Thursday

18th Aug 2022

Agenda

Russia sanctions to dominate this WEEK

Possible EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine are set to dominate this week's agenda as heads of state and government gather in Brussels to discuss the implications of the referendum in Crimea.

The EU leaders plan to piece together a response to the unfolding crisis in Ukraine over dinner on Thursday evening (21 March) at the Brussels summit.

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (l): EU leaders are set to tackle Russia's military occupation of Crimea (Photo: kremlin.ru)

But their reaction will depend in part on the discussions held by EU foreign ministers on Monday.

The foreign ministers are set to discuss the names of the elite circle of Russians implicated in the Crimea military takeover in late February.

Their names could be added to an EU blacklist. This means they would not be able to travel to the EU and their assets would be frozen.

How Russia reacts to the referendum is also set to play a decisive role in the EU response, which could include economic sanctions on Russian energy firms and banks if the situation escalates.

The US, for its part, announced "severe consequences" should Russia decide to annex the peninsula.

The European Commission also has a role.

It is set to lay out its macro-financial assistance plans to Ukraine. The bloc's economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn will present the €1.6 billion package on Wednesday.

“In very simple terms, this is a direct injection into the Ukrainian budget,” said an EU source.

Meanwhile, summit leaders will tackle issues other than Ukraine as well.

Thursday afternoon will be devoted to finalising the draft conclusions on climate and energy, industry, job competiveness, and growth with follow-up discussions on Friday.

Relations with Africa will also be discussed ahead of the fourth EU-Africa summit in early April.

EU ministers in the general affairs council on Tuesday will put the draft conclusions together.

Leaked draft conclusions seen by this website suggest the EU will submit its plan on a global climate deal by early 2015 ahead of the climate summit in Paris.

It notes the new EU target for greenhouse gas emission reductions will be in line with the agreed EU objective for 2050.

The European Parliament, for its part, will focus on the single resolution system for winding down failing banks and the upcoming review of bank assets by the European Central Bank.

French finance minister Pierre Moscovici on Monday is scheduled to speak on the issue with the MEPs on the parliament’s economic affairs committee.

On Tuesday, the committee will see internal market commissioner Michel Barnier and ECB supervisory board chair, Michelle Nouy.

Mid-week the European Commission will also deliver its visa package.

The proposal aims to make it easier for people to obtain Schengen visas. A new visa that allows people to stay more than 90 days in the EU will also be presented.

Rule of law and Czech presidency priorities This WEEK

The European Commission will unveil its rule-of-law audit of all EU member states this week. Meanwhile, several ministers from the Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers the priorities of the rotating EU Council presidency for the next six months.

Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

MEPs will gather in Strasbourg for the final plenary before the summer break, with a crucial vote on the classification of gas and nuclear. The Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers its presidency's priorities for the next six months.

G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK

EU energy ministers and environment ministers are expected to reach common positions on different aspects of the Fit for 55 package — as the continent is increasingly worried about energy prices and future supplies.

EU leaders talk Ukraine candidacy This WEEK

EU leaders will gather in Brussels and discuss Ukraine's candidacy status, and the impact of Russia's invasion of the country on energy and defence. European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde will give a briefing to MEPs on inflation to MEPs.

Taxonomy and Ukraine on top This WEEK

MEPs will vote on an objection to the EU Commission's proposal to classify, temporarily, gas and nuclear energy investment as 'green', under the so-called taxonomy. Meanwhile, EU finance ministers are expected to approve Poland's recovery plan.

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