Thursday

25th Feb 2021

Agenda

Trump descends into 'hellhole' This WEEK

  • Trump's meeting with an EU leader, Germany's Merkel was frosty (Photo: bundeskanzlerin.de)

US president Donald Trump had once called Brussels a “hellhole”, cheered for Brexit, and dismissed Nato as “obsolete” – all of which raised questions in Europe about his commitment to transatlantic alliances.

On Thursday (25 May), fresh from a tour in the Middle East, Trump will arrive into the Belgian capital to meet with the heads of EU institutions for the first time, and attend a summit of the leaders of Nato member countries.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Trump arrives amid serious concerns over his conduct when firing FBI director James Comey and revealing top secret intelligence to Russian diplomats two weeks ago.

Many in Nato are concerned about the US president, who is also entangled in a probe back home over his relationship with the Kremlin, and who has repeatedly voiced support for forces that want to weaken the EU.

In his first foray into EU politics, Trump is going to meet on Thursday with European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels’ so-called “Tusk Tower”, the newly-built council building.

In a short meeting lasting one hour, they will also be accompanied by European Parliament president Antonio Tajani and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

Many hope that Trump will shed light on his administration’s policy on Europe, which has not yet been clear since his inauguration in January.

EU and the US diplomats will need to bridge disagreements over the Iranian nuclear deal, the Paris climate agreement, the issue of visa waivers, and laptop bans on flights.

Nato meetings

On Thursday, Tusk and Juncker will also meet with another unpredictable leader, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey-EU relations have reached a new low point after a Turkish referendum – deemed fraudulent by international observers – gave extra powers to Erdogan, who has toyed with the idea of reintroducing the death penalty.

Some are calling for the EU to officially end the long-stalled accession talks with Turkey.

Trump will also meet with other Nato leaders. In addition, it will be the new French president Emmanuel Macron’s first visit to Brussels for the alliance’s meeting.

The Nato meeting, taking place in the alliance’s new Brussels headquarters, will focus on boosting European military spending and counter-terrorism.

Brexit and Greece

On Monday (22 May), EU ministers gave the official green light to Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier to begin the talks, when they adopted the commission’s negotiating directive.

On Monday, eurozone finance ministers will try to clinch a deal that would unlock a new set of loans for Greece, prior to substantial debt repayments becoming due in July.

Ministers will need to tackle possible debt relief measures, a prerequisite to keeping the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on-board for the bailout.

On Friday and Saturday, EU leaders will travel to Italy for the G7 summit – meeting of the world’s leading powers.

EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit

In its final preparatory act before Brexit talks begin, the EU has officially given the negotiating mandate to Michel Barnier. The French politician said he would like to start negotiations on the week of 19 June.

EU and US discuss in-flight laptop ban

A meeting between US and EU officials in Brussels on possibly imposing a laptop ban on commercial flights was described by one senior Trump administration official as "robust".

Wannabe US envoy calls EU a 'failure'

Malloch, who wants to be Trump's envoy to Brussels, said EU should become a trade bloc of strong nation states to win US support.

EU summit on vaccine problems This WEEK

EU foreign affairs ministers will meet in Brussels and are expected to agree to visa-bans and asset-freezes on Russian officials involved in the jailing of opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny.

News in Brief

  1. Armenian prime minister denounces 'coup' attempt
  2. UK warns EU against escalating City-of-London battle
  3. Brussels mulls extending data-roaming regime for 10 years
  4. Full list of European firms US forced to ditch Russia pipeline
  5. French diplomat calls Johnson 'inveterate liar'
  6. French town's switch to vegetarian meals prompts backlash
  7. Police seize 23 tonnes of cocaine in Europe's biggest haul
  8. WHO Covax programme delivers first vaccines to Ghana

EU leaders seek to speed up vaccinations This WEEK

EU leaders talk vaccines, while the Portugues EU presidency introduces itself to MEPs. Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president of the United States, and the EU hopes this will mark a new beginning for EU-US relations.

Unblocking Brexit and budget in focus This WEEK

With only five weeks to go before the UK severs all ties with the EU, chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that the "same significant divergences persist" between the two sides in post-Brexit talks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. Who are the EU's new Russian deplorables?
  2. Afghan asylum family beaten in Greece, set adrift at sea
  3. EU leaders face Covid-mutations dilemma at summit
  4. EU sets out plan to mitigate 'unavoidable' climate events
  5. Questions for Germany on EU's Russia strategy
  6. Greenland's snap election exposes global mineral demand
  7. Covid-19 certificates back on EU leaders' agenda
  8. Ethiopia war creating new 'refugee crisis', EU envoy warns

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us