The Letter n°722

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The Letter n°722
The Letter
Tuesday 28th June 2016
issue 722
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Brexit, the possibilities of a continent
Author : Jean-Dominique Giuliani
Jean-Dominique Giuliani
It is everyone’s failure if a country leaves the European Union. In spite of some undeniably, specifically British features, we must not underestimate nor analyse it lightly, because Brexit reveals some errors of conduct and foretells of serious complications.
Firstly for Great Britain. By wanting to unify his party David Cameron has disunited the Kingdom. Britons are now divided, long term. Gibraltar, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the City are all equally burning issues to be solved, and that’s without reckoning with the economic and social consequences of this purely political divorce.
Then for the European Union itself. Indifference on the part of national leaders has meant that its management has swum with the tide for the last twenty years, its policies challenged, its functioning criticised, its goals brought into question. As soon as the results of the British referendum were made public a thousand and one voices could be heard calling for the Union’s re-design, its transformation or its reform. We should now be happy that national political actors are finally paying attention to this structure is at the core of national issues.
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Elections : Britons vote in support of leaving the EU
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On 23rd June the British chose to leave the EU by 51.9% of the vote, against 48.1% who wanted to remain. Turnout totalled 72.2%. The head of the British government announced on 24th June that he would be resigning in the autumn. His successor will have to trigger the withdrawal procedure from the EU provided for in article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. 200 trade agreements will have to be renegotiated, 80,000 pages of community laws assessed but the European treaties include nothing for the specific period covering a Member State's withdrawal from the Union which could last several years... Read more
The People's Party in the lead in the parliamentary elections in Spain
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On 26th June the People's Party -PP- led by Mariano Rajoy came out ahead on the parliamentary elections in Spain with 137 MPs (+14) and 33% of the vote. It drew ahead of the Socialist Party (PSOE) which came second with 85 seats and 22.66% of the vote (-5), the radical left-wing coalition Unidos Podemos, 21.76% and 71 seats (=) and Ciudadanos, 13% and 32 seats (-8). Therefore the absolute majority of 176 out of 350 in the lower chamber was not achieved and the head of State since 2011 must again negotiate the terms of an alliance that will enable him to remain in power... Read more

Foundation : "Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2016"
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The 10th edition of the "Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2016" is now out and available in bookshops, on the Foundation's site and in digital version. Order your copy now!.. Read more

UK/Quits EU : The UK chooses the leave the EU
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On 23rd June the British voted by 51.9% to leave the EU (17.4 million people) against 48.1% who wanted to remain (16.1 million voters), said the final results published by the British Electoral Committee... Read more
Resignation of David Cameron
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Shortly after the announcement of the results of the referendum British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation on 24th June, stating that he would remain in office until the autumn... Read more
Petition for a second referendum in the UK
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On 25th June a petition was launched on the House of Commons site demanding the organisation of a second referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. This petition has already been signed by more than 3 million people... Read more
Resignation of Jonathan Hill
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On 25th June the European Commission announced the resignation of Commissioner Jonathan Hill who was responsible for financial affairs. His responsibilities were transferred over to Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis... Read more
Joint declaration by Europe's leaders
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In response to the results of the referendum in the UK in support of the countries exit of the EU Donald Tusk, Martin Schulz, Mark Rutte and Jean-Claude Juncker spoke in a joint declaration on 24th June... Read more
Meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the six Founding Countries
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On 25th June the Foreign Ministers from the six EU founding countries met in Berlin and drew up a list of major challenges that the EU face "in a globalised world" and in a growing context of instability and geopolitical change on the borders of Europe... Read more

Financial Crisis : Visit by Jean-Claude Juncker to Greece
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A further tranche of 7.5 billion € was paid to Greece on 21st June announced several European leaders to Athens including the President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, who deemed that the country had "overcome a critical point" in terms of recovery after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras... Read more
Unemployment rises in France
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After two months of regular decrease the number of job seekers without any work at all rose slightly in May in France said figures published on 24th June by the Employment Ministry. Those registered totalled 3.52 million, in comparison with 3.511 million in April, in other words an increase of 0.3% (9,200 more people)... Read more
Report on the economic situation in Portugal
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On 22nd June the ECB and the European Commission assessed the Portuguese economy. They note that the pace of recovery does not match expectations which increases the downside risks to the fiscal outlook. The work to be done to reduce the structural budget deficit has to be stepped up... Read more

Migration : European Border and Coast Guard
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On 22nd June the Council confirmed its temporary agreement with the European Parliament on the creation of a European Border and Coast Guard... Read more
Financial aid to refugees fleeing the Syrian war
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On 22nd June the Commission announced that it was granting financial aid of over 200 million € to refugees fleeing the Syrian war and to the host countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey... Read more
Sweden tightens its asylum conditions
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On 21st June Sweden voted in support of a tightening of its asylum and family reunion conditions, a move which is supposed to stem the number of refugees arriving in its territory after the reception last year of more than 160,000 asylum seekers... Read more

Council : Agreement on tax avoidance rules
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On 21st June the Council came to agreement on a version of the directive on tax avoidance to which big companies often resort... Read more
Slovakian Presidency of the Council
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As of 1st July Slovakia will be presiding over the Council of the European Union. On this occasion the country stressed five priorities: economic growth, the digital single market, the completion of Energy Union, the migratory crisis and the EU's enlargement. The final programme will be adopted on 30th June... Read more
Conclusions of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council
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On 27th June the European Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries discussed the state of the agricultural market and that of organic agriculture. Discussions will continue on 28th June.. Read more
Conclusions of the General Affairs Council
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The European Affairs Ministers met on 24th June and prepared the European Council of 28th and 29th June, notably focusing on the follow-up to provide to the UK's exit of the EU... Read more

