David Cameron has been forced to delay his long-awaited speech on Britain’s membership of the EU again, after a weekend spent struggling to get clear information about the resolution of the Algeria hostage crisis. The prime minister spent the weekend at Chequers, his country retreat. With key foreign policy advisers, they waited for news from the In Amenas gas plant, where more than 20 hostages died during the bloody end to a siege by militants. By Sunday, it was clear that he would not be able to deliver the speech today as planned, but would have to wait until later in the week. Aides said Wednesday is now the most likely date. (FT.COM)

The European Parliament wants its priorities to be heeded in the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF). EPP leader Joseph Daul has personnaly warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President José Manuel Barroso that he will suggest a secret ballot vote – thereby reducing the pressure capitals can exert upon MEPs – on the MFF. The S&D group confirmed an anonymous vote is an option. (EUROPOLITICS.INFO) 

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem ended weeks of speculation Thursday by confirming he wants to become the new head of the Eurogroup of euro-zone finance chiefs. (THEWALLSTREETJOURNAL.COM)

The long-delayed bailout of Cyprus is set to be pushed back at least two more months amid mounting disagreement over how to bring down the cost to a manageable level for the debt-laden government. Although fears Cyprus would run out of cash have dissipated after it tapped previously off-limits cash reserves and Russia showed willingness to delay repayment on a €2.5bn loan, officials said the delay until late March would push Nicosia to the edge of its ability to fund government and banking operations. (FT.COM)

Germany‘s centre-left opposition beat Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s ruling alliance Sunday in a cliffhanger state poll eight months ahead of a national election, estimates on public television showed. In one of the tightest German state races in recent memory, the Social Democrats together with the Greens eked out a one-seat lead in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, just ahead of the incumbent coalition of Merkel‘s Christian Democrats with the Free Democrats, broadcasters ARD and ZDF said. (AFP.COM)

The IMF has approved a Flexible Credit Line (FCL) for Poland of the equivalent of 33.8 billion USD, says a statement released Friday night by the Polish Finance Ministry. The IMF says the the Flexible Credit Line is designed “to meet the increased demand for crisis-prevention and crisis-mitigation lending from countries with very strong policy frameworks and track records in economic performance.” To date, three countries, Poland, Mexico and Colombia, have accessed the FCl, though all three countries have not, as yet, felt the need to access the fund. (THENEWS.PL)

Austrians have voted overwhelmingly in favour of retaining compulsory military service. With all votes in the referendum counted, except postal ballots, 59.8% voted to keep the draft with 40.2% against, the interior ministry said. The issue has divided politicians in the coalition government. Supporters of change said a professional army would be more effective – critics said it would put Austria‘s neutrality at risk. (BBC.CO.UK)


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