Tuesday

12th Dec 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.

Netanyahu, Panama Papers, and Brexit This WEEK

The run-up to the Christmas break sees a packed schedule, including the EU summit on Brexit, migration and other issues, a rare visit by Israeli PM Netanyahu, and issues such as fishing quotas and the Panama Papers.

May-Juncker meeting sets the tone This WEEK

As Brexit negotiations approach the (possibly) grand finale of their first phase, the EU's attention this week is turning to the eurozone - who is the new boss and how to deepen and expand it.

Africa and EU summit This WEEK

Billed as a new partnership, the EU and Africa summit in Abidjan will focus on youth and jobs. The gathering takes place against the backdrop of migratory flows towards Europe and reports of open slave auctions in Libya.

Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership

Bucharest expects other member states to decide on its accession to the passport-free area before it takes the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2019 - amid criticism of a controversial new justice reform.

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