Sunday

11th Apr 2021

Agenda

EU gets ready for sanctions and plenary This WEEK

  • The parliament plans to hold its next plenary in Strasbourg, despite the coronavirus concerns of some MEPs about travelling to France (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Parliament plans to hold its September plenary in Strasbourg - despite travel restrictions and fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

Several MEPs, including the leader of the Socialists & Democrats group, have voiced their concern and argued for keeping the plenary in Brussels in September.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

The leaders of the parliament will meet on Thursday (10 September) and may decide not to let thousands of people (some 751 MEPs in total, plus staff) commute to the French border city for the assembly's meeting.

Meanwhile, Ireland put forward its new commissioner candidates on Friday (4 September) to replace trade commissioner Phil Hogan who resigned last month over the 'golfgate' scandal.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen asked for both a female and male candidate, one of whom she will choose for her team, and who will then be grilled by the parliament.

The commission has so far not revealed if the new Irish commissioner will retain the trade portfolio.

Sanctions call

While the EU commission is still working on drawling up a list of people to sanction over the fraudulent Belarus presidential elections and the police crackdown on subsequent protests, MEPs have called for EU sanctions against strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko himself.

MEPs have also called for an investigation and sanctions over the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

In a letter addressed to EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and EU council presidency, now held by Germany, more than 100 MEPs called for the EU to "work towards an international investigation" into the attack.

"We remain extremely sceptical that Russian authorities are fit and willing to investigate the real background of this crime," the MEPs added.

They also call for a EU Human Rights Violations Sanction Mechanism so that people who are behind attacking against opposition figures and journalists can be held accountable.

On Monday (7 September), European lawmakers on the subcommittee on human rights will debate the situation in Belarus.

Political groups will also focus their preparations on the commission president's annual State of the European Union speech on 16 September.

Tough talks

Negotiations will continue on the EU long-term budget and recovery plan, between parliament, commission and council of member states on Monday and Friday (11 September).

The parliament and member states have some crucial disagreements but senior EU politicians are putting MEPs under pressure to adopt the budget and move the recovery fund forwards as soon as possible.

The eighth round of negotiations on a post-Brexit agreement between the EU and UK also continue on Monday, with little hope for a breakthrough before the transition period ends in December.

Covid and climate

On Thursday (10 September), MEPs on the environment committee will vote on their position regarding the so-called Climate Law, which legislates the EU's 2050 climate-neutrality goal and sets binding interim targets for 2030.

The environment committee on Monday, meanwhile, will debate how to ensure equal access to affordable and safe Covid-19 vaccines everywhere.

The civil liberties committee will debate on Thursday the commission's security union strategy with commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas and internal affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson.

The pandemic highlighted the need to improve cooperation between member states on security and organised crime.

MEPs warn of 'significant gaps' in budget talks

The budget committee chair said the European Parliament expects tangible improvements to the package in its talks with member states - while the German minister argued that the EU leaders' deal was difficult enough.

Turkey on EU leaders' plate This WEEK

Ahead of the EU summit, on Monday foreign affairs ministers are set to approve a new package of sanctions on individuals in several countries, including China and Russia, over human rights abuses.

EU 'Future' Conference plus Covid recovery talks This WEEK

MEPs will give the green light for a more united EU health policy, a new investment plan, and debate the Covid recovery fund, which is yet to be unleashed. Lawmakers will also debate media freedom in Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey blames EU for sexist protocol fiasco
  2. France to close elite civil-service academy
  3. Covid-19 cases in UK drop 60%, study finds
  4. White House urges 'calm' after Northern Ireland riots
  5. Italy's Draghi calls Turkey's Erdoğan a 'dictator'
  6. Slovakia told to return Sputnik V amid quality row
  7. EU risks €87bn in stranded fossil fuel assets
  8. Obligatory vaccination not against human rights, European court says

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.

Unblocking Brexit and budget in focus This WEEK

With only five weeks to go before the UK severs all ties with the EU, chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that the "same significant divergences persist" between the two sides in post-Brexit talks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. The Covid bell tolls for eastern Europe's populists
  2. Four deaths after taking Russian Sputnik V vaccine
  3. Post-Brexit riots flare up in Northern Ireland
  4. Advice on AstraZeneca varies across EU, amid blood clot fears
  5. Greenland election could see halt to rare-earth mining
  6. After 50 years, where do Roma rights stand now?
  7. Why Iran desperately wants a new nuclear deal
  8. Does new EU-ACP deal really 'decolonise' aid?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us