Briefs

Council of Europe

European Social Charter

8 July 2024

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The high-level conference on the European Social Charter took place on 3 and 4 July in Vilnius. Organised under the auspices of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the Member States reiterated their commitment to social justice and the protection of social rights. They adopted a political declaration to this effect.

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Court of Justice

Appointment of three new judges and an advocate-general

8 July 2024

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On 3 July, the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States appointed three Judges and an advocate-general to the Court of Justice for a six-year term beginning on 7 October. Irmantas Jarukaitis has been reappointed, Bernardus Smulders and Fredrik Schalin have been appointed Judges and Rimvydas Norkus has been appointed Advocate General.

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Culture

"World in Focus" in Aarhus

8 July 2024

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Until 8 December, the ARoS museum in Denmark is exhibiting "World in Focus". Visitors will be able to explore a collection of photographs and visual images manipulated by AI, exploring how we use photography as a means of examining the world around us, challenging our perceptions and sense of objectivity.

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Pärnu Music Festival

8 July 2024

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The Pärnu Music Festival is currently on in Estonia until 19 July. This internationally renowned event offers a varied programme of classical music concerts, as well as workshops for young musicians.

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Dubrovnik Summer Festival

8 July 2024

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The 75th Dubrovnik Summer Festival is being held from 10 July to 25 August. The eclectic programme features performances by a wide range of artists.

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Frans Hals in Berlin

8 July 2024

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The exhibition "Frans Hals - Master of the Moment" is on until 3 November at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. The museum is presenting 75 works by the Dutch painter. Known for his portraits painted with a free and relaxed brush, he is one of the most remarkable artists of the 17th century.

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ECB

Sintra Forum

8 July 2024

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The European Central Bank (ECB) held its Sintra Forum from 1 to 3 July. President Christine Lagarde highlighted the challenges and progress of monetary policy in a changing economic context. She highlighted three features of the current economic cycle: the risks of persistent inflation, the path of key interest rates and the economic costs associated with disinflation. Despite major shocks, the ECB says it has succeeded in reducing inflation from 10.6% in October 2022 to 2.6% in June 2024. Christine Lagarde stressed the need to remain vigilant and to adjust policies in line with the data, while affirming the ECB's commitment to bringing inflation down to 2% by the end of 2025.

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European Agencies

Drop in asylum applications

8 July 2024

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On 1 July, the European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) published an update showing that EU countries are continuing to receive fewer asylum applications. In April 2024, the agency received 86,000 asylum applications, representing a significant decrease (-30%) compared to the 123,000 applications in October 2023. On the other hand, the number of cases pending at first instance in the EU has reached levels unseen since the migration crisis of 2015-2016.

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International money laundering network dismantled in Europe

8 July 2024

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The French and Spanish police announced on 5 July that they had dismantled a Chinese money laundering network operating in Europe. The investigation, led by the French National Anti-Fraud Office and the Spanish police with the support of Europol, began in 2021 after French customs officers discovered €500,000 hidden in a vehicle. Five members of the network were arrested in Spain. The leader of the network has been arrested.

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Foundation

European recovery plans: figures and priorities

8 July 2024

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In response to the economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Union set up a €672.5 billion recovery fund. On 1 July, the Commission received Slovenia's third request for payment of €257.6 million. On the 2nd, it approved an assessment of Slovakia's fourth payment claim of €799 million. On the 3rd, it approved an assessment of Italy's fifth payment claim of €11 billion and an assessment of Belgium's first payment claim of €658 million. On the 4th, the Commission received Portugal's fifth payment claim of €1.65 billion and Cyprus's third payment claim of €89.2 million. The Foundation offers you an interactive map of the plans country by country, to find out the amounts and timetables.

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Germany

Draft budget for 2025

8 July 2024

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On 5 July, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Linder proposed a draft budget for 2025, which will be put to a vote in the Bundestag in early September. The three priorities of the €481 billion budget are infrastructure investment, national security and economic recovery. This announcement follows lengthy negotiations conducted by the government of the Tricolor coalition, which in particular encountered difficulties in reaching agreement on the issue of the debt brake. In the end, they decided to retain it.

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Airbus signs contract with German army for military satellites

8 July 2024

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European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced the signature of a €2.1 billion contract with the German army for two military communications satellites. The satellites are due to be deployed at an altitude of 36,000 kilometres before the end of the decade, and will provide the German army with a secure military communications capability. The aircraft manufacturer has also announced that German satellite manufacturer OHB and a number of SMEs will be involved in the project.

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Greece

Diplomatic meetings of the Greek Prime Minister

8 July 2024

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On 2 July, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed his Moldovan counterpart Dorin Recean to discuss negotiations on Moldova's accession to the European Union and to sign a memorandum on the mutual recognition of driving licences. The same day, he met Bulgarian President Rumen Radev to reaffirm the importance of their strategic partnership for regional stability. On the 3rd, he met Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs to address common challenges related to the instrumentalisation and management of migration, and to discuss an EU-funded air defence shield initiative. On the 4th, he met with Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe to discuss Greece's economic performance, including the budget surplus and efforts to maintain fiscal stability and reduce the cost of living.

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Parliament

Ongoing formation of groups

8 July 2024

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On 3 July, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group elected Nicola Procaccini (Fratelli d'Italia, Italy) and Joachim Brudziński (PiS, Poland) as co-presidents. On 4 July, the Left Group (GUE/NGL) announced that it had agreed to integrate the Movimento 5 Stelle, in the form of a six-month period with observer status. It reappointed Manon Aubry (LFI, France) and Martin Schirdewan (Die Linke, Germany) as co-chairs, although the latter will be replaced by Kostas Arvanitis (SYRIZA, Greece) in 2027. On 8 July, a new group was formed, Patriots for Europe, initiated by Viktor Orban, which replaces the Identity and Democracy (ID) group. It has 84 members and is chaired by Jordan Bardella (RN, France).

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