THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS’ EVENTS: 29th FEBRUARY – 4th MARCH

General events of the Council of the European Union and Calendar of Meetings (Committee Working Parties)

General events of the European Parliament

General events of the European Commission and DG Home

General events of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Main events in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and External

29th February

European Parliament
The President’s diary Brussels: h16:00 Meeting with Volodymyr Groysman, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire – h16:30 Opening speech at the “High-level conference European Parliament – Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on capacity building for reform” – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 3rd floor, room C050 – h17:15 Press point with Volodymyr Groysman, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor

15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 6Q2

  • Situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration (INI), co-rapporteurs Roberta METSOLA (EPP, MT) and Kashetu KYENGE (S&D, IT) – discussion on amendments (15.20-16.30)
  • Joint debate on the new border and coast guard package as presented by the Commission on 15 December 2015  (16.30-18.00) – discussion with the Commission on the following reports:
  1. European Border and Coast Guard (COD), rapporteur Artis PABRIKS (EPP, LV)
  2. Reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borderrs (COD), rapporteur Monica MACOVEI (ECR, RO)
  3. European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (COD), rapporteur Jussi HALLA-AHO (ECR, FI)
  4. European Maritime Safety Agency (COD), rapporteur Artis PABRIKS (EPP, LV)
  5. Community Fisheries Control Agency (COD), rapporteur Artis PABRIKS (EPP, LV)
  • “Crime and Corruption Cost of Non-Europe” – discussion on the study with the Centre for European Policy Studies (18.00-18.20)

VOTES (18.20-18.30)

Follow-up to the Resolution on the US Senate report on use of torture by the CIA (RSP) – vote on questions for oral answer to the Commission and Council

15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Foreign Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 2Q2
15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Budgetary Control Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 1A-002
09:00 – 19:00 Ukraine Week Brussels, Altiero Spinelli

Council of the European Union
JHA COUNSELLORS Meeting n°246211 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 20.6
JHA COUNSELLORS Meeting n°245010 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 35.8

Court of Justice of the European Union
14:30 Hearing C-601/14, Area of Freedom, Security and Justice Commission v Italy – Court of Justice – Grand Chamber – Grande Salle Palais – Level 2

01th March

European Parliament
The President’s diary Brussels h12:00 Meeting with Olemic Thommessen, President of the Storting – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire – h14:30 Joint political group leaders’ meeting of the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 6th floor, room B054 – h17:15 Meeting with Stephan Weil, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire.

09:00 – 19:00 Ukraine Week Brussels, Altiero Spinelli

Council of the European Union
Political and Security Committee (PSC) Meeting n°243208 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6
Court of Justice of the European Union
09:30 Judgment Joined cases C-443/14 C-444/14 – Area of Freedom, Security and Justice
Alo Osso – Court of Justice – Grand Chamber – Grande Salle Palais – Level 2

 02th March

European Parliament
The President’s diary Brussels h17:00 Meeting with Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire

09:45 – 13:00 Seminar: Women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 5E2
Seminar for journalists (09.45-18.00)Organised by the European Parliament Press Service, the aim of this seminar is to enable MEPs, invited experts and journalists to discuss the current situation in refugee camps and measures that might be taken at European level. The morning session will discuss women’s rights and gender equality and the situation of women refugees and migrants. In the afternoon session, the discussion will focus on protecting women and girls in refugee camps across the EU and the successful integration of immigrants.
Parlamentarium (18.00)At 18.00, a photo exhibition on “DISPLACED women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU will be officially opened by Sylvie GUILLAUME (S&D, FR) Vice-President. The photos, by award-winning photo journalist, Marie DORIGNY, will give a true insight into the plight of women refugees and asylum seekers in their gruelling journey across Europe.

Council of the European Union
Coreper I Meeting n°243212 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.7
Coreper II Meeting n°243210 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6

Court of Justice of the European Union
09:30 Opinion C-241/15 – Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – Bob-Dogi
Court of Justice – Second Chamber – Grande Salle Palais – Level 2

03th March

European Parliament
The President’s diary Brussels h9:00 Opening speech at Interparliamentary Committee Meeting: “Women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU” – József Antall room 2Q2 – h11:00 Conference of Presidents                                                                                                  09:00 – 12:30 Subcommittee on Human Rights Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 5G-3
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 2Q2                                                                                                                                                     09:00 – 12:30 Women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 2Q2
Interparliamentary Committee meeting
Co-organised by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and National Parliaments. Ahead of International Women’s Day 2016, scheduled for 8 March, this joint meeting will discuss the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU.        The event will be divided into three workshops.

  1. Violence against women refugees and asylum seekers (organised in cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe)
  2. Gender and healthcare: the situation of refugees and asylum seekers (organised in cooperation with the European Institute for Gender Equality)
  3. Integration of women refugees (organised in cooperation with the European Commission)

Inauguration speeches will be made by Martin SCHULZ (S&D, DE), President of the European Parliament and Mary ROBINSON, Former President of Ireland.

Council of the European Union
Coreper II Meeting n°243211 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6
Political and Security Committee (PSC) Meeting n°243209 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.7
Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) Meeting n°245076 LEX h10:00 Room 50.1 15:00 Room 50.1

Court of Justice of the Euopean Union
09:30 Opinion C-659/15 PPU – Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – Căldăraru – Court of Justice – Grand Chamber – Courtroom III – Level 6
09:30 Opinion C-404/15 – Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – Aranyosi – Court of Justice – Grand Chamber – Courtroom III – Level 6

04th March

Council of the European Union
JHA COUNSELLORS Meeting n°245093 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.4
Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) Meeting n°245464 LEX 04/03/2016 10:00 Room LEX 1

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FREE NEWS 24TH 25TH FEBRUARY

Justice and Home Affairs: EU judges could strike down migrant benefit curbs after UK referendum (EurActiv)                                                                                                                         The ‘emergency brake’ banning European Union migrants from claiming British in-work benefits – part of David Cameron’s deal to keep the UK in Europe – could be struck down by EU judges after the referendum, a leading legal expert has told EurActiv.The British Prime Minister has insisted that his reform pact with EU leaders is legally binding and irreversible, although yesterday (24 February) leading Tory MP Michael Gove said it was subject to the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) approval.Steve Peers is professor of EU law at Britain’s Essex University, writes extensively on his subject, and edits the EU Law Analysis website.He has worked as a consultant for the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union and the Council of Europe.He said that while parts of the deal are legally binding and, in practice, can’t be changed, others depend on later implementation and can be reversed – including the hugely controversial benefits ban. The brake, which is planned to last seven years, was likely to face legal challenges in domestic British courts on the grounds it broke EU law on discrimination between citizens, he told EurActiv […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Tsipras threatens to block future agreements if migrant burden is not shared (EurActiv)                                                                         Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged European Union countries to honour the bloc’s decisions on sharing the burden of the migrant crisis, saying that if they did not, Athens would block future agreements.EU interior ministers will hold fresh talks on migration today (25 February), in an attempt to reduce the flow of people through the Balkans and plan for what the bloc has warned is a looming humanitarian crisis.Ministers from non-EU members Serbia, Macedonia and Turkey will also be in Brussels as the European Union reaches outside its borders in a desperate attempt to deal with the stream of people.Ahead of the talks, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras threatened not to cooperate with future EU agreements on the migrant crisis if the burden was not fairly shared among member states […]

Migration: Greek PM threatens to block EU decisions (EuObserver)                   Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has said he will block EU decisions at the next summit if Greece is left alone to deal with the migration crisis. He told parliament on Wednesday (24 February) he would not let Greece be turned into a “warehouse of souls”.”Greece will no longer agree to any deal if the burdens and responsibilities are not shared proportionally,” he said.Greece was not invited to a meeting on Wednesday in which Austria and other countries along the Western Balkan migration route agreed to tighten border controls […]

Migration: Germany deports Afghan refugees (NewEurope)                                           A plane loaded with Afghan refugees left Germany and landed to Afghanistan, German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.According to Deutsche Welle, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere confirmed that the plane with 125 refugees onboard had landed in Kabul. The Minister said that the repatriated refugees “had no prospects to stay in Germany.” De Maiziere added that the people in need received some financial support. “The voluntary return and – in case of need – the financial support is of great importance…It contributes to the important task of rebuilding Afghanistan,” the German minister said […]

Migration: Calais camp situation prompts Belgian border controls (EuObserver)                                                                                                                                          Belgium is ramping up controls on its border with France in response to the French authorities’ attempts to clear a huge migrant camp near the port of Calais. Border checks were reintroduced earlier this week, will be enforced fully from Wednesday (24 February) with 250 to 290 policemen and “will last as long as necessary”, interior minister Jan Jambon said on Tuesday.”We are going to guard the border in strategic places, in places used by smugglers, which the police have detected,” he said. Belgium’s decision comes as a giant migrant camp near Calais, about 60 km from the border, could be partly dismantled in the coming days […]

Migration: Austria criticises Germany on migrants, piles ‘pressure’ on EU (EuObserver)                                                                                                                                    Austria has said Germany should stop sending mixed messages on migration at a meeting with Western Balkan states in Vienna on Wednesday (24 February). “Germany has to decide what signals Germany wants to send,” Austrian interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told press after talks with her counterparts from Western Balkan countries, where most migrants cross on their way from Greece to Germany […]

Global Europe: NATO mission criticised for sending refugees back to Turkey (EurActiv)                                                                                                                                               NATO’s new mission against illegal people-smugglers in the Mediterranean has drawn criticism from human rights activists, who have highlighted that EU border protection agency Frontex follows different principles when it comes to rescuing people. EurActiv Germany reports. The number of people braving a sea voyage to Europe remains alarmingly high. More than 100,000 refugees have already crossed the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This figure has already eclipsed the total for the first six months of 2015 […]

