Saturday

24th Feb 2018

Agenda

Rule of law and Catalonia on the agenda THIS WEEK

  • PM Babis will be back to Brussels as Czechs vote in the presidential race

Undisciplined EU member states will be on the European Union agenda next week.

On Monday (29 January) Czech prime minister Andrej Babis will meet European Commission's president Jean-Claude Juncker and will elaborate his arguments against mandatory migrant quotas.

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Babis is also facing legal charges of EU subsidy fraud, hampering his ability to form a new government.

Babis is currently trying to set up a new cabinet after his minority government stepped down, having lost a vote of confidence, on 16 January.

The meeting will follow the election of a new Czech president this weekend (26-27 January).

It's another EU race between populist and liberal ideals. The winner will be either pro-Russian, anti-immigrant, anti-Islam, eurosceptic Milos Zeman or pro-European rival Jiri Drahos.

Juncker will also meet Romanian president Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday (31 January).

The meeting comes a week after Juncker, along with vice-president Frans Timmermans, expressed their concern over the independence of Romania's judicial system.

In December Bucharest passed a reform of the judicial system that the commission considers a step back in fighting corruption and as a threat to the rule of law.

Poland

On Monday (29 January) the civil liberties committee at the European Parliament will vote on a resolution on the situation of the rule of law and democracy in Poland, as the country is considered at risk of breaching European values.

The vote comes one month after the commission's decision to trigger an Article 7 rule of law procedure against Poland over a judicial overhaul that, according to the EU executive, undermines EU rules and values.

Catalonia continued

The Catalan parliament will vote for the new president of the government on Tuesday (30 January) or Wednesday.

The former region's leader Carles Puidgemont, who is currently in Belgium in a self-imposed exile after facing charges of rebellion and sedition in Spain, is the only candidate but the Spanish government has asked the Constitutional Court to block his candidacy.

Brexit's back

Brexit will also be back on next week's EU menu.

EU27 ministers are expected on Monday (29 January) to adopt a new set of negotiating directives for the forthcoming Brexit talks, which focus on the transition period.

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier and the UK's Brexit minister David Davis and their teams wil then resume formal talks on the transition.

On Thursday (1 February) MEPs, national experts and activists will discuss the situation of citizens' rights at a public hearing at the European Parliament.

Mercosur

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem and EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan will try to reach a deal in Brussels with the Argentine, Brazilian, Paraguayan and Uruguayan foreign ministers next Tuesday (30 January) as a new rounds of talks kick off on the Mercosur free trade deal.

This round of talks could be the decisive one to be able to reach an agreement in a few weeks.

Bulgaria takes over, Germany's SPD votes This WEEK

While Bulgaria and Ireland present themselves at next week's plenary at the European Parliament, Germany's Social Democrats will decide if the preliminary coalition deal with Merkel is good enough.

Election fever picks up This WEEK

Italian general elections, a German coalition in the balance, and the European parliament fighting to get a voice in nominating an EU commission president. This and much more in a week packed with intrigue.

ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK

EU leaders will gather to begin talking about the 2019 election process and the post-2020 budget, while eurozone finance ministers will ponder choosing the next European Central Bank deputy chief.

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