The Letter n°939

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The Letter n°939
The Letter
Tuesday 8th June 2021
issue 939
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The Franco-Italian relationship on the eve of the Quirinal Treaty: between asymmetry and proximity
Author : Gilles Gressani
Gilles Gressani
The Franco-Italian relationship, asymmetric and unstable, remains in the shadow of that between France and Germany. Yet it is essential in an economic and geopolitical perspective for the whole of the European Union. It should be institutionalised with the Quirinal Treaty.
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Foundation : The Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2021
The 2021 edition of the "Schuman Report on Europe, the State of the Union", a reference work for European decision-makers, has just been published in French and English by Marie B. The contributions of the best experts and high profile personalities offer an assessment of European achievements and new solidarities in the context of the pandemic, as well as a broad view of Europe's role in the world. It is available in French, in paper version on our website and in bookshops, and in digital version, or in English in digital version only. Order it here... Read more
The Permanent Atlas of the European Union is available
The new edition of the 'Permanent Atlas of the European Union' has been published by Marie B. This book reflects the latest political and economic changes in the European Union and its Member States. With over 50 maps, texts and thematic files, the Atlas summarises the Union's history and political and statistical realities. It is available in paper version in French in bookshops and on our website, and in digital version in French and English. Order it here... Read more
Map of Health Measures and Travel Conditions in Europe
Cultural and entertainment venues reopened conditionally on 5 June in the Netherlands. Since 7 June, Spain has been accepting travellers with a vaccination certificate or a negative test without quarantine. France is doing the same from 9 June for travellers coming from the green zone. Bars and restaurants can serve indoors in Italy from 7 June, and in France and Belgium from 9 June. The curfew will be extended to 23:00 in Italy on 7 June in areas where it is still in place, and in France on 9 June. To follow developments, the Foundation is providing a comprehensive map of health measures in place and travel conditions across Europe. An essential, regularly updated resource, for you to understand the situation... Read more
Belarus: chronology of a revolution in progress
Since 5 June, EU airspace has been closed to Belarusian airlines in response to the hijacking of the plane on 23 May and the arrest of journalist Roman Protassevich. To follow the crisis since the rigged presidential election of August 2020, the Foundation offers you a chronology of events and links to European responses and initiatives... Read more

Commission : Recovery - 80 billion € borrowed in 2021
On 1 June, the Commission announced the forthcoming launch of the loan to finance the European recovery plan NextGenerationEU, a step made possible by the ratification by all Member States of the Own Resources Decision. €80 billion will be raised in 2021, in the form of long-term bonds and short-term debt securities to meet the initial needs of Member States... Read more
Budgetary Recommandations
On 2 June, the Commission presented its budgetary guidelines for Member States and called on them to pursue a fiscal policy that supports recovery and investment. It also confirmed the continuation of the general derogation clause until 2023. It considered that at this stage there is no need to decide to open an excessive deficit procedure. It also adopted guidelines for employment and the tenth enhanced surveillance report on Greece.. Read more
New Strategy for the Schengen Area
On 2 June, the Commission presented its strategy for improving the functioning of the Schengen area, which is based on three pillars: management of external borders, strengthening police cooperation, security and governance. It presented a proposal for the revision of the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism, which includes an acceleration of the evaluation procedure of the implementation of the rules and includes a reinforced monitoring of the respect of fundamental rights... Read more
Launch of the European certificate and proposal to increase access to vaccines
The Commission announced on 1 June that the EU Health Certificate's technical platform is now operational with 7 countries already able to provide certificates to their citizens. The service allows for the verification, from one Member State to another, of vaccination certificates, negative test results or recovery from Covid-19 infection. It is scheduled to be implemented in the EU on 1 July. On 4 June, the Commission presented its proposals to obtain a multilateral action plan from the members of the World Trade Organisation to increase the production of Covid vaccines and treatments and ensure their access worldwide... Read more
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European Digital Identity Project
On 3 June, the Commission proposed the creation of a European digital identity accessible to all EU citizens, businesses and residents, allowing them to share electronic documents from a digital wallet. The wallet will not be mandatory, but major platforms will have to accept its use at the user's request. It would ensure control over the data shared when accessing online services... Read more
Competition: Survey on Facebook
The Commission opened an investigation on 4 June into possible antitrust practices by Facebook. It is investigating whether the platform uses advertising data collected from advertisers to compete in markets such as online ads, and whether its online ad service Facebook Marketplace is linked to its social network... Read more
Agreement on Fishing Quotas with the UK
The Commission and the UK government agreed on 2 June on catch limits for 2021 for jointly managed fish stocks. The agreement fixes the total allowable catch for 75 shared fish stocks for 2021 and for certain deep-sea stocks for 2021 and 2022... Read more

