By Ata Ufuk ┼×eker
Brussels letter, week beginning Nov. 14

Brussels letter, week beginning Nov. 14

MEPs and member states' finance ministers will try to strike a deal on the EU budget for 2017 in Brussels on Monday. MEPs will press for sufficient funds to tackle the migration crisis, relaunch economic growth, combat youth unemployment and boost research and infrastructure projects.

The Foreign Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday to exchange views on the way forward in the EU-U.S. relations following the U.S. elections. The Council will also discuss recent developments in Turkey and will speak on current multilateral and bilateral relations with the six Eastern Partnership countries -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The Council will debate EU-NATO cooperation, including the implementation of the EU-NATO joint declaration. Ministers will be joined by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for this part of the discussion.

The General Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Council will start preparations for the December European Council by discussing an annotated draft agenda. Ministers will also address the October European Council follow-up. The Council will evaluate the Rule of Law mechanism, which was established in 2014 to promote and safeguard the rule of law within the framework of EU Treaties. Ministers will also hear a presentation by the Slovak and incoming Maltese presidencies on the roadmap for the 2017 European semester.

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on Wednesday. The Council will prepare negotiations with the European Parliament on the 2017 EU budget which will take place in a conciliation committee meeting the same day. The Council's position amounts to €156.4 billion in commitments and €133.8 billion in payments. The Parliament wishes to increase total commitments to €162.4 billion and total payments to €138 billion.

Justice and Home Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on Friday. Ministers will have a first exchange of views on key aspects of the forthcoming Commission proposal that would set up the EU Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). When established, the system would allow for advance checks and, if necessary, deny entry to visa-exempt travelers. Ministers will also look at progress in boosting information exchange and improving interoperability in the area of justice and home affairs.

The Council will exchange views on the implementation of the directive on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data. The legislation, which was adopted in the spring of 2016, regulates the transfer of passenger data from the airlines to national authorities and the processing of the data by national authorities for the prevention of terrorist attacks and serious crime.  EU countries have until spring 2018 to enact laws or regulations that are necessary to comply with this directive.

14 Nov,2016