23rd Mar 2023


Ukraine, defence, and cancer in focus This WEEK

  • Russia president Vladimir Putin will meet with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán this week (Photo:
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Everyone will be still watching military movements on the ground around Ukraine's borders, as the world is kept guessing what Russian president Vladimir Putin will do with his massive build-up, and when.

US president Joe Biden has warned last week that there is a "distinct possibility" Russia might invade Ukraine next month.

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Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, however, said he sees "little ground for optimism" in resolving the crisis after the US rejected Russia's main demands, but that Russia does not want war.

French president Emmanuel Macron had a phone call last Friday with Putin in an effort to de-escalate the situation.

This week, on Tuesday (1 February) Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán will meet with the Russia president in Moscow.

Despite calls from the united opposition coalition in Hungary to cancel the visit amid the heightened tension between Nato and Russia, Orbán plans to go ahead and discuss increasing the amount of gas Hungary receives from Russia.

Orbán will also discuss the Russian-built new nuclear plant Paks II with Putin.

Orbán said he has been coordinating with Hungary's allies ahead of the discussions with the Russia leader.

Early this week, MEPs from the foreign affairs committee will travel to Ukraine to gather information on the current crisis and show solidarity with Kyiv.

The EU Commission will also talk about defence.

On Wednesday, it will unveil a package of communications on how it can contribute to Europe's security and defence, especially on critical technologies.

The EU executive will also present a strategy for space traffic management and EU plans on building a space-based global communication system.

Journalism targeted

In the European Parliament, on Tuesday, MEPs in the foreign interference committee will have a discussion with the 2021 Nobel peace prize laureate, Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa on the importance of journalism.

MEPs on the civil liberties committee on Tuesday will hear from journalists and others, some of whom have been targeted by the Pegasus spyware for doing their job.

The committee will discuss the issue with Hungarian investigative journalist Szabolcs Panyi, plus Gürkan Özturan, media freedom rapid response coordinator at the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, and Polish prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek.

On Wednesday (2 February), the industry committee will hold a debate with energy commissioner Kadri Simson on the rising energy prices in the EU.

The commissioner will also talk about the new EU framework to decarbonise gas markets, promote hydrogen and reduce methane emissions and the Fit for 55 package.

Beating cancer

The commission on Wednesday is organising an event on its plans to beat cancer in Europe, focused on women.

One year ago, the commission launched Europe's Beating Cancer Plan to signal its renewed commitment to cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and rolled out a series of policies to back it up.

Health commissioner Stella Kyriakides will host a hybrid event called "Ensuring equal access to all" to raise awareness of cancer in women.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will participate, alongside CNNs Christiane Amanpour and other testimonials from persons with a history of cancer.

EU ministers to condemn Russian 'aggression'

EU foreign ministers are to condemn "Russia's continued aggressive actions and threats against Ukraine", while promising "massive" sanctions at Monday's meeting in Brussels.

Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia

Emmanuel Macron also took hits from French political opponents, including the Green party presidential challenger MEP Yannick Jadot in the European Parliament ahead of the upcoming presidential elections in France in April.


EU 'Beating Cancer Plan' must not ignore deadliest type

A person diagnosed with pancreatic cancer can expect to live for one more year at most. This disease has a lower survival rate than any other cancer in Europe, with more than 95 percent of patients dying because of it.

EU summit zooms in on global roles This WEEK

Competitiveness is expected be on the top of the agenda of EU leaders after the EU Commission last week rolled out a series of proposals to boost the bloc's capacity in green tech.


How much can we trust Russian opinion polls on the war?

The lack of Russian opposition to the Russo-Ukrainian War is puzzling. The war is going nowhere, Russian casualties are staggering, the economy is in trouble, and living standards are declining, and yet polls indicate that most Russians support the war.

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