Thursday

29th Feb 2024

Agenda

EU-China summit and migration files in focus This WEEK

  • The EU-China summit will take place amid tensions over geopolitics and trade (Photo: European Union)
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On Thursday and Friday (7 and 8 December), EU and Chinese leaders will meet in Beijing to discuss how and where to cooperate in the international area despite their rivalry.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told ambassadors last month: "This rivalry can be constructive, not hostile. In these turbulent times, there is [a] strong need for strategic stability in how we deal with China. We must get China right."

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China remains the EU's largest trade partner.

And the so-called 'de-risk, no decouple' motto remains the current strategy in the 27-bloc — which means reducing the EU's dependence on China, especially for critical raw materials.

When it comes to Ukraine and China's close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Beijing's ambiguous stance on the war is seen as a major factor in relations.

However, von der Leyen said that it is crucial to keep engaging with Beijing to ensure that their support to Russia "remains as limited as possible".

This week's meeting comes amid tensions over geopolitics and trade.

Earlier this year, the EU launched a probe into Chinese state subsidies of electric vehicles — a move that was criticised by Beijing as "pure protectionism". China is currently the global lead in EV production and is keen to retain that position.

And China has previously imposed unofficial trade sanctions on Lithuania for building closer diplomatic and business ties with Taiwan.

Meanwhile, UN climate talks in Dubai (COP28) continue this week, with several EU commissioners and MEPs present. Discussions on finance will take place on Monday (4 November).

Court rulings

The European Court of Justice will deliver a ruling on the compatibility of EU law with travel bans and testing and quarantine obligations in Belgium in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday.

Later this week, on Thursday, the EU's top court will rule on whether the German Schufa credit rating agency's system is in line with GDPR.

In the European Parliament, meanwhile, EU innovation commissioner Iliana Ivanova will brief MEPs in the culture committee on Monday. Lawmakers will also discuss science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEAM) careers, as the EU faces a shortage of women in the field.

Also on Monday, MEPs in the environment committee will discuss medicine shortages in the EU and how to promote pharmaceutical innovation.

Additionally, MEPs in the agriculture committee will have an exchange of views with the EU Commission on common agriculture policy (CAP) strategic plans for 2023-2027.

The EU commission will present a review of EU rules for consular protection on Wednesday (6 December).

Potential agreement on migration files

On Monday and Tuesday (4 and 5 November), justice ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss progress made on the five legislative files of the pact on asylum and migration.

The ministers will also aim to reach an agreement on the new EU law on the transfer of proceedings in criminal matters, approve the EU Council position on the application of the GDPR, and adopt the e-justice strategy for 2024-2028.

A marathon trilogue on all files on migration will take place on Thursday in a bid to reach a preliminary deal which will pave the way for a political agreement between MEPs and EU member states before Christmas.

"We are cautiously confident that we will manage to have that breakthrough either on 7 December or a little bit later [on 18 December]," European Parliament president Roberta Metsola said last week, pointing out that finalising the pact ahead of the next elections is her "number one priority".

Frontex chief Hans Leijtens will address MEPs in the home affairs committee on Monday. On the same day, MEPs will also hold a meeting with MPs from the member states to discuss the state of the rule of law in the EU and are set to vote on the regulation of automatic data exchange for police cooperation.

Final push in fiscal rules and other files

Meanwhile, the EU Council will try to reach a common position on different pending files ahead of the Christmas break.

EU ministers in charge of transport will meet in Brussels on Monday to try to reach an agreement on several legislative files, including the road safety package and new rules on greenhouse-gas emissions of transport services.

The following day, ministers will try to adopt a position on the Gigabit Infrastructure Act — which aims to reduce costs and administrative burdens for the deployment of very high-speed networks.

Also on Thursday, industry ministers will gather in Brussels to try to reach a deal on the Net-Zero Industry Act which aims to increase the manufacturing capacity of certain technologies such as solar photovoltaic, heat pumps, electrolysers and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

EU economy ministers will once again try to reach a deal on the long-overdue reform of European spending rules on Friday (8 December). Their previous attempt failed last month due to disagreements, particularly between Germany which wants debt-reduction benchmarks to apply to all, and France and Italy pushing for greater flexibility in spending limits.

They will also discuss and approve the amended recovery plans of several countries for the disbursement of funds. However, due to delayed submissions from Ireland, Italy, and Hungary, the approval of their plans will not take place on Friday.

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