Brussels Edition: What Did Boris Tell Them?

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

Fresh from their unexpectedly dramatic encounter with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will today give the European Parliament the lowdown on the chances of the U.K. leaving the EU with a deal just six weeks from now. The EU says it’s still waiting for written proposals from the British side on the changes they want to make to the existing agreement. And in London, the Supreme Court continues to weigh up whether Johnson was within his rights to suspend parliament.

What’s Happening

Another Vote | Spain is headed for yet another election in November after acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez failed to muster the support he needs for a governing alliance. While the Iberian nation continues to outpace other major euro-area economies, growth slowed more than expected in the second quarter and the political gridlock leaves the country with no clear direction amid growing global and domestic risks.

Warmer Ties | Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will have French President Emmanuel Macron over for dinner at his Roman home today, to try to draw a line under a bilateral spat and tap into a new political reality. Conte, anchoring a more centrist pro-European government, wants French help in pushing for EU budget flexibility.

Laundry Talk | The EU Parliament is running out of patience when it comes to fighting money laundering. Lawmakers have invited the commission and council for a fresh round of statements — and ideally commitments — to the assembly in Strasbourg this afternoon, following what Green lawmaker Sven Giegold described as a “disappointing” debate held in Brussels earlier this month.

Chateau Replant | Northern Europe’s normally mild weather is fast becoming hotter and drier, forcing gardeners at the Palace of Versailles to abandon tradition to save the 2,000-acre park. Elms, chestnuts and birches favored by French royalty are being replaced by species that stand a better chance of resisting higher temperatures, new parasites and more volatile precipitation patterns.

In Case You Missed It

Major Shift | The Dutch government yesterday unveiled plans for an investment fund that would take advantage of historically low rates and end an era of debt reduction in favor of fiscal stimulus. The volte-face follows ECB President Mario Draghi’s latest calls for EU nations to ramp up spending, and may put further pressure on Germany to ditch its own fixation on balanced budgets.

Looking Up | Investor confidence in Germany’s economic outlook improved from an almost eight-year low after the ECB stepped up its stimulus program and geopolitical tensions eased. The data is a bright spot for Europe’s largest economy, which contracted in the second quarter as slower global growth and trade tensions hit manufacturers.

Revolving Door | EBA Executive Director Adam Farkas, a top EU banking regulator, is switching sides to represent the bloc’s biggest lenders on policy, drawing criticism from lawmakers and advocacy groups. It’s not the first such leap. Former commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso’s move to Goldman Sachs was criticized by his successor Juncker.

Tax Spat | Apple told an EU court that it plays by the rules as it sought to topple a record back-tax bill of 13 billion euros that the Commission ordered it to pay Ireland. It was the hallmark of antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s five-year crackdown on U.S. tech giants. The ruling, which is likely to take months, could empower her tax probes, which now center on deals done by Amazon and Alphabet.

Green Light | EON won conditional approval from the European Commission to take over Innogy from RWE after the utility agreed to shed businesses in Hungary and the Czech Republic. While the EU’s decision was expected, the approval marks an important step in a deal that’s set to transform Germany’s energy landscape and revolutionize the region’s biggest market.

Chart of the Day

Brussels Edition: What Did Boris Tell Them?

Mario Draghi’s push to restart bond purchases counted on the support of ECB policy makers mainly from southern Europe and smaller countries who might never have expected to be so influential. This may mark the coming-of-age of the relatively young institution and set a precedent for future decisions.

Today’s Agenda

All times CET.

  • 9 a.m. Juncker, Barnier address European Parliament on Brexit
  • 1:30 p.m. German Chancellor Merkel meets Serbian Prime Minister Brnabic in Berlin
  • 5:30 p.m. European Parliament discusses money laundering with European Commission, Council
  • Envoys from EU27 countries meet to discuss Brexit
  • French President Macron meets Italian Premier Conte in Rome

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