Thursday

23rd Sep 2021

Agenda

Budget and Brexit near finishing line This WEEK

  • EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there are still too many difficulties remaining to have an EU-UK agreement on future relations (Photo: Council of the European Union)

A new round of budget talks will kick off this week on Monday (9 November) - with increasing pressure on MEPs and member states amid the second wave of corona infections in Europe to strike a deal on the €1.8 trillion long-term EU budget and coronavirus recovery package.

Adding to the pressure, in separate talks, MEPs and the German EU presidency (representing the member states) last week reached a deal on the key political issue of linking the EU budget to the respect of rule of law.

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Brexit talks will also head into crucial territory, as the year-end deadline of reaching an agreement between the EU and the UK on their future relations approaches fast.

But the prospect of such an agreement still seems distant.

"At this stage, there are still too many difficulties remaining on important topics," EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said last Wednesday before he briefed the ambassadors of the 27 member states on the talks.

Key differences remain in fisheries, fair competition and dispute settlement.

A deal will also have to be ratified before the end of the year by the European Parliament.

Tackling Covid

MEPs in the parliament's economic and budgets committees will on Monday vote on the 'Recovery and Resilience Facility', which is the main pot of money in the recovery package.

MEPs on Tuesday (10 November) will discuss with national parliamentarians the commission's first annual rule of law report and the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on EU values.

At next week's plenary meeting, MEPs will also debate on Wednesday (11 November) the outcome of the US elections.

On Thursday (12 November), MEPs will debate the transparency regarding the purchase and the access to future Covid-19 vaccinations.

The same day, MEPs will discuss, and later vote, on a resolution looking at the impact of the pandemic on democracy, fundamental rights, and rule of law.

On Wednesday, lawmakers will discuss how to stop impunity for crimes committed against journalists.

Fighting terrorism and safeguarding the right to freedom of expression and education will also be debated on Wednesday.

On Monday, the women's rights committee will vote on a report on the impact of Covid-19 on women, men, and vulnerable groups.

New world

On Monday, EU foreign affairs and trade ministers will discuss, online, trade relations with the US in light of the recent elections, and debate trade relations with China.

On Friday, home affairs ministers will look at how to further strengthen the EU's efforts to fight terrorism in light of recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria.

The ministers will also continue negotiations on the commission's new migration and asylum pact.

EU seeks political accord on migration this year

The German EU presidency is striving to sort a political agreement on the migration and asylum pact before the end of the year. In reality, it means two months when factoring Christmas holidays.

Deal reached on linking EU funds to rule of law

The deal means MEPs and the German EU presidency unblocked a major political hurdle to agreeing on the €1.8 trillion long-term EU budget and coronavirus recovery package.

EU Commission's Covid-19 expert offers bleak outlook

Belgian microbiologist Peter Piot offered a bleak assessment of available options to rid the world of the pandemic caused by Covid-19. Aside from wishful thinking, millions of possible deaths, and crushing poverty, a vaccine appears to be the only solution.

UN annual meeting plus Poland in focus This WEEK

The Polish Constitutional Tribunal is holding a hearing on the issue of whether EU law has primacy in the country. It is not clear whether the tribunal will deliver a ruling.

All eyes on von der Leyen's state of the EU This WEEK

MEPs expect the EU Commission president to also address issues such as the economy, climate change, digital transformation, the EU's role in the world, migration policy, and the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Column

Long ago, there was another Angela Merkel

There is one female leader in European history whom Merkel resembles much more than the fiery, authoritarian Catherine the Great, who once staged a coup with her lover against her husband. Instead, it is the Habsburg empress Maria-Theresia.

Trust in Dutch government drops, but not for Rutte

New polling found Dutch voters have rapidly started losing trust in all levels of government. 15 percent of those surveyed have "lost all confidence" in the government. The loss of trust does not extend to prime minister Mark Rutte.

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