The Letter n°863

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The Letter n°863
The Letter
Tuesday 15th October 2019
issue 863
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"Put that budget away! Out of my sight!"
Author : Alain Lamassoure
Alain Lamassoure
The Union's next multiannual financial framework is on the agenda of the European Council of 17th and 18th October. Whilst the departure of the UK will reduce budgetary resources and new priorities demand new balances, debate over the European budget will demand courage, close to heroism on the part of our leaders. Two recommendations might encourage them in this: abandoning the multiannual straitjacket and setting the principle of budgetary regularity.
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Front page! : European Institutions: hold your fire!
In his editorial Jean-Dominique Giuiliani suggests that after the rejection of the French candidate to the European Commission and the criticism made against the European Central Bank's policy, all stakeholders must calm down and work more toward the common general interest rather than their own political goals... Read more

Elections : Results of the parliamentary elections
The party in office, Law and Justice, (PiS) won the Polish general elections on 13th Otober. With 43.59% of the vote it has clinched an absolute majority in the Diet with 235 seats of the possible 460. It beat the opposition coalition formed with the Civic Platform (PO), which won 27.40%, the Left (Lewica) will be making its comeback with 12.56%. The PiS won the Senatorial elections 44.56% of the vote ahead of the PO (35.66%) but it failed to win an absolute majority in the upper House... Read more

Foundation : The Big Shift - the European 21st century
Contrary to popular discourse, Jean-Dominique Giuliani shows that the European Union has the means to address the new challenges of the 21st century. Europe has succeeded beyond the expectations of its founding fathers. It can still succeed in guaranteeing its place among the three greatest powers in the world by the end of the century. The book is available in French and English... Read more

Commission : Communication on the 2021-2027 budget
On 9th October the Commission called on heads of State and government to provide political guidelines and new energy to negotiations so that an agreement over the EU's budget can be found for the period 2021-2027. In a communication published just days before the Council on 17th and 18th October it recalls its priorities, amongst which feature an own resource to respond to the Union's priorities, as well as a balance and greater coherence between policies... Read more
2020 Fishing Opportunities in the Mediterranean and Black Sea
On 8th October the Commission published its proposals for fishing opportunities in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in 2020. The quotas which aim to promote the sustainable management of fish stocks and to guarantee the fishing sector's social and economic viability will be discussed by Ministers at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in December... Read more
Rule of law in Poland: referral to the Court of Justice
On 10th October the Commission decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice regarding the new disciplinary regime for Polish judges. It deems that the measure breaches the judicial independence of judges and do not provide the necessary guarantees to protect them from all types of political control. The Court will give its decision on 19th November... Read more
CETA: draft rules for the Investment Court System
On 11th October the Commission presented a draft of the rules for the introduction of the Investment Court System, the mechanism to settle litigation provided for in CETA, the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada. The Commissions proposals cover the functioning of the appeal court, the code of conduct, mediation and binding rules for the interpretation of decisions. The project is to be assessed by the Council... Read more

Parliament : Rejection of France's European Commissioner designate
Sylvie Goulard, the candidate for European Commissioner put forward by France, was given a second hearing on 10th October by the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), and Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committees of the European Parliament. After this MEPs announced they were against her candidature, 82 votes against, 29 in support. French President Emmanuel Macron now has to put forward a new candidate. The Romanian and Hungarian candidates must also be appointed and interviewed... Read more
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Council : Conclusions of the Economic Affairs and Financial Council
On 10th October Finance Ministers reviewed the progress made in terms of the action plan to counter laundering and discussed a new methodology to establish a new list of high risk third countries. They decided to withdraw the Arab Emirates and the Marshall Islands from the list of non-cooperative countries and territories. The Council also received the report by the panel of high level experts on the European financial architecture for development. Moreover it recommended to the European Council that Fabio Panetta, the present deputy governor of the Bank of Italy, join the Board of the European Central Bank... Read more
Conclusions of the Justice and Internal Affairs Council
On 7th October the EU's Justice Ministers adopted the directive for the protection of whistleblowers which will enter into force in 2021. They agreed on the need to draft a new strategy to counter corruption and for the Union to join the Group of States against Corruption at the Council of Europe (GRECO). On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, they reiterated the Union's values, which hopes to join the European Convention of Human Rights. They called for adequate resources to be provided to the judicial cooperation agency, Eurojust. On 8th October the Interior Ministers assessed a voluntary mechanism for the distribution of migrants rescued at sea. They discussed the fight to counter violent extremism and terrorism, the risks set by 5G mobile networks and the fight to counter the sexual abuse of children... Read more
Eurogroup meeting
On 9th October the euro zone Finance Ministers discussed the competitiveness policy and the post-programme monitoring of aid to Portugal. They reviewed the activities of the Supervisory Board and the Single Resolution Board. On 9th October they also came to agreement on the main guidelines of governance and financing of the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness, the euro zone budget. The project provides in particular for the modulation of co-financing by the Member States in the event of economic shocks... Read more
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European Prosecutor's Office: appointment of Laura Codruta Kövesi
On 14th October the Council approved the appointment of Laura Codruţa Kövesi, former head of the Romanian Office against corruption, to be head of the future European Public Prosecutor's Office. The decision must now confirmed by Parliament... Read more
Conclusions of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council
As they met on 14th and 15th October the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers approved the fishing quotas for the 10 main species in the Baltic Sea, particularly a 60% reduction regarding cod. They updated the Council's position on the European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fishing after 2020 and discussed their position in future discussions with Norway. They also discussed the future reform of the Common Agriculture Policy and the situation on the international agricultural markets... Read more

