29th Mar 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)
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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.

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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.


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