By Ata Ufuk Şeker
Brussels letter week beginning Oct. 31

-European Parliament delegates visit to refugees in Greece and Lebanon

A Women’s Rights Development Committee delegation will visit Lebanon to assess the situation of Syrian refugee children and particularly their access to education. MEPs will visit schools and community centers, and meet children, parents, local and international NGOs, donors and Lebanese officials on Monday to Wednesday.

A committee delegation will travel to Athens to investigate the situation of refugee women and girls, along with anti-trafficking responses and the existing assistance infrastructure for victims. MEPs will visit several reception facilities and meet Greek authorities, NGOs and other organizations working in the field on Thursday and Friday.


- Visits of European Commissioners this week

Federica Mogherini will visit Tunisia on Monday and Malta on Tuesday. EC President Jean-Claude Juncker will be in Vienna on Thursday to participate in a round table meeting with Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament and Christian Kern, chancellor of Austria.

Other Commissioners will also visit various other countries this week.


All Saints' Day, a Christian festival will be celebrated this week in Belgium


Last week


On Sunday, Juncker along with President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA).

According to the EU, the deal will benefit exporters, big and small, creating opportunities for European and Canadian companies and their employees, as well as for consumers. Almost all – 99 percent of import duties will be eliminated, saving European exporters of industrial goods and agricultural products more than €500 million a year. As the EU's most advanced and progressive trade agreement to date, CETA is a landmark accord that sets the benchmark for future agreements. It includes the most ambitious chapters on sustainable development, labor and the environment ever agreed upon in a bilateral trade agreements. CETA will not solely help boost trade and economic activity, but also promote and protect shared values.

Now, the European Parliament must give its consent to CETA for it to provisionally enter into force. A provisional application, once an agreement has been approved by Member States in the Council and by the European Parliament, will allow European businesses and consumers to reap the benefits of the agreement early on.


- Georgieva quits EU to become CEO of World Bank

EU Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for budgeting and human resources, has informed the EC president of her decision to resign from her post as a member of the European Commission to take up her new responsibility, as Chief Executive Officer of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), known collectively as the World Bank as of Jan. 2, 2017.


- Record number of first residence permits issued

EU Member States issued a record number of 2.6 million first residence permits in 2015.  The main beneficiaries were from Ukraine and the United States.


- Schengen

The European Commission has proposed a recommendation, to be adopted by the Council, to prolong proportionate controls by a further three months at certain internal Schengen borders in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway in accordance with the Council’s recommendations as of May 12.

31 Oct,2016