10th Dec 2023


Nato summit and key nature restoration vote This WEEK

  • This will be Finland's first summit as a Nato member (Photo: Nato)
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Nato leaders will gather in Vilnius, on Tuesday and Wednesday (11 and 12 July), to discuss Ukraine's Nato membership bid, Sweden's application and defence plans.

While Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg has previously said that Ukraine will not become a member until the war ends, leaders are expected to discuss "security guarantees" that will help Kyiv join the alliance after the war.

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Nato allies are also expected to endorse a proposal to invest a minimum of two percent of GDP in defence annually. In 2023, the estimates show that defence expenditures have grown by 8.3 percent — which is "the biggest increase in decades," according to Stoltenberg.

This will be Finland's first summit as a Nato member.

In addition to his participation in the Nato summit, US president Joe Biden is also expected to travel to the UK and Finland this week.

EU high-level officials will meet with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday (13 July) to discuss several topics, including Russia's aggression against Ukraine and China's role. This will be the 29th EU-Japan summit held in Brussels.

On the same day, the eurogroup will look into the fiscal policy guidance for 2024 and continue discussions on the digital euro.

EU economy ministers will on Friday (14 July) discuss the commission's revision of the EU's long-term budget, looking at how to increase the so-called own resources and the proposal to grant €50bn in support to Ukraine from the 2024-27 EU budget.

Fate of nature restoration law

In Strasbourg, MEPs will discuss on Tuesday the controversial nature restoration law — with a vote on Wednesday to establish the parliament's position.

This follows a dead heat 44-44 vote in the environment committee. The law, which aims to restore degraded land and sea areas, has faced opposition led by the centre-right European People's Party (EPP).

First MEPs will vote on the EPP proposal to reject the commission's proposal. If there is no majority, then they will vote on the amendments tabled by political groups.

EU environment ministers will meet Monday and Tuesday (10 and 11 July) in Spain for an informal meeting focused on soil and water management, reducing pollution and the upcoming UN climate talks COP28.

On Tuesday and Wednesday (11 and 12 July), EU energy ministers will also hold an informal meeting to talk about the reforms of the electricity market, interconnections and energy files under the Fit for 55 Package.

Metaverse and semiconductors

Also on Tuesday, the commission is scheduled to present its strategy on virtual words, unveiling the EU's vision for the metaverse, the Internet of Things, blockchain and extended reality.

On the same day, the EU parliament will vote on the draft proposal to protect journalists against abusive lawsuits, paving the way for negotiations with EU member states.

MEPs will vote on Tuesday on the EU Chips Act, a key piece of legislation which aims to increase the production of semiconductors in the EU to 20 percent by 2030.

Following the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean where at least 500 people drowned last month, MEPs are expected to discuss the role of NGOs in search and rescue missions at sea on Wednesday.

Orbán: Ties with Sweden need to improve to join Nato

Budapest previously delayed ratifying Finland's application, and has cited grievances with criticism from both Helsinki and Stockholm of Viktor Orbán's domestic record on democracy and the rule of law.

Fate of nature restoration law punted to plenary vote

Tuesday's committee vote showed there was no majority to reject the nature restoration law — but the final vote on the report also fell short of the majority required to receive the committee approval.

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.


How should EU reform the humanitarian aid system?

The example of Ukraine illustrates that donors like the EU should be more ambitious about the localisation of aid. And this funding to local actors needs to be predictable, flexible, and longer than the typical one-year funding cycle.

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