The Letter n°991

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The Letter n°991
The Letter
Tuesday 20th September 2022
issue 991
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The end of European dependance on Russian hydrocarbons
Author : Ramona Bloj
Ramona Bloj
At a time when energy prices have risen dramatically, Europeans must strike a delicate balance between reducing consumption, easing pressure on consumers and making a real transition to address climate change. EU coordination will be essential.
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Front page! : Why Europe supports Ukraine
A Russian victory in Ukraine would set a disastrous precedent for the whole of Europe. This is why Europe must support Ukraine with all its might, as it embodies its values, writes Jean-Dominique Giuliani... Read more

Elections : Leader of the Moderate Party asked to form a government
The final results of the Swedish elections of 11 September, announced on 14 September, confirmed the victory of the right-wing bloc which obtained 50.4% of the vote and 176 seats in Parliament. The left-wing bloc led by outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson won 173 seats. She resigned on 15 September. Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate party, was asked on 19 September to form a new government... Read more
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Bulgarians called to ballot for the fourth time in 18 months
Snap elections were called for 2 October after the fall of the government led by Kiril Petkov on 22 June. This is the fourth such election in 18 months. According to the latest opinion poll, the GERB party is in the lead with 28.8% of the vote, followed by the Pursue Change party (18.8%), the Socialist Party (12.7%) and the Russian-speaking Renaisssance party (10.4%)... Read more

Foundation : Energy Crisis: European Measures
In response to rising energy prices, Member States and the European Union have taken measures and developed plans to reduce consumption. The French government announced on 14 September that the increase in electricity and gas prices will be limited to 15% in 2023. In Finland, the Parliament adopted a €10 billion support plan for the electricity sector. In Belgium, the federal and regional governments agreed on 16 September on a series of measures to support households. The Foundation offers you a table to understand the situation. It will be regularly completed, modified and updated... 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 paper format from our website and in bookshops in French, as well as in digital format in French and English. Order it now..... Read more
The Schuman Report on Europe, State of the Union 2022
This autumn the 2022 edition of the "Schuman Report on Europe, the State of the Union" is still available from Marie B. Editions. With contributions from European Commissioners and MEPs and the best experts, original maps and commented statistics, the Schuman Report analyses the challenges facing Europe and offers a complete view of the European Union. It is available in paper format from our website and in bookshops in French, as well as in digital version in French and English. Order your copy now!.. Read more

Ukraine/Russia : The European Parliament approves two aid mechanisms for Ukraine
MEPs on 15 September approved a €5 billion loan to Ukraine to meet the country's urgent funding requirements, and voted in support of the FAST-CARE mechanism which simplifies the conditions for using regional funds for Ukrainian refugees... Read more
Extension of sanctions against Russian entities and individuals
On 14 September, the Council decided to extend the duration of the restrictive measures in place against persons and entities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine by 6 months. These measures include a ban on entry into the EU, the freezing of assets, and a ban on making funds available to the entities targeted by these measures... Read more
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Condemnation of war crimes in Izyum
Following the discovery of a mass grave, numerous burials, and bodies bearing signs of torture and execution in Izyum, a town recently liberated by the Ukrainian army, EU High Representative Josep Borrell "condemned these atrocities in the strongest possible terms" and called for Russia and its leaders to be held to account. Jan Lipavsky, the Czech Foreign Minister, whose country currently holds the Council presidency, called for the rapid establishment of an international tribunal. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights wants to send investigators to the recently liberated east of Ukraine, where more than 400 bodies have been found, to identify the bodies and the causes of death... Read more
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Export of grain from Ukraine
3 million tonnes of grain were exported from Ukraine in mid-September as a result of the Black Sea Grain initiative, 25% of which was exported to 'low and lower-middle income' countries, including by the UN World Food Programme. 51% of these exports were maize, 25% wheat, 11% sunflower, 6% rapeseed, 5% barley. France and Romania signed an agreement on 12 September to export more grain by land from Ukraine as part of the EU's solidarity corridor policy. The grain will be sent to developing countries, "especially in the Mediterranean"... Read more
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European leaders visit Kyiv
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on 15 September to reiterate the EU's support for Ukraine and discuss the accession process. On 9 September, Latvian President Egils Levits and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki discussed European support, sanctions against Russia and energy issues with Volodymyr Zelenskyy... Read more
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Meeting with the Ukrainian President regarding Defence
On 13 September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met the Danish and Estonian Defence Ministers, Morten Bødskov and Hanno Pevkur. He thanked both countries for their financial, humanitarian and military support and asked for an increase in the delivery of weapons to the Ukrainian army. On the same day he met with the co-chairs of the international working group on security guarantees for Ukraine, who presented him with their recommendations for future security guarantees for Ukraine, which could serve as the basis for a "Kyiv Security Pact"... Read more
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First disbursement of EIB emergency funding
The European Investment Bank disbursed €500 million to Ukraine on 14 September to meet its short-term priority financing needs and carry out urgent repairs to damaged roads, railways and bridges. This payment is the first instalment of the EU's €1.59 billion emergency response agreed in July... Read more

