Weekly European Agenda – 06 March 2017

Welcome to the Weekly European Agenda!  Thanks to our colleagues at European Movement International, each Monday we bring you a breakdown of the agendas of European Institutions for the upcoming week.

European Movement International

Tuesday 7 March

Migration of skilled workers: the revision of the EU Blue Card Directive
European Movement International (EM International) will organise a debate on the revision of the EU Blue Card Directive moderated by Secretary General, Petros Fassoulas, and featuring MEPs from four different political groups: Brando Benifei (S&D); Mariya Gabriel (EPP); Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE); Jean Lambert (Greens/EFA).  As part of a broader series of events to discuss the ‘European Responses to Migration’, this event aims to continue the debate on common European solutions to address migration, to critically assess current European responses and to provide input for further action.

Wednesday 8 March

European Movement International Breakfast Club
This pre-European Council Summit briefing aims to discuss what will be on EU leaders’ agenda when they gather on 9-10 March.  João Nogueira Martins, Chief Economic Adviser to European Council President Donald Tusk, will shed some light on the economic issues to be discussed.  This is a private, off-the-record event reserved for high-level stakeholders.

Brussels Wednesday Social with European Commissioner Vestager
Metro Group, together with EM International and EuroCommerce, are holding the 7th Wednesday Social Brussels on 8 March.  This event will launch a series of discussions on the ‘Prospects for Europe’ and we are kicking off with Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, who will speak about ‘A European Society of Fairness and Equal Opportunities‘.

More information about EM International events can be found here.

 

European Union

European Parliament

Monday 6 March

Committee on Budgets (BUDG)
Estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2018; Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions in budget 2017 and 2018; Promotion of Internet connectivity in local communities.
Votes: Guidelines for the 2018 Budget – Section III; The management of the fishing fleets in the Outermost Regions; Establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast); Establishment of ‘Eurodac’ for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013; The right funding mix for Europe’s regions: balancing financial instruments and grants in EU cohesion policy; 2017 Budget: Section III – Commission Rapporteur: Jens Geier (S&D); 2017 Budget: Other Sections Rapporteur: Indrek Tarand (Greens/EFA) – ECJ: transfer INF 1/2017 – Ombudsman: Establishment plan; Building policy Rapporteur: Monika Hohlmeier (PPE) – Frontex HQ.

Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO)
Update on Trilogues and Events; Posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services; European Agenda for the collaborative economy; The functioning of franchising in the retail sector; Approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States as regards the accessibility requirements for products and services; Addressing geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the Single Market; FinTech: the influence of technology on the future of the financial sector; Internet connectivity for growth, competitiveness and cohesion: European gigabit society and 5G.

Wednesday 8 March 

Interparliamentary meeting on International Women’s Day 2017: Women’s Economic Empowerment: ‘Let’s act together’
Welcome and speeches by European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani; European Commissioner Věra Jourová; UN Women Deputy Director at Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, Alia El-Yassir; Dr Vandana Shiva and Michaëlle Jean.
Parallel Workshops: ‘Women in STEM: progress stalled or being eroded?’; ‘Global perspective: freedom from violence and empowerment’; ‘Gender-sensitive policy making at the core of inclusive growth’; ‘Shall we wait a century to achieve work life balance for women and men?’; ‘Global Perspective: Women’s Economic Empowerment and the UN Sustainable Development Goals’; Award ceremony for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2017 and announcing the Rising Innovator 2017 with European Commissioner Carlos Moedas. 

Thursday 9 March

Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)
Votes: Conservation of fishery resources and the protection of marine ecosystems through technical measures; Participation of the EU in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) jointly undertaken by several Member States; Palm oil and deforestation of rainforests.
Exchange of views with Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries as part of the structured dialogue.

Interparliamentary meeting on International Women’s Day 2017: Women’s Economic Empowerment: ‘Let’s act together’
Keynote speeches by special guests: Lamya Haji Bashar, Yazidi human rights activist, Sakharov Prize laureate 2016; Hauwa Ibrahim, Nigerian human rights lawyer, Sakharov Prize laureate 2005; Co-chaired by Pier Antonio Panzeri, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights.
Rapporteurs’ reporting from workshops; Debate.

Find the next Plenary agenda here. Find an overview of Committee agendas here

 

European Council

Wednesday 8 March

Tripartite Social Summit 
The main theme of this summit is ‘The future of Europe: charting the course towards growth, employment and fairness’.  Discussions will focus on: making work pay as a way to promote employment and social inclusion; new forms of work and the future of industry; the European Pillar of social rights and the role of the social partners.

