The Letter n°968

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The Letter n°968
The Letter
Tuesday 22nd February 2022
issue 968
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In February 1992 the Foundation was created. It is celebrating is 30th anniversary this year
Russia, Ukraine and international law
Author : Fondation Robert Schuman
Fondation Robert Schuman
Russian actions in Ukraine since 2014, and the tensions to which they are giving rise, obscure the legal aspects of these aggressions, thus opening the way to propaganda and approximations. In an effort to contribute to a better understanding of the issues at stake, this paper limits itself to the legal aspects of an otherwise eminently political question. Indeed, we are witnessing a spectacular breakdown of the international order and a violation of commitments and treaties signed by a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which has not been witnessed since the Second World War.
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Front page! : The Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary
30 years ago, on 21st February 1992, the creation of the Robert Schuman Foundation was announced in the Official Journal. On the occasion of this anniversary we would like to share with you some of the documents from that time to trace our history. The Chairman of the Foundation Jean-Dominique Giuliani gives us his account. And to take you back to 1992, we offer you a little quiz. Thank you for your loyalty and support... Read more
The Robert Schuman Foundation is 30 today!
A few months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, some renowned personalities created the Robert Schuman Foundation with the aim of devoting themselves to the reunification of Europe. For three decades the Foundation has supported the development of Europe and the transformation of the European Union. "Today, writes Jean-Dominique Giuliani, "we are convinced that there is still a lot to be done to complete a project that is unique in world history and we are putting all our efforts into the service of this ideal that is greater than ourselves... Read more

Foundation : Unreservedly European
In his book, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Foundation, openly 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, nothing less. This book, published by Marie B, is available in paper format on the Foundation's website and in bookshops. Order your copy here... Read more
Conference on Foreign, Security and Defence Policy
On 25 February, Jean-Dominique Giuliani will speak at the Interparliamentary Conference on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) being held at the Senate under the French Presidency of the Council. He will speak at the round table "Faced with major international challenges, what strategic autonomy for the European Union?.. Read more
Which new deal with Africa?
Ahead of the European Union-African Union Summit on 17 and 18 February, the Foundation organised an online debate on the future of Afro-European relations on 15 February with Sébastien Treyer, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), and Benedikt Erforth, Researcher at the German Development Institute. This videoconference was held as part of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union... Read more
Map of Health Measures and Travel Conditions in Europe
As the number of infections and hospitalisations drops, European countries are relaxing health restrictions. The health pass is no longer or soon will no longer be required in Austria, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Portugal. In Germany, as of 4 March, unvaccinated people will again be able to enter bars and restaurants if they have a negative test. In France, people can eat and drink in trains and cinemas again. In Belgium, teleworking is no longer compulsory and all types of public events are allowed inside and outside. In Italy, masks are no longer mandatory outdoors, but since 15 February, people over 50 who are not vaccinated are no longer allowed to work or receive a salary. To follow developments in the situation and find out what measures are in place in the EU Member States, the Foundation offers you a complete map of the measures in place. An indispensable, regularly updated resource... 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 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

Commission : Towards a system of satellite connectivity
On 15 February, the Commission proposed a regulation for secure space connectivity and a communication on the EU approach to space traffic management. The objective of Secure Space Connectivity is to ensure uninterrupted access to satellite-based telecommunications services and to provide citizens with access to fast and reliable telecommunications. Its total cost is estimated at €6 billion, of which the EU will contribute €2.4 billion... Read more
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Proposals to strengthen European defence
On 15 February, the Commission presented measures to achieve a more integrated and competitive European defence market. It proposes to invest in defence research and capabilities, and to encourage joint procurement of defence capabilities developed collaboratively within the EU. The Commission calls on Member States to make further progress towards streamlined and more convergent arms export control practices. In addition, it calls for the strengthening of the protection of European space assets as well as resilience, in particular to counter hybrid threats... Read more
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Parliament : Approval of a loan of 1.2 billion € to Ukraine
On 16 February, MEPs approved a €1.2 billion financial assistance loan to Ukraine. The aim of the aid is to provide Ukraine with rapid support in an acute crisis situation and to strengthen the country's resilience. MEPs specified that the funds would be paid in return for effective democratic mechanisms and guarantees of respect for human rights... Read more
Adoption of the reform regarding the tarification of merchandise
On 17 February, MEPs gave final approval to the reform of road haulage tariffs, which will now be based on distance, rather than time, to better reflect the "polluter pays" and "user pays" principles. Tariff rules will be extended to buses, vans and passenger cars. Member States will be required to significantly reduce charges for zero- and low-emission vehicles... Read more
A European strategy for renewable marine energy
MEPs adopted a report on 16 February calling for the development of offshore renewable energy to be accelerated as a means of meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. They insist on the need to speed up the procedures to obtain permits and call on Member States to introduce a transparent process. MEPs stress the importance of building public consensus around offshore wind projects, pointing out that they can benefit marine biodiversity if designed and built in a sustainable way... Read more
Approval of the modfication of rules regarding dangerous workplace substances
On 17 February, MEPs adopted a revision of the rules limiting workers' exposure to carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic substances. The Commission will have to propose by the end of 2022 a definition and an indicative list of dangerous medicines and prepare guidelines on the handling of these substances. The directive must now be adopted by the Council... Read more
Recommendations for a strategy to combat cancer
On 17 February, MEPs adopted recommendations for a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to combat cancer. It stressed the importance of prevention campaigns. MEPs advocate improving access to equipment and highly specialised care and call for a diversification of drug supply chains. They also want to guarantee a "right to be forgotten" for patients ten years after the end of their treatment... Read more
Toy safety
In a report adopted on 16 February, MEPs stressed the need to adapt European rules on toys to new scientific and technological developments. They call on the Commission to ensure that all toys on the European market, regardless of where they are manufactured, comply with the Toy Safety Directive. They stress the importance of compliance with the rules on chemicals and call on Member States to coordinate their market surveillance activities to better detect dangerous toys... Read more

