Monday

4th Mar 2024

Agenda

Africa summit and rule of law This WEEK

  • EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen lasz week in Senegal with the country's president, Macky Sall (Photo: European Commission)
Listen to article

This week the EU will make an effort to reach out to African leaders on climate and host of other issues at a summit in Brussels on 17 and 18 February - but the European side can expect to be met with concerns about neocolonialism and its failure to deliver genuine vaccine equity.

It will also be an important week in the EU's ongoing rule-of-law crisis, with the European Court of Justice expected to issue a ruling on Wednesday (16 February) that could allow for the suspension of EU funds for those who break rule-of-law principles.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

Let's look at the details.

The leaders of the EU and the African Union (AU) will meet for the sixth European Union - African Union summit, in Brussels.

Heads of state and government will sit down together at roundtables, including on the climate and energy transition, digital issues, and transport, to try to hammer out what's been touted as a new partnership.

A key issue will be helping Africa green its energy systems; the continent already faces some of the worst consequences of climate change as a result of the industrialisation of other parts of the world including Europe.

An Africa-Europe Investment Package will also be launched, built on already existing funds from the EU budget.

On Thursday, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is scheduled to meet with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

That rule-of-law ruling

The ECJ's Wednesday ruling, which will be live-streamed from Luxembourg, is expected to dismiss a complaint by Warsaw and Budapest.

But such an outcome would also put Brussels in the spotlight, since it would face increased pressure to unbox a new tool for taking action against countries like Poland and Hungary that compromise judicial independence and fail to stop corruption. Action by Brussels could lead to the suspension of EU funds.

In the afternoon, in Strasbourg, MEPs will discuss the next steps.

In a glaring sign of how uncomfortable the issue is for the commission, von der Leyen's participation in the debate had not been confirmed as of Sunday evening.

Instead, von der Leyen was expected to be in Marbourg, Germany, on Wednesday, for an event called Vaccine Equity for Africa.

The parliament has long been pushing the commission to trigger the conditionality mechanism against Poland and Hungary for rule-of-law breaches, but the EU executive had said it would hold back until the court ruling.

The parliament has previously threatened to take the commission to court over its reluctance to implement the new EU law which entered into force at the beginning of 2021.

In other values-related issues, MEPs will hold a debate Tuesday morning on the issue of Pegasus spyware, which the Hungarian and Polish governments have used on political opponents and journalists.

Also Tuesday, the civil liberties committee will vote on a report on "golden passports" and "golden visa" schemes that give access and citizenship to the EU for investors from outside the bloc.

Euro talk

On Wednesday, MEPs will debate EU-Russia relations, European security and Russia's military threat against Ukraine with EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell.

On Monday (14 February), after a ceremony to celebrate 20 years of the euro, MEPs will be able to quiz European Central Bank president Christiane Lagarde.

On Tuesday, the commission will present a defence package in Strasbourg. It will include plans on how to secure critical technologies for security and defence.

On Wednesday, MEPs will debate the current intra-EU travel situation during the Covid-19 pandemic, and proposals to extend the Covid certificate.

On Friday, the Munich Security Conference, the annual confab on international defence strategy, will get underway.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking Russian officials were not expected to attend the Munich conference this year.

Column

An EU-Africa 'equal partnership' must tackle past and present

Competition is fierce and getting African leaders' attention is no easy task. US president Joe Biden has his own Africa summit, and Turkey, Japan, Russia and - most importantly - China, also have Africa forums up and running.

More farmers, Ukraine aid, Yulia Navalnaya in focus This WEEK

EU agriculture ministers meet in Brussels amid new farmers' protests. MEPs will hear from Alexei Navalny's widow and give the final green light to the €50bn Ukraine facility, while the CBAM proposal faces a formal challenge at a WTO meeting.

Opinion

The six-hour U-turn that saw the EU vote for austerity

The EU's own analysis has made it clear this is economic self-sabotage, and it's politically foolish three months from European elections where the far-right are predicted to increase support, writes the general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.

Feature

Hungary's Ukrainian refugees in two minds as relations sour

Ukrainians struggle to match the kindness of individual Hungarians with the nationalist government's pro-Russia rhetoric. "Ukraine's primary enemies are Russians and Putin, obviously. But the number two is Viktor Orbán," Viktoria Petrovszka, a Ukrainian woman living in Hungary, says.

Latest News

  1. EU must overhaul Africa trade offer to parry China, warns MEP
  2. EU watchdog faults European Commission over Libya
  3. Hungary's Ukrainian refugees in two minds as relations sour
  4. The six-hour U-turn that saw the EU vote for austerity
  5. Defence, von der Leyen, women's rights, in focus This WEEK
  6. The farming lobby vs Europe's wolves
  7. EU socialists fight battle on two fronts in election campaign
  8. EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us