The Letter n°981

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The Letter n°981
The Letter
Tuesday 24th May 2022
issue 981
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The Foundation has lost one of its founders, Jean Faure, former Vice-President of the French Senate and former Mayor of Autrans, who passed away after a long illness. He participated from the beginning in the creation of the Robert Schuman Foundation in 1991. Passionate about international relations and a convinced European, Jean Faure had an exceptional career, which began on the family farm on the austere plateau of the Vercors; he continued as a ski instructor and then as an elected representative of his territory for which he fought hard. A staunch defender of the communities and the mountain economy, he held the highest parliamentary positions. He will remain for the Robert Schuman Foundation, which salutes his memory, a solid pillar that enabled its development.
In support of a new approach to the Western Balkans: step-by-step membership with a consolidation phase
Author : Pierre Mirel
Pierre Mirel
The war in Ukraine has raised awareness of the vulnerability of the Western Balkans and the need to revise the accession process. It is time for the European Union to mobilise all the tools of its economic, commercial, normative and financial power for a new policy. There is every reason to believe that the Balkan Summit on 23 June could confirm this.
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Elections : General elections in France on 12 and 19 June
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Fifty days after the second round of the presidential election, the French are being called to vote again on 12 and 19 June to renew the 577 members of the National Assembly. According to the polls, the President of the Republic should secure a majority with Ensemble. His two main opponents are the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (NUPES) with whom he is running neck and neck at around 26% of the estimated vote and the National Rally with 21% of the estimated vote... Read more

Foundation : Unreservedly European
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In his book, Jean-Dominique Giuliani openly addresses his fellow citizens, who must refuse to accept the lies about the European Union while at the same time contributing to its improvement. This book, published by Marie B, is available in paper format on the Foundation's website and in bookshops. Order your copy... Read more
Seminar on the data economy
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The Foundation is organising a seminar on the data economy on 1 June in partnership with Alphalex Consult and IDFRights. The event, which will be held in Brussels and broadcast online, will be inaugurated by the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, and the debates will be chaired by former journalist and MEP, Jean-Marie Cavada... Read more
Map of Health Measures and Travel Conditions in Europe
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Most of the health measures put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have been lifted in all Member States. In Austria, since 16 May, proof of full vaccination or recovery is no longer required for access to shops, restaurants or hotels, but FFP2 masks must still be worn in essential shops and public transport. In Belgium, masks are no longer required on public transport as of 21 May, but are still required in hospitals, doctors' surgeries and pharmacies. To find out what the situation is in the 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
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For a better understanding of Europe in 2022, the Permanent Atlas of the European Union, published by Marie B Editions, is a unique work that offers a complete and easily accessible view of the European Union, the euro zone and each of its 27 Member States, with numerous maps. It is available in bookshops or on our website... Read more

