07 Mar 2017
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 07 MARCHBrussels Daily
EU and New Zealand move a step further in expanding trade links
Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, and New Zealand’s Minister of Trade, Todd McClay, met today in Brussels to mark the end of preparatory talks for potential EU-New Zealand trade negotiations. Over the last months, representatives from the EU and New Zealand have examined all bilateral economic issues to define the areas to be covered and the right level of ambition for any future negotiations. As a next step, the European Commission will ask Member States for a negotiating mandate to negotiate on behalf of the EU on the basis of specific objectives. In parallel, the Commission is finalising its assessment of the potential impact of such a trade deal, taking into account the preliminary scope agreed today. This assessment will take into account new opportunities that an EU-New Zealand trade agreement could create for EU businesses, as well as agricultural sensitivities that need to be accommodated. The discussions started in October 2015 based on new policy orientations set out in the EU trade and investment strategy “Trade for All“. With annual bilateral trade amounting to more than €8 billion, the EU is New Zealand’s second largest trading partner after Australia. For the EU, trade with New Zealand results in a positive trade balance of €1.3 billion, and EU companies hold nearly €10 billion in foreign direct investment in New Zealand. Any potential deal would aim to further deepen this trade and investment relationship. More information is available on the website of DG Trade. Video and photo footage from today’s meeting can be found on EbS.
Europe celebrates International Women’s Day – many successes, but still a way to go
Ahead of International Women’s Day, Europe speaks out for women’s rights in Europe and abroad. Read a joint statement by nine Commissioners: “The European Union stands by women in Europe and around the globe today, as it did at the time of its foundation. Sixty years ago, equality between women and men was embedded in the Rome Treaty as one of the European Union’s fundamental values. At that time, Europe’s commitment to the principle of equal pay for equal work was unique in the world. Since then, the EU has continued to lead and has made visible progress on all fronts. We work tirelessly to defend women’s rights and empower them in the fight against discrimination and gender-based violence.” Today the Commission publishes the 2017 annual gender equality report, summarising the achievements and remaining challenges in Europe. Presenting the report, First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová stress that: “More than ever, we need to continue to raise awareness that equality is still not a given and marshal political action from all Member States, civil society and social partners.” Further, several activities are taking place to mark the day: High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini will be in Rome to speak at the Celebration of the International Women’s Day organised by the Presidency of the Italian Republic. Commissioner Jourová will welcome three female role models in the Berlaymont press room (follow on EbS), she will also speak with Peter Agnefjall, CEO of IKEA, to discuss the role of women in companies, and meet with a group of teenage girls active in technology. Commissioner Oettinger will participate in a panel on “women@work”, and Commissioner Vestager will speak about the importance of a European society of fairness and equal opportunities. Commissioner Moedas will be in the European Parliament to award the Prize for Women Innovators 2017 to four outstanding entrepreneurs. Commissioner Malmström will be in Singapore to strengthen EU-Singapore trade ties, where she will also announce the first ever International Forum on Gender and Trade, to be organised by the Commission on 20 June. The event will look at how trade policy can advance women’s empowerment – from anti-discrimination clauses to helping small businesses. A press release with useful facts and figures relating to International Women’s Day will be available on Wednesday.