The Letter n°698

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The Letter n°698
The Letter
Tuesday 12th January 2016
issue 698
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The defence of Europe before European Defence
Author : Jean-Dominique Giuliani
Jean-Dominique Giuliani
Europe is facing a new strategic context calling for response, in which it appears totally powerless. Without promising uncertain stability, Europe must guarantee real security otherwise the very essence of the project to unify the continent will be brought into question. But the defence of Europe has not really moved forward; its failings have been highlighted. To guarantee the defence of its citizens Brussels must accept a temporary change of method in this area and for the Member States to be aware of the dangers surrounding us, so that we as Europeans can respond together with European solidarity and cooperation. If we succeed, European unification, its institutions, our States, will all benefit greatly.
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Elections : Presidential election in Portugal on 24th January
9.7 million Portuguese are called to ballot on 24th January to appoint the successor to Anibal Cavaco Silva (Social Democratic Party PSD), who cannot run for a third mandate. If none of the ten candidates running wins the absolute majority during the first round on 24th January, a second round will be organised on 14th February. According to the most recent poll by Eurosondagem, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (PSD) is due to win in the first round with 52.5% of the vote... Read more

Foundation : Europe and its doubts
In an editorial on his site, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Foundation looks into the reasons behind the doubts about European integration... Read more
Analysis of the Spanish election results
The Robert Schuman Foundation co-organised a conference in Brussels together with the Hanns Seidel Stiftung on the lessons to be learnt of the Spanish elections, notably regarding their impact on Europe. Enrolment is free of charge but obligatory... Read more
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Publication of the 3rd edition of the Atlas of the European Union
The third edition of the Atlas of the European Union has just been published in paper and digital version. The work presents the Union, its institutions, its 28 Member States and a novelty - their overseas territories. Order now to learn everything there is to know about Europe... Read more
Study on the rule of law
The rule of law is one of the fundamental values on which the European Union is based, according to article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union. Whilst some countries are adopting some contested measures, thereby obliging the Commission to examine the issue closely, the Letter offers you the Foundation's study which was published in May 2015... Read more

Migration : Germany received 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015
In 2015 Germany received 1.1 million asylum seekers according to figures published on 6th January by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)... Read more
Re-introduction of border controls
Since 4th January Sweden requires people to produce an ID document when crossing the Öresund Bridge. Denmark also introduced controls on its borders with Germany on the same day. On 6th January the German, Swedish and Danish Immigration Ministers spoke with European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, responsible for asylum, in order to seek a way for a return to normal life as quickly as possible... Read more
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3,771 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean in 2015
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) published its figures on 5th January indicating that 3,771 people died or a declared missing in the Mediterranean in 2015... Read more

Financial Crisis : Entry into force of the Single Resolution Mechanism
The Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM), the second pillar of European Banking Union entered into force on January 1st with the aim of putting together a fund to support failing banks... Read more
The World Bank more pessimistic about growth in 2016
On 6th January the World Bank reduced its growth forecast for 2016 sharply. According to the bank the world's GDP is due to rise by 2.9% only in 2016... Read more
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Commission : European Single Procurement Document
The European Union's Official Journal published the regulation establishing the model for the European Single Procurement Document on 6th January... Read more
1 billion € investment in crossborder regions
On 7th January the European Commission adopted a series of crossborder cooperation programmes totalling 1 billion €. These are focused on the economic and social development of regions that lie on either side of the EU's external borders... Read more
The Belgian "excess profit" tax scheme is illegal
On 11th January the EU addressed Belgium regarding its "illegal" tax regime that fosters multinationals and ordered 35 of them to reimburse around 700 million euro of unpaid taxes to the country... Read more
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Council : Official launch of the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union
On January 1st the Netherlands took over from Luxembourg for the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union which will focus on four priorities: migratory issues and security; innovation and employment; financial stability; and energy and climate issues. European Commission representatives travelled to Amsterdam to mark the official launch of the Dutch presidency... Read more
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Germany : Germany: strengthening security
In response to the assaults that took place in the night of 31st December the German authorities said they supported a rapid expulsion of any asylum seekers who broke the law... Read more

Croatia : New Prime Minister in Croatia
The Croatian President appointed Tihomir Oreskovic as Prime Minister on 23rd December. On 28th December Zeljko Reiner, former Healthcare Minister was elected as leader of the Assembly by 88 votes in support, 1 against and 62 abstentions. The newly appointed Prime Minister has 30 days to submit his government to the vote of parliament... Read more
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Spain : Catalonia: last minute agreement between independentists
Three months after the election and just hours before the deadline, Charles Puigdemont was sworn in as President of Catalonia 70 votes in support, 63 against and 2 abstentions. He promised independence in 2017... Read more

