The Letter n°696

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The Letter n°696
The Letter
Tuesday 15th December 2015
issue 696
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Euroscepticism and Europhobia: the threat of Populism
Author : Thierry Chopin
Thierry Chopin
For more than 25 years the citizens of western democracies have been expressing their growing mistrust of their institutions and of the politicians managing their national democracies. The European Union does not escape this rule, but the erosion of confidence in the Union, as well as the various forms of euroscepticism, even the Europhobia that results from this, obey specific triggers that need to be analysed if the democratic challenge launched against the European Union is to be overcome.
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Foundation : CNAM conference on "Dynamiques européennes, fragmentation ou intégration?"
On 17th December during the Europe Forum at the CNAM in Paris there will be a conference with Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation entitled "Dynamiques européennes, fragmentation ou intégration?" (European Dynamics, Fragmentation or Integration?).. Read more
Publication of the 3rd edition of the Atlas of the European Union
The third edition Atlas of the European Union has just been published in paper and digital form. The book presents the Union, its institutions, its 28 Member States and a novelty, their overseas territories. An ideal Christmas present for someone who wants to know everything there is to know about Europe... Read more

Migration : Eight infringement proceedings for non-transposition of the common European asylum regime
On 10th December the European Commission adopted eight decisions to launch infringement proceedings regarding the incomplete transposition and implementation of the common European asylum regime in Greece, Croatia, Italy, Malta and Hungary... Read more
Refugees: more than 410,000 first time asylum seekers in the third quarter
According to a Eurostat study published on 10th December, more than 410,000 first time asylum seekers made a request for international protection in an EU country during the third quarter of 2015... Read more
A European Border Guard
In a joint letter sent to the European Commission the French and German Home Affairs Ministers said they were "firmly convinced" that the flow of migrants arriving in Europe "must be reduced." The Commission is due to make proposals on 15th December... Read more
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Austria erects a first fence on the Slovenian border
Austria started erecting a two-metre high fence on 7th December along 4km of its border with Slovenia... Read more
Finland introduces a migrant action plan
On 8th December the Finnish government published an action plan in a bid to contain the flow of migrants, to reduce maximum financial costs of asylum policies, and to enable migrants whose request has been accepted to integrate into Finnish society... Read more

Counter/Terrorism : The European passenger name record was adopted in the Committee at the European Parliament
The European passenger name record, the so-called "PNR" was adopted on 10th December by the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee, 38 votes in support, 19 against and 2 abstention, thereby opening the way to a plenary adoption of the new tool to counter terrorism... Read more
Art trafficking financing IS: Berlin, Paris and Rome are demanding measures from the EU
The German, French and Italian Culture Ministers demanded on 8th December that the Commission introduce "effective" measures to counter the trafficking of cultural objects in order to foil one of the sources of financing of terrorist groups like Islamic State... Read more

Financial Crisis : Euro zone: growth of 0.3% in the third quarter
The euro zone's growth slowed slightly in the third quarter with GDP up by 0.3% against 0.4% in the previous quarter confirmed Eurostat on 8th December... Read more
Payment of 2.71 billion € from the ESM to recapitalise the Bank of Greece
On 8th December the ESM paid 2.71 billion € to recapitalise the Bank of Greece. On 11th December an agreement was found for the payment of an additional billion euros in aid. The Greece cannot do without the IMF in its financial support programme warned the head of the euro zone support fund, Klaus Regling, on 13th December... Read more

European Council : D.Tusk's letter on the UK and Europe
The President of the Council, Donald Tusk addressed a letter to the European Council on 7th December regarding the referendum on the future of the UK within the EU... Read more

Commission : Agreement on cybersecurity
Parliament and the Council agreed on 7th December on the draft bill regarding the security of networks and information systems... Read more
Single Digital Market
On 9th December the European Commission put forward a regulation on the "portability" of digital content that will enable Europeans, who have subscribed to digital content (TV, cinema, music, video games, ebooks), to continue to enjoy programmes for which they have paid when they are travelling within the EU... Read more

