Tuesday

5th Mar 2024

Agenda

EU tackles CO2 threat This WEEK

  • ETS reform will test the EU's commitment to the Paris agreement. (Photo: Clement Costa)

EU states will discuss reforms to the bloc’s cap-and-trade system, ETS, for greenhouse gasses on Tuesday (28 February) in their first test of credibility after the bloc ratified the Paris climate accord last year.

The bill, still in its early stages, aims to balance climate obligations with industry concerns, with member states split into three groups, according to the Reuters news agency.

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  • MEPs' inquiry found holes in EU car oversight system (Photo: European Parliament)

France, Sweden, and the UK are keen to raise carbon permit prices to impose a cost on polluters, but Austria, Germany, Greece, and Italy are more interested in discouraging firms from relocating overseas.

Coal-dependent countries in central Europe, led by Poland, will also be seeking EU funds to modernise their energy sectors, Reuters said.

In the European Parliament, MEPs on the Dieselgate inquiry committee will also on Tuesday vote on final recommendations for how to tighten up EU standards on car exhaust fumes.

On a more political front, euro-deputies on the civil liberties committee will hold a debate on Monday about Hungarian leader Viktor Orban’s recent attack on NGOs.

A mini-plenary in Brussels on Thursday will see a show of hands on whether the EU should impose visas on US nationals in return for Amercia’s ongoing visa requirements for five EU countries - Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.

MEPs on the economic affairs committee will on Tuesday also vote on how to curb terrorist financing by imposing greater transparency on offshore financial firms.

Serbia and EU states will hold an intergovernmental conference in the EU capital on Monday to press ahead with the opening of further accession chapters.

The bloc’s efforts to stabilise the Western Balkans and to build closer ties with former Soviet states have come under pressure due to regional tensions and Russia’s push-back.

Serzh Sargsyan, the president of Armenia, will visit Brussels this week to discuss an EU association treaty-lite after he opted to join Russia’s Eurasian Union two years ago.

His visit comes after another flare-up in fighting in Armenia’s 30-year old war with Azerbaijan.

MEPs back limited EU carbon trade reform

The parliament backs reform plans for the EU's carbon trading scheme, but allow polluting industries to maintain some controversial benefits.

Defence, von der Leyen, women's rights, in focus This WEEK

Ursula von der Leyen is expected to be confirmed as the EPP candidate for president of the next EU Commission. A new defence strategy will be unveiled this week, while the ECB is expected to maintain interest rates.

More farmers, Ukraine aid, Yulia Navalnaya in focus This WEEK

EU agriculture ministers meet in Brussels amid new farmers' protests. MEPs will hear from Alexei Navalny's widow and give the final green light to the €50bn Ukraine facility, while the CBAM proposal faces a formal challenge at a WTO meeting.

New Red Sea mission and more Russia sanctions This WEEK

EU foreign affairs ministers launch the bloc's new Red Sea naval mission, plus hold talks on new sanctions against Russia — amid Hungarian objections — on Monday. Plus a home for the EU's new anti-money laundering authority will be picked.

Feature

Hungary's Ukrainian refugees in two minds as relations sour

Ukrainians struggle to match the kindness of individual Hungarians with the nationalist government's pro-Russia rhetoric. "Ukraine's primary enemies are Russians and Putin, obviously. But the number two is Viktor Orbán," Viktoria Petrovszka, a Ukrainian woman living in Hungary, says.

Opinion

The six-hour U-turn that saw the EU vote for austerity

The EU's own analysis has made it clear this is economic self-sabotage, and it's politically foolish three months from European elections where the far-right are predicted to increase support, writes the general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.

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