Council : Meeting of Transport Ministers
On 3 June, transport ministers adopted the Commission's proposed strategy for sustainable and intelligent mobility and the proposals for revising the legislative framework of the Single European Sky. They adopted conclusions on railway policy. The ministers also discussed the revision of the Union's road tarification rules and the forced landing of the civil aircraft in Minsk on 23 May... Read more
Meeting of Telecommunications Ministers
On 4 June, the Telecommunications Ministers discussed the Data Governance Act, the proposal for a directive to improve cybersecurity, the Digital Compass and their commitment to defending fundamental rights, ethics and European values in the digital transformation. They also discussed the update of the privacy rules for electronic communications and the Roaming Regulation... Read more
Provisional agreement on corporate tax transparency
The Council and the Parliament reached a provisional agreement on 1 June on the Directive on country-by-country tax reporting by large companies. The text requires multinational companies or autonomous companies with a total turnover exceeding €750 million for each of the last 2 consecutive financial years to publish information on income tax in each Member State, as well as in each of the third countries listed. The Directive will now be submitted to the Council and Parliament for approval... Read more
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Diplomacy : Closure of airspace to Belarusian companies
The Council decided to ban all Belarusian air carriers from flying over EU airspace and from entering EU airports as of 5 June. This decision follows the forced landing of a flight in Minsk on 23 May and the arrest of journalist Roman Protassevich and his companion Sofia Sapega. Further individual and sectoral sanctions are also in preparation... Read more

Court of Justice : Germany condemned for excessive pollution
On 3 June, the European Court of Justice ruled that Germany "systematically and persistently" exceeded nitrogen dioxide limits between 2010 and 2016 in 26 assessed zones and agglomerations, in breach of the Air Quality Directive. It found that the German authorities did not take appropriate and timely measures to ensure that the period of time during which limit values were exceeded was as short as possible... Read more
The Court of Justice upholds the article 7 procedure against Hungary
On 3 June, the European Court of Justice rejected Hungary's appeal against the European Parliament's resolution, passed in 2018, triggering the Article 7 procedure on the rule of law. The Hungarian government challenged the non-inclusion of abstentions in the vote count. The Court recalled that abstentions should not be counted and considered that this was not contrary to the principles of democracy and equal treatment... Read more
The EU court suspends lifting of immunity of Catalan MEPs
The Vice-President of the European Court of First Instance ordered on 2 June that the waiver of the immunity of three Catalan members of the European Parliament be temporarily suspended pending the examination of their case. The immunity of Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comin and Clara Ponsati was lifted by the European Parliament in March 2021 at the request of the Spanish Supreme Court, which is prosecuting them for their role in Catalonia's attempted declaration of independence in 2017... Read more
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ECB : The International Role of the Euro
The European Central Bank published its annual report on the international role of the euro on 2 June. It finds that the share of the European currency in the world remained stable in 2020, at 19%, and notes that more than half of the green bonds issued were in euros. The report also looks at the impact on the euro of the ECB's response to the pandemic and the emergence of electronic currencies... Read more
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Court of Auditors : Special Report on Disinformation
In a special report on disinformation published on 3 June, the European Court of Auditors finds that while the EU action plan published in 2018 to combat the phenomenon was well designed, it is not sufficient to counter emerging threats. The auditors recommend better involvement of Member States, improved monitoring and accountability of online platforms, and that the fight against disinformation should be part of a coherent EU media literacy strategy... Read more
Report on Frontex
The European coastguard and border guard agency Frontex is not sufficiently effective in its support to Member States and its management of external borders, says the Court of Auditors in a report published on 7 June. The report concludes that Frontex has not fully fulfilled the mandate given to it in 2016, and stresses that "it is not ready either to implement effectively the mandate received in 2019"... Read more

