Monday

17th Feb 2020

Agenda

Brussels takes post-summit nap this WEEK

  • EU parliament: A quiet week ahead, with officials' kids off school and most MEPs visiting national constituents (Photo: FallacyFilms)

Brussels faces a quiet week after last Thursday and Friday's summit debates on spying, innovation and migration.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso will meet the outgoing Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili, in the EU capital on Tuesday (29 October).

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The event comes amid fears Georgia will put him on trial for corruption when his immunity lapses, creating a bad atmosphere ahead of the initialling of an EU-Georgia association pact in November.

The commission is not planning to put out any new legislative proposals this week, however.

Most MEPs are also visiting their national constituencies, while the EU Council rumbles on with a handful of regular events, such as a working group on medicinal products on Monday and a meeting of the Political and Security Committee on Wednesday.

At the same time, EU officials' children are off school all week in the run up to All Saint's Day, a Christian holiday, on Friday, when EU institutions close down.

Outside Brussels, the heads of German intelligence services are to head to Washington to discuss allegations the National Security Agency (NSA) has been bugging Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

A group of nine MEPs from the civil liberties committee will also visit the US capital from Monday to Wednesday to talk with congressmen about the implications of NSA snooping for EU data privacy laws and for the EU-US free trade deal.

Regions commissioner Johannes Hahn will meet with Romanian PM Victor Ponta in Bucharest on Monday and Tuesday to discuss progress on the Union's "Danube Strategy."

The policy was launched in 2011 to promote economic growth in nine EU countries situated along the river, as well as five non-EU states (Bosnia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine).

National MPs from EU affairs committees are also meeting in Vilnius between Sunday and Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of their so-called "Cosac" forum.

With EU elections approaching, the MPs will discuss how to improve turnout, as well as broader issues such as the "democratic legitimacy of the EU."

But Merkel at the summit last week quashed one idea how to get people more excited about the EU poll - by directly linking the performance of EU political groups and their commission chief nominees to the selection of Barroso's successor.

"I don't see any automaticity between top candidates and the filling of posts," she said.

"The treaty says [only] that it should be taken into account," she added, referring to the EU treaty.

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Member states get ready for their first real negotiations on the next seven-year EU budget, while MEPs discuss the next Brexit phase, enlargement, and vote on a highly-controversial trade deal with Vietnam.

Second phase of Brexit starts This WEEK

In its first week without the UK, the EU will reveal how it wants to negotiate future relations with London, will propose a new enlargement methodology to calm Paris, and MEPs will hear from EU chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi.

Davos and Libya in focus This WEEK

The all-powerful will meet in Davos after Berlin tries to resolve the Libyan conflict over the weekend, while MEPs will set the stage for final ratification of the Brexit deal.

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