Council : Informal meeting of Space Ministeres
The ministers for space affairs, meeting on 16 February in Toulouse, discussed projects relating to the establishment of a European connectivity constellation, as well as the definition of common rules for space traffic management. They discussed the European roadmap for Earth and climate observation from space, as well as the European ambition for space science and exploration. In a speech to the ministers, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a group of experts to analyse the options available and present recommendations to the Member States... Read more
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Informal Meeting of Trade Ministers
The Trade Ministers, meeting in Marseilles on 13 and 14 February, discussed the reorientation of trade policy that has been underway for some years, as well as the priorities for the World Trade Organisation (WTO), namely fisheries, agriculture and health. They discussed trade with Africa and the United States, in particular with a view to preparing the next meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC). In addition, they exchanged views on the effects on the functioning of the European internal market of the coercive measures imposed by China against Lithuania... Read more
Informal Meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Council
On 15 February in Bordeaux, the ministers for labour and social affairs discussed the impact of digital transition and climate change on the labour market. They discussed the importance of investing in skills with a view to identifying and anticipating needs so as to train for the professions of the future. They addressed the issue of supporting workers' professional transitions to enable them to evolve or retrain. They insisted on the importance of strengthening European and national social dialogue on the challenges of the digital and ecological transition... Read more
Meeting of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers
On 21 February, the Agriculture Ministers discussed the coherence between the Green Deal, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and trade policy. They insisted on the need to better articulate the sanitary and environmental production standards imposed in the Union and those applied to imported agri-food products. Ministers also discussed the risk of imported products contributing to deforestation and forest degradation. They also discussed the rising costs of energy, fertilisers and animal feed... Read more

Diplomacy : EU-Africa Summit
The leaders of the European Union and the African Union met on 17 and 18 February in Brussels with the aim of consolidating a renewed partnership for solidarity, security, peace and sustainable economic development. They agreed to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines through the provision of €3 billion by the EU under the COVAX mechanism. The EU has pledged €150 billion in investments. The leaders reiterated their commitment to cooperation between the two continents to improve peace and security. They expressed their support for capacity building and equipment to strengthen autonomous peace operations by African forces... Read more
Withdrawal from Mali for the Barkhane and Takuba operations
In a joint declaration on combating the terrorist threat and supporting peace and security in the Sahel and West Africa, France, its European partners and Canada announced on 17 February the withdrawal of Mali from the anti-jihadist military operations Barkhane and Takuba. The countries urged the Malian authorities to restore constitutional order and affirmed their readiness to extend military support to Mali's neighbours in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea... Read more
Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers
The Foreign Ministers meeting on 21 February again condemned Russian military operations in Ukraine and discussed pending sanctions. They called on the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure respect for the Constitution and the upholding of institutions. They exchanged views on the implementation of the COP26 results. They adopted sanctions against officials from Syria, Burma and annexed Crimea. They extended the coordinated maritime presence in the Gulf of Guinea for 2 years and established a new Area of Maritime Interest in the north-western Indian Ocean. A joint Council of the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council was also held... Read more

