The Letter n°802

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The Letter n°802
The Letter
Monday 30th April 2018
issue 802
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European Union/African Cooperation: the externalisation of Europe's migration policies
Author : Victoire d'Humières
Victoire d'Humières
For geographic as well as historic, cultural and linguistic reasons, Africa, represented by the African Union (AU), and the European Union are both privileged partners. Europe, with its 28 Member States is still the most important foreign investor on the continent, the primary source of financial transfers and the greatest provider of development and humanitarian aid, not forgetting the many common security and defence missions and operations. The issue of migration flows between the two pervades all aspects of cooperation.
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Foundation : The Schuman Report 2018 is available
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The Schuman Report 2018 on the State of the Union is available in both French and English. This edition analyses the challenges that Europe now faces, notably with articles by Nicole Gnesotto on EU-US trade relations. With the expert knowledge of the best specialists, an exclusive interview with Emmanuel Macron, original maps and commented statistics, this book offers a comprehensive view of the EU. It is available in bookshops, on our website and in digital version... Read more

Commission : Progress in artificial intelligence and data protection
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On 25th April the European Commission presented measures that aim to place artificial intelligence at the service of European citizens and to stimulate European competitiveness in this area. It also announced a series of measures designed to increase data availability in the Union by using previous initiatives to promote the free movement of non-personal data in the digital single market... Read more
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Tackling on-line disinformation
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On 26th April the Commission put forward measures to tackle online disinformation including the drafting of a code of good conduct against disinformation and support to an independent network of fact checkers. It also announced a series of actions that aim to encourage quality journalism and to promote media literacy... Read more
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Speech by J-C Juncker in Greece
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After having paid tribute to the "cradle of democracy" Jean-Claude Juncker, who was on a trip to Greece on 26th April said that the "country was one of the mainstays of stability in the Balkans". In a distant enlargement project for some of these countries he notably said that they "needed a European prospect (which Greece offers) so that there would be no more dramatic episodes" as in the past and that "the EU would not introduce any kind of instability" within its fold on their accession... Read more
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Towards to new rules corporate law
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On 25th April the European Commission put forward new rules to simplify the task of businesses who want to establish in another EU country, whilst preventing "abusive" moves based on tax or social reasons... Read more

Parliament : Reform to speed up the assessment of asylum requests
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MEPs from the Civil Liberties Committee supported the proposal for a new regulation on the common procedure in granting international protection in the Union which states how national authorities should manage asylum requests. This procedure will be faster, simpler and will include greater guarantees, notably regarding children... Read more

Council : Eurogroup: encouraging results for Greece
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The 19 Finance Ministers of the euro area met in Sofia on 27th April and were informed of the progress achieved by Greece as part of the fourth assessment of the financial assistance programme. They also addressed Banking Union and wage dynamics as a means to macro-economic adjustment in the Economic and Monetary Union... Read more
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European Travel Information and Authorisation System
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On 25th April, the Council confirmed the agreement with the European Parliament regarding the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) which will facilitate the prior control and if necessary the rejection of travel permission to citizens from third countries exempted of the visa obligation to travel in the Schengen area... Read more
Healthcare Ministers Meeting
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The 28 Healthcare Ministers met in Sofia on 23rd April to discuss the issue of healthy nutrition for children, as well as the efficacy of and accessibility to medicines... Read more
"Economic and Financial Affairs" Ministers' Meeting
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During the informal meeting of European Economy and Finance Ministers in Sofia on 27th and 28th April, ministers addressed the EU's economic convergence policy, the Capital Markets Union, corporate and digital taxation and the fight to counter tax fraud... Read more
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Diplomacy : Syria: donors mobilise 4.4 billion dollars in 2018
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International donors who met in Brussels for the second conference on aid to provide for the future of Syria and the countries in the region on 24th and 25th April gathered 3.6 billion euro for 2018. The co-presidencies of the EU and the UN said that the conference had led to the "renewal and strengthening of political, humanitarian and financial commitment on the part of the international community.".. Read more
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Joint declaration on Customs Duties
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German, French and British leaders called on 29th April on the USA not to impose customs duties unilaterally. Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Theresa May deemed that the EU "must stand ready to respond, if necessary, efficiently and rapidly.".. Read more

