Wednesday

17th Apr 2024

Agenda

EU summit on vaccine problems This WEEK

  • EU leaders will look into how to ramp up production and delivery of the various Covid-19 vaccines (Photo: European Commission)

EU leaders hold a two-day videoconference on Thursday and Friday (25-26 February) to discuss the bloc's vaccine strategy, and how to speed up the roll-out of the jabs, vaccine production, and how to unify travel rules.

Leaders will also discuss better coordinating border measures across the EU, after several countries introduced unilateral restrictions - creating tension within the passport-free Schengen zone.

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On the second day of their meeting, they will focus on cyberattacks and hybrid threats, and will discuss the bloc's northern African and Middle Eastern neighbourhood.

On Monday (22 February) foreign affairs ministers will meet in Brussels and are expected to agree to visa-bans and asset-freezes on Russian officials involved in the jailing of opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny.

The EU foreign ministers will be joined by the new US secretary of state, Antony Blinken online in the afternoon to discuss EU-US relations.

Ministers will also discuss ongoing developments in Myanmar, Belarus, Hong Kong and Ethiopia.

MEPs on vaccine

On Monday in the European Parliament national and EU parliamentarians will discuss the economic recovery after the pandemic.

European Parliament president David Sassoli, president of the Portuguese parliament Ferro Rodrigues, UN secretary-general António Guterres, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, European Council president Charles Michel, EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen and ECB president Christine Lagarde are expected to speak at the event.

On Thursday, MEPs on the environment plus the industry and research committees are expected to hear from the CEOs of vaccine production companies and the commission to discuss how to increase the capacity of Covid-19 vaccine production.

On Wednesday, the parliament's trade committee will hold a debate on the authorisation mechanism for exports of Covid-19 vaccines.

On Tuesday, MEPs on the industry and research committees will hear from commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager on the proposals for the digital services act and digital markets act.

Polish women

Abortion rights, and rule of law, in Poland are back on the parliament's agenda: MEPs from the civil liberties and women's rights committees will debate the issues with commissioner Helena Dalli, and representatives of the Polish authorities.

The leader of the Polish Women on Strike movement, Marta Lempart, and chair of the Family Council in Poland's Ministry of Family and Social Policy Dorota Bojemska will also be present on Tuesday.

Frontex scrutiny

After recent allegations of fundamental rights violations concerning Frontex, the EU's border agency, a new parliamentary oversight committee will start its work. The Frontex Scrutiny Working Group will hold its constitutive meeting this Wednesday.

On Monday, MEPs on the budgetary control committee will discuss the how the agency spent its money in 2019 with Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri and home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson.

EU Commission casts doubt on Russian Sputnik vaccine

Hungary is buying up vaccines from Russia and China. But tricky regulatory oversight questions remain as the European Commission sheds doubt on the quality and safety of Sputnik production.

EU fraud agency warns governments on vaccine scams

OLAF said fraudsters may offer to sell large quantities of vaccines, deliver a sample in order to pocket the first advance payment - and then vanish with the money, or deliver fake vaccines.

EU defends all vaccines, amid lower AstraZeneca take-up

The European Commission said that bloc's strict regulatory process for the evaluation and approval of vaccines is crucial to persuade citizens to get the jab, calling on member states to fight vaccine hesitancy with information.

EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK

EU leaders gather in Brussels for a special two-day summit this week, while MEPs will prepare for the last plenary session of the legislature. In Italy, G7 foreign affairs ministers will convene from Wednesday to Friday.

Opinion

How Hungary's teachers are taking on Viktor Orban

Orban and his administration are pursuing a strategy of running-down public education in Hungary. They have been explicit in their aims and how their assault on 'non-Christian' teachers is a small price to pay for the cultural shift they want.

Column

What do we actually mean by EU 'competitiveness'?

Enrico Letta and Mario Draghi are coming up with reports on the EU's single market and competitiveness — but although 'competitiveness' has become a buzzword, there's no consensus on a definition for what it actually means.

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