Thursday

21st Mar 2019

Agenda

EU summit on migrants and Syria This WEEK

  • EU summits have recently become an almost monthly feature. (Photo: Consillium)

Though EU summits have recently become an almost monthly feature, there is nothing pedestrian about meetings of the 28 heads of state and government, and they never fail to dominate the week's agenda. The 15-16 October summit will be no exception.

After an extraordinary summit on the refugee crisis on 23 September, EU leaders will once again address the issue. They will discuss the results of the 8 October interior ministers' Council and Eastern Mediterranean - Western Balkans conference, as well as the results of a foreign affairs ministers' Council held on Monday (12 October).

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The topics on the table include aid to the countries hosting refugee camps - Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey - and how to strengthen EU external borders.

Interior ministers on 8 October agreed to boost the EU's policy of repatriating people who are not granted asylum.

The creation of an EU border and coast guard, as requested by French president Francois Hollande in his EU Parliament address on 7 October, should also be on the summit agenda.

Syria and Turkey

The situation in Syria, where Russia is openly supporting Bashar Al-Assad's regime against insurgents and violating the air space of Nato-member Turkey, should be addressed by EU leaders. The issue will already have been the main topic of discussion at Monday's meeting of foreign ministers.

The summit agenda also includes a discussion on the Economic and Monetary Union, a few days before the European Commission publishes its proposals on micro-economic governance, competitiveness and the eurozone's social dimension.

Ahead of a more concrete discussion at the December summit, EU leaders will be informed about the technical discussions between the EU and the UK on reforms demanded by British prime minister David Cameron.

The EU Council will be preceded by the biannual tripartite social summit, which gathers EU leaders and business and trade union leaders to discuss the economic and social situation in the EU.

On Wednesday (14 October), EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos will visit Turkey, a week after president Erdogan's visit to Brussels and the publication of an EU Commission action plan.

Although the plan was agreed by Turkey before it was published, details still have to be discussed, in particular the use of €1 billion the Commission wants Turkey to use to deal with the refugee crisis and which Turkey wants to use as part of the accession process, that the money was originally earmarked for.

Parliament

At the European Parliament, after a week of plenary session in Strasbourg, committees will resume their work in Brussels.

On Monday (12 October), the civil liberties committee will discuss the consequences of the European Court of Justice's ruling on the Safe Harbour agreement on data transfers between the EU and the US. The court said the agreement was invalid, with effects on data protection and business still uncertain.

On Tuesday (13 October), the same civil liberties committee will evaluate what the Commission and member states have done since the parliament voted in March 2014 on a resolution on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens, after revelations by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Also on Tuesday, the economic and monetary affairs committee will vote on its report on how member states respected the Commission's country-specific economic reform recommendations.

The committee will also vote on the agreement to exchange information on tax rulings reached by EU finance ministers on 6 October.

Meanwhile, the environment and public health committee will vote on a draft legislation to let member states decide whether or not to ban imports and sales of genetically modified products on their territory. The main question is how relevant this is with the principles of the single market.

MEPs will also hold a mini-plenary session on Wednesday (14 October). They will discuss the agenda of the EU summit taking place the day after, and Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will give a speech.

They will vote on a decision to allocate €401.3 million to the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund, the Internal Security Fund, the European Neighbourhood Instrument, the Frontex border agency, the European Asylum Support Office and Europol to hire more staff.

The parliament will vote on its position on the December climate summit in Paris. While member states agreed on their common position on 18 September, the resolution will constitute the mandate for the 15 MEPs delegated to attend the summit.

EU agrees common position for climate summit

Environment ministers agreed to demand a 50% cut in carbon emissions by 2050 and a review mechanism in case of an agreement at the upcoming climate conference in Paris.

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