UK & Europe: Three plan Bs for Brexit(EurActiv)                                                                                                                                         Three possible ‘plan Bs’ for Brexit are defined in research carried out by Michael Emerson, in a 24-page policy paper spanning a range of views, from which EurActiv publishes the Executive Summary. Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS. He would like to express thanks for helpful comments on this study to Roderick Abbott, Steven Blockmans, Jacques Pelkmans, Jean-Claude Piris, Marius Vahl, Guillaume Van Der Loo and Steven Woolcock.Now that the results of Prime Minister David Cameron’s negotiations with the EU have become known following the European Council on 18-19 February 2016, and the date for the UK’s referendum to remain or leave has been set for 23 June 2016, it is time to clarify the consequences of this seemingly simple choice, in or out […]

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FREE NEWS 22TH 23TH FEBRUARY

Justice and Home Affairs: Thousands of Afghans stranded in Greece, Austria calls Balkan mini-summit (EurActiv)
Thousands of refugees were left stranded in Greece yesterday (22 February) after Macedonia abruptly closed it border to Afghans, creating a fresh bottleneck as European countries scramble to respond to the continent’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
Overall, some 8,000 people were trapped on Greece’s northern frontier and at the port of Piraeus after Macedonia introduced the measure on Sunday in a bid to stem an unrelenting influx of migrants. Desperate to get through, hundreds of Afghans staged a sit-down protest in an area of no-man’s land and occupied the railway line connecting the two countries, holding makeshift signs that read: “We can’t go back” and “Why racism?”
Dozens of Afghan children also carried signs with the words: “Help us cross border” […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Nigerians arrive in Italy via Libya, says Frontex (EurActiv)
Frontex, the EU border management agency, said some 5,600 refugees, mostly Nigerians, arrived in Italy last month by boat, after crossing the Mediterranean. Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán was quoted as saying that 50 million of Nigerians could arrive in Italy via Libya. Frontex said that Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans accounted for the most of the 68,000 people that reached Greece last month, while some 5,600 – mostly Nigerians – arrived via Italy, attributing the drop of those arriving, mostly by boat, to the weather.
More than a million refugees reached Europe last year, mainly via Greece after traveling across the Mediterranean, from Turkey. This number, however, is likely to be dwarfed this year, after the weather improves. At the recent EU summit on 19 February, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told the press that EU leaders had mentioned the previous night, during the summit, “apocalyptic figures” of expected future migration to Europe […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Forget Brexit, it’s the Franco-German impasse that could turn the EU (NewEurope)
The real obstacle to deeper European integration is not the Brexit – British Prime Minister David Cameron won a deal to enshrine formally Britain’s semi-detached status in the 28-member bloc. According to an analysis from the Reuters news agency, the real threat is the long-running Franco-German impasse on how to make the euro zone stronger and more sustainable. It is the breakdown of Franco-German leadership in the euro zone – the economic core of the 60-year-old European project – that worries the architects of European integration. Paris and Berlin have long slept in the same bed with very different dreams […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Austrian restrictions trigger domino effect across Balkan refugee route (EurActiv)
Afghan asylum seekers seeking to travel through the Balkans to northern Europe were barred from entering Macedonia yesterday (21 February), after Austria introduced a similar restriction, creating a domino effect along the so-called Balkan migrant route.
“We were warned this morning that Macedonian authorities would no longer let Afghans pass,” a Greek police official told AFP, adding that Macedonia justified its move by claiming that Serbia had made a similar decision. The development came after Austria on Friday (19 February) introduced a daily limit on refugees entering and registering in the country, triggering EU fears of a domino effect along the so-called Balkan ‘migrant’ route.
On Sunday (21 February), Afghans seeking to enter Macedonia through the Idomeni border crossing were pushed back, while only Syrians and Iraqis were allowed through […]

Migration: Austria plans Western Balkan meeting on migrant caps (EuObeserver)
Austria is asking Western Balkan nations and Bulgaria to meet to discuss the migrant crisis, ahead of a gathering of EU interior ministers in Brussels.
The move follows Austria’s decision last week to cap the daily number of asylum applications to 80, and allow 3,200 migrants to travel through its territory each day.
The decision roused fears of bottlenecks along the Balkan route and further border clamp downs and drew sharp criticism from Germany and the European Commission.
The Austria meeting will take place on Wednesday (24 February) and will be attended by ministers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, reports Reuters […]

Migration: Migrants cutting holes in Hungary’s efforts to keep them out (NewEurope)
The razor wire fence built by Hungary to stop migrants and refugees from crossing the border from neighbouring Serbia is not impenetrable. Police arrested 550 people getting through in January and more than 1,200 were caught in the first three weeks of February.
As reported by the BBC, Hungary caused controversy with the barrier, completed in September. While the number of people crossing from Serbia dropped after Hungary built the fence along the 175km border, police say migrants are cutting through or climbing over the barrier. Many are from Pakistan, Iran and Morocco, who are no longer admitted through other routes, reported the BBC. But the majority of migrants and refugees have headed for countries like Germany and Sweden via Hungary and Austria after crossing from Turkey to Greece […]

