MEPs return to Brussels for meetings in their political groups to prepare
for the next plenary session on 9 – 12 May in Strasbourg. Highlights
of the plenary agenda are likely to include:

  • Bathing water directive
    (2nd reading, Monday 9 May);
  • Working Time Directive (1st reading,
    Tuesday 10 May);
  • Cross-border mergers directive (1st reading, Tuesday
    10 May).

Please note that although Monday 2 May was a bank holiday in the UK,
for Belgium and many of the other EU Member States, Thursday 5 May is a
bank holiday.

UK general elections

The UK general election on Thursday will be
watched
with interest in the rest of Europe.

The outcome of the election will
strongly influence the UK's relationship with Europe and the fate of the
European Constitution. Whereas the Labour Party is pro-Europe and has said
it is in
favour of the
Constitution, the Conservatives have said that they want to re-negotiate
the country's terms of membership in the EU.

European Commission

On Tuesday,
at its
weekly meeting, the European Commission will publish a document specifying
how member states should implement the Lisbon strategy - the EU's
strategy for making itself more competitive.

The document will outline how national
capitals should organise their reform programme and what role the Commission
will play.

At
the same meeting, the college of commissioners will tackle financial
services.
The executive will publish a green paper - open to consultation with
stakeholders - on the issue.

On Monday, there will be an EU-Japan summit.
The main issues
up for discussion will be the EU-Japan action plan adopted in 2001
- this agreement covers the economy, finance, trade and science.

Both sides
will
also
take a
look at the 2005 initiative – a year of exchange between the citizens
of the European Union and Japan, the aim of which is to improve cultural exchanges.

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