Greta Thunberg due in Brussels later this week for series of high-level engagements

Swedish climate activist to meet ENVI Committee MEPs and European Parliament president David Sassoli.

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

02 Mar 2020

This includes a meeting with MEPs on Wednesday on the EUs climate law and targets due to be announced the same day, and, later, a separate discussion with the assembly’s President David Sassoli.

Members of the Environment and Public Health (ENVI) Committee will on Thursday also discuss with the European Commission how the EU is confronting, together with member states, the Coronavirus outbreak.

Also, on Thursday, the ENVI Committee will vote on financing of the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) for 2021-2027. The UCPM, designed to help member states deal with crises, including those that are health-related, has been recently mobilised to co-finance the repatriation of EU citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, following the Coronavirus outbreak.


Final arrangements are also in place for an Africa Summit being hosted in the Parliament on Wednesday by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR).

The event aims to build on the success of the inaugural summit last year and is set to become an annual high-level forum for planning and enhancing closer cooperation, knowledge-sharing and commercial collaboration between Europe and Africa.

ECR co-chairmen Ryszard Legutko and Raffaele Fitto will open the event and keynote addresses will be given by the President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Akufo Addo and businessman Moïse Katumbi, former Governor of Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other speakers include Rwanda's Minister for Trade and Industry Soraya M Hakuziyaremye; Sandra Ajaja, founder of the Fempower social enterprise which expands business opportunities for women in Nigeria and across Africa; and Belgian ECR group member Assita Kanko, who will be moderating a key panel on increasing female representation in African politics.

Political groups will prepare for a debate with Council President Charles Michel on the failure of member states to agree on the long-term budget and to discuss the agenda of the next European Council meeting. They will discuss their expectations regarding upcoming Commission proposals on the climate law and the Circular Economy plan.

Meanwhile, on the eve of Tuesday’s EU General Affairs Council, Parliament group leaders have written to Michel and the Croatian presidency expressing “deep concerns over the serious lack of progress” in Article 7 proceedings against Poland and Hungary.

Despite what Socialist MEP group leader Iratxe Garcia calls “the alarming situation” in both countries and repeated calls for action, the issue of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary is not up for discussion in Tuesday’s meeting.

Iratxe Garcia said, “In the last few years, the nationalist-minded Law and Justice party, (PiS) and Fidesz governments have put in place a series of reforms – taking control of the judiciary and public media - that are drastically changing the democratic character of Poland and Hungary. There is no more time to lose. Despite the launch of Article 7 proceedings, we’ve seen no progress.”

“While the Council contents itself with irregular hearings, without the European Parliament even being invited, both PiS’ Jarosław Kaczynski and Fidesz’ Viktor Orbán continue to push the boundaries when it comes to undermining democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights.”

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