Sunday

17th Dec 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.

Netanyahu, Panama Papers, and Brexit This WEEK

The run-up to the Christmas break sees a packed schedule, including the EU summit on Brexit, migration and other issues, a rare visit by Israeli PM Netanyahu, and issues such as fishing quotas and the Panama Papers.

May-Juncker meeting sets the tone This WEEK

As Brexit negotiations approach the (possibly) grand finale of their first phase, the EU's attention this week is turning to the eurozone - who is the new boss and how to deepen and expand it.

Africa and EU summit This WEEK

Billed as a new partnership, the EU and Africa summit in Abidjan will focus on youth and jobs. The gathering takes place against the backdrop of migratory flows towards Europe and reports of open slave auctions in Libya.

EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK

EU ministers will vote on where to relocate two EU agencies from the UK, while later EU leaders will host six eastern European countries in Brussels. Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic awaits his verdict in the Hague.

Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June

Divisions on relocating asylum seekers remain entrenched following an EU summit. The east-west divide opens up the possibility of relying on a majority vote for a key asylum in June, further exacerbating disputes among opposing capitals.

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