The Letter n°821

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The Letter n°821
The Letter
Tuesday 23rd October 2018
issue 821
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The Cohesion Policy post-2020: issues and perspectives in the context of the negotiations over the multi-annual financial framework
Author : Paolo Casalino
Paolo Casalino
Major changes to the Cohesion Policy are now emerging. Proposals put forward by the European Commission include many innovations that may progressively distance the Cohesion Policy from its territorial, integrated approach and challenge the definition development priorities and weaken its impact in the field. But nothing is certain that matters will really be concluded before the European elections in May 2019.
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Front page! : USA-Europe: and now it's the nuclear issue ...
In his most recent editorial, Jean-Dominique Giuliani advocated for the launch of discussions between European allies regarding the sensitive issue of nuclear deterrence whilst the Americans have said that they want to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty... Read more

European Council : Discussions over migration, security and the euro zone
The 28 heads of State and government called on 18th October for an agreement over the asylum rights regime and the strengthening of the work of border and coastguards. They said they wanted to step up cooperation with third countries to stop smugglers. In terms of security they asked the ministers to set out a specific sanctions regime against cyberattacks. They also confirmed that there would be an EU-Arab League Summit on 24th and 25th February 2019. As for the euro zone they hope to find an agreement over banking union and the European Stability Mechanism in (ESM) in December... Read more
No progress on Brexit
European leaders who met on 17th October in Brussels noted that progress in negotiations over the UK's exit of the Union have been insufficient. They said they were prepared to accept an extension of the transition period which followed the exit and tasked negotiator in chief Michel Barnier to decide on when "decisive progress" had been made so that a new meeting might be convened... Read more

Diplomacy : EU-Korea Summit
The EU and South Korea reviewed their bilateral relations on 19th October, notably regarding the implementation of the free-trade agreement signed in 2011. They reasserted the importance of multi-lateralism and the reform of the WTO. They exchanged views regarding the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and looked into cooperation in terms of research and the fight to counter climate change... Read more
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The European Union and Singapore sign three economic and political treaties
On 19th October the EU and Singapore signed three agreements to take their political and trade relations forward. This involves a trade agreement, one for the protection of investments and another partnership and cooperation framework agreement in the economic and political areas. The trade agreement will enter into force in 2019 after the approval of the European Parliament, whilst the two others will follow a ratification procedure by the Member States... Read more
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The Commission adopts two economic agreements with Vietnam
On 17th October the Commission adopted a free-trade agreement and an agreement on the protection of investments between the EU and Vietnam. The trade agreement reduces customs duties but includes a legal commitment enabling measures to be taken in the event of the infringement of human rights, labour laws and the non-respect of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The trade agreement now has to be signed by the Council and approved by Parliament. That on investments still has to be ratified by the Member States... Read more
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Conclusions of the 12th Asia-Europe Summit
During the 12th Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM) on 18th and 19th October European and Asian leaders stressed the importance of fulfilling the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and acknowledged that climate change was "a serious challenge". They renewed their commitments for the non-proliferation of chemical weapons and denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. They insisted on the importance of multilateralism in world governance. They discussed the opportunities provided by greater connectivity between the two continents. Their exchanges also focused on women's rights, access to education and migration... Read more
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Meeting with the countries of South East Asia
The EU and ASEAN leaders (South East Asia) met on 19th October to discuss the deepening of their economic and political relations. They highlighted the importance of the multilateral system and the reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They also exchanged views over the climate, security cooperation and their share values in terms of democracy and human rights... Read more
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Economic Cooperation - EU/Japan
On 22nd October the EU and Japan met in Tokyo for the 1st economic dialogue meeting. Both sides re-iterated their determination to enable the rapid entry into force of the EU-Japan economic partnership and to deploy their work to promote the completion of their respective internal procedures by the end of the year... Read more
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Commission : Fight to counter disinformation
On 16th October European Commissioner, Mariva Gabriel put forward some detailed roadmaps that describe real measures to implement the codes of good practice to counter on-line disinformation... Read more
Fund to help Africa and clean energies
Breakthrough Energy, a fund sponsored by Bill Gates, and the Commission signed a protocole agreement on 17th October for the creation of Breakthrough Energy Europe -BEE. This will be an investment fund provided with 100 million € designed to help European businesses develop and market new technologies in the clean energy sector. On 18th October the Commission announced a contribution of 54 million € on the part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in support of the Union's work to strengthen medical diagnosis services in Sub-saharan Africa... Read more
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Mandate to negotiate with the USA over imports of beef
On 19th October the Council gave the Commission permission to launch negotiations with the USA regarding the import of hormone free beef. The aim is to settle a dispute at the WTO, the solution of which was found in 2009 and revised in 2014, thereby creating a quota of American hormone free beef imports which no longer satisfies the USA... Read more
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Council : Conclusions of the tripartite Social Summit
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk held talks on 16th October with European social partners during the Tripartite Social Summit. They exchanged views over the potential of the digital revolution and new technologies. They debated the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027 and the deepening of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)... Read more
Eastern Partnership - interim review
European Foreign Affairs Ministers and their counterparts of six countries in the Eastern Partnership met on 15th October to review the progress made regarding the framework of 20 goals for 2020, adopted in November 2017. They notably lauded that achieved last year, in the shape for example of the launch of the European Eastern Partnership School in Tbilissi, Georgia. They also exchanged views regarding the organisation of the second anniversary of the Eastern Partnership that will take place next year... Read more
Results of the General Affairs Council
On 16th October, European Affairs Ministers prepared the work of the European Council starting on 18th October pertaining to the reform of the asylum system, internal security and the partnership with Africa. They also discussed the procedure of the rule of law in Poland and asked the European Parliament to launch a similar procedure regarding Hungary. As 27 they assessed the progress made in terms of negotiations over Brexit with Michel Barnier and stressed the importance of being prepared for any possibility... Read more
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Court of Justice : Poland must suspend its judicial reform of the Supreme Court
In an opinion published on 19th October the EU's Court of Justice (ECJ) asked for the "immediate suspension" with retroactive effect of the measures taken regarding the reduction of the age of retirement of the judges in the Polish Supreme Court. Following the Commission's action with the Court the latter deems that provisional measures are necessary given the urgency of the situation in terms of the Commission checking de facto and de jure its concerns regarding the infringements being made to the Union's law. This suspension will be maintained until the end of the procedure and the Court's final decision... Read more

