European Parliament

The Parliament will hold a mini session in Brussels this week, starting with a debate about the prospects for December's global trade deal at the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) summit in Hong Kong, Wednesday.

The debate in the plenary will be preceded by a meeting between MEPs in the agriculture committee and agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, to talk about the latest sugar reform proposal, hammered out last week by EU ministers.

Parliamentarians will also on Wednesday exchange their views on avian influenza, as outlined in two reports that seek to define what measures should be used in Europe in the event of a crisis and what surveillance is needed of both low and high pathogenic forms of the virus.

Highlights of the week in committee include:

  • Andrew Duff MEP report on EU 'period of reflection' - adoption Constitutional Affairs Committee
  • Charles Tannock MEP report on EU neighbourhood policy - adoption Foreign Affairs Committee
  • EU accounts 2004 - Budgetary Control Committee meet various Commissioners and Court of Auditors members
  • Prime Minister of New Zealand appears before Foreign Affairs Committee

Hearings and Conferences:

  • Parliamentary Immunity (Hearing, Legal Affairs, 29 November) - experts include Prof Denza of UCL; and Sir Neil MacCormick of Edinburgh Uni.
  • Dance, music, choirs, theatre: Supporting artists and promoting creativity (Hearing, Culture, 28 November)
  • Conference on Strengthening European Action on Non-proliferation of WMD and Disarmament - experts include Dr Rebecca Johnson, Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, London.

European Commission

Just days before the ".eu" top-level domain opens for business on 7 December 2005, the European Commission is planning to unveil on Wednesday some details about how it will work.  After the launch of Europe's own internet domain, any individual resident in the EU or any organisation or company established in the EU will be able to register a name under the .eu top level domain.

European Council

This week will start with EU ministers debating two hot policy issues - the new regulation on chemicals and the services directive. The competitiveness council is meeting on Monday and Tuesday to discuss both of these points. The discussion comes after the European Parliament gave the green light to REACH, the chemicals' regulation, earlier this month, with concessions to both environmentalists and businesses.  On the other hand, the directive aimed at liberalising services has so far only been adopted at committee level in the European Parliament and is scheduled for plenary vote in February.

Member states will also debate justice and home affairs at a council meeting on Thursday and Friday.

A transport council meeting is scheduled for Thursday and a meeting of the environment council for Friday.

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