27th May 2022


German coalition calculus dominates This WEEK

  • As Angela Merkel ends her career after 16-years as German chancellor, Germans went to the polls this weekend to elect her successor (Photo: Council of the European Union)
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As of Monday morning, Europe still does not have a clear idea who will lead Germany after 16-years of Angela Merkel at the chancellory.

The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) were on track for 26 percent of the vote, ahead of 24.5 percent for Merkel's CDU/CSU conservative bloc, projections by broadcaster ZDF showed.

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While the reigning CDU did better than polls forecasted, it is still the conservatives' worst-ever performance.

Both parties want to lead the next government.

The two possible coalition partners, the Greens recevied 13.9 percent and the liberal FDP was fourth with 11.7 percent of the votes, ZDF projected.

Now the really difficult part begins: trying to put together a sustainable coalition. To do that even by Christman might prove ambitious.

In the meantime, another German politician, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen heads to Bucharest first, on Monday, to mark the commission's approval of Romania's national plan to unlock their part of the EU's Covid-19 recovery fund.

The commission has so far backed 18 member states' recovery plans. Bulgaria and the Netherlands still have to submit theirs.

While Poland's recovery support has been held up by the commission's concerns over its rule of law, Hungary and the commission are locked in talks about guarantees in the fight against corruption before the plan can be approved.

Von der Leyen will travel to the Western Balkans later in the week.

On Tuesday (28 September) she will be in Tirana, Albania, and Skopje, North Macedonia. On Wednesday (29 September), she will travel onto Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia, wrapping up the tour on Wednesday (30 September) in Sarajevo.

In early October, the Slovenian EU presidency is hosting an EU-Western Balkans summit in Brdo. The presidency's aim is to reinvigorate relations with the six Balkan countries that hope to join the bloc.

On Thursday (30 September), Poland's Constitutional Tribunal could rule on the highly contentious issue of which takes precedence - the country's constitution or European Union treaties.

Such a ruling has already been postponed several times. Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki brought the case as part of a dispute with the EU over his government's changes to Poland's judicial system, which the commission says may undermine judicial independence.

EPPO hearing

On Monday, the commissioner responsible for innovation, Mariya Gabriel will be quizzed by the parliament's industry committee.

MEPs on the transport committee will on the same day hear from Adina Vălean, commissioner for transport, to discuss the 'Fit for 55' package, the EU executive's flagship climate legislative package and how it will impact the transport sector.

Still on Monday, the economic committee will debate with European Central Bank governor Christian Lagarde the rise in inflation, the current risks to the financial market, and the bank's monetary policy.

On Monday, the foreign affairs, human rights and development committees will debate on the candidates presented for the 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Nominations for the award can be made by a political group, or by at least 40 MEPs.

The foreign affairs and development committees will meet again on 14 October to narrow the list of nominees to three, and the winner will be announced on 21 October.

On Friday (1 October), the budget control committee will take a look at how the operations of the EU's public prosecutor (EPPO) are going.

MEPs will hear from chief prosecutor Laura Kövesi, who launched the office earlier this year. Recently, the EU Commission has blocked EPPO from using their budget to hire the specialised personnel they need.

Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK

Eurozone finance ministers will discuss the economic worries with the backdrop of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, agriculture ministers are set to talk food prices, and EU affairs ministers will put Hungary on the spot in the Article 7 procedure.

Russia sanctions and energy dominate Next WEEK

The EU Commission is expected to put forward the RePowerEU plan, which aims to help the diversification of fossil fuel imports in the bloc, as the EU aims to get rid of its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

Orbán's new state of emergency under fire

Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán declared a state of emergency due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine hours after pushing a constitutional amendment through parliament, where two-thirds of MPs are controlled by his Fidesz party, allowing his government special powers.


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