Sunday

18th Nov 2018

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.

Focus

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.

Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK

All eyes on London this week, where May struggles to hold onto power against Brexit rebels, while EU leaders meet in Brussels on Sunday to try to clinch agreement.

Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

The now-outgoing German chancellor will outline her vision for Europe in the EU parliament, as political parties gear up for the election next May. Brexit will also dominate, even though talks have yet to yield a breakthrough.

EU elections and Italy's finances are in focus This WEEK

A debate among would-be EPP 'Spizenkandidat' candidates next week in Helsinki will be the first of many clashes of ideas ahead of European elections next May. The liberals are also holding their own congress.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

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