The Letter n°857

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The Letter n°857
The Letter
Tuesday 23rd July 2019
issue 857
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The 9th European legislature, a new political landscape
Authors : Eric Maurice, Cindy Schweitzer, Magali Menneteau, Delphine Bougassas-Gaullier
Eric Maurice, Cindy Schweitzer, Magali Menneteau, Delphine Bougassas-Gaullier
The European Parliament that held its inaugural session on 2nd July has undergone radical renewal and the political balances will evolve again after Brexit. Despite tension with the European Council over the appointment of the President of the Commission, the 9th legislature that is now about to start offers Parliament an opportunity to play the role to which it aspires.
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Front page! : Ursula von der Leyen: a good choice
Ursula von der Leyen, elected President of the European Commission on 16th July, is the "right person in the right place" deems the Foundation's Chairman Jean-Dominique Giuliani in an editorial... Read more

Foundation : 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 of the 21st century. Europe has succeeded beyond the hopes of its Founding Fathers. It can still succeed in securing its place amongst the three major world powers by the end of the century... Read more
The Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2019
In this year of the renewal of the European Institutions, the "Schuman Report on the State of the Union 2019" is necessary more than ever before to understand the state of the Union and its chances of winning greater independence and weight on the international stage, thanks to the dependencies it will create amongst its Member States. The Report includes contributions from top experts and contains 33 original maps that summarise the main European challenges and a unique set of commented statistics. Order your copy now!.. Read more
Permanent Atlas of the European Union
For a better understanding of the Union and its institutions that are now being renewed, the Foundation suggests you read the "Permanent Atlas of the European Union" a book that gives a complete overview of the Union, the euro zone and each of its Members States and their overseas territories. It is available in print version from the Foundation's website, in bookshops and in digital version. It is up-dated on a permanent basis... Read more
European elections: a site to understand the new Parliament
The new European Parliament, elected during on 23rd-26th May met for the first time on 2nd July. It elected its new President, David Sassoli and bureau (14 Vice-Presidents and 5 Quaestors) and the bureaus of the Parliamentary Committees. You can consult our special internet site for the names of the 7 political groups to which the 751 MEPs belong and with whom they will sit until 2024, the name of the chairs and vice-chairs of the political groups and the most recent news regarding the establishment of the parliamentary committees and the election of the Presidency of the European Commission... Read more

Commission : Competition: investigation into Amazon
On 17th July the Commission announced the launch of an investigation regarding a possible anti-competitive behaviour on the part of Amazon. The assessment procedure will target more precisely the use by Amazon of independent retailer data and whether this infringes the Union's competition law. Amazon sells products on its internet site and also provides independent retailers with a market place on which they can sell their products directly. The Commission will assess the agreements concluded between Amazaon and the retailers to ensure that they are not distorting competition or that Amazon is not in an abusive dominant position... Read more
New measures regarding the rule of law
On 17th July the Commission announced that it was taking further steps to strengthen the rule of law in the Union. These measures are based on three pillars: promoting a culture of the rule of law; preventing the emergence of problems; responding to any breaches. The Commission hopes to establish an annual event for dialogue with civil society, to introduce a monitoring cycle including an annual report on all Member States; to continue to use its executive powers in the event of any breaches of the rule of law... Read more
National assessment of 5G network threats
In line with the recommendation made by the Commission regarding a common approach in terms of 5G network security, 24 Member States submitted their national risk assessment said the Commission on 19th July. These assessments focus on the main threats and the main players which will impact 5G networks and the degree of sensitivity of the 5G network components. The next phase, an assessment of the risks Europewide, will be undertaken by the Commission and the European Cybersecurity Agency -ENISA - by October 1st... Read more
242 million € fine for Qualcomm
On 18th July the Commission inflicted a fine of 242 million € on Qualcomm for its abuse of dominant position. The Commission's investigation established that the American company, leader on the world 3G broadband chipset market, had abused its position by practising "predatory pricing", i.e. by selling its products below market cost prices with the aim of eliminating its main competitor, Icera... Read more

