Wednesday

19th Jun 2019

Agenda

Obama in Brussels this WEEK

  • German-US relations took a hit amid revelations that Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone had been tapped (Photo: Bundesregierung)

EU capital Brussels will be pulling out all the diplomatic stops this week as it plays host to US President Barack Obama.

The President will attend the EU-US summit in Brussels on Wednesday (26 March) in what will be his first visit to the EU capital since he took office in 2009.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The trip will be an opportunity to smooth over the cracks that appeared in bilateral ties after revelations about the extent of US intelligence snooping on EU citizens and some of their leaders.

The meeting is set to include discussions on a bilateral free-trade deal. Talks on the agreement started last year and both sides have been touting its potential benefits. However, there are many sticking points including EU worries that its environmental and safety standards risk being eroded. And law-makers on both sides of the Atlantic could strike down the end result.

Meanwhile Obama’s EU trip comes amid the continued tense political stand-off with Russia, which recently annexed Crimea following an independence referendum deemed illegal by the EU. The US, followed by the EU, imposed sanctions on key Russian figures.

Obama will arrive in Brussels on Tuesday evening.

Before attending the summit on Wednesday, he will visit the American cemetry commemorating the First World War in Waregem, north west Belgium. De Standaard newspaper reports that 20 platoons, each with 40 police, will be deployed during the president's visit.

Prior to Brussels, Obama will be in The Hague for the Nuclear Security Summit which will also be attended by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and German leader Angela Merkel.

Xi will also have a state visit in France from Tuesday to Friday. He will travel from there on to Berlin which in the past has proved to be a strong trade ally. Last year Chancellor Merkel backed Beijing’s position in a bilateral trade dispute with the EU over solar panel imports.

On Tuesday, the European Commission is set to unveil new legislation on organic farming. A recent commission report on the issue noted that between 2000 and 2011 the organic area in EU member states has more than doubled to over 9.5 million hectares of agricultural land.

The same report noted that the current rules on what makes a product organic need to be clarified for non-food products, such as cometics. It also noted that the organic sector suffers from the same "intensification" problems as the non-organic sector, such as when it comes to overcrowded conditions for poultry.

The European Parliament has a quiet week with the main event being a debriefing of what happened at the EU summit by EU council president Herman Van Rompuy on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there will be several external trips by groups of MEPs including to Washington, Poland and Qatar.

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

EU top jobs, Italy, and Western Balkans This WEEK

Talks on EP groups and top jobs in the wake of the EU election last month continue. Finance ministers also discuss whether to fine Italy, while EU commissioners promote Western Balkans enlargement.

EU votes on future leaders This WEEK

The political spotlight switches from Brussels to national capitals and regions this week as Europe gears up for the start of European Parliament elections on Thursday

News in Brief

  1. New socialist group leader to push for Timmermans
  2. Romanian ex-PM frontrunner to head new liberal group
  3. France, Germany and Spain in fighter jet deal
  4. Tusk grilled in Poland over role as PM
  5. Italy is 'most credible' US partner in EU, says Salvini
  6. EU blames Sudan junta for killings and rapes
  7. Report: EU may suspend Turkey customs union talks
  8. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July

Interview

Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC

Juan Branco is a lawyer and co-author of a legal document submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing EU officials and member states of crimes against humanity for their migration policies. "Some people should have to go to prison."

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction
  2. Frontex transparency dispute goes to EU court
  3. Commission goes easy on scant national climate plans
  4. Macron and Mogherini decline to back US accusation on Iran
  5. EU summit must give effective answer on migration
  6. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  7. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  8. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us