Germany : Elections in Saxony-Anhalt
The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) came out ahead in the Saxony-Anhalt state elections on 6 June. According to the provisional results, it obtained 34.1% of the vote, followed by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) 21.8%. The outgoing Minister President Reiner Haseloff improved his score by almost 5 points, while the AFD lost ground. The radical left-wing party Die Linke came third with almost 12.8%, followed by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) with 11%. The Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) won 6.7% of the vote, while the Greens secured 5.7%... Read more
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Bulgaria : American Sanctions against Corruption
On 3 June, the US Treasury imposed economic sanctions on three Bulgarians for corruption and their networks of 64 companies. The measures target businessman Vasil Bozhkov, accused of enabling Russian officials to influence the Bulgarian government, businessman and former MP Delyan Peevski and civil servant Ilko Zhelyazkov, who are being held accountable for bribes. The sanctions bar the individuals and companies concerned from accessing the US financial system, freeze their assets in the US and prohibit Americans from doing business with them... Read more
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Denmark : Adoption of a law for the transfer of asylum seekers outside of Europe
On 3 June, the Danish Parliament adopted, by 70 votes to 24, a law allowing the opening of centres for asylum seekers outside the country. All asylum seekers will, once their application has been registered in Denmark, be sent to a reception centre outside the EU. They will be sent back to their country if their application is rejected, or will be granted refugee status in the country of the reception centre. The government is considering partnerships with "host countries" in Africa, which will handle the procedure in return for Danish payment... Read more
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Spain : Hispano-Polish Summit
At the 13th Spanish-Polish summit on 31 May and 1 June, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki adopted a joint declaration for greater cooperation in cyber security, education and industrial policy... Read more
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Latvia : New Government Coalition
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins reshuffled his governing coalition on 2 June with the departure of the Eurosceptic KPV LV party due to tensions and differences. The coalition, which has a minority in parliament with 48 seats out of 100, now includes New Unity, the New Conservative Party (JKP), Development/Pro! (AP) and the National Alliance... Read more
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Czech Republic : Failure of the no-confidence vote but the affair is being take to the European Prosecutor's Office
Prime Minister Andrej Babis' coalition government survived a no-confidence motion tabled by the opposition in the Chamber of Deputies on 3 June over the handling of the health crisis and suspicions of conflict of interest and EU subsidy fraud against A. Babis. The motion received 89 votes, out of 200 deputies, thanks to the non-participation in the vote of the communist deputies. The European Public Prosecutor's Office, which took office on 1 June, has been asked by the Prague prosecutor's office to investigate these suspicions... Read more
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Moldova : European Recovery Plan
On 2 June, the Commission presented an economic recovery plan for Moldova, worth €600 million in grants, investments and macro-financial assistance. The 5-year plan includes competitiveness of the economy, trade and SMEs; infrastructure; education and employability; rule of law and justice reform... Read more

Council of Europe : Report on the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism
The Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism published its annual report for 2020 on 4 June. It finds that the States and jurisdictions show a moderate level of effectiveness and that their level of compliance with AML/CFT standards is on average unsatisfactory. The report highlights "serious shortcomings" in the area of financial sanctions against terrorism... Read more
Report on trafficking of human beings in Romania
In a report published on 3 June, the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) urges Romania to improve its legislation in order to make sanctions more dissuasive and ensure fair compensation for victims. GRETA notes the positive developments in the Romanian legislative framework but points out that many sentences are limited to suspended sentences and that the use of guilty pleas leads to reduced sentences... Read more
Report on human trafficking in Montenegro
In a report published on 2 June, the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) calls on the authorities of Montenegro to step up their efforts to punish traffickers and ensure access to justice and compensation for victims. The report acknowledges that progress has been made, including the adoption of procedures for the identification of victims and the creation of a dedicated combat team... Read more

G7 : Agreement on world corporate tax rate of "at least 15%"
The Finance Ministers meeting in London on 4 and 5 June gave their "strong support" to the proposed 15% minimum global tax rate for multinationals "applied country by country". In addition, they committed to redistributing a surplus of profits made by multinationals to countries in which the groups have market share but are not based. Ministers reiterated the risk posed by global warming and discussed the need to support green finance... Read more
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Meeting of Health Ministers
The G7 Health Ministers, meeting in Oxford on 4 June, underlined the importance of international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic and committed themselves to promoting research and equitable access to vaccines and treatments. They also decided to launch a series of actions in 4 areas: health security, antimicrobial resistance, clinical trials and digital health... Read more

NATO : Meetings of Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers
NATO foreign and defence ministers held two meetings on 1 June, during which they discussed Belarus, Russia and China. They discussed the NATO 2030 Agenda, which aims to strengthen the Alliance's role, including through partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and Latin America. On 3 June, NATO published the Sixth Progress Report on Cooperation with the European Union, which provides an update on the implementation of the joint proposals agreed in December 2016 and December 2017... Read more
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Eurostat : Inflation rises to 2% in May
Euro area annual inflation was 2% in May 2021, according to Eurostat estimates published on 1 June. (compared to 1.6% in April). Germany and Spain had a rate of 2.4%, Ireland 1.9%, France 1.8% and Italy 1.3%... Read more
Unemployment slightly down in April
The unemployment rate in the EU was 7.3% in April 2021 and 8% in the euro area, according to figures published by Eurostat on 1 June. In April 2021, the youth unemployment rate was 17.1% in the EU and 17.2% in the euro area... Read more

