UN annual meeting and Poland in focus This WEEK


Senior EU officials will travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, which will be held from September 20 to 24.

It comes at a sensitive time in EU-US relations: the disorderly US withdrawal from Afghanistan last month reinforced calls for more EU sovereignty, as the decision taken last week by the US and UK to deliver sensitive technology to Australia was described as a “stab in the back” by some European politicians.

EU officials will also try to push the United States to join the bloc’s ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.

The European trio will not meet with US President Joe Biden in person, as the US president will not be there in person, but they are scheduled to meet online, EU officials said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell will travel to New York on Monday.

On Monday, they will hold a high-level climate roundtable and meet with UN Secretary General António Guterres.

On Tuesday, Michel will host a UN women’s meeting with a focus on women in conflict. He will deliver his speech on Friday and is expected to meet with African leaders and the Vietnamese, Libyan and Turkish presidents.

Michel will travel to New York from Mexico City, where he will meet with leaders from Latin America and Caribbean countries.

The European side is expected to raise the issue of the new British and American security pact with Australia with its British partners, and the issue will also be addressed at the European summit in October.

The deal, seen as an effort to counter China, will require the US and UK to hand over sensitive technology to Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines.

This decision surprised and angered European partners, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calling the announcement a “stab in the back”.

illiberal creep

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Russians went to the polls in a general election, the winner of which was already clear from the start: President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party.

Legislative and local elections began on Friday and lasted for three days.

Although a total of 14 parties took part in the vote, many candidates considered anti-Putin were barred from standing.

For the first time since 1993, election observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were not present due to “limitations” imposed by the Russian authorities.

On Wednesday (September 22), the Polish Constitutional Court is holding a hearing on whether EU law takes precedence in the country. It is not clear whether the court will make a decision.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called on the court, dominated by ruling party loyalists, to deliver a judgment – amid a wider dispute over systematic changes to the judiciary in Poland, which the EU sees as a violation of democratic standards.

Back in Brussels on Tuesday September 21, European Affairs ministers will meet and focus on EU-UK relations, the Conference on the Future of Europe, Covid-19 cooperation and preparations for the European summit of October.

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