26th Jun 2019


This WEEK in the European Union

  • Climate protester in Copenhagen: the EU capital will be all but empty this week (Photo: Stop Climate Chaos Coalition)

Brussels will be all-but empty during the last full working week of the year, as leaders head for the climate summit in Copenhagen and MEPs go to Strasbourg.

EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and EU parliament chief Jerzy Buzek will take a gaggle of commissioners and MEPs to the Danish capital for the climax of the talks on Thursday (17 December) and Friday.

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With world leaders, including US president Barack Obama and Germany's Angela Merkel, also to attend, expectations are high that the event will lead to a landmark agreement on global warming and re-distribution of wealth to the third world.

EU leaders last week signaled the bloc is unlikely to improve its target of cutting CO2 by 20 percent by 2020, however, while observers predict that the summit will produce a political accord only, with a legally-binding pact still out of reach.

The Strasbourg agenda is dominated by foreign affairs and by the EU budget.

MEPs will at a ceremony on Wednesday honour this year's winners of the Sakharov Prize, the EU's mini-version of the Nobel peace prize.

Oleg Orlov, Sergei Kovalev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva from the Russian NGO Memorial will pick up the award on behalf of the human rights workers in Russia, following a series of murders of activists this year.

Tuesday will see what could be a lively plenary debate on EU policy on East Jerusalem.

The past two weeks have seen a media furore over an EU foreign ministers' statement underlining Palestinians' rights to the occupied city, with an Israeli government plan to give state aid to illegal settlers, unveiled over the weekend, set to add fuel to the fire.

Tuesday will also see an MEPs' debate on the situation in Georgia, following elections in the breakaway region of Abkhazia over the weekend, compounding problems for supporters of the country's EU integration.

Internal matters will also come up in the plenary session: Parliament will on Tuesday debate the bloc's budget for 2010 and adopt the spending plan in a vote on Thursday.

Sweden's outgoing commissioner, Margot Wallstrom, will on Tuesday also make a last push for the EU to give citizens more access to internal documents at the meeting of an inter-institutional committee.

Meanwhile, back in Brussels, farming and transport ministers will meet on Monday and Thursday, respectively, to tidy up business before the Swedish EU presidency steps down.

But the meetings will be overshadowed by unfolding strike action by EU officials after a group of member states decided to block a planned wage increase for EU staff for next year.

Deja vu as EU top jobs dominate again This WEEK

Brussels will host yet another summit on Sunday (30 June) as leaders from across the 28 EU member states return, after Thursday's failed initial bid to nominate people to take on the presidencies of the major EU institutions.

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

EU top jobs, Italy, and Western Balkans This WEEK

Talks on EP groups and top jobs in the wake of the EU election last month continue. Finance ministers also discuss whether to fine Italy, while EU commissioners promote Western Balkans enlargement.

EU votes on future leaders This WEEK

The political spotlight switches from Brussels to national capitals and regions this week as Europe gears up for the start of European Parliament elections on Thursday

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