22nd Oct 2021


Russia summit and Latvian euro membership top bill this WEEK

  • The EU-Russia summit will take place in Yekaterinburg (Photo: Holy Trinity Church of Pārdaugava)

EU leaders will travel to Yekaterinburg on the Kazakhstan border for the latest EU-Russia summit on Monday and Tuesday (3-4 June). The EU's four-person team will be led by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman van Rompuy, with the bloc's Foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger also present.

The crisis in Syria will top the agenda, a week after the EU controversially lifted its arms embargo to the country in the face of concerted pressure led the UK, who demanded the right to arm the rebels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

For its part, the Russian government defended its decision to send the first shipment of the S-300 anti-aircraft system to Bashar al-Assad's regime last week on the grounds that it would deter European nations and the US from intervening in the conflict.

Although EU ministers have in principle agreed not to send arms until August, after planned peace talks between the two sides in July, it is unclear whether this will be kept to. Asked by this website where EU countries would be free or not free to ship arms now, an EU source commented: "Both are correct, technically speaking."

Energy prices charged by Russian gas-giant Gazprom are also set to be discussed as well as visa-free travel. EU officials also suggested that they could take Russia to the World Trade Organization if the country continues to refuse to overturn legislation on car recycling and imposing vehicle fees on foreign car firms before the end of June.

However, EU officials are expecting few concrete decisions to emerge from the summit.

Meanwhile, Latvia's ambitions to join the eurozone could receive a boost on Wednesday (5 June) when the commission publishes its convergence report on whether the Baltic state has met the criteria to join the single currency. A positive report and recommendation by the EU executive could pave the way for EU governments to approve Latvia's membership bid in July.

Latvia called on the commission to prepare its convergence report in March. The report will assess a range of criteria including price and exchange rate stability and the convergence of long-term interest rates, as well as the EU's rules on government debt and deficit levels.

If successful, Latvia would become the 18th member of the eurozone in January 2014, three years after its neighbour Estonia joined.

EU Justice and Home affairs ministers will gather in Luxembourg on Thursday (6 June) with talks expected to focus on legislation re-writing the rules on data protection and the Schengen acquis.

Ministers will discuss common rules allowing governments to temporarily reintroduce border controls in exceptional circumstances.

In the European Parliament, Neven Mimica, Croatia's nominee to the European Commission, will face questioning from MEPs on Tuesday (4 June). Mimica, who has been allocated the consumer protection portfolio, will be grilled by members of the internal market and environment committees.

EU leaders meet This WEEK amid EU-Poland clash

Vaccine roll-outs, energy prices, migration and an upcoming climate summit will top the agenda at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, while MEPs in Strasbourg tackle rule of law.

News in Brief

  1. Russia's anti-vax campaign backfired, EU says
  2. China angered as MEPs call for Taiwan talks
  3. Emissions from La Palma volcano reach Brussels
  4. Body of eighth victim of Belarus border-crisis found in river
  5. Report: Syrian bank fiddling currency to evade EU sanctions
  6. Nato adopts plan to counter new Russian threats
  7. Alleged killer of British MP 'felt affiliated' to IS
  8. Coronavirus: Belgium returns to 'red' zone


Europe can't ignore Chinese encroachment in Ukraine

China's growing economic footprint in Ukraine may already be producing geopolitical consequences that put the country at odds with core European priorities. Volodymyr Zelensky decided earlier this year to withdraw Ukraine's condemnation of Chinese government crimes against the Uighurs.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Gas price spike exposes rift at EU summit
  2. Poland vows not to give into EU 'blackmail' at summit
  3. EU vows to uphold Paris climate ambition amid scientists' fears
  4. Commissions's new migration pact still seeking 'landing zone'
  5. Europe can't ignore Chinese encroachment in Ukraine
  6. Lithuania - where 'biodiversity funding' is cutting down trees
  7. Dutch lawyers take Frontex to EU court over pushbacks
  8. Polish rule-of-law debate boils over to EU summit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us