10 Mar 2017
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 10 MARCHBrussels Daily
European Council: Leaders discuss growth, trade and migration
Meeting at the European Council, leaders noted that for the first time in almost a decade, all 28 economies are expected to grow over the next 2 years. They agreed that this good outlook needs to be sustained by continued structural reform efforts and determined action to complete the single market. Leaders also underlined trade policy as one of the most powerful engines for growth, welcoming the positive European Parliament vote on the EU-Canada trade agreement. Speaking at the press conference, President Juncker signalled that good progress is being made on concluding a trade agreement with Japan, saying “We will seize this opportunity to show the entire planet that we remain a continent of free and organised trade.” Leaders also discussed migration, welcoming the Commission’s Action Plan and Recommendation on returns. President Juncker called for renewed efforts in implementing agreed solidarity measures, whilst leaders agreed they would strive to agree on the Asylum policy reforms by June. President Juncker welcomed the re-election of Donald Tusk to serve a second term as European Council President.
EU and ASEAN take new steps to re-launch region-to-region trade talks
The EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) today agreed in a joint statement to take new steps towards resuming talks for a-region-to-region agreement. The decision follows a meeting between Commissioner Malmström and economic ministers from the 10 countries of ASEAN in the Filipino capital of Manila. Commissioner Malmström said: “2017 marks the 40th anniversary of fruitful cooperation between the EU and ASEAN. There is still much to be done to unlock the full potential of the EU-ASEAN relationship, and the quickly changing international environment now makes us turn our eyes even more towards Asia. I am glad to see that both sides are now ready to seize the momentum and start preparations towards re-launching these negotiations. This is a significant and timely initiative, and it shows that the EU and ASEAN are committed to take the lead together on regional and global trade.” The participants of today’s ministerial meeting also agreed to further explore the joint EU and Canadian initiative for a multilateral investment court, to serve as a single global judicial instance for resolving investment-related disputes. While a region-to-region trade agreement is the long-term goal, the EU has already concluded bilateral trade deals with ASEAN members such as Singapore and Vietnam, and negotiations are underway with Indonesia and the Philippines, and with Myanmar for an investment-only agreement. Trade was also discussed at the European Council, where the President’s conclusions reiterate the EU’s strong commitment to a robust trade policy and an open and rules-based multilateral trading system, with a central role for the WTO. The conclusions also underline the EU’s intention to resolutely advance on all ongoing negotiations for ambitious and balanced free trade agreements. More information is available here.