Council : Conclusions of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council
On 8th December the Finance and Economy Ministers came to agreement on the code of good fiscal conduct and on a possible common corporate tax, in response to the tax rulings involving some Member States... Read more
Conclusions of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council
On 10th December the Transport Ministers adopted on first reading the three legislative acts that comprise the technical chapter of the fourth railway package. On 11th December they discussed the European telecommunications rules that might improve the comfort of users as well as the security of information networks... Read more
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Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council
The Foreign Affairs Council, which took place on 14th December in Brussels provided an opportunity to recall the EU's position regarding major issues such as the fight to counter terrorism and relations with affected States, like Iraq and Libya. The Foreign Affairs Ministers provided their support to these governments, notably from the point of view of the vital continuation of anti-corruption measures implemented in Iraq. As for the Union's enlargement they re-iterated the need to adopt a tailor-made approach for each of the 6 Balkan countries... Read more
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Conclusions of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council
On 14th December the first part of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Brussels during which the ministers involved, and also in their majority adopted a draft report on the EU's long term strategy regarding agriculture, forestry and organic fishing... Read more

Diplomacy : Conference on Accession
On 14th December the second EU Accession Conference took place between Serbia and the European Union. The two partners opened two new negotiation chapters, chapter 34 focusing on financial control and the part of chapter 35 focusing on the normalisation of relations with Kosovo. The Union's leaders welcomed the smooth functioning of the negotiations which were officially launched on 21st January 2014.

The 11th Association Conference between Turkey and the EU took place on the same day during which a new negotiation chapter was opened, i.e. chapter 17 focusing on economic and monetary policies. It notably provides the guarantee of the independence of the central bank and the ban on any privileged access to the public sector on the part of financial institutions. The Union's leaders did however address the issue of human rights and the Rule of Law, two vital issues in view of membership of the European Union. .. Read more
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European Agencies : Frontex is to deploy the RABIT operation in the Aegean
Frontex, the European agency responsible for the EU's external borders announced on 10th December that it had accepted Greece's request to deploy Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABIT) in the Aegean in the face of the influx of migrants... Read more
In 2022 Europe will launch the Juice probe to study Jupiter
The European Space Agency (ESA) signed a contract totalling 350 million € on 9th December with Airbus Defence and Space to build Juice (JUpiter ICy Moons Explorer) which is due to be launched in 2022 via an Ariane 5 rocket for a seven and a half year trip to the system of Jupiter... Read more

Germany : Time magazine appoints Angela Merkel personality of the year
On 9th December the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was appointed personality of the year 2015 by Time. The American magazine lauded her ability to "rise to the challenge" of the difficulties faced by Europe this year... Read more

Belgium : Facebook under surveillance
On 7th December five European information protection agencies (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Hamburg) published a joint declaration in which they stressed that following their legal action in a Belgian court, Facebook will be banned from following passive users' connections, ie users who do not have an account on the social network... Read more

Bulgaria : Bulgaria liberalises its electricity market
On 11th December Bulgaria launched an energy exchange as part of a progressive lifting of restrictions on competition in the wholesale electricity market, as demanded by the European Commission... Read more
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Resignation of the Bulgarian Justice Minister
The Bulgarian Justice Minister resigned on 9th December after parliament's rejection of a chapter in the reform of the judicial system demanded by Brussels in order to make the system more effective in the fight against crime and corruption... Read more

Spain : Last surveys before the election
The last survey before the Spanish election published on 11th December forecasts the People's Party of present Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, victory with 26.7% of voting intentions, ahead of Ciudadanos 23.2%, Podemos 19.1% and the PSOE 17%... Read more
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France : Franco-German Defence Cooperation
On 9th December the French and German Councils adopted a coordinated declaration on Franco-German cooperation in the defence industry in general, and on the strategic cooperation agreement between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter Systems in particular... Read more
Adoption by French Parliament of the text on the EU's own resources
On 8th December in a vote by the Assembly, the French Parliament finally adopted the draft bill approving the European Council's decision dated 26th May 2014 regarding the EU's own resources... Read more

