Saturday

21st Sep 2019

Agenda

New commission unveiled This WEEK

EU Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen will unveil her team of commissioners next Tuesday (10 September) and their designated portfolios, after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations.

"I am happy to have received all names from EU member states," von der Leyen tweeted.

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

The only wild card left seems to be Romania, where the government put forward two names: Dan Nica and Rovana Plumb.

Von der Leyen will kick off her week with a working lunch on Monday (9 September) with current commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, before making the announcement the next day.

The attention will then turn to the parliament, where the various parliamentary committees will start grilling the commissioner candidates.

Political groups will meet to work out their positions on the nominees over the weekend and next week.

The Romanian and Hungarian candidates can expect some heat from MEPs, but Italy's and Poland's candidates seem to be in a safe position.

Brexit saga reaching endgame?

The week will see the Brexit saga continue with an effort by British prime minister Boris Johnson to push - again - for a snap election.

MPs will get another chance to vote for an early election on Monday (9 September), the government announced.

Parliament rejected Johnson's plan for a snap election for 15 October, immediately ahead of the EU summit on 17 October. Legislators at the same time are pushing through a bill that would make a no-deal Brexit illegal and force Johnson to ask for an extension to the 31 October Brexit deadline if there is no divorce deal until then.

Johnson said this week he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than go to Brussels to ask for a further delay.

The fresh vote on an early election is scheduled just before parliament is due to be suspended from next week until 14 October. Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said the suspension would begin on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday but did not say precisely when, the BBC reported.

Opposition parties are holding talks about how to respond to the prime minister's call for a mid-October election.

Meanwhile, the deal to prevent a no-deal Brexit was being voted on by the upper chamber House of Lords on Friday (6 September).

In Brussels, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Thursday (12 September) will debrief the leaders of the European parliament's political groups and the parliament president on where things stand with the Brexit negotiations.

Crucial Russia vote

Russians go to the polls on Sunday (8 September) in municipal and regional elections.

Most of the attention will focus on Moscow, where during the campaign opposition rallies were galvanised, because president Vladimir Putin's administration wanted to stop opposition candidates from running for seats there.

Putin's United Russia did not formally nominate any candidates, and its candidates are running as independents because of the party's low popularity.

The rallies degenerated into the biggest police crackdown on protesters in nearly a decade in Russia.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny urged Russians to participate in the "smart vote" project, calling for voting for the strongest candidates standing against Putin's nominees.

"The only way to say 'NO' is coordinated voting for the strongest competitors of the United Russia candidates," Navalny wrote.

The elections will be keenly-watched ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2021, and will be a litmus test for authorities to adjust to the newly-energised opposition.

Any other business

Leaders of the European parliament committees will hold a meeting on Wednesday (11 September) with the Romanian and Estonian commissioners-designate, who have been put forward to join the outgoing Juncker-commission for the remainder of its term, until November, and replace commissioners who took up seats in the parliament.

On Monday, new European Parliament president David Sassoli will meet Spain's foreign minister Josep Borrell who had been nominated by EU heads of state to take over as the bloc's foreign affairs chief. Borrell himself had served as the EP's president between 2004 and 2007.

Von der Leyen aims to 'rebalance Europe'

The German EU Commission president-elect hopes to bridge divisions within the EU, as she meets with EU leaders setting up her team of commissioners.

The new European Commission: what's next?

Informal interviews with von der Leyen, hearings with parliamentary committees, and votes in the EU parliament and Council await the 26 candidates.

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

Brexit and new commission in focus This WEEK

Jean-Claude Juncker will meet Boris Johnson for the first time, but no breakthrough is expected in Brexit talks. MEPs are preparing to hear from the commission-designates, while Hungary will be grilled at the EU affairs' ministers meeting.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Podcast

Trumpworld In Europe

Pastors and plutocrats are sponsoring an ultra-conservative agenda in Europe. Many of them have links to Donald Trump.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

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

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us