Thursday

2nd Apr 2020

Agenda

G20 to tackle climate in Hamburg This WEEK

  • EU, China, and India to keep CO2 promises despite Trump's U-turn (Photo: José Pedro Costa)

A new climate deal and the future of US-Russia relations will dominate a G20 summit in Germany this week, as Estonia takes over the EU presidency.

German leader Angela Merkel will be seeking broad endorsement for a new “action plan on climate and energy for growth” at the summit in Hamburg on Friday (7 July) and Saturday of the world’s 20 wealthiest nations.

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  • Trump to meet Putin in Hamburg (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The initiative comes after US president Donald Trump said America, the world’s second biggest polluter, would renege on the Paris Agreement on climate change.

China, India, and the EU have said they will forge ahead anyway, but the summit could see others take back promises on the Trump model.

The US leader will also meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin for the first time in the margins of the event.

The talks will be watched for signs on future US-Russia ties. Trump is embroiled in allegations that he colluded with Putin to sway last year’s US election, but the Senate recently passed new Russia sanctions.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also go to Hamburg, but he will not be allowed to speak at a rally of Turkish expats or to bring bodyguards accused of beating up Turkish protesters in the US in May.

Climate aside, the summit’s other topics include tax fairness, free trade, and labour market integration of migrants.

Spain and the Netherlands will join as guests alongside G20 full members Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and top EU officials.

Japan trade

The G20 trade talks come amid Trump threats on US protectionism, but EU leaders aim to clinch a free-trade pact with Japan at a summit that could take place as soon as Thursday in Brussels, to show that globalisation is alive and kicking.

Also on the EU front, Estonian leader Juri Ratas will brief MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday on his country’s priorities for the next six months at the EU helm.

One day later, EU interior ministers will hold informal talks in Tallinn on migrant burden-sharing after Italy threatened to close ports to people from Libya.

Russia-wary Estonia will also discuss how to help Ukraine improve internal security after a spate of car bombings in Kiev amidst Russian aggression.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Erdogan could see MEPs in Strasbourg on Thursday vote to suspend EU accession talks if he goes further down the path of authoritarianism.

EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn will be in Ankara the same day to take flak, but also to meet some of the millions of Syrian refugees which Turkey has stopped from going to Europe under last year’s deal.

Tax dodging

MEPs handling the Panama Papers leak on tax dodging will hear from EU commissioner Vera Jourova on Monday on whether EU anti-money laundering laws are fit for purpose.

They will vote in plenary on Tuesday on new corporate tax transparency laws.

They are expected to give consent to the first-ever EU-Cuba cooperation agreement in a vote on Wednesday.

They are also expected to appoint Mariya Gabriel, a former MEP, as Bulgaria’s new EU commissioner on Tuesday. Gabriel is to take the research and science portfolio after her predecessor, Kristalina Georgieva, went to head the World Bank.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

EU goes fully online in lockdown This WEEK

EU leaders will discuss the coronavirus reponse online, while MEPs will vote on urgent measures by email. Starting accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia will also be high on the agenda.

EU-Africa strategy and circular economy plan This WEEK

The European Commission is set to unveil the EU-Africa and the circular economy strategy this week. Additionally, MEPs will hold the plenary session in Brussels after the president David Sassoli cancelled the plenary in Strasbourg due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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