Friday

13th Dec 2019

Agenda

Putin steals the show This WEEK

  • Putin recently created a potential staging post for an anti-IS offensive at Syria's Latakia airport (Photo: kremlin.ru)

Prospects of an EU-US-Russia alliance against Islamic State (IS) and a peace deal on Ukraine take centre stage this week.

Neither dossier involves the EU institutions or Brussels. But decisions made at the UN General Assembly in New York and at the Ukraine peace talks in Paris could reshape European affairs.

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Russian leader Vladimir Putin is expected to propose the anti-IS coalition in his UN speech on Monday (28 September).

He is also expected to criticise EU and US sanctions on Russia, imposed after he invaded Ukraine.

Putin's UN speech, his first in 10 years, might be preceded by a Russian military offensive in Syria.

He will also meet US leader Barack Obama for the first time since the Ukraine conflict.

Stopping the Syria war is key to stopping the EU refugee crisis. But the price of Putin’s help might be to keep his Syrian ally, president Bashar al-Assad in power, and for the West to drop Ukraine sanctions.

EU Council chair Donald Tusk will defend Europe’s actions on migration and Ukraine in a speech on Tuesday.

The UN assembly will also see top EU officials and EU state leaders attend a high-level conference on migration on Wednesday - a prelude to EU talks with African leaders in Malta in November.

For her part, top EU diplomat Federica Mogherini will, the same day, try to launch a new format for Arab-Israeli peace talks in a meeting with Russia, the US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans will, on Saturday, address a UN meeting on eradicating poverty.

The same day, France will take centre stage at climate change talks ahead of the Paris summit in December.

Moving from New York to Paris on Friday, the French, German, Russian, and Ukrainian leaders will discuss how to end the conflict in east Ukraine.

The talks come after a lull in fighting, but ahead of “elections” by Russian puppet governments in east Ukraine in October.

Back in Brussels, MEPs will, from Monday to Wednesday, hold talks on EU spending plans for 2016.

The EU Parliament's civil liberties committee will, on Thursday, debate US intelligence snooping on EU nationals, in a resolution which could cast further doubt on EU-US data sharing protocols.

With the refugee crisis prompting political gains by far-right groups, Timmermans will, in Brussels on Thursday, give a speech against Islamophobia.

Meanwhile, Europe will start the week by digesting the outcome of local elections in Catalonia.

If separatist parties win by a landslide, as expected, Catalan leaders might unilaterally declare independence, creating a crisis in Spain and posing questions on future Catalan-EU relations.

UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK

EU leaders will try to agree on the 2050 emission-free target - but they will deeply disagree on EU spending over the next seven years. Meanwhile the UK will elect its new political leadership.

New commission and Malta in focus This Week

Ursula von der Leyen and her new team of commissioners will have their first meeting on Wednesday. In the meantime, Malta descends into political turmoil over the death of an investigative journalist.

EU Parliament to vote on the Commission This WEEK

MEPs will decide on Wednesday whether to support the new EU commission as a whole during the plenary session. If approved, Ursula von der Leyen's team will finally take office on 1 December.

Key moments for new commission This WEEK

MEPs will decide on Monday if they want the Hungarian commissioner-designate to come back for a second hearing, as commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen hopes to finally take office on 1 December.

News in Brief

  1. EU Scream podcast wins media award
  2. Sturgeon will set out Scottish independence plan next week
  3. Slovenia, Croatia ex-leaders highlight jailed Catalans
  4. Italian court tells Facebook to reopen fascist party's account
  5. EU extends sanctions on Russia until mid-2020
  6. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  7. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  8. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality

EU values face scrutiny This WEEK

Rule of law, environmental protection, and minority rights will feature high on the agenda in Brussels and Strasbourg as 2019 comes to a close.

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