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13th Aug 2022

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Rule of law and Czech presidency priorities This WEEK

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The European Commission is set to unveil its rule-of-law audit of all EU member states on Wednesday (13 July), including country-specific recommendations as a novelty.

In last year's report, the commission already raised concerns over the independence of the judiciary and the situation in the media landscape in both Hungary and Poland — the only two member states facing sanctions over the rule of law under the Article 7 procedure.

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The Netherlands on Thursday (14 July) will organise, together with the European Commission and the International Criminal Court, a conference to discuss reports of violations of international human rights law by Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

Investigations of war crimes committed during the Russian aggression in Ukraine will also be discussed by EU justice ministers during an informal meeting on Monday (11 July) and Tuesday (12 July) in Prague.

Ministers in charge of European Affairs will also meet in Prague on Thursday and Friday to discuss the outcome of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Ukrainian deputy prime minister Olga Stefanišina will also attend the informal meeting.

Meanwhile, several ministers from the Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers the priorities of the rotating EU Council presidency for the next six months.

Czech priorities

Czech climate minister, Anna Hubáčková, will be at the parliament's environment committee on Monday, while health minister Vlastimil Válek will brief the same committee on Tuesday.

The Czech minister responsible for agriculture, Zdeněk Nekula, will also hold a discussion with MEPs at the agriculture committee on Monday and at the environment committee on Tuesday — with the looming food crisis resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely to be high on the agenda.

MEPs from the agriculture and transport committees are expected to discuss how to facilitate Ukraine's grain export on Monday, as more than 20 million tonnes of wheat and other grains remain blocked in the country.

Czech industry minister Jozef Síkela will present the presidency priorities to the parliament's internal market committee on Tuesday and to the industry committee on Wednesday.

Czech digital minister Ivan Bartoš, education minister Vladimír Balaš and transport minister Martin Kupka will be at the industry committee on Wednesday.

Super League

The European Court of Justice will hold a two-day hearing starting on Monday over the Super League project — kicking off a court case that could decide the future fate of European football.

The Super League Company will try to prove that UEFA and FIFA have an illegal long-established monopoly over the organisation of European football games.

Also on Monday, the eurogroup will look at Croatia's euro membership, fiscal policy orientations for 2023 and the potential impact of the digital euro.

The Czech presidency will present its priorities in the area of economic and financial affairs to EU economic ministers on Tuesday.

The G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors will take place on 15-16 July in Bali in a hybrid event.

Climate policy

On Wednesday, MEPs from the industry and energy committee will be voting on the energy efficiency directive — one of the key legislation under the so-called Fitfor55 package.

MEPs in the environment committee will vote on Tuesday (12 July) on the EU deforestation rules which aim to force companies selling certain products in the EU to ensure and prove that their production processes are deforestation-free.

EU environment ministers will meet in Prague on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss progress toward climate policies, although the Czech presidency already said it will focus on the short-term objective to wean the EU off Russian fossil fuels.

Interinstitutional negotiations on the revision of the European carbon market and carbon border tax are also expected to start on Monday.

Brexit

After last week's political meltdown in the UK, the coming week is expected to see more Conservative MPs officially announce they are joining the contest to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister.

On Wednesday, MEPs from the foreign affairs committee, trade committee, and constitutional affairs committee will hold a joint debate about Brexit and the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol.

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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.

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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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