The Letter n°811

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The Letter n°811
The Letter
Tuesday 3rd July 2018
issue 811
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In the face of the European Union's political crisis: the vital cultural struggle over values
Authors : Thierry Chopin, Lukáš Macek
Thierry Chopin, Lukáš Macek
To what extent are European values shared by all Europeans? The question is raised at the national level of each society, but recently, it has also and especially emerged quite forcefully at European Union level. Do its Member States all recognise themselves in this and do they respect it? The most recent political developments, including the cleavage over the migratory policy, highlight a true divorce between East and West in terms of these fundamental values. The question is not just of a theoretical nature, since the European Commission has initiated the triggering of the measure included in article 7 of the TEU against Poland.
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Foundation : Franco-German Media Prize
The Grand Franco-German Media Prize will be awarded on 4th July to Jürgen Habermas, German sociologist and philosopher. The Franco-German Journalism Prize (PFAJ) will also be awarded for contributions made in five categories (video, audio, written, multi-media, and young talent). The Foundation is one of the supporters of this prize. On 3rd July a forum will be organised by the Genshagen Foundation on the theme of "Solidarity and Convergence in Europe: What are the issues in the crisis in Europe?".. Read more
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Schuman Report 2018 on the State of the Union
The Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2018 is available in both French and English. This year analysis focuses on the challenges faced by Europe. There is an exclusive interview with French President Emmanuel Macron, commented maps and statistics, offering a full view of the European Union. You can order your copy on line from our site, find it in digital or in paper format in bookshops... Read more

European Council : Agreement on migration
The 28 heads of State and government reached agreement on 28th June on migration notably with the creation of reception centres in Europe, on a voluntary basis and the establishment of reception facilities outside of the Union. They also adopted conclusions on security, defence, employment, growth and competitiveness, innovation and digital matters... Read more
So at what point is the UK in the withdrawal?
On 29th June the heads of State and government adopted the conclusions on the state of negotiations following the triggering of article 50 of the TEU by the UK. 27 Member States were supportive of the progress in negotiations but are concerned about their slowness. In order for the latter to be completed the UK must clarify its positions... Read more
Euro zone summit
During the Euro zone summit on 29th June in Brussels European leaders adopted an agreement on the banking package. This will enable the Parliament to adopt this reform in the shortest possible time. Moreover the European Stability Mechanism will be used as a common safety net in the Single Resolution Fund... Read more

Commission : New Digital Strategy for the Balkans
The European Commission launched the digital strategy for the Western Balkans on 25th June on the occasion of the Digital Assembly in Sofia. It aims to support the region's transition towards a digital economy and to help the population take advantage of this... Read more
Safety of products sold on-line
Four main on-line markets, Alibaba (Aliexpress), Amazon, eBay and Rakuten France signed a commitment to speed up the withdrawal of dangerous products sold by their sites on-line on 25th June... Read more
Invetsments in the digital
The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) together with the German KfW, Italian Casa Depositi e Prestiti, and the French Caisse des Dépôts announced on 27th June the first pooling of 420 million euro for the Connecting Europe Broadband Fund, the first in the EU to finance broadband network structures in the poorly supplied regions in Europe... Read more
Sychronisation of the Baltic States electricity system
Jean-Claude Juncker, with the heads of State and government of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland agreed on 28th June on a political roadmap for the synchronisation of the electricity grids of the Baltic States with the European continental network by 2025. They called for the rapid completion of the project... Read more

Parliament : Rule of law: MEPs ask for the triggering of article 7 against Hungary
Hungary may be making a serious breach of the Union's values and the Council should intervene to prevent it maintained MEPs of the Civil Liberties Committee on 25th June. They expressed their concern about the independence of the justice system, freedom of expression, minority rights and the situation of migrants and refugees in the country and called on the Member States to trigger the procedure provided for in the article 7 of TEU... Read more
Immigration: humanitarian help to migrants should not be treated as a crime
In a resolution adopted on 25th June, MEPs of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee expressed their concern about "the unforeseen consequences" of European legislation in force regarding citizens providing humanitarian aid to migrants. They deem that aid to migrants for humanitarian reasons should not be the focus of criminal sanctions and want the Commission to state which types of help should not be criminalised... Read more

