The EU Commission told us yesterday how trade wars are starting to take a toll on growth. Today we’ll find out how likely they are to escalate, as Cecilia Malmstrom informs trade ministers about the results of preliminary talks with U.S. negotiators that are intended to lay the groundwork for a trans-Atlantic deal. Ministers will also discuss slow-moving talks for an accord with Mercosur countries, legislation on screening foreign investment and one of the untold tragedies of trade wars: anti-dumping duties on European fries.
| Eurogroup President Mario Centeno will meet Italy’s prime minister and finance minister in Rome, a few days before the country has to submit revised budget plans to Brussels. The trip comes after the Commission said economic growth next year will be weaker than the government targets, while the budget deficit will move dangerously close to the EU limit of 3 percent. Italian bonds fell, signaling that markets take the EU’s projections seriously. And industry officials in the prosperous north are not happy.
| We are approaching the endgame of Brexit — we just don’t know if it’s going to be a happy ending. EU27 envoys will discuss the latest on the negotiations and prepare for a meeting of the bloc’s European Affairs ministers on Monday. Whether the gatherings will be procedural or substantial largely depends on the U.K. cabinet, which needs to approve an outline of a withdrawal deal pushed by Prime Minister Theresa May.
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