Commission : Speech on the State of the Union
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her State of the Union address to the Parliament on 14 September. She reiterated the EU's "unwavering" support for Ukraine. On energy, she proposed a cap on super-profits for companies producing low-cost electricity and the decoupling of electricity prices from the "influence of gas", as well as the creation of a European hydrogen bank. She announced a draft regulation on critical raw materials and the creation of a new European sovereign wealth fund. She indicated the convening of a European Convention to move towards the political deepening of the European Union... Read more
Measures to reduce energy prices
On 14 September, the Commission presented several measures to combat rising energy prices. It proposes to reduce electricity consumption by at least 5% during peak hours, to cap the revenues of electricity producers at €180/MWh, to introduce a solidarity contribution on hydrocarbon production companies when their revenues exceed 20% of the average profits of the three years preceding the end of the year, and to reduce the cost of energy... Read more
Draft bill on the freedom of the media
On 16 September, the Commission presented draft EU legislation on media freedom, which includes, among other things, measures to fight political interference and protect publishing houses and journalists from espionage. It also provides for stable funding of public service media, increased transparency of ownership and an assessment of the impact of mergers in media markets on pluralism and editorial independence... Read more
New rules on cyber security for hardware and software products
The Commission proposed on 15 September new cybersecurity rules for products with digital components, as regards their design, development, production and placing on the market... Read more
Proposal to ban products of forced labour
On 14 September, the Commission proposed measures to ban all products made with forced labour from the EU market. National authorities in the Member States would be responsible for enforcing the ban and could investigate companies if there is any suspicion of infringement... Read more
Suspension of the Cohesion Funds for Hungary
On 18 September, the Commission proposed to suspend 65% of the funds of three cohesion programmes for Hungary, worth an estimated €7.5 billion, and to ban all contracts with Hungarian governmental institutions, because of the infringement of the rule of law in the country. The decision, which has to be approved by the Council, marks the application of the budgetary conditionality mechanism... Read more

