4th Oct 2023


Poland, migration and environment on the agenda THIS WEEK

The European Commission is set to present its opinion over the rule of law in Poland, after months of tense talks that have challenged the EU's ability to protect democratic values. 

The commission launched its investigation in January after Poland's Law and Justice government introduced a reform of the constitutional court, which the court itself said was unconstitutional.

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Talks reached a crescendo last week after the commission postponed the publication of an allegedly critical report and sent vice-president Frans Timmermans on a last-minute trip to Warsaw to meet with prime minister Beata Szydlo. She promised to present solutions, which have yet to be made public.

The commission says it may formally adopt the report's findings at the weekly college meeting on Wednesday. It is unclear whether the report will then be made public.

Green Week

Another point on the commission's agenda is Green Week, the EU flagship forum for discussing environmental policy, which kicks off on Monday in the 2016 European green capital Ljubljana, Slovenia. The rest of the events take place in Brussels from Tuesday to Friday.

The focus is on the theme of investments in a green future. A high-level policy conference will take place on Wednesday.


EU agriculture ministers gather in Amsterdam on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) after 2020. Despite receiving a third of the EU budget in subsidies, the number of farmers continues to fall. The policy also needs to become more innovative and sustainable, according to the Dutch presidency of the Council.

Amsterdam will also host European ministers in charge of urban development on Monday. The ministers and the commission will launch the EU urban agenda, which aims to strengthen the urban dimension in EU policy making.

More than 70 percent of Europeans are urban dwellers, a share that keeps on growing. The aim of the agenda is to facilitate cooperation at all levels - EU, national and local - and the use of EU funds for projects in areas such as housing, air quality, energy savings, training and employment policies or integration of migrants.

European ministers of education, youth, culture and sports meet in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday. They will adopt conclusions on the role of the youth sector in preventing violent radicalisation of youngsters as well as on ways to promote media literacy and critical thinking. They will also adopt conclusions on ways to enhance integrity, transparency and good governance in large sports events.

European Parliament

The civil liberties committee (Libe) meets on Monday and will vote on the human rights aspects of EU plans to set up a European border and coast guard agency. The commission wants to give the agency more powers and resources to stop migrants from crossing the EU borders. Some member states countries opposed the plans because they saw it as a threat to national sovereignty, but EU ministers rubber-stamped the proposal in April.

The Libe committee will also vote on one proposal making it easier to return irregular migrants and another on whether to add non-EU nationals to the existing system for sharing criminal records within the EU.

Members will furthermore debate a draft list of "safe countries of origin" making it harder for citizens of those countries to prove they qualify for asylum. The commission suggests adding the Western Balkan countries and Turkey to the list.

Annual reports

The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) will present its 2015 report on the state of human rights in the EU on Monday. The refugee crisis, an upsurge in racist and xenophobic incidents and recent terrorist attacks are some of the most urgent problems for fundamental rights in the EU member states.

Olaf, the European anti-fraud office, presents its 2015 report on Tuesday. The yearly review comes as Olaf director-general Giovanni Kessler recently lost lost his immunity from prosecution, as he is suspected of using illegal methods during a probe into a tobacco lobbying scandal in 2012 that caused a commissioner to resign. Kessler appealed last week the commission’s removal of his protection from prosecution threatened Olaf's independence.

This week is also the week of the annual European Business Summit in Brussels, on Wednesday and Thursday. EU commissioners, political leaders and business people will debate on "the future of Europe" and how business can cope with the political, environmental or social challenges.

European Political Community and key media vote This WEEK

A major meeting of leaders from all over Europe will take place this week, with security and enlargement as key topics for discussion. In the Parliament, MEPs are expected to vote on the European Media Freedom Act.

China trade tension and migration deal This WEEK

An EU-China high-level economic is scheduled on Monday amid renewed tensions. Later this week, EU home affairs ministers will discuss the EU-Tunisia deal and the state of play of the EU pact on asylum and migration.

Spain's EU-language bid and UN summit This WEEK

While the heads of EU institutions are in New York for the UN high level meeting, Spain's EU presidency will try to convince ministers to make Catalan, Basque, and Galician official EU languages.

Von der Leyen's State of the Union address This WEEK

The EU's political season is back in full swing after the summer break, with the EU Commission president's State of the Union address on Wednesday. Meanwhile, exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will also address the European Parliament.

La Rentrée and MEPs anti-corruption reform This WEEK

The European Parliament's committee on constitutional affairs will vote on a 14-point anti-corruption reform, after the Qatargate allegations. Meanwhile, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will participate in the first Africa Climate Summit.


Migration: Let us put the 'pull factor' myth finally to rest

Factors such as the weather, and conditions in countries of departure, are much more key in explaining changing migration movements than talk of the 'pull' effect. But despite the many attempts to 'debunk' it, the pull theory is resilient.


Northern Europe — the new Nato/Russia frontline

The world has changed, not least in northern Europe, which is rapidly becoming one of the new frontlines between Nato and Russia. It is sometimes said that even the largest avalanche is caused by something small. Watch Northern Europe

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