Tuesday

27th Jun 2017

Agenda

EU leaders in Brussels This WEEK

  • Russia bombing raids in Syria have reignited talks of more sanctions (Photo: gov.uk)

Heads of state will gather in Brussels at the end of the week with looming questions over migration, Russian bombings in Syria, and the fate of a trade deal with Canada.

Inconclusive talks on Syria this weekend in Switzerland between the US and Russia will most likely factor into broader discussions by EU foreign ministers, on Monday in Luxembourg, and when heads of state meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

An EU diplomat told reporters on Friday (14 October) that there was little appetite to impose further sanctions on Russia, despite intensified bombing raids on Aleppo and reportedly on a UN aid convey.

"There are some saying that Russia should be on the table on Monday, but I don't think there will be a consensus on that," he said.

The EU had already extended Russia sanctions in June until the end of January.

The foreign ministerial meeting will also touch upon shoring up deals with Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal in an effort to slow down migration flows and return those with no legal rights to be in the EU.

Meanwhile, big questions loom over an EU trade with Canada (Ceta). Trade ministers are supposed to sign off on the deal on Tuesday, but Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region threatens to derail it. Walloon prime minister Paul Magnette on Friday saying Belgium must refuse to sign it.

EU summit

However, the big event starts on Thursday, with EU leaders arriving in Brussels.

Their talks will kick off in the afternoon, with an emphasis on getting deals sorted with Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will brief the leaders on the discussions with the five African states.

An EU official told this website "the main focus is to get the cooperation with these African countries right".

Interior ministers earlier this week helped pave the way after approving a new travel document to speed up returns of migrants back to their home countries.

Many show up with no official papers or IDs, making returns more complicated. But the new EU laissez-passer document is likely to upset African states.

Last November, the African Union's ambassador to the EU, Ajay Bramdeo, said such a document was “unheard of in terms of international law and international practice”.

Other issues on Thursday afternoon include talks on the Western Balkan migratory routes, border security, the EU's migrant deal with Turkey, and EU commission ideas on tracking people who travel through the EU.

Russia and sanctions

Thursday will conclude over dinner and a wide discussion on Russia.

Sanctions are currently not a point on the agenda but are likely to narrow in on Russia's role in Syria.

Draft conclusions, as of Friday (14 October), made no mention of sanctions and only stated that "the leaders had a strategic debate on its relations with Russia". However, this may change.

UK prime minister Theresa May, in her first appearance at an EU summit, is also set to make a statement on Brexit during Thursday's dinner but she is not expected to say anything new.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is also expected to make a statement on the results of his country's referendum on an association agreement between the EU and Ukraine.

Friday morning is geared towards trade, with Ceta likely to dominate discussions.

Other talks on trade will touch on China's overproduction of steel as well the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement and ongoing talks with the US.

Greek bailout and EU border corps This WEEK

Eurozone finance ministers are expeced to release a €2.8bn payment to Athens. Justice ministers will discuss relocation and how to make the new border guard operational.

EU summit and Brexit This WEEK

Security and defence, along with Brexit and migration, are among the big issues to be discussed as leaders from all 28 EU states converge in Brussels for meetings and a summit.

Brits and French go to polls This WEEK

The British election will determine who will lead the UK out of the EU, while French leader Macron hopes to secure his base for more eurozone integration.

China summit and Juncker in MEP tax hearing This WEEK

EU and China are holding their 19th summit at the end of the week, but attention will first shift to EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who will have to respond to tricky questions from MEPs on a Luxembourg tax scandal.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  2. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  3. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  5. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  6. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  7. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  8. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  9. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  10. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  11. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  12. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million

Latest News

  1. 'USB condoms' and migration on Estonia's EU agenda
  2. EU parliament should be friend of transparency
  3. EU fines Google €2.4 bn over online shopping
  4. EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline
  5. G20 is 'test run' for Trump-era climate governance
  6. Political conditions for EU funds prompt debate
  7. May defends proposal on EU citizens' rights
  8. UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit