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16th Apr 2024

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Nato, defence summit, and UNRWA in focus This WEEK

  • Nato defence ministers talks are expected to focus on Ukraine (Photo: nato.int)
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Nato defence ministers will meet in Brussels on Thursday (15 February), including a meeting of the Nato-Ukraine Council.

Ahead of the summit, there will also be a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (also known as the Ramstein group) hosted by the United States to discuss Ukraine's defence needs.

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This comes as Hungary is facing mounting pressure to lift its Nato veto on Sweden and after several EU officials and lawmakers called on the US to deliver aid to Ukraine without delay — a few days after the agreement of EU leaders on an additional €50bn in support for Ukraine. 

Last week, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said on social media that Republican senators should feel ashamed for opposing the Ukraine aid package.

The US Senate last Thursday supported a motion to advance a foreign assistance package which includes $61bn aid to Ukraine.

Despite the risks linked to the existing warrant from the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Turkey on Monday (12 February), according to Reuters.

Putin's visit marks the first trip to Nato-member country since his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

On Friday (16 February), the Munich Security Conference, the annual conference on international defence strategy, will get underway.

EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen and several commissioners are expected to participate in the event.

Russian and Iranian government authorities have not been invited to attend, according to media reports.

A month ahead of the presidential elections in Russia, a group of MEPs will meet with representatives from the Russian opposition on Wednesday. The first round of elections will be held on 15 to 17 March.

On the same day, MEPs from the legal affairs and budget committee will discuss with the budget committee of the Ukrainian Parliament. It is estimated that Ukraine faces a financial gap for the 2024 budget of about €37bn.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and the Armenian foreign affairs minister Ararat Mirzoyan will hold a meeting on Tuesday (13 February). Talks will be focused on further cooperation and the possibility of launching a visa-liberalisation dialogue — in a bid to draw Armenia away from the sphere of Russian influence.

Lagarde in Brussels

On Wednesday, the European Commission is expected to present the annual single market and competitiveness report.

The European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde will address MEPs in the committee on economic affairs on Thursday.

A vote on the Payment Services Regulation, which is expected to inform consumers about fees that can be charged while withdrawing money from an ATM and better protect them from fraud, will be also voted in the comment on the same day.

And a debate on the digital euro is scheduled for Wednesday.

On the same day, EU climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra will hold a debate with MEPs in the environment committee about the recently presented climate target for 2040.

And MEPs from various committees will vote on the Green Claims Directive, aimed at preventing greenwashing.

EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis will have an exchange of views with MEP in the agriculture committee on Monday.

UNRWA debate

On Tuesday, EU lawmakers in the development committee will discuss the allegations against UNRWA staff and the impact of partners' defunding on the UN agency with representatives from the commission and the director of the UNRWA office for Europe, Marta Lorenzo.

They will also hold an exchange of views on the situation of Ethiopia with MEPs from the foreign affairs and human rights committees.

On Wednesday (14 February), MEPs in the home affairs committee discuss ongoing reports of violence at the borders of the Greek Sea, following the Pylos shipwreck.

They will also have a debate about the Albania-Italy migration deal with commission and Italian officials.

On Tuesday, members of the internal committee are set to approve the trilogue agreement on the AI Act — a formality before the final green light expected from the plenary in April.

After reaching a provisional agreement on new rules for platform workers last week, EU ambassadors are expected to have a final vote on the directive most likely on 16 February.

EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK

EU leaders gather in Brussels for a special two-day summit this week, while MEPs will prepare for the last plenary session of the legislature. In Italy, G7 foreign affairs ministers will convene from Wednesday to Friday.

Plenary session, single market and economy in focus this WEEK

This week, get ready to dive into another plenary session of the EU Parliament and an agenda packed with economic and financial issues, ahead of a special EU summit in Brussels that will focus on competitiveness and the economy.

Environment, Ukraine imports, fish and Easter this WEEK

This week, expect no more than talks on environment, agriculture and fisheries, including discussions between the Polish and Ukrainian governments over angry protests by Polish farmers objecting to cheap grain imports from Ukraine.

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