Wednesday

28th Feb 2024

Agenda

UN climate talks and passengers' right in focus This WEEK

  • The two-week COP28 will kick off on Thursday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), ending on 12 December (Photo: COP28 UAE)
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In the wake of more frequent extreme climate events and record-breaking temperatures, the world's nations are preparing for the upcoming UN high-level climate talks to assess progress towards the Paris Agreement's 1.5 °C target in 2030.

The two-week COP28 will kick off on Thursday (28 November) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), ending on 12 December.

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But hosting this year's summit in one of the world's major petrostates, with an oil company CEO at the helm, which has sparked controversy and fears over potential conflicts of interest.

Launching the loss and damage fund to compensate poorer countries for destructive climate change effects, climate finance arrangements, efforts for adaptation, a fossil fuel phase-out, and energy targets are expected to be high on the COP agenda.

The EU recently said that it was ready to make a "substantial" contribution to the new fund, but there are no figures publicly available of the planned contribution.

For their part, MEPs have called on newly-appointed EU climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra to support the phase-out of all fossil fuels — going further than EU countries only backing the phase-out of "unabated" fossil fuels.

"Phasing down demand for, and supply of, all fossil fuels is inevitable and essential," said COP28 UAE presidency.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will be in Dubai on Friday and Saturday (1 and 2 December). Earlier this week, on Monday (27 November), she is set to meet the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol.

Also on Monday, EU Council president Charles Michel will travel to Budapest to meet with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, ahead of December talks.

Barcelona meeting, Nato

Foreign affairs ministers of 43 Euro-Mediterranean countries will gather in Barcelona on Monday (27 November) to discuss the situation in the Middle East — after a four-day humanitarian pause between the Israeli army and Hamas was agreed.

The event will be chaired by EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and the minister of foreign affairs of Jordan, Ayman Safadi. EU commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarčič is also expected to attend.

On Tuesday (28 November), Nato foreign affairs ministers will be attending a meeting in Brussels, together with Sweden's top diplomats. The EU's Borrell will join a later session that day.

Nato ministers are set to discuss Sweden's Nato membership bid. This comes after Turkey said that their ratification will not be ready in time for the meeting this week, and with Hungary's ratification still pending.

The following day, Sweden will also join the Nato-Ukraine Council to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine and how to maintain military support for Kyiv.

Meanwhile, EU ministers for trade will prepare for the signature of the modernised commercial agreement with Chile and discuss the state of play of commercial relations with the US on Monday.

EU mobility package

On Wednesday (29 November), the commission is expected to unveil a proposal to improve passengers' rights.

An anti-smuggling package of new measures and an action plan to facilitate the roll-out of grids and energy networks will also be presented the same day.

In the European Parliament, MEPs will discuss legislative and non-legislative reports at the committee level.

On Monday, MEPs from the trade committee will have a debate about the latest report from the commission on the screening of foreign direct investments into the EU.

EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, for his part, will talk with MEPs in the trade committee on Tuesday.

And the final round of inter-institutional negotiations on new rules for industrial emissions will also take place on Tuesday.

MEPs from the environment committee will vote on their report on European Health Data Space on Tuesday.

The following day, they will have an exchange of views with the commission on pesticides — following the rejection of the commission proposal by the parliament last week.

Also on Wednesday, they will green-light the agreement reached with EU member states on the nature restoration law.

On the same day, the parliament will host a high-level conference on the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Nobel Peace laureates, MEPs, MPs and civil society organisations.

Disability card

Additionally, EU ministers in charge of employment and social policy will gather in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday to discuss several legislative files.

They also aim to reach an agreement on a proposal to facilitate travel across the EU for people with disabilities.

On Thursday, MEPs working on employment matters will vote on a report focusing on social award criteria in public procurement and its impacts on working conditions and the labour market.

Mental health, medicines shortages in the bloc, the EU's pharmaceutical strategy and negotiations on the international pandemic treaty will be discussed by EU health ministers on Thursday.

On the same day, EU affairs ministers are expected to discuss cohesion policy and the EU's so-called strategic autonomy.

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