The Letter n°963

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The Letter n°963
The Letter
Tuesday 18th January 2022
issue 963
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For a new European growth strategy
Author : Nicolas Goetzmann
Nicolas Goetzmann
In the competition with the United States and China, the European Union lost ground by adopting an overly restrictive policy after the financial crisis. The macroeconomic efforts made during the pandemic must become more structural than cyclical. The European Union must now articulate its welfare state with maximum growth macroeconomic management, enabling it to strengthen European domestic demand, balance the continent's trade balance, rebalance its overdependence on exports and, in this way, place itself in a position of strategic autonomy.
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Front page! : Without reserve
Europe has existed for nearly 72 years. It is growing stronger and is developing a little more each day. So much so that our states can no longer do without it just to fulfil their obligations vis-à-vis their citizens. It is time to ask the French to embrace Europe without reserve, writes Jean-Dominique Giuliani... Read more

Foundation : European views of the French presidency
Jean-Dominique Giuliani will be invited to a round table on European views on the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised by the Medef on 18 January... Read more
European challenges for France and Germany:
On the occasion of the Franco-German Day, Pascale Joannin will moderate a debate on the future of the Franco-German couple which will be organised by the European Movement Paris at the Goethe Institute on 20 January. Joachim Bitterlich, member of the Scientific Committee of the Foundation, will be one of the speakers. Enrol now... Read more
Franco-German cooperation in the European defence industry
As part of the Defence Factory and in partnership with ECFR Berlin, the Foundation organised an online event on 13 January on Franco-German cooperation in the defence industry, at the centre of European ambitions for building strategic autonomy. The discussion is available online... Read more
The Permanent Atlas of the European Union is available
To better understand Europe in 2022, the Permanent Atlas of the European Union, a unique work, offers a complete and easy-to-access view of the European Union, the euro zone and each of its 27 Member States. It is available in English in digital format... Read more
Map of Health Measures and Travel Conditions in Europe
Since 15 January, a health pass has been required to work in Luxembourg, and only vaccinated people can enter bars and restaurants in Germany. In Sweden, bars and restaurants close at 11pm, indoor public gatherings are limited to 500 people, and a vaccination pass is required for groups of 50 or more. In the Netherlands, shops, gyms and universities have reopened but bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres remain closed until 26 January. In France, on 16 January, Parliament adopted the law transforming the health pass into a vaccination pass. To follow the development of the situation and to understand the measures that are in force in the Member States of the Union, the Foundation offers you a complete map of the measures that have been introduced. An indispensable, regularly updated resource... Read more
Plans for European Recovery: figures and priorities
In response to the economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU has set up a €672.5 billion recovery fund, known as the Recovery and Resilience Facility, for Member States in the form of grants and loans. So far, 22 plans have been approved by the commission, and all 22 countries have received the planned pre-financing, including Romania, which received €1.9bn on 13 January. The Commission has not yet approved the Hungarian and Polish plans due to the infringement of the rule of law. The Foundation offers you an interactive map of the plans country by country, to know the amounts, the timetables and the priorities... Read more
Belarus: chronology of a revolution in progress
On 12 January, the EU candidate countries and members of the European Economic Area joined the sanctions decided by the European Union against airlines and travel agencies that allow the transport of people to Belarus. To follow the latest developments in the crisis opened by the rigged presidential election of August 2020 and the repression of the democratic opposition, the Foundation offers you a chronology of events... Read more

Commission : Facilitating International Youth Volunteering Activities
On 13 January, the Commission published a proposal for a recommendation to facilitate international volunteering activities for young people through the European Solidarity Corps or other programmes at national level. This action is part of the European Year of Youth 2022... Read more
Shipyards: proposed acquisition of Daewoo by Hyundai to be prohibited
The Commission prohibited on 13 January the acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) by Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings (HHIH). The combination of the two Korean companies would have created a dominant position and reduced competition in the global market for the construction of large liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. The Commission also bases its injunction on the higher prices for EU customers and ultimately for energy consumers that the merger would have brought about... Read more
Northern Ireland: meeting between Maros Sefcovic and Liz Truss
Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met on 13 and 14 January to discuss the status of Northern Ireland with regard to Brexit. They expressed their " wish for a positive relationship " and agreed to deepen the discussions and to meet again on 24 January... Read more
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Parliament : Roberta Metsola elected President
Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT) was elected President of the Parliament on 18 January with 458 votes in the first round of voting, against 101 for Alice Kuhnke (Greens/EFA, SE) and 57 for Sira Rego (GUE, ES). She succeeds David Sassoli (S&D, IT), who died on 11 January, for the second half of the legislature. She is the third woman to hold this position, after the French Simone Veil (1979-1982) and Nicole Fontaine (1999-2002)... Read more

