Saturday

21st May 2022

Agenda

French elections and Ukraine war dominate This WEEK

  • This weekend French president Emmanuel Macron had to face presidentail challengers including far-right leader Marine Le Pen at the ballot (Photo: European Parliament)
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French voters went to the polls on Sunday (10 April) in a first round of a presidential that will at least partly determine the future of Europe.

Voters in the second largest economy of the EU will head back to the ballot boxes on 24 April to decide the final winner.

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In Luxembourg, foreign affairs ministers are expected to meet on Monday (11 April) to discuss the implications of the fifth package of sanctions against Russia, adopted by EU governments last week.

Ministers are expected to discuss the latest developments concerning the Russian war in Ukraine, including holding Moscow accountable for breaking international law, and how to provide assistance to investigators into war crimes committed by Russia.

The debate will also be focused on energy and food security as the fallout of Putin's invasion.

Ministers want to prevent possible food shortages from being instrumentalised by Russia and China as a geopolitical weapon.

Over lunch, EU foreign affairs ministers will be joined by the Norwegian foreign minister, Anniken Huitfeldt, and the Icelandic foreign minister, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir.

On their menu: the top issue will be the Russian invasion in Ukraine and its security implications for the European continent.

European lawmakers plan to travel to another country that has been threatened by Russia before.

During the week MEPs from the parliament's security and defence subcommittee are expected to visit Georgia to see for themselves the possible implications of Russia's war in Ukraine.

MEPs will meet, among others, Georgia's president Salome Zourabichvili and prime minister Irakli Garibashvili. Lawmakers also plan to visit the so-called administrative boundary lines in Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, occupied by Russia.

Turning inwards, EU affairs ministers will gather in Luxembourg on Tuesday (12 April) to discuss the status of the rule of law within the bloc.

Ministers have been discussing the rule of law in each member state, and this time Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Malta and Austria will be on the agenda.

Hungary is expected to get a special spotlight, as the country is also under the so-called Article 7 sanctions procedure for democratic backsliding.

The country's ruling party, and prime minister Viktor Orbán, was re-elected with a supermajority in the parliament for the fourth time in a row last week.

Early in the week, MEPs from the budget control committee plan to go to Bulgaria to inquire about the allegations of corruption and misuse of public funds which could impact EU funds.

Bulgaria's former prime minister, Boyko Borisov, was detained mid-March as part of a police operation linked to probes by the EU prosecutor's office.

Opinion

Macron has delivered for his supporters

To his opponents, Emmanuel Macron is a "president of the rich" or a panderer to Islamophobes. If the polls are right, and he nevertheless wins reelection this month, they'll insist it was due to the weakness of his opponents

Hungary's Orbán secured fourth consecutive win

In a surprisingly massive win, Hungary's nationalist prime minister Viktor Orbán, Russian president Vladimir Putin's closest EU ally, has secured another majority in Sunday's general election against a united opposition.

MEPs seek full embargo on Russian energy

MEPs called for an immediate and "full" embargo on Russian oil, coal, nuclear fuel, and gas in response to atrocities in Ukraine. But a coal ban is the only likely move for now.

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.

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.

Podcast

Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow

Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war has threatened to be a public relations disaster for hard-right gatherings like the Conservative Political Action Conference — now meeting in Budapest and featuring Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who remains highly-cordial with the Kremlin.

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