Sunday

23rd Apr 2017

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

  • The European Commission will be the EU's most active institution this week (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

This short pre-Easter week will be dominated by the European Commission's dense agenda, as well as by a meeting of the bloc's justice and home affairs ministers in Luxembourg.

The EU executive will on Wednesday (8 April) present a revision of the rules on late payment in commercial transactions, proposing new instruments to creditors that aim to encourage them to act when paid late.

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"Despite some improvements, late payment remains a wide-spread practice throughout the EU. Instead of leading by example, public administrations are often displaying payment behaviour which is a matter of serious concern," the commission says.

According to its estimates, one out of four insolvencies throughout the EU is due to late payment, eventually leading to the loss of some 450,000 jobs per year.

Also on Wednesday, the commission will announce an initiative aiming to speed up the implementation of its budget in a bid to help the recovery of the European economy.

It will additionally unveil "special arrangements" aiming to aid developing countries in the wake of the financial crisis.

Finally, the EU's executive arm will present a strategy to re-launch Europe's aquaculture sector and reduce its dependence on imports. Not more than two percent of the world's production of fish and shellfish currently takes place in the EU, mostly in Italy, France, the UK and Spain, according to the commission.

Justice and home affairs

On Monday, EU justice and home affairs ministers will be meeting in Luxembourg, with several items on their agenda.

The justice ministers will start by discussing how to prevent and settle conflicts of jurisdiction in the area of criminal proceedings, as well as how to better combat the trafficking of human beings.

They will also discuss how to combat the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and specifically a proposal made by the commission in that respect at the end of last month.

Meanwhile, the bloc's home affairs ministers will discuss a proposal on a single permit for non-EU nationals to reside and work in an EU member state, as well as a set of common rights for non-EU workers legally living in the bloc.

The ministers are also expected to agree on the appointment of a new director of the EU's police co-operation unit, Europol.

So far, most countries have been backing a British candidate, Rob Wainwright, but Hungary, reportedly supported by certain new member states, is insisting on the appointment of its own candidate, Ferenc Banfi.

The previous appointment of a Europol director in 2004 had also been delayed by several months due to a row between France, Germany and Italy on who to appoint.

The week will be a short one for the EU, as all institutions will be closed from Thursday until the following Monday inclusive for the Easter break.

Brexit, Syria and Greece on the agenda This WEEK

The European Parliament will adopt its position on the UK's exit, and eurozone finance ministers will try to break a deadlock on the Greek bailout talks. Meanwhile in Brussels, there will be discussions on ending the war in Syria.

UK to file EU divorce This WEEK

UK prime minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty on Wednesday, with the EU expected to respond within 48 hours.

EU-27 to back integration This WEEK

EU leaders meet in Rome to recommit to European integration after Brexit, but Greece and Poland serve as reminders of economic and political divisions.

EU tackles CO2 threat This WEEK

EU states will haggle over the reform of a carbon trade system, while MEPs vote on overhauling EU car emissions oversight.

Pence, Greece and Brexit This WEEK

The US vice-president becomes the first senior Trump administration official to visit EU institutions. Greece's creditors try to break deadlock in talks, and British Lords will debate Brexit.

Investigation

Illicit Russian money poses threat to EU democracy

It cost €11 million to help Le Pen campaign in elections, but it cost the Russian mafia less than €100,000 to hire a former UK attorney general to lobby against EU sanctions.

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