4th Dec 2023


Russia sanctions talk in focus This WEEK

  • Finland's prime minister Sanna Marin and Ukranian president Volodomyr Zelensky at last week's EU summit in Brussels (Photo: Council of the European Union)
Listen to article

We are fast approaching the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February last year.

It is likely one of those days when people remember where they were, and how they felt when they woke up to the news that Europe's security structure has been shaken to the core.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Last week, Ukraine's president Volodomyr Zelensky was welcomed in Brussels as a rockstar by most European politicians. He came to ask for military and financial support, and called for tougher sanctions on Russia's nuclear and IT sector.

The EU Commission is expected to come up with the 10th package of sanctions against Russia, and EU governments aim to negotiate the final deal by next week for the exact date of the anniversary.

On Wednesday (15 Februray), MEPs will commemorate the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Before that EU economy and finance ministers are set to meet on Monday and Tuesday this week.

On Monday, ministers are expected to take a look at developments in the euro-area labour markets. They are also set to hear from the director of the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), Christian Zinglersen, on energy market developments.

On Tuesday, ministers will take a look at the economic impact of Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the implementation of sanctions. Ministers are also expected to give the green light to a revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

On Wednesday (15 February), MEPs will debate high inflation rates and the European Central Bank's efforts to curb it with the bank's president Christine Lagarde.

Qatargate dominates

MEPs will gather for a plenary meeting and, on Monday (13 February) evening, are set to debate EU funding for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) incriminated in the Qatargate scandal.

The centre-right European People's Party (EPP) wants to have tougher rules on transparency for NGOs, which can be used by third countries to influence parliament decision-making.

On Tuesday (14 February), MEPs are set to vote on the continuation of the special committee on foreign interference, which now will also be mandated to deal with the Qatargate scandal.

The committee was originally set up two years ago to make recommendations to the commission on how to deal with interference by foreign regimes, such as Russia and China.

On Tuesday, MEPs are expected to discuss and vote new rules for the reduction of CO2 emissions from new cars and vans. The parliament and member states agreed on the issue last October, including a ban on sales of new cars with combustion engines from 2035.

On Wednesday (15 February), the parliament is expected to discuss the commission's Green Deal industrial plan, which aims to provide support for the scaling up of the EU's manufacturing capacity for net-zero technologies.

On the same day, MEPs are set to discuss access to critical raw materials, which are strategically important for the European economy, but whose supplies are at risk, ahead of the commission's proposals on the topic in early March.

On the same day, MEPs are expected to adopt the parliament's position on the European Chips Act, which aims to deal with semiconductor shortages in the EU and mobilise investments in research and production of semiconductors.

MEPs are set to vote on Wednesday on a draft resolution calling for the EU to finalise the adoption of the Istanbul Convention, preventing and combating violence against women.

It will call on Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia to ratify the convention.


Time to put Antwerp's Russian diamonds on EU sanctions list

The Antwerp diamond industry has managed to evade sanctions for nine European sanctions packages. They remain convinced that voluntary measures will suffice to eventually reduce the trade in Russian blood diamonds to zero. That's incomprehensible.

Qatargate? EU parliament's culture of impunity is its own creation

EU parliament president Roberta Metsola blamed "malign actors linked to autocratic third countries" for the Qatargate corruption scandal. But the parliament's Bureau has for years seeded a culture of impunity where MEPs can get away with almost anything.

EU-China summit and migration files in focus This WEEK

This week, EU and Chinese leaders will meet in Beijing to discuss how to cooperate in the international area despite their rivalry. Meanwhile, a marathon trilogue on the five migration files takes place on Thursday.

UN climate talks and passengers' right in focus This WEEK

The two-week UN climate talks (#COP28) will kick off on Thursday. Earlier this week, the EU Commission will unveil a proposal to improve passengers' rights and Nato foreign affairs ministers will meet in Brussels.


Why EU's €18m for Israel undermines peace

The optics of a nine-fold increase of annual funding for Israel, in the middle of its devastating military campaign in Gaza, stands in contrast with the attempted suspension, delaying and constraining of EU development aid for the Palestinians.

Latest News

  1. The EU's U-turn on caged farm animals — explained
  2. EU-China summit and migration files in focus This WEEK
  3. COP28 debates climate finance amid inflated accounting 'mess'
  4. Why EU's €18m for Israel undermines peace
  5. Israel's EU ambassador: 'No clean way to do this operation'
  6. Brussels denies having no 'concern' on Spain's amnesty law
  7. Dubai's COP28 — a view from the ground
  8. Germany moves to criminalise NGO search-and-rescue missions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  3. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  4. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  5. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  6. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  3. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  4. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us