Italy : Conference on Libya
On 13th December in Rome the meeting on Libya provided an opportunity to invite Libyan political leaders to accept a draft UN agreement in view of forming a government of national accord... Read more
Mediterranean Forum
From 10th to 12th December the forum "Dialogue for the Mediterranean" (MED) took place in Rome providing an opportunity to review the situation in the Middle East and to insist on the central economic role played by Mediterranean cooperation... Read more
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Lithuania : Lithuania: adoption of the 2016 Budget
On 10th December the Lithuanian parliament adopted the budget for 2016, 76 votes in support, 34 against and 14 abstentions. This budget, disapproved of by the European Commission and the Eurogroup Finance Ministers, is marked by the accent placed on the Defence Sector the financing of which will increase by a third to reach 574 million €... Read more
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UK : Visit by David Cameron to Romania and Poland
On 9th December British Prime Minister David Cameron declared in Bucharest that he wanted his country to remain a member of a reformed EU whilst admitting the "difficult" nature of some reforms put forward to prevent a Brexit. On 10th December the Polish Prime Minister declared that she supported the EU reforms put forward by her British counterpart but that there were points on which there was not "full" agreement... Read more
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IMF warns of uncertainty regarding the referendum on a possible exit of the EU
On 11th December the IMF warned against the "uncertainty" that is weighing on the British economy due to the referendum on the UK remaining in the EU... Read more

Bosnia-Herzgovina : Stabilisation and Association Council between Bosnia-Herzegovina and the EU
On 11th December the first meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between the European Union and Bosnia-Herzegovina took place... Read more

Ukraine : Russian-Ukrainian tension over debt
Ukraine is prepared to confront Russia in court regarding the difficult issue of a 3 billion dollar debt, for which Moscow is demanding payment before 20th December warned Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk on 9th December... Read more

Switzerland : Election of the Swiss government
The Swiss Assembly appointed the new Federal Council (government) on 9th December which was sworn in for the next legislature (2016-2019). On 11th December their functions were defined... Read more

UN : Ukraine: more than 9000 deaths since the start of the conflict according to the UN
According to a report by the UN Commission for Human Rights published on 9th December the conflict in the east of Ukraine has caused the death of 9,098 victims and 20,732 injured since April 2014... Read more
COP21: Agreement on world climate policy
On 12th December 195 States, which met in Paris for the 21st UN Conference on the Climate, adopted an agreement engaging all States and which aims to limit global warming to below 2°C... Read more

Studies/Reports : Publication of a study on the possible effects of a Brexit
On 7th December an organisation campaigning for the upkeep of the UK in the EU, British Influence, published its report on the possible effects of the Brexit... Read more

Culture : Nobel Prize Award Ceremony
The ceremony to award the Nobel Prizes 2015 took place on 10th December in Stockholm for the winners of the physics, chemistry, physiology, literature and economy prizes and in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize... Read more
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Exhibition in Paris "Delacroix and Antiquity"
The Eugene Delacroix Museum in Paris is running an exhibition until 7th March 2016 together with the Antiquities Department of the Louvre, on Delacroix's relationship with ancient art... Read more
Only one God: the heritage of Abraham on the Nile
An exhibition devoted to Egyptian heritage is taking place at the Bode Museum in Berlin until 30th April 2016. This exhibition explores the religious life of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Egypt who peacefully shared the same history over several centuries... Read more
Byzantium in Switzerland
The Rath Museum in Geneva is running an exhibition until 13th March 2016 bringing together a collection of work and manuscripts dating from the Byzantine times. This exhibition follows the links which united Switzerland to Byzantine art, thereby bearing witness to the country's role in the rediscovery of the Byzantine world... Read more

14th December


Foreign Affairs Council

14th and 15th December


Agriculture and Fisheries Council

14th-17th December


Plenary Session European Parliament

15th December


General Affairs Council

16th December


Environment Council

17th and 18th December


European Council

20th December


Parliamentary Elections

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