Monday

18th Jun 2018

Agenda

Ukraine, Libya and Dieselgate on EU agenda This WEEK

  • War damage in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, where fighting flared up last week (Photo: Evgeny Kaplin)

Ukraine and Libya will be in focus when EU foreign affairs ministers meet on Monday (6 February).

The fighting in eastern Ukraine escalated last week, in what many fear was a Kremlin test to see how the new US president would react.

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Donald Trump vowed on Saturday to work with both Kiev and Moscow to restore peace "along the border", even though fighting is taking place deep inside eastern Ukraine.

Uncertainty over future US policy will weigh on the EU ministers' discussion of the implementation of the EU-backed Minsk ceasefire agreement, which aims to stop Russian-controlled forces from waging war in eastern Ukraine.

They will also review Ukraine's efforts to fight corruption ahead of a meeting between Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman and council president Donald Tusk on Thursday.

The foreign affairs council will review the political situation in Libya, one year after the formation of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Ministers will discuss how to work with Libya to stop migrants from trying to cross the Mediterranean after EU heads of state on Friday pledged to pay the GNA €200 million to reinforce its coastguard.

Dieselgate day

The European Parliament will also discuss Ukraine on Monday, as the subcommittee on security and defence hosts the country's deputy PM, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.

The EU special envoy to south Caucasus, Herbert Salber, and Georgia's EU ambassador, Natalie Sabanadze, will come to discuss the increasing Russian influence in the region.

On Thursday, the Dieselgate scandal will feature in two committee meetings, held simultaneously in the European Parliament.

EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska will discuss how the cheating was made possible with members of the parliament's special inquiry committee into the affair.

Meanwhile, in the internal market and consumer affairs committee, MEPs will vote on a plan, tabled a year ago by Bienkowska, to increase EU oversight on national car approval systems.

More EU involvement is hoped to prevent further scandals, but it is unclear how far the European Parliament's committee intends to go. The vote has been delayed several times in an attempt to find compromises.

Also on Thursday, the parliament's civic liberties (Libe) committee will hold a discussion on the Schengen free-travel area.

Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway have asked to prolong for a further three months the temporary internal border checks they introduced in May 2016 in response to growing migration flows.

In the sidelines, the parliament's political groups will prepare for next week's plenary session, which will feature ratification of the controversial EU-Canada trade agreement (Ceta).

Future of euro on EU agenda This WEEK

Euro-area ministers will discuss the viability of the Greek bailout, while court rulings in Rome and in London could pose questions for the future of the single currency and of Brexit.

Greece and Merkel's fate top This WEEK

Eurozone ministers are expected to give the green light to the final disbursement of aid to Greece and agree on measures to help with its debt burden. Meanwhile, the government in Berlin is shaken by Bavarian rebels over migration.

Dutch debate on EU agenda This WEEK

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte will debate the future of the EU with MEPs and with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasburg on Wednesday.

New governments in Spain and Italy This Week

MIgration will be back in the EU limelight as interior ministers discuss the latest proposals on asylum. Italy's new minister is a fan of Orban and has vowed mass deportations.

Budget and Bettel on the EU's agenda This Week

MEPs will have their first chance to discuss the EU Commission's plans for the next long-term EU budget in Strasbourg. At the same time, a court case in Luxembourg may shake up the 'rule of law' debate.

Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK

The Facebook CEO will brief MEPs on data protection - but only behind closed doors. Meanwhile EU leaders are scratching their heads on how to deal with US president Trump's erratic decisions on trade and the Iran deal.

Opinion

EU summit: migrants get a 'vote' too

Non-citizens from Nigeria to Afghanistan get a binding 'vote' on whatever the EU's internal debates submit to them. They will vote with their feet on whether to keep trying their luck when faced with a new system.

Basque threat of 'second front' for independence

Last weekend some 175,000 people in the Basque country demanded a 'right to decide'. For some, it means more autonomy from Spain, others independence. "We want to open a second front within the Spanish state," says one Basque politician.

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