The Letter n°965

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The Letter n°965
The Letter
Tuesday 1st February 2022
issue 965
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"The European strategy in the Indo-Pacific is subtle and perfectly adapted"
Author : Patrick Hébrard
Patrick Hébrard
The sea has historically been an essential element in the development of the European continent. After several decades of lesser interest in its maritime dimension, the Union is rethinking its strategy, from the Indo-Pacific to the Arctic, and must develop the interoperability of its naval forces.
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Elections : The Socialist Party wins an absolute majority in the general elections in Portugal
The Socialist Party of outgoing Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa won the snap parliamentary elections on 30 January with 41.68% of the vote and an absolute majority of 117 seats in Parliament. It defeated the Social Democratic Party (PSD), a centre-right party led by Rui Rio, which won 27.80% of the vote and 71 seats. Chega (Enough) (CH), a right-wing populist party led by Andre Ventura, became the third political force in the country with 7.15% of the vote and 12 elected members... Read more
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Sergio Mattarella re-elected President of the Italian Republic
The outgoing Italian President Sergio Mattarella was re-elected on 29 January for a second 7-year term. The Christian Democrat, who was not initially a candidate, won an absolute majority in the 8th round of voting, with 759 votes out of 1,009 electors... Read more
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Foundation : Unreservedly European
In his new book, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, the Foundation's chairman, freely addresses his fellow citizens, who must refuse to accept the lies about the European Union while at the same time contributing tirelessly to its improvement. For in Europe, it is always the ideas of the Great Nation that lead the way: Europe is something more for France and the French, nothing less. This book, published by Marie B, is available in paper format on the Foundation's website and in bookshops. Order your copy now!.. Read more
The strategic compass: what course for European defence?
As part of the "Fabrique Défense" the Robert Schuman Foundation and the Institut des Hautes Études de Défense Nationale organised a video conference on 26th January in collaboration with EuroDéfense-France on the development of a strategic compass for the European Union which you can watch online... Read more
The Permanent Atlas of the European Union is available
For a better understanding of Europe in 2022, the Permanent Atlas of the European Union is a unique book that provides a comprehensive and easily accessible view of the European Union, the eurozone and each of its 27 Member States. It is available in English in digital format... Read more
European Recovery Plans: 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, called the Recovery and Resilience Facility, for Member States in the form of grants and loans. 22 plans have so far been approved by the Commission and the Council, and 20 countries have received the planned pre-financing. On 26 January, the Commission approved the request for a first payment of €7.4 billion to France, which has met a first set of targets. The Commission has not yet approved the Hungarian and Polish plans due to breaches of the rule of law. The Foundation offers you an interactive map of the plans country by country, showing figures, timetables and priorities... Read more
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Map of Health Measures and Travel Conditions in Europe
In the Netherlands, cultural venues have reopened, as have bars and restaurants, but only until 10pm and in reduced capacity. In Austria, the confinement of non-vaccinated people was lifted on 31 January. In Denmark, restrictions such as the wearing of masks were lifted on 1 February. On the same day, in Italy, the validity of the health pass was reduced from nine to six months, except in the case of a booster vaccination. To follow developments in the situation and learn about the measures in place in the EU Member States, the Foundation offers you a comprehensive map of the measures in place. An indispensable, regularly updated resource... Read more

Commission : Draft Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles
On 26 January, the Commission proposed to the Parliament and the Council to sign a declaration of digital rights and principles to guide the digital transformation in the European Union. The document is a guide for policy makers and businesses on new technologies... Read more

