Thursday

21st Jan 2021

Agenda

Partial-EU perseveres amid virus shutdown This WEEK

  • The European Parliament was nearly empty last week due to the coronavirus outbreak (Photo: diamond geezer)

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said last week that the EU will do "whatever it takes" to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Many events, conferences and summits have been postponed or cancelled, but some meetings will go ahead this week. (Although please note all scheduled events are liable to last-minute alteration or cancellation.)

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The European Council, the commission and the prime minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, who holds the rotating presidency of the EU, decided to adapt the work of the institutions last week and continue decision-making at EU level.

On Monday (16 March), ministers of eurozone countries will prepare for upcoming international meetings and discuss the economic situation of two member states - Greece and Austria.

Meanwhile, the ministers of the 27 member states will have a debate on the economic challenges of the coronavirus, as well as the European Stability Mechanism - which ensures financial assistance for member states in financial difficulty.

On Tuesday (17 March), economic ministers will exchange views on green investing in the context of the European semester, as well as the EU's solvency rules, among other topics.

There will also be a video conference for employment and social ministers on Thursday (19 March).

Additionally, the Slovenian president Borut Pahor is expected to visit Brussels on Wednesday (18 March) to meet with EU top officials from the European institutions.

Coronavirus next steps

In the European Parliament, committee meetings and other official activities are initially postponed or cancelled for this week.

However, the parliament's regional development committee will discuss the procedure to allow a quick adoption of the corona response investment initiative - which was announced by the commission last week.

Since the corona response investment initiative is a co-decision procedure, both parliament and council will need to adopt it.

Likewise, the transport and tourism committee will be also working on the commission's proposal to stop empty flights and it is expected to announce next steps to start legislative work together with the council in the coming days.

Despite the efforts of the commission to coordinate a common EU response, member states are constantly taking similar - but different - measures to contain the virus - you can check latest updates here.

So far, the following week (starting 23 March) remains, for the time being, unchanged for the parliament.

Meanwhile, Nato is set to virtually launch his annual report for 2019 on Thursday.

Finally, the EU Court of Justice will deliver no judgement this week, the court announced late last Friday (13).

Coronavirus

Europe prepares piecemeal coronavirus shutdown

EU countries have introduced partial travel bans, shut down schools, sports and cultural events, closed cinemas and theatres in an effort to slow down the spread of covonavirus. Fears over the economic turmoil also grow.

Opinion

Von der Leyen's Greek 'shield' will not work

The EU's only response so far is to work with Greece to strengthen the border into south-east Europe - a short-term measure which fails to deal with Turkey's intention to pressure the EU into supporting its wider agenda in Syria.

Coronavirus

EU steps up coronavirus fight in first online summit

As Italy went into lockdown EU leaders discussed a more coordinated response to the outbreak. The commission promised financial help, as more and more meetings are cancelled in the EU institutions.

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