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21st Feb 2024

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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.

New Red Sea mission and more Russia sanctions This WEEK

EU foreign affairs ministers launch the bloc's new Red Sea naval mission, plus hold talks on new sanctions against Russia — amid Hungarian objections — on Monday. Plus a home for the EU's new anti-money laundering authority will be picked.

Nato, defence summit, and UNRWA in focus This WEEK

Nato defence ministers will meet this week ahead of the Munich Security Conference. ECB chief Christine Lagarde will address MEPs in the committee on economic affairs and MEPs will hold a debate about the defunding of the UNRWA agency.

Opinion

EU-Israel trade agreement must be on table to stop Rafah attack

The EU-Israel association trade agreement enabled €46.8bn of trade last year. Exports rose for both parties by around 20 percent in 2022. As the bloc's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said: "Yes, we have the capacity to influence [Israel]."

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