Saturday

7th Dec 2019

Agenda

Brexit no-deal and chief prosecutor top This WEEK

  • The decision still needs to be made in London (Photo: EUobserver)

Brexit will continue to dominate the EU agenda, as by next week it will become clearer (possibly) if Britain wants to leave the EU with or without deal.

After the third consecutive vote on the withdrawal agreement on Friday in London rejected the negotiated withdrawal deal, the EU will now expect a direction from British prime minister Theresa May: if she wants to go ahead with no deal, or ask for an extension with Britain thus participating in the European elections in May.

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EU leaders will now gather in Brussels on 10 April for an emergency summit, called by Council president Donald Tusk.

As the Irish border remains a key Brexit issue, Irish PM Leo Varadkar will travel to Paris on Tuesday (2 April) to meet with president Emmanuel Macron, and on Thursday (4 April), German chancellor Angela Merkel will be in Dublin for talks.

EU member states are worried that the integrity of the single market could be compromised at a new EU external border on the island of Ireland in the case of a no-deal.

The European Parliament's committee on foreign affairs will hear from EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Tuesday (2 April).

Later in the day, the parliament's constitutional affairs committee will discuss Brexit with a member of the Brexit steering group, MEP Danuta Huber.

The EP's plenary is set to debate Brexit the day after in Brussels.

Other business

MEPs will later, still on Wednesday (3 April), will hear from Sweden's prime minister Stefan Lofven on the future of Europe. Lofven recently secured his position as premier after elections last year.

European lawmakers will also adopt on Thursday (4 April) new legislation on the EU gas market to ensure that the same rules will apply both to gas pipelines inside the EU and to those coming into the EU from non-EU countries.

On Thursday, MEPs will vote on a new tool to make sure EU countries safeguard the rule of law and the EU budget.

The so-called "conditionality" tool could mean that governments interfering with courts or failing to tackle fraud and corruption risk having their EU funds suspended.

Conditionality is a hot topic among member states, with several countries, such as Hungary and Poland, opposing it in long-term EU budget negotiations.

On Thursday, lawmakers will also vote on a proposal to limit member states' ability to introduce temporary border controls within the Schengen area to a maximum period of one year, instead of two.

MEPs will also discuss on Wednesday trade relations with China on Thursday ahead of the EU-China summit on 9 April.

The European Parliament's agriculture committee is voting this week on how the new Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) of 2021-2027 should look.

The agriculture MEPs will have to go through more than 2,000 amendments.

The committee has scheduled two hours of voting on Monday, 3.5 hours on Tuesday (2 April) morning and another four hours on Tuesday afternoon.

Kovesi row

The negotiations will also continue on Thursday between EU ambassadors and parliament negotiators over who to appoint as the EU's first public prosecutor.

EU member states backed a French candidate, while two parliamentary committees supported the bid of former Romanian anti-corruption prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi.

Romania's ruling Social democratic government, which now runs the EU presidency, had campaigned against Kovesi after forcing her out form the anti-graft position.

Under the government's latest effort to stop Kovesi's appointment, a Romanian agency tasked with investigating magistrates filed criminal charges against Kovesi, who has denied wrongdoing, and banned her from leaving the country for two months.

The EU commission said Romania was backsliding on respecting the rule of law and called on Bucharest to treat Kovesi fairly.

EU mulls three conditions for Brexit no-deal trade talks

The EU commission has set out conditions for the UK's future trade talks in the event Britain crashes out of the bloc with no deal - including solving the Irish border issue. An emergency summit on 10 April is possible.

Romanian prosecutor fights back critics for EU top job

The European Parliament's budget control committee backs Laura Codruta Kovesi for the EU chief prosecutor post after Tuesday's hearing, despite being the second-favourite of member states. The main committee in the case will vote on Wednesday.

UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK

EU leaders will try to agree on the 2050 emission-free target - but they will deeply disagree on EU spending over the next seven years. Meanwhile the UK will elect its new political leadership.

New commission and Malta in focus This Week

Ursula von der Leyen and her new team of commissioners will have their first meeting on Wednesday. In the meantime, Malta descends into political turmoil over the death of an investigative journalist.

EU Parliament to vote on the Commission This WEEK

MEPs will decide on Wednesday whether to support the new EU commission as a whole during the plenary session. If approved, Ursula von der Leyen's team will finally take office on 1 December.

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