Tuesday

28th Mar 2017

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.

UK to file EU divorce This WEEK

UK prime minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty on Wednesday, with the EU expected to respond within 48 hours.

EU-27 to back integration This WEEK

EU leaders meet in Rome to recommit to European integration after Brexit, but Greece and Poland serve as reminders of economic and political divisions.

EU tackles CO2 threat This WEEK

EU states will haggle over the reform of a carbon trade system, while MEPs vote on overhauling EU car emissions oversight.

Pence, Greece and Brexit This WEEK

The US vice-president becomes the first senior Trump administration official to visit EU institutions. Greece's creditors try to break deadlock in talks, and British Lords will debate Brexit.

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