Ukraine/Russia : Proposal for a plan to rebuild Ukraine
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In a Communication presented on 18 May, the Commission proposes to provide further macro-financial assistance to Ukraine in the form of loans of up to €9 billion to meet immediate financing needs. To accelerate the long-term reconstruction of the country, the Commission proposes the creation of an international coordination platform, led by the Commission and the Ukrainian government, which would bring together partners and organisations supporting Ukraine... Read more
Ukrainian exports: suspension of customs duties into the Union
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On 19 May, MEPs approved a one-year suspension of import duties on all Ukrainian exports. The decision, adopted by 515 votes to 32, aims to support the Ukrainian economy in the context of the Russian invasion... Read more
Presentation of the REPowerEU plan
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On 18 May, the Commission presented its REPowerEU plan to make the EU independent of Russian fossil fuels, through diversification of supply, accelerated deployment of renewables (by 2030 the share of renewables in the energy mix should reach 45%) and reduction of energy consumption. The measures will require an additional investment of €210 billion by 2027, part of which could be provided by loans already foreseen in the NextGenerationEU recovery plan... Read more
Deployment of investigators and experts to Ukraine
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Following the opening of an investigation on 3 March, the International Criminal Court announced on 17 May the deployment of 42 investigators and forensic experts to Ukraine to establish the existence of war crimes and gather evidence. This is the largest team of International Criminal Court investigators ever sent to the field. In a resolution adopted on 19 May, MEPs called for the creation of an international tribunal to punish crimes of aggression committed in Ukraine for which the International Criminal Court would not have jurisdiction... Read more
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Strengthening the Union's capacity to act
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In a resolution adopted on 19 May, MEPs stress that the consequences of the war cannot be "addressed by existing financial instruments". They call for the introduction of a "one-off tax on the profits of energy companies". In addition, MEPs call for the revision of the multi-annual financial framework and the creation of the new fund to finance cross-border energy infrastructure, renewable energy production, cyber security, industrial competitiveness and food safety... Read more
Visits by Polish President and Portuguese Prime Minister in Kyiv
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Volodymyr Zelensky met in Kyiv with Polish President Andrzej Duda at a plenary session of the Ukrainian Parliament on 22 May and with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa on 21 May, to discuss Ukraine's application for EU membership, as well as Portugal's humanitarian, financial and military support for Ukraine. During a meeting between Italian parliamentarians visiting Kyiv and Ihor Zhovkva, deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office, alternatives to Russian gas were discussed. On 20 May, Volodymyr Zelensky exchanged views with the Speakers of both Irish parliamentary chambers on sanctions against Russia and the reconstruction of the country... Read more
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Volodymir Zelensky at the Davos Forum
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Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was invited to speak at the opening of the 51st World Economic Forum, which runs from 22 to 26 May in Davos. He called for increased sanctions against Russia and for a plan to help Ukraine rebuild. He called on the international community to seize frozen Russian assets to finance these costs, estimated at over $500 billion. The Forum also hosted the two Klitschko brothers on 23 May... Read more
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European Council : Charles Michel in the Balkans
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The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, visited the Western Balkans from 19 to 21 May. He recalled the importance of cooperation between the European Union and Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania. During his visit to Sarajevo, he raised the idea of setting up a European Political Community, which will be discussed at the European Council on 23 and 24 June. In Belgrade, he called on the Western Balkans to join the new European platform for joint procurement of gas, hydrogen and liquefied natural gas... Read more
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Commission : European Defence: strengthening capabilities and the industrial and technological base
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At the request of the European Council at the Versailles Summit (10-11 March), the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs presented a joint communication on 18 May on the Union's shortcomings in defence investment. In this communication, they present measures and actions to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base and reduce the gaps between Member States. In particular, the Commission foresees the creation of a joint defence procurement task force to encourage cooperation between Member States and proposes to move progressively towards common defence programming and procurement... Read more
Budgetary rules will remain suspended in 2023
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The budgetary discipline rules imposed on European Union member states, which have not been applied since March 2020 and the Covid crisis, will remain suspended in 2023 due to the economic shock caused by the war in Ukraine, the European Commission announced on 23 May. The "general safeguard clause", which allows temporary derogations from the debt and deficit limits set by the Stability and Growth Pact, will be maintained in 2023, said Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis... Read more
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Presentation of emergency measures to respond to rising energy prices
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On 18 May, the Commission presented short-term measures to tackle rising energy prices and supply problems linked to the war in Ukraine. In particular, it is encouraging Member States to use the EU's energy platform to make group purchases of cheaper gas. In the event of a total disruption of Russian gas supplies, the Commission is committed to facilitating a coordinated European demand reduction plan. In addition, the Commission has presented a list of issues to be pursued in order to improve the functioning of the electricity market in the long term, in line with the objectives of the Green Pact... Read more
Strengthening of support to farmers
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The Commission proposed on 18 May a measure allowing Member States to pay aid to farmers and agri-food businesses affected by rising costs. States will be able to use up to 5% of their European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) budget for the period 2021-2022. Farmers and SMEs could receive up to €15,000 and €100,000 respectively... Read more

Parliament : Position regarding world minimum corporate taxation rates
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MEPs approved on 19 May the Commission's proposal to transpose into law the international agreement on a 15% global minimum tax rate for large multinationals. However, MEPs want to reduce some of the exemptions proposed by the Commission and the inclusion of an article with rules to combat tax evasion schemes... Read more
Strengthening of Eurojust's mandate
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On 19 May, MEPs adopted new rules allowing Eurojust to store and analyse evidence relating to war crimes. Eurojust will also be able to share the data collected with international organisations and the competent authorities of the Member States, which strengthens the mandate of this European agency... Read more

