Friday

20th Jan 2017

Agenda

More EU top jobs handed out this WEEK

  • Juncker - Set to be confirmed as the next Commission president on Tuesday. (Photo: consilium.europa.au)

The saga of who will get the EU's top jobs will move a step closer to conclusion this week, in the last major decision before the EU institutions begin their six-week summer recess.

On Tuesday (14 July), attention will be focused on the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where Jean Claude Juncker is almost certain to be elected by MEPs as the next president of the European Commission.

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The former Luxembourg PM spent last week wooing the political factions in the EP in order to secure their backing.

He needs at least half of the assembly's 751 deputies to support his candidacy after having been nominated by EU leaders at the end of June.

He appears to have the backing of the centre-right, centre-left, and liberal groups. Between them, the three groups account for 480 MEPs, with a majority of Green MEPs also likely to back Juncker.

His election would make him the first Commission chief to be elected via the Spitzenkandidat process, a system under which the lead candidate of the most popular political family - in the this case the centre-right EPP - gets nominated for the post.

For their part, the conservative eurosceptics in the ECR group and the left-wing GUE have indicated that they will oppose Juncker's candidacy.

The day after Juncker's likely election, EU leaders will gather in Brussels once more to discuss names for other top posts, such as the EU foreign policy chief and the EU council presidency. They are also expected to discuss the portfolios to be allocated to the 27 national commissioners.

The situation in Ukraine as well as the EU's ambitions for energy independence are on the agenda too.

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi will address MEPs on the economic affairs committee on Monday (14 July), his first monetary dialogue with deputies since May's elections and the ECB's decision to drop interest rates to a record low of 0.15 percent.

MEPs are also due to hear four interim commissioners - from Poland, Luxembourg, Italy and Finland - after their fellow nationals took up seats in the European Parliament.

Elsewhere, EU and US trade officials will gather in the EU capital for the sixth round of week-long talks on the trade and investment agreement known as TTIP.

On Monday, the European Commission will also publish plans to regulate the bloc's online gambling market.

GMO opt-out plan remains in waiting room

The commission wants to give the power to member states to reject EU-approved genetically modified organisms, but the Maltese presidency is unlikely to approach the issue any time soon.

New EU parliament coalitions get in shape

Social-democrats and their allies scored a major win on Thursday with the adoption of a report on social rights. But questions remain on the parliament's power balance after the end of the left-right grand coalition.

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