Thursday

21st Jan 2021

Agenda

Brexit and digital services overhaul This WEEK

  • The meeting between British PM Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen last week did not yield a breakthrough (Photo: European Commission)

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen spoke with British prime minister Boris Johnson on Sunday (13 December) and agreed to "go the extra mile" to clinch an agreement on future relations between the UK and the EU.

The two agreed, last week, to assess the state of play on Sunday, which was seen as a deadline for the talks that are already running late.

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EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will brief EU ambassadors on Monday morning about the state of negotiations.

With only a few weeks left before the UK cuts all ties with the bloc, von der Leyen last week told EU leaders there was a greater likelihood of a no-deal.

After EU leaders at their summit last week overcame the blockade by Hungary and Poland, and unlocked the EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund, MEPs will get a chance to vote on it this week.

On Monday (14 December) the text on the controversial rule-of-law conditionality is expected to be voted on in the budget committee, and the plenary will get a chance to vote on it on Wednesday (16 December).

On Wednesday, MEPs will also vote on the seven-year EU budget file as a whole.

The same day von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel will brief MEPs on last week's leaders' summit.

Digital re-start

On Tuesday (15 December), the EU Commission is expected to present the Digital Services Act, a comprehensive overhaul of the European rules for online business and social media.

The commission wants to create a true digital internal market and the new proposed rules could also provide legal guarantees for the rights of platform users.

Migration is back

On Monday (14 December) EU home affairs ministers will discuss the migration and asylum pact presented by the commission earlier this year.

Ministers will focus on the external dimension, the proposed pre-entry phase, the solidarity mechanism and internal migration.

They are also expected to discuss how to improve the bloc's relations with non-EU countries in order to improve readmissions and "better manage" migration.

Belarus prize

On Wednesday at noon, the laureates of this year's European Parliament Sakharov Prize For Freedom of Thought will receive their award at a ceremony.

This year, the democratic opposition of Belarus represented by the Coordination Council - an initiative of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Svetlana Alexievich, Maryia Kalesnikava, Volha Kavalkova, Veranika Tsapkala, and political and civil society figures Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Ales Bialiatski, Siarhei Dyleuski, Stsiapan Putsila and Mikola Statkevich, have been nominated.

Water-tight?

On Tuesday and Thursday, MEPs will vote on new drinking water rules, designed to offer high quality and better access to tap water in the EU, in order to encourage people to drink tap water rather than bottled water.

The new rules are the result of the first-ever successful European Citizens' Initiative, called Right2Water which gathered over 1.8m signatures.

EU Commission plans sanctions on disinformation

In part of a series of planned measures, the EU Commission plans to better protect free elections in a digital age, strengthen independent media, and counter disinformation.

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.

Vaccines in focus in the EU This WEEK

The European Parliament's environment committee will hear from the person who negotiated the vaccine contracts, commission director-general of health and food safety, Sandra Gallina.

Brexit, Budget, Turkey on summit agenda this WEEK

Any post-Brexit deal achieved needs to be ratified by the European Parliament before the end of December (and then by national parliaments), while some member states want to see the agreement translated before they can agree to it.

News in Brief

  1. Brexit prompted finance exodus from UK to France
  2. Italian PM Conte wins confidence vote in Senate
  3. Borrell washes hands of EU's Venezuela policy
  4. Russia backs Greece in eastern Mediterranean dispute
  5. 'Ski-holiday' Switzerland reaches new infection high
  6. Germany extends lockdown, others expected to follow
  7. Barnier to be Brexit special adviser to von der Leyen
  8. EU commisioner to visit Bosnia's Lipa migrant camp

Gruelling Brexit and budget talks continue This WEEK

After almost a week of arm-wrestling and ten days before the UK severs all of its EU ties, negotiators are back working hard on a deal on the future EU-UK relations. Budget and rule of law talks will also continue.

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