Council : Meeting of Defence Ministers
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The Defence Ministers, meeting on 17 May, decided to suspend the delivery of military equipment to Mali, as well as the operational training of Malian armed forces units. In the context of discussions on the implementation of the Strategic Compass by the end of 2022, the ministers stressed the need for flexibility in responding to the needs of partners, in particular by offering them training or equipment to prevent conflicts. In addition, the High Representative of the Union, Josep Borrell, announced the release of an additional €500 million, bringing the EU's aid to Ukraine to €2 billion... Read more
Meeting of Ministers responsible for development
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Meeting on 20 May, Development Ministers agreed to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable populations affected by the global food crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and to help 70 countries strengthen their food production and systems. The Ministers committed to strengthening the EU's participation in global cooperation bodies on food security and to releasing 20 million tonnes of grain blocked in Ukrainian silos through the creation of "solidarity corridors". Finally, the Ministers are considering the creation of an initiative within the framework of the Team Europe programme in conjunction with the High Commissioner for Refugees to respond to the consequences of the crisis... Read more
Adoption of the new Regulation on cross-border energy infrastructure
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On 16 May, the Council definitively adopted the reform of the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) regulation aimed at moving states away from fuel-based energy by 2050. New projects based on natural gas and oil will no longer be eligible for EU funding, and projects will have to meet sustainability criteria... Read more
Provisional agreement between the Council and the Parliament on gas storage
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The Council and Parliament reached an agreement on 19 May on gas storage facilities in the Member States. They will have to be filled to at least 80% of their capacity by this winter and then 90% by 2025. Member States without storage facilities will have access to reserves in other states and the financial burden of these obligations will be shared. The Council and the Parliament also agreed on a mandatory certification of storage system operators to avoid the risk of external influence on these infrastructures. Cyprus, Malta and Ireland are exempted as long as they are not directly connected to the gas system of other Member States... Read more
Provisional agreement on the Single Window for Customs
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The Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on 19 May on the Single Window for Customs, which aims to make cross-border trade more fluid. Thanks to the Single Window, companies will no longer have to submit their documents to different entities, on different portals, when clearing customs. In addition, the Single Window is expected to facilitate the automated verification of non-customs formalities for goods entering or leaving the EU. By dematerialising customs clearance procedures, Europe aims to reduce the administrative burden on traders and save them time during checks... Read more
Eurogroup Meeting
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On 23 May, the President of the Eurogroup, Paschal Donohoe, recalled that the war in Ukraine will have impacts on short-term growth and on energy costs. In addition, at this meeting, the Commission presented the package of measures published the same day. Ministers also assured that they will adopt a declaration on the budget guidelines for next year at their July meeting. The completion of the Banking Union was also discussed... Read more
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Data Governance
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The Council gave its final approval on 16 May to the data governance act allowing the re-use of certain categories of protected public sector data, including those protected by intellectual property rights. The act creates a framework for data intermediation services in which companies will be able to share their data protected from misuse. The text also introduces safeguards against the unlawful international transfer of non-personal data and access by public authorities. Finally, it simplifies the voluntary provision by citizens and businesses of "data for the common good", for example for research purposes... Read more

Diplomacy : EU-US Trade and Technology Council
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Meeting at the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) on 16 May, the EU and the US pledged to work with Ukraine to rebuild its economy and create a common framework to protect information integrity in crisis situations. They are also strengthening their cooperation on export controls for advanced technologies and securing supply chains through a joint early warning mechanism. The EU and the US have agreed to develop harmonised and interoperable technical standards in the areas of artificial intelligence and product recycling... Read more
EU-Canada Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting
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The Joint Ministerial Committee chaired by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, and the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, met in Brussels on 16 May. They discussed, among other things, the deepening of relations between the European Union and Canada, stressing the importance of putting in place coordinated sanctions against Russia. The strengthening of cooperation on security and defence, climate and human rights was also discussed. The Committee also welcomed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Canadian Space Agency and the Commission... Read more
Partnership Council with Armenia
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On 18 May, the EU-Armenia Partnership Council discussed the implementation of the March 2021 agreement. It welcomed Armenia's judicial and legal reforms, its national anti-corruption strategy and its efforts in the field of education and youth. It also welcomed the agreement on the creation of a Common Aviation Area, which should lead to the country's integration into the aviation market. Furthermore, he noted Armenia's willingness to exchange views with the European Union on visa liberalisation... Read more
Strategic Partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council
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TThe Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, announced on 18 May a "strategic partnership with the Gulf" aimed at deepening the EU's relations with the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. According to Josep Borrell, it should permit the different partners to work closely "on threats to global security, energy security, climate change and green transition, digitalisation, trade and investment"... Read more

