Post-Brexit and Nato drama This WEEK
Will he or won’t he? It still remains to be seen if British prime minister Rishi Sunak is willing to push through his own party, or with the help of their opposition, his post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
There was lot of expectation which Sunak built up, partly himself, but we are still waiting for the last twist.
At the end of last week, former prime minister Boris Johnson piled some more pressure on Sunak, suggesting he should go ahead with the Northern Ireland bill that would unilaterally overwrite the existing trade rules with the EU.
Further Brexit drama is expected this week.
Another drama is unfolding between Sweden and Finland, which hope to join Nato after Russia attacked Ukraine, and Hungary and Turkey, which have so far held off their ratification.
Last Friday, prime minister Viktor Orbán told public radio in his characteristically plain language why he’s foot-dragging: Swedish and Finnish criticism of Hungary’s democracy and rule of law.
Helsinki and Stockholm have been indeed some of the toughest critics of the Orbán-led democratic backsliding. While Orbán said Hungary should give the green-light to admitting them to the military alliance, he made it clear: "If they expect us to be fair, they should be fair to Hungary as well".
Hungary’s parliament, where Orbán’s Fidesz has a two-thirds majority, will discuss the issue on Wednesday (1 March), but the actual vote is expected to happen only the week after.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, the legislative wheels keep on turning.
On Tuesday (28 February), MEPs on the legal affairs committee are set to vote on a scheme that will ensure the geographical indication of locally produced crafts is protected.
The new law aims to safeguard traditional goods such as natural stones, jewellery, textiles, lace, cutlery, glass and porcelain in the EU and internationally.
On Tuesday, the Pegasus inquiry committee investigating the use of the spyware by EU countries illegally are expected to hear from Konstantinos Menoudakos, president of the Greek data protection authority and Christos Rammos, of the Greek authority for communication security and privacy in relation with the surveillance scandal in the country.
MEPs on the environment committee on Wednesday are expected to adopt their position on draft legislation aiming to further reduce the use of fluorinated greenhouse gas. These human-made chemicals are used in common appliances such as refrigerators, air-conditioning, heat pumps, fire protection, foams and aerosols.
On the same day, the women’s rights committee is set to hold a meeting with national parliamentarians and experts from EU countries to discuss the energy crisis and its effects on women in the run-up to this year’s Women’s Day.
Still on Wednesday, the parliament’s development committee is expected to debate the EU’s response to the humanitarian situation in Turkey and Syria after the devastating earthquakes.