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27th Nov 2022

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State of Union and Hungary's democracy in focus This WEEK

  • EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will be quizzed by MEPs on energy, inflation, rule of law and Ukraine (Photo: European Parliament)
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Energy prices continue to be on top of everyone's mind in Brussels and Strasbourg as the European Parliament is gathering for its first plenary of this autumn political season.

On Wednesday (14 September), EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her annual state of the European Union address, which EU officials spend months preparing for.

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The EU executive president will focus on Ukraine, Russian sanctions and the energy proposals the commission laid out to cut dependence on Russian energy supplies.

The commission plans to propose a mandatory target for reducing electricity use at peak hours, plans a cap on revenues of companies producing electricity, and a "solidarity contribution" from unexpected high profits of fossil fuel companies.

MEPs will then quiz the commission president about the commission's plans and policies.

On Tuesday (13 September), MEPs will debate the EU's response to the rise in energy prices, and the day after vote on plans to speed up the use of renewable energy and reduce energy consumption by 2030.

On the same day, MEPs are expected to debate the EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on Ukraine, and vote on the €5bn assistance programme to the war-torn country.

This comes after, on Tuesday morning, MEPs will hear from Finland's prime minister Sanna Marin on her vision for Europe.

Money talk

On Monday (12 September) evening, European lawmakers in the economy and budget committee will hear from commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis and economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni on the Covid-19 recovery fund and its use by member states.

Hungary is now the only country in the EU for which the commission has not approved the special injection of EU funds because of concerns over rule of law and corruption.

MEPs will vote on a report about the state of Hungary's democracy and its erosion since 2018, when the parliament triggered the Article 7 sanctions probe against the country.

Lawmakers are set to declare that Hungary can no longer be ranked as a full democracy and that EU values there are under systemic threat.

Climate battle

On Thursday, MEPs will discuss the drought and forest fires across Europe this summer. A resolution will be voted on this on Thursday.

On Tuesday, lawmakers are set to vote on a new EU law demanding companies ensure products sold in the bloc do not come from deforested land. The debate on the issue will take place on Monday.

MEPs on Wednesday are expected to give the green light to new EU rules on minimum wages to tackle in-work poverty, and help collective bargaining.

Media resilience

The commission on Tuesday is expected to discuss the EU's cyber resilience act, which aims to ensure more secure hardware and software products and better protect consumers and businesses.

The EU's top court on Wednesday is expected to rule on Google Android's anti-competitive practices, which were deemed illegal by the commission in 2018.

The college of commissioners is also set to discuss the European media freedom act, according to the commission's draft agenda, which has been in the making for months.

It plans to lay down rules for the independence of media regulators, transparency of media ownership and wants to reinforce that editorial decision should be independent from any interference.

EU energy ministers' meeting ends with 'no decision made'

EU energy ministers met for an extraordinary council meeting to discuss a unified European response to the energy crisis — but no decision was reached, with negotiations likely continuing until the end of September.

Von der Leyen unveils energy crisis plan ahead of key meeting

The new energy plan includes a mandatory target to reduce peak electricity consumption, a cap on excess revenues by renewables and nuclear firms, a solidarity mechanism to channel fossil fuel companies' profits to citizens, and a temporary state aid framework.

Hungary turned into 'hybrid regime', MEPs say

The new draft European Parliament report is an update to the 2018 report which triggered the Article 7 procedure against Hungary, a sanctions probe aiming to rein in member states that break EU rules and values.

Opinion

Von Der Leyen must shield Europe from a social tsunami

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. It is time for Ursula von der Leyen to rise to the challenge. Better late than never, writes the opposition Socialists & Democrats' vice-president ahead of the State of the Union speech.

Zooming in on energy and migration This WEEK

Two extraordinary meetings of ministers, on gas price caps and migration, are expected, while the European Parliament will keep the heat on Hungary and the EU Commission over rule of law.

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