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The Week Ahead 17-23 November 2014

-Political group and committee meetings, Brussels

Among the items on the agenda are:- ECB President Draghi at ECON committe; Ebola, Commissioner Stylianides on outcome of fact-finding mission; 2013 &2015 budgets; Ukraine;Syria; STOA annual lecture with Thomas  Südhof

Draghi. ECB President Mario Draghi will discuss the ECB's perspective on economic and monetary developments with Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs, focusing on ECB's unconventional monetary policy which might go beyond purchases of private sector assets with an aim to help the stagnating EU economy. (Monday)

Ebola. EU Ebola coordinator and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides will brief Development Committee MEPs on the outcome of his fact-finding mission to West Africa. He is visiting Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea on 12-16 November to assess progress in responding to the Ebola outbreak. (Monday)

2014 and 2015 budgets. Parliament and Council will try to reach an agreement before Monday, the final day of the budget conciliation period. If there is a deal, preparations for the finalising next year's budget will get under way during the week. If there is no agreement, the European Commission will have to present a new proposal and the procedure starts anew. Talks are under way on additional funds for the 2014 budget as well as the size of the budget for 2015.

2013 accounts discharge. The annual vetting of EU accounts has begun and Budgetary Control Committee MEPs are starting a series of hearings in which Commissioners will account for spending in their areas in 2013. At the end of the process next April, Parliament decides whether to give discharge to the EU institutions, thus approving their accounts. (Thursday)

Ukraine/Syria. The Foreign Affairs Committee will hold two debates on political developments in Syria and Ukraine, respectively with Hadi Al Bahra, President of the national Coalition of Syrian revolutionary and opposition forces, and Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister. (Monday)

Georgia. The EU-Georgia Association Agreement will be put to a vote in the Foreign Affairs Committee. The Agreement aims to establish political association and economic integration with the country, being the third of the new generation of association agreements to be ratified, after the ones with Ukraine and Moldova. (Monday)

STOA annual lecture. The European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment body will hold its annual lecture on “Towards understanding the brain” with a keynote speech delivered by 2013 Medicine Nobel Prize winner Thomas Südhof. (Tuesday)

Plenary preparations. Political groups will prepare for the 24-27 plenary session in Strasbourg. On the draft agenda: address by Pope Francis, award of the 2014 Sakharov Prize to Denis Mukwege, votes on the 2015 budget and amending budgets for 2014, child malnutrition in developing countries, Global Development Framework after 2015 and the December 2014 UN climate change Conference in Peru.

President’s diary. EP President Marin Schulz will meet Georgia Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Marylise Lebranchu, French Minister of Decentralisation, Administrative Reform and the Civil Service, on Tuesday. On the same day, he will also meet the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Anne Brasseur. On Thursday, Mr Schulz will chair the Conference of Presidents of the EP political groups.

Pre-session press briefing. The EP Press Service will hold a press briefing with EP political groups’ spokespersons at 11.00 on Friday. The latest info on the visit to the Strasbourg EP plenary session by Pope Francis will also be disclosed. (EP Press conference room “Anna Politkovskaya”, Brussels