Commissioner Andriukaitis in Croatia to discuss issues of common interest on health and food safety with civil society
On 16 – 17 May, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food safety will be in Croatia to meet with Mr Milan Kujundžić, Minister of Health and Mr Tomislav Tolušić, Minister of Agriculture. On 17 May in Zagreb, the Commissioner will attend a meeting at the Croatian Parliament with the Members of the Committees for European Affairs, Agriculture and Health. Commissioner Andriukaitis will hold a Citizens’ Dialogue alongside Mr Tomislav Tolušić, Minister of Agriculture, webstream available here. In Dubrovnik, he will attend the 60th Annual General Assembly of CLITRAVI (Liaison Centre for the Meat Processing Industry in the EU). Ahead of the visit Commissioner Andriukaitis said “I am looking forward to discussing key issues of common interest such as animal health, animal welfare, antimicrobial resistance, and food labelling“.
COLLEGE MEETING: College discusses current international issues and other issues on the eve of informal meeting of Sofia leaders
In preparation for the informal meeting of leaders in Sofia on 16 May, the College of Commissioners discussed topical issues including a report by High Representative / Vice President Mogherini on the follow-up to the withdrawal of the United States from Iran’s nuclear program and yesterday’s EU / E3 and EU / E3 + Iran meetings. Commissioner Malmström informed the College – again in the context of the preparations for the informal meeting – of the state of play of EU-US trade relations. In a different vein, First Vice-President Timmermans reported on the results of the 14 May General Affairs Council on the rule of law in Poland, and then Commissioner Oettinger presented the main conclusions of the annual reports. Commission services activity for 2017, summarizing the achievements, the initiatives taken and the financial and human resources deployed during the year.
Blue Invest: Bringing together start-ups and investors in the maritime economy
On 17 May, the Commission is organising Blue Invest, the first-ever, EU-wide matchmaking event between start-ups and investors in the maritime economy. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner Vella will welcome hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors from across Europe in Brussels. Commissioner Vella said: “Our experience shows that matching the right maritime start-up to the right investor can create an ocean of opportunity. That is the goal of Blue Invest. The huge turn-out at Blue Invest illustrates how the European Commission is at the forefront of ocean investment.” Companies will receive advice from European Investment Bank Vice-President Jonathan Taylor, industry leaders and financial services experts about scaling up their business and raising interest from potential investors. The ‘blue economy’ includes activities from aquaculture and tourism, to ocean energy and biotechnology. As a whole, the sector is growing faster than the rest of the EU economy and it has the potential to double its size, supporting 7 million direct jobs and creating €1 trillion in turnover by 2030. Vice-President Katainen added: “Boosting investment is a core priority for this Commission. The Investment Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments has already catalysed investments worth over €280 billion in Europe.” More information available here
World Trade Organisation rejects vast majority of US claims in Airbus dispute
The WTO Appellate Body yesterday rejected 94% of the US allegations in the dispute on support to Airbus and dismissed all US claims that any of the EU support is outright prohibited under WTO rules. Commissioner Malmström said: “The WTO Appellate Body, the highest WTO court, has agreed that the EU has largely complied with its original findings. Significantly, it dismissed the vast majority of the US claims that this support had damaged Boeing’s aircraft sales. The EU will now take swift action to ensure it is fully in line with the WTO’s final decision in this case. Also, we look forward to the upcoming ruling by the Appellate Body on US compliance with the WTO findings of the massive and persistent government support to Boeing.” Yesterday’s ruling leaves the EU with only a few remaining compliance obligations. The EU will now take swift action to bring itself into line with WTO rules as regards these remaining points. The initial case was initiated by the US in 2004 against support provided to Airbus by France, Germany, Spain and the UK for the development and production of its series of large civil aircrafts. Today’s step marks the end of those compliance proceedings as the Appellate Body is the highest WTO court. The EU launched a parallel case against US government support for Boeing aircraft in 2005. In that case we are also at the stage of the compliance proceedings after the EU argued before the WTO that the US had not made any efforts to remove its own subsidies. For more information see the WTO report and the Commission press release.
EUROSTAT April 2018 – Annual inflation down to 1.2% in the euro area – Down to 1.4% in the EU
Euro area annual inflation rate was 1.2% in April 2018, down from 1.3% in March. A year earlier, the rate was 1.9%. European Union annual inflation was 1.4% in April 2018, down from 1.5% in March. A year earlier, the rate was 2.0%. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union Full text available here
COLLEGE MEETING: Managing migration and upgrade of the Visa Information System
The Commission is today reporting on progress made under the European Agenda on Migration and the Commission’s roadmap from December 2017, and is setting out further key actions to be taken. While joint EU efforts have continued to show results, the situation remains fragile due to ongoing migratory pressure, as evidenced by newly increased arrivals along the Eastern and the Western Mediterranean routes. This requires the EU as a whole to show the necessary vigilance and preparedness to respond to any seasonal peaks or shifts in pressure, including from one route to another. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “This report confirms that we can only manage migration in a comprehensive way, through mutually reinforcing actions that are based on responsibility and solidarity.” The Commission is also today proposing to upgrade the Visa Information System (VIS), the database containing information on persons applying for Schengen visas, in order to better respond to evolving security and migratory challenges and improve the EU’s external border management. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “With the upgrade of the Visa Information System, we will remove blind spots in our information systems and give visa authorities and border guards the information they need to do their job properly. It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of European citizens and build a Europe that protects while not hampering mobility for those travelling to the EU in good faith.” A press release on the progress made under the European Agenda on Migration and factsheets on migration management and Central Mediterranean Route are available online. A press release on the upgrade of the Visa Information System and factsheets on the Visa Information System (VIS) and EU Information Systems are available online.