Court of Justice : Rule of law : Rejection of the appeals by Poland and Hungary
On 16 February, the European Court of Justice rejected the appeals of Hungary and Poland to annul the regulation which establishes a conditionality regime for the protection of the European budget in case of violation of the principles of the rule of law by a Member State. The Court considers that the regulation respects the Union's powers since the procedure provided for in the regulation can only be initiated in the event of a breach of the rule of law which compromises the sound management of the Union's budget. However, the Court recalled that conditionality measures should only be applied when strictly necessary. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the Commission will soon adopt guidelines clarifying the application of the mechanism and that it will act "with determination, when the conditions of the regulation are met"... Read more
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European Agencies : Airbus reports biggest ever profit
The European company Airbus published its results for 2021 and its forecasts for 2022 on 17 February. It notes an increase in order intake as well as a 4% increase in revenues, to €52.1 billion, compared to €49.9 billion in 2020. Airbus explains this increase by the higher number of commercial aircraft deliveries. A total of 611 commercial aircraft and 338 helicopters were delivered in 2021... Read more

Germany : The Munich Conference on Security
The Munich Security Conference took place from 18 to 20 February. Against the backdrop of an escalating conflict in the Donbass, and in the absence of a Russian representative, the representatives of the Atlantic alliance reiterated that there would be far-reaching sanctions against Russia if it invaded Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for a clear timetable for his country's accession to NATO and for the West to abandon its policy of "appeasement" towards Russia... Read more
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Malta : General Elections on 26 March
Maltese Prime Minister Roberto Abela asked President George Vella on 20 February to dissolve parliament so that general elections could be held on 26 March instead of the scheduled June deadline... Read more

Ukraine : Response to Russian aggression
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden met on 21 February to condemn Russia's recognition of the independence of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and to coordinate on actions to be taken. The US decided on a first set of sanctions. In a joint statement, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel condemned "a flagrant violation of international law and the Minsk agreements and announced targeted sanctions against those involved. The EU Foreign Ministers will meet on the 22nd to adopt these sanctions... Read more
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Council of Europe : Belgium found in breach of the European Social Charter
The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) concluded on 17 February that Belgium had violated the European Social Charter. It found that the Belgian Labour Inspectorate had been ineffective in detecting and preventing "false traineeships", which take the form of disguised employment involving the performance of real work for an employer. The Committee concluded that the "false trainees" were therefore deprived of an effective right to a fair remuneration ensuring a decent standard of living... Read more
Report on the fight to counter human trafficking in France
On 18 February, the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) published an evaluation report on France's implementation of the Anti-Trafficking Convention. It recommends taking more measures to improve access to justice and compensation for victims of trafficking, as well as the establishment of a national mechanism for the identification and referral of victims... Read more
Report on Human Rights in Malta
On 15 February, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, published a report on her visit to Malta in October 2021. She has made recommendations to ensure the freedom and safety of journalists, to protect asylum seekers and to strengthen women's rights. She recommends improving the response and awareness of law enforcement agencies to attacks on journalists, increasing the island's capacity to carry out migrant rescue operations, and pursuing gender equality reforms... Read more

NATO : Meeting of Defence Ministers
NATO Defence Ministers again called on Russia on 16 February to withdraw its troops from Ukraine's borders and to adopt a diplomatic stance. They announced the deployment of additional land, sea and air forces to ensure the defence of all Allies. They also reiterated their support for Ukraine's territorial sovereignty and the serious consequences for Russia in the event of aggression. At a meeting with their Ukrainian and Georgian counterparts on 17 February, they confirmed their commitment to the open door policy... Read more
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IMF : Negative effect on Europe's recovery
On 18 February, the IMF published a study on the consequences of the problems in the supply of manufactured goods in Europe. It notes that the successive confinements due to Covid-19 have changed the way Europeans consume and the pace of industrial production. It believes that some inflationary factors are only temporary, while others, such as labour shortages, are likely to prolong the trend. The IMF suggests that eurozone countries put in place policy mechanisms, particularly to boost the labour market... Read more
Report on the Spanish economy
On 16 February, the International Monetary Fund published a report on the state of the Spanish economy in 2021. It forecasts economic growth of 5.8% in 2022. It welcomes the recent adoption of the labour market reform which seeks to combine increased protection for workers with market flexibility for companies... Read more

WTO : Union's Procedure against China
On 18 February, the European Union launched a World Trade Organisation (WTO) case against China, accusing it of severely limiting the ability of European companies with rights to key technologies to protect those rights when their patents are used illegally or without appropriate compensation. The Chinese policy deprives European technology companies of the ability to exercise and enforce the rights that give them a technological lead... Read more

G20 : Meeting of Finance Ministers
G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bankers meeting in Jakarta on 17-18 February discussed the economic recovery and the risks posed by inflation and the situation in Ukraine. They committed to implementing the OECD agreement on taxation of multinationals from 2023... Read more
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Studies/Reports : First report on the implementation of NextGenerationEU
On 17 February, the Commission published a first report on the NextGenerationEU funding programme, which covers the period June-December 2021. It details statistics linked to borrowing. It states that investor interest in the programme remained strong throughout the year. The Commission confirms that all amounts due to Member States in 2021 were paid promptly, within 6 working days of the completion of the necessary legal procedures... Read more