Studies/Reports : Report on bathing water quality
According to the European Environment Agency's annual bathing water report published on 1 June, the percentage of coastal and inland bathing sites with "excellent" water quality has stabilised at around 85% in recent years and stood at 82.8% in 2020 across Europe. The minimum water quality standard of "sufficient" was met in 93% of the monitored sites in 2020, and in five countries, Austria, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece and Malta, at least 95% of the bathing waters were of excellent quality... Read more
Report on the tax deficit of multinationals
The European Union would reap almost €170 billion in additional tax revenue this year if the global minimum corporate tax rate, currently being negotiated under the auspices of the OECD, were set at 25%, according to a study published on 1 June by the European Tax Observatory, which was set up the same day... Read more

Culture : Raphael at the Capodimonte Museum: the artist's workshop
From 10 June to 13 September 2021, the Capodimonte Museum in Naples is presenting an exhibition dedicated to Raphael (1483-1520), one of the most prominent painters and architects of the Renaissance. The exhibition allows visitors to learn more about the work of the artist and his studio... Read more
75 years of the Nuits de Fourvière
The Nuits de Fourvière festival in Lyon is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Numerous theatre, music, dance, opera and circus performances are on the programme until 30 July... Read more
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Banksy in Warsaw
Until 5 September, the exhibition "The Art of Banksy without Limits" is open to visitors at the Praga Koneser Centre in Warsaw. This exhibition is the first in Poland to feature such a large presentation of Bansky's work, with over 100 works... Read more
The artistic legacy of Joseph Banks
Joseph Banks (1743-1820) is one of the UK's most famous naturalists, known for his participation in James Cook's first voyage around the world. The Natural History Museum in London is paying tribute to him until 17 September. The exhibition includes works of art from the journeys he made with Cook in the Pacific and manuscripts describing the local customs and plants of the Kerala, in southern India.. Read more
Damien Hirst at the Borghese Gallery
From 8 June to 7 November, the Borghese Gallery in Rome is presenting a new exhibition by British sculptor and painter Damien Hirst. More than 80 works from the series "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Series" will be on display in the museum alongside ancient masterpieces. Hirst's paintings from a collection entitled "Colour Space" will also be on display for the first time in Italy... Read more
Cinema Festival in Malaga
The city of Malaga is hosting the 24th edition of a festival dedicated to the dissemination and promotion of Spanish cinema until 13 June. The programme includes feature films, shorts and documentaries. The festival is complemented by tributes to different personalities in the film industry and by series, exhibitions and parallel activities... Read more
Bach Festival in Leipzig
The town of Lepizig is hosting the Bach Music Festival from 11 to 20 June, this year dedicated to Christianity. The programme includes a series of concerts, including the Messiah, which will be broadcast online from 11 to 15 June from emblematic locations. The festival is complemented by a compilation of biblical audio texts to be discovered online... Read more
Brightening Air - Coiscéim Coiligh Festival
The Brightening Air - Coiscéim Coiligh festival will be running from 11-20 June and features installations and exhibitions, digital and virtual reality experiments, live performances and talks across the Republic of Ireland... Read more

Napoleon's Bicentenary : Exhibition at the Arenenberg Castle
Until 24 October, the Napoleon Museum at Arenenberg Castle in Switzerland is presenting the exhibition "The End of Napoleon: St Helena, Arenenberg and the Birth of a Legend". In the castle where Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Joséphine, lived, there is a large glass sarcophagus containing objects concerning Napoleon's life in exile and the stories surrounding him, which the mistress of the house presented to her visitors... Read more
On-line conferences in Bologna
The Institute for the History of the Risorgimento in Bologna is organising a series of online meetings and conferences until 16 June to mark the bicentenary of Napoleon's death. The lectures can be viewed on the Institute's YouTube channel... Read more
Under the Emperor's dictation
Until 30 September, the Napoleonic Museum on the island of Aix is organising the exhibition "Under the Emperor's dictation", which is based on a commentary on Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse's 1842 painting, "Napoleon dictating his Memoirs". Sound narration and didactic panels allow visitors to trace the daily life of the Emperor... Read more
Napoleon, warlord, head of state
The Musée Municipal de Saint-Germain-en-Laye is hosting an exhibition that traces Napoleon's life and military strategies. The exhibition is open until 13 June, and a virtual tour is available until 31 December... Read more

7 and 8 June 2021


Justice and Home Affairs Council

7-10 June 2021


Plenary Session of the European Parliament

10 June 2021


Environment Council


Meeting of the Governors of the ECB

11 June 2021


Energy Council

11-13 June 2021

Carbis Bay

G7 Summit

14 June 2021


NATO Summit

14-15 June 2021


Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Council

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