The Letter n°966

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The Letter n°966
The Letter
Tuesday 8th February 2022
issue 966
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"If only ageing Europe had chosen the easy option of more immigration!"
Author : Giles Merritt
Giles Merritt
Despite the ageing population and the need for manpower, EU Member States are slow to think about and implement a real common immigration policy. They must do so before it is too late.
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Front page! : Rush to the Oceans
On the seas, the great game of powers, the balance of power between nations and continents, a new race for resources and, perhaps, the risks of reviving conflicts that we thought impossible are now being played out, writes Jean-Dominique Giuliani... Read more

Elections : Frank-Walter Steinmeier might be re-elected German President
Incumbent German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has the support of the main parties in the Bundestag and is therefore the favourite in the presidential election on 13 February. The German Federal Assembly, composed of members of the Bundestag and delegates from the Länder, elects the President... Read more

Foundation : One Ocean Summit
Jean-Dominique Giuliani will be one of the guests at the 'One ocean summit' which is being held from 9 to 11 February in Brest under the French Presidency of the Council. He will speak at the workshop "Which Europe of the sea?.. Read more
Unreservedly, European
In his new book, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Foundation, unabashedly addresses his fellow citizens, who must refuse to accept the lies about the European Union while at the same time contributing unstintingly to its improvement. For in Europe, it is always the ideas of the "Grande 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 it here... Read more
Map of Health Measures and Travel Conditions in Europe
On 1 February, the validity of the Covid certificate was reduced from 12 to 9 months in the absence of a booster vaccination. In France, as of 2 February, masks are no longer mandatory outdoors, cultural and sporting events no longer have spectator limits, and teleworking is no longer mandatory. In Sweden, from 9 February, there will be no limit on the number of participants at public events, the health pass will no longer be required and restrictions in bars and restaurants will be lifted. In the Czech Republic, health passes will no longer be required in bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas from 9 February. To follow the developments in the situation and to understand the measures in place in the EU Member States, the Foundation provides you with a complete map of the measures in place. An indispensable, regularly updated resource... Read more
Belarus: chronology of a revolution in progress
In a letter sent on 1 February to the Presidents of the Parliament, the Commission and the European Council, 77 MEPs expressed concern about the presence of Russian troops in Belarus, said the deployment could be part of a plan to "subjugate and occupy" the country, and called for decisions that could be taken to avoid a war in Ukraine not to be taken at the expense of an "independent and democratic future for Belarus"... 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 version... Read more

Commission : Proposal to integrate gas and nuclear power into the green taxonomy
On 2 February, the Commission proposed to include certain gas and nuclear activities in the list of those that can make a transitional contribution to decarbonisation and adaptation to climate change. The delegated act aims to direct private investment towards the activities needed to achieve climate neutrality... Read more
New standardisation strategy
On 2 February, the Commission presented a new standardisation strategy designed to anticipate and prioritise needs in strategic areas, speed up the development of standards and improve the governance and integrity of the European standardisation system. The strategy aims to strengthen the EU's leading role in global standards and to stimulate innovation... Read more
Proposal to extend the digital COVID certificate
On 3 February, the Commission proposed to extend the validity of the EU's digital Covid certificate by one year, until 30 June 2023. It calls on the Parliament and the Council to adopt the proposal before the current expiry date of 30 June 2022... Read more

Parliament : Presentation of the FPEU to the committees
The French ministers for transport and tourism, fisheries, justice, European affairs and development presented the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council to the Parliament's committees from 31 January to 2 February and debated with MEPs... Read more

Council : Informal of Home Affairs Ministers
The interior ministers, meeting on 2 February in Tourcoing, agreed on the creation of a "Schengen Council" to more effectively steer the action of Member States and EU agencies such as Frontex. They endorsed the French Presidency's step-by-step approach to negotiations on asylum and immigration issues. They confirmed the need to increase a common adaptation and response capacity. Prior to the meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the ministers to outline France's proposals on these issues... Read more
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Informal meeting of Justice Ministers
The Ministers of Justice, meeting in Lille on 4 February, recalled the importance of defending the values of the Union in the face of the increase in hate speech, particularly on social networks, and physical attacks linked to hate speech against certain categories of people. They insisted on the need to adopt a European legal framework so that electronic evidence can be obtained in criminal matters, and exchanged views on the interest of better coordinating public alert systems in the event of the disappearance of minors. They discussed the issue of mutual recognition of parentage links between Member States... Read more
Meeting of Industry Ministers
The ministers in charge of industry met in Lens on 31 January and 1 February to discuss the strengthening of European strategic autonomy. They stressed the urgent importance of securing internal and external supplies of critical raw materials for European industry. They discussed new actions such as the future Emergency Instrument for the Internal Market, and the future chip initiative which should allow the EU to ensure 20% of the world's semiconductor production by 2030... Read more
Updating of the list of terrorist organisations
On 3 February, the Council updated the list of terrorist organisations, which includes individuals, groups and entities subject to restrictive measures. One person has been removed from the list. The 13 individuals and 21 groups and entities on the list have their funds and other financial assets frozen in the EU. EU operators are also prohibited from making funds and economic resources available to them... Read more

