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16th Nov 2018

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Dutch debate on EU agenda This WEEK

  • The Netherlands' Mark Rutte, sounds less EU-enthusiastic than Jean-Claude Juncker might like (Photo: Roel Wijnants)

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte will debate the future of the EU with MEPs and with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasburg on Wednesday (13 June).

The discussion, part of a series, comes ahead of an EU summit on 28 June and is likely to foreshadow the main topics of the leaders' talks: migration, eurozone reform, Brexit, the EU budget, Russia, and US trade.

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  • The Daphne Caruana Galizia murder continues to see EU ripples (Photo: European Parliament)

Rutte commands authority as the leader of a net contributor to EU funds and of a founding EU country.

But his views on migration have swung to the right, while his views on euro governance and EU spending are closer to those of some British eurosceptics than to Juncker's ideas on more Europe and more money for Europe.

The Rutte debate also comes after European leaders lock horns with US president Donald Trump on trade tariffs at a G7 meeting in Canada this weekend, an event that will also mark the debut of the new Italian prime minister, who wants to end Western sanctions on Russia, on the world stage.

Poland

MEPs will, also on Wednesday, discuss rule of law in Poland with the commission's Frans Timmermans after he initiated sanctions against Warsaw in one of the EU's thorniest confrontations.

They will turn to kitchen sink issues in a vote the same day on how to redistribute the 76 MEP seats to be left vacant when the UK exits the bloc next year.

They will also legislate, one day earlier, on Tuesday, on how to use drones more safely, and hold a debate, together with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, on how to save the Iran nuclear arms control deal.

There are few EU ministers' meetings next week and few high-profile commission events, as EU institutions hunker down to prepare for the upcoming summit.

But justice commissioner Vera Jourova will travel on a sensitive mission to Malta to meet ministers and law enforcement chiefs on Friday.

The trip comes after the murder of a top journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, last year, amid her allegations of top-level corruption on the Mediterranean island, with both EU officials and MEPs now getting involved to try to see that justice is done.

Energy ministers on Monday (11 June) will discuss progress in negotiations with the European Parliament on three clean energy bills. They will also try to reach a common position on the future of the EU agency for the cooperation of energy regulators (ACER).

Juncker seeks budget whip on unruly states

EU officials want discretionary powers to suspend funds from states that violate treaty values, in a bold power grab amid likely clashes with Hungary and Poland.

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.

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