ECB : ECB: Council of Governors
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On 26th April the ECB's Council of Governors maintained its key rates at the lowest possible level and said that until September and "beyond that if necessary' its public and private debt purchase programme would continue, at a pace of 30 billion euro per month. The ECB said that it had observed a certain amount of "moderation" in euro zone growth and that it is concerned about "protectionist threats" which are worsening, painting a more pessimistic picture than previously... Read more
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European Agencies : Lunch of a European ocean observation satellite
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On 25th April a European satellite "Sentinel-3B" designed to observe the Earth to provide a series of data on ocean levels, their colour, the depth of the ice sheets and the temperature of the planet's surface... Read more
Agreement wit the European Medicines Agency on its HQ
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Following Brexit the HQ of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be transferred from London to Amsterdam. On 23rd April the Dutch Council of Ministers accepted the text that finalises the agreement on the HQ of the Agency and which describes how its authorities and employees will be treated by the Dutch government... Read more
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Launch of the campaign "Managing the use of dangerous substances"
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The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work launched a pan-European in support of "Healthy Places of Work", on 24th April, devoted the theme of "Managing Dangerous Substances." This launch marks the start of a 2 year campaign of events and activities that aim to promote better ways of countering the risks to workers in their use of dangerous substances... Read more

Germany : German President visits Switzerland
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On 25th April the Swiss Federal Council hosted the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier on a State visit. Discussions focused on bilateral relations, European policy and bilateral cooperation in the international context... Read more
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Meeting between Angela Merkel and Donald Trump
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The German Chancellor travelled to Washington on 27th April for a working lunch with President Donald Trump. Amongst her priorities she pleaded for European exemption from customs duties on steel and aluminium beyond 1st May and for the upkeep of the nuclear agreement with Iran... Read more
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The Chancellor decides to host 10,000 UN refugees
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On 23rd April German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her decision to take in 10,000 refugees designated as such by the UN High Commission for Refugees. She deemed the UN programme as a means to bring illegal immigration in Europe to an end and to replace this by legal migration... Read more

Denmark : General Elections in Greenland
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Greenland, a Danish autonomous territory attached to the EU, renewed its parliament on 24th April. The Prime Minister Kim Kielsen's party, in office since 2014 won with 27.2% of the vote ahead of the left-green party (25.5%). The campaign notably focused on the issue of independence, since six of the seven parties running have said they support it... Read more
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Finland : Government prepared to increase its contribution to the EU budget post Brexit
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Finland has said that it is open to increase its contribution to the EU's multi-annual budget post Brexit (after 2020) in compensation of the UK's departure from the EU... Read more

France : State Visit by Emmanuel Macron in the USA
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The President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron made a State visit to the USA from 23rd to 25th April. This visit which celebrated the friendship between the two countries ended with a speech by the French President before the American Congress... Read more
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Agreement between Airbus and Dassault on the future Franco-German fighter plane
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During an aviation fair in Berlin. Airbus and Dassault Aviation announced on 25th April that they had reached an agreement of principle regarding the development and production of the future European air combat system (Scaf) on the horizon of 2040... Read more
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Final declaration of the conference on the combating the financing of terrorism
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On 25th and 26th April the Member States of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), of FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs), of the G20 and of the Global Coalition against Daesh, in the presence of international and regional organizations and agencies, met in Paris on April 26, 2018, to discuss the ways and means to strengthen the efficiency of our action against terrorism financing. They stressed that an integrated approach was vital with this objective in mind... Read more
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Seven European countries co-sign a joint declaration on the climate
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0n 25th April the European Environment Ministers of Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, France, Portugal and Luxembourg made a joint call for the introduction in all countries a long term, ambitious strategy in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement... Read more