Diplomacy : Sanctions against five Malian leaders
The Council decided on 4 February to introduce restrictive measures against five individuals who are undermining the completion of the political transition in Mali. These individuals, including the transitional Prime Minister Choguel Maïga, are subject to an EU travel ban and an asset freeze. In addition, EU citizens and companies are prohibited from making funds available to them... Read more
EU-USA Energy Council
High Representative Josep Borrell and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson participated in an EU-US Energy Council on 7 February in Washington. They stressed the importance of strategic transatlantic cooperation, particularly to strengthen energy security and diversify supplies for the EU, but also for Ukraine and neighbouring partners... Read more
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ECB : Upkeep of the monetary strategy
The European Central Bank kept its strategy unchanged despite inflation and insisted on 3 February on the importance of maintaining a flexible monetary policy to stabilise inflation. ECB President Christine Lagarde nevertheless stressed "geopolitical tensions" which are having an impact on energy prices and did not rule out a rise in interest rates during the year. She recalled that asset purchases under the Emergency Pandemic Purchasing Programme (EPPP) will be discontinued at the end of March and that the pace of asset purchases will be gradually reduced over the coming quarters... Read more
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Court of Auditors : Analysis on energy taxation
The Court of Auditors published a report on 31 January assessing the relevance of energy taxes, carbon pricing and energy subsidies to the EU's climate objectives. In particular, it notes that current tax levels do not take into account the degree of pollution of different energy sources, and stresses the importance of combining regulatory and financial measures... Read more

European Agencies : Provisional agreement between the Council and Parliament to strengthen Europol
The Council and Parliament reached an agreement on 2 February to strengthen Europol's resources in the fight against new threats and new methods of operation. The new mandate will allow Europol to develop common technological solutions based on artificial intelligence and to receive personal data directly from private actors. The text provides for increased cooperation with the European Public Prosecutor's Office and allows Europol to suggest the opening of a national investigation into non-trans-border crimes affecting a common interest and which are the subject of an EU policy... Read more
Dismantling of migrant trafficking
German and Greek police, with the support of Europol, have dismantled a criminal group involved in smuggling migrants from Greece to Germany and other EU countries by plane and boat... Read more

Finland : Visit by the President of the Commission
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Helsinki on 3 February. They reiterated the need for de-escalation of tensions between Ukraine and Russia, coordination at European level, as well as the EU's support to Ukraine. The discussion also focused on forestry issues and taxonomy... Read more
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Report on the Finnish Economy
In a report published on 31 January, the IMF notes that the Finnish economy experienced one of the smallest contractions among European countries in 2020, that the recovery in 2021 was strong, and that output and employment levels are higher than before the pandemic. It recommends flexibility in macroeconomic policies and continued structural reforms over the long term, to improve the productivity of the Finnish economy and to meet the challenge of an ageing population... Read more

