Monday

23rd Sep 2019

Agenda

Obama back in Brussels this WEEK

  • Obama was in Brussels in March in his first-ever trip to the EU capital (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

US President Barack Obama is back in the EU capital this week for a summit of G7 wealthy nations to be dominated by Ukraine.

The event was originally due to take place in Sochi, Russia, in a G8 format including Russian leader Vladimir Putin, but Russia's membership in the prestigious club was suspended when it annexed Crimea.

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 G7 leaders, also including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and top EU officials will take place in the EU's Justus Lipsius building on Wednesday (4 June) and Thursday.

The US is looking for the EU to take a strong and more united stance on potential Russia sanctions, amid escalating clashes in east Ukraine and reports of a new wave of Chechen fighters crossing from Russia into the conflict zone.

The official agenda also includes the global economy, trade, energy security, climate change, and development.

Obama was last in Brussels for an EU-US summit in March – his first ever visit to the EU capital.

He will stay in Europe on Thursday and Friday to attend a D-Day commemoration ceremony in France, where Putin, as well as Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko, are also due to attend.

Obama and Putin are to hold separate, bilateral meetings with French President Francois Hollande on Thursday.

For his part, Poroshenko will fly back to Kiev for his inauguration on Saturday. He has said he wants to sign an EU free trade agreement, locking Ukraine out of Russia's Eurasian Union, shortly afterwards in Kiev. But co-ordination of the precise time and place for the event is still ongoing with the 28 EU leaders.

Ukraine will also feature on this week's agenda in energy and defence terms.

Russia has threatened to stop Ukraine's gas supply on Monday – risking shortages in EU states that get Russian gas via Ukraine – but there is a deal in the making for Ukraine to pay €570 million of old Russia gas debts to avoid the cut-off.

Meanwhile, Nato defence ministers will on Tuesday and Wednesday discuss sending more military assets to eastern European countries as a deterrent to Russian aggression.

Ideas include: reinforcing Nato's Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin, Poland; more air patrols; more military drills; and a bigger naval presence in the Baltic and the Black Seas.

In day-to-day business, the European Commission will on Monday publish its latest "country-specific recommendations" – a to-do list for 26 EU countries, excluding bailout states Cyprus and Greece – on issues ranging from budgets, to education, and climate.

It will also put out its "convergence reports" on Wednesday – an economic state-of-the-nation for the eight countries in line to join the euro. The list covers Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden, with Lithuania hoping to be the next to join in 2015.

From Tuesday to Thursday, EU officials will give a series of briefings on environmental issues at various events during "Green Week". This year's edition of the annual forum is to focus on waste and recycling.

The commission will on Friday also unveil a new strategy on health and safety at work, looking at new work-related diseases and how to help ageing people stay in their jobs longer.

The European Parliament will, on the surface, have a quiet week.

But behind the scenes, newly-elected MEPs will be busy trying to negotiate the formation of the next legislature's political groups.

MEPs who went to observe the recent elections in Egypt and Ukraine will give a briefing at the foreign affairs committee on Wednesday.

The Egypt mission caused controversy in Cairo by publicly criticising standards, with the leaders of one state-sponsored symposium, organised by the Egyptian National Council for Women last weekend, throwing mission members out of the event due to their remarks.

Opinion

European tremors have only begun

Europe’s right-wing protest seeks independence domestically, distance from the US, rapprochement with Russia and a new balance with China.

News in Brief

  1. Doubt cast on new Maltese inquiry into slain reporter
  2. March by Slovak Catholics seeks abortion ban
  3. 600,000 stranded on holiday as Thomas Cook collapses
  4. Egypt: hundreds of protesters arrested over weekend
  5. Global car industry fears no-deal Brexit shock
  6. France: de-escalation between US and Iran priority
  7. Spain demands UK 'reciprocity' on resident rights
  8. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  2. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  4. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  8. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  10. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  11. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  12. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  6. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  7. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  10. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us