Saturday

19th Aug 2017

Agenda

First summit THIS WEEK for Italy's new PM

  • Italy's new prime minister Paolo Gentiloni seen here with then fellow foreign ministers. He will now sit at the table of government leaders (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

This week, Italy's new prime minister will attend his first EU summit.

However, Paolo Gentiloni is no stranger to Brussels or the topics that EU leaders will discuss on Thursday (15 December).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Before he was asked on Sunday (11 December) by the Italian president to form a new government to succeed outgoing PM Matteo Renzi, Gentiloni had been Renzi's foreign minister since October 2014, during Italy's rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.

An important topic at the summit agenda to Gentiloni will be the debate about migration. Leaders will take stock of the EU-Turkey deal, and the progress of similar such agreements with African countries.

The summit will also feature plans for more European coordination on external security and defence. They will discuss counter-terrorism and how to screen visitors to the EU.

Leaders are expected, according to a draft version of the summit conclusions that is circulating online, to welcome the proposed European Defence Action Plan.

They will also discuss Russia and the situation in Syria, and will negotiate on a text to be added to an EU-Ukraine association agreement.

The addendum was requested by Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who is hoping a legally binding text will quell unrest in his country over the deal.

In April, the EU-Ukraine treaty was rejected in a referendum, which was non-binding, but politically sensitive. In particular, now that elections are coming up in the Netherlands in three months time, Rutte wants to come home from Brussels with a solution.

Short summit, in particular for May

The summit is scheduled to be shorter than usual.

Instead of the usual two days, now only one day is scheduled, with leaders beginning earlier.

In particular the UK's leader, Theresa May, might make it home before midnight.

She will leave her colleagues when they hold a dinner debate over the future of the EU post-Brexit.

While negotiations with the UK over leaving the bloc have formally not begun, the EU-27 are in a process of soul-searching: how to convince the citizens that the EU is still relevant?

Meanwhile, the week already starts with other meetings in the Council building.

Foreign affairs ministers are taking a lead on the summit by discussing migration and Syria on Monday (12 December). They will also meet with the president of Colombia and sign the first-ever EU-Cuba association treaty.

Fishy ritual

On Monday and Tuesday, their colleagues from the agriculture and fisheries ministries are meeting.

Fisheries ministers will debate and haggle over next year's fish quota, in what is something of an annual ritual.

The ritual can be summed up as such: the European Commission has proposed the volume of fish that can be caught sustainably, based on a scientific advice. Member states propose higher catches, out of national economic interests. Environmentalist groups express their disappointment with the outcome.

A source close to the presidency of the Council said it will be the same ritual this year, with ministers having to need “quite a lot of time” to come to a conclusion.

“The scenario will be more or less the same as last year,” the contact said.

EPP primary

Another EU ritual is that of MEPs meeting in Strasbourg every four weeks or so.

This week's Strasbourg session will feature new rules on railway contracts, a debate about fundamental rights in the EU and new rules on visa suspensions.

The biggest group in the EU parliament, the European People's Party, will elect its nominee for the post of president of the parliament.

While initially the EPP thought it had a deal with Schulz' group, the Socialists and Democrats, that it was their turn to get the top job, it has now become a competitive race with contenders from several political groups.

German centre-left president Martin Schulz is having his last Strasbourg week. Schulz is leaving the EU realm to contend in the German national elections next week, although it is not yet clear whether he will be his party's candidate for chancellor, or for foreign minister.

Even if it is the latter, the case of Paolo Gentiloni has shown that you can go from being FM to PM in just over two years.

Trump, Ukraine and NGO sea rescues This WEEK

The US president will be back in Europe for France's Bastille Day, while the EU and Ukraine will hold a summit in Kiev, and MEPs will discuss migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  2. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  3. Martens CentreWeeding Out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  5. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Ep. 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  6. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  7. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  9. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School
  10. EPSUEP Support for Corporate Tax Transparency Principle Unlikely to Pass Reality Check
  11. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament Improves the External Investment Plan but Significant Challenges Ahead
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCloser Energy Co-Operation Keeps Nordic Region on Top in Green Energy