Wednesday

22nd May 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.

EU votes on future leaders This WEEK

The political spotlight switches from Brussels to national capitals and regions this week as Europe gears up for the start of European Parliament elections on Thursday

News in Brief

  1. Poll: Denmark set to double number of liberal MEPs
  2. European brands 'breaking' chemical safety rules
  3. Report: Merkel was lobbied to accept EU top job
  4. May struggling to get Brexit deal passed at fourth vote
  5. German MPs show interest in 'Magnitsky' sanctions
  6. CoE: Rights violations in Hungary 'must be addressed'
  7. EU affairs ministers rubber-stamp new ban on plastics
  8. Private companies campaign to boost turnout in EU poll

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

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. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us