Parliament : Presentation of FPEU to the parliamentary committees
From 24 to 27 January, 14 French ministers presented the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council to 12 parliamentary committees and debated with MEPs.. Read more
Recommendations to combat disinformation
The Parliament's special committee on foreign interference and disinformation has adopted its final recommendations. It calls on the EU to raise public awareness through comprehensive information campaigns and training for people in sensitive positions. It calls for the creation of a regime of sanctions against disinformation, as well as the strengthening of rules on social media platforms that serve as relays for foreign interference... Read more
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Council : Meeting of Ministers for European Affairs
On 25 January, the Ministers for European Affairs held a debate on the legislative package to ensure free and fair elections and to make the digital world more accountable. They also exchanged views on the first series of recommendations from the citizens' panels of the Conference on the Future of Europe... Read more
Informal Meeting of Education and Youth Ministers
The Ministers of Education and Youth met on 27 January in Strasbourg. As a follow-up to the European Youth Conference, and in the framework of the European Year of Youth, young delegates were invited to participate in the ministers' debate on youth civic engagement... Read more
Position on the planned universal charger
On 26 January, the Council adopted its position on the proposal for a universal standard connection port for all electronic devices. This measure will allow the harmonisation of charging interfaces and fast charging technologies. It is intended to contribute to the reduction of electronic waste. The Council added an annex to the proposal with a view to improving consumer information, in particular through the introduction of pictograms and labels... Read more
Covid/restrictions based on personal status
On 25 January the Council adopted a recommendation on measures affecting free movement during the pandemic. From 1 February, Covid-19 measures will be applied according to the status of the person and not the situation at regional level (except in areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels). This means that the determining factor will be the vaccinated, tested or recovered status of the traveller... Read more
Informal Meeting of Ministers for Higher Education, Research and Innovation
The ministers for higher education, research and innovation, meeting in Paris on 24 and 25 January, discussed the need for European higher education to transform so that it can meet the challenges of the future. They emphasised the international dimension of European policies in higher education, research and innovation, and the importance of cooperation with third countries. They discussed the strengthening of cooperation between universities in Europe, and committed themselves to facilitating alliances between universities... Read more

Diplomacy : Joint statement with the US on energy security
In a joint statement, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden recalled on 28 January their shared commitment to Europe's energy security and sustainability, and to accelerating the global transition to clean energy. They pledged to step up their collaboration to address security of supply challenges and high prices in energy markets. They also mentioned the objective of ensuring Ukraine's energy security and the gradual integration of the country into the EU's gas and electricity markets... Read more
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Court of Justice : Cancellation of a fine imposed by the Commission on Intel
On 26 January, the General Court of the European Union annulled the fine of €1.06 billion imposed on Intel by the Commission in 2009 for abusing its dominant position on the global processor market by adopting undisguised restrictions and rebates granted to computer equipment manufacturers on condition that they only buy Intel microprocessors. The Court considers that the Commission's analysis was incomplete and did not establish that those rebates were likely to have anti-competitive effects. As it could not distinguish in the fine the amount of the part imposed for the undisguised restrictions and that for the rebates, it annulled the fine of €1.06 billion in its entirety... Read more

Court of Auditors : Report on the deployment of 5G networks
In a report published on 24 January, the European Court of Auditors finds that the roll-out of 5G networks by Member States is lagging behind and recommends that the Commission should promote, by December 2022, the homogeneous and rapid deployment of 5G networks, as well as foster a concerted approach to network security. It also recommends that the Commission assess the potential impact on the single market of the roll-out of 5G by Member States... Read more

Finland : Meeting with the President of the Spanish government
The President of the Spanish Government Pedro Sanchez hosted his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin on 26 January to discuss the deepening of economic relations between the two countries and the strengthening of cooperation on European issues, such as security or the promotion of the rule of law... Read more
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France : Meeting between the French President and the German Chancellor
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz received French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin on 25 January. The two leaders called for "clear steps towards de-escalation" in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and for continued dialogue between the West and Russia through the "Normandy format". They spoke of the need to develop a strong and sovereign Europe by increasing its capacity for action and of a fair international order, the defence of climate protection and economic recovery... Read more

Serbia : Stabilisation and Association Council with the European Union
The Stabilisation and Association Council with Serbia, meeting on 25 January, discussed the political and economic situation, the pandemic and pre-accession assistance under the Stabilisation and Association Process. It reviewed Serbia's progress in its preparation for EU membership... Read more

Ukraine : Diplomacy to reduce tension with Russia
The advisers of the Normandy format heads of state and government - France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia - met in Paris on 26 January. They reaffirmed the importance of respecting the Minsk agreements and committed themselves to de-escalation. They agreed to meet again in Berlin within two weeks. On the same day NATO sent written proposals to Russia on their relations, European security and arms control. In two telephone talks on 28 and 31 January, French and Russian Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for de-escalation and further dialogue, and discussed security guarantees requested by Russia. The UN Security Council met on 31 January... Read more
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Council of Europe : Winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe held its winter session in Strasbourg from 24 to 28 January. The debates focused on measures to combat Covid-19, security in Europe, the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, as well as the European Union's pact on migration and asylum from a human rights perspective. On 27 January, on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, Eva Clarke and Liliana Segre, two Holocaust survivors, addressed the Assembly... Read more

