Tuesday

22nd Oct 2019

Agenda

Macron speech and Catalan vote This Week

  • Macron aims to shape German coalition talks (Photo: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol)

French leader Emmanuel Macron will detail his vision for the future of Europe at the Sorbonne university in Paris on Tuesday (26 September).

His speech comes after the German election on Sunday, where the far-right AfD party made big gains amid a small victory for chancellor Angela Merkel.

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

  • Catalonia to hold "illegal" referndum (Photo: president.cat)

Macron is expected to call for a eurozone budget and finance ministry, among other reforms.

His timing is intended to shape German coalition talks and to lead to a new Franco-German accord on the EU by the end of the year.

EU leaders will have a chance to digest his ideas at informal talks in the capital of Estonia, the EU presidency country, on Thursday and Friday.

The Tallinn Digital Summit is meant to discuss EU policy on digital security, commerce, and R&D for the next eight years.

But European Council president Donald Tusk has called for a broader discussion on post-Brexit EU reforms, including migration, defence, and eurozone integration, at a dinner on Thursday.

Catalan vote

If Merkel survived what the AfD called a "political earthquake", the EU will brace itself for another seismic event at the end of the week.

Catalans aim to vote in a referendum on independence from Spain on Sunday.

The vote comes despite a Spanish constitutional court ruling that the referendum is illegal and despite raids and arrests by Spanish gendarmes.

The European Commission has insisted that the crisis was a domestic issue, while saying that the constitutional order must be respected.

But Catalan authorities distributed more than 1 million ballots last weekend and onlined a new website with details of how and where to vote.

Brexit, Poland

Meanwhile, EU states will start the week by discussing two of the most sensitive items in European affairs - Brexit and rule of law in Poland.

The Commission's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and its deputy head, Frans Timmermans, will brief EU affairs ministers at a general affairs council in Brussels on Monday.

Barnier will speak to the EU-27 without the UK minister in the room.

He is likely to say Britain has not yet made "sufficient progress" on the terms of its exit deal to launch talks on future EU trade relations next month.

He will also kick off the fourth round of Brexit talks with British officials in Brussels the same day.

Timmermans will update ministers on "the state of play of [the Commission's] rule of law dialogue with Poland".

He has threatened to propose unprecedented EU voting sanctions if the Polish government snatches control over courts and judges.

But Poland's ally, Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, said last week he would veto any Commission proposal.

EU budget

In the European Parliament, budget committee MEPs will vote on the 2018 budget on Wednesday, amid plans to undo cuts in spending on education, youth unemployment, SMEs, and migration policies.

Civil liberties committee members will vote on Thursday on plans by 20 EU states to create a joint public prosecutor who is to chase up misspending of EU funds.

Social affairs committee MEPs will vote the same day on plans to create an EU-wide minimum wage.

Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, will also brief members of the economic affairs committee on Monday on the bond-buying programme that helped to save the eurozone during the financial crisis.

The bank is expected to scale back purchases of government debt, but to keep up its buying of bonds issued by private firms.

Other affairs

In other affairs, Cecilia Malmstroem, the Commission's trade chief, will meet British trade minister and arch-Brexiteer Liam Fox on Tuesday.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, the health commissioner, will meet health ministers from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands on Tuesday to discuss their countries' role in the egg scandal that saw a toxic insecticide - fipronil - pollute farms in the summer.

Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, will also meet the foreign ministers of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda on Friday.

The meeting comes amid EU efforts to use aid money to make African states stop migrants from going to Europe.

Barnier: UK risks undermining trust in Brexit talks

A day before UK PM Theresa May sets out her Brexit strategy in Florence, top EU negotiator Michel Barnier told lawmakers in Rome: there can be no transitional deal for the UK without a withdrawal agreement.

Hungary and Poland defy EU authority

Hungary and Poland have said they "don't want a mixed population", amid a tug-of-war with the Commission on migrants and rule of law.

Merkel survives election 'earthquake'

Christian-democrat leader set to rule Germany together with liberals and greens, but with a new troublemaker - the AfD party - on the scene.

Commissioner hearings start This WEEK

MEPs will grill the commissioner-designates for the next two weeks, while the fate of the Romanian and Hungarian candidates remain uncertain. And the Brexit chaos continues with the Conservative party conference.

News in Brief

  1. Four businessmen charged in Slovak journalist murder
  2. Erdogan accuses EU of 'standing by terrorists' in Syria
  3. Migrants riot in Maltese camp
  4. Spanish PM refuses dialogue with Catalonia president
  5. Putin: Russia will help Africa without 'conditions'
  6. Almost 200 arrests in Catalonia independence protests
  7. Report: Russian hackers used Iranian cover to attack UK
  8. Next EU economy chief calls for looser budget policies

EU parliament quietly hoards visitors' wi-fi data

The European Parliament is retaining the data of everyone who uses their wi-fi network, including journalists and visitors, and providing access to national authorities in case of investigations.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance
  2. Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection
  3. UK opposition MPs attack new Brexit deal
  4. Deep divisions on display over post-Brexit EU budget
  5. Juncker: 'Historic mistake' against Balkan EU hopefuls
  6. EU leaders spent just 12 minutes on climate
  7. Crunch Brexit vote in UK This WEEK
  8. EU envoy sheds light on weird US diplomacy

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us