Romania : 3rd Quadrilateral Meeting in Bucharest
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On 24th April Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă hosted her Bulgarian, Greek counterparts, Boyko Borissov and Serb President Aleksander Vučić in Bucharest to discuss regional interconnection and progress in Serbia's work towards joining the Union... Read more
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UK : The Lords make further amendments to the withdrawal bill
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The Lords inflicted a further defeat on the British government on 23rd April, by voting 316 in support 245 against the retention of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights in British law, on the occasion of the assessment of the Brexit bill. They also, by a clear majority, refused to give the government greater power in terms of amending legislation after the UK's exit from the EU... Read more
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Anglo-Welsh Agreement on Post-Brexit legislation
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On 24th April the English and Welsh governments came to an agreement over their respective legislative competences after Brexit. Conversely the Scottish government is rejecting the compromise put forward by London... Read more
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Resignation of the Home Secretary
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British Home Secretary Amber Rudd presented her resignation on 29th April after several scandals involving the treatment of immigrants by the Home Office... Read more
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Slovakia : New Minister of the Interior
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Denisa Sakova was appointed Interior Minister on 24th April by Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini. A member of the SMER party, (centre left) she will replace Thomas Drucker, who resigned in the wake of the demonstrations following the murder in February of journalist Jan Kuciak... Read more

Slovenia : South East Europe Cooperation Process Summit
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On 24th April the Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar hosted his counterparts from Croatia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo for the South East Europe Cooperation Process Summit in Brdo... Read more
Transport Ministers Meeting
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On 26th April in Ljubljana during the "TEN-T Days" on transport, European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc met with ministers to discuss cross-border rail, road and maritime transport projects... Read more
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Switzerland : What future relations with the UK?
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On 25th April the Swiss Federal Council issued a statement about future relations between Switzerland and the UK after Brexit. It intends to guarantee mutual rights and obligations that link the two countries beyond the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Moreover regarding the transition period the Federal Council has adapted its "Mind the Gap" strategy adopted in 2016: during this period the present rights and obligations must continue to apply in bilateral relations between the two countries... Read more

Eurostat : Deficit and Public Debt down in 2017
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Deficit as well as the public debt declined in 2017 in comparison with 2016 in the EU and in the euro zone. The ratio public deficit/GDP dropped in the Union from 1.6% to 1% and from 1.5% in the euro zone in 2016 to 0.9% in 2017. The public debt/GDP ratio dropped in the Union from 83.3% to 81.6% and in the euro zone from 89% to 86,7%... Read more

Studies/Reports : World ranking of press freedom 2018
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Reporters Without Borders published its annual ranking for 2018 on the freedom of the press in the world on 25th April. Europe is still the place where the press is relatively free, particularly in the Scandinavian countries which are in the lead. However certain African and South American countries are ahead of France, which comes 33rd and Italy, 46th out of 180 countries... Read more

Culture : Bacon-Giacometti Exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation
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The Beyeler Foundation, together with the Giacometti Foundation, has brought together around 100 works by Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) and Francis Bacon (1909-1992) in an exhibition until 2nd September Riehen. The exhibition lends expression to these two major artists of the 20th century who, as different as they might seem, offer surprising points in common... Read more
"Water Lilies" at the Orangerie
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The Orangery Museum of Paris is running a unique exhibition until 20th August. Through a selection of some of Monet's late works and around 20 large canvasses by some American artists, this exhibition focuses on the crossroads between the rediscovery of some of the Master of Giverny's most important decorations and the recognition of the New York School of Abstract Art... Read more
Gabriele Münter Exhibition at the Danish Museum of Modern Art
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The Louisiana Museum is running an exhibition on German 20th century artist Gabriella Münter from 3rd May to 19th August. 130 of her works from the German Expressionist period are on show, several of them never having been seen by the public before... Read more
Martha Stettler Exhibition in Bern
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The Kunstmuseum of Bern is running a retrospective from 4th May to 29th July devoted to artist Martha Stettler (1870-1945), who was part of the late Impressionist movement. The artist notably co-founded the Paris Academy of La Grande Chaumière that she directed for 40 years. She was also the first Swiss woman to show her work at the Venice Biennale in 1920... Read more

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