7th Dec 2022


New members and energy in focus This WEEK

  • French president Emmanuel Macron (l), Checz premier Petr Fiala, and Moldova's president Maia Sandu at the final press conference of the European Political Community last week (Photo: Council of the European Union)
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After the pow-wow and show of unity in Prague last week by 44 European countries, in the face of Russian aggression, this week the EU will get back to the tedious business of enlargement.

On Wednesday (12 October), the EU Commission is expected to put forward its annual assessment of where the candidate countries are on their way to meet the criteria of membership.

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Western Balkan candidate countries have also been worried that the European Political Community, which had its first meeting last week, will be used to put off further enlargement.

The next meeting of the EPC will be held in Moldova, one of the aspiring countries. Having the forum in Moldova is "a sign of support we value highly," the president of Moldova, Maia Sandu told reporters in Prague.

The EU needs to "keep preparing the ground" for enlargement for the Western Balkan states as well as Georgia, Roberta Metsola, the president of the European parliament said last Friday.

Also on Wednesday, enlargement commissioner Olivér Várhelyi is also set to give a detailed brief on the EU executive's assessment to MEPs on the foreign affairs committee.

On Thursday (13 October), Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a leader of the democratic forces in Belarus, is expected to address MEPs on the foreign affairs committee.

MEPs want to hear her views on the war in Ukraine and the role of Belarus.

On the same day, lawmakers in the foreign affairs, development committees will select the three finalists for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

The nominees include the people of Ukraine and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Brazilian environmental and indigenous activist Sônia Guajajara, and Colombia's Truth Commission.


Early in the week EU energy ministers will meet in Prague for an informal gathering.

Last week, EU leaders try to find a common ground on how to deal with the rising energy prices in Europe and whether to cap the price of gas the EU countries are willing the pay.

The EU Commission is also expected to lay down concrete proposals later, and ministers will have a chance to narrow the range of possible political compromises.


The justice and home affairs ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Thursday and Friday (13 and 14 October) with a loaded agenda.

Justice ministers are expected to give two more months to Hungary to deliver on the anti-corruption measures agreed with the EU Commission in September.

They will also look at the work of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) in the first year since the start of its operations.

Home affairs ministers are set to discuss the situation of refugees in the EU and internal security issues with a book at how the passport-free Schengen is holding up in the context of the war in Ukraine.

Covid oversight

The European Parliament's special committee on Covid-19 will hold a second debate with pharmaceutical companies that worked on vaccines during the pandemic on Monday.

Still on Monday, several committees will vote on tow new draft legislations to regulate cryptocurrencies, aiming to set clear rules for crypto-asset issuers and to prevent money laundering or funding of illegal activities such as terrorism.

Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK

On Tuesday, EU finance and economy ministers are expected to discuss a whole series of highly-political files, with one country tying it all together: Hungary. EU and Western Balkan leaders will also meet in Tirana.

EU's Hungary funds, China, energy, and Frontex This WEEK

In the European Parliament, MEPs will hear from ECB president Christina Lagarde, Kyiv's Vitali Klitschko, and from the three candidates proposed by the EU Commission to be the new boss of EU border agency Frontex.


Autocrats make us all less secure

How should democratic states co-operate with authoritarian governments in the future? My organisation, Democracy Reporting International, has studied the security strategies of 13 democratic governments to understand how they see this relationship.

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