Saturday

28th May 2022

Agenda

Russia sanctions and energy dominate Next WEEK

  • A ban on Russian energy remains a divisive issue for several EU member states (Photo: European Parliament)
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Russia's war on Ukraine and its political and economic implications continue to dominate the EU agenda next week.

On Monday (16 May) EU foreign ministers will meet in Brussels and are expected to discuss the EU sanctions policy against Russia.

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Negotiations among EU ambassadors, which continued on Friday and possibly over the weekend, might lead to results on the sixth package of sanctions against Moscow for invading Ukraine in February.

Some countries are holding out on the planned oil embargo, with Hungary being the most vocal and staunch opponent of cutting oil imports from Russia.

On Monday, foreign ministers from the Western Balkan countries are invited for lunch with their EU colleagues, as the bloc aims to calm nerves in the region — namely, that the accession of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia will not mean a setback for the region with aspiring countries.

"If we send a message to our eastern partners, we have to send a message to the Western Balkan countries too," an EU diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

While several EU countries, including the Netherlands, France, Belgium, think that the bloc can use other means than accession to keep the Western Balkan countries close, other countries, mostly from the bloc's eastern flank, argue accession is the best strategic tool for the EU to keep the region politically close and peaceful.

Foreign affairs ministers are also expected to hold a discussion with Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and Canadian foreign minister Mélanie Joly.

On Tuesday (17 May) defence ministers will also talk about Russia, and are expected to meet with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov via video link.

The EU Commission on Wednesday (18 May) 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.

The same day, the commission is also set to detail a relief and reconstruction plan for Ukraine.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine will dominate the parliament's agenda as well.

On Monday, the trade committee will vote to lift all import duties on any product coming from Ukraine, in an effort to help the country's economy.

On Thursday (19 May), MEPs are set to discuss the prosecution of Russian war crimes and genocide in Ukraine.

European lawmakers are also expected on Thursday to debate energy security after Russia's invasion and the recent cuts of the gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria.

On Wednesday, Moldovan president Maia Sandu will address MEPs on the war in Ukraine and its consequences.

Climate moves

MEPs in the environment committee will on Tuesday and Wednesday adopt six reports, part of the EU's "Fit for 55" package, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

The topics of the reports include the Emissions Trading System (ETS), and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is expected on Wednesday to discuss with MEPs in the internal market committee the impact of the recently agreed Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aim to regulate platforms.

MEPs on Wednesday will debate — and vote on Thursday — on the EU Commission's proposal on implementing the international agreement setting up a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent.

Commission services were also expected to spell out the spring economic package and give an update on how the EU's economies are weathering high inflation and energy prices.

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.

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.

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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