Estonia : Tunnel between Estonia and Finland
Estonia and Finland signed a protocol agreement on 5th January declaring that they wanted to work together to build a under-sea tunnel linking their two capitals, Helsinki and Tallinn... Read more

Greece : Project to reform retirement pensions in Greece
The Greek government send its creditors (EU and IMF) the draft reform for retirement pensions on 4th January which aims to guarantee the viability of the retirement system... Read more
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Warning on the part of the Greek Central Bank
The governor of the Greek Central Bank, Yannis Stournaras, called on the government on 4th January to implement the reforms provided for in the international rescue plan stressing that by not doing so the country's economy would be exposed to risks that it could not assume... Read more

Hungary : Meeting between Viktor Orban and Jaroslaw Kaczynski
On 6th January Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of "Law and Justice" (PiS) the party which won the elections in Poland met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban... Read more

Lithuania : Lithuania calls for a boycott of the electricity from Russia and Belarus
On 6th January Rokas Masiulis, the Lithuanian Energy Minister wrote a letter to his Latvian, Estonian, Polish and Finnish counterparts asking them not to purchase electricity from power plants that were about to be built in Belarus and in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, deeming that their safety was inadequate... Read more

Poland : The Polish President passes the law on public media
The Polish Parliament adopted a law at the end of December subjecting public media to the control of the party in power (PiS). This law passed by the President on 7th January was the focus of a complaint lodged with the Council of Europe. The Commission will hold a guideline debate on Poland on 13th January. The Polish President will travel to Brussels on 18th January... Read more
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Law reforming the Constitutional Tribunal
On 28th December 2015 the Polish President passed a law on the reform of the Constitutional Tribunal that will allow the ruling party (PiS) to override opinions the latter deem unfavourable... Read more
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Romania : Visit by Romanian Prime Minister to Berlin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş in Berlin notably to discuss the Schengen area... Read more

UK : Cameron: the UK's exit from the European Union is not the "right solution"
British Prime Minister David Cameron explained on the BBC on 10th January that an exit by the UK of the European Union is not the "right solution"... Read more
David Cameron in Bavaria and Hungary
British Prime Minister David Cameron called on 7th January for the restriction of social aid within the European Union after a meeting with the CSU, the Bavarian party allied to Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Wildbad Kreuth. In Hungary he met his counterpart, Viktor Orban... Read more
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Opinion Polls about the EU
According to a poll published on 6th January by YouGov, 51% of Britons want the UK to stay in the EU and 49% want it to leave. On 7th January ORB International published the result of an opinion poll covering 14 EU Member States regarding their membership of the EU... Read more
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Ukraine : Entry into force of the free-trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine
The free-trade agreement between Kyiv and Brussels entered into force on January 1st. It will help towards the modernisation and diversification of the Ukrainian economy and will encourage more reform, notably in the fight against corruption... Read more

Eurostat : Unemployment declines to 9.1% in the European Union and to 10.5% in the euro zone
Unemployment declined in November in the EU and the euro zone to 9.1% and 10.5% respectively, i.e. the lowest rate recorded since October 2011 said Eurostat on 7th January... Read more
Inflation stable at 0.2%
On 5th January Eurostat published an estimation of the inflation rate in the euro zone for December 2015 which remained stable in comparison with November ie. 0.2%... Read more

Eurobarometer : The Common Agricultural Policy approved
According to a Eurobarometer survey published on 6th January the Common Agricultural Policy enjoys wide support amongst the European population, since 8 out of 10 interviewees deem it important or very important... Read more
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Publication : Globalisation War
Jean-Paul Betbèze, Chairman of the Foundation's Scientific Committee has just published a book entitled the "Globalisation War" with Editions Economica... Read more
Franco-German book on Verdun
Antoine Prost and Gerd Krumreich tell the story of the Battle of Verdun in a book that was published simultaneously in France and Germany... Read more

Culture : San Sebastian and Wroclaw, capitals of culture 2016
San Sebastian and Wroclaw are the European Capitals of Culture 2016. Celebrations will be launched on 17th January in Wroclaw and on 23rd in San Sebastian... Read more
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Mime Festival London
The Festival of Mime is taking place in London until 6th February with 18 productions from varying countries... Read more
Exhibition devoted to women artists at the Saatchi Gallery
From 13th January to 6th March the Saatchi Gallery in London is running a contemporary art exhibition entirely devoted to women artists... Read more
David Bowie's last album
Three days before passing away David Bowie released his most recent album Blackstar, designed as a farewell gift to his fans... Read more

14th January


Eurogroup meeting

15th January


Economic and Financial Affairs Council

18th January


Foreign Affairs Council


General Affairs Council

18th to 21st January


Plenary session of European Parliament

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