Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

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.

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.

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.

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission to give verdict on Italy budget next week
  2. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  3. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  4. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  5. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls
  6. Italy defies EU deadline on changing budget
  7. Report: FBI looking into Brexiteers Farage and Banks
  8. Italian journalist unions protest 5MS 'whores' jibe

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.

Opinion

Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?

Few people commented on one key point in Macron's statement: he did not justify the idea of a European army by the need to intervene in Africa, which would have been France's traditional approach. Instead, he invoked the Russian threat,

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. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  2. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  3. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  4. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  5. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  6. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  7. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure
  8. EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us