European Agencies : Space mission to discover the mysteries of Mercury
On 20th October the BepiColombo mission for Mercury, a joint initiative by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Agency for Space Exploration (JAXA), took off on an Ariane 5 rocket from the space centre in Kourou. This is the first European mission to Mercury and its aim is collate scientific data to try and solve the planet's mysteries... Read more
Agreement on the relocation of the EBA and the EMA
On 17th October the Council came to an agreement with the European Parliament on the legal text regarding the relocation of the two EU agencies that are in London at present. In the context of the Brexit, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is to be relocated to Amsterdam and the European Banking Agency to Paris. Parliament now has to vote on this and Council will make the final signature... Read more
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Germany : Elections in Hessen on 28th October
On 28th October regional elections will take place in the Land of Hessen, Germany. According to a poll by the Forschungsgruppe published on 18th October the CDU is due to win with 26%, the SPD is due to follow with 21%, the Greens 20% and the AfD, 12%. Hence the CDU and the SPD would take a third of the vote, the Greens would double their score and the AfD would enter the Landtag, whilst it did not win any seats in 2013... Read more
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Croatia : Croatian Prime Minister meets French President in Paris
Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic was hosted by French Presient Emmanuel Macron on 16th October in Paris. The two leaders adressed issues regarding bilateral cooperation, EU cohesion, notably with Brexit, migration and the situation in the Western Balkans. They also discussed the euro zone and the Schengen Area, which Croatia would like to join... Read more
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France : Ministerial reshuffle
The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron undertook a government reshuffle on 16th October: Christophe Castaner is now Interior Minister, Franck Riester, Minister for Culture, Didier Guillaume, Agriculture Minister and Jacqueline Gourault, Minister for the Territories. This new government team respects strict gender equality with 17 women out of 34 ministers... Read more

Greece : Resignation of the head of diplomacy
The Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias resigned on 17th October to the backdrop of a disagreement and high tension with his colleague in Defence, Panos Kammenos, notably regarding the role of the head of diplomacy in the negotiation of the agreement between Greece and Macedonia that is designed to bring an end to the dispute between the two countries. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that he would be taking charge of the foreign affairs portfolio in order to complete the agreement signed in June... Read more
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Italy : Moody's downgrades Italy
Via a press release published on 19th October the American agency, Moody's, took Italy's sovereign debt rating down a notch to Baa3. Experts deemed that the government's draft budget would not bring the Italian debt down as planned. They believe that it will remain stable for several years at around 130% of the GDP due to the lack of any "coherent growth programme"... Read more

Czech Republic : Part renewal of the Senate
More than two million Czechs were called to ballot on 5th and 6th October and on 12th and 13th October to renew one third of the Senate, ie 27 Senators out of 81. After the second round the Senate will be dominated by the right-wing opposition, notably embodied by the Democratic Civic Party (ODS) who won ten seats during the part renewal, whilst ANO and the CSSD, members of the government coalition only one 1 each... Read more
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UK : Mass turnout in London in support of a second referendum
On 20th October more than 600,000 people demonstrated in London demanding a referendum on the final agreement over Brexit that is still under negotiation between London and Brussels just five months from the 29th March deadline. This turnout, the second biggest of the century in the UK and supported by political personalities as well as MPs from all sides aimed to convince Prime Minister Theresa May, who has already spoken out against the idea of a second referendum... Read more
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Macedonia : Macedonian Parliament vote in view of changing the country's name
On 19th October the Macedonian Parliament voted on the launch of the process to change the name of the country to "Republic of North Macedonia, in virtue of an agreement concluded in June with Greece. By adopting the government's proposal with the required two-thirds majority, Macedonian MPs started the procedure to amend the Constitution which should be complete at the beginning of December... Read more

