Brussels Special Edition: Holiday Food for Thought

Jonathan Stearns, Nikos Chrysoloras and Natalia Drozdiak
Brussels Special Edition: Holiday Food for Thought

(Bloomberg) -- Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg’s daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weekday morning.

It’s the last day of work for EU mandarins (and the Brussels Edition) before the Easter break. In addition to egg-decorated feasts this long weekend, the main food for thought will probably be the European Parliament elections next month. Those eligible to vote may want to look back at some of the concrete ways that decisions taken in Brussels and Strasbourg over the past five years changed or will change our daily lives. From juicier kebabs to free-roaming travel, here’s a list of the policies you may be thanking—or cursing—the EU for before casting your ballot.

What’s Happening

Tariff Retaliation | In news unlikely to please Donald Trump, the European Commission today is due to publish a preliminary list of U.S. goods covered by a 10.2 billion-euro plan for EU retaliatory tariffs over subsidies to Boeing. The goal is to hold a public consultation before the World Trade Organization sets the actual limit on possible EU duties. Well, at least talks for building the “ Fort Trump” military base in Poland are going well.

Connected Cars | Qualcomm, BMW, Deutsche Telekom and other car and telecoms firms have been urging EU legislators to scrap draft rules that would favor WiFi over cellular-based technology in connected cars, arguing the law would shut Europe out of more advanced services. Should the European Parliament reject the rules in a vote Wednesday, the European Commission will need to go back to the drawing board.

Terrorist Content | The European Parliament is set to back new rules under which Google, Twitter, Facebook and others could face fines if they fail to speedily remove terror propaganda from their sites. The vote will allow the EU’s three lawmaking bodies to enter into negotiations on the final version of the text before it becomes law, but those are likely to be delayed until the second half of the year due to European parliamentary elections.

Spanish Elections | The Brussels Edition won’t return until after the Spanish elections, but fear not. Charles Penty and Charlie Devereux explain everything you need to know about the ballot.

In Case You Missed It

Italian Heat | Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco is feeling the weight of a populist onslaught against the country’s entire financial sector, with his institution in the middle of it. An extended assault is now imminent as parliament prepares for a new round of scrutiny against the central bank, which–in the meantime–issued a dire fiscal forecast.

Reporting Crimes | Whistleblowers reporting corporate misdeeds will for the first time enjoy minimum protection across the whole European Union under new rules approved by the bloc’s parliament on Tuesday. All organizations with more than 50 employees will have to set up internal channels to allow people to report irregularities in these areas.

Notre -Dame Disaster | As France and Europe grapple with the shock from the fire that devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, offers by tycoons to fund its reconstruction are pouring in. French citizens joined global leaders in rallying behind Emmanuel Macron in the aftermath of the disaster, giving the French President an opportunity to quell the political volatility that’s embroiled his government.

Brexit Fatigue | Giving those exhausted by Brexit all the more reason to despair, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hinted that another extension may be granted if there’s no deal by October. Meanwhile, the U.K. budget is already falling victim to Brexit-related trouble in the carbon market.

Ukrainian Elections | Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko’s warnings about his rival in this weekend’s runoff for the presidency look to have fallen on deaf ears, as the latest polls suggest TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy will score a resounding victory. One thing is certain — for citizens living close to the “contact line” that divides government-controlled Ukraine and the separatist east, elections are unlikely to change much.

Chart of the Day

Around 70 percent of those who will definitely turn out to vote in European Parliament elections are not committed to any one party, a survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations shows. The results split respondents into four categories inspired by the popular TV series Game of Thrones.

Today’s Agenda

All times CEST.

10 a.m. Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš will debate the future of the EU with European lawmakers in Strasbourg  11 a.m. Eurostat to release readings of inflation for March and international trade in goods for February 2:30 p.m. EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini is scheduled to speak the European Parliament’s foreign-affairs committee EU Parliament will vote on new measures to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, including a 10,000-strong standing corps that will support EU countries on the ground in border control Internet companies will get one hour to remove terrorist content online after receiving an order, according to draft rules to be put to a parliamentary vote

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--With assistance from Alexander Weber.

To contact the authors of this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.netNikos Chrysoloras in Brussels at nchrysoloras@bloomberg.netNatalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daliah Merzaban at dmerzaban@bloomberg.net, Andrew Blackman

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