Thursday

7th Jul 2022

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Russia and abusive lawsuits in focus This WEEK

  • The EU Commission has been promising to better protect journalists against abusive legal litigation (Photo: EUobserver)
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France elected its leader on Sunday (April 24), which will have a significant impact on the EU's future.

Slovenia has also voted in a parliamentary election, which has shown whether the ex-Yugoslav country wants to continue on a road that challenges democratic standards.

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But despite the electoral excitement, EU countries are continued to be consumed by the debate on how and when to reduce Russian energy imports, as mainly Germany, Austria, and Hungary are reluctant to cut imports drastically as Russia continues its war in Ukraine.

In the European Parliament, the political leaders of the groups are planning on Thursday to hold a debate with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.

In the meantime, the EU Commission is planning to come forward with long-expected proposals on how to better protect journalists and rights defenders.

The Commission on Wednesday (27 April) is set to come with proposals against lawsuits launched in an effort to silence journalists, civil society, or putting pressure on publications. These abusive lawsuits are so-called SLAPPs.

MEPs have been calling for binding measures to counteract the threat that SLAPPs pose, and want to the EU to create a fund for journalists to fight SLAPP cases and training for judges and lawyers to identify such cases.

The same day, the EU executive is also planning to come out with a new legal migration package, aiming at attracting talented and highly-skilled professionals and entrepreneurs.

On Monday, in the European Parliament, the women's rights committee is expected to adopt a resolution on the impact of Russian aggression on women.

Also on Monday, MEPs in the trade committee will vote on new rules to allow the EU Commission to investigate if companies receive subsidies, for instance capital injections or tax exemptions, from non-EU countries, and take countermeasures when necessary.

The goal of the legislation is to ensure fair competition by extending state aid rules to non-EU actors, and is aimed at mitigating foreign malign influence, particularly from China.

European lawmakers from the constitutional affairs committee are expected to vote on Thursday on proposals that would strengthen the parliament's right to propose EU laws and start EU legislative procedures.

The parliament seeks to establish a direct right of initiative for the institution, which is now the prerogative of the commission only.

The centre-right European People's Party on Monday is organising a summit to fight disinformation in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Centre-right MEPs are set to discuss the creation of an EU 'war room' to counter disinformation, and strengthen resilience and media literacy in EU member states.

EU to better protect journalists, Jourova promises

The current Czech commissioner for justice, Vera Jourova, was approved for the next commission, as she promised to defend democracy from online threats, and to present ideas about reforming future European elections by 2020.

Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

MEPs will gather in Strasbourg for the final plenary before the summer break, with a crucial vote on the classification of gas and nuclear. The Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers its presidency's priorities for the next six months.

G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK

EU energy ministers and environment ministers are expected to reach common positions on different aspects of the Fit for 55 package — as the continent is increasingly worried about energy prices and future supplies.

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'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

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