COLLEGE MEETING: Three new female senior managers for the Juncker Commission
Today the European Commission decided to appoint a new female Deputy Secretary-General as well as two new female Deputy Directors-General in Directorate-General (DG) Trade. With today’s appointments, the Juncker Commission has more than tripled the number of female Deputy Directors-General to 43% – up from just 11% in November 2014. Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen was appointed Deputy Secretary-General. A Danish national, Ms Ahrenkilde Hansen was already acting Deputy Secretary-General since March. Previously she has served as European Commission Spokeswoman from 1999-2009, as Chief Spokeswoman of the Commission from 2009 to 2014 and, thereafter, as Director of the Commission’s Representations in the 28 Member States for more than 3 years, thus bringing a wide range of competences and management experience at senior level to her new position. Both new Deputy Directors-General in DG Trade currently hold senior management positions in that department where they have spent a large part of their professional careers, making them ideally suited for their new positions. Sandra Gallina, an Italian national, joined the Commission in 1988 has been a Director in DG Trade since 2015. Maria Konig, a Swedish national, joined the Commission in 1997 and has been a Director in DG Trade since 2015. All three decisions take effect immediately. Finally, the Commission also decided to extend the mandate of Marc Mouligneau as Director of the Office for Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels (OIB) until 31 January 2019. Please see here and here for the CVs of the senior managers.
COLLEGE MEETING: Visit by Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres
As part of his two day visit to Brussels, Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres will visit the European Commission today. At a bilateral meeting with President Juncker, the two leaders will discuss EU-UN relations, including the UN reform and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals; foreign policy issues with a particular focus on Syria and advancing the trilateral European Union – United Nations – African Union cooperation on Libya; as well as global challenges, including climate change and migration. As President Juncker said ahead of the meeting: “In times marked by volatility we pride ourselves in being a reliable and predictable interlocutor. Our longstanding partnership with the United Nations, covering all pillars of United Nations activity is stronger and more articulated than ever.” Secretary-General Guterres will then join the College for a working lunch, before holding a joint press point with President Juncker at 13:30 CET, which will be live on EbS+. See herefor more information on EU – UN relations.
President Juncker participates in Leaders’ Meeting and EU – Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria
President Juncker will participate today in an informal dinner of the EU28 leaders ahead of the Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria. In view of recent events, leaders are expected to discuss EU-US trade relations, the future of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as the EU’s response to US announcements on the imposition of sanctions and how to best protect the economic interests of European companies. In the context of the Leaders’ Agenda agreed in October 2017, discussions will also focus on research and innovation and on the actions necessary to complete the Digital Single Market. The European Commission presented yesterday its contributions with a Renewed European Agenda for Research and Innovation and a set of concrete actions to protect citizens’ privacy and make the EU’s Digital Single Market a reality before the end of 2018. On 17 May, the EU-Western Balkans Summit will take place bringing together the Heads of State or Government of EU Member States and their counterparts from the Western Balkans. In addition to President Juncker, High Representative/Vice President Mogherini, Commissioner Hahn andCommissioner Gabriel will also take part. This is the first Summit with Western Balkan leaders for the last 15 years. Following on the Commission’s Western Balkans Strategy released in February this year and President Juncker‘s visit to the region, the Summit will reaffirm the European perspective of the Western Balkans. The main points of discussion will be physical and human connectivity within the region and with the EU and addressing better shared challenges such as security and migration. As a concrete outcome of the Summit, EU Leaders are expected to adopt a Sofia Summit Declaration with follow-up actions. In the margins of the Summit, the Western Balkans partners will also sign a Statement of Support for a Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans – one of the six flagships of the Commission’s Western Balkans Strategy. For more information on the way forward between the EU and the Western Balkans and their economic relations please see our dedicated factsheets. More information related to the Summit and the Leaders’ meeting is available in the factsheets on the Digital Single Market, Data Protection and the Western Balkans. A press conference by President Juncker, President Tusk and Prime Minister Borissov will follow the Summit, timing to be confirmed. Watch live on EbS here.
Commissioner Avramopoulos in Vienna to prepare upcoming EU Presidency of Austria
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Vienna tomorrow to meet with Minister Minister of Interior Herbert Kickl, Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl and Minister within the Federal Chancellery for the EU, Arts, Culture and Media Gernot Blümel. Discussions will focus on Austria’s priorities under its upcoming EU Presidency as well as migration and security. In the morning, Commissioner Avramopoulos will take part in an EU-Citizens’ Dialogue on the “Future of the EU: Challenges for a humanitarian Europe? Migration, solidarity and security in the EU.” More information on the Citizen’s Dialogue here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 58602)
Commissioner Crețu in the Republic of Moldova, on EU support to the country’s regional development
Tomorrow until Monday, Commissioner for regional policy Corina Crețu is in the Republic of Moldova. In Chișinău the Commissioner will meet Pavel Filip, Prime Minister, Liviu Volconovici, Minister of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment and Iurie Leanca, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration. Commissioner Crețu will also meet several representatives of the civil society, of political parties, business partners and senior EU officials working for the country’s regional development. On Saturday, the Commissioner will visit Ungheni, chosen to be one of the 2018 European Villages, where citizens can learn about EU support to the country, especially through EU-funded projects developed in their region. Commissioner Crețu said: “My visit will focus on how cohesion policy, especially via the Danube macro-regional strategy and our cross border cooperation programmes, can support regional development and economic growth in the Republic of Moldova.”