The Letter n°770

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The Letter n°770
The Letter
Tuesday 5th September 2017
issue 770
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Germany: a fourth term in office for Angela Merkel?
Author : Corinne Deloy
Corinne Deloy
Unlike the other recent European elections - from the British referendum over the country's exit of the EU in 2016 to the French Presidential Election and the general election in the Netherlands this year, the German federal election on 24th September next appears to be a factor of stability. 61.5 million voters are being called to ballot in Germany to renew the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament. The battle is between outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) who is running for a fourth mandate as head of government, and former President of the European Parliament (2012-2017), Martin Schulz (Social Democratic Party, SPD).
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Foundation : Conference on the history of European Integration
Pascale Joannin, the Foundation's General Director, is giving a conference on 8th September at the Agricultural Fair of Sedan on the history of European integration... Read more

Commission : Michel Barnier deplores the lack of any "significant progress"
On 31st August Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator said he regretted that no "significant progress" had been made following the 3rd round of Brexit related negotiations, the lack of any major progress on key issues, in spite of "positive" discussions regarding the Irish border. As matters stand he says negotiations regarding a future partnership between the EU and the UK are "very far off"... Read more
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Further improved car emissions tests
The European Commission has announced that new models of cars must pass new tests as of 1st September, since the transition towards low carbon cars is an issue of "public health" and "competitiveness"... Read more
Euro Zone: Business climate up in August
Confidence seems to be returning to the euro zone according to the index published by the European Commission on 30th August. The Economic Sentiment Indicator increased by 0.6 points to 111.9 points - its highest level in 10 years. The Business Climate Indicator increased by 0.05 points to lie at +1.09... Read more
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Roma: high risk of poverty in spite of better education
On 30th August the European Commission published a study focusing on the situation of the Roma since 2011. Frans Timmermans, the First Vice-President called for more work to be done to improve Roma employment rates... Read more
Jean-Claude Juncker's speech to the EU Ambassadors
The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker gave a speech on 29th August to the Ambassadors of the European Union during which he notably spoke of Brexit, the rule of law in Turkey and Poland and also of the future of the European Union... Read more
No "real" answer on Poland's part regarding the rule of law
The Commission's First President Frans Timmermans, spoke to the European Parliament's Committee for Civil Liberties on 31st August. He regretted the lack of any "real" measures on Poland's part in response to the Commission's concerns about the planned legal reforms... Read more
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Diplomacy : Mini Europe-Africa summit in Paris
During a mini Europe-Africa Summit that took place on 28th August in Paris, the Europeans and their African counterparts reasserted their wish to strength their fight to counter illegal mass migratory flows. The fight must be stepped up against smugglers' networks, security must be strengthened in Libya and the identification of citizens eligible for asylum should be defined in their country of origin... Read more
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Justice Agreement between Serbia and Kosovo
On 31st August Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy met the President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vučić. The two States came to a joint Justice Agreement... Read more

ECB : Mario Draghi's speech at Jackson Hole
The President of the ECB Mario Draghi and the President of the FED, Janet Yellen spoke at Jackson Hole on 25th August during the central bankers' annual meeting. They did not answer investors questions about the direction of their monetary policy defending however financial regulation in the face of Donald Trump's deregulatory offensives... Read more
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First sanction imposed by the ECB
The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), that is specific to the ECB, is there to ensure the respect of banks' liquidity ratios. On 28th August the ECB took the first decision of its type imposing a fine of 5% on the profit of 53 million € made by the Irish bank PTSB in the first quarter of 2017 and for not complying with these ratios... Read more
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European Agencies : The European XFEL, the most powerful x-ray in the world
The European EXFEL project that was inaugurated on September 1st in Hamburg was financed by 11 countries. The most powerful x-ray ever created will enable significant deepening of knowledge at atomic level. Researchers hope to make progress in medicine and biology... Read more

Germany : Angela Merkel improves her lead over Martin Schulz during a debate
Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz debated on TV on 3rd September in view of the elections on 24th of the month. The Social Democratic Party candidate, who is lagging behind in the polls, did not make any serious challenge to the Chancellor, with the candidates seeming to agree over most issues... Read more
Angela Merkel's annual press conference
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to the press in Berlin on 29th August. She emphasised the need for development aid given the migratory crisis and said she supported a reform of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). However she was against any entry by Turkey into the Customs Union... Read more

France : Emmanuel Macron makes the fight to counter Islamist terrorism a "priority"
During a speech given on 29th August to the Conference of Ambassadors French President Emmanuel Macron developed the major lines of French diplomacy, of which the fight to counter Islamist terrorism is a priority... Read more
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The directives reforming the labour laws unveiled
On 31st August French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe unveiled the content of the directives that will modify the labour laws. The main lines of this reform of 36 measures are the "development of social dialogue", the "construction of true guarantees for all" and the adaptation of "solutions for very small businesses and SME's"... Read more

