The Letter n°860

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The Letter n°860
The Letter
Tuesday 24th September 2019
issue 860
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The New Commission's Climate Goals
Author : Clémence Pèlegrin
Clémence Pèlegrin
The programme of the new President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen in terms of climate change has benefited from a favourable political and social context, which the Union must transform into an action plan. It is starting off on a fragile balance, between legal trade obligations and the respect of the WTO's rules, between the protection of the environment and faith in "sustainable" growth and is conditioned by a consensus between States.
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Front page! : Brexit: beyond the words
With just 39 days to go before the possible "effective" date of Brexit on 31st October, the UK is in the midst of an extremely serious political and constitutional crisis, which only the British can solve be stating what they want exactly. The European Union's long-term interests command it to have enough sense for two and to achieve an agreement to structure its relations with the UK, writes Jean-Dominique Giuliani... Read more

European Council : Visit by Donald Tusk to North Macedonia and Albania
The President of the European Council D. Tusk visited the Western Balkans on 17th September. In Skopje he met the President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, then Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. In Tirana he spoke with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. Just one month before the European Council which is to decide on the issue, he advocated the opening of membership negotiations with these two countries, whilst insisting on the need for the latter to continue their reforms... Read more
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Parliament : Financial top-up for Horizon 2020 and Erasmus
On 18th September the European Parliament approved a top up of 100 million € for Erasmus+ and the research programme Horizon 2020, as part of the 2019 budget. MEPs also adopted the reimbursement to Member States of a surplus 1.8 billion € from the 2018 budget... Read more
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New Chair of the ECON Committee
Italian Irene Tinagli (S&D, IT) was elected Chair of the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee on 16th September in replacement of Roberto Gualtieri, who is now the Italian Finance Minister... Read more
Approval the appointment of Christine Lagarde at the ECB
On 17th September MEPs approved the appointment of Christine Lagarde 394 votes in support, 206 against and 49 abstentions, as President of the European Central Bank. They also approved the appointment of Yves Mersch as Vice-Chair of the ECB's Supervisory Board, 379 votes in support, 230 against and 69 abstentions... Read more
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Most recent hearing of Mario Draghi
On 31st October Mario Draghi will leave office as President of the European Central Bank at the end of his term in office. He appeared before MEPs of the ECON Committee for the last time on 23rd September. The exchange focused on the way he had helped save the euro zone during the financial crisis and the results of his quantitative easing policy. He called for a review of the European budgetary rules and a euro zone budget... Read more
Parliamentary resolution on Brexit
On 18th September the European Parliament adopted a resolution reasserting its support to an agreement on the UK's exit from the Union and the need for this to include a backstop for the Irish border. MEPs said that "full responsibility for Brexit without a deal would lie with the UK and such a scenario would not cancel the obligations and commitments made by the country from the financial point of view, the protection of citizens' rights and the respect of the Good Friday Agreement... Read more
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Schedule of hearings of Commissioners designate
On 19th September the Parliament published the schedule of the hearings of the Commissioners designate that will take place from 30th September to 8th October. The Conference of Committee Chairs will assess the results of all of the hearings on 15th October so they can draw up a final assessment on 17th October. A vote presided over by Ursula von der Leyen is planned for 23rd October... Read more
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Council : Transport and Environment
Meeting on 20th September, the ministers responsible for Transport discussed the path to follow to reach carbon neutrality in air, land and maritime transport, in respect of the Paris Climate Agreement and to counter global warming. They also discussed financial tools for sustainable transport... Read more
New head of EU Mission in Somalia
On 19th September Irishman Christopher Reynolds was appointed by the Council as head of the EU mission that aims to strengthen Somalia's civilian law capacities (EUCAP Somalia). He takes over from Romanian Maria-Cristina Stepanescu, to whom he was deputy. The mission will last until 31st December 2020... Read more

Court of Justice : De-referencing only applies in the Union
In a decision published on 24th September the Union's Court of Justice decided that a user of a search engine is not obliged to de-reference a person who so requests it on its versions outside of the Union. Referred to by the French Council of State in a case involving Google the Court deemed that there was no obligation resulting from the Union's law in this area... Read more

Diplomacy : The European Intervention Initiative includes 13 countries
Sweden and Norway joined the European Intervention Initiative (EII) on 20th September during the second meeting of Defence Ministers of the participating countries in the Netherlands. Italy also officially announced that it intended to join the EII, launched by France in June 2018 and which now has 13 participating nations... Read more
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France, Germany and the UK accuse Iran of the attack against Saudi Arabia
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in a joint press release published on 23rd September by the French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson deemed that it is "clear that Iran is responsible" for the attack against the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia on 14th September. They call for a de-escalation of tension in the region and are calling for Iran to continue to respect the nuclear agreement... Read more

Germany : President Steinmeier visits Italy
Italian President Sergio Mattarella hosted his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Quirinal on 19th September. After having recalled the many cultural exchanges and trade between the two countries they insisted on their role and that of their country in maintaining a united Europe... Read more
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Austria : The centre-right leads in the polls
According to the most recent polls prior to the snap election on 29th September in Austria, the People's Party ÖVP (centre right) is due to come out ahead with 35% of the vote ahead of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ, 23%). The Freedom Party (FPÖ, far right) is due to win 20% and the Greens 11%... Read more
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Spain : Snap election planned for 10th November
Nearly five months after the general election on 28th April King Felipoe VI noted on 17th September that "no candidate has the necessary support for the house of deputies to grant its confidence." Another election will therefore be organised on 10th November. After a first failure in July to form a government, interim Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez failed to form a coalition with the far left Podemos and rejected the support of the liberals Ciudadanos... Read more

