Friday

20th Oct 2017

Agenda

Catalonia and Brexit on EU agenda This Week

  • Johnson's potential leadership challenge in the air at Manchester party conference. (Photo: Parsons_Boris_whitehall-1069)

As the EU digests events in Catalonia, Brexit also features high on the agenda this week.

The Green group in the European Parliament is preparing to call for an emergency debate on the Catalan independence referendum on Monday (2 October) in Strasbourg.

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  • Will Catalonia declare independence this week? (Photo: Helena Spongenberg)

That would force senior figures from the EU Council and European Commission to break their silence so far on a Spanish police crackdown that tried to block the vote on Sunday.

But as EU institutions and capitals prepare for Catalonia's next step, Brexit talks also dominate the agenda in both Strasbourg and in Manchester, UK, where the ruling Conservative party holds its annual conference, starting Monday.

The Tory event will begin with a speech by chancellor Philip Hammond, an advocate of maintaining close ties with Europe.

But the conference is already buzzing with gossip on whether foreign minister Boris Johnson, who has called for a harsh break with the EU, will try to seize the party leadership from prime minister Theresa May.

MEPs will discuss the state of play in Brexit talks with Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Tuesday.

They will vote later the same day on recommendations whether EU leaders should, at next month's summit, start trade talks with the UK or whether they should seek more clarity on issues such as citizens' rights and the Irish border first.

On Monday, the political groups will argue the cases for their nominees for this year's EU human rights award - the Sakharov prize.

Two of the candidates - Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag - are jailed Turkish opposition politicians.

Turkey's abuse of Interpol, the international police body, will also feature in an MEPs' debate on Wednesday after Ankara tried to chase down a journalist and a dissident writer in Spain.

On Wednesday, MEPs will debate Commission ideas to reform EU asylum laws with deputy head Frans Timmermans.

They will also vote, on Thursday, on creating a new EU public prosecutor to fight misuse of EU funds in the 20 member states who opted into the scheme.

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, the euro-deputies will debate how to protect air passengers' rights.

The debate was tabled in view of mass flight cancellations by Ryanair, but news that a British carrier, Monarch, collapsed over the weekend, leaving thousands of people stranded, will give the talks added importance.

Juncker and Council head Donald Tusk will round off the week at a summit in New Delhi on Thursday and Friday.

The India summit will update efforts to deepen economic partnership and to fight radicalisation.

Catalonia's separatists claim victory after violent day

"The citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state," the region's leader, Carles Puigdemont, said at the end of a day marked by Spanish police violence inside and outside polling stations.

'I thought I was safe in Europe'

Arrest of Turkish dissident has again highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU.

Brexit on EU summit table This Week

A key showdown on the state of Brexit talks, an ECJ ruling on Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovych, and Macron's proposals for the future of the EU, are all on the agenda this week.

Macron speech and Catalan vote This Week

French leader to detail his vision for Europe on the eve of an informal summit in Tallinn. Catalans to try to hold "illegal" referendum on Sunday.

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