The Letter n°789

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The Letter n°789
The Letter
Tuesday 30th January 2018
issue 789
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Towards a sustainable European business model?
Author : Patrick d'Humières
Patrick d'Humières
The invention of a "sustainable, accountable business model" in Europe is now establishing a new kind of reality in the world economic landscape. It should be encouraged so that it becomes a decisive pillar in the European contribution to solving future challenges. The extremely progressive integration of responsibility and sustainability into governance and business projects in Europe is opening the way for a model that is committed to society. Even though it is still in the minority, this model is taking hold in the EU, which has encouraged it via several fundamental measures (extra-financial reporting, responsible investment, respect of fundamental rights). It may lead to "an exemplary European model" within capitalism and globalisation, whose poor regulation is leading to an increase in systemic challenges in the world.
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Front page! : Brexit: to leave and to stay
Jean-Dominique Giuliani reveals that the British leaders have come fervent supporters of the Single Market. It remains for them to explain to their fellow citizens how they are to build close links with the EU whilst respecting the common rules... Read more

Elections : Outgoing President Nicos Anastasiades comes out ahead in the first round of the presidential election
Outgoing Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades came out ahead in the first round of the election on 28th January with 35.51% of the vote. He will be facing Stavros Malas in the second round on 4th February, an independent candidate supported by the Progressive Workers' Party (AKEL) which won 30.24% of the vote. Turnout rose to 71.88%, which is a sharp decline in comparison with the figure recorded in the first round of the previous presidential election on 17th February 2013: -11.26 points... Read more
Sauli Niinistö, re-elected in the first round of the Presidential election in Finland
Outgoing head of State, Sauli Niinistö, was re-elected in the first round of voting on 28th January. His victory was overwhelming, as he won 62.7% of the vote. He drew ahead of MP Pekka Haavisto (Green League, VIHR) who won 12.4% of the vote; MP Laura Huhtasaari (True Finns, PS) who won 6.9%, and MEP Paavo Väyrynen (6.2%). The other four candidates won under 4% of the vote. Turnout was slightly higher than that recorded in the first round of the presidential election on 22nd January 2012: 66.67%... Read more
Miloš Zeman re-elected as the Czech President
Outgoing Czech President Miloš Zeman was re-elected after the second round of the presidential election on 26th and 27th January. He wont with a short majority of 51.36% of the vote against Jiri Drahos who won 48.63%. Miloš Zeman follows a hostile line against European integration and immigration and supports Prime Minister Andrej Babis, recently indicted for the embezzlement of European funds. Turnout totalled 66.6%. He will be sworn in on 8th March next for a second term in office... Read more

