30th Jan 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.

Fears on migration plus Ukraine summit this WEEK

MEPs are expected to present their migration and asylum priorities on Wednesday (1 February), before EU leaders will focus on the issue at the 9-10 February special European Council.

New sanctions and democracy in focus This WEEK

On Monday, Brussels will see EU foreign affairs ministers focusing on a 10th sanctions package against Russia, a special tribunal, and preparing the EU-Ukraine summit on 3 February in Kyiv.

Gas price-cap tops agenda This WEEK

On Monday, we will also find out of there is a deal among European Parliament and EU government negotiators on the agreement to reform the bloc's Emissions Trading System (ETS) and on the Social Climate Fund.

Pre-Xmas EU summit push on This WEEK

This week officials from the parliament and council are also set to try and find an agreement on three major bills which are part of the Fit for 55 initiative to make the EU climate neutral by 2050.

Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK

On Tuesday, EU finance and economy ministers are expected to discuss a whole series of highly-political files, with one country tying it all together: Hungary. EU and Western Balkan leaders will also meet in Tirana.


Mars, god of war, returns to Europe

Political scientist David Rowe has been looking into why so much of Europe wasn't ready for Putin — and the consequences for the Western allies of not spilling their own blood in Ukraine.

Fears on migration plus Ukraine summit this WEEK

MEPs are expected to present their migration and asylum priorities on Wednesday (1 February), before EU leaders will focus on the issue at the 9-10 February special European Council.

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