Migration: Macedonia border move strands migrants in Greece (EuObserver)
Thousands of refugees and migrants have been stranded in Greece after Macedonia restricted border crossings on Monday (22 February).
Macedonia decided over the weekend not to let through Afghan nationals and tightened entry for Syrians and Iraqis travelling from Greece, creating a bottleneck.
On Tuesday, Greece police started to remove migrants from its border with Macedonia, according to Reuters, as officials in Athens called on Macedonia to ease the restrictions.
Slovenia in the meantime authorised the army to help manage the flow of migrants crossing the Croatian border into Europe’s Schengen passport-free zone […]

Migration: FYROM, Serbia close borders to Afghan refugees (NewEurope)
Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) closed their borders to refugees coming from Afghanistan, and now thousands of people in need are awaiting at the Greece-FYROM’s buffer zone at Idomeni.
Greek news agency, ANA-MPA, reported that according to the latest police figures, over 2,000 refugees are currently waiting at Idomeni camp. Moreover, 62 buses with roughly 3,000 persons are parked at the nearby gas station, 20 km from the Greek-FYROM border, awaiting official authorization to continue their trip.
In the meantime, about 4,000 people are stranded at the Piraeus Port in Athens, Greece as the Greek police forbids them to board on buses destined for the Greece-FYROM borders […]

Refugee Crisis: An average of two refugee children have drowned every day since September 2015 (NewEurope)
As the refugee influx in the EU is rising, more and more refugee children are losing their live in the dangerous crossing. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) together with its UN Partners urged the EU authorities to better protect the people in need who risk their lives every day to cross into European territory. An average of two children have drowned every day since September 2015, according to IOM, UNHCR, and UNICEF. Since last September, when the tragic death of toddler Aylan Kurdi captured the world’s attention, more than 340 children, many of them babies and toddlers, have drowned in the eastern Mediterranean. The total number of children who have died may be even greater, because some of the bodies are lost at sea […]

Global Europe: EU rules prevent sharing of refugee fingerprints (EurActiv)
According to EU rules, only the fingerprints of migrants who apply for asylum are shared among the member countries, which basically means that privacy concerns don’t allow the use of the vast majority of migrants’ fingerprints taken.
On the Austrian-Slovenia border, one of the last stops on the migrant route to Germany, a policeman explains that after his 12-hour shift taking new arrivals’ fingerprints, most are lost minutes after they are taken.
“We are not allowed to save the fingerprints,” the Austrian policeman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said as he sat in a tent at the Spielfeld border crossing. “We do what we’re asked to do […]”

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THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS’ EVENTS: 22th FEBRUARY – 26th FEBRUARY

General events of the Council of the European Union and Calendar of Meetings (Committee Working Parties)

General events of the European Parliament

General events of the European Commission and DG Home

General events of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Main events in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and External

22th February

European Parliament                                                                                                          15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Budgetary Control  Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 1G-3             16:30 – 18:30 Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs  Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 3C50                                                                                                                                                    15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Industry, Research and Energy Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 1A002                                                                                                                                                          15:00 – 18:30 Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3G-3                                                                                                                           15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q1                                                                                                                                                              15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Constitutional Affairs Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3E-2           15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Petitions Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3G2

16:30 – 18:30 Joint Hearing Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) Respect for democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law: the role of the judiciaryBrussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3E2

Council of the European Union                                                                                       Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) Meeting n°244963 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.7

Court of Justice of the European Union                                                                      15:30     Hearing C-695/15 PPU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – Mirza – Court of Justice – Fourth Chamber – Grande Salle Palais – Level 2

23th February

European Parliament                                                                                                             The President’s diary Brussels: 16:30 Meeting with Dietmar Woidke, Minister President of Brandenburg – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire                   09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Foreign Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 2Q2                         15:00 – 16:30 Committee on Budgets Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 5G-3                                09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Budgetary Control Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 1G-3                     10:00 – 18:30 Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 3C50                                                                                                                                                  09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Employment and Social Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 6Q2 09:00 – 18:30 Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q2                                                                                                                               09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Industry, Research and Energy Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 1A002                                                                                                                                                         09:00 – 18:30 Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3G-3                                                                                                                       09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q1                                                                                                                                                             09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Constitutional Affairs Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3E-2       09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Petitions Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3G2                               09:00 – 12:30 Taking citizens’ concerns seriously: broadening the scope of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3G2

Council of the European Union                                                                                        Coreper II Meeting n°245103 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6                                    Political and Security Committee (PSC) Meeting n°243195 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6                                                                                                                                                      Security Committee Meeting n°243960 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 20.6

24th February

European Parliament                                                                                                            Plenary agenda in Brussels 15:00 – 23:00 Debates: Resumption of session and order of business;Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 18 and 19 February 2016;Joint debate – European Semester 2016;European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Growth Survey 2016;European Semester for economic policy coordination: employment and social aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2016;Single Market governance within the European Semester 2016;Commission decision adopted on the European Semester package, including country reports;European network of Employment Services, workers’ access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets;Joint debate – EU-Tunisia trade relations; Introduction of emergency autonomous trade measures for Tunisia; Preparation for the UN General Assembly special session on drugs; One-minute speeches (Rule 163)

