Today at Commission, Hungary and Brexit
Hungary and how to deal with it was yet again the hot topic at the European Commission’s midday briefing.
The Commission announced last week that commissioners will have “a political debate” on the situation in Hungary, which has introduced a new law to cut back NGOs’ funding, opened a national consultation dubbed “Let’s stop Brussels!” and passed a higher education bill intended to shut down the Central European University. Its actions have raised concerns about human rights and the rule of law.
Talks will be conducted by Frans Timmermans, the first vice president who is charge of rule of law issues. However, the read-out of the meeting will be handled by Věra Jourová, the European commissioner for justice, consumer protection and gender equality, and Dimitris Avramopoulos, the commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship.
“I have learned in this job never to anticipate the discussions and the deliberations of the college of commissioners,” chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said Tuesday. “This is for the college of commissioners to discuss and you will be the first to know.”
Asked why Timmermans was not down to present the college readout, Schinas merely said “stay tuned.” Timmermans’ agenda for Wednesday is empty, according to the Commission’s website.
May 3 is Commission’s Brexit day
There’s a new date in the Brexit diary: May 3.
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According to Schinas, this is when European commissioners will work on the Brexit negotiating guidelines drafted by EU leaders at a special summit on April 29. Schinas has repeatedly said the Commission was ready for Brexit negotiations, but this was the first time he had mentioned a specific date.
After the Commission’s recommendation are adopted by the college, it will be up to EU affairs ministers — minus the U.K. of course — to formally adopt the Brexit mandate.
Migration and security
Commissioners will on Wednesday discuss progress made on the relocation and resettlement of migrants, and back a series of actions to protect child refugees.
“The number of children migrants arriving in Europe has increased significantly. This is why the Commission tomorrow will set out a series of actions to reinforce the protection of all migrant children at all stages of the process,” Schinas said.
Also on Wednesday, the Commission and national experts will meet to discuss the implementation of new security measures proposed by the Commission after the Paris terror attacks. Implementation of the measures for the Schengen areas of passport-free travel have reportedly caused travel chaos in several EU countries.