Monday

6th Apr 2020

Agenda

Africa visit and EU parliament missions This WEEK

  • The European Commission wants to strengthen the Africa and Europe relationship (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Commission will visit on Thursday (27 February) the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for a joint meeting with the African Union, before the EU-Africa strategy is unveiled in the coming weeks.

This new approach aims to bring Africa and Europe closer together through the strengthening of economic cooperation and sustainable development.

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Meanwhile, the commissioner for neighbourhood and enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, will be in Prague for the ministerial meeting of the Visegrad group - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - and the six Western Balkan partners.

Also on Thursday, EU ministers for the internal market will gather in Brussels to discuss the impact of the Green Deal on EU industry and the single market performance report of last year.

On Friday (28 February), ministers will discuss the EU's vision to boost innovation and research in leading universities, labs and companies.

European affairs ministers will gather on Tuesday (25 February) to start preparing the next European summit on 26-27 March and to discuss the next steps in the EU-UK relationship.

On the same day, the commission will brief ministers about the new enlargement methodology it has put forward.

Parliamentary missions

Despite being a green week in the European Parliament, MEPs from the committee on budgetary control will carry out a "fact-finding mission" starting on Wednesday (26 February) in the Czech Republic.

The mission, led by German MEP Monika Hohlmeier from European People's Party, aims to verify the facts about the alleged conflict of interest involving the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš.

In addition, the foreign affairs committee delegation will travel on Monday (24 February) to Ankara and Mardin for meetings with Turkish government representatives to discuss the latest developments on EU-Turkey relations, as well as regional challenges, such as the conflicts in Syria and Libya.

Likewise, a delegation of the civil liberties committee will travel to Washington and Boston to discuss EU-US cooperation on data protection, including the controversial EU-US privacy shield - an agreement to share personal data for commercial purposes adopted in 2016.

"The EU-US 'privacy shield' is inadequate as a safeguard, badly implemented, hardly enforced and weakly scrutinised," Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in 't Veld said earlier this year.

In 2018, the committee called on the commission to suspend the EU-US data transfer pact - something that might happen due to the 'Schrems II' ongoing case before the European Court of Justice.

Spain and Italy's domestic woes

On Wednesday, Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will meet with the head of the regional government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, to discuss the tortuous relationship between Madrid and Barcelona.

"We want to open dialogue and bring back to the political arena a conflict that has been taken over by [the] judicial," Sanchez said last week at the summit in Brussels on the EU budget.

But he warned that "negotiations will be complex and long".

Additionally, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte will host French president Emmanuel Macron for a one-day summit in Naples to discuss the European Green Deal, migration, EU's new enlargement methodology, as well as bilateral economic and industrial relations.

The leaders of Ireland's Fine Gael and Fianna Fail parties, two of the three largest parties, will meet early next week for talks on a possible government formation after elections took place earlier this month.

Also, Slovakia will go to the polls on Saturday (29 February), amid worries of a possible breakthrough for far-right extremists - Popular Party of Our Slovakia (LSNS).

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EU development policy needs a fresh start

As the European Commission meets the African Union in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday, prior to a new EU-Africa strategy, the obsolete donor-recipient mentality must be junked, writes European Parliament development committee chairman Tomas Tobé MEP.

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