Friday

28th Jan 2022

Agenda

Vaccine fairness plus Russia on table This WEEK

  • Waiving Covid-19 vaccine patents remains controversial in the EU (Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia)

After Europe Day (9 May) eventually saw the delayed launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe, attention returns to vaccines - after US president Joe Biden put the EU in a tight spot when he backed waiving the Covid-19 vaccine patents.

EU leaders discussed the matter at their summit over the weekend in Porto, but many remain sceptical.

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"We welcome the United States' ambition to catch up, particularly so after having exported hardly any vaccines for several months. It would be very beneficial for all if they lifted their export ban. Issuing populistic statements will not help anyone", centre-right MEP Christophe Hansen said.

The EU Commission meanwhile is examining the national recovery plans it has received from more than a dozen member states so far.

On Monday, MEPs in the budget committee will hear from commissioners Valdis Dombrovskis and Paolo Gentiloni on the latest developments.

On the same day, MEPs on the culture committee will hear from commission vice-president Vera Jourova on media policy.

Jourova is expected to discuss planned legislation against abusive lawsuits against journalists, called SLAPPs, and plans to better protect media freedom in Europe.

Russia, which banned Jourova plus other top EU officials recently, will remain high on the bloc's agenda.

On Monday, MEPs on the foreign affairs and foreign interference committee will hear from Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled Russian businessman and former oligarch who was imprisoned for 14 years by the regime in Moscow.

EU foreign ministers on Monday will be briefed by EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, and will discuss China, the Western Balkans, transatlantic relations, and Belarus.

MEPs on the foreign affairs committee will discuss the new EU-China strategy on Monday.

North Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev will be in Brussels on Monday, and among others will meet with EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Also on Monday, lawmakers on the parliament's legal affairs committee will talk with commission vice-presidents Margrethe Vestager on digital policy.

EU and US join up against China on Taiwan

The EU and its leading powers voiced strident criticism of China at a G7 meeting in London on Wednesday, even as Hungary, once again, tried to gag Europe in Brussels.

Ukraine and Covid-19 on Europe's minds This WEEK

Throughout the week, MEPs will vote on the chairs and vice-chairs of the 20 standing committees and three sub-committees for the next two-and-a-half years, the remainder of the current legislative term.

New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK

The lead candidate is the centre-right European People's Party's (EPP) Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, who has been outspoke against corruption and rule-of-law issues - but some MEPs are concerned over her anti-abortion voting record.

Key talks with Russia over European security This WEEK

The Nato-Russia council will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, as western and Russian officials begin a series of meetings this week in an effort to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine's eastern border - where Russia has amassed troops.

New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK

The lead candidate is the centre-right European People's Party's (EPP) Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, who has been outspoke against corruption and rule-of-law issues - but some MEPs are concerned over her anti-abortion voting record.

Key talks with Russia over European security This WEEK

The Nato-Russia council will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, as western and Russian officials begin a series of meetings this week in an effort to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine's eastern border - where Russia has amassed troops.

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