Council : Informal Meeting of Defence Ministers
Meeting in Brest on 12 and 13 January, the Defence Ministers continued their work on the Strategic Compass, which is due to be adopted in March. They exchanged views on the actions to be taken to safeguard freedom of access and use of common spaces. They discussed the draft of a new joint declaration on cooperation between the European Union and NATO.. Read more
Eurogroup Meeting
Meeting on 17 January, the Eurogroup discussed the economic resilience of the euro area and potential measures to facilitate economic adjustment after the pandemic. It also examined the draft recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area for 2022 and took stock of the ratification of the revised treaty on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Ministers also discussed the reform of the governance of the euro area and the state of play on strengthening banking union... Read more
Meeting of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers
At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 17 January, France presented its priorities for its Presidency of the Council, in particular the reciprocity of standards, the reform of the CAP, and the revision of the regulation on fisheries control. Ministers discussed agricultural trade issues, including relations with the UK, and WTO negotiations. They also discussed the effects of rising energy costs on the market situation for agricultural products... Read more

Diplomacy : Informal meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers
A meeting of foreign ministers was held on 13 and 14 January in Brest and provided an opportunity to take stock of the Strategic Compass project in a joint session with the defence ministers. The ministers also discussed the situation in Ukraine and Belarus, as well as the EU's relations with China and Africa. In a statement by High Representative Josep Borrell, the European Union condemned the cyber attack on Ukraine on 14 January and expressed its readiness to help the country. France and the Europeans, militarily engaged in the anti-jihadist fight in Mali, want to stay "but not at any price", said the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian... Read more
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Extension of sanctions against Russia
On 13 January, the Council extended the sanctions on certain Russian economic sectors for six months, until 31 July, due to the lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements on peace in Ukraine. The measures, introduced on 31 July 2014, limit access to EU capital markets and to certain technologies that can be used in the energy sector... Read more

Court of Justice : Car pollution: Paris, Brussels and Madrid rejected
On 13 January, the Court of Justice overturned a 2018 decision of the General Court of the European Union which held that the cities of Paris, Brussels and Madrid were directly affected by a regulation setting emission values for new light vehicles. The three cities challenged the regulation as preventing them from taking restrictive measures to combat pollution. The Court found that the regulation concerns the placing on the market of motor vehicles and not their subsequent circulation and that the cities are not directly affected by the regulation... Read more

Court of Auditors : Report on support to the rule of law in the Balkans
In a report on EU action to improve the rule of law in the Balkans published on 10 January, the Court of Auditors finds that EU action has contributed to reforms on technical and operational issues, such as improving the efficiency of the judicial system. However, it notes the weak impact on fundamental reforms. It proposes several recommendations: to set strategic objectives for each country concerned by enlargement, to increase support for independent civil society organisations and journalists, to use the conditionality mechanism for granting pre-accession funding... Read more

European Agencies : Increase in illegal crossings of the Union's borders in 2021
Figures published by the European agency Frontex on 11 January show that the total number of illegal border crossings into the EU in 2021 was just under 200,000, the highest figure since 2017. This is an increase of 57% compared to 2020, despite the Covid-19 restrictions. The agency attributes this increase in particular to the situation in Belarus. Syrians remain in 2021 the most represented nationality among those detected at illegal crossings, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Algerians and Afghans. The Central Mediterranean route is the most used migration route to Europe... Read more
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Europol seizez 1,534 firearms
Europol announced on 14 January the seizure of 1,534 firearms in the framework of Operation Conversus against the illegal arms trade, which was conducted in December. Coordinated by Europol, the operation involved law enforcement agencies from 24 countries... Read more

Germany : Joachim Nagel, President of the Bundesbank
Joachim Nagel, the new President of the German Central Bank, took office on 11 January. The 55-year-old was appointed by the government to succeed Jens Weidmann, who resigned. In his inaugural speech, he stressed the importance of price stability and called on the European Central Bank to "adapt its monetary policy" if necessary... Read more

Finland : No complacency in Finland under President Niinistö
In his New Year's speech, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö insisted on Finland's right to join NATO when it wants to, something Russia wants to deny it. He also called for Europe to take part in discussions with the US and Russia on security on its territory... Read more
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France : Meeting of the Parliament Chairs
COSAC, which brings together national parliamentary committees dealing with European affairs and the European Parliament, met in Paris at the Senate on 13 and 14 January to discuss the priorities of the French Council Presidency... Read more
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François Villeroy de Galhau elected head of the Bank for International Settlements
The Governor of the Banque de France, François Villeroy de Galhau, was elected President of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on 12 January for a three-year term. He succeeds Jens Weidmann, who stepped down as President of the Bundesbank in December... Read more
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The Netherlands : Meeting with the German Chancellor
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz received Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on 13 January to strengthen cooperation between the two countries. The two heads of government discussed developments in energy policy to achieve carbon neutrality and their concern about the escalating violence in Ukraine... Read more
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Czech Republic : Vote of confidence in the new government
The coalition government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) won the confidence of the Czech parliament on 13 January. After 23 hours of debate, 106 MPs voted in favour and 87 against... Read more
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North Macedonia : New Prime Ministers
The Parliament of North Macedonia elected Dimitar Kovacevski (SDSM) as Prime Minister on 16 January. The new coalition government, led by the Social Democratic Party (SDSM) was endorsed by 62 MPs against 56. Deputy Finance Minister in the previous government, Dimitar Kovacevski, 48, succeeds Zoran Zaev, who resigned in December after his party's heavy defeat in the municipal elections... Read more

