Tuesday

18th Jun 2019

Agenda

Brexit climax and Soros in Brussels This WEEK

  • A defaced poster of George Soros in Budapest last year. The Hungarian government one among several to have demonised Soros for funding aid for refugees (Photo: Lydia Gall/Human Rights Watch)

Brexit talks are set to climax at a special summit in Brussels on Sunday (25 November), when the 28 EU leaders give their political assent to a UK withdrawal contract and a much more loosely worded declaration on future relations.

The moment, barring 11th-hour snags on the future of Gibraltar or fishing rights, will mark the end of 18 months of negotiations.

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

  • Theresa May likely to seal EU leaders' approval, but less sure of MPs' support back home (Photo: Number 10 - Flickr)

But it will still fall short of guaranteeing an orderly Brexit, amid concerns that rebel MPs in Britain's ruling minority Conservative party could try to bring down their leader or that the British parliament could vote down the deal in December.

The rest of the week is shaping up to be less eventful, but does bring a handful of VIP guests to the EU capital.

George Soros, the US philanthropist demonised by populists and anti-Semites on both sides of the Atlantic, will meet European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans on Monday.

Denis Mukwege and Nadia Mura, this year's Nobel peace laureates, will discuss gender and human rights in Africa with EU development ministers on Tuesday.

Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, will share his thoughts on the future of Europe with MEPs on Wednesday.

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, will also discuss VAT reform with MEPs on Monday.

Bank scandals

The deputies might want to throw in some extra questions on money laundering and tax evasion, amid recent scandals involving Denmark and Germany's largest banks.

But a special MEPs' committee, called Tax3, will also take a detailed look at the so-called 'cum-ex scandal' on Monday - a scam which saw EU taxmen defrauded of €55bn by British, French, German, and Spanish lenders and their clients.

The same committee will also discuss "aggressive tax planning" by multinationals with EU financial affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici the next day.

The scientists who sat on the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - the most authoritative body dealing with climate change - will meet MEPs on the environment committee on Monday.

UN and EU migration experts and those from the International Migration Organisation will also discuss the situation in Libya with the civil liberties committees on Tuesday.

In other events, youth and culture ministers will discuss how to help integrate young refugees into European society and how to stop fake news on Monday and Tuesday.

A mixed bag of EU ministers meeting in the competitiveness council on Thursday and Friday will also discuss the future of the EU's space programme and cohesion funds - funds to poorer regions, such as those in Hungary and Poland, which could face cuts due to the two countries' recent anti-European behaviour.

Juncker and MBS

Meanwhile, away from Brussels, EU Council and European Commission heads Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker will mingle with Saudi Arabia's Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud (often shortened to MBS) at the G20 summit in Argentina starting Thursday.

The controversial decision to invite MBS, suspected of ordering the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has failed to prompt boycotts so far.

UK and EU draft 'letter to Santa' on future relations

A draft accord on future UK-EU ties envisaged "ambitious, broad, [and] deep" trade relations, but lacked detail, including on Gibraltar and fisheries - 48 hours before Sunday's emergency summit.

Hungary to push ahead with 'Stop Soros' law on NGOs

The Hungarian government of Viktor Orban has said it will not wait until Friday, to hear a verdict of European legal experts on human rights, before going ahead with its bill curtailing NGOs who work with migrants.

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

EU top jobs, Italy, and Western Balkans This WEEK

Talks on EP groups and top jobs in the wake of the EU election last month continue. Finance ministers also discuss whether to fine Italy, while EU commissioners promote Western Balkans enlargement.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us