Saturday

20th Jan 2018

Agenda

Juncker's State of the Union on EU agenda This WEEK

  • The president of the commission will give his first state of the union address to parliament

The coming week will be marked by Jean-Claude Juncker's return to the centre stage on Wednesday (9 September), when he will give his first state of the union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.



The president of the European Commission did not remain silent during the summer recess. He gave interviews and published an impassioned editorial in several newspapers on the migration challenge facing Europe.

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But all eyes will be on him on Wednesday, when he is expected to present new proposals to tackle the migrant crisis and make the commission the main player on the issue ahead of an emergency EU ministerial on 14 September.

Juncker is expected to unveil a plan to relocate up to 160,000 asylum seekers in EU member states. His spokeswoman, Natasha Bertaud, confirmed Friday (4 September) that such a plan is in the works.

This proposal will certainly ruffle feathers in countries that refused to endorse Juncker's previous plan for 40,000 relocations. But the commission has been insisting, for weeks, that its Agenda on Migration, presented last May, is the foundation for any solution.

"Some seem to be [just] discovering now what we already proposed last May", commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Wednesday (2 September).

"The commission is determined to deliver on everything we promised in the agenda and the commission will be swift, bold and complete in doing this," he said, setting the tone for Juncker's speech in Strasbourg.

Debates

The president of the commission will also present his college's work programme for 2016.

Juncker's address will be followed by a debate with MEPs over the commission's proposals on migration and its actions over the past year.

After the debate, MEPs will vote on the commission's proposal for 40,000 relocations. They will also vote on a non-binding resolution on the migrant crisis.

For their first post-summer plenary session, MEPs will hold debates and votes on a variety of issues.

On Tuesday, they will vote on the parliament's first reading position on animal cloning. The legislation under discussion aims to ban cloning of all farm animals, their descendants, and products derived from them in the EU.

On Wednesday, they will discuss the EU's foreign policy with the head of EU diplomacy, Federica Mogherini. The Middle East peace process, the Iran nuclear agreement, and the situation in Belarus before the presidential election will be on the agenda.

Agriculture

In Brussels, the week will kick off with an EU agriculture ministers' meeting, set against a tense backdrop.

While ministers discuss measures to support milk and meat production in Europe, farmers will demonstrate outside the building. The farmers union has announced the presence of 1,000 tractors on the streets and a symbolic pouring out of vast quantities of milk.

Proposals to help farmers include a rise in intervention prices - the price at which states can buy products to support the market - on powdered skimmed milk and cheese, as well as an increase in aid to producers in 2016.

Imposing fines on countries exceeding milk quotas (before they were lifted in April) in order to support farmers is also under consideration.



The day after the meeting, on Tuesday, the EU parliament's agriculture committee will discuss the issue with agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan in Strasbourg.

Ukraine

Also on Monday, trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem will host talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia over the EU's Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Ukraine.

This free-trade treaty was signed in June 2014, but all parties agreed to suspend its implementation until January 2016 to alleviate Russia's concerns about its trade with Ukraine.

The talks aim to iron out issues which will in turn facilitate DCFTA implementation.

On Friday and Saturday (11 and 12 September), EU finance ministers will meet in Luxembourg for an informal 28-strong meeting as well as an informal Eurogroup.

It will be their first meeting since they agreed on a third Greek bailout on 14 August. The snap Greek election on 20 September will probably be on their minds.

Opinion

EU needs to step up its game in Ukraine

The EU should not expect Russia to change its posture in the foreseeable future, because confrontational EU and US relations suit the Kremlin.

Bulgaria takes over, Germany's SPD votes This WEEK

While Bulgaria and Ireland present themselves at next week's plenary at the European Parliament, Germany's Social Democrats will decide if the preliminary coalition deal with Merkel is good enough.

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