The Letter n°896

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The Letter n°896
The Letter
Tuesday 16th June 2020
issue 896
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The multi-annual financial framework 2021/2027: to be the beacon
Author : José Manuel Fernandes
José Manuel Fernandes
Given the new challenges and in particular the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the multiannual financial framework 2021/2027 will be particularly decisive for the survival of the European project launched by Robert Schuman 70 years ago. According to José Manuel Fernandes, the recovery plan proposed by the Commission is courageous and Parliament is maintaining an ambitious and united position. It is up to the Heads of State and Government to rise to the challenge.
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Front Page! : Health Europe, from Dream to Reality
The health crisis calls for a new European approach to health policy, says former MEP Françoise Grossetête, special advisor to the Foundation. This approach will have to be based on strategic health autonomy strengthening our sovereignty in the industrial and digital field in order to reduce Europe's dependency. It will be necessary to speak with one voice to the pharmaceutical industry, enhance the value of health careers and improve the mobility of health professions in the Union... Read more

Elections : Left and right running neck and neck in Croatia
Early parliamentary elections will be held in Croatia on 5 July, 6 months ahead of schedule. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's Democratic Union (HDZ) intends to capitalise on the popularity enjoyed by the government in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and fears that the coming economic crisis will undermine its popularity. According to the latest opinion polls, the left-wing opposition coalition, Coalition for a New Start, would come out ahead with 28.60% of the votes ahead of the right-wing government coalition led by A. Plenkovic, which is expected to win 26% of the vote. The Patriotic Movement (Domovinski Pokret, DPMS), a populist party founded last February by Miroslav Skoro, is forecast to take third place with 13.5%... Read more
The first round of the presidential election in Poland will finally take place on 28 June.
The first round of the Polish presidential election, originally scheduled for 10 May, will be held on 28 June. It had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the government's inability to reach a compromise with the opposition on the modalities of the election, as well as its legality. The outgoing head of State, Andrzej Duda, who has made many social promises, is credited with 41.7% of the vote, ahead of the new Civic Platform candidate, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski (28.14%). Szymon Holownia, a journalist and independent candidate, is credited with 14%, the left-wing candidate Robert Biedron with 5.22%, and the other 6 candidates with under 5%... Read more

