playbook http://politi.co/1Jnsxnt … Morning Exchange http://politi.co/221625X… Morgen Europa http://politi.co/1UdmzNb … Brussels Influence http://politi.co/1WOt4cS… D.C. Playbook http://politi.co/29GwU5t …All our POLITICO Pro policy morning newsletters http://politi.co/1KHPu7D