Thursday 9 – Friday 10 March

European Council 
The European Council will reaffirm the urgency of promoting investment, growth and employment to allow EU citizens to enjoy economic well-being and prosperity.  The European Council will examine the implementation of key structural reforms undertaken by Member States in response to their Country-Specific Recommendations, discuss priorities for the 2017 European Semester, and endorse the Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area.  The European Council will review progress as regards delivering on legislative priorities and major strategies, including the Single Market strategy, the Digital Single Market strategy, the Capital Markets Union Action Plan and the Energy Union.
On the basis of a report by the Council, the European Council will assess the implementation of its December 2016 conclusions on external security and defence.  It will also look at where the EU stands in terms of internal security.  The leaders will also discuss the situation in the Western Balkans.  Finally, the European Council is expected to elect its President for the period from 1 June 2017 to 30 November 2019.  On Friday 10 March, there will be an informal meeting of the EU27 leaders to prepare for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.

The European Council meeting calendar can be found here.

 

Council of Ministers

Monday 6 March

EU-Kyrgyzstan Cooperation Council
The Cooperation Council will discuss the EU-Kyrgyz Republic partnership and cooperation.  It will be chaired by George Vella, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta, holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU.  The Kyrgyz Republic delegation will be led by Erlan Abdyldaev, Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic.  The Cooperation Council will review implementation progress of the EU-Central Asia strategy since the previous Cooperation Council of 15 February 2016.  It will address cooperation both at national and regional levels.  It will also discuss developments related to the implementation of the GSP+ status since 2016, which removed tariffs on more than 6,000 product categories exported to the EU.  In addition, the Cooperation Council will take stock of political issues, including internal developments in the Kyrgyz Republic in view of the upcoming Presidential elections in autumn 2017.  In particular, it will look into recent democratic reforms, as well as the civil society and human rights situation.  Foreign Ministers George Vella and Erlan Abdyldaev will review regional cooperation and international issues, including the security situation in the region.  The focus will be on the development of good neighbourly relations and intra-regional trade to support economic development in the region.

Agriculture and Fisheries Council
The Council will meet in Brussels to discuss fisheries and agriculture issues.  Concerning fisheries, the European Commission will present its proposal for a multi-annual plan for small pelagic species in the Adriatic Sea – Ministers will exchange views on the matter.  The Council will then look at the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020, on the basis of a Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU background paper.
Ministers will also be informed on a series of other issues including: dual quality of foodstuffs; the animal welfare platform; the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ conference which took place in Berlin in January 2017; the ‘Our ocean conference – an ocean for life’ to be hosted in Malta in October 2017.  

Foreign Affairs Council
The Council will start with a joint session of Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministers on security and defence.  The Council is expected to adopt conclusions assessing progress achieved since the European Council of 15 December 2016, which will form the basis of a report for the European Council on 9-10 March 2017.  Ahead of the meeting, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, will hold a working breakfast with Defence Ministers to allow a strategic outlook of EU engagement in Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
The Council will have a discussion on migration.  Ministers will take stock of the Malta Summit and the Valletta Senior Officials Meeting of February 2017, ahead of the upcoming reporting on the Migration Partnership Framework at the March European Council.
Ministers will discuss political developments and economic reforms in Egypt, as well as the country’s role in the region, with Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry.
The situation in the Western Balkans will be reviewed by the Council.  The High Representative will debrief Ministers on her visit in the region planned for 1-4 March 2017.  This discussion will feed into the preparations of the European Council on 9-10 March 2017.
The Council will examine the Middle East peace process to take stock of recent developments and contacts, including with the new US administration.

Tuesday 7 March

General Affairs Council
The Council will prepare the European Council on 9-10 March by discussing draft conclusions.  Ministers will examine a synthesis report on Council contributions to the 2017 European Semester.  They will also look at a draft recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area to be transmitted to the European Council.  The Presidency will inform the Council on the implementation of the inter-institutional agreement on better law-making.

An overview of planned Council meetings can be found here.

 

European Commission and High Representative

Monday 6 March

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President responsible for Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Charter for Fundamental Rights, receives Zaza Tavadze, Chairman of the XVIIth Conference of European Constitutional Courts.

Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, in Paris: meets François Hollande, President of France.

Tuesday 7 March

Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, meets Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, for a working lunch in Brussels.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and European Commission Vice-President, receives Georges Chikoti, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Angola and Hugo Martínez Bonilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of El Salvador.

Wednesday 8 March

College of Commissioners: Preparation of the European Council.

President Juncker addresses the Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels.

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for the Energy Union, in Washington D.C. in the US: meets Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Advisor to President Trump and Director of the United States National Economic Council.

Thursday 9 March

President Juncker and Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, participate in the European People’s Party (EPP) Summit ahead of the European Council, in Brussels.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, in Warsaw, Poland: meets Andrzej Duda, President of Poland.

Friday 10 March

President Juncker participates in the informal meeting of the EU27 leaders.

