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28th May 2022

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Gas supplies and the Ukraine war top This WEEK

  • Fossil fuel infrastructure and gas pipelines are at risk to be damaged by artillery or missle attacks (Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine)
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After elections in Hungary and Serbia on Sunday, the focus of attention in the EU again will be on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and how it impacts gas supplies to the EU and the wider European economy.

MEPs will gather in Strasbourg for a plenary session to debate different aspects of the issue.

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On Wednesday (6 April), MEPs are set to debate with European Council president Charles Michel, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell about what the EU summit achieved at the end of March.

Von der Leyen and Borrell will also be quizzed by lawmakers the day before about what they have achieved in the past two years, and on the bloc's security and defence strategy for the years to come.

On Tuesday (5 April), the European Parliament will vote in an urgent procedure on new EU gas storage rules, after the commission has tabled a legislative proposal, introducing a minimum 80 percent gas storage level obligation for next winter.

Also all financial support for gas is supposed to be off the table in the EU going forward, under the new TEN-E regulation, which is to be debated in the EP on Monday (4 April), and voted on on Tuesday.

EU economy ministers will also look at what implications the sanctions against Russia have on the European economy when they gather in Brussels on Monday (4 April).

European lawmakers are expected to debate on Tuesday what the EU can do to protect the children fleeing war in Ukraine, in particular what the bloc can do against child-trafficking and exploitation.

Over four million people have been forced to seek refuge abroad, and half of those fleeing are minors. A resolution on the issue will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Still on Tuesday, MEPs are expected to approve a deal reached with member states' governments on updating the rules to select which energy projects, such as high-voltage transmission lines, pipelines, energy storage facilities or smart grids, would be eligible to receive EU funds.

The aim of the move is to align the existing law with the objectives of the EU's Green Deal.

Lawmakers are set to focus on climate the day before when on Monday (4 April), they will discuss with the commission the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which calls for urgent measures to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

On Wednesday, the commission is also expected to update three pieces of legislation on industrial pollution.

With the war raging in Ukraine, it seems as though Poland and Hungary are off the hook for rule of law violations. The EU's top court in February gave the green light to the commission to suspend EU funds if it finds that a member state is violating rule of law principles.

The commission has so far not triggered the so-called conditionality mechanism, and some MEPs are furious about this lack of action by the commission.

On Wednesday (6 April), lawmakers are expected to debate the EU's response to the democratic backsliding in Hungary and Poland and are set to urge the French presidency of the council and the commission to take action.

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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