Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived in London yesterday © Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix/AP

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Today marks the culmination of a 10-day mourning period in the UK, with Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral taking place in London. Most European heads of state are attending, including those who are due to fly on to New York for the UN General Assembly — among them France’s Emmanuel Macron. I’ll run you through what to expect from all the jet-setting this week, which ends with Italy’s highly-anticipated general election.

The EU commission held an extraordinary college meeting on Sunday morning (also because of the Queen’s funeral) and recommended the suspension of a third of Hungary’s cohesion funds. We will bring you the latest on the long-running Brussels-Budapest dispute.

From London to New York

Among the hundreds of world leaders descending upon London today to take part in the Queen’s funeral are the monarchs and presidents of most European nations, as well as the heads of the European Commission and the European Council.

Most are flying in, but some have followed the advice of the British organisers and travelled by train (the Belgian royal couple and the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel). Whether driving in their own armour-plated vehicles (Joe Biden) or cramming into a bus with other leaders (most Europeans and the Japanese imperial couple), leaders will pay their last respects to the global figure that was Queen Elizabeth II.

While a majority of EU countries have separate delegations (monarchs or presidents representing them in London, prime ministers or chancellors in New York), some leaders will be going to the UN General Assembly straight from the royal funeral: France’s Macron, Poland’s Andrzej Duda, Romania’s Klaus Iohannis, Finland’s Sauli Niinistö, Lithuania’s Gitanas Nausėda, Slovakia’s Zuzana Čaputová, as well as the EU’s von der Leyen and Michel. So is Biden, who is returning to the US tomorrow and is scheduled to speak at the UN on Wednesday morning.

One leader who changed his mind about attending both events is Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who flew straight to New York on Saturday after attending a summit in Uzbekistan and sent his foreign minister to London.

The main focus of the UN assembly will inevitably revolve around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy scheduled to give a recorded address despite Russian attempts to block it. Given that Vladimir Putin is on a US sanctions list, Moscow will be represented by its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov (who is also on the sanctions list but reportedly got issued a US visa last week). India and China, whose leaders last week admonished Putin, will also send their foreign ministers to New York.

Food security, especially getting Russia to add fertilisers to a recent deal on grain shipments through the Black Sea, is also on the agenda during a dedicated conference this week.

EU leaders (including Macron and von der Leyen) are also scheduled to take part in discussions about online hate speech and terror risks, as well as preparations for the next UN climate change conference.

Italy’s outgoing prime minister Mario Draghi will give his last address to the UN tomorrow evening before returning home to cast his vote in elections on Sunday which are likely to usher in a government led by the rightwing coalition under Giorgia Meloni. (Read Amy Kazmin’s dispatch from southern Italy on why voters are willing to give Meloni a chance)

In his speech to the UN last year, Draghi defended multilateralism: “The response to the challenges we are facing — from the pandemic to climate change to international crises — lies in effective multilateralism,” he said, pledging that Italy will continue to co-operate in this spirit. It remains to be seen whether his successor will keep that promise.

Chart du jour: Queue-nomics

People lined up for as long as 17 hours over the weekend to be able to pay their last respects to the queen. Henry Mance interviewed some of them about their motivations — and it turns out, “fear of missing out” was a prominent one.

Groundhog day

The European Commission yesterday recommended that EU governments suspend a third (€7.5bn) of cohesion funds earmarked for Hungary because of corruption concerns. And if Budapest doesn’t play ball by the end of the year, more such cuts could follow, writes Alice Hancock in Brussels.

“If it doesn’t show the expected results it is always possible to start the procedure again and again,” said EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn in a news conference yesterday.

It was something of an admission that the whole process, which has been rumbling on since Viktor Orbán came to power in 2010, and which has escalated several times, including with the triggering of this new financial sanctions tool in April, could perhaps never work.

Freezing just one-third of the country’s cohesion funding is also considered by several MEPs and diplomats to be something of a small punishment for Budapest’s continued disregard for transparency, in particular the awarding of public contracts to Orbán’s acolytes.

Hungary also receives billions of euros in funding under the Common Agricultural Policy, money that MEPs in Strasbourg this week pointed out has been equally widely abused, but which continue to flow.

The commission said that it had only targeted funding streams that can be proven to be at risk of misuse. Hungary has meanwhile pledged a series of corrections and the commission said it has a November 19 deadline to show “concrete results”.

Several member states are sceptical of Hungary’s claims that it will deliver on 17 measures designed to tackle corruption, which include an anti-graft task force, changes to its criminal code to allow judicial reviews of prosecutions and a better register of the declaration of assets by high ranking public officials.

“Under economic pressure Hungary has been moving a lot on the commission’s demands in the past few weeks, but I don’t think anyone assumes this is anything other than opportunism in order to keep access to EU funds,” said one EU diplomat.

What to watch today

  1. Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral takes place in London

  2. EU commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager holds news conference on “single market emergency instrument”

. . . and later this week

  1. World leaders speak at the UN General Assembly as of tomorrow

  2. European Central Bank governing council meets in Frankfurt on Wednesday

  3. Italian elections take place on Sunday

Notable, Quotable

  • Targeting supermarkets: Spain’s deputy PM Yolanda Díaz told the FT why she is waging a campaign to press shops into slashing prices in an effort to help struggling families.

  • FBI probe: UK prime minister Liz Truss’s chief of staff said he’s co-operating with the FBI’ probe into a Conservative party donor charged over allegations he illegally provided campaign donations to a former governor of Puerto Rico.

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