Tuesday

1st Dec 2020

Agenda

Africa and EU summit This WEEK

  • African Union Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat (l) with EU council president Donald Tusk (Photo: © European Union)

The EU is aiming to launch a new and more profound relationship with Africa as leaders gather in the Ivory Coast next week.

The two-day EU Africa summit kicks off on Wednesday (29 November) in Abidjan with a focus on youth and jobs.

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Some 55 African leaders, along with 28 EU member states, are set to attend a summit described by one EU senior official as an effort to manage the continent's future demography.

With a population set to double by 2050, Africa is the only continent where young people outnumber and will continue to outnumber the old. Some 60 percent of the African population is under the age of 25.

"This offers a lot of opportunities but also poses a lot of challenges, challenges that we can better manage to together," one senior EU official told reporters.

Among the EU heads of state set to attend is France's president Emmanuel Macron.

A government spokesperson has yet to confirm German chancellor Angela Merkel's attendance. Austria is sending Muna Duzdar, the state secretary in the federal chancellery.

The EU is hoping the private sector will invest in the continent through a so-called external investment plan.

A second senior EU official described the investment plan as the EU's flagship proposal for the summit.

The plan mixes development aid to reduce investment risk in the hopes of leveraging some €44 billion on top of the EU's initial €4 billion.

The EU will expect African states to devote a larger percentage of their GDP to education with extra emphasis on girls.

"Girls and young women, and women in general, are the beating heart of Africa, and I think also of Europe," said the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

Migration will also be discussed, as will good governance, and topics on peace and security.

Brussels and US

Meanwhile, back in Brussels, outstanding issues ranging from the weedkiller glyphosate , the EU budget for 2018, and Brexit will be on the agenda.

On Monday (27 November), a final round of glyphosate talks and a vote will place in an effort to break a deadlock for a possible three or five-year renewal.

Glyphosate is used in a Monsanto product called Roundup. Member state representatives have so far been unable to agree on a renewal of the licence, set to expire at the end of this year.

If they failed again on Monday, it would be up to the Commission to take the decision.

On Tuesday, EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici and EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova will be at the European Parliament to discuss the latest tax avoidance scandal known as the Paradise Papers.

The papers, revealed by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism, shows how politicians and the global business elite hide their money from public tax authorities.

The talks come ahead of plans in early December by the EU commission to publish a blacklist of tax havens.

US secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also set to deliver remarks on Tuesday at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C. on how he views ongoing and future relations with Europe.

The European Commission, also on Wednesday, is set to unveil its ideas on how to reform the EU's agriculture policy.

The largest share of the EU budget is devoted to the Common Agricultural Policy, which provides subsidies to European farmers. The broad plan is to both modernise and simplify the policy.

Also on Wednesday, MEPs in the European Parliament plenary will debate the annual EU budget for next year.

EU Parliament president Antonio Tajani is set to sign off on the budget but only when approved with a plenary vote on Thursday.

The plenary will also devote more attention on Thursday to the rule of law in Malta.

The island-state was pushed into the global spotlight following the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a prolific investigative journalist who had exposed high-level government corruption.

The parliament's constitutional affairs committee on Wednesday will host a workshop on the implications of Brexit on the Irish border.

Member states are also putting forward their candidates for the presidency of the Eurogroup, ahead of votes the following week. The outgoing chair, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, is set to announce the candidates on Friday.

EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK

EU ministers will vote on where to relocate two EU agencies from the UK, while later EU leaders will host six eastern European countries in Brussels. Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic awaits his verdict in the Hague.

Unblocking Brexit and budget in focus This WEEK

With only five weeks to go before the UK severs all ties with the EU, chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that the "same significant divergences persist" between the two sides in post-Brexit talks.

MEPs prepare for another virtual plenary This WEEK

Ahead of the next European summit in mid-December, MEPs will address the EU's long-term budget and rule-of-law conditionality in another virtual plenary session. Discussions will also focus on consumer rights, pharmaceutical strategy and the pandemic.

Brexit and EU online summit in focus This WEEK

Talks between the EU and the UK have moved little, with only seven weeks left until the UK breaks ties with the EU. Negotiations are expected to resume on Monday in Brussels.

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