Foundation : The Franco-German relation and the challenges faced by the EU
The Foreign Affairs and European Affairs Committees at the Senate heard Nikolaus Meyer Landrut, Germany's Ambassador in France, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation and Guntram Wolff, director of the Bruegel Institute on the issue of Franco-German relations and the challenges faced by the EU... Read more
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Commission : Progress in the implementation of Security Union
On 24th January the European Commission presented a report stressing the progress made in the implementation of an effective and genuine Security Union, including from the point of view of priorities such as the fight to counter radicalisation, the strengthening of cybersecurity and the protection of public spaces... Read more
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Investment in infrastructures focused on clean energies
To create growth and employment the Commission announced on 25th January that the European Union was going to invest 873 million € in infrastructures focused on clean energies, a project that has been accepted by the Member States. Hence by supporting 17 selected projects Europe is marking its wish to modernise and make the European energy system more competitive... Read more
997 million € fine against Qualcomm
On 24th January the European Union inflicted a fine of nearly one billion € on the American IT supplier Qualcomm, accused of having paid enormous sums of money to its client Apple for it not to buy supplies from its rivals... Read more
New data protection rules
On 24th January the Commission published its guidelines aiming to facilitate the application of new data protection rules across the EU. These will apply as of 25th May. The Commission has also launched a new on-line tool designed for SMEs... Read more
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Parliament : Towards a pan-European constituency after Brexit
The Constitutional Affairs Committee at the European Parliament voted on 23rd January in support of distributing the 73 British seats left vacant after Brexit. 27 will be allocated to the Member States, 46 will be retained for possible pan-European lists and future enlargements. France and Spain will win 5, Italy and the Netherlands 3. The proposals is due to be voted on in plenary in February then discussed by heads of State and government on 23rd February... Read more
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Council : Meeting of Ministers of the Interior and Justice in Sofia
On 25th and 26th January the Ministers of the Interior and Justice started the along the last strait of the reform of the European asylum system, without moving forward on new refugee reception quotas. They also mentioned the European Public Prosecutor's Office, introduced two months ago which the Netherlands intends to join... Read more
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Conclusions of the Agriculture Council
The Parliament's Agriculture and Fisheries Council met on 29th January to discuss the priorities to give in these two areas, notably regarding the modernisation and the simplification of the CAP after 2020 as well as the agriculture budget in the next multi-annual framework. Also on the agenda: sustainable management of animal welfare, fairer incomes for farmers, food safety and the impact of climate change on rural areas... Read more
Conclusions of the General Affairs Council/Brexit
During the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on 29th January the Commission received a mandate to start negotiations with the UK on the transition period. Hence it was said that there will be "no ad hoc deal", all of the Union's regulatory instruments and structures will apply, and the UK will no longer be represented amongst the institutions after 30th March 2019 and the transition period should last no longer than 31st December 2020... Read more
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Conclusions of the "Economy Finances" Council
European Economy and Finance Ministers met on 23rd January as part of the European Semester. They approved and formally adopted the Commission's proposals which will notably enable the boost of structural reforms in the Member States. They withdrew 8 countries and territories from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions... Read more

Diplomacy : Several European leaders speak at the Economic Forum in Davos
During her participation at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 24th January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned strong national egotism, call for closer cooperation between the Union's Member States notably in terms of foreign policy. The French President, Emmanuel Macron said that he wanted to involve new countries in European and international affairs. British Prime Minister Theresa May insisted on the importance of new technologies for the future of the world economy... Read more
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Launch of an international partnership against the impunity of the use of chemical weapons
On 23rd January a new international partnership was launched against impunity in the use of chemical weapons. Nearly 30 States made a series of commitments designed to strengthen their cooperation and signed a declaration in Paris in this sense... Read more

ECB : The ECB Council of Governors
On 25th January the ECB announced that its upkeep of rates and assets purchases on the markets, whilst re-iterating its commitment to increasing the latter if necessary. During the press conference, ECB president Mario Draghi said "a sound pace of economic expansion, which accelerated more than planned in the second half of 2017... Read more

Spain : The Spanish judiciary blocks the investiture of the Puigdemont as President of Catalonia
In a decision delivered on 27th January the Spanish Constitutional Court deemed that Carles Puigdemont could not be invested at distance to the Presidency of Catalonia. The secessionist president, thrown out by Madrid and exiled in Brussels, will not be able to run for a new mandate at distance... Read more
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The Galileo Security Monitoring Centre moves to Spain
On 24th January the European Commission decided to transfer the back-up site of the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre from the UK to Spain. The main, operational site of the GSMC is in France. Its back-up site in the UK (Swanick) is moving from Spain after Brexit ..... Read more

France : Towards a new Common Agricultural Policy
During his New Year's address to farmers French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech in which he presented the various guidelines in his agricultural policy. Apart from an investment plan of 5 billion €, a strategy for food sovereignty, notably regarding rapeseed and sunflower cultures, he also promised a less bureaucratic and more protective Common Agricultural Policy... Read more

Italy : Franco-Italian Economic Forum in Rome
On 26th January a joint declaration Medef-Confindustria-Febaf ws signed in Rome together with the President of the Italian Council, Paolo Gentiloni. The signatories want more of Europe, a more integrated euro zone and common responses, notably from the tax point of view... Read more
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Romania : Joint declaration by Jean-Claude Juncker and Frans Timmermans
On 24th January the European Commission told Romania that its projects to reform the judicial system were taking the wrong direction. In a joint press release President Jean-Claude Junker as well as the First Vice-President responsible for institutional issues, Frans Timmermans spoke of their "concern"...... Read more

