EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK

EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK
Опубликовано: Monday, 15 April 2024 05:06
Some EU member states are pushing for adding a discussion on Ukraine’s air defence needs during the summit (Photo: European Union)

EU leaders will gather again in Brussels for a special two-day summit on Wednesday and Thursday (17 and 18 April).

As the draft report by the former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta on the single market is expected to be published on Thursday, the initial plan was merely to focus discussions on the bloc’s competitiveness, and relations with Turkey.

But some member states are now pushing for a discussion on Ukraine, and speficially Kyiv’s appeal for air defence supplies, after a renewed Russian aerial attack on the country’s energy infrastructure.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said last week on the social media platform X that "both Kyiv and Paris know where these [air defence] systems are".

"Certain decisions can be made quickly. Others require time, but work on them must begin immediately. Urgent action is required," he also said.

It is estimated that Ukraine needs at least 25 Patriot air defence systems to protect itself.

During a dinner on Wednesday, EU leaders are expected to express the significant importance the bloc places on the resumption and progress of the Cyprus settlement talks, especially in the context of EU-Turkey cooperation.

Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus began 50 years ago and Brussels has rejected the idea of a two-state solution. Only Turkey recognises the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Ahead of the summit, on Tuesday (16 April), Dutch farmers are expected to protest against the bloc’s rules on animal manure.

Parliament’s prep work

Meanwhile, in the European Parliament, MEPs will prepare for the last plenary session of the legislature, which will run from 22 to 25 April.

Pending files include the right to repair, new "ecodesign" rules, prohibiting products made with forced labour, setting up a new ethics body, combating trafficking in human beings, and anti-money laundering measures.

Lawmakers in the foreign affairs committee will receive on Tuesday an update from Montenegro’s prime minister Milojko Spajić regarding the progress of reforms related to enlargement.

Montenegro applied for EU membership in 2008, and accession negotiations were launched in 2012. However, the EU Commission recently urged Podgorica to accelerate reforms related to the rule of law.

On Thursday, MEPs in the parliament’s committee on women’s rights will have an exchange of views with the commissioner for equality Helena Dally about the achievement of the legislative term.

And on Friday (19 April), European Parliament president Roberta Metsola will meet with Portuguese prime minister Luís Montenegro in Lisbon.

In addition, the screening of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Days in Mariupol will take place in the European Parliament on Wednesday. Deputy prime minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk, EU commissioner for values and transparency Věra Jourová, the mayor of Mariupol and leaders of EU political groups will attend the event.

Future social agenda

On Monday (15 April) and Tuesday, the Belgian EU presidency is organising a conference on the European Pillar of Social Right in La Hulpe, Belgium, where a declaration on the Future Social Agenda is expected to be signed by the commission, parliament, social partners and civil society.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and the commissioner for jobs and social rights Nicolas Schmit will speak at the event.

On the same dates, there will be an informal meeting of energy ministers focused on efforts to coordinate grid planning and scale up infrastructure.

EU ministers responsible for consumer protection will meet at the end of the week, on Thursday and Friday, to discuss topics ranging from e-commerce and AI to citizens’ accessibility to financial services and influencers’ impact on people’s buying behaviour.

An international humanitarian conference to support Sudan organised by the EU, France and Germany will take place in Paris on Monday, marking a year of the war which has caused one of the largest population displacement worldwide.

Politicians and policymakers’ eyes will also be on Italy this week as G7 foreign affairs ministers convene from Wednesday to Friday — with the Middle East, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the stability of the Indo-Pacific region high on the agenda.