Sunday

18th Nov 2018

Agenda

Orban and Brexit dominate EU summit next week

  • Viktor Orban to seek allies at Salzburg event after EU parliament sanctions vote (Photo: Consilium)

Hungarian leader Viktor Orban will face down EU leaders at an informal summit in Austria on Wednesday (19 September) and Thursday, following his castigation by the European Parliament last week.

He will first meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss Russian energy investments and to show the EU he has other friends in the wings if his European relations were to break down.

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

  • No big EU decisions expected before Tory party conference (Photo: Number10/flickr)

He will then meet fellow leaders from Europe's centre-right EPP bloc in Salzburg on Wednesday prior to the EU main event.

The EPP might tell him he is no longer welcome in its club following the EU parliament's decision, last week, to launch a sanctions procedure over his violation of EU values and rule of law in Hungary.

When he walks into the EU summit dinner later the same day, the main topic will be his favourite one - migration and border security.

That will give his allies, Italy and Poland's anti-migrant governments and others, a platform to show support.

The Salzburg summit will also see EU leaders discuss European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker's vision of a "sovereign Europe", as outlined in his big speech last week.

But that will give Orbanist forces another chance to grind the axe in opposition, for instance, against Juncker's plan to centralise EU power by replacing unanimity with majority voting in foreign policy.

Orban, in any case, doubled down on his anti-EU politics on Hungarian radio on Friday, where he said EU plans to create a 10,000-man border force were a German plot to give more authority to Brussels.

Brexit dinner

British prime minister Theresa May will also face tough questions at a dinner with the EU-27 leaders in Salzburg on Wednesday.

It will be her first chance to defend her so-called 'Chequers plan' for Brexit - to keep EU rules on trade in goods, but not services.

The plan was already shot down by the EU's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, but the French politician has also raised hopes of a deal by November.

Barnier will have a chance to outline his views to the EU-27's European affairs ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, where he will focus on the border problem in Ireland.

But neither the Salzburg nor the Brussels talks are likely to be conclusive, as the EU waits to see what happens at May's Tory party conference later this month, where hard-Brexit MPs might stage a rebellion that could see her lose office.

Rule of law

Hungary, Poland, and rule of law in the EU will also feature on the agenda away from Salzburg's glare.

Juncker will first meet Hungarian, Polish, and other central European leaders in Bucharest on Monday at a summit of the so-called 'Three Seas Initiative', a regional economic bloc.

The EU budget commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, will visit Budapest the same day, amid EU threats to cut financial support to miscreant states in the next budget.

The European affairs ministers will, on Tuesday, discuss Poland's EU sanctions procedure, launched last year.

MEPs from the civil liberties committee had also aimed to visit Warsaw on Wednesday.

The trip was put in doubt because the Polish government declined high-level meetings, but MEPs on a separate "rule of law" mission will go to Malta and Slovakia from Monday to Thursday to ask questions about the murders of two journalists who investigated government corruption.

Other events

Meanwhile, EU energy ministers will meet in Linz, Austria, under the auspices of Austria's EU presidency on Monday and Tuesday for informal talks on renewable sources.

On the foreign affairs front, EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn will go to Skopje on Monday, as Macedonia prepares for its referendum on a name deal with Greece, which would unlock its EU bid.

MEPs dealing with Palestine will spend Tuesday to Thursday in the occupied territories.

The visit comes amid a row on Israel's plan to demolish a Palestinian village in the so-called 'E1' district, a move which helps to split the West Bank in two and which, the EU says, goes against the two-state solution.

EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini attacked the demolition plan last week before travelling, next weekend, to New York for the UN general assembly.

EP triggers sanctions procedure, Hungary calls 'fraud'

The parliament launched a sanctions procedure against Hungary in an unprecedented vote that required a two-thirds majority from MEPs. Hungary is calling the vote a "fraud" and a "petty revenge" for its hardline migration policy.

'Dealbreaker' issues multiply in Brexit talks

As chief negotiators Raab and Barnier meet again in Brussels on Friday, UK demands for guarantees on the future relationship have put chances of no-deal Brexit over 50 percent.

Turkey and money dominate this week

MEPs in Strasbourg this week will vote on a law to cut carbon dioxide emissions for new cars and punish Turkey for its rule-of-law crackdown. Meanwhile, ministers in Luxembourg will be discussing euro-area reforms.

Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK

All eyes on London this week, where May struggles to hold onto power against Brexit rebels, while EU leaders meet in Brussels on Sunday to try to clinch agreement.

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.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts 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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us