Saturday

20th Jan 2018

Agenda

Trump, Ukraine and NGO sea rescues This WEEK

  • Macron invited Trump to the Bastille Day military parade, so that he is not an "isolated" leader. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

A week after the G20 summit in Hamburg, foreign affairs and US president Trump will be again on the EU agenda.

On Thursday and Friday (13-14 July), Donald Trump will be hosted in Paris by French president Emmanuel Macron to celebrate Bastille Day. US troops will participate in the traditional military parade to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the US entry in World War One.

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Macron wants to "extend a hand" to Trump, so that he is not "isolated", and in order to bring him "back into the circle", French government spokesman Christophe Castaner told French TV last week.

At the G20, Trump was left alone on trade and climate issues against the other world leaders.

According to a White House statement, issued after Trump accepted Macron's invitation, "the two leaders will further build on the strong counter-terrorism cooperation and economic partnership between the two countries, and they will discuss many other issues of mutual concern."

Trump will arrive in Paris on Thursday. According to French media, he will visit a US military cemetery before meeting the French president. Then the two leaders, with their wives, would have dinner in a restaurant at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The issue of the war in Ukraine might also be be raised, as Macron is part of the so-called Normandy group on the war in Ukraine, alongside German chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Both Trump and Macron met with Putin in Hamburg.

Ukraine will also be on the EU agenda this week, with an EU-Ukraine summit taking place in Kiev on Wednesday and Thursday.

The summit will be the first one since visa liberalisation for Ukrainians coming to the EU, which entered into force last month.

It will be also the first since the Netherlands became the last member state to ratify the EU-Ukraine free trade and association agreement in May.

European Commission and European Council presidents, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, will meet Poroshenko to discuss the conflict in Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk peace agreement, as well as the ongoing reform process in the country.

The EU is asking Ukrainian authorities to do more to reform the justice and administrative system, fight corruption and devolve more powers to the regions.

EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini will also be in Kiev. Before going, she will meet with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Brussels on Tuesday.

In the EU capital, the week will start with a quiet Eurogroup meeting, which only includes the eurozone's finance ministers. For the first time in months, as an EU official noted last week, Greece will not be on the agenda.

On Tuesday, all 28 EU finance ministers will adopt the country-specific economic recommendations, elaborated on by the commission, and discuss how to address non-performing loans – loans that banks cannot have paid back, especially since the financial crisis, and which affect the banking sector.

After their meeting, the German, Irish, Italian and Dutch ministers, Wolfgang Schaeuble, Paschal Donohoe, Pier Carlo Padoan and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, will be heard by the European Parliament's inquiry committee on money laundering and tax evasion.

On Wednesday, MEPs in the civil liberties committee will discuss search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean. They will hear from Italian authorities, EU agencies and organisations.

The issue had become controversial after NGOs that rescue migrants, who are attempting to cross from Libya to the Europe, have been accused of favouring human smugglers.

Last week, EU member states backed Italy, which is preparing a code of conduct for NGOs, but refused to help by opening up their ports to boats that carry rescued people. Italy has earlier threatened to close its ports to these vessels.

Also on Wednesday, the committee will hear from Greece’s immigration minister, Ioannis Mouzalas, and an UNHCR representative about EU support for Greece in the reception and integration of refugees.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

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While Bulgaria and Ireland present themselves at next week's plenary at the European Parliament, Germany's Social Democrats will decide if the preliminary coalition deal with Merkel is good enough.

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