Council of the European Union                                                                                     Coreper II Meeting n°243197 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6

25th February

European Parliament                                                                                                             Plenary agenda in Brussels: 09:00 – 11:20 Debates Activities of the European Ombudsman in 2014; Tobacco agreement (PMI agreement)   11:30 – 13:30 VOTES followed by explanations of votes:Accession of Austria and Malta to the Hague Convention on the Service abroad of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters; EC-San Marino Agreement providing for measures on taxation of savings income in the form of interest payments;Accession of Croatia to the Conventions on the protection of the EC financial interests; European network of Employment Services, workers’ access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets;Introduction of emergency autonomous trade measures for Tunisia; Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2015/007 BE/Hainaut-Namur Glass; European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Growth Survey 2016;European Semester for economic policy coordination: employment and social aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2016 ; Single Market governance within the European Semester 2016; Opening of negotiations for an EU-Tunisia Free Trade Agreement; Activities of the European Ombudsman in 2014; European Central Bank annual report for 2014; Opening of FTA negotiations with Australia and New Zealand;Introduction of compatible systems for the registration of pet animals across Member States; Humanitarian situation in Yemen

Council of the European Union                                                                                          Council of the European Union Meeting n°3450 Justus Lipsius                                           Political and Security Committee (PSC) Meeting n°243196 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.7

Court of Justice of the European Union                                                                            09:30     Hearing C-195/15 Area of Freedom, Security and Justice Mulhaupt (faillite SCI Senior Home) Court of Justice – Fifth Chamber – Courtroom I – Level 8                             09:30     Opinion C-559/14 Area of Freedom, Security and Justice Meroni Court of Justice – First Chamber Courtroom III – Level 6

26th February

Council of the European Union                                                                                        Coreper I Meeting n°243199 Justus Lipsius 26/02/2016 10:00 Room 50.7                             JHA COUNSELLORS Meeting n°245984 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 35.6

 

 

 

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FREE NEWS 17TH-18TH FEBRUARY

Justice and Home Affairs: Demirtas: EU ignoring Turkey crackdown in bid for refugee deal (EurActiv)
The European Union is turning a blind eye to human rights violations in Turkey in a doomed bid for a solution to its migrant crisis, the leader of Turkey’s main Kurdish party told a Greek newspaper today (17 February).
“Europe is closing its eyes to the trampling of human rights in Turkey and is preparing to succumb to (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan’s threats and blackmail,” Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas told the Efimerida Ton Syntakton.But Demirtas, who met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on a visit to Athens, said this policy was a “big mistake”[…]

Justice and Home Affairs: Why the EESC supports Schengen – at all costs (NewEurope)
The European Economic and Social Committee, an EU advisory body comprising representatives of workers’ and employers’ organisations and other interest groups, has warned the Schengen Agreement should not be used as a scapegoat.
“The EU institutions must avoid at all cost the piecemeal unravelling of the Schengen rules, and with it the Internal Market, which will ultimately be to the detriment of us all,” the EESC said in a resolution titled “Free to move, Support Schengen”. It was adopted on February 17. The EESC’s representatives of European civil society are concerned about the pressure being put on the Schengen Agreement and its use as an easy scapegoat for all the shortcomings in the management of Europe’s borders […]

Migration: Austria sets asylum limit as Eastern Europe hikes pressure (EurActiv)
On the eve of a European Union summit to debate Europe’s migrant crisis, Austria announced on Wednesday (17 February) a daily limit in the number of asylum requests, and eastern EU members set a mid-March deadline for a plan agreed with Turkey to bear fruit.German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under intense pressure at home, meanwhile urged a “common stance” in the 28-nation bloc, arguing that the Turkey plan “offers a good solution”.
But a separate scheme to ease pressure on the migrant buildup on the EU’s rim ran into problems after a planned mini-summit with Turkey was scrapped following a bomb attack in Ankara. The Austrian government announced it would set a daily cap of 80 claims of asylum in the country. It also said it would grant entry to a daily maximum of 3,200 people who were transiting Austria to seek asylum in a neighbouring country, effective Friday […]

Migration: WikiLeaks publishes EU’s secret report on migrants (NewEurope)
WikiLeaks published today the EU’s secret report on operation “Sophia” carried out from 22nd June to 15th December 2015, which was supposed to target the immigrants’ boats in the Mediterranean sea. The leaked document was prepared for the European Union Military Committee and European External Action Service by the Operation Commander Rear-Admiral of the Italian Navy Enrico Crendino. The published document reveals the real number of migrants coming to the European shores and highlights the main stages of the naval operation in the Mediterranean conducted by member states […]

