Wednesday

8th Feb 2023

Agenda

Panama and PNR on EU agenda This Week

  • Iceland protests over Panama revelations led to fall of PM (Photo: Art Bicnick)

Street protests are due in Valetta on Sunday (10 April) in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations that said the Maltese energy minister, Konrad Mizzi, and the prime minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, had tried to set up accounts in banks in Panama and in Dubai.

A debate is expected in parliament next week on the opposition party’s no confidence motion on PM Joseph Muscat’s government.

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  • Juncker will be in parliament to defend EU-Turkey migrant deal

The European Parliament (EP) will hold a debate in Strasbourg on Tuesday on the leaked papers about owners of some 200,000 Panama off-shore entities, a

revelation that has already shaken Iceland’s government and implicated EU energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete and UK prime minister David Cameron.

Monday will see the presentation of a draft report in the EP’s civil liberties committee on the European Border and Coast Guard that is aimed at better managing the EU’s external borders.

On Tuesday, the European Commission will hold a debate on the US visa waiver issue.

The bloc’s executive is under legal pressurethat American and Canadian citizens apply for a visa if they want to visit Europe.

The problem arises after five EU states complained that their nationals need visas to enter the US. Two complained about Canada.

Tuesday will also see the publication of the official results of the Dutch referendum on which the parliament in The Hague is expected to hold a debate on Wednesday.

PNR

The EP will debate on Wednesday (13 April) and vote Thursday (14 April) on a provisional agreement with member states on the use of passenger name records (PNR).

The law is aimed at collecting and handing over to security services vast amounts of data from ordinary passengers in the hope of tracking down criminals and potential terrorists.

The bill has been criticised by human rights defenders arguing that mass surveillance will not fend off terrorists but does harm civil liberties.

MEPs will debate the merits and results of the EU-Turkey deal with EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and EU council chief Donald Tusk on Wednesday (13 April).

Under the deal Greece sent back the first migrants to Turkey last week, while EU countries are resettling Syrian refugees from Turkey.

An EP resolution on the rule of law in Poland is also expected to be voted on on Wendesday, to wrap up Parliament's 19 January debate with Polish PM Beata Szydlo.

MEPs will also vote on Thursday (14 April) on the reform of data protection laws to put internet users in control of their personal data and to regulate data transfers to third countries.

Iran and IMF

On Saturday (16 April) EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will lead a delegation to Iran, along with several EU commissioners, such as climate and energy commissioner Canete, Christos Stylianides, responsible for humanitarian aid, and transport commissioner Violeta Bulc.

The International Monetary Fund will decide whether to co-finance Greece's third bailout after the review of the program on the spring meeting starting on Friday (15 April), which EU finance ministers will attend.

IMF and EU officials said earlier they would try to agree on the conditions to conclude the review, as the issue of debt relief has been a point of divergence between the two creditors.

EU data chief says passenger information bill is unjustified

European data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, says there is not enough information to justify the necessity of the EU Passenger Name Record scheme, which stores and can divulge the personal details of passengers flying in and out of Europe.

Fears on migration plus Ukraine summit this WEEK

MEPs are expected to present their migration and asylum priorities on Wednesday (1 February), before EU leaders will focus on the issue at the 9-10 February special European Council.

New sanctions and democracy in focus This WEEK

On Monday, Brussels will see EU foreign affairs ministers focusing on a 10th sanctions package against Russia, a special tribunal, and preparing the EU-Ukraine summit on 3 February in Kyiv.

Opinion

Wales' message to Europe: 'We'll be back'

The scars of Brexit have left their mark in communities across Wales. The Menai mussel industry has experienced a sharp decline having once been a staple in fish counters and restaurants across Europe; its business model wrecked by post-Brexit rules.

Column

Why Europe's interminable compromises are a virtue

All member states complain about European compromises, each for their own reasons. Nevertheless, these decisions tend to be robust precisely because there is enough in them for everybody. And nobody wants to start negotiating all over again for another deal.

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