Tuesday

31st Mar 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

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).

Opinion

How a Croatian gas project exposes Green Deal hypocrisy

The EU Commission is pushing a wave of controversial gas infrastructure projects, in parallel to its much-touted Green Deal. One of those a flagship project of the Republic of Croatia, who currently chairs the EU presidency.

Opinion

Tweaking the EU enlargement process - a view from Kosovo

The Kosovan former ambassador to the EU, and previously EU integration minister for her country, warns that tweaks to the enlargement process could cause confusion and overlap with existing procedures.

Stakeholder

Our summit can re-boot Africa's relations with Europe

Our keynote speaker is the president of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo, His policies have included the introduction of free secondary education across Ghana, which he rightly calls "necessary investment" in the nation's future workforce.

Opinion

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.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

News in Brief

  1. 12-year old Belgian girl dies of coronavirus
  2. EU Commission: no 'indefinite' emergency measures
  3. Denmark plans 'gradual' return to normal after Easter
  4. Globally over 780,000 cases of coronavirus, 37,000 deaths
  5. EU states losing 3% of GDP a month, IMF says
  6. Fruit pickers need to cross borders too, EU says
  7. Former Slovak minister to become EU envoy on Kosovo-Serbia
  8. Hungary's Orban wins rule-by-decree vote in parliament

Podcast

Věra Jourová on surveillance and Covid-19

Commissioner for values and transparency, Věra Jourová, says Brussels will vet moves in Hungary to give prime minister Viktor Orbán scope to rule by decree and urges Facebook and Google to push official health advice to WhatsApp and YouTube.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us