Brussels to focus on social justice this WEEK
27.09.13 @ 17:32
BRUSSELS - EU ministers will meet on Monday (30 September) in a general affairs Council to discuss ongoing negotiations with MEPs on the shape of the bloc's Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020.
The two main sticking points are plans for macro-economic conditionality - tying aid to fiscal prudence - and withholding part of aid for projects until they are successfully completed.
Leading MEPs strongly dislike both ideas, arguing that the first one could lead to regions being punished for decisions taken by central governments.
They dislike the second one for potentially making project managers set unambitious targets in order to make sure they get all the money.
The European Commission is on Wednesday to unveil a communication on the social dimension of economic monetary union.
The paper comes at a time when the EU, as a political project, is suffering by association with the economic crisis, even though member states make most of the decisions, in social and employment policy, that affect people's day-to-day lives.
The same day the commission will publish a paper looking at the extent to which barriers to certain professions still exist in member states, preventing, say, a dentist in one country from setting up business in another.
Previous studies have shown that professions have difficult or unjustified entry requirements, effectively hindering people from moving freely around the EU.
Wednesday will also see the commission take another shot at making EU legislation more targeted and efficient.
Some existing laws will be simplified and others binned in what is an attempt by Brussels to tackle its reputation for red-tape.
The European Parliament will continue to shine the spotlight on the US' surveillance programme next week.
On Monday, the civil liberties committee will hear from whistleblowers formerly working in America's NSA and Britain's MI5 intelligence services. On Thursday the committee will examine the alleged hacking by the UK's intelligence services of Belgian phone company Belgacom.
At the beginning of the week, there will be a first reading vote in the agricultural committee on the EU's new-model farm policy. Critics say it has failed to make the direct payments to farmers fairer and that the overall policy has not become as green as originally touted.
MEPs on Monday are also due to whittle down the list of nominees for the Sakahrov prize on human rights. The winner from the new shortlist of three will be chosen later in the autumn.
The list includes Edward Snowden, who exposed the US' mass surveillance programme and Malala Yousafzai, an 11-year old girl from Pakistan who survived an assassination attempt in October 2012 after setting up a Taliban-critical blog.