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10th Dec 2022

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EU summit and Sakharov Prize This WEEK

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European leaders come together again, for the second time in two weeks but this time in Brussels rather than Prague, and try to address the security of energy supplies and the price hikes across the continent.

An increasing number of leaders are worried about the social backlash to the increases in energy price, plus general inflation, and the need for action feels ever more urgent.

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The EU Commission is expected on Tuesday (18 October) to put forward emergency measures on energy, but it is not clear if it will include price caps.

The proposal is expected to address the joint purchases of gas, creating solidarity agreements among EU countries, more energy-savings targets, and developing a complementary benchmark for gas prices.

Last week, EU countries reached a general agreement to purchase gas through a joint platform before next summer, and energy ministers discussed different options to curb high prices.

The European Council on Thursday and Friday (20 and 21 October) will discuss the matter, but they would merely give political guidance to their ministers in charge of the matter.

On Wednesday (19 October) morning, commission president Ursula von der Leyen will brief MEPs in the European Parliament's plenary sitting about the latest developments.

Leaders are also expected to "strongly condemn" the acts of sabotage against critical infrastructure, such as those against the Nord Stream pipelines.

Rule setting

Before leaders gather in Brussels, foreign ministers will meet on Monday (17 October) in Luxembourg.

They will address the latest developments in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and talk about EU-China relations.

The ministers will also discuss the upcoming UN climate change conference in Ethiopia.

EU affairs ministers will gather on Tuesday to prepare the leaders meeting, and also discuss in a public session the possibility of revising EU rules ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections.

The ministers will also take a look at rule-of-law developments in Poland, which has been under the Article 7 sanctions procedure since 2017.

MEPs on Tuesday are expected to vote on the budgetary discharge of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) for the year 2020.

This discharge had been postponed from earlier this year, due to allegations related to the former management of the agency.

Sakharov

Slovakia's president Zuzana Čaputová on Wednesday is set to outline her vision for Europe to MEPs in Strasbourg.

On the same day, the European Parliament's political leaders expected to decide on the laureate for the 2022 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

The nominees this year include the people of Ukraine and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and Colombia's Truth Commission.

The winner will be announced by parliament president Roberta Metsola in the afternoon.

Still on Wednesday, MEPs are expected to discuss what the EU reaction should be to developments in Belarus and the role of the country's strongman, Alexander Lukashenka in the war against Ukraine.

MEPs on Tuesday are set to address the social and economic consequences of the war including the introduction of a windfall tax, and migration flows to the EU.

On Tuesday, lawmakers are expected to quiz the commission on what the EU is doing to protect its critical infrastructure after the alleged attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines and sabotage against the German railway system.

MEPs are set to demand that car-recharging stations be installed every 60km in the EU and greenhouse-gas emissions from ships be limited. Lawmakers will vote on a report on this on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, lawmakers are expected to debate mental health in the EU, as the economic and societal impact of ever-deepening mental health issues is enormous.

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.

Opinion

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As a result of my peaceful civil activism, I have been arrested 13 times, undergone five trials, and been sentenced to 34 years of imprisonment and 154 lashes in total. I am currently in Evrin prison, without the slightest regret.

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