Council : Conclusions of the European Affairs Ministers' Meeting
European Affairs Ministers met on 26th June and adopted conclusions on enlargement and the stabilisation and association process. They held a session on the rule of law in Poland. They also adopted updated aviation safety rules including a revised mandate for the European Aviation Safety Agency and the first community rules for civilian drones... Read more
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Semestrial Presidency of the Council
Austria took over the six-monthly presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1st July. A Europe that protects is at the heart of its priorities with themes such as: security and migration, upkeep of competitiveness via digitisation and stability in the neighbourhood... Read more
Energy Union governance
On 29th June the Council confirmed the provisional agreement concluded on 19th and 20th June between the Bulgarian Presidency and the European Parliament on the regulation on the governance of the EU in terms of energy... Read more
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Agreement on renewable energies
After five months of discussions, on 27th June the Parliament and the Council came to agreement on the revision of the directive on renewable energies. The new goal set is 32% of renewables in the Union's energy mix by 2030, instead of 27%... Read more
Agreement on the European solidarity corps
The European Parliament and the Council reached agreement on 27th June on the Commission's proposal to provide the European solidarity corps with a budget and a legal framework until 2020. New activities were added like the protection of the envrionment and the reception of migrants... Read more
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Diplomacy : EU-China: 7th High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue
The EU and China held their 7th annual high level economic and trade dialogue on 25th June in Beijing. Amongst the issues addressed featured world economic governance, support to the multilateral trade system, trade and investment issues, as well as the digital economy, climate and environmental cooperation and connectivity... Read more
EU-Montenegro: 9th Association Council Meeting
The EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Council met for the 9th time on 25th June to assess progress made by Montenegro in its preparation for accession - notably the economic criteria - as well as priorities for the continuation of work as part of the stabilisation and association process... Read more
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France : Simone Veil enters the Pantheon
Simone Veil entered the French Pantheon on 1st July. The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron lauded a strong, committed and deeply European woman. The first woman to enter the European Parliament, Simone Veil passed away on 30th June 2017... Read more

Greece : Alexis Tsipras visits the UK
On 26th June Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras travelled to London to meet his British counterpart Theresa May. They notably discussed the Greek economy, migration and Brexit. Several regional subjects were also the focus of discussion like the peace process in Cyprus and Turkey and Russia's activities... Read more
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The IMF worries about the sustainability of the debt "long term"
The IMF deemed on 29th June that the recent agreement between the EU, Greece's main creditor, on relieving the country's debt "improved its sustainability mid-term" but not "long term". "The debt relief recently concluded between Greece and its European partners has significantly improved the debt's mid-term sustainability but the long term outlook remains uncertain," indicated the IMF in a preliminary report... Read more

Latvia : The Central Bank's governor indicted for corruption
The Latvian Prosecutor's Office announced on 29th June that the governor of the Central Bank, Ilmārs Rimšēvičs - who is presently suspended - the indictment for corruption for a total of half a million €. According to the Prosecutors he is said to have accepted a bribe from the Moldovan Bank Trasta Komercbanka so that he would ignore accusations of money laundering and fraud that involved the banking establishment... Read more
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Luxembourg : Greco Report on Luxembourg
The group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the European Council published its fifth evaluation round report on Luxembourg. It deems that the country must improve its strategy to prevent all risks of corruption within its government and the police... Read more

