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International Last Updated: Nov 11, 2017 - 11:55:25 AM

Military integration on EU agenda This Week
By Andrew Rettman and Caterina Tani, EU Observer, 10/11/17
Nov 11, 2017 - 11:53:56 AM

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Military cooperation and rule of law in Poland and Malta will top the EU agenda next week, as Europe also hosts global talks on climate change.

About 20 out of the 28 EU states are expected to sign up to deeper military integration in the margins of a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday (13 November).

The scheme, called Permanent Structured Cooperation, which could see coalitions of the willing create joint rapid reaction forces or buy high-end military technology together, will be formally launched by EU leaders at a summit in December.

Foreign ministers will also discuss whether to build up an EU counter-propaganda cell that fights Russian disinformation in eastern Europe and the Western Balkans.

They will debate whether to go further on sanctions against Myanmar over its ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority and whether there is a real risk that the US could overturn the Iran nuclear non-proliferation deal.

The European Parliament, which meets in Strasbourg this week, will hold two debates on rule of law.

MEPs will vote on a resolution on Wednesday that is expected to say "the current situation in Poland represented a clear risk of a serious breach" of EU values, referring to the ruling PiS party's attempt to seize control of the country's courts.

The text is also likely to call for a plenary vote recommending EU sanctions on Warsaw in response - the suspension of its voting rights in the Council.

MEPs will debate the situation in Malta on the same day, after the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia raised concerns about ineffective policing and high-level corruption.

The main parliamentary groups want an independent international investigation into the killing and want the Commission to hold talks with Valletta on criminality and money-laundering in the micro-state.

The end of the week will see the Catalan crisis come back into the foreground as a Belgian courts holds a hearing on whether to extradite fugitive Catalan leader Carles Puidgemont, as well as four of his ministers, to Spain.

EU member states' officials will, the same day, meet to hammer our the details of the EU's 2018 budget in talks with the EU Parliament.

The parliament is asking for total commitments to be increased to 162.6 billion, while the Council representing the member states, set the ceiling at 158.9 billion.

The week will close with a "social summit" in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Friday, where European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Swedish PM Stefan Loefven will meet trade union and civil society leaders to discuss jobs and growth.

The end of the week will also see French and German leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel heading to the climate change summit in Bonn to reaffirm Europe's commitment to the Paris accord on global warming despite America's decision to pull out of the deal.

Source:Ocnus.net 2017

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