Migration: Turkey unwilling to target refugee traffickers, experts warn (EurActiv)
Senior experts said today (17 February) that unless Turkey starts targeting the mafias helping migrants cross into Europe, the worsening refugee crisis could push the British to vote to leave the Union, and bring about other disastrous consequences.
Speaking at a press event organised by Carnegie Europe, its director, Ian Techau, said that he heard at the Munich Security Conference some British colleagues voicing exasperation over the refugee crisis, which was souring the mood in Britain ahead of the Brexit referendum, expected in June. Against the background of the refugee crisis, it now looks like there is a 70% chance for vote to leave the EU, he said. “There was some sort of rumour going around at the Security conference that the Euro crisis was bad enough, but the refugee crisis kind of convinced people in Britain this is now the time to leave the bloody place”, Techau said […]

Migration: Austria moves to ‘plan B’, defies EU-wide solution to refugee crisis (EurActiv)
Austria announced it would step up controls along its southern borders on Tuesday (16 February), edging closer to Eastern European member states in their defiance of Germany’s push for an EU solution to the migrant crisis.
The measures will be implemented at 12 existing checkpoints along frontiers with Italy, Slovenia and Hungary to slow down the influx, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said. “There will be different structural measures from containers to further barriers,” similar to the short mesh fence recently set up at Austria’s main border crossing with Slovenia at Spielfeld, she added. The announcement is a new blow to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wants to promote a deal with Turkey at an EU summit to tackle the continent’s worst migration crisis since World War II […]

Refugee Crisis: Reform could see more aid money diverted to refugee crisis (EurActiv)
Donor countries will adopt new rules on official development assistance on 18 and 19 February. The accounting of costs linked to security, refugees and the fight against extremism will be up for discussion. EurActiv France reports.
The refugee crisis has generated significant costs for certain countries and has led donors to rethink the principles of development aid. Discussions are ongoing within the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), a group of the world’s major aid donors, over which expenses arising from the refugee crisis should be put through a country’s accounts as funding for international solidarity. This club of 29 largely well-off countries decides who is eligible for official development assistance (ODA), and how these funds should be spent […]

Global Europe : EU summit live: Refugee crisis and Brexit on leaders’ plate (EurActiv)
EU heads of state and governments meet Thursday and Friday (18-19 February) for a crucial summit to tackle the refugee crisis and avoid Britain’s possible exit from the European Union. Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said he was confident EU leaders would reach a deal on reforms to keep Britain in the bloc at the summit starting today at 17.00 hiurs.“I’m quite confident that we will have a deal during this European Council. We have to sort out a certain number of questions,” Juncker told
a news conference with European Parliament President Martin Schulz. “And I am convinced that Britain will be constructive and active member of the European Union,” he said, speaking in English […]

Global Europe: Turkey cancels pre-summit meeting on migration crisis (NewEurope)
Turkey has cancelled a meeting about the refugee crisis ahead of the EU summit in Brussels after Turkey’s prime minister pulled out. Leaders from a dozen nations were supposed to meet at the Austrian mission in Brussels in the run-up to Thursday’s summit to discuss how the EU and Turkey can cooperate to contain the flood of migrants into the continent. Davutoglu announced he would cancel the trip after a car bomb in Ankara killed at least 28 people and wounded 61 others. All 28 EU leaders are scheduled to discuss their latest response to the migration crisis at the summit on Thursday and Friday in Brussels […]

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FREE NEWS 15TH-16TH FEBRUARY

Justice and Home Affairs: Greece will open four ‘hotspots’ in time for EU summit (EurActiv)
Greece will open four migrant registration centres in time for an EU summit this week, a government source told AFP today (15 February), as Athens comes under intense pressure to control the massive influx to Europe.
Four of Greece’s five “hotspot” centres will formally open by Wednesday (17 February) on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Leros and Samos, which have been struggling to cope with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees landing from Turkey in flimsy boats, the source said. The hotspot on the island of Kos is already operational.
The centres were supposed to open late last year but have faced repeated delays.
Defence Minister Panos Kammenos is expected to visit the hotspots of Leros, Chios and Lesbos on Tuesday following a news conference in Athens […]

Justice and Home Affairs: Refugee children need our protection (EurActiv)
With more and more unaccompanied minors arriving at our borders, Europe needs to do more to ensure their safety and to give them hope for a better future, writes Věra Jourová.
Věra Jourová is the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
Visiting a children’s refugee shelter in Brussels was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my mandate so far. I met an 11-year-old boy who had travelled on his own for 15 months. Fleeing war-torn Afghanistan and leaving his mother behind, he crossed borders tied to the bottom of a truck and walked hundreds of kilometres. Today he is learning French and Dutch, playing football and drawing […]

Justice and Home Affairs: EU approves €10 million to FYROM to better control its borders (NewEurope)
The European Commission approved an additional €10 million EU aid to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to better control its borders.
The European Commission announced today that the EU aid will help FYROM to improve its border and migration management systems in the context of the European refugee crisis. Every day, thousands of people in need are passing through FYROM to reach the final EU destinations (mainly the EU countries with decent living standards,) and authorities in the Balkan country are under pressure to control the flow […]

