29th Sep 2023


This WEEK in the European Union

This week attention will be focused on Romania and Bulgaria, both waiting for an important report by the European Commission on their progress towards joining the EU.

The commission's report is supposed to make recommendation as to whether the two countries should join the EU next year as planned. However, concerned by the lack of progress in certain areas and wanting to keep up the pressure, the commission may yet leave a specific date recommendation out.

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The reports are to be published on Tuesday amidst a highly charged political atmosphere as Bucharest and Sofia await their EU fate.

It is also an important week for Slovenia and Lithuania.

These two countries are aiming to join the eurozone on the 1 January, 2007. Monetary affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia will present the Commission's viewpoint on Tuesday. Lithuania is expected to get the red light although the president of the eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, recently questioned the inflation criteria used to judge eurozone bids.

In Strasbourg, the rent scandal will feature high on Monday when the Mayor of Strasbourg, Mme Keller, appears before the parliament's budget committee to answer questions on allegations that the Alsatian capital has overcharged the parliament for the use of the buildings.

Meanwhile Bolivia's president Evo Morales will appear before MEPs on Monday amid controversy over his decision to nationalise the country's oil and gas supplies, affecting several European companies. Centre-right MEPs plan to stage a protest to highlight the damage done to European interests.

On Tuesday, it is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' turn to address the house. His visit comes at a controversial time with EU aid having been suspended to the Palestinian Authority due to the Hamas government's refusal to renounce violence or recognise Israel's right to exist.

On the same day, communications commissioner Margot Wallstrom will give a statement to the European Parliament on the Commission's ideas for the future of Europe.

The commission's annual policy strategy for 2007 will be discussed by MEPs on Tuesday, while on Wednesday the EU budget for 2007-2013 will be debated.

The debate and the vote on the 2007-20013 budget will mark the parliament's approval to the agreement reached in April on the next financial perspective.


EU foreign affairs ministers on Monday will gather in Brussels with Russia, the Stabilisation and Association agreement with Serbia and Montenegro and the Middle East all on the agenda. The last point will particularly concern EU aid to Palestinians.

An Education and Culture Council meeting will be held on Thursday while an informal meeting of Environment ministers will take place in Brussels on Friday.

China trade tension and migration deal This WEEK

An EU-China high-level economic is scheduled on Monday amid renewed tensions. Later this week, EU home affairs ministers will discuss the EU-Tunisia deal and the state of play of the EU pact on asylum and migration.

Spain's EU-language bid and UN summit This WEEK

While the heads of EU institutions are in New York for the UN high level meeting, Spain's EU presidency will try to convince ministers to make Catalan, Basque, and Galician official EU languages.

Von der Leyen's State of the Union address This WEEK

The EU's political season is back in full swing after the summer break, with the EU Commission president's State of the Union address on Wednesday. Meanwhile, exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will also address the European Parliament.

La Rentrée and MEPs anti-corruption reform This WEEK

The European Parliament's committee on constitutional affairs will vote on a 14-point anti-corruption reform, after the Qatargate allegations. Meanwhile, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will participate in the first Africa Climate Summit.

EU aims to revive cooperation with Latin America This WEEK

The EU-CELAC summit will take place in Brussels this week, after after eight years of hiatus. But disagreements over the condemnation of Russia's war in Ukraine have complicated the finalisation of the joint agreement.


Punish Belarus too for aiding Putin's Ukraine war

While Belarus has not sent its own troops to fight Russia's war in Ukraine, the Minsk dictatorship has been heavily involved. As a result, Belarus must be punished for its involvement — what can the world do to sanction Belarus?

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