Parliament : Composition of interparliamentary delegations
On 17th July MEPs approved the list of 44 interparliamentary delegations in Parliament and their composition. The delegations are responsible for maintaining parliamentary relations and the exchange of information with the States, regions and organisations. The chairs and vice-chairs of these delegations will be elected during the constitutive meetings of the latter... Read more
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Debate regarding the results of the Romanian presidency of the Council
On 16th July during the plenary session of the European Parliament MEPs debated the results of the outgoing Romanian presidency of the Council (1st January to 30th June 2019). Romania defined the priorities of its presidency as cohesion and common values, security and the strengthening of Europe as a world player. MEPs welcomed the progress made in many areas and the finalisation of 90 legislative dossier before the end of the 8th legislature of the European Parliament. Finland succeeded Romania in the rotating presidency of the Council on 1st July 2019... Read more
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Debate over the programme of the Finnish Presidency of the Council
MEPs debated the priorities of the Finnish Presidency of the Council with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne and the Vice-President of the Commission Jyrki Katainen on 17th July. Antti Rinne presented the Finnish Presidency's priorities: leadership in terms of the climate, common values, rule of law, competitiveness and social inclusion, global security. MEPs welcomed the choice of these themes and called for a solution regarding the Union's long term budget. They also hoped for increased cooperation regarding migration, the common agricultural policy and greater transparency... Read more
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European Prosecutor: support renewed for Laura Codruţa Kövesi
On 18th July the European Parliament renewed its support to the candidature of Romanian, Laura Codruţa Kövesi as Europe's Chief Prosecutor. During the previous legislature the Committee for Civil Liberties and the Committee for Budgetary Control voted in support of Laura Codruţa Kövesi. The Chief Prosecutor will be appointed according to joint agreement by the Parliament and the Council. The other candidate running is Frenchman Jean-François Bohnert, who might withdraw from the race in support of Ms Codruţa Kövesi... Read more
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Ursula von der Leyen elected President of the Commission
On 16th July MEPs elected Ursula von der Leyen President of the European Commission, 383 votes in support, 327 against and 22 abstentions, i.e. slightly more than the absolute majority of 374 votes she needed to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker. Presently the German Defence Minister she will be the first woman to occupy this post. She enters office on 1st November for a mandate of five years. In a speech delivered in the morning to the hemicycle of Strasbourg the candidate suggested including in the law the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, to launch an investment plan for energy transition and to establish a carbon tax. She called for the completion of the capital union, a minimum wage and unemployment insurance. She announced additional instruments to defend the rule of law in the Union. She recalled the need to strengthen the external and defence policy as well as the migratory and asylum policy. She promised to appoint a strictly gender equal Commission... Read more
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Council : Informal meeting of Justice and Interior Ministers
Europe's Interior and Justice Ministers met informally on 18th and 19th July to address the issue of the rule of law and the defence of common values. They discussed judicial cooperation between Member States and the need to strengthen it, as well as over crowding in prisons and alternative sentences to prison. They discussed the possibilities of strengthening operational cooperation between the forces of order and those which control the borders. Ministers also took part in the first exercise by the Finnish Presidency regarding the fight to counter hybrid threats... Read more
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Conclusions of the General Affairs Council
European Affairs Ministers who met on 18th July held audience with the representatives of the Finnish Presidency of the Council as they presented their negotiation agenda for the next multi-annual financial framework and notably the priorities of the rule of law. They then exchanged views on the strategic programme for the period 2019-2024 adopted by the European Council in June... Read more

Diplomacy : 17th EU-Canada Summit
The 17th EU-Canada Summit took place on 17th and 18th July in Montreal, Canada. Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council adopted a joint declaration in which they asserted that the EU-Canada partnership was based on common values like democracy and Human Rights. The declaration also includes the CETA (Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement) and maintains that it has led to an increase in trade in many areas. Finally, the declaration stresses the need to continue to counter climate change... Read more
Conclusions of the G7 Finance Meeting
The Finance Ministers and the governors of the central banks of the G7 countries met on 17th and 18th July in Chantilly. They addressed the normalisation and regulation of cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies. They also agreed that a solution to tax non-physical activities, notably those of a digital nature, should be adopted by 2020 in conjunction with the ongoing negotiations at the OECD. The recent adoption by France of a "digital" tax is however the focus of an American investigation, launched on 10th July with the risk of retaliatory trade and customs measures regarding exports to the USA. On the sidelines of the summit, ministers also discussed linked to the replacement of Christine Lagarde at the IMF, since she has been appointed to lead the ECB... Read more