Justice and Home Affairs: More doubts over Greece’s Schengen-future (EurActiv)
Greece should be excluded from Schengen if no solution is found to the refugee dilemma soon, said the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) economic council. Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel warned against the consequences of such a move. EurActiv Germany reports.
The CDU’s economic wing has called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take a tough line at the upcoming EU summit on refugees.
“If no solution is found, once again, to the refugee issue, Greece has to be excluded from the Schengen area,” Wolfgang Steiger, the Secretary General of the CDU economic council, told Die Welt. He argued that temporary border-closures would be a cheaper alternative to continuing with the current open-door policy […]

Migration : Eastern EU leaders to urge Balkan border clamp down (EuObserver)
A handful of eastern EU states are seeking to ramp up border controls in the Balkans to stem migration inflows from Greece.
The move, set to be discussed on Monday (15 February) in Prague by the so-called Visegrad Four, is likely to provoke German opposition.
Composed of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, the Visegrad group wants to prevent refugees and migrants from taking the Western Balkan route towards mainland EU[…]

Global Europe: Merkel warns against Visegrad’s plans for a ‘reserve border system’ (EurActiv)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned yesterday (14 February) against plans for a “reserve border system” devised by the Visegrad Four, the group of countries including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
The leaders of the ‘Visegrad Four’ (also known as V4) are meeting today in Prague for a mini-summit ahead of the 18-19 February EU Council meeting. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov was invited, together with the President of Macedonia, to join the Prague meeting.The Visegrad leaders seek a possible “plan B” in case of a collapse of the Schengen system and in particular an exit of Greece from the group. In particular, they want to make sure that the borders between Bulgaria and Greece and Macedonia and Greece are sealed and effectively stop the migration flows[…]

Global Europe: Turkey says will continue shelling Syrian Kurds (EurActiv)
Turkey will continue to strike back at Kurdish fighters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday (14 February), despite growing pressure on Ankara to stop the shelling.
The Turkish army shelled positions held by Kurdish-backed militia in northern Syria for a second day on Sunday, killing two fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Turkey on Saturday (13 February) demanded the powerful Syrian Kurdish YPG militia withdraw from areas that it had captured in the northern Aleppo region in recent days from insurgents in Syria, including the Menagh air base. The shelling has targeted those areas.
Davutoğlu said on Saturday the shelling had taken place under “the rules of engagement against forces that represented a threat in Azaz and the surrounding area” […]

Foreign Affairs: Turkey clashes with allies over attack on Syria Kurds (EuObserver)
France and the US have urged Nato ally Turkey to stop firing on Kurdish groups in Syria, putting at risk a new “cessation of hostilities” accord.
The French foreign ministry appealed on Sunday (14 February) for an “immediate halt to bombardments, by the [Syrian] regime and its allies in the whole country, and by Turkey in Kurdish zones”. It added that the “absolute priority is the implementation of the Munich communique” – a deal to pause fighting agreed by almost 20 states at a security congress in Munich last week. The White House said US vice president Joe Biden had made a similar appeal to Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu by phone on Saturday […]

Institutional Affairs: Cameron faces EU ‘crunch time’ in Brussels and London (EuObserver)
British PM David Cameron is holding final pre-summit talks in Brussels on Tuesday (16 January) before facing down his own anti-EU ministers on Friday.
The UK leader will hold talks with European Parliament chief Martin Schulz and with the “sherpas” or lead negotiators of the three main political groups.
Veteran German MEP Elmar Brok is representing the centre-right EPP group. Italian socialist Roberto Gualtieri is speaking for the centre-left S&D, while former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt will speak for the liberal Alde faction […]

UK and Europe: Forward, Europe – but which way?(EurActiv)
Every crisis is a chance so with the debate on Brexit, Europe must have right now a huge opportunity, writes Melanie Sully. Europe is busily engaged with theories of its own demise. Last year it was the collapse of the Euro and now the bloc is not sure after all if it can cope with the refugee crisis or if it will fall apart. Whereas the Scots saw leaving the UK as a risky option, for many in Britain getting out of the EU while the offer is there, seems less hazardous. After all who knows what else Brussels might dream up – and does it know itself? […]

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THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS’ EVENTS: 15th FEBRUARY – 19th FEBRUARY

General events of the Council of the European Union and Calendar of Meetings (Committee Working Parties)

General events of the European Parliament

General events of the European Commission and DG Home

General events of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Main events in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and External

15th February

European Parliament
15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q2 :
• Mini-hearing on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons (15.00-17.00) – see Public Hearings
• EU-US agreement on the protection of personal data when transferred and processed for law enforcement purposes (EU-US “umbrella agreement”) – discussion with the EP Legal Service, Francisco J. FONSECA MORILLO, Deputy Director-General, DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission and Giovanni BUTTARELLI, European Data Protection Supervisor (tbc) (17.00-18.30)
16:00 – 18:30 Committee on Budgets Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 5G-3
15:00 – 19:00 Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 3C050
15:00 – 17:00 Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3E2
15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Transport and Tourism Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 1A002
15:00 – 18:30 Committee on Regional Development Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 6Q2

Council of the European Union
Foreign Affairs Council Meeting n°3447 Brussels
Coreper II Meeting n°245491 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6
JHA COUNSELLORS Meeting n°245478 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 20.3
Political and Security Committee (PSC) Meeting n°245492 Justus Lipsius h07:00 Room 50.7