Council of Europe : Italian Michele Nicoletti, President of the Parliamentary Assembly
Italian Michele Nicoletti was elected on 22nd January President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. His term in office is one year, renewable once... Read more
Bosnian Dunja Mijatovic elected Commissioner for Human Rights
Bosnian Dunja Mijatovic was elected on 24th January Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe during the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). Elected in the second round with 107 votes, she will be taking over from Latvian Nils Muiznieks and will start a six year term in office that is not renewable on April 1st... Read more

IMF : The generational wage gap has grown in Europe
The generational wage gap in Europe grew to the detriment of young people and without an adequate policy "a whole generation might never recover," deplores the IMF in a study unveiled on 24th January... Read more
More promising prospects, optimistic markets and obstacles to overcome
The IMF published its report on 22nd January on forecasts for the world's economic growth. In 2017 the world's economic growth lay at 3.7% and is due to rise to 3.9% in 2018 and 2019... Read more
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Eurostat : Renewable Energies
On 25th January Eurostat published a report on renewable energies in the EU. In 2016 the share of energy coming from renewable sources in the final consumption of brut energy totalled 17% in the Union, i.e. double its 2004 level (8.5%), the first year in which data was recorded... Read more
Public debt and deficit down in the third quarter 2017
In the third quarter of 2017 the euro zone's public deficit lay at 0.3% of the GDP, in sharp decline in comparison with the second quarter of 2017 when it lay at 1%. In the EU, it lay at 0.6% against 1.2% in the previous quarter. The public debt lay at 88.1% of the GDP in the euro zone against 89% at the end of the second quarter 2017. In the EU it also decreased dropping from 83.3% to 82.5%... Read more
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Culture : Georg Baselitz is 80 years old!
On the occasion of the 80th birthday of German artist Georg Baselitz, the Beyeler Foundation is devoting an exhibition to him until 29th Avril in Basel. Designed in close collaboration with Baselitz, this exhibition shows paintings and sculptures by the artist who is considered to be the inventor of the figurative pictorial language... Read more
Mozart Week - Salzburg
Until 4th February the Mozart Foundation is organising the traditional "Mozart Week" in Salzburg which has been taking place since 1956. There are performances of opera, concerts as well as soloist recitals, followed by meetings with artists and the screening of films... Read more
The Film Festival is opening in Göteborg
Göteborg is hosting its Film Festival until 5th February. More than 400 films from across the world are being shown together with various workshops and exhibitions... Read more
Exhibition in Lausanne on pastels
The Hermitage Foundation of Lausanne is devoting an exhibition to this particular technique - the pastel - mid-way between drawing and painting. From 2nd February to 21st May there are more than 150 on show... Read more
Vinterjazz Festival in Denmark
The Vinterjazz Festival is taking place from 2nd to 25th February in one of Denmark's biggest towns. More than 50 concert halls are opening for hundreds of jazz concerts performed by artists from the world over... Read more
The Nordlyfestivalen is opening
The Nordlyfestivalen is taking place until 4th February in Andøy on the archipelago Vesterålen, in the north of Norway. Scientific seminars and artistic exhibitions are organised around the Northern Lights, a true emblem of the Scandinavian winter... Read more
Paintings from afar
The Museum on the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac is unveiling its collection of paintings on 30th January until 6th January 2019. Over 200 paintings and graphic works are on show of the 500 that the museum owns... Read more
European Awareness Day -Odeon
A European Avareness Day is taking place on 5th February from 2:30 pm to 5pm at the Odeon Theatre in Paris. The theme of the show will be: "Europe: what Passion! History of a Tormented Love," which has already taken place in 7 other European Union countries... Read more
Carnival of Venice
The Carnival of Venice will be taking place from 3rd to 13th February with a competition of the most beautiful costumes and masks, the flight of the angel and the eagle over Saint Mark's Square, theatre plays and aerial dance shows... Read more

29th January


"Agriculture and Fisheries" Council
"General Affairs" Council

4th February


Presidential Election (2nd round)

5th to 8th February


Plenary Session of European Parliament

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