The Letter n°756

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The Letter n°756
The Letter
Wednesday 19th April 2017
issue 756
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France and its European turmoil
Author : Jean-Dominique Giuliani
Jean-Dominique Giuliani
The electoral campaign in view of the French presidential election has witnessed the confrontation of 11 candidates. None of them are happy with the European Union. Four of them want to leave the Union directly. All of the others want to reform it to some degree or another. Has it become, as François Hollande suggested on 16th April on the commemoration of the battle of the Chemin des Dames, the "scapegoat of all of our relinquishments?" Or more simply has this revealed a French malaise, a kind of reflection that shows the French a deteriorated image of their national ambition? Or is it an easy derivative of increasingly evident anger, given the unexplained upheavals ongoing in science, economy, politics and therefore in society? There is something quite specific about French politics. This presidential election reveals all of its negative aspects. Could the election of a new president show us the positive sides and transform them into a new national impetus that is more favourable towards European engagement? Will France make a return to Europe. This is one of the issues at stake in this election.
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Foundation : "For a few stars more ... What European policy for France?" has been published
The Chairman of the Foundation, Jean-Dominique Giuliani has published "For a few stars more ... What European policy for France?" Just one week before the French presidential election he notes what the new president could and should do. Order your copy now!.. Read more
Order the "Schuman Report on Europe, the State of the Union 2017"
The 2017 edition of the "Schuman Report on Europe, the State of the Union 2017" has been published by Lignes de Repères in both French and English. You can find this book, which is vital for the comprehension of Europe in bookshops or on the Foundation's site. You will notably find an article on the French presidential election written by Christian Lequesne. Order your copy now!.. Read more

Commission : Assessment of the situation in Hungary
The European Commission is concerned about some of the controversial laws that have recently been passed in Hungary. On 12th April the European executive looked into the reforms as well as a project to "manage" the "foreign" funding of NGOs, which is against EU law... Read more
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Low growth regions and European policy
On 11th April the Commission presented a report on the paths to follow for regions in the Union with low growth rates in order to support regional growth strategies thanks to the cohesion funds allocated by the Union to these regions... Read more
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Council : Extension of restrictive measures against Iran
On 11th April the Council extended its restrictive measures against Iran until 13th April 2018 in response to the country's serious infringement of Human Rights... Read more
Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean
On 11th April the Maltese Presidency concluded a temporary agreement with parliament so that the EU can take part in the partnership that aims to develop innovative solutions or the provision, sustainable management of water and the production of food in the Mediterranean region... Read more

ECB : Annual report of the European Central Bank
On 10th April the ECB published its annual report. Mario Draghi stressed the economic uncertainty that marked the beginning of 2016 that declined at the start of the year, in spite of growing political uncertainty... Read more

Germany : Merkel and the leaders of five multilateral organisations debate the challenges of globalisation
On 10th April in Berlin the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of five multilateral organisations met to debate the challenges born of globalisation and the best way to rise to these... Read more

Bulgaria : New Bulgarian government coalition
On 13th April Boyko Borissov, the former Prime Minister, head of the GERB which won the elections on 26th March announced that he had formed a government coalition with the nationalist parties of the Patriotic Front... Read more
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Spain : Madrid Declaration of the countries of the Southern European Union
On 10th April the countries of the southern European Union (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus) held their 3rd summit and signed the Madrid Declaration. They confirmed their continued will to cooperate in several areas and to defend the unity of the EU in the face of Brexit... Read more
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France : Stability Programme 2017-2020
On 12th April the French Finance Minister Michel Sapin presented the stability programme 2017-2020 which provides for a public deficit of 2.8% of the GDP in 2017. It will be communicated at the end of the month to the European Commission... Read more
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Uncertainty just a week before the election
Just six days before the first round of the French presidential election on 23rd April Emmanuel Macron (credited with 24% to 22%) leads in three pre-election polls published on 17th April ahead or equal to Marine Le Pen (23% to 22%). Then come François Fillon (between 21% to 19.5%) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (19.5% to 18%)... Read more
CAP 2020: MPs of four European countries join forces
On 11th April the Chairs of the European Affairs and Agricultural Committees of Ireland, Italy, France and Poland adopted a joint declaration aiming to strengthen the CAP and to influence upcoming negotiations on the CAP 2020... Read more
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Hungary : Massive protests in Budapest
On 10th April Hungarian President Janos Ader promulgated a law obliging foreign universities to have a campus in their country of origin. The day before between 60,000 and 80,000 demonstrators protested against this bill in Budapest... Read more
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Italy : Meeting of G7 Foreign Affairs Ministers
On 10th and 11th April the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the G7 acknowledged the need to adopt to a changing international environment, which are influencing their interests and security. They adopted the Declaration on Responsible States Behaviour in Cyberspace and endorsed the G7 Statement on Non-proliferation and Disarmament... Read more
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Italy adopts a plan to reduce the budgetary deficit
On 11th April the Italian government adopted reforms that aim to reduce the country's deficit by 3.4 billion €, in line with the requirements of the European Commission which had asked Italy to review its 2017 budget... Read more
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G7 Energy: no agreement on climate change
On 9th and 10th April during the G7 Energy Ministers meeting the US expressed its reticence about the commitments made by the G7 during the signature of the Paris Agreement. As a result of this a joint declaration was not adopted... Read more

UK : Snap election on 8th June
British Prime Minister Theresa May called on 18th April for a snap election to take place on 8th June. To validate the organisation of the election the Prime Minister still has to win the approval of parliament by a two-thirds majority... Read more

