Brussels will be on holiday from this Thursday to next Tuesday

Ministers could decide to suspend EU aid to the Palestinian Authority, after a government led by the islamist Hamas movement took office last week.  Hamas has so far not met EU demands to recognise Israel, renounce violence and accepted the peace process, all of which have been mentioned as conditions for EU aid to continue. But some member states are concerned that a withdrawal of aid could lead to instability and let states like Iran gain influence.

Ministers are also set to issue a visa ban on 31 officials from Belarus, including president Alexander Lukashenko, with Austrian EU presidency officials hinting at further "targeted" measures against Minsk being in the pipeline.

Last month's Ukrainian elections, considered free and fair by the EU, are also on ministers' schedule, as well as Iran and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks on worldwide trade liberalisation.

On Tuesday, an expert jury will recommend winning cities for the title of European Capital of Culture 2010, with Kiev and Istanbul both vying to get the title as non-EU cities.

The European Commission will at its weekly meeting on Wednesday not present any legislative proposals, but hold an "orientation debate" on decision procedures regarding GMOs.  EU policy on GMO authorisation is controversial, with the European Commission having overruled member states bans on genetically modified crops on several occasions.

Ambassadors are also expected to give the green light to a deal on the EU's 2007-2013 budget, clinched by the Austrian EU presidency and the European Parliament last week.

No important European Parliament events have been scheduled this week after a full Strasbourg session last week.


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