29th Sep 2023


Asylum and SLAPP positions in focus This WEEK

  • Ministers might agree on the council's position on the asylum and migration management system regulation and the asylum procedure regulation (Photo: Mission Lifeline)
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EU justice and home affairs will try to hammer out an agreement among EU governments on their positions on Thursday and Friday (8-9 June) on the asylum and migration management system regulation and the asylum procedure regulation.

These are the two key parts of the bloc's pact on migration and asylum reform. If an agreement is reached, the council then will be able to start negotiations on the politically sensitive legislative files with the EU parliament.

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Coming to an agreement before the EU elections in June 2024 is hard, but could be a plus in the campaign for governments and EU institutions alike.

Ministers are also expected to discuss the overall state of the passport-free Schengen area.

Justice ministers will try to reach an agreement a proposed law against strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP), in an effort to strengthen media freedom and freedom of expression in the EU.

The goal of the legislation is to thwart unfounded or abusive court proceedings against journalists and human rights defenders and to lay down rules for financial remedies.

Ministers will also aim to reach an agreement on a draft law on combating violence against women and domestic violence and approve conclusions on the safety of LGBTI people in the EU.

As the European Parliament gears up for next year's election, it will publish on Tuesday (6 June) a survey on the support of citizens for democracy and their awareness of the elections, and their priorities.

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde will return to the European Parliament on Monday (5 June) for her quarterly quizzing by MEPs about the bloc's monetary policy.

The EU Commission is expected to detail plans for a 2024 EU budget next Wednesday (7 June), with member states pushing for cuts in the different policy areas.

Traditionally, the parliament has been pushing for more spending, with centre-right MEP Siegfried Mureșan, who is leading the budget efforts in the assembly, saying "we are determined to provide an EU budget that helps farmers and businesses, encourage innovation for a more digital, greener economy, and provides aid to those in need".

The commission this week is also (again) expected to introduce its plans to set up an inter-institutional ethics body, following the outcries after the Qatargate bribery scandal in the European Parliament.

The new body will not have new investigative powers to check on EU institutions but is expected to provide more coordination among EU agencies and bodies that can look into issues.

The commission is also expected to spell out its comprehensive approach to mental health, which comes after president Ursula con der Leyen pledged to address the issue last year.

The executive's initiative follows data that, for instance, more than four out of ten workers (44 percent) in the EU say that their work stress has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also on Wednesday, von der Leyen and EUs green deal commissioner Frans Timmermans will meet in Brussels with Sultan Al Jaber, an Emirati oil CEO and president of UN climate talks (COP28).

MEPs lay out asylum vision as majority back fence funds

MEPs leading files on the EU asylum reform want binding relocations of asylum seekers in times of crisis, a contentious issue for member states. But some capitals will be pleased that most MEPs also endorsed EU funding for border fences.

Targeting of women politicians dilutes democracy

Policies have a strong impact, argues EIGE director Carlien Scheele. But gender equality is improving by a snail's pace. And more women in decision-making also mean more backlash.

China trade tension and migration deal This WEEK

An EU-China high-level economic is scheduled on Monday amid renewed tensions. Later this week, EU home affairs ministers will discuss the EU-Tunisia deal and the state of play of the EU pact on asylum and migration.

Spain's EU-language bid and UN summit This WEEK

While the heads of EU institutions are in New York for the UN high level meeting, Spain's EU presidency will try to convince ministers to make Catalan, Basque, and Galician official EU languages.


Time for a reset: EU regional funding needs overhauling

Vasco Alves Cordeiro, president of the European Committee of the Regions, is advocating a revamp of the EU's regional policy so that it better supports all regions in addressing major challenges such as the green and digital transitions.

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