Tuesday

28th Feb 2017

Agenda

Ukraine and Cuba on agenda this WEEK

  • Damas de Blanco: Female relatives of Cuban political prisoners, who campaign for their release, collected an EU award last year (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Ukraine will top the agenda when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Monday (10 February), with sanctions likely to be discussed informally, but no decision taken.

The discussion comes after leaked phone calls highlighted the difference between the EU and US approach to the crisis: In one call, a high-ranking EU diplomat voiced irritation that the US is portraying Europe as weak in its response.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The wider eastern neighbourhood will also be discussed.

Two informal papers will set the grounds for debate: A Swedish paper, signed by 12 other member states, calls for a PR drive to keep Georgia and Moldova on track to sign EU pacts in August. A Polish paper looks at how EU aid money could be better spent.

Looking further afield, ministers are expected to launch talks on a political and economic agreement with Cuba.

The EU froze relations in 2003 after Cuban authorities threw 75 dissidents in jail. Limited contacts resumed in 2008 following the release of the prisoners, but until now former Communist EU states, such as the Czech Republic and Poland, had resisted Spanish pressure to go furter.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will also brief ministers on the conflict in Central African Republic.

France, which unilaterally deployed 1,600 troops, is hoping other EU countries will pledge soldiers and equipment for an EU operation to protect refugees in Bangui.

Tuesday will see EU ministers begin preparations for an EU-Africa summit in April and for an EU leaders’ summit in March, where debate is to focus on the “European semester” (its budget and economic reform cycle) and combatting unemployment.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament will continue its probe into the work of the troika - the groups of officials from internationl lenders, the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund, who oversee bailouts.

Critics say they work with no oversight and that they misjudged the social problems caused by austerity.

Parliament’s economic affairs committee will on Thursday question ECB board member Benoit Couere, while the social affairs commitee will adopt a troika resolution.

MEPs in the civil liberties committee will on Wednesday decide whether to call for a suspension of international data agreements and trade talks with the US in light of the US snooping scandal.

Two committees will also vote on the revision of the EU’s anti-money laundering directive.

Campaigners say changes to the law could have a strong impact on the fight against corruption, trafficking and tax evasion. The draft bill requires all companies registered in the EU to reveal who really owns them.

With EU elections approaching and MEPs keen to have a bigger say on the next European Commission, deputies in the constitutional affairs committee are also set to call for some future commissioners to be recruited from the ranks of the newly-elected assembly.

EU to open trade talks with Cuba

EU foreign ministers have agreed to open talks on a trade and political relationship with Cuba, raising the prospect of a new era in relations between Brussels and Havana.

EU tackles CO2 threat This WEEK

EU states will haggle over the reform of a carbon trade system, while MEPs vote on overhauling EU car emissions oversight.

Pence, Greece and Brexit This WEEK

The US vice-president becomes the first senior Trump administration official to visit EU institutions. Greece's creditors try to break deadlock in talks, and British Lords will debate Brexit.

MEPs vote on EU-Canada deal This WEEK

MEPs will have a final vote on the EU-Canada trade deal, while Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau will address the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.

EU tackles CO2 threat This WEEK

EU states will haggle over the reform of a carbon trade system, while MEPs vote on overhauling EU car emissions oversight.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsFreedom of Association and Expression Under Threat in Kazakhstan, Reports CIVICUS Monitor
  2. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Brussels on March 6th
  3. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  5. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  6. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  7. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  8. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  9. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  10. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  11. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  12. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps