Monday

30th Mar 2020

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

  • Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro and US president Donald Trump to make the first two UN speeches on Tuesday (Photo: tomdz)

Several EU leaders and top commissioners will leave the old continent this week to attend the UN general assembly and a climate summit in New York.

Iran is set to dominate the yearly UN circus of global diplomacy amid an exchange of military threats between US president Donald Trump, the host, and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who plans to travel to the American city.

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  • French president Emmanuel Macron: Bolsonaro enmity goes beyond the issues (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

But climate-related and personal insults could also fly between Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and French president Emmanuel Macron.

Bolsonaro, who is to give the opening UN speech on Tuesday (24 September), became an EU pariah over this year's Amazon forest blazes, and the far-right leader is expected to stick up two fingers once again to climate worries in New York.

Macron, who increasingly speaks for the EU on the world stage, has tried to broker US-Iran peace talks and to defend a global climate treaty agreed in Paris.

The UN has also called a special summit on Monday "to address the global climate emergency" and the famous Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, led climate protests in New York in the run-up to the event.

But the Bolsonaro-Macron enmity goes beyond the issues, after Bolsonaro recently mocked Macron's wife in what the French leader called "extraordinarily rude comments".

British prime minister Boris Johnson, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, and Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades are also scheduled to attend, but Germany is to send its foreign minister instead.

Johnson will go to America instead of fighting Brexit fires in London and Brussels as days run out before a no-deal EU departure.

Conte will show Italy's more humane face on refugees following the defenestration of far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, from government.

And Anastasiades might lock horns with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan after Turkey began drilling for gas in Cypriot maritime zones.

The Chinese, Israeli, and Russian leaders are not planning to go.

But 12 EU commissioners, including foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and vice-president Frans Timmermans, will also spend most of this week in UN meetings.

Back in Brussels

Back in Europe, EU institutions are partly dormant as they wait for the 27 new European commissioners to take up their posts.

But EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is to meet Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe amid trade talks on Friday.

EU energy ministers will meet on Tuesday, one day after the UN climate summit, to discuss national plans to fall in line with European global warming targets.

Two European Parliament (EP) committees, on economic affairs and fishing, will discuss Brexit emergency plans.

And European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi will give a swan song briefing at the parliament on Monday, prior to handing over his post to French politician Christine Lagarde.

Most other candidates for senior EU jobs still have to face parliament hearings in October.

And the EP's legal affairs committee will spend this week taking a closer look at nine financial declarations that do not add up.

US scorns EU bailout of Iran deal

Gulf tensions have intensified, with Iran to speed up nuclear enrichment after US scorns French-led EU diplomacy.

Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he is not emotionally attached to the Irish backstop, but workable solutions are required to keep the peace on the island.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

EU goes fully online in lockdown This WEEK

EU leaders will discuss the coronavirus reponse online, while MEPs will vote on urgent measures by email. Starting accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia will also be high on the agenda.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

Opinion

Poland's sham presidential election in a pandemic

Declaring a state of emergency is not even an option on the table for Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) chairman Jarosław Kaczyński - as it would render the 10 May election impossible.

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