29th Feb 2024


EU's 2040 climate target and farmers in focus This WEEK

  • The EU commission is set to present a 2040 climate target and a strategy for industrial carbon capture and storage (Photo: Vattenfall)
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The European Commission on Tuesday (6 February) is expected to disclose a proposal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent by 2040 (compared to 1990 levels) — in a bid to reach climate neutrality by 2050.

The proposal, which will also be subject to a plenary debate in Strasbourg the same day, comes in the wake of a backlash against the Green Deal, as seen in farmers' protests across Europe.

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Last year, experts from the EU climate advisory board recommended reducing emissions by 90 to 95 percent by 2040 to stay in line with the commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Simultaneously, the EU commission is also set to present a strategy for industrial carbon capture and storage.

Experts previously argued that a swift expansion of carbon removal technologies is necessary, but they have warned that implementation poses "risks and challenges" that must be taken into account.

An EU strategy for combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography is also expected to be unveiled on the same day.

The European Parliament will discuss the discontent of farmers on Wednesday, following in the wake of demonstrations across Europe that call for fair prices, less red tape and more subsidies for the green transition. 

After major protests in France and Belgium last week, and Germany previously, Spanish unions have called nationwide rallies this week.

Ahead of the next meeting of EU ministers for agriculture later this month, EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen has pledged to reduce administrative burdens on farmers with a new proposal.

"I'm very sensitive to the message that farmers are concerned by administrative burdens," von der Leyen said after the bloc's summit on Ukraine last week.

After MEPs in the environment committee approved a report on the use of new genomic techniques in agriculture, a plenary vote to confirm the parliament's position is expected on Wednesday.

EUCO, Ukraine, pro-Russian MEP

On Tuesday, MEPs are expected will have a debate about the outcome of the summit, in which all EU leaders agreed to the four-year €50bn package of aid to Ukraine.

The first official trilogue meeting on the review of the EU budget, which includes the so-called Ukraine Facility, will take place on Monday (5 February). The aim is to reach a quick agreement among co-legislators to enable the urgent disbursement of the first batch of funds in March.

On the same day, MEPs will also discuss the situation in Ukraine almost two years after the invasion by Russia.

They will also discuss the same day the interference of Russia in democratic processes in Europe, with a resolution subjected to a vote on Thursday (8 February).

The discussion comes just days after an investigation shed light on how Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka allegedly collaborated with Russian intelligence for two decades. Zdanoka has denied the allegations.

"Zdanoka is not the only example in the European Parliament. There are other MEPs knowingly serving Russia's interests," said centre-right MEP Sandra Kalniete.

EUobserver previously unveiled some of the most Russia-friendly MEPs in the EU parliament. Spoiler: Zdanoka was part of the list.

In the run-up to the EU elections, MEPs will also have a debate about how to tackle disinformation on Wednesday. Last year, EU commission vice president Vera Jourová already warned that Russia might interfere in the upcoming EU elections.

On Wednesday (7 February), MEPs will vote on an assessment of the rule of law in Greece and the state of media freedom, including allegations of illegal wiretapping of journalists. MEPs and Civil society have pointed out that Greek authorities failed to shed light on the assassination of the reporter Giorgos Karaivaz, who was killed in 2021.

Romania's Iohannis in Strasbourg

The EU Parliament will adopt on Thursday a resolution on the current situation in Serbia, after reported irregularities during the December parliamentary and local elections.

On Thursday, MEPs will vote on a resolution condemning the recent raids and searches of political prisoners' homes by the security forces of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka.

Romanian president Klaus Iohannis is expected to address MEPs on Wednesday, as part of a series of debates with EU leaders.

Romania, which is facing local, parliamentary, presidential and European elections this year, has seen support for far-right party AUR growing.

EU ministers will also discuss cohesion funds in an informal meeting on Monday and Tuesday. Later this week, ministers in charge of industry and the internal market will also hold an informal meeting on Thursday and Friday (9 February).

The European Parliament and EU member states will hold another round of inter-institutional negotiations on the conditions of gig workers on Thursday.

On Monday, MEPs in the budget and economy committees will hold a debate with EU commissioner for trade Valdis Dombrovskis and EU economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni about the implementation of EU member states' recovery plans.

And MEPs and EU countries will hold a so-called trilogue on new fiscal rules on Friday.


Takeaways from the Serbian election

Despite the best opposition result in years, Aleksandar Vučić scores crucial victory in the Serbian election. Election day itself was marred with serious accusations of irregularities by the opposition, which are yet to receive an investigation.

EU climate body sets 2040 emissions target

The EU climate advisory board has recommended a net emissions-reduction target of at least 90 percent by 2040 (on 1990 levels) in order to deliver on the climate neutrality goal by 2050.

More farmers, Ukraine aid, Yulia Navalnaya in focus This WEEK

EU agriculture ministers meet in Brussels amid new farmers' protests. MEPs will hear from Alexei Navalny's widow and give the final green light to the €50bn Ukraine facility, while the CBAM proposal faces a formal challenge at a WTO meeting.

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.

EU supply chain law fails, with 14 states failing to back it

Member states failed on Wednesday to agree to the EU's long-awaited Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence Directive, after 13 EU ambassadors declared abstention and one, Sweden, expressed opposition (there was no formal vote), EUobserver has learned.


Joined-up EU defence procurement on the horizon?

Disputes between member states, notably Germany, highlight the lack of coordination among national industrial capabilities for a European Defence Industrial Strategy — which may include the EU's first ever defence commissioner.

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