France : 42 States commit to make the aviation sector carbon neutral by 2050
More than 40 countries, dozens of airlines and industrialists presented a united front on 4 February in Toulouse under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In the "Toulouse Declaration", the signatories urged the "whole world" to take action to achieve a climate-friendly aviation sector by 2050... Read more
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Discussion with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders
French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel met on 4 February with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. They took stock of the implementation of the measures planned to reduce tensions and build confidence between the two countries... Read more
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Italy : Investiture of Sergio Mattarella
Re-elected on 29 January, the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, was sworn in before Parliament on 3 February. Although he was not a candidate, he explained that he had agreed to be re-elected for a new seven-year term so as not to jeopardise the country's prospects for recovery... Read more
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Poland : The President puts forward a reform of the Supreme Court
Polish President Andrzej Duda presented on 3 February a bill proposing the abolition of the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court. This chamber would be replaced by a chamber of professional responsibility, comprising 11 judges appointed by drawing lots. The abolition of the disciplinary chamber was requested by the European Court of Justice in July 2021, and Poland was fined for failing to comply with the Court's ruling... Read more
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Agreement with the Czech Republic regarding the Turow mine
The Czech and Polish Prime Ministers, Petr Fiala and Mateusz Morawiecki, signed an agreement on 3 February concerning the operation of the Polish Turow coal mine. In 2021, the EU Court of Justice had ordered the Czech Republic to stop mining there. In exchange for the withdrawal of the Czech complaint, Poland undertakes to implement measures and infrastructure to protect the Czech Republic from pollution, as well as to pay financial compensation of around €45 million. On the day of the agreement, the Advocate General of the Court of Justice ruled that Poland had breached EU law by continuing the mine without assessing its environmental impact... Read more
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UK : Resignation of the First Minister of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland's First Minister Paul Givan announced his resignation on 3 February over a disagreement about the Northern Ireland Protocol, which establishes customs controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK following Brexit. Following a discussion with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss about the protocol, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Sefcovic called the decision untimely. On 4 February, the High Court in Northern Ireland ordered the resumption of checks... Read more
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Ukraine : Diplomatic discussions to reduce the tension
French President Emmanuel Macron met with several leaders including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on 5 February and US President Joe Biden on 6 February, ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on 7 February and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev the following day. He stressed the need for dialogue to reduce tension and the risk of war in Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recalled that a Russian attack on Ukraine would have a "high price". Visiting Kiev on 1 February, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiescki called for Western unity to defend Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity... Read more
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Norway : Jens Stoltenberg appointed as next governor of the Central Bank
The current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was appointed to head the Norwegian Bank by the Norwegian government on 4 February. However, he has announced that he will not take up his post until 1 October, after his term as head of the Atlantic Alliance has ended... Read more
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Council of Europe : Referral to the ECHR in the case of the Turkish opponent Osman Kavala
The Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers has referred to the European Court of Human Rights over Turkey's failure to comply with a December 2019 court ruling ordering the immediate release of opposition figure Osman Kavala. The Court had found that the patron was arrested in 2017 and has been held since "with the unavowed aim of silencing him"... Read more

ECHR : Time limit for bringing cases to court reduced to four months
Since 1 February, the time limit for bringing cases before the European Court of Human Rights has been shortened from six to four months from the date on which a decision of the highest national court was handed down... Read more
Rule of law: condemnation of Poland
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on 3 February that the civil chamber of the Polish Supreme Court is not "an independent and impartial court established by law". It considers that the 2017 law amending the procedure for appointing judges, allowing the legislative and executive powers to interfere, undermines the impartiality and independence of judges. It concludes that Poland is in violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing the right to a fair trial... Read more

OECD : Economic study of Romania
An OECD report finds that Romania has made significant progress in terms of living standards before the Covid-19 pandemic, and that its economy has shown great resilience in the face of the crisis. The organisation suggests that the country should use EU funds effectively while continuing to make structural reforms in areas such as pensions and job creation. The OECD forecasts growth of 4.5% until 2023... Read more

Eurostat : Inflation increase in the euro zone in January
Annual inflation in the euro area was estimated at 5.1% in January, up from 5% in December 2021, according to data published by Eurostat on 2 February. Energy is expected to be the sector with the highest annual rate... Read more
Decrease in unemployment in December
The unemployment rate fell in December to 6.4% in the EU and 7% in the euro area, according to data published by Eurostat on 1 February... Read more

Culture : French Art in Spain
From 11 February to 8 May, the Recoletos Room of the Mapfre Foundation in Madrid is presenting an exhibition on the presence of French art in Spain from the 17th to the 19th centuries. This long period allows us to analyse the reciprocal influence and constant interaction between the two countries in painting, fashion, sculpture and the sumptuary arts... Read more
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Contemporary Art in Brussels
Until 29 May, the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (Mima) in Brussels is showing 120 works from its permanent collection by 61 artists from all over the world in the exhibition "Reload". This exhibition is structured around three themes: the first part is devoted to artists who have not shown at Mima, the second presents works by artists who have shown at Mima, and the last imagines the legacy left by Mima if it were to close its doors at the end of 2026... Read more
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Gabriele Münter Retrospective in Bern
The Paul Klee Centre in Bern is showing a retrospective of the work of Gabriele Münter until 8 May. The co-founder of the Blue Rider group of artists is one of the most important women painters of German Expressionism. Her original and powerful style made her one of the pioneers of modern art. In addition to her paintings, prints and drawings, the exhibition also presents her photographic works... Read more
Dali and Freud at the Belvedere
The Belvedere in Vienna is hosting an exhibition on Salvador Dali and Sigmund Freud until 29 May. Paintings, photographs, books, surrealist objects, letters and other documents show the development of Dali's thinking and artistic production, from his discovery of the psychoanalyst's work to their meeting in London in 1938... Read more
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Venetian Art in Munich
The Pinacoteca Moderna in Munich is hosting an exhibition entitled "Venice, the Serenissima", which explores the relationship between Venice and art over the centuries. The city is celebrated through a series of urban panoramas and the art of Venetian drawing... Read more
Louise Bourgeois in London
From 9 February to 15 May, the Southbank Centre in London is hosting a retrospective of Louise Bourgeois' textile works. The artist's approach was to integrate clothing from different stages of her life into her art, creating sculptures, collages and installations that explore themes of sexuality and identity, memory, trauma and repair... Read more
Revolusi! Indonesian independence in the Rijksmuseum
From 11 February to 5 June, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will be exploring Indonesia's struggle for independence between 1945 and 1949. The exhibition Revolusi! presents the stories of the people who lived through this revolution, as well as documents confiscated by the Dutch intelligence services at the time... Read more
Berlinale Film Festival
The 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale, is taking place from 10 to 20 February. Eighteen films, including seven by women directors, are in competing with each other... Read more

