Thursday

27th Feb 2020

Agenda

EU Parliament to vote on the Commission This WEEK

  • If all goes well for president-elect Ursula von der Leyen, the next commission will be able to take office the first week of December - even without a UK commissioner (Photo: Global Panorama)

Members of the Europan Parliament (EP) will vote on whether to support the new EU commission led by Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday (27 November) at noon.

The vote (by simple majority) will come following a presentation by Germany's von der Leyen of the 27 commissioners and their programmes. If approved, the new commission will finally be able to take office on 1 December - even without a UK commissioner.

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The EP president David Sassoli will meet with von der Leyen on Monday (25 November).

On Wednesday (27 November), MEPs will also vote on the next year's budget for investing in the EU and its member states, the mobilisation of a solidarity fund to assist Greece and financial measures to address the challenges of migration, refugees and security threats.

Climate will also be very high on the agenda of the next plenary session.

MEPs will discuss whether the EU should declare a state of environmental and climate emergency, as well as the European Parliament's position ahead of the UN conference (in Madrid, 2-13 December).

There will be a vote on two draft resolutions on Thursday (28 November) on the EU's commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

MEPs, commission vice-president Frans Timmermans and a representative of the Finnish presidency will set on Tuesday (26 November) the parliament's priorities ahead of the next European summit on 12-13 December.

Parliamentary moves

Meanwhile, the EP committee on budgets (BUG) will have an extraordinary meeting on Monday evening to exchange ideas, among other issues, over EU's Budget 2020 procedures.

The EP committee on foreign affairs (AFET), the subcommittee on human rights (DROI) and the committee on development (DEVE) will also meet on Monday with last year's winner of the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov.

On the same day, there will be a plenary debate over the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention and the other measures to combat gender-based violence to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - but the resolution will be voted on Thursday.

This international treaty remains blocked in the EU council by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom.

Sassoli will meet on Tuesday with the prime minister of Portugal, António Costa.

On Wednesday, Sassoli will also meet the president of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, the Irish Minister for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, and a delegation from the Japanese parliament.

The European ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, will meet the liberals Renew Europe and the leftists GUE/NGL during the week to present her candidacy for the next term and give MEPs the chance to ask questions. She met MEPs from the S&D and the Greens last week.

Sustainable focus

On Monday, the presidency of the EU council organises a high-level conference on the data economy in Helsinki to present solutions and ideas for a sustainable, competitive and human-driven data economy.

The same day, ministers of EU member states in charge of development will gather in Brussels to discuss the future financial architecture for sustainable development and how the EU and member states can better cooperate to support the development of countries in transition.

Development ministers are also expected to touch upon the Global Refugee Forum, which will take place in Geneva next month (17-18 December).

On Thursday, ministers of EU member states will debate the external dimension of European competitiveness, and on Friday (29 November) the minister will discuss solutions for a sustainable Arctic and adopt conclusions on the updated EU bioeconomy strategy.

Romania will face the second round of presidential elections this Sunday (24 November), where president Klaus Iohannis is ahead in polling against former prime minister Viorica Dancila.

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.

Green MEPs unconvinced by Romanian commissioner

The answers of Romanian's new commissioner-designate for transport, Adina-Ioana Vălean, did not manage to convince MEPs from the Greens group, who will ask her additional questions concerning environment and consumer rights.

Africa visit and EU parliament missions This WEEK

The European Commission will visit the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for a joint meeting with the African Union, ahead of the EU-Africa strategy being unveiled. MEPs will carry out missions in the Czech Republic, Turkey and the US.

Budget, Zuckerberg, Pelosi and Cayman Islands This WEEK

EU leaders will put their heads together on Thursday night to look for a compromise on the next long-term EU budget. EU Council president Charles Michel's latest proposal has received a lukewarm welcome from member states.

Feature

Coronavirus: voices from a quarantined Italian town

Panic-buying, plus resentment at the media for fuelling the panic, are the paradoxical responses of residents of the Italian towns of Vicenza and Vo', where Italy's first victim of the coronavirus died last Friday.

Greek island riots require measured response, says EU

Residents on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios have been met with riot police, following protests against plans to erect new migrant detention camps. The European Commission says measures by Athens' authorities must be "necessary and proportionate."

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