Brussels Edition: May Wants More

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

Before Theresa May can bring her Brexit deal to the British Parliament for a now-or-never vote a week from today, she needs something from the EU to reassure unruly lawmakers that the agreement isn’t a plot to trap the U.K. in a customs union forever. Her envoys, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox — the man who will present to Parliament the all-important legal interpretation of the deal — are back in Brussels today for talks that will help determine where Brexit goes from here.

What’s Happening 

Macron’s Europe | The EU is trapped between those who wrongly blame it for their problems and those who accept the status quo, French President Emmanuel Macron writes in an op-ed to appear today in newspapers in each of the bloc’s 28 member states. The move is aimed at rallying support ahead of European Parliament elections in May and also involves a call for the formation of an EU-wide body to protect voting from “cyber-attacks and manipulations.”

Huawei Center | Huawei opens its cyber-security center in Brussels today, and telecoms operators and authorities will be able to test the Chinese company’s source code to ensure that their networks and customer data are secure. The opening comes as the telecom equipment maker seeks to ease concerns its gear could be used to enable espionage by Beijing. 

Greek Bond | Greece will today reach a key milestone in recovering from its financial crisis as it takes the symbolically important step of selling 10-year bonds for the first time in nine years. The country last sold 10-year debt in March 2010, two months before it entered the first of three international bailouts. 

Talking Climate | Europe’s set for more wrangling on emissions targets when environment ministers meet today. The opening round of talks over the next green deal in Europe highlighted differences between governments over the means and pace of transforming the continent’s economies to avoid catastrophic climate change, with Germany urging caution.

In Case You Missed It

Nordic Scandal | Nordea Bank is the latest firm to be dragged deeper into the region’s growing money-laundering scandal. The biggest Nordic lender allegedly handled about 700 million euros in questionable funds, some of it linked to the death of a Russian lawyer.

Useful Idiots | Viktor Orban’s taunting of his critics inside the EU’s biggest political family as “useful idiots” won’t go down well in the group, which is mulling whether to expel his Fidesz party. While Orban says that would weaken the European People’s Party, a shifting political landscape ahead of the May elections means the jury is out on who’ll win this game of brinkmanship.

Italian Anniversary | A year after the election that led to Italy’s populists taking power, the economic outlook is more precarious and warnings are growing louder. Meanwhile, Italy’s Democratic Party, which crashed at last year’s polls, chose Rome-area regional president Nicola Zingaretti as its new leader ahead of European elections.

Latvian Message | Latvia’s new prime minister pledged to stamp out the type of money laundering that has triggered turmoil across the EU’s northeast. But he has another important message: while his country may have been a gateway for dirty cash, the rest of bloc isn’t blameless.

Chart of the Day

Brussels Edition: May Wants More

Europe is ahead of its stated policy goal of one charging station per 10 electric vehicles, but the number of charging points will have to rise quickly to keep up with an EV fleet that BloombergNEF projects to reach more than 30 million by 2030. The continent will add its 200,000th point this year, and the number of EVs is expected to reach 2 million next year. 

Today’s Agenda

All times CET.

  • 9:30 a.m. EU’s environment ministers meet in Brussels
  • Georgia’s Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze chairs EU-Georgia Association Council in Brussels
  • Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker together with Commissioner Johannes Hahn meet Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan; Pashinyan and Juncker hold joint press conference
  • EU’s financial services chief Valdis Dombrovskis delivers a keynote speech at the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) conference on “Fostering Innovation in Corporate Reporting” in Brussels
  • Commissioner Violeta Bulc delivers the keynote speech at the Airlines for Europe Aviation Summit
  • Competition chief Margrethe Vestager is in Rome to meet Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and Finance Minister Giovanni Tria

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