Saturday

3rd Dec 2022

Agenda

Parliament and Juncker plan to take centre stage this WEEK

  • The European Parliament and Jean Claude Juncker's €300 billion investment plan will dominate next week. (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Parliament will take centre stage next week as MEPs gather in Strasbourg on Monday (12 January) for their first plenary session of 2015.

The assembly’s agenda is light on legislation but heavy on speeches by EU leaders.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It will be a case of ‘goodbye’ from Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and ‘hello’ from Latvian premier Laimdota Straujuma, as the Baltic country starts its six month EU presidency. Both leaders will address the Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday morning respectively.

On Tuesday, deputies will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death-camp Auschwitz, one of the defining symbols of the Second World War and the Holocaust, where over 1 million Jews were murdered.

Donald Tusk, the newly installed President of the European Council, will debate the outcome of his first EU summit in December - notable for being short- with MEPs later that day.

The European Commission will also be in Strasbourg next week and plans to unveil draft legislation aimed at putting President Juncker’s flagship €315 billion investment plan into action on Tuesday.

The EU executive wants the European Parliament and government ministers to "fast-track" the laws so the fund, which relies on €21 billion of guarantees from the EU budget and the European Investment Bank being leveraged fifteen-fold and attracting private and public investments, can be set up by June.

The Commission will also publish its findings from a public consultation held in early 2014 on whether investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions should remain part of ongoing trade talks with the United States.

The clauses, which critics argue could prevent governments from passing legislation in fields such as health and safety and environmental and social protection, have become one of the main items of controversy in the talks which began in summer 2013.

The German and French governments have indicated that ISDS is unnecessary because investor rights are already safeguarded by national laws, while the European Parliament’s left and Green political groups have vowed to oppose any EU-US trade deal which includes the provisions.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the European Court of Justice will release its preliminary opinion on the case brought by Peter Gauweiler - a German conservative MP from the Christian Social Union, a junior member of chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition - against the bond-buying programme at the heart of ECB chief Mario Draghi's promise to do "whatever it takes" to protect the eurozone.

The Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme announced in September 2012 at the height of the eurozone crisis allows the European Central Bank to buy potentially unlimited amounts of government bonds, effectively making it a bank of last resort.

However, despite being credited as the most important step in quelling market panic about the debt sustainability of the eurozone’s periphery countries - particularly Spain and Italy - the ECB has not bought a single bond under the programme.

However, the ECB insists that eligibility for the programme depends on countries making structural reforms to their economies.

Nonetheless, Gauweiler and the other plaintiffs, which include several academics and the opposition Die Linke party, argue that the programme exceeds the ECB’s mandate is undemocratic.

They had originally brought the case before the German constitutional court which referred it to the EU’s top court.

Opinions by the court’s advocate generals are not legally binding but, in practice, usually form the basis of the final verdict.

EU's Hungary funds, China, energy, and Frontex This WEEK

In the European Parliament, MEPs will hear from ECB president Christina Lagarde, Kyiv's Vitali Klitschko, and from the three candidates proposed by the EU Commission to be the new boss of EU border agency Frontex.

Zooming in on energy and migration This WEEK

Two extraordinary meetings of ministers, on gas price caps and migration, are expected, while the European Parliament will keep the heat on Hungary and the EU Commission over rule of law.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us