Hungary : Viktor Orban speaks of European solidarity ....
On 1st September the European Commission reminded Hungary that solidarity was "not a dish à la carte", since Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban demanded reimbursement from the EU of half of the costs incurred by the anti-migrant wall that the country built on its border... Read more
Visegrad Group meeting over the future of the Eastern Partnership
The Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Visegrad Group and their counterparts from the Eastern Partnership met in Budapest on 31st August. They hope to develop energy infrastructure between their countries and approved the strategic challenges that they face just before the Brussels Summit... Read more

Italy : Joint security cell in Italy and several African countries
The Home Affairs Ministers of Italy, Niger, Chad, Mali and Libya met in Rome on 28th August in view of strengthening their security cooperation in the face of the migratory crisis. They also stressed the importance of investments in Libya to develop an alternative economy to illegal trafficking... Read more
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Luxembourg : In support of a "coalition of good will" in Europe
On 29th August French President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel were hosted by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. They spoke of their vision of a new union, between two-tiered integration and social convergence via the strengthening of the "posted workers" directive... Read more

Poland : Poland remains inflexible over the reception of refugees
Poland confirmed its intention not to receive any refugees in spite of the infringement procedure launched by the European Commission for the "non-respect of its legal obligations" in terms of the relocation of migrants. The Polish Home Affairs Minister Mariusz Błaszczak qualified the European policy and "damaging, and even suicidal"... Read more
Judicial reform: Poland rejects the Commission's accusations
On 26th July the European Commission expressed its concern about the rule of law in Poland even launching an ultimatum of a month to the country for it to review the announced reform of the judicial system. Poland answered on 28th August maintaining that this review was "in line with European standards"... Read more

Romania : Concern over a judicial reform project
The European Commission said on 30th August that it was concerned about a project to reform the Romanian judicial system that may undermine progress in the fight to counter corruption. This project, the main lines of which were presented last week by the Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, notably reduces the competences of the Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), which would no longer be able to investigate magistrates and excludes the Head of State from the appointment process of the head of the Prosecutor General and the DNA... Read more
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UK : UK-Japan: greater military and economic cooperation
In a joint declaration published on 31st August British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe agreed on greater cooperation in terms of security and defence... Read more

Albania : Albanian government unveiled
After winning the absolute majority in the general elections in June last the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced the composition of its new government on 27th August which comprises 13 ministers... Read more

Ukraine : The Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine enters into force
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement entered into force on 1st September - notably including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). This agreement will enable the opening of markets and the convergence of standards on both sides. Ukraine has also committed to undertaking structural reform to strengthen the rule of law, democracy and Human Rights... Read more
Macron and Merkel ask for the cease-fire to be respected
In a joint declaration published on 28th August French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Russia and Ukraine to respect the cease fire that was agreed on 22nd August last. The Franco-German couple has noted "major infringements" of this agreement such as the use of heavy arms as well as threats made to the staff of the OSCE... Read more

OECD : European Union: slightly faster growth in the second quarter of 2017
The EU witnessed a slight increase in its growth to 0.6% in the second quarter of 2017, according to the OECD figures. The development of the GDP was constant in France (0.5%) and in Italy (0.4%)... Read more

Eurostat : Unemployment stable, inflation up to 1.5%
On 31st August Eurostat indicated that unemployment lay at 7.7% in the EU and at 9.1% in the euro zone in July 2017. This is the lowest rate recorded since December 2008 in the EU and since February 2009 in the euro zone. Inflation has risen to 1.5% (August 2017) in the euro zone against 1.3% the previous month... Read more
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Eurobarometer : Rise in optimism about the future of Europe
The Eurobarometer over the "future of Europe" published on 2nd August shows that there is increasing optimism about the EU's future and the economic situation. Citizens also believe that terrorism and immigration are the main challenges being made to the Union, whilst unemployment takes the lead in terms of national concern... Read more

Culture : Matisse in the Studio
The exhibition "Matisse in the Studio" is offering the public a trip to Henri Matisse's workshop until 12th November, showing how his fantastic collection of objects influenced his work... Read more
Maribor Cultural Festival
The Maribor Cultural Festival is offering the public concerts of old and modern Baroque music from 3rd to 21st September with many renowned artists in the line up... Read more
United Music of Brussels
On 9th September United Music of Brussels takes you on a discovery tour with the Belgian National Orchestra, La Monnaie and BOZAR and 16 musical performances at 16 different venues... Read more
Ars Electronica
Ars Electronica is returning to Linz in Austria from 7th to 11th September for a multidisciplinary festival devoted to art and technology... Read more
Paris Design Week
From 8th to 16th September the 6th Paris Design Week invites the public to discover the creations of 250 French and international design professionals... Read more
Art on Paper
Art on Paper will be in Brussels from 7th to 10th September for a show devoted to contemporary drawing in all shapes and forms... Read more
74th Venice Mostra
The oldest cinema festival in the world is taking place for the 74th time in Venice until 9th September with 21 films running in the competition which are all being screened for the first time... Read more

4th to 7th September


Meeting of the European Parliament's Parliamentary Committees

11th to 14th September


Plenary Session of the European Parliament

14th September


Justice and Home Affairs Council

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