The Letter n°803

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The Letter n°803
The Letter
Monday 7th May 2018
issue 803
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Declaration of the 9th May
On 9th May 1950, five years after the end of the war in Europe, Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Affairs Minister proposed that France and Germany pool their coal and steel capacities, thereby laying the foundations of what was to become the Community and then the European Union.
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Foundation : The "Schuman Report 2018" is available in paper and digital format
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The "Schuman Report 2018 on the State of the Union" is available in French and English. This edition analyses the challenges that Europe faces, with articles contributed by leading specialists, an exclusive interview with French President Emmanuel Macron, commented maps and statistics, offering a comprehensive overview of the European Union. You can order it on-line from our site in digital format or you can purchase it from a bookshop... Read more
The European Parliament, the heart of European democracy?
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On 9th May the Robert Schuman Foundation together with InEuropa and the European Parliament are organising a debate in Warsaw on the theme of liberal democracy and the role of the European Parliament... Read more
The European Parliament, the heart of European democracy?
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The Robert Schuman Foundation together with the Jozsef Antall Foundation and the European Parliament are organising a conference "The European Parliament, the heart of European democracy?" in Budapest on 10th May... Read more

Elections : General Elections in Slovenia
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On 3rd June next, 1.7 million Slovenians will be called to ballot to appoint the 90 members of the Drzavni Zbor. According to the most recent poll by Mediana for POP TV, the Democratic Party (SDS) of former head of government (2004-2008 and 2012-2013) Janez Jansa, is due to come out ahead with 13.5% of the vote, followed closely by the Marjan Sarec List (LMS), which is due to win 13.3%. The Social Democrats (SD) led by Dejan Zidan is due to come 3rd with 8.5% and the Modern Centre Party (SMC) of outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar, 4.1% of the vote, i.e, just above the 4% threshold that allows representatives to sit in the National Assembly... Read more

Commission : Draft Union Budget 2021-2027
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On 2nd May the European Commission put forward a Union budget of 1.279 billion € for the period 2021-2027, an increase in spite of the loss forecast in terms of the contribution made by the UK post-Brexit. It did advocate however for a reduction of around "5%" in funds allocated to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and to the Cohesion Policy. It also provides for a "restriction of access to European funds" in the event of any infringements of the rule of law. Finally it suggests an overall package of nearly 20 billion € for European Defence... Read more
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Spring economic outlook
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On 3rd May the European Commission maintained its growth forecast for the euro zone. In 2018 it is expecting an increase in the GDP of 2.3%, followed by a slight slowing in 2019 to 2% after having performed its best growth rate in the last ten years (in 2017, 2.4%). It warned against protectionism, "the greatest danger" for the euro zone's economy. France is in a "good position" to emerge from the excessive deficit procedure opened against it in 2009 since its deficit is due to remain below 3% of its GDP in 2018 and 2019... Read more
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15,000 under 18 year olds invited to explore Europe this summer
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The EU wants to help 15,000 young under 18 year olds travel free of charge across Europe this summer. This is part of a programme entitled "DiscoverEU" indicated the European Commission on 3rd May. The initiative born of a proposal made by the European Parliament has a budget of 12 million € in 2018 to finance tickets. The programme will be open in June to candidates under 18 on 1st July via an internet site "European Youth Portal"... Read more

Parliament : Protecting Migrant Children
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On 3rd May MEPs called for greater protection of migrant children. They hope that the latter and their families will be taken in without being deprived of their freedom during the processing of their asylum request... Read more
Protecting journalists and the plural nature of the media
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On 3rd May MEPs called for the protection of journalists and the freedom of the media. Member States should therefore "introduce and maintain within the law and the facts, a safe environment for journalists... Read more

Council : Informal meeting of European Defence Ministers
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On 4th and 5th May the European Defence Ministers met in Sofia. Discussions focused mainly on the European Defence Agency, Permanent Structures Cooperation (for which new projects will be announced this year), the Action Plan for Military Mobility (cooperation with NATO) and a new financial instrument put forward by the High Representative: the European Facility for Peace... Read more
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4th EU Association Council meeting with Moldova
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The EU Association Council-Moldova approved a political agreement on 3rd May in Brussels, together with Federica Mogherini. The EU and Moldova re-iterated their commitment to their political and economic integration process... Read more
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Diplomacy : Protection and assistance to EU citizens
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Since May 1st citizens of the EU living or travelling outside of the EU are consular protection if required when the Member State of origin is not represented in a third country where they are staying... Read more
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Steel and Aluminium: Trump extends the exemption for the European Union
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American President Donald Trump decided to maintain the temporary exemption on customs duties on steel and aluminium imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico until 1st June, announced the White House on 30th April. This decision extends "uncertainty on the markets" declared the Commission in a press release on May 1st... Read more
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European Agencies : Dismantling of a VAT fraud network
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On 4th May Eurojust announced that around hundred simultaneous operations took place last month in eight EU countries. The organisation mainly comprising German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese citizens are suspected of having collated 140 million euro over the last two years... Read more
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Germany : Draft Budget 2019
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The budgetary road map adopted on 2nd May by the German government provides for a 37 billion € increase in revenues and spending to bring these up to 367.7 billion within four years without creating any further debt, privileging investments in infrastructures, family policy and training... Read more
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Belgium : Debate with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel on the future of Europe
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Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel debated the future of Europe with MEPs and the President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on 3rd May. "I want a strong Europe that is working where there is real added value," declared the Belgian Prime Minister, advocating three things: stimulating prosperity, guaranteeing security and the respect of fundamental values... Read more
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Spain : Official dissolution of the terrorist group ETA
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On 2nd May the Basque terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) founded in 1959, officially announced the "complete dissolution of all of its structures". The last act took the shape of an "international conference" for the peace process in the Basque country, 4th May at Cambo-les-Bains. The government stressed that this was a day "of remembrance and tribute" to the victims and ruled out any idea of "impunity" for the crimes committed... Read more
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Greece : Economic Study of Greece by the OECD
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On 30th April the OECD published its economic study on Greece which mentions 'the remarkable effort" and the "significant reforms" that have notably helped a return to growth (forecast to be over 2% in 2018 and 2019)... Read more