Parliament : Debate with Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin debated the future of the European Union with MEPs on 13 September. She called for continued EU support for Ukraine and stricter sanctions against Russia. She said that measures against rising energy prices need to be implemented, including investment in renewable energy... Read more
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Vote on legislation regarding minimal adequate wages
On 14 September, MEPs adopted the draft directive on adequate minimum wages in the European Union by 505 votes to 92 with 44 abstentions. The establishment of a minimum wage remains a competence of the Member States, but the countries that adopt it will have to ensure that it is adapted to the cost of living and to the different levels of pay. The law must now be adopted by the Council... Read more
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Vote on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive
On 14 September, MEPs adopted by 418 votes to 109, with 111 abstentions, a position on the draft legislation that increases the share of renewable energy in overall EU energy consumption to 45% by 2030. They approved by 469 votes to 93, with 82 abstentions, the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), which sets energy saving targets for both primary and final consumption. Parliament and Council will now meet to negotiate the final version of the drafts... Read more
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Vote to limit deforestation
On 13 September, MEPs adopted by 453 votes to 57 with 123 abstentions a position on the zero-deforestation products regulation. European companies will have to ensure that certain products sold in Europe do not come from deforested or degraded land, and that they have been produced with respect for human rights. Financial institutions will also be subject to new requirements to ensure that their activities do not contribute to deforestation. The Parliament now has to negotiate with the Council... Read more
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EU border regions, laboratories of European integration
In a resolution adopted on 15 September, MEPs call for better account to be taken of the specific legal, administrative, linguistic, cultural, socio-economic, environmental, demographic and geographical features of the EU's border regions, and for 0.26% of the cohesion policy budget to be reserved exclusively for the development of these regions... Read more
New European Bauhaus
MEPs gave their support to the European Bauhaus project on 14 September, but called for more visibility, transparency and social and geographical equity. They also called for the project, which combines architecture, design, arts and sciences to foster sustainable development, to be incorporated into future EU legislation... Read more
Resolution on Taiwan
On 15 September, MEPs denounced the military exercises conducted by China around Taiwan since August. They call on the Chinese government to avoid any measures that could destabilise regional security, and call on Member States to strengthen their relations with Taiwan... Read more

Council : Signature of legislation on the digital markets
On 15 September, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and the Czech Minister for European Affairs, Mikulas Bek, on behalf of the Council, signed the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which imposes new obligations on large online platforms considered as "gatekeepers"... Read more
Meeting of Agriculture Ministers
The Agriculture Ministers, meeting in Prague on 16 September, discussed food security and the role of European agriculture and food in sustainable global food production. They discussed the role of science, innovation and modern breeding methods in agriculture... Read more

Court of Justice : Confirmation of a Commission decision against Google
The General Court of the Union confirmed on 14 September the Commission's 2018 decision to sanction Google for abuse of its dominant position with its Android operating system. It nevertheless reduced the fine imposed on Google by the Commission from €4.343 billion to €4.125 billion... Read more

Court of Auditors : Report on pooled procurement of vaccines
On 12 September, the European Court of Auditors published a special report on the European procurement strategy for Covid-19 vaccine for the years 2020-2021. According to the auditors, the Commission succeeded in ensuring sufficient and diversified supply. However, the contracts signed lacked specific provisions in case of supply interruptions and the procurement process would have required a more thorough assessment... Read more

Germany : Meeting of Trade Ministers and G7 parliamentary speakers
On 15 September, the G7 trade ministers announced their intention to increase pressure on Russia to limit its revenues that are financing the war in Ukraine. In addition, they announced their intention to toughen their current trade policy with China to put an end to a form of "naivety". On 16 September, the conference of the Speakers of the Parliaments of the G7 countries was held in Berlin... Read more
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Column by the Foreign Affairs Minister
In an article published by Die Zeit on 12 September, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock explains that in the face of the war in Ukraine, Germany and France want to reorient the European Union's strategic policy towards Russia, through the policy of sanctions, the strengthening of European defence capabilities and the development of international partnerships... Read more

France : Eurocorps 30 years
Eurocorps celebrated its 30th anniversary on 9 September at a ceremony in Strasbourg where it is based. The European rapid reaction corps created by France and Germany comprises more than 1,000 soldiers from 11 countries, around six framework nations (France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, Poland)... Read more
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Italy : Pre-Election Poll
According to the latest poll conducted on 9 September, before the ban on polls during the last two weeks of the campaign, the right-wing coalition is set to win the parliamentary elections on 25 September, with 45% of voting intentions. The far-right party Brothers of Italy, led by Giorgia Meloni, leads with 25%, followed by Enrico Letta's Democratic Party with 20.5%, the 5-Star Movement with 14.5% and Matteo Salvini's League (12.5%). Forza Italia is said to have 8% of voting intentions, ahead of the Third Pole formed by the parties of Matteo Renzi and Carlo Calenda (6.7%)... Read more

Slovenia : Western Balkan Summit
Western Balkan leaders met on 12 September in Brdo, Slovenia, for the 11th summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process. They called on the EU to speed up its enlargement process, to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to support them in tackling the energy crisis... Read more

