Tuesday

19th Jan 2021

Agenda

Commission's corona summer tips come This WEEK

  • EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will also deliver a speech at the plenary (Photo: European Parliament)

The EU commission is expected to unveil this Wednesday (13 May) its all-important recommendations on travel for the summer season as lockdown measures are eased throughout the bloc.

It is on the agenda of the meeting of commissioners, and they are to sign off practical recommendations such as social distancing during the holidays.

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Meanwhile, MEPs on the environment committee will discuss the issue of mobility post-Covid-19 with transport commissioner Adina Valean on Monday (11 May).

Schengen borders will be the focus of the meeting of the civil liberties committee on Tuesday.

The EU parliament will also hold a plenary meeting starting on Wednesday.

On Thursday (14 May), MEPs will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, that laid the groundwork for an integrated Europe, and is nowadays marked by Europe Day.

Lawmakers will also discuss the EU leaders' meeting last month and how the seven-year EU budget and an attached recovery plan could reignite the bloc's economy where growth and jobs are wiped out by the virus.

The EU Commission continues to work on the new budget proposal, that would include a recovery initiative that aims to help to restart European economies after they almost came to a standstill due to the pandemic.

But a proposal is not yet expected this week.

MEPs will hold a debate on Wednesday on Hungary and the Budapest government's recent emergency measures during the pandemic that added to the mounting concerns over the country's democratic backsliding.

Parliamentarians will also debate the use of contact tracing apps in the fight against the coronavirus. They will also discuss vaccines and therapeutics for the Covid-19 pandemic.

The same day, the transport committee will also discuss the future of the transport sector with regards to the green deal initiative with commission vice-president Frans Timmermans.

Also on Tuesday, the regional development committee will go over a report on the newly proposed Just Transition Fund, which would help regions prepare for greening their economy.

No sign

Negotiations between the UK and the EU will continue this week over the future trade relations.

The talks, which had already been under time pressure before the pandemic, need to be concluded by the autumn so that the two sides can ratify any agreement. The UK must decide until June if it wants to seek an extension, which London has repeatedly and pre-emptively ruled out.

The two sides are far apart on key issues, and even disagree on the format which the agreement should take, with the EU aiming for an overarching deal, and the UK preferring sectorial agreements, Swiss-style.

Trade commissioner Phil Hogan last week told Irish media there is no real sign that Britain is approaching trade talks with the EU with a plan to succeed and it appears set to blame any post-Brexit fallout on the economic shock from Covid-19.

On Tuesday (12 May), EU defence ministers will hold a videoconference on the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on security and defence. On the same day, health ministers will also talk online.

On Friday (15 May), foreign affairs ministers will gather virtually.

Coronavirus

EU set for record recession, putting euro at risk

Debt levels around Europe, especially in southern states, forecast to rise alarmingly, but EU commission remained confident countries can manage, despite fears of a second viral wave.

German court questions bond-buying and EU legal regime

The German Constitutional court ordered the European Central Bank to explain its 2015 bond-buying scheme that helped eurozone stay afloat - otherwise the German Bundesbank will not be allowed to take part.

Hungary and Poland in spotlight for lockdown moves

The EU commission is double-checking emergency measures in every member state, as fundamental rights have been temporarily abrogated. But Hungary and Poland are problematic, yet no actions are planned.

Opinion

EU can safely rescue summer season in Europe

Measures deemed necessary at the start of the epidemic in Europe to stop cross-border contagion are now becoming disproportionate in light of the lighter national internal measures in place, writes Manfred Weber, chairman of the European People's Party.

EU leaders seek to speed up vaccinations This WEEK

EU leaders talk vaccines, while the Portugues EU presidency introduces itself to MEPs. Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president of the United States, and the EU hopes this will mark a new beginning for EU-US relations.

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