Tuesday

22nd May 2018

Agenda

Military integration on EU agenda This WEEK

  • Military integration project part of wider plans to reform EU in wake of Brexit (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Military cooperation and rule of law in Poland and Malta will top the EU agenda next week, as Europe also hosts global talks on climate change.

About 20 out of the 28 EU states are expected to sign up to deeper military integration in the margins of a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday (13 November).

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  • Memorial to murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia (Photo: European Commission)

The scheme, called Permanent Structured Cooperation, which could see coalitions of the willing create joint rapid reaction forces or buy high-end military technology together, will be formally launched by EU leaders at a summit in December.

Foreign ministers will also discuss whether to build up an EU counter-propaganda cell that fights Russian disinformation in eastern Europe and the Western Balkans.

They will debate whether to go further on sanctions against Myanmar over its ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority and whether there is a real risk that the US could overturn the Iran nuclear non-proliferation deal.

The European Parliament, which meets in Strasbourg this week, will hold two debates on rule of law.

MEPs will vote on a resolution on Wednesday that is expected to say "the current situation in Poland represented a clear risk of a serious breach" of EU values, referring to the ruling PiS party's attempt to seize control of the country's courts.

The text is also likely to call for a plenary vote recommending EU sanctions on Warsaw in response - the suspension of its voting rights in the Council.

MEPs will debate the situation in Malta on the same day, after the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia raised concerns about ineffective policing and high-level corruption.

The main parliamentary groups want an independent international investigation into the killing and want the Commission to hold talks with Valletta on criminality and money-laundering in the micro-state.

The end of the week will see the Catalan crisis come back into the foreground as a Belgian courts holds a hearing on whether to extradite fugitive Catalan leader Carles Puidgemont, as well as four of his ministers, to Spain.

EU member states' officials will, the same day, meet to hammer our the details of the EU's 2018 budget in talks with the EU Parliament.

The parliament is asking for total commitments to be increased to €162.6 billion, while the Counciln representing the member states, set the ceiling at €158.9 billion.

The week will close with a "social summit" in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Friday, where European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Swedish PM Stefan Loefven will meet trade union and civil society leaders to discuss jobs and growth.

The end of the week will also see French and German leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel heading to the climate change summit in Bonn to reaffirm Europe's commitment to the Paris accord on global warming despite America's decision to pull out of the deal.

Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK

The Facebook CEO will brief MEPs on data protection - but only behind closed doors. Meanwhile EU leaders are scratching their heads on how to deal with US president Trump's erratic decisions on trade and the Iran deal.

All eyes on the EU budget This WEEK

The European Commission will next week unveil its ambitious proposal for the first EU budget without the UK. In the European Parliament, its the Belgian PM's turn to talk about the future of Europe.

Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK

The European Commission will present proposals to protect whistleblowers, combat fake news and organise the digital single market. The international community will gather in Brussels to discuss how to help Syrians in the current war and after.

Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU

Six beneficiaries of a €35m defence research grant were also part of the EU expert group that called for more public money in for the military. 'This raises serious concerns about a conflict of interests,' says campaigner Bram Vranken.

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