14th Nov 2019


This WEEK in the European Union

This week sees the European Union finally come out of its legal limbo as the new European Commission starts its work on Monday.

The Brussels executive was in caretaker status for three weeks as the original line-up of Commissioners had to be adjusted after complaints by MEPs.

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The new Commissioners face a packed agenda as they try and shift the backlog of meetings that had been scheduled for the past three weeks.

Kicking off the week, EU foreign and defence ministers will meet on Monday in Brussels. One of the main topics on their agenda will be EU's plans to create battle groups - a series of 1,500-strong forces deployable within 15 days to deal with trouble-spots in the world.

Foreign ministers will also discuss the situation in Iran, Sudan, the Ivory Coast and the Middle East. Sunday's Presidential elections in Ukraine will also be discussed - the first round of elections took place amid allegations of fraud and intimidation.

Another important event this week is the EU-Russia Summit - taking place on Thursday after having been postponed once; ostensibly due to the delay with the new European Commission.

Up for discussion are the four common spaces between the EU and Russia covering the economy; freedom and the rule of law; external security; and education.

Both sides have had difficulty in agreeing all four spaces with talks held up by disagreements over security and human rights issues.

Also on Thursday, EU budget and competitiveness ministers will meet, while their agriculture and fisheries counterparts will meet at the beginning of the week.

A reform of the EU's sugar subsidies regime will be the main issue on the table for agriculture ministers.

Meanwhile, in the European Parliament, there will be a hearing on the European Constitution on Thursday and a parliamentary conference on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) from Wednesday to Friday.

The Budgetary Control Committee will hear Commissioners Siim Kallas (administration and audit), Dalia Grybauskaite (budget), Mariann Fischer Boel (agriculture), Danuta Hübner (regional policy) and Vladimir Spidla (employment and social affairs) on Monday and Tuesday.

Brexit delay rolls into This WEEK

Westminster will vote on a possible election, while EU ambassadors will reconvene to decide on the length of a Brexit extension. The awkward Brexit tango continues.

Commissioner hearings start This WEEK

MEPs will grill the commissioner-designates for the next two weeks, while the fate of the Romanian and Hungarian candidates remain uncertain. And the Brexit chaos continues with the Conservative party conference.

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Without much ado the Nordic Council cooperation has formed the backbone of politics in the entire region for more than 60 years. It meets in Stockholm this week, to discuss sustainable Arctic tourism, and ending summertime, among other topics.

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