10 Jan 2018


Brussels, Brussels Daily


College meeting: Institutional Priorities for 2018

In the first meeting of 2018, the College of Commissioners discussed the institutional priorities for this year, a year to deliver on the reform of the Economic and Monetary Union, secure the EU’s borders, overhaul the EU’s asylum system, get back to Schengen, complete the Digital Single Market, and bring the Western Balkans closer to the Union. 89 priority files are currently on the table, 29 have already been delivered, and the College discussed how to ensure that the rest is finalised before May 2019. The orientation debate also included an overview of the major new proposals to be expected for 2018, which will feed into the Roadmap for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union. The Commission will focus on fairness, ensuring Europe can respond in a quicker and more decisive way, using our Treaties to the fullest, and making sure Europe is leading the way in grasping new opportunities and facing up to new challenges. At the same time, the Commission’s approach will be balanced, which is why President Juncker created a new Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and “Doing Less More Efficiently” on 14 November 2017 as a follow-up to the White Paper on the Future of Europe and the State of the Union address. This was presented by First Vice-President Timmermans who debriefed the College on the state of play. The Task Force will be composed of Members of the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and national Parliamentarians with the objective of making recommendations on how to better apply the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, identifying policy areas where work could be re-delegated or definitely returned to Member States, as well as ways to better involve regional and local authorities in EU policy making and delivery.



The future of EU finances: have your say on the EU budget after 2020

In less than five months, the Commission will propose the next long-term budget for the EU – the Multiannual Financial Framework or “MFF” – after 2020. Today, the College held a first orientation debate on the next MFF. Also today, the Commission launched a series of public consultations on the priorities of the EU that should be reflected in the next MFF. This follows the publication of the Commission reflection paper on the future of EU finances on 28 June 2017 and of the Commission White Paper on the future of Europe on 1 March 2017, which encouraged all citizens to join the discussion on the key decisions impacting our common future. Resources are stretched at the seams but the EU budget is expected to continue investing for growth, jobs and innovation while addressing the major challenges of the decade to come – the digital revolution, globalisation, climate change, as well as migration, defence and security. Citizens have until 8 March to say where they think the EU has the most value added and where it should focus its investment power to maximise the impact of each euro invested. They are invited to give feedback on how the current EU policies and programmes of the EU – such as cohesion and youth policies, support to innovation and businesses and investments in strategic digital, transport and energy infrastructures — work and could further be improved in terms of performance, simplification or opportunities for synergies between funds. The results of this consultation will feed into the ongoing reflection on the next MFF alongside options and ideas already put on the table by Member States, local authorities and private stakeholders. The Commission will then present its proposal on the next EU budget in May 2018. Commissioner in charge of Budget and Human Resources, Günther H. Oettinger, said: “I will not present anything without having held intensive discussions with all stakeholders. I am very much in the listening mode. The public consultations we are launching today will complement the talks I have already initiated in 2017 with the EU capitals. Our objective is to gather the views of as many people as possible and get a solid basis for preparing the next generation of EU programmes, making sure that every euro from the EU budget delivers maximum added value for the Europeans.” More information on the public consultations is available here.


President Juncker and the College of Commissioners are travelling to Sofia to attend the opening of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU (11-12 January 2018)

The College of Commissioners will travel to Sofia tomorrow for their traditional visit ahead of the incoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will officially start with an opening concert at 19:00 EET/18:00 CET. President Juncker will deliver a speech on the occasion, as will Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov, President Rumen Radev, Minister in charge of the Bulgarian Presidency Lilyana Pavlova, President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani. You can follow the entire opening ceremony live on EbS+. The opening ceremony will be followed by an official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Borissov. On Friday 12 January, the College will participate in meetings with the Bulgarian government to discuss the main priorities of the Presidency around the following themes: 1. External relations, security and defence, migration and justice; 2. An inclusive and sustainable Europe closer to the citizens; 3. A competitive, innovative and digital Europe. A plenary session will follow, summing up the results of the cluster meetings. President Juncker and Prime Minister Borissov will hold a bilateral meeting, followed by a joint press conference at around 12:30 EET/11:30 CET. Also on the agenda of the visit are meetings with the President of the National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva, and with the President’s Council and the Chairs of Parliamentary Committees of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria.



Faster and safer connectivity in Poland thanks to EU investments

€232 million from Cohesion Policy funds is invested in the construction of the S6 express road, between the cities of Kiełpino, Koszalin and Sianów, in the Northern Polish region of Pomerania. This road, located on the trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), links the largest cities of Northern Poland, such as Szczecin and Gdańsk, and connects Poland to Germany. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “This EU-funded express road will give a major boost to economic growth, tourism and trade in the region, while tangibly improving the quality of everyday life for Polish citizens and tourists, with safer, faster connections between cities. Undoubtedly this project will have positive spill-overs for the whole country.” Works on a first section of the road, between Szczecin and Koszalin, should be completed by the summer of 2018. For years, the EU has been investing in crucial infrastructure in Poland in order to transform the country into an attractive place for investments and for living. The Commission recently closed the 2007-2013 programme for Infrastructure and Environment for Poland, the biggest Cohesion Policy programme ever, with a budget of €28.3 billion. Under this programme, the EU has funded 365 transport projects which led, among others, to 1 417 km of new motorways and expressways, 1 200 km of upgraded and new railway lines and 963 urban transport vehicles (such as tram rolling stock or buses). You can find the complete list of achievements under this programme, also in the fields of environment, health, education, culture and energy, on DG REGIO’s website.




Commission commemorates 35 years since first European Parliament resolution supporting restoration of independence of Baltic states

Vice-President Andrus Ansip, Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis will today represent the Commission at a ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of the first European Parliament resolution calling for the restoration of independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The resolution came in response to the “Baltic Appeal”, the public initiative which called for international support for the restoration of independence, which is remembered as a powerful demonstration of the European Union’s solidarity with the Baltic states. Today, 100 years after declaring their independence in 1918, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have each taken their place at the heart of Europe, as key members of the European Union and euro area. The ceremony will also be attended by two of the signatories of the Baltic Appeal.

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