Foundation : The "Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2020" in digital format
The 2020 edition of the "Schuman Report on Europe, the State of the Union", a reference work for European decision-makers, is available electronically in English and French. With contributions from the highest personalities and the best experts, original maps and commented statistics, it offers a comprehensive view of the European Union and analyses the challenges facing Europe... Read more
Easing lockdown seen from Europe
The Member States of the European Union are continuing to ease lockdown for their populations, to resume social and economic activities and to reopen the internal borders of the Union. The Foundation offers you a summary of the measures taken and the timetable planned by each State. An indispensable resource for understanding the way out of the crisis and regaining a European "spirit"... Read more
The impact of coronavirus on European citizens in the UK
The Covid-19 crisis has changed the discourse on migration in the Union. Workers previously considered as "low-skilled" represent the personnel who ensured the operation of essential services during this period. In order to identify some of the problems that European citizens living in another Member State have faced during the crisis, this new publication in the "Open Horizons" series focuses on case studies of European citizens living in the United Kingdom... Read more
The European Union in the face of the economic crisis: challenges and risks of new initiatives
Pascale Joannin, Executive Director of the Foundation, participated on 9 June in an online conference organised by IRIS on the European Union and the economic crisis. The debate is available in full... Read more
Streaming Media and Télécommunications: the turning-point?
On 10 June, the Foundation organised an online debate on the theme of media and telecoms in Europe in the time of Covid-19, with Roberto Viola, Director General DG CONNECT at the European Commission, Gérard Pogorel and Augusto Preta, authors of a study on this subject published by the Foundation. The entire e-conference is available online... Read more
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Recovery : Progressive opening of the external borders after 30 June
On 11 June the Commission recommended the gradual lifting of controls at the EU's external borders after 30 June. Restrictions are to be lifted for countries whose health situation is under control, according to a common list drawn up by the Member States. On 15 June the Commission launched the "Reopen" platform, set up to accompany the reopening of the Union's internal borders and available in the 24 official languages of the Union. The platform, with an interactive map, allows users to visualise the measures in place and to find out how to move from one Member State to another... Read more
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National Measures
France, Belgium, Germany and Austria lifted controls at their borders on 15 June. In France, bars and restaurants can reopen in the Ile-de-France region, as well as all crèches, schools and colleges throughout the country from 22 June. The lifting of the state of health emergency by 10 July will be discussed by the National Assembly on 17 June. In Germany, citizens will now be able to be tested even if they do not show symptoms of Covid-19. In Spain, the region of Valencia, Catalonia and Castile are entering the third phase of the end of lockdown, the professional football championship has resumed and tourism in the Balearic Islands will be allowed from 15 June. The state of emergency will be lifted and the borders reopened on 21 June. In Poland, borders reopened on 13 June and stadiums partially reopened on 19 June. In the United Kingdom, non-essential shops reopened on 15 June and the wearing of masks is compulsory on public transport... Read more
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New measures to end lockdown
Cultural and social centres may resume their activities from 15 June provided that the autonomous regions and provinces have first verified the compatibility of these activities with the epidemiological situation. Shows such as theatres and cinemas may also resume indoors, with certain precautions. Football matches resumed behind closed doors on 12 June. Fairs and conferences remain suspended until 14 July... Read more
Measures in support to the economy
In France, the government has presented a €15 billion aeronautics support plan. Support for credit insurance has been stepped up by a public reinsurance programme and the daily ceiling on meal vouchers has been raised from €19 to €38. In Belgium, measures to support purchasing power and sectors in difficulty have been extended, in particular temporary unemployment and parental leave. In Germany, VAT reductions from 19% to 16% and from 7% to 5% and new tax aid measures have been introduced. In Spain, on 15 June the government presented a €3.75 billion support plan for the automotive sector to strengthen competitiveness and facilitate de-carbonisation. In the United Kingdom, £63 million (€75.6 million) has been paid to local authorities to help those most in need. Parents on maternity or paternity leave will be eligible for the government's leave scheme... Read more
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314 million € to support the fight to counter coronavirus and recovery
The Commission announced on 8 June that €166 million will be granted to 36 companies to fight the virus and support recovery through the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator pilot project. A further €148 million will be granted to 36 more companies as part of the Recovery Plan for Europe. Selected companies will be able to set up projects such as the production of decontamination wipes, smart fans or the establishment of an antibody collection platform, as well as projects in broader recovery sectors such as wind power or recycling... Read more
Meeting of Economy and Finance Ministers
On 9 June, the Economic and Finance Ministers discussed the Recovery Plan for Europe presented by the Commission. They emphasised the importance of ensuring sustainable recovery taking into account the objectives of green and digital transition. They discussed the European Semester and the recommendations covering five priority areas in response to the crisis: investment in health systems, safeguarding employment and combating the social impact of the crisis, research and development, stability of the financial sector, and preservation of the single market... Read more
Meeting of Industry Ministers
On 12 June the ministers responsible for industry and the internal market examined the recovery plan proposed by the Commission. They called on the Commission to update the industrial strategy proposal it presented in March. They emphasised the importance of ensuring the Union's resilience and strategic autonomy with regard to new technologies and called for the modernisation of competition and State aid tools... Read more
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Meeting of Trade Ministers
On 9 June, trade ministers stressed the importance of the World Trade Organization in the aftermath of the pandemic and called for trade restrictions to be decided in a transparent manner. They consider that for the current WTO negotiations, sustainable development, e-commerce, regulation of services and facilitation of investments must be priorities. Ministers also want the next Director-General of the WTO to be in favour of multilateralism. Finally, they stressed the importance of value chains and their diversification for recovery... Read more
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Meeting of Social Affairs Ministers
Social affairs ministers exchanged views on 10 June on the resilience of the labour market in the face of the coronavirus crisis. They noted that the current situation, in particular the use of teleworking, has raised many questions about data protection, social isolation and worker protection. Ministers also consider that training of workers will be crucial for recovery. They also discussed ways of combating domestic violence, which has increased with confinement, and the importance of promoting gender equality with the recovery plan... Read more
Meeting of Healthcare Ministers
On 12 June the Health Ministers discussed the health programme proposed by the Commission for the period 2021-2027. They stressed the programme's priorities, such as the long-term strengthening of health systems, their digitisation and the reduction of dependency in supply chains. Ministers also stressed the importance of ensuring coordination between the programme and other EU funding instruments... Read more
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Meeting of Energy Ministers
Energy Ministers On 15 June, Energy Ministers exchanged views on the future challenges for the sector in the context of the European recovery plan. They emphasised the importance of smart electricity networks, hydrogen, renewable energies and the renovation of buildings, as these technologies will make it possible to create jobs and increase the continent's competitiveness... Read more
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The Visegrad Group wants to modify the Union's recovery plan
The leaders of the Visegrad Group countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), meeting in the Czech Republic on 11 June, agreed that the Commission's €750 billion plan to boost the economy is not fair. They propose to build a response more based on the decline in Member States' GDP due to the pandemic, so that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe can benefit more from it. These issues will be discussed at the European Council on 19 June... Read more
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OECD economic outlook
In its Economic Outlook published on 10 June, the OECD forecasts two scenarios for the European economy in 2020. It estimates that GDP in the euro area will fall by 9% if a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is avoided, and by 11% if confinement measures are again introduced to counter a new wave. Together with Italy and the United Kingdom, the French economy will be among the most affected, with a projected decline in GDP of between 11.4% and 14.1% in 2020... Read more
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Commission : Towards stronger measures to combat misinformation
On 10 June the Commission presented an assessment of the measures to combat misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. It stresses the need to distinguish between illegal and harmful content and to strengthen communication, cooperation and transparency. It notes the role of Russia and China in disinformation and calls for transparency and accountability of platforms. These measures should feed into the Action Plan for European Democracy and Digital Services legislation to be presented by the Commission by the end of the year... Read more
Declaration regarding negotiations over the future relationship
The Presidents of the three European institutions, Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel and David Sassoli, met on 15 June with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take stock of the negotiations on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Both sides endorsed the UK's rejection of any extension of the transition period after 31 December and agreed to intensify discussions in July with a view to clarifying the "principles underlying an agreement" before the end of the year. On 12 June the second meeting of the Joint Commission, responsible for monitoring the implementation of the UK withdrawal agreement, was held... Read more
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Parliament : The Transport Committee approves the reform of the road transport sector
On 9 June MEPs on the Transport Committee approved the road transport reform plan. This reform aims to improve the working conditions of lorry drivers by imposing a regular return home and a weekly rest period outside the cab of the vehicle, financed by the employer. The reform also aims to combat fraud by imposing the installation of tachographs on vehicles, waiting periods, new rules for the registration of transport companies, and the extension of the rules on seconded work to cabotage and international transport. The text is now to be voted on in plenary session... Read more
Greenlight to the relaxing of banking rules
On 9 June MEPs on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee approved a plan to temporarily ease regulatory constraints on banks to help them support economic recovery. The plan relaxes certain EU banking prudential rules (the Capital Requirements Regulation) to maximise banks' ability to lend and absorb coronavirus-related losses. It is due to be finally adopted in plenary session... Read more

