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26th Feb 2024

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Brussels Bubble slows down for summer recess This WEEK

  • EU parliament's committee meetings and normal activities will resume in Brussels on 28 August (Photo: Visit Greece)
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As they digest Sunday's election result in Spain, the European institutions are preparing to enter into the summer recess.

EU agriculture ministers will meet on Tuesday (25 July) to discuss the implications for agri-food markets of Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal.

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The ministers will debate two controversial files: the European Commission's impact assessment of pesticide reduction on food security and the latest proposal on deregulating new genomic techniques.

Five EU countries — Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania Slovakia, and Poland — also want to discuss extending their ban on Ukrainian grain imports until the end of 2023, to safeguard their farmers and agricultural sector.

Nevertheless, Ukrainian agri-food products will continue to move through these countries to other parts of the world where grain is needed.

This follows the introduction of unilateral bans in April which were later approved by the EU in June.

Spain's informal meetings

EU ministers in charge of industry and competitiveness will have an informal meeting in Spain on Monday and Tuesday (24 and 25 July) to discuss the EU's so-called 'open' strategic autonomy as well as consumer rights.

There will also be an informal meeting of EU health ministers on Thursday and Friday (27 and 28 July) focused on the digitalisation of the sector and how to improve the mental health of citizens.

No council meeting will take place throughout August until the last week when EU defence ministers will gather for an informal meeting in Spain.

EU foreign affairs ministers will also meet informally on 31 August where they are expected to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war latest developments.

On a logistical note, the press room in the Justus Lipsius building will be closed until 15 October, due to renovations to improve the interpretation system scheduled for this summer. Other working spaces in the building will be made available to journalists.

EU Parliament's schedule

The European Parliament will dedicate the week to external parliamentary activities, before going into recess until 21 August. Parliament's committee meetings will resume in Brussels on 28 August.

From 21 to 28 August, there will be also external parliamentary activities. During this week, delegations of MEPs and committee fact-finding missions travel to dive deeper in certain subjects.

For example, a delegation of MEPs will go to Germany and Poland to assess the EU's military assistance mission to Ukraine.

The Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, which is made up of 150 members including MEPs and regional Latin American parliamentarians, will meet in Madrid from Thursday to Sunday (24 to 27 July) to assess the outcome of the EU-CELAC summit.

Midday meetings

While some spokespersons will remain available to journalists in the summer, the EU Commission's daily midday briefing will take place only twice a week — Tuesday and Thursday — during August.

The commission will not present any proposals until September when a proposal for the digitalisation of social security is scheduled.

New Red Sea mission and more Russia sanctions This WEEK

EU foreign affairs ministers launch the bloc's new Red Sea naval mission, plus hold talks on new sanctions against Russia — amid Hungarian objections — on Monday. Plus a home for the EU's new anti-money laundering authority will be picked.

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