Wednesday

1st Apr 2020

Agenda

Brexit on EU summit table This Week

  • Theresa May, the British prime minister, will be told on Thursday that Brexit negotiations have not made enough progress to move on to trade talks (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

On Thursday and Friday (19-20 October), EU leaders will meet in Brussels, with Brexit as one of the main topics, after five rounds of talks with the UK.

They will say that not enough progress has been made to open the next phase of talks, on future relations and trade.

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  • French President Emmanuel Macron's ideas for the future of the EU will be among the subjects presented by EU Council President Donald Tusk at this week's summit. (Photo: eu2017ee/Flickr)

But EU leaders will first meet on Thursday (19 October) with British prime minster Theresa May when they'll discuss migration, the digital single market, and defence.

The leaders will also sit together for a working dinner after planned press conferences where foreign affairs will be on the table.

Friday (20 October) morning the 28 leaders will get together for breakfast to discuss the so-called Leaders Agenda.

The agenda, put together by European Council chief Donald Tusk, is a work programme based on discussions and ideas about the future of Europe.

Tusk has been meeting leaders over the past two weeks, since they tasked him at the Tallinn summit last month with putting together an agenda from the various ideas put forward by, most notably, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and French president Emmanuel Macron.

The British prime minister is then going to leave the table and let the 27 leaders hear EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier's briefing on the progress of the talks.

Barnier will not recommend to leaders to move onto the next phase of talks focusing on future relations and trade.

Leaders are expected to tell the UK that they will come back to the issue at the December summit, when - if sufficient progress is made on key issues - they could tweak Barnier's mandate to allow him to negotiate a transition period and the future relations.

The EU-27 are also expected to tell the UK that member states and Barnier will start "internal preparatory discussions" to be ready in December to start negotiations on the future and trade.

On the sidelines of the summit on Wednesday (18 October) evening, Juncker will host the prime ministers of the Visegrad countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

The Commission on Monday (16 October) will welcome French premier Edouard Philippe to talk about budget, trade and economic reforms proposed by Paris.

Philippe will also meet with his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel to talk about counter-terrorism and security.

An anti-terrorism package will be revealed on Wednesday (18 October) by the European Commission including measures on countering radicalisation, on illegal content inciting hatred, and clamping down on dangerous substances and terrorist financing.

On Monday (16 October), EU foreign ministers will convene in Luxembourg where they are expected to adopt additional EU sanctions against North Korea, and will talk about Turkey, human rights and the persecution of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.

Still on Monday, but in the European Parliament, a draft report on the politically-divisive issue of posted workers will be voted on in the employment committee. A vote in the plenary is expected later this month.

The issue pits eastern member states against their western counterparts, with eastern European workers often being posted in western countries for less pay than their local colleagues.

Eastern member states argue that the integrity of the single market is threatened by efforts to create an equal pay scheme between posted workers and local workers.

There are also rulings at the European Court of Justice next week to watch.

On Thursday the ECJ will decide on the appeal of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and his son against an EU freeze of their assets at the height of the Ukraine crisis in 2014.

On the same day the ECJ will also rule on a case brought forth by 29 European journalists who decided to turn to the EU's top court after the European Parliament denied them access to the information on MEPs' expenses.

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EU negotiator Barnier also said after the latest round of Brexit talks that with political will, progress can be achieved in the next two months - in time for the December EU summit to give the green light.

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