European Patents Office : Inventor's Prize
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On 17 May, the European Patent Office (EPO) announced the 13 finalists for the European Inventor Award 2022. The winners will be awarded at an online ceremony on 21 June. It is now possible for the public to vote for their favourite. This is an additional opportunity for one of the finalists to win the Popular Award... Read more
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Germany : Meeting of G7 Finance Ministers
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From 18 to 20 May, the finance ministers and central bankers of the G7 countries met in Bonn and Königswinter. They discussed the war in Ukraine, macroeconomic stability, debt management in developing countries, digitalisation, strengthening environmental protection and the fight against pandemics. In particular, they decided on $19.8 billion in aid to support Kiev. They also reiterated their previous commitment on exchange rates... Read more

Belgium : Voting rights in the European elections decreased to 16 years of age
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In Belgium, all young Europeans will be able to vote in the 2024 European elections from the age of 16, the Belgian parliament announced on 19 May. They will have to be registered in the population register and apply for it. Belgium is the 4th country to do so, after Austria, Greece and Malta... Read more
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Denmark : Offshore windfarm summit
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On 18 May at an offshore wind summit in Copenhagen, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark signed a commitment to build at least 150 gigawatts of wind capacity in the North Sea by 2050, enough to power 230 million European homes. The decision comes as the EU seeks to reduce dependence on Russian hydrocarbons... Read more

France : New government led by Elisabeth Borne
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French President Emmanuel Macron has appointed Elisabeth Borne as Prime Minister following the resignation of Jean Castex on 16 May. She is the second woman to hold this position in France, 31 years after Edith Cresson (1991-1992). The new government was announced on 20 May. It includes 17 ministers, 8 of whom are women, as well as 6 deputy ministers and 4 secretaries of state... Read more
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UK : Bid to renegotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol?
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Northern Ireland on 16 May. The question is what will happen to the Northern Ireland Protocol, signed as part of the Brexit agreement, to avoid the return of a physical border between the province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the return of violence between unionists and nationalists. On 20 May, Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin urged London to negotiate with the EU on post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland to resolve this major issue. Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said on 17 May that the Northern Ireland protocol is the result of lengthy negotiations taking into account the interests and demands of all. In doing so, the Commission remains available for further discussions but within the framework of this agreement... Read more
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Moldova : Moldovan President Maia Sandu speaks to the European Parliament and in Paris
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Addressing the European Parliament on 18 May, Moldovan President Maia Sandu called for Moldova's integration into the European Union, following its application in March. In her speech, she recalled Moldova's immediate condemnation of Russia's actions and its warm welcome for Ukrainian refugees. According to the UN, Moldova has received more than 465,435 people fleeing the war since it began. On 19 May, Maia Sandu was in Paris where she met French President Emmanuel Macron. She thanked France for its support in receiving people fleeing the war in Ukraine and for Chișinău's application to join the European Union... Read more
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NATO : Sweden and Finland apply officially to become members
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On 18 May, Sweden and Finland submitted their membership applications to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. This is a historic decision for both countries, which have followed a policy of military non-engagement for decades... Read more

Studies/Reports : Report on the rule of law, European Parliament vote
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On 19 May, MEPs voted several resolutions on the Commission's 2021 Rule of Law Report. MEPs believe that the report could have provided more detail by noting the risks of serious violations of the values enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Treaty. However, they commend the Commission for including country-specific recommendations for the year 2022... Read more
Publication of the report on the Blue Economy
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The Commission published its annual report on the blue economy on 20 May. In particular, it highlights the negative impacts of inaction on climate change, which could lead to a loss of €200 billion per year in the EU by 2080. The report also highlights the importance of the marine renewable energy sector in the context of the war in Ukraine, which contributes "to the achievement of the objectives of the Green Deal for Europe and the EU's energy strategies"... Read more

