Tuesday

26th May 2020

Agenda

Davos and Libya in focus This WEEK

  • EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell at an event in Bratislava in December (Photo: European Commission)

With the Libyan ceasefire talks hitting a wall, German chancellor Angela Merkel is to host a conference in Berlin on Sunday (19 January) to try to bridge the gap between the warring sides in the North African country.

The German-led push to resolve the conflict in Libya will see Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar and the leader of the UN-backed government, Fayez al-Sarraj, attend the event.

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European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, EU Council president Charles Michel and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell will participate in the talks.

Representatives from the US, Russia, China, the UK, France, Italy, and the UN will also join.

On Saturday, Von der Leyen will have her own sit-down with Merkel.

From Berlin, the commission chief will go to Davos, the yearly gathering of the world's business and political elite, where she will give a speech on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Von der Leyen and European Parliament president David Sassoli will be in Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum 2020, dedicated to remembering the shoah and to fighting antsemitism.

After the Libya conference, EU foreign affairs ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel region in Africa

Ministers will also talk about the Middle East peace process over lunch.

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg will address the EU parliament's foreign affairs committee on Wednesday, as the EU is working on strengthening its own defence policy and investments.

Brexit finale

The parliament's constitutional affairs committee will vote on Thursday on their recommendation to the European Parliament on whether it should grant its consent to the EU-UK withdrawal agreement.

The final vote in plenary will take place on 29 January in Brussels, with MEPs expected to give their support to the Brexit deal.

The future trade and economic relations with the UK and after Brexit will be discussed in the trade committee on Tuesday.

The trade deal will have to be negotiated in only 11 months after the UK leaves the EU on 31 January - a tough timeframe compared to the years of gruelling negotiations trade talks usually entail.

But British prime minister Boris Johnson ruled out extending the Brexit transition period beyond 2020 which would make way for further talks.

Money talks

On Wednesday, MEPs will discuss the upcoming seven-year EU budget with budget commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Negotiations among member states have been in deadlock for months, particularly over the size of the budget, as one of the big net payers, the UK, leaves the bloc.

EU Council chief Michel is starring the talks for now, holding bilateral talks to find a common ground between those who argue that a smaller EU needs a smaller budget, and levels of spending and investment need to be maintained.

On Tuesday, MEPs on the trade committee will vote on the on EU-Vietnam free trade and investment protection agreements.

Finance ministers will also meet on Monday and Tuesday, first in a smaller format representing euro-using countries only, and later in an extended one.

They will discuss euro-area policies with the International Monetary Fund as well as a commission proposal for eurozone economic policies for 2020.

Home affairs and justice ministers will also meet in an informal format in Zagreb on Thursday.

Von der Leyen warns on EU budget cuts

The new EU Commission president will tell EU leaders next week that they need to put money behind their pledges for border protection, defence policy and fighting climate change.

Brussels warns UK of 'difficult' Brexit trade talks

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warned the UK that future negotiations would be tough and that the relationship between the EU and the UK will never be the same after Brexit.

EU aid pushing Libyan refugees back to war-hit Libya

At least 17 Libyans were returned to their war-torn country after attempting to flee on boats towards Europe. Their fates, along with many others, remain unknown as the EU-backed Libyan Coast Guard sweeps up people en masse.

Opinion

Libya is now turning into an international conflict

Italy, with its particular relations with Tripoli and Misrata, and UAE, with its significant influence in Egypt and Libya, can truly play a pivotal role in halting the Haftar offensive.

Recovery plans unveiled This WEEK

Tough negotiations start this week on both the EU's recovery fund and its revised long-term budget, which are likely to determine the entire future of the bloc.

Column

That German court ruling hurts EU rule-of-law fightback

The short-term damage to financial markets may be smaller than feared. The damage to democracy is considerable because it weakened the ECJ - the most effective institution to stop attacks against democracy and rule of law in EU member states.

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