The Letter n°847

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The Letter n°847
The Letter
Tuesday 14th May 2019
issue 847
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Between China and the USA, Europe seeks its future
Author : Pierre Vimont
Pierre Vimont
Between the two world powers, the USA and China, which each in their own way, and according to their own interests, want to shape the new world order, Europe has a political message of balance and tolerance, which undoubtedly remains the best possible answer to the multitude of challenges. Its problem lies in convincing itself that it must shoulder this responsibility, and to do this it has to be in working order to overcome the divisions.
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Foundation : Re-edition of the Robert Schuman's book "For Europe"
On the occasion of the European elections, the Foundation is publishing a new edition of "For Europe" by Robert Schuman. Read the only book which this "Father of Europe" devoted to the European Union, to understand his approach and the political issues behind this peaceful, voluntary construction of continental unity - and in virtue of this, unique in history. His vision is still vital for Europe today and a requirement for thought regarding its future... Read more
A site to discover everything there is to know about the European Elections
In two weeks time, from 23rd to 26th May the Europeans will be invited to elect their MEPs for the next five years. The Foundation is offering its audience an internet site designed to promote greater understanding of the election and what is at stake. You can follow the campaign in the Member States with the lists running and country by country surveys... Read more
The Permanent Atlas of the European Union
In view of the upcoming European elections the Foundation has published a new version of the "Permanent Atlas of the European Union' which offers a full panorama of the Union, the euro zone, of each of its Member States and its overseas territories. This book allows readers to have at their fingertips the most recent and objective political and statistical information about the Union. It is available in paper format from the Foundation's bookshop and from bookshops in general. It is also available in digital form... Read more
The Grand Turning Point - The European 21st Century
In "The Grand Turning Point" published by the Ecole de Guerre, contrary to popular discourse - Jean-Dominique Giuliani shows that the EU has the means to rise to the new challenges brought to us by the 21st century. Europe has succeeded beyond the hopes of the Founding Fathers. It can still succeed and guarantee its place among the three greatest world powers by the end of the century... Read more

Elections : First round of the presidential election in Lithuania
Ingrida Simonyte, former Finance Minister (2009-2012) came out ahead in the first round of the presidential election that took place on 12th May in Lithuania with 31.13% of the vote ahead of her rival, economist, Gitanas Nauseda (independent) who won 30.95%. Both candidates will face each other in the second round on 26th May the day when the Lithuanians will also be voting for their MEPs. The outgoing Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who came third announced that he would resign on 12th July, on the day that the second mandate of the outgoing President, Dalia Grybauskaite comes to an end. European Healthcare Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis won 4.79% of the vote. Turnout totalled 56.45%... Read more
Will Belgium re-elect the Swedish coalition now in office?
The parliamentary and regional elections are due to take place on 26th May to renew the federal government and those of 3 regions in Belgium. The main issue at stake will regard the re-election of the coalition between the liberals and Flemish nationalists, introduced in 2014, despite the collapse of the government in December last over the question of migration. Whilst the socialists and Christian Democrats hope to make a come back, the Greens are doing very well and might influence the election result... Read more

European Council : Sibiu Declaration on the future of the Union
Meeting in Sibiu, Romania for an informal summit without the UK the leaders of Europe adopted a declaration in which they committed to 10 principles for the future of the Union. Amongst these commitments feature the Union's unity, the protection of its citizens, their mode of life and the rule of law, justice and a stronger role for the EU in the world. They also debated the Union's strategic programme which will be adopted in June. They agreed to meet on 28th May to assess the results of the European elections and to start discussions over the appointment of the next President of the Commission... Read more

