RUSSIA/PUTIN – President Putin announced he will step down when his current term ends in 2024, saying that he will respect Russia’s constitutional ban on serving two consecutive presidential terms. This does not stop him becoming Prime Minister, a move he has done before.
COMING UP – No big set-piece this week unless you count Italy’s candidate for PM, Guiseppe Conte, presenting his proposals for his Cabinet to President Mattarella. Gossip in EU circles says Mattarella has been lobbied by EU bigwigs to talk Conte out of appointing a finance minister who would be hostile to the Euro.
Russia’s Lavrov is in N Korea and will set out Moscow’s views on the recent ‘rapprochement’ between Trump and Kim, but they are not one of the senior players in that game. They are still players in eastern Europe as seen by the nuclear plant talks Bulgaria holds this week (see Tues).
Friday sees the exemption on the USA tariffs on steel and aluminium expire. So, we might see some last-minute haggling to get it extended, or, further threats of raised tariffs on US goods into the EU. And on tariffs – the ongoing trade dialogue between US and China goes on… which is a good thing if they want to avoid a trade war.
Mon – Syria takes over the chair of the UN backed Conference on Disarmament in Geneva….
Tues – European Commission presents budget proposal for spending programs.
Tues – French Senate discusses proposed railway reforms that have sparked protests.
Tues – Bulgaria’s PM Boyko Borisov in Moscow to see President Putin to discuss restarting construction on a nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.
Tues – Turkey’s deputy PM and the head of its central bank in London to reassure investors as the Turkish economy lurches downwards
Thurs – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits North Korea.
Weds – Anti-austerity strikes in Greece.
Weds – India and Nepal begin 13 days of joint military exercises. China watches carefully.
Thurs – According to a senior Iranian official, this is the deadline for EU to present Iran with a plan for the future of the nuclear deal.
Fri – U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminium take effect. EU’s temporary exemption expires.
Sat – U.S. Commerce Sec Wilbur Ross in China for trade talks until Mon.