Germany : Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer appointed German Defence Minister
On 17th July the present leader of the CDU Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was appointed as Defence Minister. She succeeds Ursula von der Leyen elected to the presidency of the European Commission on 16th July by the European Parliament... Read more

Belgium : A woman to chair the Senate
On 18th July Sabine Laruelle, the Reform Movement (MR) was elected president of the Senate 26 votes against 21. A bureau was also put together comprising Andries Gryffroy (N-VA), first vice-president Stijn Bex (Ecolo-Groen), second vice-president, Julien Uyttendaele (Socialist Party) and Anke Van Dermeersch (Vlaams Belang)... Read more
New Government for the Brussels-Capital region
The members of the new government of the Region of Brussels Capital were sworn in before King Philippe on 18th July and won the approval of the Brussels' Parliament on 20th July. The regional executive that was elected during the vote on 26th May and led by French-speaking socialist Rudi Vervoort is a coalition of socialists, ecologists, centrists and liberals (PS-Ecolo-DéFI-Groen-Sp.A-Open VLD). It includes five men and three women, of whom six are new members... Read more
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France : Joint Franco-Irish Declaration
The French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, visited Ireland on 18th and 19th July on the invitation of her Irish counterpart Helen McEntee. They discussed the Union's future, particularly the need not to re-open discussions over the UK's withdrawal agreement, and the reform of international taxation under the OECD. In a joint declaration, they called for the upkeep of the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as part of the negotiations of the future multi-annual financial framework, carbon neutrality by 2050, the redesign of the European asylum system. They also expressed the need for an impact analysis of the EU-Mercosur Agreement... Read more
Agreement on the principle for the distribution of migrants
Fourteen EU Member States, which met in Paris on 22nd July gave their agreement in principle to a solidarity mechanism for the distribution of migrants. French President Emmanuel Macron declared that 8 of them said that they intended to take part actively (France, Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland). The names of the six other countries which are interested in the distribution mechanism were not revealed... Read more

Malta : Visit by the Maltese Prime Minister
On 18th and 19th July Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat travelled to Luxembourg to meet his counterpart Xavier Bettel. Both leaders discussed the major European topical issues and exchanged views regarding future priorities as well as the consequences of Brexit... Read more

Poland : Rule of law: a new step in the infringement procedure
On 17th June the Commission announced that it had launched a new stage in the infringement procedure against Poland originally opened in April 2019 following the reform of the Polish judicial system. The Commission addressed a reasoned opinion regarding the new status of Polish judges whose independence is under threat by the introduction of disciplinary investigations and a Disciplinary Chamber at the Supreme Court. The answers provided by the Polish government were deemed inadequate by the Commission which addressed a further reasoned opinion. The Polish government now has two months to fall in line with the opinion otherwise the case will be referred to the European Court of Justice... Read more

UK : Brexit: a vote on an amendment to prevent the suspension of Parliament
British MPs voted on 18th July in support of an amendment to prevent the next Prime Minister from suspending Parliament and implementing a no-deal Brexit with the EU without consulting parliament. The amendment was approved by 315 votes against 274... Read more
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Recession forecast in the event of a no-deal Brexit
According to forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the British official institution responsible for economic and budgetary forecasting, published on 18th July "the UK will enter into recession in the fourth quarter of 2019, for a year" in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and the "GDP will decrease by 2.1%". The pound sterling will also collapse immediately by 10% after the departure from the EU on 31st October if there is no agreement says the OBR... Read more
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Kosovo : Resignation of the Prime Minister
Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj resigned on 19th July after having been summoned to the International Tribunal in The Hague. It is suspected that he perpetrated crimes during the war of independence of Kosovo in 1998-1999, whilst he was one of the leaders of the Kosovar guerilla (UCK)... Read more

Ukraine : Victory for the presidential party in the general elections
The Servant of the People, the party of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has won the general elections organised on 21st July with 42% of the vote according provisional results. Parliament, which was dissolved by V Zelensky when he was sworn in May, will comprise around 70% of new MPs... Read more