Culture : European results of the Olympic Games
The Olympic Winter Games in Beijing ended on 20 February. Norway topped the medal table with 37 medals, of which 16 gold, 8 silver and 13 bronze. The 27 EU countries won a total of 139 medals, of which 50 gold, 47 silver and 42 bronze. The next Winter Games will be held in 2026 in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo... Read more
Winners of the 72nd Berlinale
On 16 February, the Berlin Film Festival awarded the Golden Bear to Spanish director Carla Simon for "Alcarras". The prize for best director went to French director Claire Denis for "Avec amour et acharnement". The prize for best performance was won by actress Meltem Kaptan... Read more
Meeting "Le Petit Prince"
Until 26 June, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is presenting the exhibition "A la rencontre du Petit Prince". More than 600 items, some of which have never been shown in France before, pay tribute to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and give visitors the opportunity to rediscover his world-famous story... Read more
The art of the portrait in Athens
The National Gallery of the Alexandros Soutsos Museum presents "The Art of the Portrait in the Louvre Collections" until 28 March. The result of cooperation between the Louvre Museum and various Greek museums, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through over 3,000 years of history via portraits of famous and lesser-known figures. Great names in painting are represented, such as Botticelli, Velasquez, Rembrandt, Goya and Delacroix... Read more
Estonian Dissident Art
The Adamson-Eric Museum in Tallinn is showing works by the artist Valve Janov from 1942 to 1965 until 27 March. The artist, who could not exhibit her works under the Soviet regime, expresses her need for creative freedom and independence by playing on motifs with fantasy. The exhibition includes works by other artists who were also involved in the Estonian art resistance movement... Read more
France and Norway in the 1920's
KODE 1, one of Bergen's four art museums, is showing works by Norwegian artists depicting life in Paris and Bergen in the early 20th century. The exhibition discusses the influences under which the artists evolved, some of whom retained the style they learned from the painter André Lhôte, while others moved towards the style of Matisse. "La Vie Moderne: Bergen painters in Paris in 1920" can be visited until 6 March... Read more
From Fauvism to Surrealism
Masterpieces from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris are on display at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao until May 22. The exhibition provides an overview of the main artistic movements from the beginning of the 20th century to the post-World War II period, bringing together works by the great protagonists of Cubism, Fauvism, the Ecole de Paris and Surrealism... Read more
Henri Cartier-Bresson's China in Milan
Until July 3, the MUDEC in Milan is presenting an exhibition of Henri Cartier-Bresson's photographs taken in China in 1948 and 1949 and again in 1958. The photographer documented the communist takeover and the Great Leap Forward... Read more
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Picasso and African art in Munster
The Pablo Picasso Museum in Münster is presenting the exhibitions "Pablo Picasso: Beauty and the Beast" and "Black Modernity: Africa and the Avant-Garde" until 1 May. The former presents prints by Picasso centred around the myth of the Minotaur. The second brings together works by African artists with those of classical European modernism... Read more
Electric Art in Prague
Kunsthalle Praha, Prague's new art gallery housed in a former power station, opens on 22 February with Kinetismus, an exhibition on the use of electricity in the arts, from film to kinetic art to virtual art... Read more
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Surrealism beyond the borders
From 24 February to 29 August, London's Tate Modern is presenting an exhibition on the influence of Surrealism around the world, from Buenos Aires to Seoul to Cairo, which aims to renew the history of the art movement by showing how different artistic centres shared its style and philosophy, while combining their own unique features... Read more

22 February 2022


General Affairs Council

24 February 2022


Competitiveness Council

25 February 2022


Eurogroup Meeting

26 February 2022


Informal Meeting of Ministers of the Economy and Finance

28 February-1 March 2022

Informal Meeting of Ministers responsible for Cohesion

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The Letter n°993
A change of era in Germany and its implications for European integration
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The Letter n°992
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The Letter n°991
The end of European dependence on Russian hydrocarbons
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The Letter n°990
"In Russia today the whole media sphere has been destroyed"
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The Letter n°989
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The Letter n°988
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published on 11/07/2022
The Letter n°987
The Black Sea, the spectre of a new Iron Curtain?
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The Letter n°986
France at the head of the Council: positive results despite the war
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The Letter n°985
Conference on the future of Europe: the complex implementation of great ambitions
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The Letter n°984
Outlook for agriculture in the new European context
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The Letter n°983
"Russia's war in Eastern Europe is a central threat to the international architecture"
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The Letter n°982
Europe in a perfect storm
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The Letter n°981
In support of a new approach to the Western Balkans
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The Letter n°980
"Open Conflict between the West and Russia is not an Option"
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The Letter n°979
Europe Day: 72 years of European Integration
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The Letter n°978
The challenges in Protecting Maritime Areas of Common Interest, from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific
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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