(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.
As Italy toys with the idea of a parallel payments system, known as mini-BOTs, a cautionary tale from the euro area’s recent history shows how a similar system was due to work as an exit ticket for Greece from the currency bloc. There is a blueprint with four chapters on how to leave a union which is supposed to be irreversible. The 157-page plan on how to manage Grexit, not seen until today — even by most government leaders, senior officials and mandarins — is revealed in a new book by our very own Viktoria Dendrinou and esteemed friend and competitor Eleni Varvitsioti. Here’s a taste of the EU’s top-secret plan B, including its cryptic code name.
Eurozone Budget | EU finance ministers reached a deal at 4:40 a.m. this morning on most elements of the design of a miniature budget for the euro area. However, key details about the funding have been left open, and the can will be kicked down the road to leaders meeting next week in Brussels.
Tobin Tax | Finance ministers will today get an update on Europe’s quest for a financial transaction tax from Germany’s Olaf Scholz, who on Thursday said that the 10 countries working on the plan are close to an agreement. But as so often, there’s a bone of contention. This time, the question is how to divide expected revenue, so that the effort of raising the levy makes economic sense for everyone.
Horsetrading Geography | The frantic succession of meetings to discuss who gets which top EU job continues today with a summit of southern European states in Malta. Meanwhile, in the very north, a standoff between two Finnish bankers for the ECB presidency is in full swing.
Strategic Agenda | EU leaders plan to underscore the importance of the fight against climate change when they meet next week, though their words will stop short of a mandate to move toward zeroing out fossil fuel emissions. The final wording on climate in the bloc’s so-called strategic agenda for the next five years lacks ambition, amid persistent differences among member states.
In Case You Missed It
German Question | Germany is struggling to figure out what it needs to do to get Donald Trump to back off. The U.S. president floated the possibility of sanctions against a new gas pipeline to Russia, and he keeps threatening Europe’s industrial powerhouse with car tariffs. The problem that emerged out of a secret meeting last month? The U.S. government isn’t sure what it wants.
Brexit Favorite | Pro-Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson took a huge lead in the race to become the U.K’s next prime minister, after his Conservative colleagues in Parliament overwhelmingly backed him as their preferred candidate. Johnson has threatened to withhold the agreed financial settlement with the EU if he doesn’t get what he wants, but this wouldn’t bode well for any sort of future deal.
Romanian Reconciliation | Romania was on the brink of following Hungary and Poland into the EU’s bad books, as officials accused it of backsliding on democracy. But with the architect of that dispute — former ruling-party boss Liviu Dragnea — now serving a 3 1/2-year prison sentence for corruption, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila thinks it’s time for a rapprochement.
Dutch Hate | The Netherlands is the cradle of capitalism and home of the world’s first stock market, while its banks are among the EU’s safest, most profitable, and most digitally savvy. So why do the Dutch hate bankers so much? Here’s the answer.
Quiz Answer | And the answer to our quiz from yesterday. The former senior euro-zone official turned crime author is ex-National Bank of Belgium Governor Jan Smets, whose debut novel “Theater” tells the story of the murder of a famous lawyer in Ghent.
Chart of the Day
Europe’s common currency saw a pickup in global usage last year as geopolitical tensions damped demand for the dollar, the European Central Bank said in its annual report on the International Role of the Euro. Concerns about unilateral sanctions by the U.S. “probably added to rebalancing of foreign exchange portfolios,” according to ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure.
All times CET.
- 9 a.m. EU finance ministers continue their meeting in Luxembourg
- 9 a.m. EU health ministers meet in Luxembourg, to discuss antimicrobial resistance
- 12:45 p.m. EU Commission briefing on progress in fighting disinformation
- EU Council President Tusk meets with Slovakia Prime Minister Pellegrini in Bratislava
- EU trade chief Malmstrom speaks on a panel in Geneva on trade and torture
- Paris Air Show begins
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--With assistance from Alexander Weber and Zoe Schneeweiss.
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