Tuesday

27th Feb 2024

Agenda

Migration files and fiscal rules in focus This WEEK

  • The Brussels Bubble gear up for the Christmas holiday break this week (Photo: tunnelarmr)
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After a bittersweet outcome from the final EU summit of the year, the Brussels Bubble will try this week to finalise new rules on fiscal rules and the pact on migration and asylum before the Christmas holiday break.

MEPs and representatives from EU member states will meet on Monday (18 December) to try to conclude inter-institutional negotiations on all five files on migration, after they failed to reach an agreement last week.

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"We cannot go to the European elections in June without a deal on migration," said EU parliament president Roberta Metsola.

She warned that there are new threats related to the instrumentalisation of migrants on the external borders of the EU and that the bloc's returns policies need to be "stronger" and "more effective". 

However, no agreement is expected on the bill on returning rejected migrants. The return directive is not part of the pact, although is directly linked to it.

EU environment ministers will also meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss the outcome of the UN talks in Dubai (COP28), which saw global leaders agreeing only on vague wording for "transitioning away from fossil fuels."

Ministers are also expected to adopt a position on new rules for packaging and packaging waste, paving the way to start negotiations with the European Parliament to finalise the text before elections in June.

During lunch, they will informally discuss the EU's 2040 climate target — that is, at least a 90 percent emission-reductions by 2050.

Also on Monday, EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen is expected in Nairobi for the signing ceremony of the economic partnership between Kenya and the EU.

Later that day, she will travel to Kigali, Rwanda, to deliver €40m package to boost the health sector in Rwanda under the Global Gateway.

She will also attend the launch ceremony of BioNtech Africa, together with several African leaders, including the chair of the African Union commission, the German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock and representatives from the European Investment Bank.

On Tuesday, EU energy ministers will gather for their last meeting of the year to discuss emergency measures, which were recently prolonged by the EU commission for another year to further secure gas supplies in the continent.

"The emergency regulations need to be extended because of the persisting risks for the EU's security of gas supply and in order to prevent market volatility and excessively high gas prices," reads a statement from the EU Council.

Additionally, EU economy ministers will meet virtually on Wednesday (20 December) in a bid to finally reach a deal on the long-overdue reform of debt-and-spending rules ahead of the end of the year.

Several previous attempts failed to deliver an agreement due to disagreements, particularly between Germany which wants stricter debt-reduction benchmarks and Italy pushing for greater flexibility in spending limits.

In the European Parliament, meanwhile, a few delegations of MEPs will travel to different countries for dedicated missions this week, including Malawi, Zambia, Thailand, and India.

This EUobserver AGENDA will now take a break until the New Year — see you in 2024, thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

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