A full list with meetings of Commissioners can be found here.  Commission events can be found here.

 

European Economic and Social Committee

Monday 6 March

Meeting of the Section for External Relations
Draft Opinion on Trade Defence instruments – methodology; Draft Information Report on EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (evaluation); Draft Opinion on International ocean governance: an agenda for the future of our oceans; Debate on the transition towards a more sustainable European future; Approval of the composition of new study groups.

Tuesday 7 March

Meeting of the Section of Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship
Debate with Christa Sedlatschek, Director of European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OHSA); James Calleja, Director of European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop); and Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Director of EUROFOUND, on topics of common interest and avenues for further cooperation; followed by the adoption of the opinion on EU-OHSA, Cedefop & EUROFOUND Regulations.

Wednesday 8 March

Meeting of the Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion
Opinion on Inclusive islands: exchange of views with a representative of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU and Tonino Picula MEP; Adoption of the exploratory opinion requested by the Maltese Presidency on Inclusive islands; Opinion on Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base; Opinion on EU Regulatory Framework for Financial Services.
Opinion on Recovery and resolution of central counterparties; Opinion on Banking reform – Capital requirements and resolution framework amendments.

Thursday 9 March 

Conference on Circular Economy: one year after adoption, working together for the future
With a view to taking stock of the European Commission’s Action Plan’s implementation, looking at next steps and discussing the goals and practicalities of a European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission have co-organised a conference which will take place in Brussels.
Introduction: A sustainable model for the EU and the world by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission; Connecting with stakeholders by Georges Dassis, President of the EESC; One year of Circular Economy – Presentation of the report by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
Plenary Session I: Keynote speeches on the Circular Economy in motion; Moderated panel discussion and debate with the audience.
Split-up sessions: Discussion on upcoming deliverables and work-streams – The Plastics Strategy; Monitoring Framework; Promotion of water reuse; Options for the interface between waste, chemicals and products legislation; Innovation for Circular Economy; Product policy for resource efficiency: how to make progress?
Plenary Session II: Introduction – ‘A financial endeavor’ by Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions and rapporteur on the opinion “Bridging the investment gap”.

Meeting of the Section for Single Market, Production and Consumption
Opinion on Business insolvency; Exploratory opinion on Nautical and maritime tourism; Presentation of the “Services Package” by the European Commission followed by a general discussion; Opinion on A Space Strategy for Europe.

Friday 10 March

Conference on Circular Economy: one year after adoption, working together for the future
Interactive workshops: Which top priorities should a European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform focus on?  Making the Platform operational: What to do and what to avoid?
Next steps and formal launch of the Circular Economy Platform by Brenda King, President of Sustainable Development Observatory, EESC, and Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General, Directorate-General for the Environment, European Commission.

More information about EESC events can be found here.  The agendas of the different EESC meetings can be found here.

 

Committee of the Regions

Tuesday 7 March

Investing in regional innovation: How to start-up in Regions and to scale-up in Europe
This strategy pursues the concept of a knowledge-based innovation strategy for Salzburg, building upon regional strengths in science, research and enterprises.  ‘Start-up Salzburg’ was launched at the end of 2015 to make Salzburg the most start-up-friendly region in Austria.  With the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative, the European Commission made a first step to help start-ups to deliver their full innovation and job creation potential.
Technical Workshop ‘Innovation in authentication & supply chain security – Benefits for consumers and brands’.

EUROCITIES – Mayors’ Summit on the Future of Europe
Mayors’ summit on the future of Europe tackling rising populism and Euroscepticism.
Welcome by Daniël Termont, Mayor of Ghent and EUROCITIES President;  Opening by Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the European Commission, Guy Verhofstadt, MEP; Session 1: Tackling rising populism and Euroscepticism – why it matters to Europe’s cities Mayors; Session 2: A new democracy in Europe – co-creation and citizens’ engagement.

Wednesday 8 March

The future of CAP after 2020 – Stakeholder consultation by Rapporteur, Guillaume Cros
After an introduction by the rapporteur, the audience will be invited to exchange their views with the rapporteur.  The meeting will be held in French with simultaneous interpretation.

NAT Conference – How the future CAP can cope with goals set out in the Juncker Investment Plan to relaunch grown and jobs in Europe
The European Parliament recently adopted a report urging the EU Institutions to rethink the objectives of the CAP so as to establish it once again as a public policy for the benefit of all, which meets the needs of society and addresses employment challenges. 
This conference has a double objective: to launch a political momentum for debating all aspects of the future CAP from local and regional perspective; to prepare an outlook opinion of the NAT Commission on the future of the CAP after 2020. 

