Global Political Calendar: NATO FMs videoconference for the first time
Updated 14:04, 29-Mar-2020

NATO foreign affairs ministers choose a video meeting amid coronavirus fear and UK's Labour Party announces its new leader at a scaled back event.

NATO FM video meeting amid outbreak

Given the difficult epidemiological situation in Europe and the world, NATO foreign affairs ministers will have their meeting by videoconference for the first time on April 1. "The coronavirus outbreak is a time when our resilience is put to the test and tested to the limit," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

"Some of our exercises have been modified or cancelled… but our forces remain ready," Stoltenberg told reporters in a first-ever virtual briefing to present his Annual Report for 2019 at NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 19, suggesting that military can play a role in helping to mitigate the crisis.

NATO members remain under commitments to boost defense spending to at least two percent of gross national product, but it's proceeding slowly. Two more NATO countries, Romania and Bulgaria, reached the goal last year, bringing the total to nine with 20 more members still failing to do so.

Meanwhile, North Macedonia officially became the 30th NATO member on March 27 and flag-raising ceremony will be held on March 30 at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, as well as in Norfolk, Virginia. The country's FM Nikola Dimitrov will attend the meeting.

New leader for UK's Labour Party

The event to announce the new leader of the Labour Party has been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and the announcement will take place "at a scaled back event" on the same date instead.

Keir Starmer is the likely successor to Jeremy Corbyn against rivals Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey and Angela Raynor is set to win heavily in the race for deputy leader, according to a YouGov poll conducted at the end of February.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and there are now 17,089 confirmed cases in the UK according to the latest government figures on March 28.

Day by day:  

Monday: A flag-raising ceremony for North Macedonia as the 30th NATO member, Ukraine's parliament holds extraordinary session over pandemic.

Tuesday: Merkel holds online talks with Ukraine PM Shmyhal, Hungary's Parliament votes on bill giving government sweeping new powers.

Wednesday: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds news conference, U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea possibly begin unpaid leave, 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India.

Thursday: NATO foreign affairs ministers hold a meeting.

Friday: A quiet day in politics.  

Saturday: UK's Labour Party announces its new leader.

Sunday: A quiet day in politics.