Culture : European Solidarity for Ukraine in the cultural domain
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In France, on 1 June, the Grand Rex in Paris is screening the film "Circle Story Chapter Two", with proceeds going to the Masha Foundation. In Germany, the Wiesbaden town hall is offering a series of six lectures, "Ukraine - View of an unknown neighbour" until 12 June. On 28 May, a charity football match will take place at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg. In Austria, on 28 May, a concert for Ukraine is being offered by LegMAX in Graz. In Poland, at the Sofitel Hotel in Warsaw, the annual gala of the Franco-Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry is holding an auction with proceeds going to Ukrainian refugees. In Spain, in Madrid, a "Music for Peace" concert will take place on 29 May in collaboration with the Teresa Berganza Conservatory. In Brussels, a concert for Ukraine is proposed on 28 May by the Neon Ensemble... Read more
Rosa Bonheur Retrospective
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The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux is organising a retrospective on Rosa Bonheur to mark the bicentenary of the birth of the Bordeaux artist. Through her paintings and sculptures, this icon of women's emancipation focuses on animal representation and their singularity... Read more
Turner in Barcelona
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Until 11 September, the Museu Nacional de Catalunya in Barcelona is presenting the exhibition "Turner, Light is Colour", which explores the Romantic landscape painter's interest in meteorological and atmospheric phenomena, as well as the evolution of his compositions from the first sketches of the 1790s to his watercolours, oils and prints... Read more
Surrealism and Magic: enchanted modernity in Venice
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Until September 26, the Guggenheim Collection in Venice is presenting the exhibition "Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity" which explores the artistic movement's interest in magic and the occult... Read more
Etel Adnan at the Van Gogh Museum
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The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is hosting a retrospective of the Lebanese-American painter Etel Adnan until 4 September. Transcending the limits of language through colour, the artist's works are inspired by the landscapes of Lebanon, California and France where she grew up... Read more
The Sudetenland by Stęczyński
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The Pan Tadeusz Museum in Wroclaw is presenting an exhibition on the representation in art of the Sudetenland region until 18 September. Graphic works, drawings, manuscripts and watercolours by the Romantic artist Bogusz Zygmunt Stęczyński are the focus of the exhibition, which is also complemented by Silesian graphic works from the 18th and 19th centuries depicting the Sudeten region... Read more
Celebrating Ulysses in Dublin
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Until 21 August, the National Gallery of Ireland is celebrating James Joyce's Ulysses with an exhibition of 34 works by German artist Günter Schöllkopf. Created in the 1960s-1970s, this is the first time that these illustrations bringing to life the characters and episodes of the modernist novel will be exhibited... Read more
Writers' portraits in Vienna
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Until 29 August, the Leopold Museum in Vienna is presenting an exhibition on portraits and representations of writers, including photographs, paintings and sketches. Based on Helmut Klewan's collection of over 350 works, the exhibition highlights five centuries of graphic art... Read more
World Press Photo in Berlin
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The 19th edition of World Press Photo offers an exhibition of this year's best photographs at the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Berlin until 12 June. The exhibition offers visitors pictures from 24 photographers from 23 different countries... Read more
Art Festival in Bergen
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From 25 May to 8 June, the Bergen International Festival will offer artistic events of all kinds: music, theatre, dance, opera and visual arts. Initiated in 1953, the 2022 edition of the festival will open with the world premiere of an abridged symphonic version of Taylor Mac's "A 24-decade history of popular music"... Read more
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Jazz in Brussels
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The Brussels Weekend jazz festival will take place on 27, 28 and 29 May in the city's squares and bars and pays tribute to the Belgian musician Toots Thielemans. The festival offers 150 free concerts throughout Brussels, featuring jazz musicians from all over the world... Read more

23May
23 May 2022

Brussels

Eurogroup

24May
24 May 2022

Brussels

"Economy and Finance" Council "Agriculture and Fisheries" Council

30May
30-31 May 2022

Brussels

European Council

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The Letter n°968
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"The European strategy in the Indo-Pacific is subtle and perfectly adapted"
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The Letter n°964
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For a new European growth strategy
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The Challenges of the French Presidency of the Council
published on 10/01/2022