Sunday

18th Nov 2018

Agenda

Migration This WEEK, as Brexit looms

  • Aerial view of Dadaab camp, which is home to 600,000 people (Photo: Oxfam International)

Behind the scenes in Brussels and other EU capitals, officials are already preparing for the aftermath of the Brexit referendum in just three weeks time.

They are trying to clear as much as possible off the agenda of an EU summit that will take place a few days after the vote. That means the decision on extending Russia economic sanctions could be taken earlier and at a lower level, EU diplomats said.

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  • Britain looks inward to referendum (Photo: Prime minister's office)

But this week, EU institutions will focus on migration, with the European Commission and the EU foreign service on Tuesday (7 June) to present ideas on how to tackle the crisis overseas.

MEPs will debate the “migration compact” in Strasbourg the same day.

The plan foresees using EU money for investments in poor African countries. It comes amid reports that Kenya has threatened to close the Dadaab refugee camp, the largest in the world, unless it gets EU help.

Kenya's appeal to Europe has echoes of the EU-Turkey deal, which itself looks increasingly wobbly.

Turkey has agreed to take back migrants from Greece in return for EU perks. But NGOs have said some returns are illegal and Turkey’s leader keeps butting heads with EU politicians.

On Wednesday, MEPs will debate president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest attack on opposition MPs in Turkey.

On Friday, EU home affairs ministers will discuss if the EU-Turkey deal is being implemented and progress on Turkey’s bid to get EU visa-free travel.

With the Euro 2016 football championships starting in France the same day, an event that the US has said could be targeted by terrorists, ministers will also discuss control of small arms and data exchange.

Tax cheats

MEPs will in Strasbourg on Wednesday decide whether to hold an inquiry into the Panama Papers scandal on offshore tax cheats.

They will the same day vote on whether a new EU anti tax-avoidance law is tough enough.

In other events, Georgia’s president, Giorgi Margvelashvili, will visit Strasbourg and Brussels on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as Tbilisi also lobbies to get EU visa-free travel.

Meanwhile, Maros Sefcovic, the EU energy commissioner, will on Tuesday give a speech in Berlin amid keen interest on the commission's legal assessment of a new Russia-Germany gas pipeline, Nord Stream II.

Cameron warns of Brexit 'madness'

In an TV debate three weeks before the EU membership referendum, the British prime minister defended his promise to curb migration and warned that leaving the EU would be "economic self-harm".

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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