Commission : Speech by Jean-Claude Juncker and results of the Commission 2014-2019
The President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker held a press conference on 7th May devoted to the future of the European Union just two days before the informal summit of the 27 heads of State and government. He also commented on the results of his five year mandate as head of the Commission, recalling that the latter had presented all of the legislative proposals that it had pledged to draft at the beginning of his mandate. He acknowledged two "mistakes": his silence during the British referendum campaign over Brexit and a late response to the LuxLeaks scandal... Read more
Condemnation of the AB InBev brewery for breaching anti-trust rules
On 13th May the Commission fined AB InBev, the world's largest brewery, 200 million € for the breach of the Union's anti-trust rules between February 2009 and October 2016. The Commission deems that AB InBev abused its dominant position on the Belgian beer market, as it used four procedures to limit the possibility of Belgian supermarkets and wholesalers to purchase the Jupiler brand of beer at lower prices in the Netherlands and to import it into Belgium... Read more
Economic Forecast 2019-2020
On 7th May the European Commission published its economic forecast for 2019-2020. The slowing of growth should end in 2019 and the GDP is due to increase by 1.4% in the EU this year and by 1.2% in the euro zone. Unemployment in the Union should continue to decrease, to reach 6.2% in 2020 (against 6.4% in March 2019) in the Union and 7.3% in the euro zone. Inflation is due to remain moderate and public debt/GDP ratios are due to decrease in most Member States in 2019 and 2020. However aggregated government deficit at Union level is due to grow rising from 0.6% of the GDP in 2018 to 1% in 2019 and 2020. The Commission has identified risks that are weighing over the forecasts like the adoption of worldscale protectionist measures and a no-deal Brexit... Read more

Council : Extension of the EU's mission in Ukraine
On 13th May the Council extended the mandate of the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) until 31st May 2021 and approved a 25% increase in its budget to 54 million € for the period 2019-2021. This increase is linked to the introduction of the second mobile unit that will be deployed in the East and South-East of Ukraine. Since 2014 the civilian EUAM mission has been providing strategic support to the Ukrainian authorities in the reform of the civilian security sector... Read more

Diplomacy : 10th Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership
On 13th May the Union's High Representative, its Foreign Affairs Ministers and their counterparts from the Partnership's six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) met in Brussels on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership. They reasserted that the Eastern Partnership was an effective, dynamic cooperation framework and said they wanted to see it prosper. They also debated the challenges to come and stressed the key role played by civil society and young people... Read more
Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council
The Foreign Affairs Council which met on 13th May recalled their attachment to the agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme. Whilst the American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo met his French, German and British counterparts as well as the EU's High Representative Federica Mogherini, they expressed their concern about the ultimatum launched by Iran but also about the hardening of the US economic sanctions. Ministers also discussed the situation in Libya and adopted a declaration exhorting the various parties involved to come to a peaceful solution. They adopted conclusions on the Sahel, in preparation for the Council devoted to defence which is taking place on 14th May together with the Ministers of Defence of the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger)... Read more
The Europeans reject the Iranian ultimatum regarding its nuclear programme
In a joint press release published on 9th May the Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the French, German and British Foreign Affairs Ministers rejected the ultimatum launched on 8th May by Iran regarding its nuclear programme. Iran stopped respecting the two clauses in the international agreement regarding its nuclear programme and gave Germany, France and the UK 60 days to fulfil their economic commitments. In their press release these three countries and the Union condemned this ultimatum reasserting their wish to protect the agreement and the regret that the USA has strengthened its economic sanctions against Iran... Read more
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European Agencies : Launch of the production of Ariane 6
The ArianeGroup announced on 6th May that it had started the production of the first 14 Ariane 6 launchers which will fly between 2021 and 2023, at the same time as the last Ariane 5. The inaugural flight of the new European launcher is planned for the second half of 2020. These 14 launchers will be produced in the ArianeGroup factories in France and Germany and in those of its European industrial partners, in the thirteen countries taking part in the Ariane 6 programme... Read more

Germany : Increase in research spending
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on 9th May that there would be an increase in research spending in Germany bringing the latter up to 3.5% of the GDP by 2025. The budget is due to total 19.6 billion € in 2019... Read more

Cyprus : Offshore Drilling: Union support against Turkey
Tension increased between Cyprus and Turkey after the Turkish government announced on 3rd May that it intended to undertake gas exploration operations in the region that is in part the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus in the Mediterranean. The two countries have been arguing over the zone due to the occupation of the northern party of Cyprus by Turkey. During the Sibiu Summit on 9th May the President of the European Council Donald Tusk stated that "the EU stands behind Cyprus and expects Turkey to respect the EU Member States' sovereign rights... Read more