Czech Republic : Formation of ANO-CSSD government
Andrej Babis's second government, born of the alliance of his centrist movement and populist ANO and the Social Democratic Party CSSD, depending on the tacit support of the Communists of the KSCM was appointed on 27th June by President Milos Zeman. MPs are due to meet on 11th July for the vote of confidence regarding this government comprising the ANO ministers and five from the CSSD... Read more
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UK : Brexit: the withdrawal law has been promulgated
The bill organising the UK's withdrawal from the EU was promulgated on 26th June after several months of debate in the British parliament. The bill notably confirms the date of 29th March 2019 as an official date for Brexit and frames the transposition of European law into British law... Read more
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Macedonia : The President refuses to ratify the agreement with Greece
On 26th June Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov announced that he would not ratify the agreement with Athens to change the country's name and this, despite of the Parliament's vote. He stressed that this ratification infringed the Constitution. There will be a referendum in September. The Greek Parliament also has to vote on the issue... Read more
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IMF : Brexit: influx of companies into the euro zone
The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), Christine Lagarde deemed on 25th in Dublin that the euro zone should be prepared to receive the "massive arrival" of financial companies due to Brexit. "It is vital to ensure that everything is ready in terms of regulation and supervision for the massive arrival of financial companies who in the end will move from the place they are now to continental Europe and Ireland," she declared... Read more

Eurostat : Inflation up by 2%
According to an estimation published by Eurostat on 29th June the euro zone's annual inflation was estimated at 2% in June 2018 against 1.9% in May 2018... Read more

Studies/Reports : Annual report on Trade Barriers
The annual report on trade barriers was published by the European Commission on 26th June. It notably showed that the Commission had succeeded in removing the greatest number ever of trade barriers of which European businesses abroad had fallen victim. Moreover this report shows a significant rise in protectionism in 2017... Read more
European Prize "Citizenship, Security and Defence" 2018
A call for candidates for the European "Citizenship, Security and Defence" Prize 2018 is now open until 30th September. Organised yearly by the Citizenship, Defence, Armies Nation" association (CiDAN), together with the European Interparliamentary Association for Security and Defence and with the support of the Behörden Spiegel, it rewards particularly remarkable actions in support of European citizenship, as well as "European security and defence" awareness... Read more

Culture : Raoul Dufy Exhibition in Perpignan
Until 4th November the Museum Hyacinthe Rigaud in Perpignan is showing many of Raoul Dufy's paintings. These were painted between 1940 and 1950, a period when he was living in Perpignan. The exhibition focuses particularly on three of his favourite themes. The reinterpretation of the Masters, the representations of music and the painting of flowers... Read more
"Sorolla: a garden to paint" in Madrid
From 7th July 2018 to 20th January 2019 the Sorolla Museum in Madrid is presenting several paintings by the artist Joaquin Sorolla. The exhibition focuses on open air painting and notably in gardens, such as the Alhambra in Grenada and Alcazar in Sevilla... Read more
Picasso and Dance in Paris
Until 16th September the National Library of France and the National Opera of Paris are offering an exhibition together with the Picasso Museum, as part of the "Picasso-Mediterranean" event. The latter offered visitors an exploration of different facettes of Picasso in relation to dance via a series of works and documents that have rarely been on show in France... Read more
"Rencontres de la photographie" Arles
The 49th "Rencontres de la Photographie" is opening its doors on 2nd July to 23rd September. Via more than 40 exhibitions in various exceptional locations in the town the festival has contributed yearly since 1970 to conveying the world's photographic heritage to the public and has become the crucible of modern creativity... Read more
Verona Arenas Festival
The 96th Verona Arenas Festival started on 22nd June with the new opera production "Carmen" by Georges Bizet will continue all summer until September 1st with the works "Aida", "Nabucco" by Giuseppe Verdi, "The Barber of Seville" by Gioachini Rossini and "Turandot" by Giacomo Puccini... Read more
70th Festival of Aix-en-Provence
The 70th Festival of Aix-en-Provence will be taking place between 4th an 24th July 2018. Many theatre pieces, concerts and operas are planned on themes such as love and past relations... Read more

2nd-5th July


Plenary Session of the European Parliament

9th July


EU-Ukraine Summit

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