WTO : Proceedings against China's trade restrictions on Lithuania
On 27 January, the European Union launched a procedure before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) concerning China's discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania. In particular, it is challenging the customs clearance of Lithuanian goods and the rejection of import requests from Lithuania. These practices affect other EU exports as they also target products with Lithuanian components, which are exported from other EU Member States... Read more
Proceedings against Egypt's import restrictions
On 26 January, the EU requested WTO consultations with Egypt to resolve a dispute over Egypt's mandatory import registration requirements. Indeed, since 2016, the Egyptian authorities have required registration on many agricultural, food, cosmetic and textile products, which has led to a 40% drop in EU exports to Egypt... Read more

IMF : Growth forecasts down
On 25 January, the International Monetary Fund revised its growth forecasts downwards for 2022 with a global GDP increase of 4.5%, down 0.5 points from the October 2021 projections. The euro area would grow by 3.9% in 2022, down 0.4 percentage points from the previous forecast. Supply chain disruptions, energy shortages, rising inflation in most economies, rising government debt and the circulation of the Omicron variant are listed as the main causes of this downward revaluation... Read more

Eurobarometer : Special survey on the future of Europe
The Commission and Parliament published a special joint Eurobarometer on the future of Europe on 25 January. It shows that nine out of ten young Europeans believe that fighting climate change can help improve their health and well-being. The most frequently identified issues are social inequality (36%), unemployment (32%) and migration (31%). A large majority of Europeans surveyed say they are happy to live in the EU (81%) and 68% believe that the EU is a haven of stability in a world in crisis... Read more
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Eurostat : Rise in GDP in the fourth quarter 2021
During the fourth quarter of 2021, GDP increased by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the European Union, according to an estimate published by Eurostat on 31 January. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, GDP rose by 4.6% and 4.8% respectively... Read more

Culture : Klimt and Croatia
Until 31 March, the Municipal Museum in Rijeka is holding an exhibition devoted to the early artistic career of Gustav Klimt. The exhibition presents nine paintings created for the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb by Gustav Klimt, his brother Ernst, and their friend Matsch... Read more
Theodor Pallady in Bucharest
The National Art Museum of Romania (MNAR) is organising four exhibitions devoted to the 150th anniversary of the birth of Theodor Pallady, one of the most important Romanian artists. The exhibition includes more than 100 graphic works... Read more
Valencian painting in the spotlight at the Bancaja Foundation
The Bancaja Foundation in Valencia is offering an exhibition until the 7th of July on the three great Valencian painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Pinazo, Sorolla and Mongrell. The exhibition allows us to understand the different artistic trends in the region around 1900... Read more
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"Temptation" at the Uffizi Gallery
The works of Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen are on display at the Uffizi Museum in Florence until 20 March. Some thirty sculptures and paintings devoted to the theme of hybridity coexist with the masterpieces of the Florentine museum, such as Caravaggio's Medusa or the self-portraits of Rembrandt and Rubens... Read more
Jean Dubuffet at the Pierre Gianadda Foundation
The Fondation Pierre Gianadda in Martigny, together with the Centre Pompidou, is presenting a retrospective of Jean Dubuffet until 6 June, alternating his masterpieces in painting with his works on paper... Read more
Van Gogh at the Courtauld Gallery
From 23 February to 8 May, the Courtauld Gallery in London will be presenting 16 self-portraits by Van Gogh, including the Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear from its collections. The exhibition traces the development of the painter's style in this personal exercise... Read more
Greek contemporary artists in Berlin
Until 3 March, 14 young Greek artists are presenting their paintings, sculptures, videos and installations at the Steinzeit Gallery in Berlin, based on the word "viral", which refers to both the digital world and the health context. The exhibition focuses on the interconnection of people and the search for alternative ways of living... Read more
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3 February 2022


Informal Meeting of Home Affairs Ministers


Meeting of the Council of Governors of the ECB

7-8 February 2022


Informal Meeting of Agriculture Ministers

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