José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, visits Luxembourg on Monday to discuss the agenda for the coming six months, when Luxembourg holds the EU's rotating presidency. Jean-Claude Juncker, the long-serving prime minister and finance minister of Luxembourg, is expected to seek support from Mr Barroso's Commission for his plans to unveil a remodelled euro stability pact by March, breathing life into fiscal rules whose credibility was destroyed by French and German breaches of its deficit limit. Mr Juncker is also firmly opposed to proposals from France, Germany and Italy to exclude certain types of spending from the eurozone's rules.
On Tuesday Franco Frattini , the EU's justice and security commissioner, is set to present new proposals on how the EU should manage economic migration as it grapples with a skills shortage and an ageing population. In particular, Mr Frattini is looking at fast-track schemes to admit economic migrants and US-style green cards for skilled workers in a drive to boost growth. The Commission believes that between 2010 and 2030, at current immigration flows, the decline in the EU's working age population will bring a cut of 20m in the number of employed people.
On Wednesday Louis Michel, the European Union's development and humanitarian aid, continues his busy travel schedule with a trip to Mauritius for a small islands' development conference. Although the conference was scheduled before the Asian quake, it is expected to be dominated by discussions about how to respond to the tsunami and how to prepare for similar natural disasters in vulnerable island states.
The European Parliament is widely expected to vote on Wednesday in favour of the planned EU constitution, following its ratification by EU heads of government last year in Rome. The parliament is expected to play an important role in defending the constitution, which will be subject to a national referendum in several member states and faces stiff opposition in countries like Denmark and the UK. If the constitution is eventually adopted, the parliament would be one of the main beneficiaries as it would increase considerably its legislative powers and oversight in sensitive areas such as justice and security.
On Thursday Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's external relations commissioner, will meet in Washington with senior members of the Bush administration, including the outgoing and incoming secretary of states, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Joint efforts to coordinate the relief effort in Asia following the tsunami are likely to feature in the discussions and have been seen as a way to erase some of the transatlantic diplomatic tensions over Iraq. Ms Ferrero-Waldner has also recently advocated the creation of an EU rapid reaction team to coordinate civil protection following natural disasters such as the tsunami.
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