21st Feb 2024


Russia and migration at summit This WEEK

  • Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka said he brokered the agreement with Wagner mercenaries, and it may strengthen him hand in relations with Vladimir Putin (Photo:
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Whatever happened exactly over the weekend in Russia, it will feature heavily on the minds of EU leaders when they meet on Thursday and Friday (29-30 June) in Brussels, and will dominate the discussions of foreign ministers on Monday (26 June) as they gather in Luxembourg.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Sunday said the turmoil caused by the unprecedented challenge to Russian president Vladimir Putin by Wagner mercenaries may not be over yet and could take weeks or months to play out.

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EU leaders are expected to discuss support for Ukraine and Russia's war of aggression and migration, plus defence and the economy will also be on their agenda for the two-day Brussels summit.

In the meantime, Greeks went to the polls on Sunday for the second time in little over a month to elect a new parliament, with voters expected to give (former) prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' conservatives a second term in office.

On Tuesday (27 June), EU affairs ministers will meet in Luxembourg to prepare for the upcoming European Council in the second half of the week. They are set to also discuss any possible changes to the European electoral law, and the size of the next European Parliament.

In the European Parliament on Tuesday, MEPs in the environment committee are set to finish voting on the draft regulation to introduce legally binding EU targets to restore Europe's damaged ecosystems, a measure that has been heavily opposed by the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). So far, there is no majority to vote down the proposal.

On the same day, the environment committee will vote on a legislative proposal to reduce deaths associated with air pollution by more than 75 percent in ten years and introduce a zero-pollution objective for air quality by 2050.

Lawmakers in the legal affairs committee are expected to vote on Tuesday on a legislative proposal to protect journalists and human rights defenders from abusive lawsuits aimed at silencing them — so-called SLAPP cases.

On Tuesday, MEPs in the foreign affairs committee are expected to hear from Miroslav Lajčák, EU special representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, and Gert Jan Koopman, chief of the commission's neighbourhood directorate on the recent developments between Serbia and Kosovo.

On the same day, lawmakers on the budget committee will discuss the commission's proposals for revising the EU's long-term budget with budget commissioner Johannes Hahn.

On Wednesday (28 June), the civil rights and women's rights committee is set to vote on legislation to fight violence against women and domestic violence.

MEPs want a uniform criminal definition of rape based on the absence of consent, for cyber violence to be a crime under EU law, including non-consensual sharing of intimate material, and safer and gender-sensitive procedures for reporting incidents.

MEPs on the committees are also set to adopt their proposals on Tuesday for an EU-wide approach to regulate prostitution and overcome the inequalities caused by existing different national rules.

The EU's data act is in the meantime being negotiated between member states and MEPs, wit potentially a last round taking place this week before an agreement.

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No details on new EU aid to curb migrants from Tunisia

The European Commission on Monday (12 June) said it cannot yet release details of €105m to prevent migrants from leaving Tunisia. But similar past proposals for Tunisia in the past may offer some clues.

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Nato, defence summit, and UNRWA in focus This WEEK

Nato defence ministers will meet this week ahead of the Munich Security Conference. ECB chief Christine Lagarde will address MEPs in the committee on economic affairs and MEPs will hold a debate about the defunding of the UNRWA agency.


Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?

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