Council : Eurogroup Meeting
On 11 June euro area Finance Ministers approved the payment of €748 million to Greece as part of the conditional debt measures. They also discussed the post-programme surveillance of Cyprus and Spain and the measures taken in response to the crisis caused by the pandemic. They also discussed the process of electing the next President. The current President, Mario Centeno, announced on 9 June that he will resign as Finance Minister of Portugal on 15 June and that he will step down as President of the Eurogroup at the end of his mandate on 13 July. The election of his successor is due to take place on 9 July... Read more
Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers
Foreign Ministers exchanged views on the state of the transatlantic relationship on 15 June with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They discussed relations with China as well as the situation in Hong Kong. On these subjects, Josep Borell, High Representative of the Union, suggested the establishment of a reinforced dialogue with Beijing. Ministers also called on Israel and Palestine to engage in a "credible and meaningful" political process, and stressed the importance of the United States in stabilising the countries of the Union's Eastern Partnership, in particular Ukraine... Read more
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Meeting of Cohesion Ministers
On 15 June, the ministers responsible for cohesion discussed the importance of the cohesion policy for the Union's recovery. They also emphasised the importance of adopting an ambitious new European budget for the period 2021-2027 in order to continue the support aimed at mitigating the negative effects of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic... Read more
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Diplomacy : Resumption of negotiations for the future EU-ACP partnership
Ministerial-level negotiations between the Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) for a "post-Cotonou" partnership resumed on 12 June, for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The expiry of the Cotonou Agreement, which governs relations between the two entities, was postponed from 29 February to 31 December 2020. Discussions focused on a common set of values and principles defining priority areas for action. The future agreement should also include regional partnerships.. Read more
Coalition for Sahel
The first ministerial meeting of the Coalition for the Sahel was held on 12 June with the participation of 45 ministers and representatives of international institutions, under the chairmanship of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Mauritanian Foreign Minister Ismaïl Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and European Union High Representative Josep Borrell. The participants reiterated their support for the four dimensions of the coalition: counter-terrorism, the development of the military capabilities of the 5 Sahel countries, the return of the State and the administration to their territories and development aid... Read more
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Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Eastern Partnership
On 11 June, representatives of the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries adopted a joint communication, taking stock of the Partnership's achievements, including the EU's €1 billion assistance to address the coronavirus. The ministers exchanged views on the challenges ahead, such as misinformation, and the Partnership's post-2020 objectives: economic and digital development, ecological transition, institutional reforms and the development of just and inclusive societies. Leaders of the Union and the Partnership countries will hold a meeting on 18 June... Read more

