Category Archives: Politics

On the Agenda: Sir Julian King, State of the Union, Apple, Car Emissions

Coming up next week at the Strasbourg Plenary: lots of special guests, a grilling for Commissioners and a little something called the State of the Union. Welcome to the Agenda. The last year has had its fair share of problems: terrorism, a refugee crisis and now a looming Brexit. For many an observer, the EU is in a pressured situation. Can the Commission President convince that he is the right man to steady the ship?


In his speech last year, the EU’s first elected Commission President talked about having greater unity and honesty. But instead of citizens getting closer to the EU, British people voted to leave it. Mr Juncker needs to show a faltering EU is not failing. No doubt he will bring his honesty to his latest speech but can he deliver real solutions? Well one of the things that Mr Juncker has done in reaction to growing terrorism threat is to create a new Commissioner portfolio, an anti-terror tsar.

And showing his sense of humour despite a Brexit, the man tasked for the job is British. Back in March, Mr Juncker called for a Security Union following the attacks in Brussels. With the resignation of Johnathan Hill as Commissioner for Financial Services as every Member State must be represented at a commission level, the incumbent UK Ambassador to France, Sir Julian King, has been put forward as Commissioner designate for Security Union. Will MEPs choose to anoint the UK’s latest offering? The hearing takes place on Monday with a vote on his candidacy on Thursday.

The EP’s Car Emissions Inquiry Committee set up in the wake of the VW diesel dupe will vote on an interim report on Tuesday but not before they request Commissioners to give evidence at a meeting of the EMIS Committee on Monday. Find out what the Internal Market Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska and Karmenu Vella the Commissioner for Environment have to say. And now for some news in brief. The Commission took a bite out of Apple, smacking it with a 13 billion euro fine for unpaid taxes to Ireland.

New heights for the Commission, sticking to its promise to fight corporate tax avoidance. Commission representatives will be in Strasbourg to update MEPs on Apple.

MEPS will discuss recent infractions of fundamental rights on Tuesday and vote on a non-binding resolution on Wednesday. This session brings His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Strasbourg. Find out what he has to say to MEPs of the Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday. The author of a parliamentary report says the EU has neglected social rights of EU workers and calls for legislation to be strengthened. MEPs debate the report and vote on it on Thursday.

This year’s G20 Summit has been quite eventful. There’s been a diplomatic spat between the US and China and after being the subject of verbal abuse, US President Obama cancelled a meeting with the President of the Philippines. Despite the shenanigans, China and the US ratified the Paris climate agreement but no deal was reached between Russia and the US on Syria, and no promises made to the UK on a potential UK-US trade deal. MEPs will digest the two-day session of heads of state on Tuesday.