Finland : Meeting between Prime Minister and Emmanuel Macron
On 18th September French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, whose country is ensuring the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. The two leaders discussed European issues (climate goals, social convergence, defence policy). Regarding Brexit they hope that the UK will put forward a plan to exit the EU by the end of September... Read more

France : Franco-German Economic and Financial Council
On 19th September in Paris the 50th Franco-German economic and financial council took place. Bruno Le Maire, Minister for Economy and Finance and his German counterparts, Olaf Scholz and Peter Altmaier said they wanted to avoid a rise in trade tension with the USA. They also recalled that the fight to counter global warming was their priority... Read more
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Italy : Visity by Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron travelled to Rome on 18th September to meet his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella, and the President of the Council Giuseppe Conte. The aim was to rekindle relations between their two countries after the formation of a new government. They discussed immigration and agreed on the importance of the creation of an automatic mechanism for the distribution of migrants... Read more
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Malta : Meeting of Internal Affairs Ministers in Malta regarding the rescue of migrants
The Ministers of the Interior of Germany, France, Italy, Malta and Finland (which is chairing the Council) met on 23rd September in Malta. The aim was to achieve an automatic, voluntary distribution mechanism for migrants with each sea rescue. A basic agreement was found for those who would land in Malta or in Italy. The detail of its content is unknown. It will be submitted for the approval of all Member States during the "Internal Affairs" Council on 8th October... Read more

UK : The Supreme Court deems the decision to prorogue parliament illegal
The British Supreme Court deemed on 24th September that the prorogation of Parliament by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was "unlawful, void and of no effect". The judges justified their decision indicating that Boris Johnson had not given any rational explanations to legitimise the suspension of MPs' undertaking their constitutional functions... Read more
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Serbia : Meeting between the German Chancellor and the Serb Prime Minister
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted Serb Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on 18th September. Ms Brnabic declared that Serbia wanted to integrate the Union and that this is a "project for peace" and thanked for Ms Merkel for her support in this process... Read more
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Council of Europe : Entry into office of the new Secretary General
The new Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejcinovic Buric, elected in June took office for a five year mandate on 18th September in replacement of Norwegian Thorbjorn Jagland. She is the second woman to head the institution, after Frenchwoman Catherine Lalumière... Read more
Report by the Anti-Torture Committee on Albania
The Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee published a report on 19th September on the situation in prisons, psychiatric hospitals and police detention conditions as well as immigration detention centres in Albania. It notes that improvements have been made but asks the Albanian authorities to continue their work... Read more
Report on the financing of political parties in Switzerland
In an evaluation report published on 19th September, the Group of States against Corruption at the Council of Europe (GRECO), deemed that Switzerland had made "some progress" in terms of the implementation of its recommendations. It calls on the Confederation to continue its efforts to make the financing of its political parties transparent... Read more

OECD : Growth Outlook
In a press release published on 19th September the OECD expressed its concern about the slowing of growth and the continued rise of risks. The organisation announced economic growth of around 4% in 2019 and under 3% in 2020, ie the lowest annual rates since the financial crisis. According to the experts global climate uncertainty and high trade tension is endangering growth. Laurence Boone, chief economist has called for rapid response on the part of public authorities... Read more

Eurostat : Inflation stable in the euro zone and the Union
The euro zone's inflation rate lay at 1% in August, stable in comparison with July, against 2.1% in August 2018, according to figures published by Eurostat on 18th September. The European Union recorded a rate of 1.4% in August, also stable in comparison with July against 2.2% the previous year... Read more

Studies/Reports : Increase in seizure of fake goods
The number of seizures of counterfeit merchandise imported into the Union increased in 2018 from 57,433 in 2017 to 69,354 in 2018, according to figures published by the Commission on 19th September. Nearly 27 million articles breaching intellectual property laws were taken in 2018 to a total value of 740 million €... Read more
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Culture : Luxury: from the Assyrians to Alexander the Great
A collection of precious objects dating from 900 to 300 BCE is on show until 12th January at the Caixa Forum of Madrid. Ivory, jewellery and glass, gold and metal ornaments as well as large scale reliefs from all regions in the ancient Middle East show us the importance of luxury in trade relations and the power enjoyed by ancient civilisations... Read more
Polish painting at the Louvre-Lens
As part of the centenary celebration of the signature of the convention between France and Poland 'on emigration and immigration', the Louvre-Lens Museum is running a major retrospective on 19th century Polish painting from 25th September to 20th January... Read more
The Time Around 1400
At the start of the 15th century a major European work of art was made in the wealthy Hanseatic town of Luneberg, Germany: the "Golden Table". For the first time its various components have been put together again after restoration and will be on show from 27th September to 23rd February at the Landesmuseum in Hanover... Read more
Peggy Guggenheim, the Last Dogaressa
The Peggy Guggenheim: the Last Dogaressa exhibition organised by the Guggenheim Museum of Venice is running until 27th January showing pieces of her collection which was made after her arrival in the city in 1948: master works, articles, photographs ..... Read more
Multilingualism Day
On 28th September the European Parliament is organising Multilingualism Day in Brussels with fun activities involving the work of interpreters and translators who work at the institution. The House of European History is organising visits on the theme of the history of languages in Europe. The event is taking place two days after the annual European Day of Languages (26th September), which is an initiative of the Council of Europe... Read more
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Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian exhibition in Amsterdam
Until 2nd February Picasso, Chagall, Mondrian, Van Dongen and works by other artists will be showing at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in an exhibition offering a renewed view of their work. The exhibition relates the hostility encountered by these artists who migrated to Paris between 1900 and 1950... Read more

24th September 2019


Energy Council


Informal Agriculture Ministers Meeting

26th-27th September 2019


Competitiveness Council

29th September 2019


General elections

30th September 2019


EU-Moldova Association Council

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