ECB : International role of stable euro in 2019
In its report on the international role of the euro published on 9 June, the European Central Bank notes that the use of the European currency has remained stable in 2019. The euro has maintained its position as the second most used currency in the world, just after the dollar, and as the leading currency for green bond issues. The ECB stresses that a deepening of Economic and Monetary Union, including the single capital market, would increase the importance of the euro in the world... Read more

European Agencies : Sharp drop in asylum requests in April
According to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) report published on 11 June, only 8,730 asylum applications were registered in April in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland. This is the lowest number since 2008, down 87% from January and February, before the introduction of containment and travel restrictions. The largest decline was recorded among South American nationals. However, there is no decline in international protection needs, and applications appear to have picked up again in May... Read more
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Council of Europe : Guidelines for the efficiency of justice
The Council of Europe's European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) called on 11 June on States to learn the lessons of the coronavirus crisis and to transform the functioning of traditional courts, by investing in e-justice (online access, remote hearings), while placing the respect of fundamental rights at the forefront... Read more

Eurobarometer : Eurobarometer 2020 on Corruption
The Commission published the 2020 edition of the Eurobarometer on corruption on 10 June. 69% of Europeans find corruption unacceptable, and 70% think that corruption is widespread in their public institutions. 53% think it is also widespread in political parties and among politicians. Finally, 26% say that corruption affects their daily life. The Commission notes that since the first such barometer in 2013, the proportion of respondents considering corruption to be widespread in their countries has decreased in 18 Member States... Read more

