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 email@example.com.
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