Briefs

Council

Informal Meeting of Telecommunications Ministers

15 April 2024

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The telecommunications ministers, meeting in Louvain-la-Neuve from 11 to 12 April, want to strengthen digital infrastructures against cyber attacks and technical incidents. They tasked the Commission with creating optional tools to verify the authenticity of profiles with which consumers interact online. They advocated the creation of a single European telecommunications market to harmonise rules and pave the way for investment and innovation.

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Eurogroup Meeting

15 April 2024

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On 11 April, the eurozone ministers held an exchange of views on the external competitiveness of the eurozone, on exchange rates and inflation before the next spring meeting of the World Bank and the IMF, and on the progress of the digital euro project.

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Croatia

Survey one week before the general election

15 April 2024

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According to the latest surveys published on 14 April, a week ahead of the Croatian parliamentary elections, the Democratic Union (HDZ) of outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is leading in the 10 constituencies with 60 seats, followed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) with 44 seats, the Patriotic Movement (DP) with 41 and 14 seats, "We Can! "and "The Bridge" with 9 seats each, then the Istrian Democratic Diet (IDS) with 2 seats, "Focus and Republic" and Matije Posavca's independent list with 1 seat each. Voting will take place on 17 April.

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EIB

EIB action plan for the defence industry

15 April 2024

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On 12 April, the finance ministers of the EU Member States activated the action plan proposed by Nadia Calviño, President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), aimed at strengthening support for the European security and defence industry. The action plan includes adapting the EIB's lending policy towards the security and defence industry.

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Elections

General Elections in Croatia on 17 April

15 April 2024

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Although his candidacy has been rejected by the Constitutional Court, the President of the Republic, Zoran Milanovic, has announced that he will head the government if his party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), wins the parliamentary elections on 17 April. According to the polls, the Democratic Union (HDZ) (31%), led by outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, is in the lead. In office since 2016, he warns against Zoran Milanovic, who could throw Croatia "into the arms of Russia".

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Eurobarometer

Survey on Social Europe

15 April 2024

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A Eurobarometer survey published on 12 April shows that 88% of EU citizens want a strong Social Europe. At national level, 48% of respondents believe that tackling the high cost of living should be a major priority in their country, followed by the issue of low pay (35%). At European level, respondents consider living standards (45%), fair working conditions (44%) and access to quality healthcare (44%) to be key elements of the EU's social and economic development.

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France

The Prime Minister in Canada

15 April 2024

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French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal visited Ottawa from 10 to 12 April, where he met his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau. The two heads of government reiterated their support for the free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, which was rejected by the French Senate at the end of March. They also discussed strengthening Franco-Canadian cooperation in the fields of culture and linguistics, the environment, research and development, and economic cooperation.

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IMF

Kristalina Georgieva reappointed

15 April 2024

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On 12 April, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) renewed the term of office of the Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria, for a further five years. She was the only candidate in the running.

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Ireland

Simon Harris' Government

15 April 2024

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Simon Harris (Fine Gael) became Ireland's youngest Prime Minister on 9 April, succeeding Leo Varadkar. His government took office the same day. Leading a coalition with the Green Party and Fianna Fáil, he carried out a cabinet reshuffle by appointing Patrick O'Donovan, Minister for Higher Education, and Peter Burke, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, to replace Simon Coveney. The rest of the government remains unchanged.

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Lithuania

Three Seas Summit

15 April 2024

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On 11 April, the summit of the Three Seas Initiative - Baltic, Adriatic and Black - a forum of Central and Eastern European countries, was held in Vilnius. It brought together 13 EU Member States, two associated states, Ukraine and Moldova, and four strategic partners, including the European Commission and the United States. The aim of this initiative is to strengthen cooperation in the fields of transport, energy, cyber security and military mobility. In the presence of the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the focus was on aid to Ukraine and the need for efforts to integrate Ukraine and Moldova into the European Union.

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Parliament

"Breakfast" Directives

15 April 2024

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On 10 April, MEPs approved an agreement with the Council on revisions to the breakfast foods directives. These directives aim to help consumers make better-informed decisions about products such as honey, fruit juices and jams. In particular, the new rules impose compulsory labelling to systematically identify the country of origin of honey imported from third countries, thereby guaranteeing its traceability. In addition, labels indicating the sugar content of fruit juices and the minimum proportion of fruit in jams will now be clearer.

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The King of the Belgians speaks to MPs

15 April 2024

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King Philippe, King of the Belgians, gave a speech to the European Parliament on 10 April in which he emphasised the "geo-ecological" role of the European Union and called for unity in the face of climate change. He called for the defence of democracy in the face of a growing global trend towards autocracy, and a loss of confidence in political institutions. Finally, he spoke of the importance of the European set of social rights and the social dimension of the Union.

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Ukraine

Security Agreement with Latvia

15 April 2024

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The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and his Latvian counterpart, Edgars Rinkēvičs, signed a security agreement on 11 April that commits Latvia over 10 years to work towards Ukraine's integration into the European Union and NATO, to provide military and non-military aid to Ukraine, and to support the country in the war against Russia. In particular, Latvia undertakes to devote 0.25% of its GDP per year to military aid to Ukraine.

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