Thursday

15th Nov 2018

Agenda

Facebook and Hungary top EU agenda This Week

  • 'Not Attending': Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive was invited to the European Parliament to testify (Photo: European Commission)

The 'Brussels bubble' comes back to life after the Easter break next week - and in the wake of a general election in Hungary on Sunday (8 April).

Prime minister Viktor Orban, one of the 'bete noire's of the European Union, and his increasingly far-right Fidesz party is expected to secure an absolute majority in parliament, although last minute coordination between opposition parties could upset the final result.

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Coinciding with Orban's likely re-election, on Thursday (12 April), the European Parliament's civil liberties committee will discuss a draft report on the situation in Hungary, assessing whether Budapest is at risk of a serious breach of EU values.

The committee will also debate whether to ask member states to invoke the Article 7 sanctions treaty.

And on Monday (8 April) European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans will be in another central European country whose government's actions have raised concerns over the rule of law.

The Dutch commissioner tasked with conducting the dialogue with the Warsaw government will meet PM Mateusz Morawiecki, foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz, president of the constitutional court, Julia Przylebska, and Malgorzata Gersdorf, the first president of the supreme court.

Poland sent its response to the EU executive's concerns last month, which is being analysed by the commission's experts.

Facebook on the phone

On Tuesday (9 April), the national data protection authorities will meet and will discuss Facebook's data breach.

The US social media giant has told the EU commission that information about up to 2.7 million EU citizens may have been compromised.

EU justice and consumer affairs commissioner Vera Jourova will call Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook.

Still on Tuesday commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will be in Germany and will participate in a government meeting.

EU ministers will meet on Thursday (12 April) to discuss the cohesion policy in the next long-term EU budget.

The same day Juncker will meet with the new Slovak prime minister Peter Pellegrini - after Robert Fico was forced out of office following the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend.

On Monday (9 April) the EP's committee on terrorism will discuss new challenges in the fight against terrorism with Jean-Charles Brisard of the French Centre for the Analysis of Terrorism.

MEPs will also hear from Raphael Malagnini, from the Belgian Prosecutor's Office on judicial cooperation in the fight against terrorism financing.

Working MEPs

The parliament's monetary affairs committee will on Monday (9 April) look into the European Central Bank's 2017 annual report.

On Thursday (12 April) MEPs in the civil liberties committee will talk vote on new rules on a common single procedure for asylum claims in the EU.

The rules would simplify and shorten asylum procedures and offer guarantees for asylum seekers, and clarify the notion of the 'safe countries of origin'.

And finally, MEPs in the budget control committee will discuss amendments tabled by parliamentary groups on the appointment of Martin Selmayr, the head of the commission's civil service whose hasty and controversial appointment caused an outcry last month.

The Selmayr resolution will be voted on by the committee's MEPs on 16 April.

Tactical voting stands in way of Orban's majority

Hungarians head to the polls on Sunday but high voter turnout and tactical voting could make it difficult for Viktor Orban's nationalist Fidesz to acquire an absolute majority or get a two-thirds majority it once held in parliament.

MEPs condemn Selmayr job 'coup' but no resignation call

In a draft resolution, the EU Parliament says that the appointment of Martin Selmayr as the commission's new secretary general "possibly overstretched the limits of the law" - but ask only for a review of the rules.

Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

The now-outgoing German chancellor will outline her vision for Europe in the EU parliament, as political parties gear up for the election next May. Brexit will also dominate, even though talks have yet to yield a breakthrough.

EU elections and Italy's finances are in focus This WEEK

A debate among would-be EPP 'Spizenkandidat' candidates next week in Helsinki will be the first of many clashes of ideas ahead of European elections next May. The liberals are also holding their own congress.

News in Brief

  1. Second UK cabinet minister resigns over Brexit deal
  2. UK Brexit secretary quits morning after deal agreed
  3. Romanian MPs call for national 'Magnitsky Act'
  4. Tusk: Brexit summit on Sunday 25 November
  5. Full text of Brexit withdrawal agreement published
  6. Greece to investigate former PM's bank accounts
  7. EU threatens to retaliate if US introduces auto tariffs
  8. Frontex: Spain now main destination for migrants

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

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