18th Mar 2018


Italy and migration will top This WEEK

  • Instead of going, former PM Silvio Berlusconi might come back to dominate Italian politics once again (Photo: Nela Lazarevic)

Italy will vote over the weekend with all eyes in Europe will be fixed on the third largest economy in the eurozone to see if the results will yield to a relatively stable coalition.

The outcome could pave the way for another political comeback to Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister, who has tipped European Parliament president Anotnio Tajani as his PM candidate in case his centre-right party wins big enough to lead a coalition.

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Germany might also have a new government by the beginning of the week, as the result of a vote of members of the Social Democratic party (SPD) on the coalition agreement with chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats will be published over the weekend.

Migrating ministers

In Brussels, things are looking quiet this week, unless new, unexpected management announcements by the EU Commission will ruffle feathers once again .

On Monday (6 March) environment ministers will gather in the council.

Their colleagues focusing on justice and home affairs will gather on Thursday (8 March).

Migration is always a key issue for the ministers, and work on the asylum reform accelerates as June approaches, when EU leaders are set to decide how they want to organise a mandatory or voluntary distribution of migrants, and defend the external borders.

Cherry picking

After UK prime minister Theresa May's speech on the future EU-UK relationships on Friday (2 March), the European Parliament's leaders - the president and the group chiefs – will put forward a draft resolution on the framework on those future relations, as they see it.

It will be voted on by MEPs the week after. The resolutions can set out the "red lines" of the EP, which will have to ratify a future trade deal, as well as the final withdrawal agreement aimed to be concluded by negotiators this autumn.

EU ambassadors will also start discussing the possible elements of the negotiating guidelines for the commission on those future ties. EU leaders are expected to adopt the guidelines at the end of March.

Le Pen verdict

France's far-right MEP Jean-Marie Le Pen will await the European Court of Justice's decision on Wednesday (7 March) on the annulment of the European Parliament's decisions to recover €320,026 which the parliament said was unduly paid to him for staff.

German 'GroKo' now in SPD's hands

The result of the Social Democrats members' vote on a new grand coalition with Merkel's Christian Democrats will be known on Sunday. A 'Yes' is expected across Europe.

Judges refuse to 'let go' of Le Pen's fake jobs case

As MEPs start to examine a request to lift Marine Le Pen's parliamentary immunity on Monday, judges in Paris are trying to tighten the judiciary's noose around the French far-right leader.

Brexit and trade will top This WEEK

A crucial EU summit will decide whether to give a green light to the Brexit transition period, while the EU is also fighting to get exemptions from the new US steel and aluminium tariffs.

'Selmayrgate' moves to the EU Parliament This WEEK

As a global trade war looms over the new US steel tariffs, the EU's attention will shift to Strasbourg - where MEPs are expected to debate the Martin Selmayr appointment, trade, Brexit, journalism and the budget.

Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant

Niger has temporarily stopped all evacuations from Libya detention centres under an EU funded programme because so few are being resettled to Europe. Many of those that have been evacuated are pregnant, with some asking for HIV testing.

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