Court of Justice of the European Union
09:30 Hearing C-659/15 PPU , Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – Căldăraru- Court of Justice – Grand Chamber – Grande Salle Palais – Level 2
09:30 Judgment C-601/15 PPU, Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – N.- Court of Justice – Grand Chamber Grande Salle Palais – Level 2
09:30 Hearing C-404/15 Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – Aranyosi – Court of Justice – Grand Chamber – Grande Salle Palais – Level 2

16th February

European Parliament
The President’s diary Brussels h 10:00 Chairing of the opening Plenary of the European Semester Conference: The revamped European Semester and the role of the European Parliament and national parliaments – h11:30 Extraordinary Conference of Presidents, in the presence of David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – h13:00 Press point after Extraordinary Conference of Presidents – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, ground floor – h14:30 Meeting with Dacian Cioloș, Prime Minister of Romania, followed by press point – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire – h15:30 Meeting with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire – h17:30 Meeting with Valeriu Zgonea, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire.

09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q2
VOTES (10.00-10.30)
• Uniform format for visas (COD), rapporteur Sylvia-Yvonne KAUFMANN (S&D, DE) –     vote on draft report
• Follow-up to the Resolution on the US Senate report on the use of torture by the CIA – vote on question for oral answer to the European Commission (tbc)
• Regular mechanism to inform the European Parliament on International Agreements – vote on questions for oral answer to the European Commission and to the Council (tbc)
end of votes
• Mini-hearing on the fight against organised crime and corruption: stepping up the EU response (10.30-12.30)

09:00 – 19:15 Committee on Foreign Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 2Q2
09:00 – 18:30 Committee on International Trade Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3G-2
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Budgetary Control Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 1G-2
09:00 – 17:30 Committee on Transport and Tourism Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 1A002
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Regional Development Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 1A002

Council of the European Union
General Affairs Council Meeting n°3448 Brussels 10:30
Political and Security Committee (PSC) Meeting n°243192 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6
COUNSELLORS/ATTACHES Meeting n°245607 Justus Lipsius 16/02/2016 Room 70.5

Court of Justice of the European Union
09:30 Hearing C-573/14 Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, Lounani Court of Justice – Grand Chamber – Grande Salle Palais – Level 2

17th February

European Parliament
The President’s diary Brussels: h9:00 Chairing of the opening Plenary of the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union – h10:30 Meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, President of New Democracy – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, President´s office – h11:30 Meeting with Kadri Veseli, Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Grand Salon Protocolaire – h15:00 Meeting with Mogens Lykketoft, President of the United Nations General Assembly – Paul-Henri Spaak Building, 9th floor, Salon Protocolaire A.

09:00 – 10:00 Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 2Q2 Joint meeting with the Committee on Legal Affairs on the Commission report on European judicial training 2015
09:00 – 18:30 Subcommittee on Human Rights Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 1E-2
09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Development Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 1G-2
09:00 – 18:30 Subcommittee on Security and Defence Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 5B001
17:30 – 19:30 Special Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect (TAXE 2) Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 6Q2
09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Employment and Social Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q1
09:00 – 18:30 Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q2
09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Fisheries Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 5E2
09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Culture and Education  Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 1G3
09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Culture and Education Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 1G3
09:00 – 18:30 Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3G3

Council of the European Union
Coreper I Meeting n°243185 Justus Lipsius h 10:00 Room 50.7
Political and Security Committee (PSC) Meeting n°245879 Justus Lipsius h10:00 Room 50.6

Court of Justice of the European Union
09:30 Opinion C-572/14 Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, Austro-Mechana – Court of Justice – First Chamber Courtroom III – Level 6

18th February

European Parliament
The President’s diary Brussels: h11:30 Joint press conference with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission – Berlaymont building – h16:15 Meeting with Tihomir Orešković, Prime Minister of Croatia – European Council – h17:00 Speech at European Council
09:00 – 12:30 Subcommittee on Security and Defence Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 5B001
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Budgets Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 5G-3
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak, 3C050
09:00 – 17:30 Committee on Employment and Social Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q1
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 4Q2
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Fisheries Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 5E2
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Culture and Education Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 1G3
09:00 – 11:00 Committee on Legal Affairs Brussels, Jòzsef Antall, 2Q2
09:00 – 12:30 Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Brussels, Altiero Spinelli, 3G3

Council of the European Union
European Council Brussels Chaired by Donald Tusk
JHA COUNSELLORS Meeting n°245885 LEX h10:00 Room LEX 1
JHA COUNSELLORS Meeting n°245624 LEX 18/02/2016 13:00 Room LEX 1

Court of Justice of the European Union
09:30 Hearing C-560/14 Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, M- Court of Justice – Third Chamber Courtroom III – Level 6

19th February

European Parliament
Delegation: EP Election Observation Delegation to Uganda Entebbe, Uganda

Council of the European Union
European Council Brussels Chaired by Donald Tusk
Coreper I Meeting n°243184 LEX h10:00 Room LEX 1

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