Werner Faymann, Austria's chancellor, will set out his views on the future of financial regulation and economic governance, and on the European Union's multi-annual budget, when he appears before the European Parliament's plenary in Strasbourg on Tuesday (15 January).
Faymann's address follows a similar exchange that MEPs had with Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, last month. Other national leaders will address the Parliament in the coming months.
MEPs will also discuss economic and monetary legislation, including banking supervision, bank capital requirements and credit-rating agencies (see above).
Faymann, leader of the centre-left Socialists (SPÖ), heads a grand coalition with the centre-right Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), which is led by Michael Spindelegger, the foreign minister. The coalition faces an election later this year, most likely in June or September, and both main parties are under pressure following a string of corruption scandals and from a new, economically liberal but Eurosceptic party launched by Frank Stronach, a billionaire entrepreneur. While the SPÖ was shaken by corruption allegations last year, the ongoing trial of Ernst Strasser, a former ÖVP interior minister and MEP, has thrown the spotlight back on the centre-right. Strasser is accused of offering to influence EU legislation in return for cash, an affair that forced him to resign as an MEP in 2011.
African trade deal
MEPs will also vote on an interim economic partnership agreement with Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. The agreement, which is open to other countries in eastern and southern Africa, has been in provisional application since May 2012 and now requires MEPs' approval. The international trade committee backed the agreement in December by 20 votes to five, with one abstention, while the development committee, giving its opinion, narrowly rejected it.
MEPs will modify the plenary schedule for 2013 following a ruling by the European Court of Justice in December. The court found that holding two plenary sessions in a single week in October, as currently planned, fails to satisfy the EU treaty's requirement for 12 monthly sessions in Strasbourg.
The Parliament's leadership will redraft the 2013 plenary schedule at a meeting today (10 January) and put it to a vote on Wednesday (16 January).