Wednesday

1st Apr 2020

Agenda

Key budget votes in Strasbourg this WEEK

  • Key budget votes will take place in the European Parliament this week (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

MEPs gathering in Strasbourg this week are set to give their final blessing to the EU budget for 2014-2020 and top up the current one to cover compensation for floods and drought.

After months of tough bargaining with member states, the European Parliament on Tuesday (19 November) is set to give the green light to the €908 billion budget for the next seven years. Votes on the specific programmes - ranging from agriculture to research and environment - are scheduled throughout the week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

MEPs will also approve a deal struck with member states last week allowing for outstanding bills in 2013 to be covered next year - over €400 million in compensation to regions in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Romania who were severely affected by floods and drought. Over a third of this money will be drawn from next year's budget.

The parliament is also set to adopt a new law on Wednesday obliging publicly-listed companies in the EU to increase their female non-executive directors to at least 40 percent by 2020. The current share of women in middle management positions is 17 percent, with women holding 14 percent of senior management positions.

Meanwhile, the monthly shuttling between Brussels and Strasbourg is again on the parliament's agenda, with a non-binding vote on Tuesday demanding self-determination on the matter. But the Strasbourg sessions are written into the EU treaty and negotiations on treaty change can take years.

Foreign ministers are meeting Monday to discuss whether Ukraine will get to sign the long-awaited association agreement with the EU at a summit with eastern European countries later this month in Vilnius. The deal is currently jeopardised by a deadlock over the jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. EU envoys will have another attempt next week to convince Ukrainian authorities to let Tymoshenko go to Germany for medical treatment.

The 16-year old Pakistan Malala Yousafzai, who campaigns for girls' education rights and survived a killing attempt by the Taliban, will receive the Sakharov prize on Wednesday. The prize is awarded by the European Parliament every year to dissidents and human rights campaigners.

On Friday, eurozone finance ministers are meeting for a special Eurogroup to discuss last week's reports issued by the European Commission after reviewing their respective draft budgets for 2014. Just two euro states - Estonia and Germany - were give the all clear, while Italy, Spain, Finland, Luxembourg and Malta were told they are at risk of breaching the rules underpinning the single currency.

Also on Friday, EU chiefs - Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy - are travelling to Beijing for a EU-China summit where they are expected to launch talks on a first investment agreement with the Chinese government. The deal seeks increased access for European businesses to Chinese markets in a bid to reduce China's trade surplus with the EU, worth €146 billion.

Elsewhere in the EU, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. His trip comes as the troika of international lenders is pressing the Greek government to agree to more spending cuts in return for the next bailout tranche.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

EU goes fully online in lockdown This WEEK

EU leaders will discuss the coronavirus reponse online, while MEPs will vote on urgent measures by email. Starting accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia will also be high on the agenda.

EU-Africa strategy and circular economy plan This WEEK

The European Commission is set to unveil the EU-Africa and the circular economy strategy this week. Additionally, MEPs will hold the plenary session in Brussels after the president David Sassoli cancelled the plenary in Strasbourg due to the coronavirus outbreak.

EU climate law and Thunberg visit This WEEK

The European Commission will on Wednesday unveil the first-ever EU climate law, while environmental activist Greta Thunberg is in Brussels to meet with the college of commissioners and MEPs. Environmental ministers will also gather to discuss future climate developments.

News in Brief

  1. Danish conservatives want Orban party kicked out of EPP
  2. Dutch finance minister repents on virus help
  3. France to house domestic violence victims in hotels
  4. Europe sends medical goods to Iran, despite US embargo
  5. Commission sets consultation on raising 2030 climate target
  6. 12-year old Belgian girl dies of coronavirus
  7. EU commission: no 'indefinite' emergency measures
  8. Denmark plans 'gradual' return to normal after Easter

Column

Trying to think straight about coronavirus

Clear-headed thinking becomes nearly impossible under this relentless barrage of bad news and apocalyptic analysis, Ferraris writes - a state of mind he describes as "cogito interruptus".

Analysis

Italy and Spain: worst - or just first?

Italy and Spain, the most-affected countries in the EU, have tightened their response to the coronavirus outbreak - as the pair together now account for more than half of the world's death toll.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable
  2. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  3. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough
  4. Trying to think straight about coronavirus
  5. Berlin ready to airlift Greek island refugees
  6. Von der Leyen criticises Hungary, but fails to mention it
  7. Air pollution drops in Europe, but how long will it last?
  8. Human rights abusers don't stop for virus, MEPs tell EU

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us