Sunday

17th Dec 2017

Agenda

EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK

  • Two EU agencies will say goodby to London after Brexit (Photo: almost witty)

Ministers will get be immersed on Monday (20 November) in a complicated three-stage se­cret bal­lot­ing process to decide where to relocate the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) from London, which need to find a new home in the EU after Brexit.

"It is a serious issue and procedure, we have to order in some sandwiches before we have a result," a senior EU official quipped this week in anticipation of the closely-watched race for the first 'prizes' left in the wake of Brexit.

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Nineteen candidate cities competing. No clear favourite have emerged for either of the two agencies, in a process where objective criteria are likely to be tempered by political calculations.

Brexit will remain high on the agenda throughout next week, as prime minister Theresa May and EU Council chief Donald Tusk will meet on Friday (24 November) to talk about whether enough progress has been made to start talks on transition and the future relationship.

Tusk has said that the UK needs to make progress by early December for EU leaders to give the green light on the next phase of talks at their summit on 14-15 December.

EU affairs ministers will also hear the latest updates from EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday, while the council's Brexit working group will continue setting out how it sees the possibilities for the future relationship and transition.

Mladic verdict

On Wednesday (22 November) the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague will give its verdict on Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb general accused of overseeing the murders of thousands of Muslim boys and men in and around Srebrenica, and other war crimes, including the siege of Sarajevo in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

A guilty verdict would mean some healing for the survivors and the victims. However Mladic is still celebrated by most Serbs as a hero.

The verdict highlights the still fragile situation in Bosnia, where Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik wants to pull the Republic Srpska out of the tripartite power-sharing agreement that has kept it together since the 1995 peace accord.

Glyphosate

Glyphosate will be one of the main issues on the table next week.

On Monday (20 November) the environment committee in the European Parliament will hold a public hearing on the European citizens' initiative (ECI) banning the possibly toxic herbicide.

This ECI calls for a ban on glyphosate, a reform of the herbicide approval procedure, and EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for herbicide use.

On 9 November EU member states failed again to agree on a licence renewal period for the controversial chemical, despite an 18-month debate.

In the European Parliament next week, changes in the rules of how EU political parties are funded will be voted on in the constitutional affairs committee on Thursday (23 November).

Partnership

The education and culture council on Monday and Tuesday (20-21 November) will discuss the future of skills and the changing role of vocational education and training.

EU countries will try to reach a general approach on the issue of European Solidarity Corps, aiming to support volunteering opportunities for young people.

On Wednesday (22 November) the Parliament will host a high-level conference on Africa to look into recent developments in security, human rights, sustainable development and migration ahead of the upcoming EU-Africa Summit.

It will mark the opening of the Africa week in the Parliament.

The week will end with the Eastern Partnership Summit on Friday (24 November) in Brussels.

EU leaders and the six eastern European countries will look at the possibilities for future cooperation, and how to forge closer ties even though the EU does not plan to take in new members before 2019 at the earliest.

The leaders of five of the states - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine - will be in Brussels for the event, although it is not yet clear if Belarus' Aleksander Lukashenko will attend.

Magazine

Decision day for EU agencies relocation race

EU ministers will decide on the future location of two London-based EU agencies on Monday. In this edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine, we take a closer look at some of the EU agencies.

Bosnia referendum makes mockery of EU step

Western powers have urged Bosnian Serbs to abandon a referendum that threatens to destabilise the country and to undo its EU application, filed Tuesday.

Opinion

EU's eastern partnership needs revival

A week before a summit with EU eastern neighbours, Sweden and Poland's foreign ministers propose "a way ahead" for the relationship that is more focused on people's needs.

EU fails again to agree glyphosate renewal

Member states failed to agree on a licence renewal for weedkiller glyphosate. A new vote will take place before 22 November at the European Commission's appeal committee.

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.

Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June

Divisions on relocating asylum seekers remain entrenched following an EU summit. The east-west divide opens up the possibility of relying on a majority vote for a key asylum in June, further exacerbating disputes among opposing capitals.

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