Thursday

21st Feb 2019

Agenda

Brexit, Bono and Bavaria top This WEEK

  • Horst Seehofer's CSU is expected to suffer major losses in regional elections - upsetting politics in Berlin (Photo: Jens Volle/ Campact)

Brexit negotiations heat up next week - as the deadline looms for the UK and the EU to secure the outlines of a withdrawal agreement to be agreed by EU leaders summit in two weeks time.

In Brussels, there is anticipation of an emerging UK proposal on how to solve the Irish border issue, with London proposing to remain in the bloc's customs union indefinitely, and to align with EU regulatory rules in Northern Ireland.

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Northern Ireland's unionist party's leader Arlene Foster, an ally of British prime minister Theresa May's minority government will be in Brussels on Tuesday (9 October).

Meanwhile, on Wednesday (10 October) the European Commission is expected to unveil new proposals on how to prepare the bloc if the EU and the UK fail to clinch a withdrawal agreement before the UK gives up its membership next March.

On the same day, EU ambassadors from the remaining 27 EU countries will discuss the latest developments in the negotiations.

Sakharov...and Bono

On Tuesday in the European Parliament the committee on development, in cooperation with the subcommittee on human rights, will jointly vote on a shortlist of three candidates nominees for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2018.

On Wednesday the environment committee in the parliament will vote on new rules determining how to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment, such as lightweight bags, balloons, plastic cutlery, and straws.

Still on Wednesday, MEPs in the civil liberties committee will vote on whether to call on the data protection authorities of member states to investigate data breaches by Facebook in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and to determine if online platforms bear responsibility for the political ads running on them.

On the same day, the civil liberties committee will hear from the executive director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on its latest report on the situation of asylum in the EU.

On Wednesday European Parliament president Antonio Tajani will meet with the lead singer of Irish band U2, Bono. The chairmen of the political groups in the parliament will also meet the singer and activist, who recently wrote a pro-EU opinion article in the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Southern Germany

On the weekend (14 October), Bavarians will head to the polls in a regional election where the regional conservative party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister-party of chancellor Angela Merkel, is expected lose its absolute majority in a historic vote.

The CSU has recently attempted to move to the right in an attempt to win back voters from the anti-immigrant and eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has gained popularity due to the backlash against Merkel's asylum policy, but polls suggest it has lost voters in the centre.

Its leader, interior minister Horst Seehofer has challenged Merkel on migration with few tangible results.

General elections will be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on this Sunday (7 October), where voters will elect a wide number of sub-national presidencies, and legislatures and assemblies for the entities of the federalist Balkan country patched together at the end of a brutal war by the Dayton peace accords in 1995.

Ethnic-nationalist parties representing the three main communities, Bosniak, Serb, and Croat, are expected to top the polls.

New UK proposal on Irish border in final Brexit push

The UK could stay in the EU's customs union indefinitely to avoid crashing out of the EU as hopes for a new UK proposal on the Irish border issue grow in Brussels in the final phase of Brexit talks.

Opinion

'Nativism' and the upcoming Swedish and Bavarian elections

Swedes head to the polls in September in a national parliamentary election, while Bavarians vote in October in a state election. In both elections, voters' nativist sentiments may well help determine the outcome.

Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK

Brexit talks will continue in Brussels, as UK PM Theresa May's government is trying to find a way out of the political impasse at home. Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee will speak at the European Parliament next week.

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