European Parliament

On Tuesday 20 December, Tony Blair is due in Brussels again to address MEPs on the results of this week's EU summit.  Officially the Prime Minister is speaking to the heads of the political groups in the European Parliament but, due to the importance of the EU budget discussions, the meeting has been opened to all MEPs.

Meanwhile, Mr Blair's interior minister Charles Clarke will push MEPs on Wednesday to approve a law on data retention, adopted by justice ministers last week.

Parliament will then officially be in recess until Tuesday 3 January 2006.  The Sub-Committee on Human Rights meets on 4 January with a discussion on human rights in the world, led by Richard Howitt MEP.

Other committees do not reconvene until the week beginning 9 January or even 23 January, following the next full session of the Parliament in Strasbourg from 16-19 January.

European Commission

There will be a ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) taking place from Tuesday to Sunday in Hong Kong.  The meeting is intended as a significant step forward in the WTO's Doha round of trade liberalisation, but in the run-up to the meeting EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has played down hopes for a far-reaching deal.

The commissioner, who will represent the 25-nation bloc in Hong Kong, has expressed scepticism over the latest offers by key upcoming players Brazil and India to open their markets to European companies.

Meanwhile, the Brazilians, Indians and Americans have repeatedly slammed a "final" offer by Mr Mandelson to cut farm subsidies as insufficient.

The European Commission will at its weekly meeting in Strasbourg on Tuesday present a communication on criteria for the implementation of Nice treaty article 228 - the article which deals with sanctions against member states who have been convicted by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) of having breached the EC treaty.

The commission will also adopt a revised strategy on sustainable development, as well as a fresh proposal for a "without frontiers" TV directive.

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