Albania : Elections and boycott in Albania
The Albanian parliament will vote to elect a new president of the Republic on 19th April, two months before the general elections. The opposition's boycott of these elections is also preventing the launch of judicial reform deemed to be vital at the start of negotiations to join the EU with Brussels... Read more
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Montenegro : Accession Protocol NATO
On 11th April Donald Trump signed the USA's ratification instrument for the Membership of Montenegro to NATO. This followed the vote on 28th March on the Senate's approval in support of the ratification... Read more
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Moldova : EU Financial Assistance of 100 million €
On 12th April the Council decided to provide macro-financial assistance to Moldova to a maximum total of 100 million €, 60 million of which will be loans and 40 million will take the shape of subsidies... Read more

Turkey : Constitutional referendum in Turkey
During a referendum on 16th April the Turks approved by a short majority (51.4% of the vote) the constitutional reform put forward by President Erdogan thereby establishing a presidential regime. This vote weakens the country and takes it away from Europe... Read more
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Council of Europe : Justice, Social Cohesion and the freedom of the media remain major challenges in Kosovo
The Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, published a memorandum on 10th April indicating that justice, social cohesion and the freedom of the media remain major challenges in Kosovo... Read more
Supervision of the Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights
In order to improve the transparency of the execution process of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the Council of Europe has published country factsheets... Read more
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UN : Russian veto on the resolution condemning the chemical attacks in Syria
On 12th April Russia vetoed a UN resolution condemning the chemical attacks in Syria perpetrated by the Assad regime... Read more

NATO : Multilateral agreement to counter hybrid threats
On 11th April several EU Member States and also that of NATO (Germany, USA, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, UK, Sweden) signed a protocol agreement in Helsinki for the creation of a "European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats"... Read more
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Visit to Washington by Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who was visiting the US on 12th April said he was pleased with the country's continued commitment to the Alliance... Read more
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OECD : Employment rate up in the fourth quarter
According to an OECD press release published on 13th April the employment rate in the OECD area was up to 67.2%. Regarding the euro area it lay at 65.7%, up by 0.2% in comparison with the third quarter... Read more
Reduction in tax rates on income tax in the OECD
According to an OECD report published on 11th April, tax rates on labour incomes of a average worker in the OECD countries continued to decline for a third consecutive year in 2016, totalling 36% of labour costs... Read more
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Migration : Emergency relocation and the protection of children
On 12th April the Commission adopted its 11th report on the progress of relocation and emergency resettlement programmes. An action plan for improved protection of child migrants was adopted by the Commission... Read more
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Italy adoption of a plan to receive migrants better but in fewer numbers
On 12th April the Italian Parliament finally adopted a plan for the improved reception of asylum seekers but which is designed to facilitate expulsions and halt arrivals. The plan aims for a maximum distribution around the country with a goal of 2.5 asylum seekers for every 1000 inhabitants... Read more
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The HCR requests the suspension of asylum seekers being sent to Hungary
On 10th April the High Commission for Refugees (HCR) asked the "countries of the EU to stop temporarily sending all asylum seekers to Hungary" notably due to a new Hungarian law that orders the detention of asylum seekers, which is worsening a situation that is already difficult for the refugees living in the country... Read more

Studies/Reports : Greece supported economically by tourism
The World Travel and Tourism Council indicated in its report on Greece that the total contribution of the tourist sector represented some 18.6% of the Greek GDP in 2016 (32.8 billion €). The Greek economy and employment therefore largely rely on this sector... Read more
British report on the referendum on 23rd June 2016
On 12th April a report by the British House of Commons pointed to certain dysfunctions in the organisation of the referendum on the Brexit on 23rd June 2016. Foreign interference (China and Russia are under suspicion) might have influenced the vote negatively. The collapse of the Home Office's website is said to have prevented tens of thousands of citizens from registering to vote on electoral sites... Read more
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EU Justice Dashboard
On 10th April the Commission published its annual Justice Dashboard. This document aims to help national authorities improve their justice system by providing comparative data... Read more
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More than two billion people use contaminated drinking water
According to a WHO report published on 13th April nearly 2 billion people in the world use contaminated drinking water... Read more

Publication : How the United States of Europe can save France
Patrice Franceschi has published "Combattre!" with the Martinière publishing house - his work explains how the United States of Europe can save France... Read more

Culture : Jazzkaar Festival in Estonia
From 21st to 30th April Estonia will be following the jazz beat with many concerts organised as part of the Jazzkaar Festival... Read more
Cambridge Literary Festival
The city of Cambridge is hosting the literary festival until 23rd April with meetings, thematic workshops on the art of reading and writing and the promotion of literature with some major names from the literary world and translation in participation... Read more
"Picasso Primitif" at the Quai Branly
The Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac Museum is running an exhibition until 23rd July showing the works of Picasso and his close links to the art of Africa, the Antipodes, Americas and Asia... Read more
Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable - Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst is running an exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi and at the Punta della Dogana of Venice showing a major artistic project until 3rd December under the title of Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable... Read more

21st-23rd April

Washington DC

Spring Session of the IMF and the World Bank

23rd April


Presidential election (1st round)

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The Letter n°769
EU-Ukraine, Franco-German, Budget, UK/Brexit, Festivals
published on 17/07/2017
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Defence, EU-Japan, G20, Migration/Italy, ESA/Mercury, Airbus/China, ESM/Greece
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Google, Simone Veil, Helmut Kohl, EU Budget, Slovenia/Croatia
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