Serbia : Constitutional referendum on justice
In a referendum held on 16 January, Serbian voters approved constitutional changes to bring their legislation into line with EU law and to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, with around 60.5% voting in favour and 39.5% against... Read more
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Council of Europe : Moneyval Report on Cyprus
In a report published on 13 January, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), considers that Cyprus has made substantial progress in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing... Read more

UN : NATO-Russia Council Meeting
At the NATO-Russia Council on 12 January, Russia reiterated its opposition to the admission of new members to NATO and its demand for the withdrawal of NATO forces from Central and Eastern European countries. The Allies reasserted the right of each country to choose its own security arrangements. They maintained that they would not give up their mutual protection. However, the NATO-Russia Council agreed on the need to meet again. Among other things, the Allies want to increase the transparency of military exercises, prevent dangerous military incidents and reduce space and cyber threats. Finally, they called again on Russia to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity... Read more
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OECD : Report on the Slovakian economy
In a report on the Slovak economy published on 13 January, the OECD forecasts growth of 5% in 2022 and 4.3% in 2023. The organisation recommends maintaining support measures for households and businesses in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. It stresses the need for structural reforms to increase productivity and reduce the pressures of an ageing population... Read more

Eurostat : 72.1 billion euro current account surplus
In the third quarter of 2021, the EU balance of payments current account recorded a surplus of €72.1 billion, down from the previous quarter, according to data published by Eurostat on 11 January. The balance of services increased compared with the previous quarter, with a surplus of €29.7 billion... Read more
Foreign trade deficit
The external trade deficit stood at €8.3 billion for the Union and €1.5 billion for the euro area in November 2021, according to data published by Eurostat on 14 January. At the same time, intra-euro zone trade reached €204.3 billion, up 22.1% compared to November 2020... Read more

Culture : European cultural programme
As part of the French Presidency of the Council, the Ministry of Culture and the French Institute have prepared a cultural and artistic programme comprising more than ten initiatives dedicated to European youth. From 20 January to 27 February, the gates of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris will host the works of six photographers as part of the "Crossings of Europe" exhibition. As part of the worldwide "Night of Ideas" event, organised by the French Institute in Paris with the entire French cultural network abroad, the "European Night of Ideas" will bring together personalities from the worlds of art, literature, science and associations on the night of 27 January... Read more
400th anniversary of Molière
To mark the 400th anniversary of Molière's birth, the Comédie-Française is dedicating a season to him, presenting all his greatest plays until 25 July 2022... Read more
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Malaga Theatre Festival
Until 14 February, Malaga is hosting the 39th edition of its theatre festival. A total of 52 plays will be performed, including works specially designed for children. Through several plays presented in different theatres in the city, this year's festival focuses on the role of women in the theatre... Read more
Inverfest Festival in Madrid
The Inverfest music festival is being held in Madrid until 6 February. There will be 130 performances, with many concerts by Spanish singers and bands, poetry evenings and discussions... Read more
International Documentary Festival in Biarritz
The 4th edition of the International Documentary Festival is being held until 23 January in Biarritz. Screenings, round tables and conferences on various themes, reflecting contemporary concerns such as migration and climate change, are on the programme... Read more
Konstantin Grcic Exhibition in Berlin
The "New Normals" exhibition by the industrial designer Konstantin Grcic is presenting everyday objects and materials in interaction with their surroundings from 21 January to 8 May at Haus Am Waldsee in Berlin... Read more
Caravaggio and Artemisia at the Barberini Palace
Until 27 March, Palazzo Barberini in Rome is devoting an exhibition to Caravaggio and the representations of violence and seduction in 16th and 17th century painting. The exhibition, which includes 29 works, celebrates the 70th anniversary of the rediscovery of the painting Judith and Holofernes and the 50th anniversary of its acquisition by the Italian State... Read more
Opening of the House of Hungarian Music
The Hungarian Music House opens its doors on 23 January in Budapest. The building, designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, will host concerts and an interactive exhibition on the history of Hungarian and European music... Read more
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Georgia O'Keeffe at the Beyeler Foundation
From 23 January to 22 May, the Fondation Beyeler in Basel is staging a major retrospective of the work of Georgia O'Keeffe, a leading figure in modern American art, known for her abstract works and depictions of flowers and landscapes of the American Southwest... Read more

17 January 2022


Agriculture and Fisheries Council Eurogroup Meeting

17-20 January 2022


Plenary Session of the European Parliament

18 January 2022


Economic and Financial Affairs Council

20-22 January 2022


Informal meetings of the Environment and Energy Ministers

24 January 2022


Foreign Affairs Council


Presidential Election

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