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Week Ahead (5 October)

Monday, 5 October - European Parliament to debate the establishment of an EU mechanism for the rule of law

Today, the European Parliament will debate the establishment of an EU Mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights. The debate takes place following the European Commission's publication of its first country-by-country report on Member States’ adherence to rule of law principles last week. The report revealed that a number of Member States are failing to meet the EU’s minimum standards, which are a basic requirement of EU membership. Serious concerns were raised about Poland and Hungary, two countries which have already been reprimanded at EU level for longstanding violations of basic democratic principles. Along with Poland and Hungary, several other Member States, including Malta, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Romania, fell short of meeting the EU’s minimum standards.

The Commission hopes to address the issues highlighted in the report through dialogue with Member States. However, the requirement under EU treaties for unanimity in many circumstances means that disciplinary measures against Hungary and Poland will be difficult to implement.

Wednesday, 7 October - Michael Gove to address House of Commons Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union

Michael Gove, the cabinet Minister with responsibility for exiting the European Union, will address the House of Commons Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union on Wednesday to provide an update on the status of the negotiations. Following a telephone conversation between Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday, the parties agreed that negotiations will continue for a further month, in the hopes of reaching a final deal. In a joint statement issued after the discussions, the leaders said that they "agreed on the importance of finding an agreement, if at all possible, as a strong basis for a strategic EU-UK relationship in future.”

It is believed that the UK has offered a three-year transition period in which European fishing fleets can prepare for new arrangements in an attempt to break the deadlock on one of the more contentious outstanding issues. The idea is not new, but is fleshed out in the UK's latest negotiating paper, which was produced in advance of last week's talks. The UK's willingness to move on a "red-line" issue such as fishing shows a willingness to reach an agreement in advance of the October 15 council meeting.

Wednesday, 7 October - Eurogroup meeting to discuss 7th enhanced surveillance report on Greece

The Eurogroup will meet via videoconference on Wednesday. On its agenda is a discussion around the 7th Enhanced Surveillance Report on Greece, which was published in September. The Greek economy is still subject to European scrutiny as a result of the longstanding difficulties it has faced which required European intervention. The surveillance aims to support the delivery of reforms agreed, under the ESM stability support programme, with Greek authorities, and involves a close monitoring of developments in the Greek economy.

The surveillance report highlights that Greek authorities will submit a bill to Parliament that will lead to a major overhaul of its outdated insolvency framework in the near future. The new bill, if approved, will accelerate debt discharge and allow for a faster reimbursement of creditors, as well as preserve viable businesses by means of preventive restructuring frameworks.

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