Ireland : Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney meets Michel Barnier
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On 30th April Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney met with Michel Barnier as well as 500 participants in an "All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit" notably to discuss the issue of young people and Brexit, as well as issues related to the economy and civil society... Read more
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Meeting with the French Minister regarding fishing post-Brexit
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On 3rd May the Irish and French ministers responsible for fisheries, Michael Creed and Stéphane Travert met in Paris. It is the fifth bilateral meeting organised by the minister with his European counterparts on the impact of Brexit on the agri-food and fisheries sectors and the future of the Common Agricultural Policy... Read more

Luxembourg : Finance Minister in London
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Pierre Gramegna, the Luxembourg Finance Minister, was in London to meet his British counterpart Philip Hammond. They discussed bilateral relations, the most recent developments in relation to Brexit, as well as the regulation of the financial markets... Read more
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Romania : The President vetoes the controversial reform of the legal system
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On 2nd May Romanian President Klaus Yohannis refused to promulgate the reform of the legal system adopted at the end of 2017, referring it to the Constitutional Court and the Venice Commission for an opinion. This reform, which he believes is not in line with the "national institutional framework" and "European standards" is the focus of lively criticism since it endangers the independence of the legal system... Read more
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UK : The Lords give Parliament theright to block Brexit without an agreement
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On 30th April the House of Lords adopted an amendment to the draft bill on Brexit giving Parliament the power to prevent the government from leaving the EU without an agreement with Brussels. The amendment would enable Parliament to send the government back to the negotiation table or even decide to remain in the Union. Another amendment was also approved to prevent the establishment of a hard border between Eire (the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland... Read more
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Sajid Javid, New Home Secretary
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Following the resignation of Amber Rudd on 29th April, Theresa May appointed a new Home Secretary on 30th April, Sajid Javid, who was previously Housing Secretary... Read more
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Eurostat : Unemployment down in the EU
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According to a Eurostat study published on 2nd May the unemployment rate lay at 7.1% in March 2018 in the EU, stable in comparison with February 2018 and down in comparison with 7.9% in March 2017. This is the lowest rate recorded since September 2008. In the euro zone it lies at 8.5%. This is the lowest rate recorded since December 2008... Read more
Inflation slows in April to 1.2%
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The euro zone's inflation rate slowed in April lay at 1.2% against 1.3% in March announced Eurostat on 3rd May in a flash estimation... Read more
CO2 emissions up by 1.8% in the EU
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According to a Eurostat press release published on 4th May the CO2 emissions emanating from the combustion of fossil fuels increased by 1.8% in the EU in 2017 in comparison with 2017. These emissions are strong factors in global warming and represent around 80% of all CO2 emissions in the EU... Read more

Culture : 71st Cannes Festival
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From 9th to 18th May the 71st Cannes Festival will be taking place with 21 full feature films running in the competition. Australian actress Cate Blanchett will be chairing the competition's jury... Read more
Rodin at the British Museum
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From 26th April to 29th June the British Museum is running a unique exhibition of works by Rodin. On show are originals in plaster, bronze and marble of various sculptures on loan from the Rodin Museum in Paris. For the very first time they are on show alongside certain sculptures from the Parthenon... Read more
World Press Photo 2018 in Rome
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Until 27th May the Exhibition Hall in Rome is hosting the World Press Photo 2018 exhibition. The latter is one of the most important prizes in the photojournalism sector... Read more
Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels
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Until 26th May the Kunstenfestivaldesarts is taking place in Brussels; it is devoted to contemporary art and on the programme are theatre, dances, cinema and visual arts... Read more
Exhibition at the Pompidou Centre of Metz
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The Pompidou Centre-Metz is running an interdisciplinary exhibition in partnership with the Barbican Centre of London - the latter is devoted to creative couples like Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Charles and Ray Eames ... it will be running until 20th August... Read more

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