Eurostat : International goods trade figures
Euro zone goods exports to the rest of the world lay at 203.4 billion € in May 2019, in contrast to 189.9 billion € in May 2018, i.e. an increase of 7.1% according to figures published by Eurostat on 16th July. Imports totalled 180.3 billion €, in contrast to 173 billion € in May 2018, i.e. an increase of 4.2%. Hence in May 2019 the euro zone recorded a surplus of 23 billion € in its international goods trade. Regarding the EU28 exports lay at 178.5 billion € in May 2019, up by 10.7%. Imports for their part lay at 170.7 billion €, up by 6.1%. EU28 recorded a surplus of 7.8 billion € in contrast to 0.4 billion in May 2018... Read more
Debt up, deficit down in the Union
The public debt recorded an increase in the first quarter and represented 85.9% of the GDP in the euro zone and 80.7% in the European Union, according to figures published by Eurostat on 18th July. The public deficit decreased in the first quarter. It represents 0.5% of the GDP in the euro zone and 0.6% of the GDP in the EU... Read more
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June inflation figures
According to figures published by Eurostat on 17th July the euro zone's annual inflation rate lay at 1.3% in June 2019, against 1.2% in May 2019. The EU's rate lay at 1.6% in June 2019, (stable in comparison with May). The lowest rates were recorded in Greece (0.2%), Cyprus (0.3%), in Denmark and in Croatia (0.5% each). The highest rates were recorded in Romania (3.9%), Hungary (3.4%) and Latvia (3.1%)... Read more

Studies/Reports : Rethinking strategic autonomy in the digital age
The European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), the Commission's think-tank, published a report on 18th July entitled "Rethinking Strategy Autonomy in the Digital Era". The report studies the phenomenon of the geo-politicisation of technology which typifies the 21st century and implies a change in paradigm as far as strategic autonomy is concerned. Monitoring digital technologies is now vital if we are to exercise influence over societies and the EU must play a leading role in the technological area if it is to defend its interests... Read more
Sustainable fishing for the EU
A parliamentary report "Sustainable fishing for the EU" presented to the European Affairs Committee on 17th July at the National Assembly by the French MPs Jean-Pierre Pont (LaREM) and Didier Quentin (LR), puts forward measures to counter the collapse of fish stocks, a threat to biodiversity and fishing: to counter overfishing better on the coasts of Europe, introducing quotas in the Mediterranean, creating a European sustainable fishing label. The European fleet comprising 90,000 ships, takes around 6 million tonnes of fish yearly... Read more
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Culture : The La Roque-d'Anthéron Festival
In the park of the Florans castle the 39th piano festival of La Roque-d'Anthéron is offering audiences concertos, piano recitals and also jazz concerts and chamber music until 18th August... Read more
Festival of Lyrical Art - Bayreuth
From 25th July to 28th August the Bayreuth Festival is taking place in Bavaria which pays tribute to the music of Richard Wagner and the town's opera which the artist created himself... Read more
Sziget Festival
From 7th to 13th August the Sziget Festival, one of the biggest music events in Europe, is taking place in Budapest promoting the theme of diversity via music. This event, that offers audiences more than 1000 shows is hosting some major names, but also comedians, dance and circus troupes... Read more
International Festival of Český Krumlov
The international music festival of Český Krumlov, a city that is classed as UNESCO World Heritage is presenting many artists from the world of opera, jazz, classical music and folklore until 10th August in the unique venue of the castle... Read more
International Organ Festival of Tallinn
From 26th July to 4th August the International Organ Festival, one of the oldest music festivals in Estonia is offering many concerts in different parts of Tallinn... Read more
Edinburgh Festival
From 2nd to 26th August the Edinburgh International Festival is taking place. Many musical, theatrical, choreographic and lyrical events are on the programme... Read more
Salzburg Festival
Until 31st August the Salzburg Festival, dedicated to the lyrical arts, is taking place in Austria. From opera to theatre, the festival brings many classics to the stage, with amongst others Idomeneo by Mozart and Salomé by Richard Strauss... Read more

25th July 2019


Meeting of the Council of Governors of the European Central Bank

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