IMF : Agreement with Ukraine over a loan of 3.9 billion$
The International Monetary Fund -IMF- concluded a new agreement with the Ukrainian authorities on 19th October regarding a loan of 3.9 billion $, which will provide an anchor for the Ukrainian economic policies of 2019. The new support programme, developed together with the EU and the World Bank, aims to help Ukraine achieve greater economic growth, which is more sustainable and more inclusive, in view of an increase in gas and heating prices for households in order to reflect market developments... Read more
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Council of Europe : The Venice Commission criticises the reform of the criminal justice system in Romania
Amendments that the Romanian government intends to make to the criminal justice system is a threat and may seriously weaken its judicial system deemed the Council of Europe's Venice Committee on 19th October... Read more

Eurostat : International trade: euro zone surplus and deficit for the EU
According to Eurostat the euro zone's international trade balance in August 2018 was in surplus by 11.7 billion €, but that of the EU was in deficit by 8.4 billion €. The USA in terms of exports and China, imports remain Europe's leading trade partners... Read more
Slight increase in inflation in the EU and the euro zone
The annual inflation rate was 2.2% in the EU and 2.1% in the euro zone in September, National rates vary between 0.5% in Denmark and 4.7% in Romania. Inflation is being underpinned especially by increases in energy and service prices... Read more

Eurobarometer : Eurobarometer: Europeans increasingly appreciate the EU
The most recent opinion poll undertaken in September 2018 and published on 17th October shows that 62% of Europeans believe that their country's membership of the EU is a good thing and 68% believe that their country has benefited from this - the highest figure since 1983. 17% of Europeans would like to leave the EU but they remain a minority in their countries. 53% of the Britons interviewed would vote for the upkeep of the UK in the EU if a second referendum were to be organised. As for the European elections 2019 half of Europeans are interested and know the date when they will take place... Read more
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Studies/Reports : One child in four threatened by poverty or social exclusion in the EU
In the most recent report by the Union's Agency for Fundamental Rights published on 17th October it is revealed that one child in four within the Union is threatened by poverty or social exclusion. This figure is higher in some countries (one in two in Romania) or in certain communities (90% amongst the Roma children). In all 25 million European children living in poor households have no access to healthcare, education or adequate food. The report asks the institutions to orient European funds better and strengthen policies for protection... Read more
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EESC's opinion on economic governance
In the opinions published in conclusion of its plenary session on 18th October, the European Economic and Social Committee deemed that the Reform Support Programme (RSP) put forward by the Commission should be clarified and not run alongside retrospective payments, that provided less incentive for the Member States. The EESC noted that the European Investment Stabilisation Function (EISF) put forward by the Commission was a useful economic support tool when their was economic slowing but that it would not be enough since it does not replace economic stabilisers that are vital in rising to the challenges of in times of crisis... Read more

Culture : Launch of the prototype of a European film directory
During the International Classic Film Market in Lyon on 18th October, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, who is responsible for the Digital Economy and Businesses, presented the prototype of the European film directory launched with the European Audiovisual Observatory; this virtual catalogue will help provide full visibility for European films and will give precious information to public authorities and professionals in the sector. It should be up and running at the end of next year.. Read more
Schiele and Basquiat Exhibition
The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris is running two monographies until 14th January 2019, one of the painter and drawer of the Viennese Secession, Egon Schiele, and the other to the New York Afro-American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat... Read more
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Film Festival Rome
The 13th edition of the International Film Festival of Rome is taking place until 28th October. The Marcus-Aurelius is awarded to the best films, directors and actors from the world over during the celebrations... Read more
Re-opening of the Fine Arts Museum in Stockholm
The National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm re-opened its doors in October with paintings and sculptures on show alongside with applied arts and design that have come from unique national and international collections... Read more
Beckmann Exhibition at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Madrid is devoting an exhibition to the German painter of the first half of the 20th century, Max Beckman from 25th October 2018 to 27th January 2019. It provides the public with an opportunity to travel through German history of this period via the artist's life and works: from the First World War to exile as Nazism and censorship rose... Read more
"See, think, dream" in Karlsruhe
The Kunsthalle of Karlsruhe is devoting an exhibition to French drawings dating from the 16th to 20th centuries. Works by Fragonard, Odilon Redon and Degas, amongst others can be seen by visitors until 13th January 2019... Read more

22nd-25th October


Plenary Session of the European Parliament


Sibos Conference on Financial Services

26th October


Presidential Election

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