Wednesday

27th Mar 2019

Agenda

EU court to rule on migrant quotas This Week

  • "We cannot be blackmailed" on Muslim migrants, Poland said (Photo: PES)

A court ruling on migrant relocations will spotlight one of the bloc's most divisive issues this week. The North Korea crisis will also pose a test for EU foreign policy.

The EU court in Luxembourg will rule on Wednesday (6 September) whether Hungary and Slovakia were right to boycott a deal for member states to take in 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • US said it coud use nuclear weapons to stop North Korea (Photo: jonkeegan)

The EU Council outvoted them on the scheme in 2015, but they contended it did not have the right to do so on a matter of national sovereignty.

The ruling will have a wider political impact after Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland also boycotted the relocations.

The European Commission has launched separate legal action against the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland that could end in fines.

But Polish leader Beata Szydlo said on Sunday: "We cannot be blackmailed … because we don't agree to the forced relocation of migrants from north Africa and the Middle East".

The Commission will publish a series of reports on migration the same day.

The one on migrant relocations is likely to make sad reading. The quota rebels aside, most countries - including Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden - had fallen tens of thousands of places short of their commitments as of 31 August.

A second report will mark the state of play on an EU-Turkey deal for Turkey to keep Syrian refugees from going to Greece.

The survey comes amid fraying EU-Turkey relations and increasing numbers of people once again arriving on Greek islands.

A third report will review progress on the creation of an EU border guard force that can be deployed to frontline member states even if they do not want it.

North Korea, cyber

Foreign and defence ministers will meet in EU presidency capital Tallinn also on Wednesday.

North Korea's nuclear bomb test over the weekend will feature high on the agenda amid the new threat of a military confrontation with the US.

The French and German leaders said on Sunday that the "provocation" by Pyongyang had "reached a new dimension".

The EU has already blacklisted 103 North Koreans and 57 North Korean entities, but France and Germany called for "a tightening of EU sanctions".

The ministers' three-day talks were meant to focus on cyber defence, EU military integration, the security situation in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, the Middle East Peace Process, and EU relations with former Soviet states.

The meeting will kick off with a cyber war game together with Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Edgars Rinkevics, Latvia's foreign minister, said on Sunday that a Russian military drill - Zapad 2017, starting 14 September - will probe Nato's electronic defences.

Estonia was already the target of a suspected Russian cyber assault in 2007 that shut down banks and government services.

But Rinkevics said future attacks could target hospitals or other life-or-death facilities.

Intel fine

In more mundane matters, the EU court in Luxembourg will rule on a landmark anti-trust case on Wednesday.

The EU fined US chip maker Intel €1 billion in 2009 for alleged sweetheart deals with loyal clients.

An EU court jurist said last year Intel's appeal should be upheld.

If the verdict follows his opinion, it could help other US tech firms - Apple, Facebook, Google, and Qualcomm - in their own EU competition cases.

The Intel fine was the biggest ever in EU history at the time, but the Commission has since fined Google €2.4 billion for fiddling online shopping searches and has threatened to fine it €5 billion over the way it sells its Android operating system.

Bienkowska in Israel

In other events, EU farming ministers will on Monday and Tuesday in Tallinn discuss the bloc's handling of a scandal that saw eggs contaminated with a toxic pesticide sold out of the Netherlands to over 20 member states and outside Europe.

EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska will also visit Israel on Monday to discuss cooperation on space technology.

Israel's settlement expansion has seen the EU tighten grant money to Israeli firms, but prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to defy Europe on the issue.

"We are here to stay, forever … There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel," he said last week on the more than half a million Jews who have taken Palestinian land in the West Bank since the 1967 war.

EU fines Google €2.4 bn over online shopping

Brussels says Google has abused a near-monopoly position in online searches to favour its shopping service, but the US company said Brussels cannot prove the charges.

Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK

The UK parliament will likely hold a third vote on the Brexit withdrawal deal next week, determining the UK's departure from the bloc. In the meantime, the controversial copyright reform will be on the EU parliament's agenda.

Brexit delay and Orban decision This WEEK

EU leaders will discuss whether to allow London to delay its exit from the bloc, as some are worried it would mean more of the same. Meantime, the European People's Party braces itself for a showdown with Hungary's Orban.

News in Brief

  1. EU tables plan for joint approach to 5G security
  2. MEPs agree to scrap summer time clock changes by 2021
  3. European Parliament votes on reform of copyright
  4. New French-German parliament meets for first time
  5. EU parliament reduces polling ahead of elections
  6. UK parliament votes to take control of Brexit process
  7. EU publishes no-deal Brexit contingency plans
  8. EU urges Israel and Gaza to re-establish calm

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law
  2. France takes Chinese billions despite EU concerns
  3. Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?
  4. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  5. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  6. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  7. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  8. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us