Denmark : General elections set for 5th June
On 7th May the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced that the next elections will take place on 5th June. Chairman of the Liberal Party (Venstre), he is at present the leader of the government coalition. The most recent surveys forecast the social democrats in the lead position... Read more
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Council of Europe : Meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Thorbjørn Jagland
On 6th May French President Emmanuel Macron hosted the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland at the Elysée Palace on the occasion of the 70 anniversary of the intergovernmental organisation. France will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of Europe on 17th May... Read more
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Ethnic profiling, a practice that persists in Europe
Racial or ethnic profiling by the police and the judicial system is still widespread amongst all of the Member States of the Council of Europe despite increasing jurisprudence, notes the Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic in a study published on 9th May. She notes the development of the use of machine-learning algorithms by the criminal courts and insists on the need to have access to judicial and non-judicial remedies if there is suspicion of ethnic profiling... Read more
Good governance in the Eastern Neighbourhood
The European Union and the Council of Europe launched the second phase of the Partnership for Good Governance on 7th May; this is a programme that is designed to strengthen Human Rights, democracy and the rule of law in Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The first phase took place from 2015 to 2018. The second phase has a budget of 17.5 million € from 2019 to 2021... Read more

Eurostat : Decrease in CO2 emissions in 2018
According to an estimate published on 8th May by Eurostat, CO2 emissions in the EU decreased by 2.5% in 2018 in comparison with 2017. The greatest reductions were achieved in Portugal (-9%), Bulgaria (-8.1%), Ireland (-6.8%) and in Germany (-5.4%). Increases were also recorded in eight Member States, notably in Latvia (+8.5%), Malta (6.7%) and Estonia (+4.5%). CO2 emissions contribute to global warming and represent around 80% of all of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions... Read more

Eurobarometer : Europeans and Biodiversity
According to a Eurobarometer survey published on 6th May 96% of the citizens interviewed are concerned about the loss of biodiversity and support greater Union action to protect nature. The threats seen to be the most acute again biodiversity regard the air, soil and water pollution, man-made disasters and climate change. This survey is part of the first world assessment of the state of nature and on the place that humanity occupies in this launched on 6th May by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)... Read more

Studies/Reports : The OECD report on the EU
The OECD published a report on 6th May entitled "The European Union - a people centred agenda - an international perspective". The report reviews the EU's achievements in many areas - defence, human rights, social progress, healthcare, migration, economic integration and innovation, the protection of the environment .. but it stresses the challenges which remain and puts forwards answers to these in each area that is mentioned... Read more

Culture : 15th European Museum Night
The 15th European Museum Night will be taking place on 18th May. The museums of around thirty countries in Europe will be open, free of charge to the public. Exhibitions and special events will be organised there... Read more
Prague Spring
The 74th Prague Spring is taking place until 4th June. This international classical music festival brings together musicians, soloists, symphonic orchestras and chamber music groups from the world over... Read more
Stages and Literature in Brighton
Until 26th May the Festival of Brighton, the biggest British event linked to theatre and literature, is taking place. At the same time Artists Open Houses is taking place - this is an event during which 1000 artists show their work in 200 individual houses... Read more
72nd Cannes Film Festival
The 72nd International Film Festival of Cannes will be taking place from 14th to 25th May. The Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu will chair the jury this year. Around 20 films are running including "The Dead don't Die" by Jim Jarmusch, which will be the inaugural film... Read more
A triple exhibition on the occasion of the "Milan and Leonardo 500" programme
From 16th May to 18th August the castle of Sforzesco in Milan is running an exhibition on the relationship between Leonardo da Vinci and Lombardy via three itineraries. The first focuses on the Sala delle Asse, exceptionally re-opened for this exhibition. The second is called "Leonardo between Nature, Art and Science" which presents original drawing of da Vinci artist and engineer. Finally the multimedia show "Leonardo in Milan" provides visitors with a view of Milan as the artist saw it... Read more
Works from the Astrup Fearnley collection
Until 15th September the contemporary art museum Astrup Fearnley in Oslo is showing the works of Norwegian artist Olav Christopher Jenssen. Deemed to be one of the main players of neo-Expressionism, the artist finds inspiration in conceptual art to create abstract works that reflect natural and urban landscapes... Read more
Gustave Caillebotte in Berlin
The Alte Nationalgalerie of Berlin is hosting the exhibition "Gustave Caillebotte, painter and patron of Impressionism" from 17th May to 15th September. An artist who was central to French Impressionism, he was known for having opened up new perspectives to the artistic movement with the frank, modern nature of his works, but also because of the role he played as a patron in the financing of Impressionist exhibitions... Read more

14th May 2019


"Agriculture and Fisheries" Council


"Defence" Council

15th May 2019


Debate with the lead candidates on the lists for the presidency of the European Commission

16th May 2019


Eurogroup Meeting


"Development" Council

17th May 2019


EU-Tunisia Association Council


"Economic and Financial Affairs" Council

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