Thursday

2nd Feb 2023

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".

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

Europe is giving more aid to Ukraine than you think

'Europeans need to pull their weight in Ukraine. They should pony up more funds.' Such has been the chorus since the start of the war. The problem is the argument isn't borne out by the facts, at least not anymore.

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