The German Federal elections, which will take place on 24 September 2017, are entering their final phase. With Martin Schulz trailing Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU by fourteen points, the focus in Germany has shifted to the smaller parties and the question of which party will finish third has become especially important.
On Wednesday, 13 September 2017, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered the annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The speech, and the subsequent debate by the European Parliament, are intended to give MEPs the opportunity to review, critique and shape the policy programme of the European Commission for the coming year. The State of the Union has been held annually in September since 2010, when it was instituted by the Lisbon Treaty.
The July edition of the Germany Brief examines Germany’s stance on European defence, following a series of conflicting statements by the US administration on NATO. It also examines the SPD and CDU/CSU manifestos and analyses the possibility of a fillip for the Liberal party, the FDP, in the Federal Elections. Finally, it addresses some of the recent decisions taken by the CDU with a view to engaging popular support for the party in September.
On 1 July 2017, Estonia took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time since its accession to the EU. This IIEA briefing note outlines the priorities and policy objectives of the Estonian Presidency, which comes at a particularly important time for the European Union.
In a joint statement, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch claim that thousands more refugees and migrants could be at risk of dying in the Central Mediterranean, if the European Commission’s plan for a Code of Conduct for NGOs is improperly conducted. The Code of Conduct for NGOs was first announced by the European Commission on 6 July 2017, as part of an EU Action Plan, which aims to support Italy and reduce migratory pressure of illegal migrants along the Central Mediterranean Route. In the first six months of 2017, Italy received over 82,000 migrants, which has stretched its capacities to the limit.