Chris Gilson and Stuart A Brown take a look at the week in Brussels blogging.

The EU centre

EU heads of state are currently meeting in the latest attempt to negotiate the next seven years of the EU budget. With a deal seemingly close, Open Europe takes a look at the ‘latest draft’, while Wyn Grant at the Common Agricultural Policy blog notes that there are signs France may be willing to compromise over agricultural subsidies. Ahead of the budget summit, Open Europe also took a close look at the potential for the gap between commitments and payments in the budget to be widened.

Brian Gardner, at Blogactiv.eu looks at the ‘cosseted’ EU sugar industry, which is supported by high tariffs and production quotas. Scandinavia & the EU at Blogactiv.eu looks at recent disagreements over taxes on food imports between Norway and the EU. Norway cannot compete with EU imports on price, and so imposes taxes of 200-300 per cent on some food imports.

Credit: Adam Lederer (Creative Commons BY NC SA)

Kiels Prat in Europe addresses ‘euromyths’, such as high pay for Brussels bureaucrats, and looks at why the media perpetuates these myths. The European Citizen says that February will be a big month for same-sex marriage in Europe with votes in France and Britain, and a session of Ireland’s Constitutional Convention devoted to the subject.

EU Foreign policy and the European neighbourhood

Contentious politics Russia looks forward, predicting when the next large protests in Russia may occur. 2016 and 2018 are most likely, given the Duma and Presidential elections due to occur in those years.

FRIDE’s Clare Castillejo discusses the ongoing situation in Mali. The European Council on Foreign Relations says that France’s intervention in the country feels like a defeat for those who would like to see the EU as a more cohesive military player. They also take an in-depth look at problems in Egypt, which they say are threatening to spin out of control.

The Euro Crisis

The FT’s Brussels blog looks at a recent report from rating agency Standard & Poor’s that strikes a positive note about the recovery in some of the eurozone’s periphery. Meanwhile, the European Student Think Tank wonders if the euro is now the defacto global currency, given the strength of the European Central Bank and the size of the eurozone’s exports.

Jonathan Portes at Not the Treasury View also takes a look at recent projections for the global economy across 2013, while A Fistful of Euros discusses the recent bank debt deal in Ireland.

Across Europe

Croatia, the war and the future covers recent protests in the country over government plans to introduce Cyrillic (Serbian) script alongside the current Latin script of Croatian. These plans may re-open war wounds dating back to the 1990s Croatian War of Independence.

Charlemagne looks at whether or not Spanish President Mariano Rajoy can survive a party funding scandal based on alleged double accounting to dodge funding laws and pay senior party members cash extras.

Nada es Gratis assess Spain’s immigration policies between 1997 and 2009, finding that the expansion of the visa waiver system led to massive increases in immigration, far outweighing the role played by GDP growth in attracting migrants.

Reuniting Europe at Blogactiv.eu looks at recent reports that the Bulgarian government is distributing funds in a non-transparent way, and that they may also be being used to help in the re-election of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. Meanwhile, Europe & Me looks at a recent European Commission report on Romania. There is concern that the mildly positive tone of the report may discourage the Romanian government from making further reforms.

Ahead of the elections in Italy later this month, Open Europe looks at Silvio Berlusconi’s recently announced policy pledges (which include a tax amnesty). They observe that this popular rhetoric is proving effective, with Berlusconi’s party rising in the polls.

And finally…

What has President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy been up to? This week he met with the Prime Minister of Romania, Victor Ponta, spoke on the EU budget negotiations,

Debating Europe asks, should there be an EU-wide speed limit?

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Note:  This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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