Tuesday

26th Mar 2019

Agenda

EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK

  • Strasbourg: MEPs will focus on key issues before their mandate ends next May (Photo: European Parliament)

As Brexit talks came to a halt last week, and with Brussels in a post-summit slumber, the EU bubble's attention will turn to Strasbourg for the second plenary session of the European Parliament (EP) in October.

The future of Europe debates continue with Romania' president Klaus Iohannis in the parliament on Tuesday morning (23 October). Plans are for Germany's Angela Merkel and Denmark's Lars Lokke Rasmussen to speak to MEPs in November.

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

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (r) recently fielded MEPs' questions (Photo: European Parliament)

On Wednesday morning, MEPs will discuss what happened at the European Council summit, where British prime minister Theresa May did not bring new ideas to unblock the Brexit talks but showed a willingness to work toward a withdrawal agreement.

EU council president Donald Tusk will brief MEPs on his assessment of the summit talks.

The parliament will debate, on Tuesday, with justice commissioner Vera Jourova how to regulate Facebook and other social media platforms.

MEPs will vote on Wednesday on the EP's call for a full audit of how the company complies with EU data protection requirements, following a hearing of group leaders with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in May and two sets of follow-up questions.

The deputies will also discuss the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

The EP will vote on a resolution on Thursday calling for an international and impartial investigation and, if the murder is proved, for sanctions on those who are implicated.

MEPs will also debate the ban of single-use plastics, such as plates, cutlery, cotton bud sticks, plates, straws, and light plastic bags, which make up 70 percent of marine litter. The EP will vote on Wednesday on forbidding the production of those products.

Meanwhile, the European Commission's vice-president Frans Timmermans will unveil its work program for its next and final year on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday in Brussels, stakeholders will discuss the EU's next long-term budget and the cohesion policy at the European Economic and Social Committee.

Spitzenkandidat?

The same day commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the Danish politician whose name keeps popping up as a possible liberal candidate for the commission's top job, will hold a citizen's dialogue in Strasbourg.

On Thursday, the group leaders in the parliament will decide who will win this year's Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.

Candidates include NGOs saving lives in the Mediterranean Sea, a Ukrainian film director in jail in Russian and a Moroccan political activist.

On Monday evening (22 October), the parliament's constitutional affairs committee will debate Brexit with MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who is the coordinator for the Brexit talks in the EP.

Italy

The commission will also keep an eye on the Italian draft budget.

Its spending plans caused concern among EU leaders last week, as Rome's populist rulers plan to boost spending in the teeth of EU fiscal discipline rules.

The EU executive could ask for tweaks or decide to send the budget back to Rome for changes by 29 October.

Analysis

EU can afford to be tough on plastic straws

The EU commission wants to ban plastic straws and cutlery. Most of these are not made in the EU, making the proposal more likely to succeed.

EU leaders worried about Italy's budget

Some EU leaders warned that Italy's plan to boost its budget spending despite the second largest debt in the eurozone, could hamper efforts to reform the single currency's framework.

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.

News in Brief

  1. European Parliament votes on reform of copyright
  2. New French-German parliament meets for first time
  3. EU parliament reduces polling ahead of elections
  4. UK parliament votes to take control of Brexit process
  5. EU publishes no-deal Brexit contingency plans
  6. EU urges Israel and Gaza to re-establish calm
  7. May admits 'not sufficient support' for third Brexit vote
  8. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'

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. France takes Chinese billions despite EU concerns
  2. Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?
  3. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  4. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  5. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  6. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  7. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  8. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us