Monday

17th Jan 2022

Agenda

Migration and bailouts on EU agenda This WEEK

  • Migration and bolder controls will be high on the EU's agenda (Photo: iom.int)

Migration continues to be on top of the agenda in the EU this week, as pressure grows on German chancellor Angela Merkel to reverse her welcoming policy towards asylum seekers.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte painted a bleak picture as he opened the Dutch presidency of the EU last week in the European Parliament, stating that the EU has 6-8 weeks to “sharply reduce” the number of refugees.

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“We are running out of time,” Rutte said.

French prime minister Manuel Valls warned on Friday (22 January) that Europe's migration crisis was putting the EU at grave risk.

Justice and home affairs ministers will meet on Monday (25 January) and Tuesday (26 January) informally in Amsterdam to discuss ongoing migration issues and counter-terrorism legislation.

PMI decision?

The EU budget commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, is due to report to the European Parliament budget committee on Monday (25 January). She is also expected to be questioned by MEPs on where the assessment of a 12-year agreement with tobacco multinational Philip Morris International (PMI) stands.

The deal, which made PMI, the EU and its member states allies in the fight against cigarette smuggling and involved PMI paying more than €1 billion, is set to expire in July. The issue is whether the EU wants to renew it.

MEPs are expected to ask Georgieva for the commission’s opinion on the issue.

Checking on the checks

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish on Tuesday (26 January) a report on whether the EU Commission appropriately managed the financial assistance programmes provided to Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Ireland and Portugal during the debt crisis.

EU auditors looked at the commission’s management of assistance provided under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM), the bloc’s temporary bailout fund, for which the EU executive borrowed on the capital markets using the EU budget as guarantee.

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair will pay a visit to Brussels Tuesday (26 January), and will discuss the “current EU policy agenda” with commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, a commission spokesperson announced.

The UK’s referendum on its membership of the EU certainly will be high on that agenda.

EU failing to deliver on migration plans

Three out of 11 hotspots in place. Two hundred and seventy people out of 160,000 relocated: Last year's EU promises to limit and better manage migration flows yet to materialise.

EU needs more time to assess €1 billion tobacco deal

The commission was expected to publish by the end of 2015 its report on the deal, which will expire in July and which has made the EU, member states and tobacco company PMI allies in the fight against cigarette smuggling.

New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK

The lead candidate is the centre-right European People's Party's (EPP) Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, who has been outspoke against corruption and rule-of-law issues - but some MEPs are concerned over her anti-abortion voting record.

Key talks with Russia over European security This WEEK

The Nato-Russia council will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, as western and Russian officials begin a series of meetings this week in an effort to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine's eastern border - where Russia has amassed troops.

Recovery and green financing plus Omicron This WEEK

Energy has emerged as a key dividing issue between EU countries, with leaders failing to agree on a common statement on the rise of energy prices (and how to tackle them) last week at their summit in Brussels.

News in Brief

  1. French parliament agrees stricter vaccine-pass system
  2. US speaks to energy firms about EU gas cut-off scenario
  3. Anti-vax protests held in the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria
  4. German MEP spends €690,000 on office renovation
  5. Microsoft identified destructive malware in Ukraine agencies
  6. Danish intelligence crisis deepens
  7. Hackers expose Polish military secrets
  8. Swedish soldiers might leave Sahel due to Russian fighters

MEPs focus on Belarus, digital rules This WEEK

The debate over a successor for David Sassoli, the centre-left Italian president of the European Parliament will heat up, and Belarusian democratic opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will address the plenary.

Facebook scandal and COP26 climax in focus This WEEK

Facebook whistleblower is expected to meet with MEPs and representatives of the French senate this week. Meanwhile, eyes turn again to the Glasgow UN climate summit as pressure is mounting for negotiators to finish the 2015 Paris Agreement rulebook.

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