Armenia : Clashes on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Clashes broke out on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 13 September, ending the ceasefire that had been in place since the war between the two countries in 2020, and resulting in the death of at least 150 soldiers. After EU High Representative Josep Borrell called for the ceasefire to be respected and stressed that the EU was "determined to continue to act as an honest broker between Armenia and Azerbaijan". The Presidents of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also called for de-escalation and settlement of the conflict by peaceful means. A new ceasefire came into effect on 14 September... Read more
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Council of Europe : Russia is no longer part of the European Convention of Human Rights
Following its exclusion from the Council of Europe in March, Russia has not been a party to the European Convention on Human Rights since 16 September. 140 million Russian citizens are therefore deprived of its protection... Read more
GRECO report on Italy and Belgium
In a report published on 14 September, GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) concludes that Italy has satisfactorily complied with only five of the twelve recommendations addressed to it in 2016. As regards parliamentarians, it has not adopted relevant codes of conduct for both houses of parliament, nor laws regulating the relationship between MPs and interest representatives. On 12 September, GRECO published its 3rd evaluation report on Belgium concerning the prevention of corruption of parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors. It finds that the country has not improved in preventing corruption among legislators, while some progress has been observed for judges and prosecutors... Read more
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CPT report on German prisons
On 14 September, the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published a report on the treatment of detainees in police establishments, prisons and psychiatric institutions in several German Länder. It considers that overall, detention conditions have improved since 2015, although there is still room for improvement in terms of informing persons in police custody about their rights, conditions of detainees in solitary confinement, and psychiatric care of detainees... Read more

Eurostat : Increase in inflation in August
According to figures published by Eurostat on 16 September, the annual inflation rate in the euro area stood at 9.1% in August, up from 8.1% in July. In the EU as a whole, the rate was 10.1%, compared with 9.8% in July... Read more

Culture : Retrospective in Paris of Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov
The Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris is devoting an exhibition to the Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov until 15 January 2023. For more than 50 years, this artist has been developing experimental photographic work on social and political subjects... Read more
Tamara Lempicka in Krakow
More than thirty paintings by Polish artist Tamara Lempicka from the 1920s to the 1960s, from museums and private collections in Europe and the United States, are on display at the National Museum in Krakow until 12 March 2023... Read more
Maria Bartszova at the Tate Modern
The Tate Modern in London is hosting an exhibition of the work of the Prague-born Slovak artist Maria Bartuszova until 16 April 2023. It is an opportunity to discover numerous abstract sculptures made by the artist and rarely exhibited in the UK... Read more
Lyon Biennal
The 16th edition of the Lyon Biennial, a contemporary art exhibition, is centred on the theme of fragility. 200 artists and creators present works and objects until 31 December... Read more
Vienna Design Week
Until 25 September, the Austrian capital is hosting the 16th edition of the Design Week, featuring objects of everyday use, furniture and industrial products. More than 150 retrospectives are being held in the city's various districts, museums and art galleries... Read more
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187th Munich Beer Festival
The 187th Oktoberfest, Bavaria's traditional beer festival, is taking place in Munich until 3 October... Read more
Edvard Munch at the Orsay Museum
Until 22 January 2023, the Musée d'Orsay is hosting an exhibition of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch: a poem of life, love and death. Around one hundred works by this major artist of symbolism are exhibited in collaboration with the Munch Museum in Oslo... Read more
Léonor Serrano Rivas Exhibition at the Reina Sofia Museum
The Reina Sofia Museum is devoting an exhibition to Leonor Serrano Rivas until 27 February 2023. The artist explores natural magic... Read more
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Florence Art Fair
The 32nd edition of the Florence Antiques Biennale is taking place in the Palazzo Corsini from 24 September to 2 October. It is the oldest exhibition-market in the world, bringing together the best of fine Italian art, from the Florentine Renaissance to the 20th century, and antique dealers from around the world... Read more

20 September 2022


General Affairs Council

20-26 September 2022

New York

UN General Assembly

25 September 2022


Parliamentary Elections

26 September 2022


Agriculture and Fisheries Council

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