Following the vote for the 2017 budget on Saturday, announcements about benefits to pensioners on Thursday and with many fronts still not closed for a successful second evaluation, as was confirmed in last Monday’s Eurogroup the Greek Prime – Minister commences his Brussels and Berlin contacts.
The Greek Prime Minister is expected to arrive on Wednesday, December 14th in the Belgian capital where he will meet with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. The meeting will involve both the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.
The main topic of the meeting will be developments in the Cyprus problem, where the Cypriot President will give a briefing on the latest developments, something which could not take place in Jerusalem, due to time constraints and because the Greek FM had to attend the Meeting of the OSCE in Hamburg.
According to IBNA information all aspects resulting from the talks in Mont Peleran as well as the new rapprochement that took place on the initiative of the Special Adviser of the UN, Espen Barth Eide, which resulted in the agreement of bilateral and multilateral talks 9-12 January in Geneva, will be analyzed in detail.
The Cyprus Government is strongly dissatisfied with circles in the Cypriot capital that are trying to create tension between Athens and Nicosia. A high ranking official told IBNA, that there is no rift in the relations between Greece and Cyprus, and that perhaps it is the first time where there is good cooperation between the two countries. There is complete harmony and agreement on the Cyprus issue, and this will be confirmed during the Heads of State meeting in Brussels, the official stated.
The meeting will be prepared by both FM Nikos Kotzias and Ioannis Kasoulides already in Brussels for the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday and Tuesday.
On Thursday, December 15 Alexis Tsipras will meet with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. The Greek Prime Minister will update Mr Schultz on progress so far and on the second evaluation and will seek support to the Greek government’s efforts to complete the second review. Furthermore progress of the EU-Turkey agreement, but also the change in the European Parliament Presidency, with the departure of the German politician, will also be discussed.
Alexis Tsipras will then participate in the European Council.
The European Council will on the 15th December discuss the most pressing issues, including migration, security, economy and youth, and external relations.
On Migration the leaders will:
– Look at the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement
– Assess progress on the compacts signed with the selected African countries and set orientations for further work
– Assess the legislative progress on the External Investment Plan and encourage swift adoption by co-legislators – to reinforce the implementation of the Valletta Action Plan and the migration compacts
– Discuss the reform of the Common European Asylum System, and how to apply the principles of responsibility and solidarity in the future
– The European Council will reaffirm its commitment to the European Union Internal Security Strategy. It will also address the strengthening of EU cooperation on external security and defence. In particular, the heads of state or government will focus on the three priorities:
– The EU Global Strategy in the area of security and defence
– The European Defence Action Plan
– Implementation of the common set of proposals which follow up on the EU-NATO Joint Declaration signed in Warsaw in July 2016
Economy, social development, youth
The leaders will take stock of progress as regards:
– Investment (the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investment)
– Single Market Strategies
– Youth-related initiatives
– Fight against youth unemployment
– The European Council is expected to exchange views on:
– Situation in the Netherlands in the context of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
– Russia and the conflict in Syria
– Informal meeting of the 27 leaders
An informal meeting of the 27 leaders will be held in the margins of the December European Council. The objective is to set out how the Brexit process will be handled by the EU 27 once the UK is notified.
On the sidelines of the European Council Alexis Tsipras will meet with French President Francois Hollande, when they will discuss both the debt issue and the need for a political solution to the completion of the second evaluation as well as the Cyprus issue, where France will participate in the multilateral Meeting on the 12th January, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
On Friday, Alexis Tsipras will go to Berlin where he will attend a working lunch in the Chancellery held by Angela Merkel. There he will discuss the attitude of the German Finance Minister on the issue of Greek debt, while efforts will be made to find a political solution regarding the second evaluation and the Greek program. Also the Prime Minister will meet with German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.
In the afternoon he will meet with the Die Linke leadership and the Green Party while on Saturday morning he will address the Congress of the European Left Party./ΙΒΝΑ
Photo: IBNA/Spiros Sideris