Wednesday

27th Oct 2021

Agenda

Poland in spotlight This WEEK

  • EU Commission president Juncker (l) and Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo at the opening of the UN climate summit last December (Photo: European Commission)

Controversial new laws on the constitutional tribunal and the media adopted recently in Poland will be in the spotlight this week in Brussels, as the EU Commission is expected to hold its first debate on Wednesday (13 January) on the rule of law in the Eastern European EU member state.

Critics say the legislation, rushed through by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which curtails the duties of the constitutional tribunal, effectively erases the system of checks and balances on the government. The placing of the state media under direct government control also rang alarm bells.

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

Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, who oversees rule of law issues, sent two letters to Warsaw on the matters. But Poland answered on Thursday (7 January) with a fiery letter accusing the commission of being "unjust, biased and politically engaged".

The discussion in the college of commissioners is expected to take stock of developments in Poland, and the commission might eventually decide to launch the rule of law procedure, established in 2014, to assess the health of Polish democracy and make recommendations if necessary.

Given the sensitive political nature of the issue, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday hit a conciliatory tone, saying the EU was not bashing Poland. But that was before Poland's reply.

Turkey and migration

Timmermans will travel to the Turkish capital this weekend to hold talks with officials on Monday (11 January) after he said that the EU was "a long way from being satisfied" with the efforts by Ankara to help stem the flow of migrants crossing into Europe.

The EU has offered €3bn in aid and political concessions, such as an easing of visa restrictions and the opening of new chapters in its EU membership process last November.

"There is still a lot of work to do there," said Timmermans recently, who plans to discuss progress and see how the EU aid can be used there to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

On Thursday (14 January) migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos will meet with MEPs from the civil liberties committee to debate the border coast guard package presented recently by the commission.

He is also expected to give an assessment of the implementation of measures to tackle the refugee crisis, as only 272 asylum seekers have been relocated so far within the EU.

Juncker will travel to Berlin on Thursday to meet with German chancellor Angela Merkel, and migration will be among the topics discussed.

The Dutch come to town

As the Dutch presidency of the EU kicks in, MEPs will have a chance to hear from government ministers throughout next week on the agenda for the next six months.

EU hopes €3bn will see Turkey halt migrants

EU leaders and Turkey’s PM will, on Sunday, finalise a €3 billion deal to stop migrants coming, in talks held in the shadow of the Turkey-Russia confrontation.

What does EU scrutiny of Poland mean?

The EU Commission will discuss on Wednesday the state of play in Poland, and might launch a monitoring procedure against Warsaw. But what does this procedure mean, and does it matter?

Energy and gender in EU focus This WEEK

In the European Parliament, the home affairs committee will start to work on new migration laws: providing the legal framework for the new migration policy in the EU.

EU leaders meet This WEEK amid EU-Poland clash

Vaccine roll-outs, energy prices, migration and an upcoming climate summit will top the agenda at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, while MEPs in Strasbourg tackle rule of law.

News in Brief

  1. US to add last three EU states to visa-waiver list
  2. German ministry gives thumbs up to Russian pipeline
  3. EU regulator foresees endless battles with Facebook
  4. UK fears three migrants drowned in Channel
  5. Israel joins EU science scheme, despite Palestine clause
  6. Upcoming flu season 'could be severe', EU agency warns
  7. Ukraine wins Dutch case on Crimea gold
  8. Most Poles want Warsaw to back down in EU dispute

UN annual meeting plus Poland in focus This WEEK

The Polish Constitutional Tribunal is holding a hearing on the issue of whether EU law has primacy in the country. It is not clear whether the tribunal will deliver a ruling.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Environment ministers continue dogfight on energy price hike
  2. Most lawmakers unhappy with lead MEP's asylum bill
  3. More transparency on EU media owners planned for 2022
  4. Europe's deadly border policies
  5. 'Brussels So White' needs action, not magical thinking
  6. How to break the political deadlock on migration
  7. Hedegaard on the hazards of stalling climate action
  8. Belarus exiles in EU fear regime-linked murderers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us