Studies/Reports : 2020 Report on the blue economy
In the 2020 report on the blue economy published on 11 June, the Commission notes that despite the strong impact of coronavirus on fisheries and aquaculture, economic activity related to the seas and oceans has a significant potential for recovery and just transition. In 2018, the sector employed more than 5 million people and generated €750 billion in revenue. By 2050, 35% of the EU's electricity is expected to come from offshore sources, and the fisheries sector has seen its CO2 production decrease by 29% between 2009 and 2017... Read more
Reports on the progress made towards the adoption of the euro
On 10 June the European Central Bank and the Commission published their biennial reports on the progress of non-euro area Member States towards the adoption of the common currency. The Commission notes that only Sweden and Croatia fulfil all the convergence criteria except the exchange rate criterion and that only Croatia's legislation is compatible with euro area rules. The Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Poland have inflation well above the reference value of 1.8%. The ECB underlines that Bulgaria and Croatia have taken steps to join the exchange rate stabilisation mechanism ERM2, which will have to be assessed in the next report... Read more
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Report on the progress made in the digital area
On 11 June the Commission published the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) for the year 2020. The 5 indicators used (connectivity, skills, usage, digitisation of businesses and public services) show progress. The Commission considers that Member States should step up their efforts to improve coverage of very high capacity networks, assign 5G frequencies to launch commercial services, improve individual digital skills and continue the digital switchover of businesses and the public sector... Read more
Report on the Capital Markets Union
The High Level Forum (HLF) on the Capital Markets Union published its report on 10 June, setting out recommendations for accelerating the integration of capital markets, in particular to foster recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. It proposes 17 measures to be implemented in order to remove obstacles, in areas such as investment, pensions, cryptomoney or insolvency rules... Read more
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Annual road saftey review
On 11 June, the Commission published its annual review on road safety in Europe. It notes a 2% decrease in the number of road deaths in the Union in 2019 compared to 2018, and a 23% decrease compared to 2010. While the average number of road deaths in the Union is 51 deaths per million inhabitants, Sweden and Ireland have the lowest figure and Romania, Bulgaria and Poland the highest. France and Germany have the lowest figures. The Commission notes that the reduction in road fatalities is slowing down, however, the target of halving it by 2020 will not be met... Read more

Culture : Re-opening of the Pompidou Centre-Metz
The Pompidou Centre in Metz is once again welcoming the public and extending the exhibitions "Frémissements", by Susanna Fritscher, on the theme of air and light, and "Folklore", which retraces the relationship between European artists and folklore, until September and October. On 20 June, Nadia Lauro's fictional landscape "I hear voices" will be shown... Read more
Piero Golia in London
The Gagosian Gallery in London is reopening its doors as of 15 June with a "sculptural happening" by the Italian conceptual artist Piero Golia. It will be showing until 31 July... Read more
Rodin-Giacometti in Madrid
Until August 23, the MAPFRE Foundation in Madrid is hosting an exhibition dedicated to Rodin-Giacometti, two artists who are a century apart but whose works share many similarities... Read more
Re-opening of the Mumok in Vienna
The Museum of Modern Art - Ludwig Foundation Vienna (Mumok) reopens its doors on June 17 with temporary exhibitions by Austrian artist Ingeborg Strobls and Canadian video artist Steve Reinke, as well as an exhibition on modernism from 1910 to 1955 with works from the museum's collection, including works by Paul Klee, Yves Klein, René Magritte and Max Oppenheimer... Read more
Representations of the Pope in Krakow
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow presents an exhibition devoted to the philosopher and photographer Roman Ingarden, as well as "The Pope", an exhibition on the representations of the Supreme Pontiff, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth, near Krakow, of Karol Wojtyla, who became John Paul II... Read more

15 June 2020

Meeting between EU-UK

16 June 2020

Meeting of Defence Ministers

Meeting of European Affairs Ministers

17-18 June 2020

Plenary session of European Parliament

Meeting of NATO Defence Ministers

18 June 2020

Meeting of Eastern Partnership

19 June 2020

Meeting of Heads of State and government

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