Brussels Edition: Pick Your Poison, Europe

(Bloomberg) -- Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg’s daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union.

It’s become increasingly clear that Europe’s goal of keeping both its biggest trade partners happy is presenting challenges. The roll-out of future mobile networks is case in point: Beijing is threatening to retaliate against Germany if Huawei or other Chinese companies are banned from supplying 5G equipment. But the use of Chinese suppliers in 5G systems would risk provoking Donald Trump’s ire. The U.S. and China are locked in a strategic showdown, and the EU’s internal divisions mean it’s nowhere near being a distinct third pillar of the global order. As the bloc’s governments continue debating a “toolkit” of measures to minimize the risk of espionage in mobile networks, they can only pick their poison. 

What’s Happening

Green Finance | EU envoys will make a second attempt today to strike a deal on the cornerstone of the bloc's green finance strategy. The discussion about nuclear power at last week's summit showed just how touchy the subject has become, and failure to reach agreement would raise serious questions over whether the EU is able to meet its ambitious targets. 

Green Deals |Europe’s push to transform into a zero-carbon bloc is moving slowly — one small, tedious, win at a time. But at least it’s moving — unlike global efforts, which stalled again. Here are a few good tips on how to get a Green Deal done.

Bank Rescue | The Italian government approved a plan to rescue a regional lender placed under administration by the Bank of Italy, an intervention that has reopened wounds in the governing coalition. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s cabinet last night backed a decree to pump state funds into Banca Popolare di Bari SCpa via a capital increase. 

U.K. Divisions | Boris Johnson won last week’s election by a landslide, but he may end up losing the U.K., as nationalists in both Scotland and Northern Ireland made gains. Brexit, after all, is very much an English revolution, which has upended the concept of the three-centuries-old Union.

Portuguese BudgetPortugal's government will hand in its 2020 budget proposal to parliament — Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s first since winning a second term in October’s general election. The government forecasts growth of 2% next year, and aims to bring its debt ratio below the country’s annual economic output by the end of its mandate. 

In Case You Missed It

Palm-Oil Spat | Indonesia has taken legal action against the EU over stricter limits on how palm oil can be used in green fuels, marking a further deepening in trade tensions. The world’s biggest producer of the oil warned earlier this year it would retaliate after the European Commission restricted the types of biofuels that it counts as renewable energy.

 Italian Sardines | Italy’s maverick Sardines movement, a silent rebellion against rightist League leader Matteo Salvini, packed a historic square in Rome on Saturday with its first national rally against populism. The movement started in Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region which has long been a leftist stronghold, and where the anti-migrant Salvini hopes to win elections on Jan. 26. 

Eating Well | Europe’s big producers are joining family farms in trying to transform olive oil into a gourmet product, with protected-origin labeling, fancy bottles and tasting ateliers. Healthy-living trends were supposed to bolster the industry, but reality has fallen short. Here’s why

Dress Code | Christmas is approaching and as if navigating the landmines of office parties wasn’t difficult enough, this season there seems to be an eccentric arms race among hosts for the most outlandish holiday party dress code. Despair not, we have a handy guide of what to wear if your invitation says things like “dressy casual,” “semi-fabulous,” or “revved up rockabilly.”

Chart of the Day

Brussels Edition: Pick Your Poison, Europe

The world’s oldest central bank stands to be the most significant this month as it pioneers a shift away from negative interest rates. Sweden was among the handful of economies that reduced key interest rates half a decade ago below zero. Now officials at the Riksbank — founded in 1668 — insist the policy has done its stimulus work.

Today’s Agenda

All times CET.

  • 9 a.m. EU agriculture and fisheries ministers meet in Brussels
  • 9:30 a.m. Asia-Europe foreign ministers meeting in Madrid
  • 7 p.m. EU climate czar Frans Timmermans debriefs EU lawmakers on Green Deal
  • Eurostat to release third-quarter asylum application numbers
  • EU ambassadors meet in Brussels to try and find compromise over `Green Taxonomy’
  • Bank of England publishes Financial Stability Report in London, followed by press conference with Governor Mark Carney
  • Portugal presents 2020 budget

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