30 Jan 2019
COLLEGE MEETING: Sustainability: Commission presents a reflection paper on a more sustainable Europe by 2030
As part of the debate on the future of Europe, launched with the Commission’s White Paper of 1 March 2017, the Commission is today publishing a Reflection Paper on a Sustainable Europe by 2030. Announced as a follow-up to President Juncker’s 2017 State of the Union Address, today’s Paper forms part of the EU’s firm commitment to deliver on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. By reviewing the breadth of challenges for Europe and presenting illustrative scenarios for the future, the Paper seeks to steer the discussion on how these goals can be best achieved and how the European Union can best contribute by 2030. Building on what has been achieved in recent years, these scenarios highlight that further action is needed if the EU and the world are to secure a sustainable future in the interest of citizens’ well-being. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Sustainable development starts and ends with people, it is about making our economy and society sustainable and prosperous at the same time. We do this so we can uphold our way of life and upgrade the well-being of our children and grandchildren when it comes to equality, a healthy natural environment, and a thriving, green and inclusive economy. Our task is nothing less than to secure our planet for all people. Europe can and should lead the way.” Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: “Sustainability is part of Europe’s DNA. It is about making sure that future generations will have the same or better opportunities than us, whilst respecting the limited resources of our planet. The Investment Plan for Europe helps by bringing the private sector on board and the Action Plan for Sustainable Finance facilitates creating a new market for sustainable investments. By modernising our societies in an inclusive manner, fully embracing circular economy and reaping the benefits of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, we can strive for climate neutrality and ensure our planet is in a better shape for our children.” The full press release and a factsheet are available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229-56153).
COLLEGE MEETING: Brexit Preparedness: European Commission adopts “no-deal” contingency measures for Erasmus+ students, social security coordination rules and the EU budget
Given the increasing risk that the United Kingdom may leave the EU on 30 March this year without a deal (a “no-deal” scenario), the European Commission has today adopted a final set of contingency proposals in the area of the Erasmus+ programme, social security coordination and the EU budget. This follows the calls by the European Council (Article 50) in November and December 2018 to intensify preparedness work at all levels, and the adoption on 19 December 2018 of the Commission’s Contingency Action Plan, including several legislative measures, and last week’s contingency proposals for EU fisheries. They are in addition to the extensive preparedness work that the Commission has been engaged in since December 2017, as set out in previous preparedness Communications. Today’s measures would ensure that in the event of a “no-deal” scenario: Young people from the EU and the UK who are participating in the Erasmus+ programme on 30 March 2019 can complete their stay without interruption; EU Member State authorities will continue to take into account periods of insurance, (self) employment or residence in the United Kingdom before withdrawal, when calculating social security benefits, such as pensions; and UK beneficiaries of EU funding would continue to receive payments under their current contracts, provided that the United Kingdom continues to honour its financial obligations under the EU budget. This issue is separate from the financial settlement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. A full press release is available here. President Juncker will speak at the European Parliament at 15:30 today. Follow live here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein– Tel.: +32 229-93265; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229-91382; Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229-86500)
Fighting animal diseases and plant pests: €154 million earmarked for 2019
For 2019, the Commission decided to allocate about €154 million to the fight against animal diseases and infectious diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans as well as to support plant pests surveys. “The fights against African Swine Fever and Xylella are daily examples of the EU’s actions on diseases and pests which represent concrete threats to the income of our citizens and the key economic sectors. The sums awarded today illustrate how serious we are on these issues. These funds will be used by Member States’ authorities to help them react swiftly tackle outbreaks that could have a serious impact on animal and human health, economy and trade”, said Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.In the animal health area, €141 million was awarded to support the implementation of the 142 approved programmes for eradication, control and surveillance of diseases, in particular African Swine Fever (which represents a big threat to EU economy) or animal diseases transmissible to human such as bovine tuberculosis, rabies and salmonellosis in poultry. In the plant health area, the EU has committed more than €13 million for the survey of 62 plant pests in 24 Member States in 2019 (this represents 817 individual plant pest surveys), with the greatest part of the funds going towards the fight against Xylella fastidiosa, one of the most dangerous plant pests in the world. More details available online: National Veterinary Programmes and Survey Programmes. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)
Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here