Diplomacy : Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions
On 14th October the EU's Foreign Affairs Ministers condemned the Turkish military intervention in Syria and announced coordination between the Member States to suspend arms' deliveries to Turkey. They also decided to prepare sanctions against those responsible for Turkish drilling off the coast of Cyprus. They discussed the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan. They decided to extend the Union's relations to Thailand, they adopted a framework for targeted restrictive measures due to the situation in Nicaragua, and called for dialogue and the respect of the rule of Law to settle the political crisis in Cameroon. They extended sanctions to counter the use and proliferation of chemical arms. They also published conclusions on relations with Bosnia-Herzegovina... Read more

Court of Justice : Entry into office of two new judges
Two new judges at the Court of Justice entered office on 7th October during an official audience. The Finnish mandate of Niilo Jaaskinen and Swede, Nils Wahl will run until October 2021... Read more

Germany : Meeting with the French President
French President Emmanuel Macron hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 13th October in preparation of the Franco-German Council of Ministers on 16th October in Toulouse and the European Council on 17th and 18th October. In a press conference they both called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cease his offensive against the Kurdish forces in the North of Syria... Read more

France : Meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Viktor Orban
French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on 11th October. As the European Council on 17th and 18th October approaches both leaders discussed the major issues that the Union faces, such as Brexit and migration... Read more

Greece : The Commission validates the plan to protect banks' assets
On 10th October the European Commission validated the "Hercules" plan to protect Greek banks' assets, deeming that it did not contravene the rules governing State aid. The plan is to help banks securitise non-performing loans and to remove these from their balances, to attract investors and to reduce the volume of these loans in their balances. It is considered key to the stabilisation of the Greek banking sector to end the crisis... Read more

Hungary : Local election results
The opposition won the local elections in Budapest on 13th October, whilst the Hungarian capital has been governed for nine years by FIDESZ, the party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The centre-left candidate Gergely Karacsony was elected, beating outgoing Mayor Istvan Tarlos, with 50.6% of the vote against 44.2%. The opposition won 10 of the 23 of the country's main towns... Read more

Romania : Motion of no confidence
The government led by Viorica Dancila was overthrown on 10th October after a vote of no confidence in Parliament. The motion launched by the opposition won 238, five more than the required majority, whilst the Social Democratic Party (Ms Dancila) did not take part in the vote. On 13th October Romanian President Klaus Iohannis announced the constitution of a government led by his party, the National Liberal Party... Read more
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UK : Meeting between the British and Irish Prime Ministers
The British and Irish Prime Ministers, Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar met on 10th October in Birkenhead. After their discussion just days ahead of the European Council on 17th and 18th October the two leaders repeated that they saw a "path towards a possible agreement" enabling an orderly withdrawal by the UK from the Union and the maintenance of an open border on the island of Ireland... Read more
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Resumption of Parliament
Queen Elizabeth II set out the priorities of the new government formulated by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 14th October during her speech marking the re-opening of parliament. The main priorities remain "exiting the EU on 31st October" as well as the introduction of a "new partnership with the EU based on free-trade and friendly cooperation.".. Read more
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Serbia : Project for a Common Market with Albania and North Macedonia
The Serb President Aleksander Vucic hosted the Prime Ministers of Albania, Edi Rama and North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, on 10th October. The three leaders decided to create a zone for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between their countries by 2021. They will meet on 10th November to define effective measures... Read more
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ECHR : Journalists must be able to enter retention centres
On 8th October the European Court for Human Rights deemed that preventing journalists' entry into an asylum seekers' reception centres was a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. After a complaint by a Hungarian journalist the Court deemed that this was a breach of the freedom of expression... Read more

