By Ata Ufuk ┼×eker
Brussels briefing, April 17

A calm week is anticipated for Brussels as the week begins with work closures in many European countries because of the Easter holiday. However, several EU commissioners headed by President Jean-Claude Juncker plan to visit the United States for International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank spring meetings. The EU’s High Representative Federica Mogherini will travel to China for the seventh EU-China Strategic Dialogue and later will visit India this week.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament will have a delegation-green week in which various MEP’s will travel abroad or to their own constituencies.

MEPs of the Employment and Social Affairs committee will go to Washington to gather information on the effects of digitalization, robotics and artificial intelligence on employment and social protection.

A delegation from the Security and Defense subcommittee will make a fact-finding visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Another delegation will meet with Moroccan MPs to discuss migration, security, the EU neighborhood policy and the fight against radicalization.

 A delegation of the Human Rights subcommittee will travel to Bolivia for talks with government, parliament and civil society representatives and assess the human rights situation.

Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs MEPS will visit Rome and Sicily to take stock of different aspects of receiving large numbers of asylum seekers and migrants.


- Last week

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF gave a speech in Brussels where she warned about the risks on the global economy by saying “There are clear downside risks: political uncertainty, including in Europe; the sword of protectionism hanging over global trade; and tighter global financial conditions that could trigger disruptive capital outflows from emerging and developing economies.”

Vitor Constancio, vice-president of the European Central Bank (ECB) presented the annual report for 2016 to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament. He said the euro area economy demonstrated substantial resilience in 2016 and that recovery is progressing and is now gaining momentum. “Our monetary policy stance is appropriate and a reassessment is not warranted at this stage. However, we continue to stand ready to react to downside shocks.”

The European Commission approved the acquisition of the global transport and logistics company, Hamburg Sud by Maersk Line. The clearance is conditional upon the withdrawal of Hamburg Sud from five consortia on various trade routes.

The European Council extended sanctions by one year in response to serious human rights violations in Iran. These measures consist of a travel ban and an asset freeze against 82 people and one entity, and a ban on exports to Iran of equipment, which might be used for internal repression and for monitoring telecommunications.

The Commission adopted its eleventh progress report on the EU's emergency relocation and resettlement schemes. According to the report, the total number of relocations now stands at 16,340. However, more efforts are needed from all member states to ensure that all people eligible are relocated over the coming months.

17 Apr,2017