21 Jun 2018
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 21 JUNEBrussels Daily
President Juncker on two-day trip to Dublin, Ireland
President Juncker is in Dublin today, Thursday 21 June and tomorrow, Friday 22 June 2018. This morning, he met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Irish Government to discuss Brexit and other issues currently on the European agenda, ahead of the European Council on 28-29 June. A joint press conference following this meeting took place (available on EbS+). President Juncker will subsequently address the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas (Parliament). Later in the afternoon, President Juncker will be awarded with an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Ireland and will attend an official dinner in Dublin Castle. On Friday morning, President Juncker will be received by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland. He will be accompanied by Commissioner Phil Hogan and Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator for Article 50 Negotiations.
TRADE: EU and New Zealand launch negotiations
Today,Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and New Zealand’s Minister for Trade David Parker officially launched talks for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement. The negotiations will aim at removing barriers to trade in goods and services, as well as developing trade rules to make trade easier and more sustainable. In the capital of New Zealand, Wellington, Commissioner Malmström said: “Today is an important milestone in EU-New Zealand relations. Together, we can conclude a win-win agreement that offers benefits to business and citizens alike. Trade agreements are about economic opportunities but they are also about strengthening ties with our close allies. In New Zealand, we know that we have a partner who stands up for the same vital values as us. This agreement is an excellent opportunity to set ambitious common rules and shape globalisation, making trade easier while safeguarding sustainable development. We can lead by example.” New Zealand is one of the world’s fastest-growing developed economies. The EU is New Zealand’s third biggest trade partner. The agreement could increase trade in goods by almost 50%. The first formal round of talks will take place in Brussels from 16 to 20 July. Today’s announcement follows start of negotiations with Australia earlier this week. For more information see the press release, videos and photos from the Commissioner’s visit to New Zealand, including from the press conference with Minister Parker, factsheet, exporters’ stories, and a dedicated website
Preparation of the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, 21-22 June 2018
Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings taking place today and tomorrow in Luxembourg. Today’s Eurogroup meeting will assess the implementation of the prior actions under the fourth review of the stability support programme for Greece and, more broadly, discuss all of the elements needed to ensure the successful completion of the programme in August. There will be an exchange views on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) presentation of the outcome of its Article IV consultations with the euro area. The Eurogroup will also discuss Spain’s updated Draft Budgetary Plan for 2018, based on the Commission’s Opinion published in May. Finally, the institutions will inform the Eurogroup of the main findings of the fourth post-programme surveillance mission to Cyprus that took place in March.The Eurogroup will then meet in an inclusive format to prepare for the Euro Summit, which will take place on 29 June 2018 to take further steps on deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union, including the completion of the Banking Union and the future role of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Commissioner Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. At the ECOFIN meeting tomorrow, the Council is expected to close the excessive deficit procedure for France, and to issue recommendations regarding significant budgetary deviations by Hungary and Romania. It is due to approve country-specific recommendations on Member States’ economic and social policies under the 2018 European Semester. In terms of the Banking Union, Ministers will be updated on the ongoing discussions on the proposal to establish a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). The Council is also expected to adopt new tools for cooperation between EU countries in the fight against VAT fraud – a problem which leads to losses of €50 billion for national budgets of EU Member States each year. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference following the ECOFIN meeting.