Monday

18th Dec 2017

Agenda

Eastern Europe on this WEEK's agenda

Eastern Europe dominates this week's agenda (25 February - 3 March) as EU leaders hope to pave the way for a “historic breakthrough” with Ukraine, while Latvia lays out its plans to join the euro.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is in Brussels on Monday for a summit with European Commission chief Jose Manuel and European Council head Herman Van Rompuy.

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  • The three leaders meet this week at the EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels. (Photo: president.gov.ua)

Under fire for jailing opposition leaders, rigging elections and bullying journalists, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is in Brussels on Monday for a summit with European Commission chief Jose Manuel and European Council head Herman Van Rompuy.

Van Rompuy on Friday said the Union is still ready to make a "historic … breakthrough" in Ukraine relations by signing an association treaty and trade pact with it later this year if Yanukovych mends his ways

Meanwhile, another former Soviet vassal, Latvia, is to lay out its plans for greater economic ties with the eurozone.

The Baltic state plans a formal application in March to join the single currency.

Its prospects will be discussed on Tuesday with MEPs in the economic and monetary affairs committee along with Latvia’s finance minister Andris Vilks and central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics.

The future of the single currency is also an issue in Italian and Cypriot elections, due to be decided over the weekend.

If Italy's former leader and convicted fraudster Silvio Berlusconi regains power, banks say it could spook the markets and force the country into a bailout.

In Cyprus, the departure of its anti-austerity President is expected to pave the way for an EU rescue package for the small island state.

EU agriculture ministers will on Monday in Brussels convene to discuss the horsemeat fraud scandal which has dominated headlines in recent days. New data in the US indicates that the flesh of escolar and snapper fish is also routinely being routinely mislabelled as tuna.

The European Parliament's environment committee will on Tuesday vote on whether to suspend the inclusion of aviation in EU trading of pollution allowances.

The global airline industry says the tax is unfair and could create a patchwork of similar schemes elsewhere. The United States, China, India, Russia and other countries have all threatened to boycott it.

On Wednesday, the European Commission will present its so-called ‘smart borders’ package, with EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom to discuss how technology can “speed up and facilitate” border checks for foreigners travelling to the Union.

The commission says its system will simplify the lives of frequent travellers.

But some pro-privacy advocates say it would compromise rights because it collects personal data for security profiling purposes.

Thursday is dedicated to the impact if the economic crisis on urbanites.

Mayors from 20 EU capitals will travel to Brussels and meet with EU commissioners for regional development, the digital agenda and the environment.

Discussions will focus on how to solve an economic crisis that has thrown millions into unemployment and poverty. Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, the commission will also put out ideas on how to eradicate "extreme poverty" in the EU by 2030.

On the international agenda, Barroso and EU parliament head Martin Schultz go to Dublin on Thursday. Barroso will discuss policy priorities with the EU Irish presidency and talk to students at Trinity College.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Turkey on Sunday and Monday.

Turkey plans to seek assurances on protection of the nearly 3 million Turkish-origin people who live in Germany, while Merkel plans to say Ankara must become more friendly toward Cyprus in order to unfreeze EU accession talks.

The recently appointed US secretary of state, John Kerry, is also due for a peregrination of European capitals.

He aims to visit London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Ankara before going to the Middle East. The EU capital, Brussels, is not on his list.

Netanyahu, Panama Papers, and Brexit This WEEK

The run-up to the Christmas break sees a packed schedule, including the EU summit on Brexit, migration and other issues, a rare visit by Israeli PM Netanyahu, and issues such as fishing quotas and the Panama Papers.

May-Juncker meeting sets the tone This WEEK

As Brexit negotiations approach the (possibly) grand finale of their first phase, the EU's attention this week is turning to the eurozone - who is the new boss and how to deepen and expand it.

Africa and EU summit This WEEK

Billed as a new partnership, the EU and Africa summit in Abidjan will focus on youth and jobs. The gathering takes place against the backdrop of migratory flows towards Europe and reports of open slave auctions in Libya.

EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK

EU ministers will vote on where to relocate two EU agencies from the UK, while later EU leaders will host six eastern European countries in Brussels. Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic awaits his verdict in the Hague.

EU ombudsman asks Tusk for more transparency

Emily O'Reilly wants the European Council president to ask the council to join the transparency register, publish information on meetings with lobbyists and publish more notes on the EU leaders' work.

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