Sunday

25th Aug 2019

Agenda

Juncker to outline EU vision This WEEK

  • Juncker will address MEPs in Strasbourg. (Photo: European Parliament)

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will outline his vision for Europe in his state of the union speech this Wednesday (13 September) in Strasbourg.

The speech, which opens the political season in the EU, is the final one to come ahead of the Juncker commission's last full year before the spring 2019 European elections.

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

The president is expected to reflect on the last year's political events, with Emmanuel Macron winning the French presidential election against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, and populist Geert Wilders failing to win the biggest number of votes in the Dutch elections.

"We are at an important political juncture […] which offers a unique possibility for the president to remind us of things that have happened," a spokesperson said last week of the speech.

Juncker will also try to "crystallise" the debate on the future of Europe, a commission spokesperson said.

In March, the commission chief proposed five different scenarios, ranging from loose cooperation to a strong political union among EU countries.

One of the options gaining traction is multi-speed Europe, which is opposed mainly by central and eastern European member states, but has gathered the support of French president Macron.

The Luxembourger is also expected to set out several proposals, including one on trade - aiming to exclude bilateral investment deals in future trade agreements and push for the multilateral investment court, a planned permanent body.

Juncker's speech will take place in the first plenary week of the European Parliament after the summer break.

MEPs at work

MEPs will kick off the sitting on Tuesday (12 September) by discussing migration, North Korea and Turkey.

The parliament in July has already called for the accession talks with Turkey to be suspended, while member states have discussed it again last week after Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, said Turkey should not become an EU member.

MEPs in the constitutional affairs committee on Monday (11 September) will discuss a proposal to reduce the number of EU parliament members to 700 after the next election in spring 2019, aiming to keep the remaining 51 in reserve for a possible pan-EU list of candidates.

On Tuesday, MEPs will listen to the Council of the EU present its position paper on the 2018 draft budget.

Court rules

The European Court of Justice will rule on some key issues this week.

On Wednesday, the court will advise on new genetically modified organism (GMO) techniques, and the issue of how long migrants can be detained.

On Thursday, it will decide on a case involving budget airline Ryanair, determining whether Irish employment law should apply in labour issues involving its staff, or whether it should be Belgian law as some employees argue.

On Friday, eurozone and economy ministers will gather in Tallinn for an informal meeting. Greece's finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, the commission and the IMF will brief the Eurogroup on progress in Greece's ongoing bailout program.

Macron revives multi-speed Europe idea

"We have to think up a Europe with several formats," said the French president, who will make "concrete" proposals after the German elections.

Poland: Multi-speed EU could 'break apart'

Poland has warned that French idea of multi-speed Europe could "break apart" the EU, as Warsaw heads for confrontation with Brussels on rule of law.

Analysis

Juncker's unrealistic promise of free wifi

The commission president said "every European village and every city" will have public internet access in 2020, but the statement was not backed up by any legally binding target.

EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK

Boris Johnson is almost certain to become the UK's next prime minister, and oversee Brexit until the 31 October deadline, as work in the EU bubble is winding down for the summer.

Von der Leyen vote the focus This WEEK

MEPs will vote to confirm - or not - on Tuesday the new commission president, Ursula von der Leyen - a candidate put forward at the last minute by the EU leaders, and grilled by lawmakers recently in Brussels.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Investigation

The EU committee's great 'per diem' charade

Around 30 members of European Economic Social Committee, who live and work primarily in Brussels or nearby, have claimed €1.47m in a 'daily subsistence' allowance from European taxpayers to cover accommodation, food and local transport for meetings held in Brussels.

EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests

The EU, in league with Canada, has spoken out on the Hong Kong protests after months of silence in what one expert called "a clear expression of support for the protesters".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us