Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

Agenda

Brexit nail-biter and EU nominations This WEEK

  • Boris Johnson's meeting in Ireland raised hopes (Photo: Parsons_Boris_whitehall-1069)

British prime minister Boris Johnson will meet the 27 other EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday (17 October) to try to clinch a last-minute Brexit deal.

The summit comes just two weeks before the UK crashes out of Europe with no legal framework to regulate trade relations, security cooperation, travel arrangements or residents' rights in place in a nightmare scenario for both sides.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

British leaks on Johnson's phone call with German chancellor Angela Merkel a few days ago suggested the two sides were too far apart to agree.

But Johnson's meeting with the Irish leader on Thursday raised optimism that a way could be found to share the circle of returning to full British sovereignty in Northern Ireland while keeping the Irish border open and the peace process there on track.

Foreign ministers and EU affairs ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday and Tuesday might give signs of how the Brexit talks are evolving.

But the foreign ministers will also have their plate full as they ponder how to stop Turkey from massacring Kurds in Syria and enflaming a conflict which has already sent millions of refugees to Europe.

They will also discuss how to stop Turkey from drilling for gas in Cypriot maritime zones.

And they will meet Ukraine's foreign minister amid concern that the new government in Kiev is preparing to capitulate to Russian demands on making a deal with Russia's puppet authorities in east Ukraine for the sake of peace.

Meanwhile, the EU affairs ministers are preparing to disappoint Albania and North Macedonia on Tuesday.

EU institutions had recommenced opening accession talks with the two Western Balkans states, not least to reward North Macedonia for changing its name to appease Greece.

But France is reportedly planning to veto the idea on grounds the EU is not ready to take in new members and that Skopje and Tirana have not done enough on reforms.

All that still leaves the European Commission nomination process up in the air.

The European Parliament was meant to have approved the 26 commissioner candidates early this week prior to a formal vote on 23 October.

But three of them - from France, Hungary, and Romania - were rejected on grounds of financial wrongdoing and the commission president, Ursula von der Leyen does not have firm alternatives yet.

The rejection of the French candidate has also pit Europe's main political groups against each other and caused bad blood between France and Germany, in feelings that risk spilling out further into the open when the EU leaders meet.

Johnson finally unveils UK's Brexit border 'compromise'

British PM Boris Johnson proposes regulatory alignment between the EU and Northern Ireland to avoid most of the checks at the border, but wants the province to leave the EU's customs union when the UK does.

Key moments for new commission This WEEK

MEPs will decide on Monday if they want the Hungarian commissioner-designate to come back for a second hearing, as commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen hopes to finally take office on 1 December.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia working on 'Plan B' for Nato
  2. Report: Hungary gagged EU on Israeli settlers
  3. Polls suggest draw after Johnson vs Corbyn TV duel
  4. EU ambassador to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry
  5. Hungary, Poland block EU conclusions on rule of law
  6. France: wide EU backing for enlargement change
  7. EU Council calls for policy action to protect marine life
  8. ECJ: Poland's judicial independence in doubt

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us