Friday

18th Jan 2019

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.

Romania takes over the EU This WEEK

Romania will officially take over the EU's presidency this week, with commissioners and senior EU officials kicking off the testing next six-month period with meetings in Bucharest.

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