Brussels Edition: Peace in Europe, Green Deal

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

The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany have a chance to end a war that has scarred Europe when they meet in Paris today. At stake isn’t just peace in eastern Ukraine. A Franco-German push for a rapprochement with Russia, the continent’s energy supply, and Emmanuel Macron’s ambition to secure a spot as Europe’s dealmaker, all depend on the outcome of negotiations. With Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s popularity fading, European diplomats fear the window of opportunity for a deal is closing.

What’s Happening

Tory Lead | With only days until the U.K. goes to the polls in a general election that will determine its relationship with the EU, polls suggest that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on course to win a majority — unless Brexit opponents can find a way to coordinate votes against him. If you want to understand this election, read our postcard from the seaside town that encapsulates how Britain has ended up at what is likely to be a watershed moment.

Green Business | This is no small thing. The leaders of Europe’s biggest multi-national companies signaled they will get behind the EU’s plan to zero-out the continent’s carbon emissions by 2050. But they asked the European Commission to adopt protective measures so as “to avoid carbon and investment leakage and guarantee a global level playing field for competition.”

French Turmoil | France is bracing for another round of protests, with both the government and labor unions vowing to stick to their guns in the battle over Macron’s reforms of the pension system. The stakes are high for the president. He has told associates that he couldn’t consider running for a second term in 2022 unless he gets his measures through.

Troubled Waters | Ankara’s latest muscle flexing in the Mediterranean will cast a shadow over today’s meeting of EU foreign ministers. Turkey and Libya approved a contentious maritime deal that may fuel an energy showdown in the gas-rich waters, where both countries are at odds with Greece and Cyprus.

Maltese Reckoning | Once celebrated for steering one of the EU’s fastest-growing economies, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat can’t leave his house these days without running the risk of being pelted by eggs and coins. Here’s why he became the target of a nation’s anger over corruption.

In Case You Missed It

German Turmoil | The leftist new leaders of Germany’s Social Democrats signaled that the party will stay in government — at least for the time being. But putting pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc to consider new policy initiatives failed to give them any sort of meaningful bump in the polls. Quite the contrary.

Tech Taxes | French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire urged the U.S. to support a global overhaul of how the digital economy is taxed. The debate over how to tax big tech companies is heating up, with the U.S. threatening to impose tariffs on about $2.4 billion of French products in retaliation for a new digital levy.

Youngest PM | Finland is set to get its youngest-ever prime minister. Sanna Marin, 34, won the backing of her Social Democratic Party on Sunday, and parliament is set to vote on her appointment on Tuesday. She will preside over a five-party coalition that agreed to keep working together after the shock resignation of the premier last week.

The Other Orban | Romania’s new prime minister might share a surname with Hungary’s anti-immigrant leader Viktor Orban, but the similarities end there. Ludovic Orban told us in an interview he wants to return his country to the EU mainstream by snuffing out the kind of populism his namesake has championed. He has much to do.

Chart of the Day

Brussels Edition: Peace in Europe, Green Deal

Economies on the verge of collapse, a yearning for greater democracy, revulsion against corruption and inequality — the grievances that drove people onto the streets in 2019 were consistent across continents. Alan Crawford takes you on a tour of a year of protests that sparked change around the globe.

Today’s Agenda

All times CET.

  • 9 a.m. EU health ministers meet in Brussels
  • 9:45 a.m. Keynote speech by the EU lower court president van der Woude
  • 10 a.m. EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels, to discuss current affairs, Libya, Bolivia, EU-Africa relations and the situation in Iran
  • 5 p.m. EU foreign policy chief Borrell and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg give press statement following meeting in Brussels
  • EU Commission President von der Leyen addresses a meeting of chairmen of the EPP Parliamentary Groups
  • EU antitrust and tech chief Vestager delivers a speech at the Chillin' Competition Conference; and speaks at the Politico event ‘Scaling up Europe', in Brussels
  • Macron hosts Merkel, Putin and Zelenskiy in a push to end the violence in eastern Ukraine
  • COP25 Conference continues in Madrid. EU Commission Vice Presidents Dombrovskis and Timmermans attend

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