31st May 2023


Macron and von der Leyen in China This WEEK

  • French president Emmanuel Macron abd EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will travel to China this week (Photo: Council of the European Union)
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Voters in Finland went to the polls on Sunday (2 April) ahead of the country's biggest foreign policy change in generations, by soon joining the Nato military alliance.

The opposition right-wing National Coalition Party (NCP) was on track to win Sunday's parliamentary election in a tight three-way race, public broadcaster Yle projected.

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The NCP was seen winning 48 of the 200 seats in parliament, ahead of the nationalist Finns Party with 46 seats and prime minister Sanna Marin's Social Democrats on 43 seats, Yle's estimation showed Sunday night.

French president Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will head to China this week, on Tuesday (4 April), as the EU is trying to find its place as tension between the US and China are growing.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez went to Beijing last week for a two-day visit and that his country wanted a "balanced relationship with China".

Macron leaves behind deep domestic turmoil over his pension reform, as he aims to nudge China to put pressure on Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.

In a policy-setting speech last week, von der Leyen warned China that its approach to Russia's war in Ukraine would determine ties, but also said Europe was not looking to "decouple" from Beijing.

"We have to be frank on this point. How China continues to interact with Putin's war will be a determining factor for EU-China relations," she said.

Egg hunt

In Brussels and the wider 'EU Bubble', life comes to a relative standstill until after Easter.

Nevertheless, the EU Commission plans to come out with common criteria and procedures for transferring criminal proceedings to another member state.

The initiative would aim to make criminal proceedings more efficient and and create common understanding of issues of how, for instance, expert evidence should be considered.

The commission is also expected to reveal its reaction to the Save the Bees! citizens' initiative.

Organisers of the initiative want the commission to propose new rules that would phase out synthetic pesticides by 2035, restore natural ecosystems in agricultural areas, and support farmers in the transition.

This week European Parliament delegations will hit the road.

One group of MEPs on the internal market committee is set to travel to Singapore to discuss customs, and learn about the digital transformation about the local economy.

The European Parliament then returns with a plenary in Strasbourg, and in the council will restart as EU environment ministers will convene on Tuesday (18 April).

Your agenda to EU affairs will also take a break. We will be back for the week starting with 24 April.


Squeezed between China and Russia, Mongolia backs Ukraine

Due to its geography, squeezed between China and Russia, the government of Mongolia is forced to perform a balancing act. However, public opinion in Mongolia resolutely condemns the brutal attack against this sovereign nation.


What China's gamble to back Moscow means for EU

Failure to urgently reconsider its support for Russia's war will further damage China's relations with the West and the global community, which would ultimately be disastrous for its economy and international standing. However, China could still choose another path.


Despite Beijing's pleas, now is not time to lift China sanctions

As Beijing cajoles Europe back to "business as usual", even lifting mutual sanctions, European governments shouldn't waver in their recent resolve to hold Beijing accountable for its deepening human rights abuses, writes the China director of Human Rights Watch.

Russia sanctions and EU elections on top This WEEK

The parliament's constitutional affairs committee is set to vote on a draft proposal on the number of seats in the European Parliament, and their distribution among EU countries, ahead of the 2024 elections.

ECB: eurozone home prices could see 'disorderly' fall

The European Central Bank in its Financial Stability Review warned EU home prices could see a 'disorderly' fall as high mortgage rates are making houses unaffordable for households and unattractive for investors.

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