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10th Aug 2022

Agenda

EU bubble prepares for state of the union This WEEK

  • EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will meet with group leaders in the European Parliament to prepare her annual state of the union speech (Photo: European Parliament)
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Preparations are in full swing for the return of the EU political season - which traditionally starts with the EU Commission president's state of the union address.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will on Thursday (9 September) participate in the meeting of group leaders in the European Parliament, to prepare her annual state of the union speech - which she will deliver the week after.

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One of the topics for the speech will certainly be the Covid-19 recovery. Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Spain, and Portugal have already received their pre-financing.

Bulgaria and the Netherlands have not yet submitted their national plans for the EU recovery money, while the approval of the national plans from Poland and Hungary are on hold until further assurances are given over rule of law.

On Monday (6 September), economy and finance ministers will exchange views on the implementation of the €800bn recovery fund, and expected to give the green light to the national plans of the Czech Republic and Ireland.

On Monday, six parliamentary committees will team up to quiz commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager, in charge of digital and competition policies, on her plans for areas such as the digital services act, the EU strategy on data, and the regulation of social media.

Afghan women

On Monday, the European Parliament's committee on women's rights and gender equality will hold a topical debate on women's and girls' rights in Afghanistan.

It will also discuss how the EU's activities can support women there. Afghan human rights NGOs and Afghan film director Sahraa Karimi, who is also the president of the Afghan Film Organisation, will participate.

On Monday, the parliamentary committee on regional development will discuss the catastrophic flooding in Belgium and Germany earlier this summer, and the implementation of EU relief.

Berlin trip

In the meantime, the largest group in the European Parliament, the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) will travel to Berlin in the second half of the week.

Key speakers at their event will include Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, Austria chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Croatian PM Andrej Plenković, and Ingrida Šimonytė , the prime minister of Lithuania.

Analysis

The State of the Union speech - digested

The 61-year old former German defence minister, who only narrowly won the backing of MEPs last year, outlined not a vision, but an ambitious list of policies to tackle - including more health care competencies to the EU.

Von der Leyen: new budget will be EU's corona response

The Commission argues that by using the next EU budget to leverage money guaranteed by member states, it could both circumvent the tricky issue of 'coronabonds' and allow larger overall investment.

Rule of law and Czech presidency priorities This WEEK

The European Commission will unveil its rule-of-law audit of all EU member states this week. Meanwhile, several ministers from the Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers the priorities of the rotating EU Council presidency for the next six months.

Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

MEPs will gather in Strasbourg for the final plenary before the summer break, with a crucial vote on the classification of gas and nuclear. The Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers its presidency's priorities for the next six months.

G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK

EU energy ministers and environment ministers are expected to reach common positions on different aspects of the Fit for 55 package — as the continent is increasingly worried about energy prices and future supplies.

EU hopeful of Iran nuclear deal

A possible deal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact is within reach, says the European Union. Washington backs the final proposals, but Tehran remains cautious.

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