OECD : OECD Project on digital taxation
On 9th October the OECD presented a project regarding corporate tax, particularly for digital companies which do not have a physical presence in the countries where they make profit. The organisation for economic cooperation is suggesting new tax distribution rules between countries where the businesses are based and those where they are active. The project will be submitted to Finance Ministers during their meeting on 17th and 18th October... Read more

Studies/Reports : Annual report on the protection of the Union's financial interests
On 11th October the Commission published its 30th annual report on the protection of the EU's financial interests. It notes that additional effort is required at European and national level in response to new trends in terms of circumventing the rules, but stresses the measures taken to consolidate the protection of the budget, such as the creation of the European Prosecutor's Office, simplified rules and a new anti-fraud strategy... Read more
Annual asssessment of organised crime and cybercrime
In its annual assessment report on cybercriminal threats published on 9th October, Europol notes that even though their volume, their targets and level of sophistication vary, the nature of the threats remains the same. The European agency notes that the new threats often result from existing vulnerability... Read more
Report on 5G network security
A report on the assessment of security risks set by 5G networks published on 9th October by the Member State, the Commission and the European Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), points to various risks, such as the increased attacks, particularly by third States and State supported entities, as well as mobile network operators' dependency on suppliers. The cooperation group must now come to agreement on the principle of a tool box of mitigating measures by 31st December... Read more
Annual report on the implementation of trade agreements
In its annual report on the implementation of trade agreements, published on 14th October, the Commission notes that trade with the EU increased in 2018 and that the Union recorded a surplus of 84.6 billion € in its goods trade with its partners under the trade agreements, against a global trade deficit of 24.6 billion € with the rest of the world. It stressed that trade represents 35% of the Union's GDP... Read more

Culture : Nobel - Europeans win prizes in Chemistry, Literature and the Economy
The Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2019 was awarded on 9th October to three researchers including a European, Briton Stanley Whittingham. With the American, John Goodenough and Japanese, Akira Yoshino, he received the prize for his work which led to the development of Lithium-Ion batteries, used in particular in telephones and computers as well as electric vehicles. The Nobel Prize for Literature 2018 and 2019 were awarded on 10th October to Pole Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian Peter Handke. The prize was not awarded in 2018 due to the scandal that occurred in the Nobel Academy. On 14th October Frenchwoman Esther Duflo was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences alongside Americans, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer, for their work on the reduction of poverty in the world... Read more
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Exhibition of majour European painters at the Goulandris Musem
A new contemporary art museum in Athens, the Basil and Elise Goulandris Museum opened its doors on 2nd October. Its permanent collection brings together the works of many artists like Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Braque, Giacomette, Balthus and Soulages, as well as Greek artists like Takis or Christoforou... Read more
International Festival of Design-Prague
From 17th to 21st October the Designblock, the international festival of design is taking place in Prague. Each year 50,000 visitors are hosted and are offered exhibitions, shows and conferences... Read more
Contemporary Art Fair - Paris
The 46th International Contemporary Art Fair (Fiac) is taking place from 17th to 20th October at the Grand Palais, the Tuileries Gardens, the Petit Palais and Place Vendôme... Read more
Book Fair Frankfurt
The book fair in Frankfurt, the greatest event in the publishing industry, is taking place from 16th to 20th October. Debates, meetings with writers and activities between professional are on the programme... Read more
Giulio Romano in Mantua
The Palazzo Ducale in Mantua is running an exhibition until 6th January 2020 covering the career of Giulio Romano, a student of Raphaël. Stucco, drawings, paintings, prints, tapestries, jewellery as well as 3D reconstitutions... Read more
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Calder exhibition in Zagreb
The Arts Pavillon of Zagreb is running an exhibition until 5th January 2020 entitled "The magic of Sculptural Movement", showing the sculpture of Alexander Calder. The retrospective is part of the series "The Greatest Sculptors of the 20th century" launched by the museum in 2014... Read more
Impressionists and photography
From 15th October to 26th January 2020, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid is running an exhibition showing how photography stimulated major artists like Manet, Degas and other Impressionists by developing a new way of seeing the world... Read more
Caravaggio and Bernini in Vienna
Caravaggio and Bernini are on show at the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna from 15th October to 19th January 2020. The exhibition will present around 60 works by the Masters of the Italian Renaissance... Read more

15th October 2019


General Affairs Council

16th October 2019


Tripartite Social Summit


Franco-German Council of Ministers

17th-18th October 2019


European Council

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