Monday

25th Mar 2019

Agenda

Juncker White House trip trumps the agenda This WEEK

  • 'All efforts to divide Europeans are in vain,' Jean-Claude Juncker (l) said ahead of his meeting with Donald Trump

Relations between the EU and the US will top the news agenda this week, with European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker's visit to the White House on Wednesday (25 July) - just days after US president Donald Trump called the EU a "foe".

Both sides said the meeting will focus on "improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership," with US tariffs on steel and aluminium and the threat of additional tariffs on cars at the centre of the talks.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The commission will present proposals to manage arrivals of migrants who have been rescued at sea (Photo: SOS Mediterranee)

Juncker, who will be accompanied by trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, said he will "repeat European arguments" against US measures.

"It seems that relations between partners and the EU and the European Union have to be better explained," he told journalists on 17 July.

He said that he "would like the US president to understand that when it is about trade, the EU, its single market, are one indivisible entity," and that "all efforts to divide Europeans are in vain."

Juncker was invited by Trump in June, in an attempt to decrease tensions on trade after the US decision on tariffs and a disastrous G7 summit in Canada.

"We will try everything to avoid a trade war," German chancellor Angela Merkel said when EU leaders confirmed Juncker would go to Washington.

But during a recent trip in Europe, Trump has attacked the EU for its trade policies.

"EU is very difficult. I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they've really taken advantage of us," he said in an interview while in Scotland.

On Thursday (19 July), he reacted angrily to the €4.3bn fine imposed on Google by the European Commission for breaking EU antitrust rules, saying that the EU would "not for long" take advantage of the US.

Tit-for-tat

"We'll continue to react tit-for-tat to provocations", Juncker warned, referring to possible US tariffs on cars.

Malmstrom also said that the EU has "made clear" to the US that it is preparing counter-measures.

But on 19 July, US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said that is was "too soon" to way what Trump would decide.

Migration

In Brussels meanwhile, the European Commission will try to address the current political tensions over the management of migrant arrivals in the EU.

On Tuesday (24 July), it will present a proposal to create so-called controlled centres - facilities to welcome migrants who were rescued at sea and where it would be decided whether they can claim asylum.

The idea was proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron and Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte at the last EU summit after Italy refused to open its ports to migrant boats.

But the controlled centres will be "more a process than a place", an EU source said.

In line with Macron and Conte's idea, migrants will be dispatched in voluntary countries, on a case-by-case basis.

The commission's proposal will be about how decisions are taken, and how facilities set up when people arrive get a technical and financial support from the EU.

"It is an interim solution," a commission spokeswoman said on Friday, until a long-term reform of the EU asylum system is agreed.

In the meantime, she said, the commission will continue to coordinate the effort between voluntary member states.

The commission paper will be submitted to EU ambassadors on Wednesday and the process would be put in place as soon as member states agree to it.

The commission will also present a paper on the so-called disembarkation platforms - facilities outside the EU where migrants would be confined while waiting to be granted asylum or returned to their country.

Several countries, including Libya, have already refused to host such centres, and the commission paper will only present principles to make them compatible with an involvement of the UN refugee and migration agencies - if and when they happen.

Brexit

After a week where Brexit was much discussed in Brussels and in London, negotiations will continue in Brussels at expert level, in order to speed up the work and try to reach a withdrawal agreement by October.

Amid discussions over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - which the EU wants to remain open after Brexit - a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference will take place on Wednesday (25 July).

The conference, whose role is to ensure dialogue and consultation to implement the Good Friday peace agreement, will focus on the lack of a devolved government shared between unionists and republicans in Belfast. But the impact of Brexit on the border and the agreement itself will be also discussed.

EU urges no-deal Brexit preparation

The EU Commission urged companies, citizens, and member states to prepare in case the UK next March crashes out of the EU without a deal - on the day the new UK Brexit minister arrived in Brussels.

Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK

The UK parliament will likely hold a third vote on the Brexit withdrawal deal next week, determining the UK's departure from the bloc. In the meantime, the controversial copyright reform will be on the EU parliament's agenda.

Brexit delay and Orban decision This WEEK

EU leaders will discuss whether to allow London to delay its exit from the bloc, as some are worried it would mean more of the same. Meantime, the European People's Party braces itself for a showdown with Hungary's Orban.

It's the big Brexit vote This WEEK

UK lawmakers will have to take the key decisions next week on Brexit - as the two-year saga finally reaches the boil. Meanwhile, the European Parliament is busy wrapping up legislation before the May elections.

News in Brief

  1. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'
  2. May 'effectively out of power', says Scottish leader
  3. May under pressure to resign over Brexit endgame
  4. Million march against Brexit, five million sign petition
  5. Italy first G7 country to sign China Belt and Road deal
  6. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  7. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  8. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  2. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  3. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  4. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  5. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  6. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  7. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  8. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us