Thursday 9 March

COST Action Conference
Concluding Conference ‘European Local Government: Challenges, Reforms and Futures’ of the COST Action ‘Local Public Sector Reforms: An International Comparison (LocRef)’. 
The COST Action ‘Local Public Sector Reforms (LocRef)’ is the largest European network on public reforms at the sub-national level of government.  It consists of more than 300 senior and junior researchers from 32 countries and more than 60 institutions.  This final conference ends the four-year term of ‘LocRef’.  It aims to discuss recent research findings, the lessons learned and the derived policy recommendations to a broad audience of European academics and practitioners. 

More information about CoR events can be found here. The agendas of the different CoR meetings can be found here.

 

Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Thursday 9 March

Cultural Diplomacy: Fostering International Cultural Dialogue, Diversity and Sustainability
The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for EU Member States’ Culture and Foreign Affairs Ministries, as well as key cultural stakeholders, to engage in a debate on a strategic approach to international cultural relations which may serve to provide impetus and added value to EU and Member States’ action in this field against a backdrop of new technologies, security challenges and migratory patterns.  The intention is to focus on themes pertaining to culture as a pillar for sustainable socio-economic growth; intercultural dialogue and safeguarding cultural heritage within a framework that fosters cross-sectoral cooperation, cultural diversity, sustainability, mutual respect and complementarity.

The agenda of the Maltese Presidency can be found here.

 

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Thursday 9 March – Friday 10 March

Equality Bodies discuss discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities
Members of Equinet, the European Network of Equality Bodies, will gather in Zagreb on 9-10 March to discuss how best to tackle discrimination against persons with intellectual disabilities.
The seminar aims to build capacities by looking at how participants can address the challenges facing people with intellectual disabilities through their legal, policy and communication work.  The Agency will give presentations during two sessions: the first will focus on the findings of its work on the rights of people with intellectual disabilities; the second will explore specific issues concerning legal capacity.

Information on upcoming FRA events can be found here. 

 

Council of Europe

Monday 6 March

Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy in Paris
The activities of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2016-2017; Call for a Council of Europe Summit to defend and promote democratic security in Europe; Corruption as governance regime: a barrier to institutional efficiency and progress; Setting minimal standards for electoral systems in order to offer the basis for free and fair elections; The political transition in Tunisia; The evaluation of the partnership for democracy in respect of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic; The situation in Belarus; Open discussion on current issues: Recent developments in Turkey, Recent developments in relations between Palestinians and Israelis.
Work programme: Ad hoc Sub-Committee of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy to participate in the events organised by the IPA-CIS, Saint Petersburg, 27-28 March 2017.
Preparation of the meetings: The interaction between the political majority and the opposition in a democracy; Protecting and supporting victims of terrorism; Appointment of Rapporteur; Call for candidates.

Tuesday 7 March

Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights in Paris
Abusive use of the Interpol system: the need for more stringent legal safeguards; 25 years of the Committee on the Prevention of Torture, achievements and improvements needed; Opinion on the ‘Draft Protocol amending the Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (ETS No. 167) and its explanatory report’.
Hearing: Compatibility of Sharia law with the European Convention on Human Rights: can States Parties to the Convention be signatories of the ‘Cairo Declaration’?
For report: The case for drafting a European Convention on the profession of lawyer; Strengthening international regulations against trade in goods used for torture and the death penalty.
For opinion: Detainees with severe disabilities in Europe.
For opinion: Addressing forced marriage: legal provisions and promising practices; European Court of Human Rights: the way forward, achievements and challenges; Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe: What follow-up on Respect for Human Rights?; Towards a democratic approach to the issues of governance in European multinational States; State of emergency: Proportionality issues concerning derogations under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights; Addressing the massive curtailment of democratic rights and freedoms in Israel, especially the ‘Transparency Law’/’NGO Law’.

Wednesday 8 March

Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee) in Paris
Post-monitoring dialogue with Turkey; Preliminary draft periodic review reports on countries not under the monitoring procedure stricto sensu or engaged in a post-monitoring dialogue; Republic of Moldova; Post-monitoring dialogue with Montenegro, Azerbaijan.

Friday 10 March

Meeting of the Standing Committee in Madrid
The Committee will meet in Madrid on 10 March, in the context of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Spain’s accession to the Council of Europe.  Exchanges of views with the Chair of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and with representatives of the Russian Parliament on modalities of co-operation between Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Russian Parliament in 2017 (TBC), will feature on the agenda.  The members of the Standing Committee will also discuss the access of detainees to lawyers, and the political rights of persons with disabilities.  The Assembly members will have an audience with King Felipe VI.  On 11 March, a ceremony in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack of 11 March 2004 will be organised, with the participation of PACE President Agramunt and the Standing Committee members.

Find an overview of Council of Europe events here Find the PACE diary here.

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