21st Mar 2018


MEPs in Strasbourg amid French election This WEEK

  • MEPs are meeting in Strasbourg this week. (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Parliament meets in Strasbourg this week amid parliamentary elections in France as well as the on-going post UK election fallout on Brexit.

The French election will help steer the political course for France's newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, who is projected to take over 400 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, following the first round of voting on Sunday (11 June). A second and final round will take place next Sunday.

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  • Mobile roaming charges across the EU will end this week. (Photo: Nicolas Nova)

It will also test the grounds of support for his defeated contender, the far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen.

The French parliamentary election is important because it may further galvanise Macron's pro-EU mandate among the French electorate.

The voting comes amid a wider debate on the future of the UK following a snap election result that saw prime minister Theresa May's Tory party weakened. The Tories won the vote but lost seats, posing questions over May's ability to steer Britain out of the EU.

On Wednesday, EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will be debating with MEPs the broader implications the UK election has for Brexit.

The Brexit debate will then follow with a special appearance from Malta's prime minister Joseph Muscat, also on Wednesday, who will be asked about his administration's links to dubious tax shelter schemes.

Muscat himself called a snap election earlier last month, which he survived, following allegations his wife owns an offshore firm in Panama.

But Juncker will first be meeting with his commissioners on Tuesday, in the so-called college, to decide on big issues.

Among them is the possibility to take a handful of EU states to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for failing to adhere to legally-binding rules under an EU programme that distributes asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU states.

The move comes ahead of announcements by the Czech Republic that it would no longer participate in the EU relocation scheme, followed by similar comments from Poland's president.

The issue has created a rift between the EU and the dissenting member states in their stated aims on solidarity.

It also throws into question other asylum related reforms. Meanwhile, the EU commission will be presenting its latest findings on the two-year relocation programme due to end in September.

Thursday is also a big day for the eurozone finance ministers in the Eurogroup. Ministers are meeting in Luxembourg to decide whether to release the next tranche of bailout money for Greece.

End of roaming charges

Within the mix of meetings, election news, and scheduled policy decisions, also comes the end of roaming charges throughout the EU on Thursday.

People travelling from one EU state to another will no longer be billed extra for using their mobile phones away from home.

The move will be seen as a major achievement by the EU commission, which has pushed the roaming-free regime for years, as part of a bigger drive towards integration.

Brits and French go to polls This WEEK

The British election will determine who will lead the UK out of the EU, while French leader Macron hopes to secure his base for more eurozone integration.

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.

Brexit and trade will top This WEEK

A crucial EU summit will decide whether to give a green light to the Brexit transition period, while the EU is also fighting to get exemptions from the new US steel and aluminium tariffs.

'Selmayrgate' moves to the EU Parliament This WEEK

As a global trade war looms over the new US steel tariffs, the EU's attention will shift to Strasbourg - where MEPs are expected to debate the Martin Selmayr appointment, trade, Brexit, journalism and the budget.

Italy and migration will top This WEEK

Italy will have voted for a government, Germany's social democrats will have voted to confirm a government (or not): the dynamics in European politics may change, while Brussels will focus on Brexit again.

Election fever picks up This WEEK

Italian general elections, a German coalition in the balance, and the European parliament fighting to get a voice in nominating an EU commission president. This and much more in a week packed with intrigue.

US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Washington would still like to block a planned gas pipeline between Russia and Germany but is not yet considering hitting companies involved in the project.

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