28th May 2022


New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK

  • MEPs will pay tribute to the late David Sassoli on Monday, before almost certainly picking Malta's Roberta Metsola (pictured) as his successor as EU Parliament president (Photo: European Parliament)
Listen to article

The European Parliament will kick off its first plenary of the year in Strasbourg on a sombre note on Monday (17 January), holding a tribute to the late parliament president David Sassoli, who died last week.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, European Council president Charles Michel, French president Emmanuel Macron, whose country holds the EU council's rotating presidency, and former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta will make speeches in memory of Sassoli, who was Italian and from the Socialists & Democrats group.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Italy's current prime minister Mario Draghi, Luxembourg's Xavier Bettel and Greek premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis will also attend the ceremony which will start at 6pm.

On Tuesday, attention will turn to who will success Sassoli.

The lead candidate is the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola - who has been outspoke against corruption and rule of law issues among others.

However, some MEPs are concerned over her anti-abortion voting record, which some interpret as a regression of women's rights.

Metsola has told hesitant MEPs that, if she is elected, she will represent the "majority voice" on abortion of the parliament.

Three other candidates from smaller groups have also put their name in the race.

Swedish MEP Alice Bah Kuhnke, representing the Greens, Polish MEP Kosma Złotowski from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and Spanish MEP Sira Rego, from the far-left are all eying the top spot.

The liberal Renew Europe, and the Socialist & Democrats (S&D) are in negotiations with the EPP to back Metsola.

The S&D have suggested they want to clinch the parliament's powerful top administrative position, the secretary-general, which has been held by the German centre-right Klaus Welle for over a decade.

The vote will take place online, which a first for choosing the president of the house. Whoever gets an absolute majority will win. If no winner is chosen by the third round, the two top candidates will go head-to-head.

Down to business

On Wednesday (19 January), MEPs will debate the new rules for online services, the Digital Services Act (DSA) in the plenary, and the vote will take place on Thursday (20 January).

On Wednesday, Macron will present the priorities of the French presidency and debate them with MEPs.

The parliament on the same day will also confirm a new law giving new powers to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to better prepare Europe for future health crises.

The plenary will debate and vote on Thursday (20 January) on a report on the rules for the protection of animals during transportation.

In the council, on Monday, eurozone finance ministers will discuss the euro area fiscal framework and the reform of the economic governance.

The next day EU finance ministers will talks about the proposed global minimum tax for multinational companies, and progress of the Covid-19 recovery fund's rollout.

On Thursday, an informal meeting of environment ministers will be held on the green deal, with commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, energy commissioner Kadri Simson and environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius.

EU tables hate-crime rules to protect women

The initiative is particularly aimed at protecting women and the LGBTIQ community as EU member states are already required to criminalise crimes committed with a racist or xenophobic motivation.


The EP presidency: why support the right?

This election is marked by the untimely passing of David Sassoli, who steered the parliament through an extremely complex and challenging period. He showed that it was possible to reach agreements through much-needed dialogue, and away from dogmas.

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.


When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin

Neither Reagan nor Gorbachev achieved their goal at the famous Reykjavik summit of 1986. Despite that fact there are lessons that current leaders — particularly Vladimir Putin — could adopt from these two iconic leaders.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us