7-8 February 2022


Informal Meeting of Agriculture Ministers

9-10 February 2022


Informal meeting of Healthcare Ministers

13 February 2022


Presidential Election

13-14 February 2022

Informal meeting of Trade Ministers

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The Letter n°995
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The Letter n°994
The European Union's Declining Influence in the South
published on 10/10/2022
The Letter n°993
A change of era in Germany and its implications for European integration
published on 03/10/2022
The Letter n°992
Nationalism, sovereignism, virilism: the sources of the Russian war against Ukraine
published on 26/09/2022
The Letter n°991
The end of European dependence on Russian hydrocarbons
published on 19/09/2022
The Letter n°990
"In Russia today the whole media sphere has been destroyed"
published on 12/09/2022
The Letter n°989
"It is high time to light up Europe's stars again"
published on 18/07/2022
The Letter n°988
"The energy crisis shows the importance of European solidarity in response to asymmetric shocks".
published on 11/07/2022
The Letter n°987
The Black Sea, the spectre of a new Iron Curtain?
published on 04/07/2022
The Letter n°986
France at the head of the Council: positive results despite the war
published on 27/06/2022
The Letter n°985
Conference on the future of Europe: the complex implementation of great ambitions
published on 20/06/2022
The Letter n°984
Outlook for agriculture in the new European context
published on 13/06/2022
The Letter n°983
"Russia's war in Eastern Europe is a central threat to the international architecture"
published on 07/06/2022
The Letter n°982
Europe in a perfect storm
published on 30/05/2022
The Letter n°981
In support of a new approach to the Western Balkans
published on 23/05/2022
The Letter n°980
"Open Conflict between the West and Russia is not an Option"
published on 16/05/2022
The Letter n°979
Europe Day: 72 years of European Integration
published on 09/05/2022
The Letter n°978
The challenges in Protecting Maritime Areas of Common Interest, from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific
published on 02/05/2022
The Letter n°977
Strategic dependencies, a question of sovereignty
published on 25/04/2022
The Letter n°976
Reception of Ukrainian refugees. Between emergency responses and long-term solutions
published on 19/04/2022
The Letter n°975
From the Russia Pact to the Green Deal?
published on 11/04/2022
The Letter n°974
Global food crisis: Europe must choose between retreat and responsibility
published on 04/04/2022
The Letter n°973
European unilateralism as a tool for regulating international trade
published on 28/03/2022
The Letter n°972
Has Europe's Hour Come?
published on 21/03/2022
The Letter n°971
The Eastern Partnership under the test of war in Ukraine
published on 14/03/2022
The Letter n°970
"Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a moment of truth for Europe"
published on 07/03/2022
The Letter n°969
A few truths about Ukraine and Russia
published on 28/02/2022
The Letter n°968
Russia, Ukraine and international law
published on 21/02/2022
The Letter n°967
The European Strategy for a "New Deal" with Africa
published on 14/02/2022
The Letter n°966
"If only ageing Europe had chosen the easy option of more immigration"
published on 07/02/2022
The Letter n°965
"The European strategy in the Indo-Pacific is subtle and perfectly adapted"
published on 31/01/2022
The Letter n°964
European sovereignty, strategic autonomy, Europe as a power: what reality for the European Union, and for which future?
published on 24/01/2022
The Letter n°963
For a new European growth strategy
published on 17/01/2022
The Letter n°962
The Challenges of the French Presidency of the Council
published on 10/01/2022