Brussels Daily
01 Sep 2017


Brussels Daily


EU-Ukraine Association Agreement fully enters into force

Today, the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine enters fully into force. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said: “Determination is a virtue. Today, in spite of all the challenges, we have made it. With the entry into force of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, the European Union is delivering on its promise to our Ukrainian friends. I thank all those who made it possible: those who stood on Maidan and those who are working hard to reform the country for the better. This is a day of celebration for our European continent.”Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, said: “Today marks the start of new chapter in our relationship.  A closer association between the European Union and Ukraine means closer ties between our citizens, bigger markets and more opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, increased sharing of experience, information and expertise. It shows that we share the same values, that we have the same objectives, and that the Ukrainian people can count on the European Union’s support for the years to come.” European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “Generations of Ukrainian citizens to come will reap the benefits of closer association with the EU. The first concrete results of implementation of the Agreement can already be seen: Ukraine’s exports to the EU have increased and the EU has confirmed its position as Ukraine’s first trading partner. Ukraine’s recent reform efforts have been unprecedented, while much work remains such as in the fight against corruption, which must be pursued. The European Union will continue its support for Ukraine’s reform efforts, with both expertise and financial support.”The Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together: it promotes deeper political ties and stronger economic links, as well as respect for common European values. The DCFTA provides a framework for modernising Ukraine’s trade relations and economic development by opening up markets and harmonising laws, standards and regulations with EU and international norms. A full press release is available online and more information on EU-Ukraine relations can be found in the factsheet or on the website of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

EU supporting countries affected by deadly floods and storms in Asia 

Thousands of people have been killed and displaced by floods and extreme weather in Asia over recent weeks. The European Union has been in close contact with humanitarian organisations working in the region to channel emergency funding to help those most in need. “The EU is providing initial emergency funding of around €2 million for the most vulnerable people affected in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. This will help deliver food, safe drinking water, sanitation items, tents and other emergency essentials,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. EU humanitarian aid has been provided for emergency relief assistance to populations affected in Bangladesh and Myanmar by tropical storms. For the recent floods in India the EU is assisting the most vulnerable communities and our support will directly benefit 25,000 people in flood-stricken areas. For flooding in Nepal, EU assistance is helping the most affected families in various districts across the country and 35,000 people will directly benefit from the aid. This emergency aid comes on top of the €53 million in EU funding for disaster risk reduction in these four countries and long term EU assistance to the region.


Film Night: Exploring the link between VAT and the financing of terrorism on 5 September

Next week, the Commission will host a unique event to screen two fascinating films that explore how criminals are using VAT fraud to finance terrorism. The film night will be introduced by Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. Two leading independent filmmakers, Bø Elkjaer from Denmark and Sander Rietveld from the Netherlands, will discuss how years of reporting led them to uncover a vast, shadowy web of crime and fraud spanning the EU and stretching across the globe. Their films explore the link between the industrial scale VAT fraud that costs Member States €50 billion a year and organised crime, including terrorism. A Q&A session with the reporters will follow the screenings and refreshments will be served. The event will take place at Bouche à Oreille, 1040 Brussels at 18h30 on 5 September. Members of the press and civil society representatives are welcome to attend and can register by emailing





Commissioner Navracsics on visit to Norcia, Italy

On Monday and Tuesday, 4 and 5 September, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will be in Italy to visit the region surrounding Norcia which was struck by several severe earthquakes between August 2016 and January 2017. While visiting the sites affected, the Commissioner, together with the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, will meet European Solidarity Corps volunteers helping restore cultural heritage sites and social services in the region. The projects, which will bring 230 European Solidarity Corps volunteers to the region until 2020, are part of the wider EU support to Italy. This includes notably the proposal to allocate to Italy €1.2 billion from the EU Solidarity Fund, the highest amount ever mobilised under this fund. On Monday 4 September at 18:00, Commissioner Navracsics will hold a Citizens’ Dialogue together with President Tajani (live streaming available here). Introduced by the Mayor of Norcia, Nicola Alemanno, the Dialogue will focus on EU post-earthquake reconstruction aid, the future of the European Union, the European Solidarity Corps and other EU initiatives for young people, as well as the upcoming European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018. On Tuesday at 14:30, Commissioner Navracsics will hold a Facebook Live chat together with two volunteers from the European Solidarity Corps.  There will be two press conferences, one on Monday evening (extracts available here) and one on Tuesday (extracts available here).


Commissioners attend the annual Ambrosetti Forum this weekend

Several members of the College will be in Cernobbio, Italy, this weekend to participate in the European House Ambrosetti Forum, an annual event which focuses on current issues of major impact for the world economy and society. On Saturday morning, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans will deliver the keynote speech at the opening of the Forum, on ‘The Agenda to Change Europe’ and will participate in the subsequent panel debate on ‘The Europe We Want’. During the event, Commissioners Günther H. Oettinger, Pierre Moscovici andMargrethe Vestager will all take part in high-level roundtables and panel discussions. More information, the full agenda and the list of participants are available here.


Commissioner Jourová on visit to Tallinn

On Monday 4, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender, Věra Jourová  will visit Tallinn. She will deliver a keynote speech at the Company Law and Corporate Governance Conference. She will present the aim of the upcoming company law package, which the Commission propse in the coming months. She will then meet  Mr Urmas Reinsalu, Minister of Justice, to discuss the ongoing justice files under the Estonian presidency, such as the digital contracts proposal, the European Public  Prosecutor’s Office and the first review of the Privacy Shield.


Boosting cross border cooperation: Commissioner Creţu visits Ostbelgien

On Monday Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu will visit Eupen, the capital of the German-speaking community of Belgium (Ostbelgien). Alongside Minister-President Olivier Paasch and MEP Pascal Arimont the Commissioner will visit projects funded under Cohesion Policy interregional (“Interreg“) programmes. “Ostbelgien, a Belgian region at the crossroads between the Netherlands and Germany, has decades-long experience of interregional cooperation with the support of Interreg funding programmes,” said Commissioner Creţu ahead of her visit, “as such, it is a great laboratory to test new ideas to overcome remaining cross border obstacles. On the basis of good practices gathered in border regions like Ostbelgien, we will launch a new initiative to boost cross border cooperation at the end of September.” More information on EU funds in Belgium can be found on the Cohesion Open Data Platform

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