President Jean-Claude Juncker at the Brussels Economic Forum
This morning, President Juncker delivered the 7th annual Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa Lecture at the Brussels Economic Forum, entitled: “Protection, prosperity, progress: A stronger euro for a stronger Europe”. Following the 20th anniversary of the European Central Bank, President Juncker referred to the 340 million Europeans who use the euro every day, the fact that the euro area will soon represent 85% of the overall gross domestic product of the entire European Union, and that across the world, the euro is now the second most used reserve currency, with 60 countries now linking their currencies to the euro in one way or another. “We should never underestimate how far the euro has come” President Juncker said. With reference to the global financial and economic crisis, President Juncker emphasised the priority the Commission has placed on jobs and growth, launching the Investment Plan for Europe, making full use of the flexibility within the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact, supporting young people to get into work via the Youth Guarantee, and strengthening the Single Market and the digital economy. Looking ahead, President Juncker underlined that we need to make sure that our recovery benefits everyone: “Some say this is a matter for national governments or for social partners alone. I say this is a matter for everyone in Europe” he said, “this is why we made it a priority to strengthen Europe’s social dimension as much as its economic dimension”. In this regard, President Juncker welcomed the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights by all leaders and institutions last November in Gothenburg, as well as the agreement on Posted Workers. He called for further progress in the months to come on the Commission’s proposals on fair and transparent working conditions and on work-life balance, as well as on the proposal for a new European Labour Authority. Looking to the Economic and Monetary Union, the architecture of which is much more robust than ever before, he said, adding that “the job is not complete. We cannot be complacent about what remains to be done”. This includes completing the EMU, the Banking Union, ensuring that the European Stability Mechanism plays the role of a common backstop, and reaching an agreement on the next long-term EU budget. “We must never lose sight of what it is the Economic and Monetary Union stands for, and how it must continue to offer protection, prosperity and progress to all Europeans.” President Juncker concluded. The full speech is available here.
Competition: Commission agrees framework for dialogue on competition policy issues with Mexico
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, and Chairwoman Alejandra Palacios of Mexico’s competition authority COFECE signed yesterday in Brussels a cooperation arrangement between the two competition authorities. The arrangement between the EU’s and Mexico’s competition authorities provides a framework for dialogue on competition policy issues and for sharing views, as well as non-confidential information on individual cases. In particular, the arrangement provides for: i) the exchange of information on competition laws and policies, on multilateral initiatives and advocacy efforts; ii) coordination of the enforcement activities of the two competition authorities when working on the same or related matters; iii) the possibility for one of the two competition authorities to refer a case to the other, if it involves anti-competitive practices carried out in the latter’s territory; iv) cooperation on technical matters, for instance through training or exchange of officials. The signing of this framework for a dialogue on competition policy issues reflects the ambition of enhanced cooperation on competition matters between the EU and Mexico, to the benefit of both. Commissioner Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said: “We can all benefit from working with other competition authorities to promote fair global competition. This new framework for dialogue will give further impetus to our excellent cooperation with Mexico’s competition authority. We have now formalised the basis for this cooperation and are committed to intensifying our ties, to the benefit of consumers and companies in Mexico and the EU.” A full press release is available in here
Eurostat: Volume of retail trade up by 0.1% in euro area
In April 2018 compared with March 2018, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade increased by 0.1% in the euro area (EA19) and increased by 0.4% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In March, the retail trade volume increased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU28. In April 2018 compared with April 2017 the calendar adjusted retail sales index increased by 1.7% both in the euro area and in the EU28. A press release is available here.