Diplomacy : Agreement to extend sanctions against Russia by six months
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On 21st June the Ambassadors of 28 EU Member States approved the six month extension of economic sanctions decided upon against Russia in the summer of 2014. They notably affect Russian banks, oil and defence companies... Read more
The European Union declares its ambitions with China
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On 22nd June the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the European Commission adopted a joint declaration entitled "Elements for a new EU strategy on China" defining EU-China relations for the next five years... Read more

ECB : Mario Draghi debates the ECB's bond purchasing programme with MEPs
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The President of the ECB, Mario Draghi debated the bond purchasing strategy with MEPs from the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee on 21st June... Read more
Visit the ECB
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On 22nd June the European Central Bank announced that the public will be able to visit the offices and the historic building, the Groẞmarkthalle on the first Saturday in each month, and admire the views of Frankfurt from the 27th floor. Visits will start on 2nd July 2016... Read more

Germany : German Constitutional Court validates the ECB's OMT programme
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The German Constitutional Court validated the ECB's OMT programme on 21st June. However it has set some conditions... Read more
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Discussion between Angela Merkel, François Hollande and Matteo Renzi
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French President François Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a joint declaration following a meeting they held on 27th June 2016. They noted the result of the British referendum and called for the strengthening of the EU. They declared that they wanted to move forward on three points: the common foreign and security policy, social cohesion and youth. They will make concrete suggestions to the European Council on 28th and 29th June... Read more

Austria : Meeting between Angela Merkel and the new Austrian Chancellor
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After a trip to Brussels the new Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern went to Berlin on 23rd June to meet his German counterpart Angela Merkel. He indicated that his country and Germany would work together in terms of the refugee issue... Read more
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Bulgaria : Bulgaria calls on Member States not to give up integration
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On 23rd June together with German President Joachim Gauck, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev called on the Member States' heads of State and government no to give up the project for European integration and cooperation and not constantly place the blame with Brussels... Read more

France : François Hollande meets the Slovakian Prime Minister
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French President François Hollande hosted Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico on 22nd June to speak of the Slovakian Presidency of the European Council as of 1st July next... Read more
Ukrainian President visits Paris
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On 21st June the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met his French counterpart, François Hollande in Paris. They insisted on the close links that tie them together and the importance of the Normandy Format in terms of the implementation of the Minsk Agreement... Read more
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The Netherlands : Cleaning up the oceans
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The Dutch project "The Ocean Cleanup" that aims to collect millions of tonnes of plastic waste that lies around the oceans was revealed on 22nd June with a prototype that will be tested in the North Sea before its deployment in 2020... Read more

Poland : Angela Merkel hosts the Polish Prime Minister
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted her Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo on 22nd June for a 14th round of bilateral talks. The only two women heads of State in the EU emphasised their if not perfect but cordial entente... Read more

Iceland : Gudni Johannesson, the new Icelandic President
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In Iceland Gudni Johannesson was elected President on 25th June with 39.1% of the vote. An independent and an academic, Mr Johannesson will be taking on a largely honorary post. He will take over from Olafur Ragnar Grimsson in August, the latter has been in office since 1996... Read more

Switzerland : Solar Impulse makes its maiden transatlantic flight
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After a journey of 6,272 km over the ocean the airplane Solar Impulse 2 landed on 23rd June in Sevilla. It took off three days previously from New York for the 15th stage in its world tour powered only by the sun. It is the first transatlantic crossing by a plane powered only by solar energy... Read more

Vatican : Trip by the Pope to Armenia
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Pope Francis was in Armenia from 24th to 26th June. He called for reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey and for peace, whilst maintaining that the massacres committed in 1915 and 1916 by Ottoman troops against the Armenian people were indeed genocide... Read more

Council of Europe : Alexis Tsipras at the Council of Europe
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 22nd June. He defended his position on labour reform and spoke of the Greek government's work to manage migrant flows... Read more
Round up of the Parliamentary Assembly's session
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The session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe took place from 20th to 24th June. Several issues were addressed including refugee management, infringements to the freedom of expression and transparency... Read more

ECHR : Condemnation of the dismissal of the President of the Supreme Court
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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned Hungary on 23rd June for the dismissal in 2012 of the President of the Supreme Court, Andras Baka... Read more

Eurostat : Structure of the EU's public debt
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According to a report published by Eurostat on 21st June the Member States' public debt was mainly of a long term nature in 2015. Moreover in half of the Member States the debt is mainly held by non-residents... Read more

Culture : Vienna Jazz Festival
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From 28th June to 11th July Vienna will be hosting the Jazz Fest Vienna, which is one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world... Read more
Arena Opera Festival in Verona
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Until 28th August the 94th Arena di Verona Opera Festival will be taking place with its lyrical music and ballet shows... Read more
Roskilde Festival
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From 27th June to 2nd July Roskilde in Denmark is hosting the 44th rock music festival... Read more
Lyrical Art Festival - Aix en Provence
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From 30th June to 20th July the town of Aix-en-Provence is hosting the lyrical art festival. Opening the event will be Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte... Read more
Montreux Jazz Festival
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From 1st to 16th July Montreux will be hosting the 50th Jazz Festival on the shores of Lake Geneva... Read more

27Jun
27th-28th June

Luxembourg

"Agriculture and Fisheries" Council

28Jun
28th June

Brussels

Extraordinary session of the European Parliament

28Jun
28th-29th June

Brussels

European Council

4Jul
4th-7th July

Strasbourg

Plenary session of the European Parliament

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