French voters' rejection of the EU constitution on Sunday 29 May is set to
hijack the agenda this week, with the Dutch referendum on Wednesday also looking
likely to return a no.

France's move is set to throw the EU into a fit of speculation
about its own future, with politicians debating whether the poll can be re-run,
if other member states should continue with the ratification process and
what will happen to key policies such as enlargement.

The German Chancellor's
get-together
with current EU president Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday is set to turn
into a crisis meeting, while European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso's
rendezvous
with Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates on Wednesday will probably
focus on the same subject.

EU agriculture and fisheries ministers are to discuss
the financing of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and potato starch
quotas
on Monday, while home affairs ministers are to gather in Luxembourg on
Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Schengen agreement on lifting
border
controls.

Employment, health and consumer rights ministers will also
come together on Thursday and Friday to talk about living and working conditions,
gender
equality and food-labelling. Ministers from the 25 member states are
likely
to discuss the commission's proposals on working time legislation on
Friday 3 June, but they may not take a decision immediately.

The commission's
weekly
meeting on Wednesday is to discuss ways to boost IT usage in Europe,
as well as a new airline tax aimed at raising extra development aid funds.

And
MEPs
will be absorbed by internal meetings within their political groups
to prepare for parliament's reaction at next week's plenary in Strasbourg.

 

The
international
agenda

On the international agenda, East Timor prime minister
Mari Alkatiri is coming to meet with Mr Barroso and European Parliament president
Josep
Borrell on Monday.

External relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner
will attend
the seventh Euromed conference in Luxembourg on Monday and
Tuesday, meeting with delegates from Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon,
Morocco,
Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian
peace process.

Meanwhile, development commissioner Louis Michel is set to
visit
Rwanda
on Tuesday before trade commissioner Peter Mandelson drops in
to Kigali on
Thursday,
and a large group of commission officials and MEPs is assembling
in Beirut to oversee the start of Lebanon's parliamentary elections
on Sunday.

Three hundred legislators from North America and Europe will round
off
a
five-day
meeting in Ljubljana on Tuesday, covering NATO's future
role in the Middle East - the event will include a simulated nuclear terrorism
attack.

And
Switzerland will go to the polling booths next Sunday in
a less
well-publicised referendum
on joining the Schengen zone.

 

Conference circuit
On the
conference front, Amnesty International will look at European criminal
law in
Brussels
on Monday
with
EU counter-terrorism chief Gijs de Vries.

The Centre
for European Policy
Studies will examine Iceland's future role in Europe
on Tuesday with
Reykjavik's justice
minister Bjorn Bjarnason, while the Friends of
Europe think-tank will hold an environmental round table on Wednesday and Thursday
with guests including
transport commissioner Jacques Barrot.

Health officials
from Sweden, Italy,
Malta, Ireland, Finland, Poland, Latvia and Hungary
will also discuss plans for banning smoking in public places throughout
the
EU
in Luxembourg
on
Thursday.

Finally, it is also Green Week this week,
with a host of conferences
and
exhibitions seeking to raise awareness on climate
change.

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