|President Juncker participates in the informal meeting of the 27 EU Heads of State or Government, 23 February 2018
As part of the Leaders’ Agenda, today EU leaders, including President Juncker, will hold an informal discussion on institutional issues, including the composition of the European Parliament after the UK leaves the EU and the nomination of the President of the European Commission. Leaders will also discuss the future of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) after 2020. To prepare today’s discussions, last week the Commission published its contribution to the debate with proposals on ideas for a more efficient European Union and options for a new, modernised, long-term EU budget. On the latter, the Commission will table its formal proposal for the next long-term EU budget on 2 May. In the meantime, the Commission will continue listening to all stakeholders, including via the public consultations on the priorities of the EU that were launched in January 2018. President Juncker will participate in the press conference with President Tusk, currently scheduled for 18:00 CET. Follow live on EbS.
The European Commission will be in attendance at the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris to celebrate French agriculture
The International Agricultural Show opens its doors in Paris tomorrow for a fortnight and the European Commission will be represented by several Commissioners who will make the trip as well as a booth that will welcome the many visitors to the show. This unmissable annual event is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of French agriculture as the legislative proposals for a simpler and more modern common agricultural policy are being prepared. This year, three European Commissioners will come for a tour: Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture, will be there on 24-25 February, at the inauguration of the Salon; Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, 1 March; and Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Taxation and the Customs Union, on 2 March. During his two-day visit, Commissioner Hogan will meet with many representatives of the agricultural sector, and will also meet the French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Travert, on 24 February. Commissioner Andriukaitis will participate in a citizens’ dialogue on Thursday 1st March on the theme “Europe on my plate: eat better, throw less”. This dialogue will take place on the European Commission’s stand starting at 12 noon and will be broadcast live here. On Sunday 24 February, Michel Barnier, chief negotiator of the European Commission, will also visit the Salon, accompanied by Commissioner Hogan. Commission teams will also be available throughout the event to explain to visitors the European actions in place to support and promote a more sustainable and healthy diet. European policies on agriculture, the environment, food safety and animal and plant health will be presented in an interactive and fun way. France remains the first beneficiary country of the Common Agricultural Policy. More information on the PAC in France is available online.
Future of EU finances – Commissioner Oettinger visits Spain
Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, is visiting Spain on 26 February as part of his tour across EU Member States (#MFFtour27) aimed at gathering views on the future of EU finances and the EU’s multiannual budget post-2020 (#EUbudget). In Spain, the Commissioner will meet with Minister for Finance and Public Function, Mr Cristóbal Montoro, Secretary of State for the Budget, Mr Alberto Nadal Belda, and State Secretary for the European Union, Mr Jorge Toledo. The Commissioner appears before the Spanish Parliament Joint Committee for the EU, with the President, Ms Soraya Rodríguez Ramos and the spokespersons and other members of the Committee. He also participates in a working lunch with the Business Leaders Forum. The Commission kicked off this debate on 28 June 2017 with the publication of its Reflection paper on the future of EU finances, available in all EU languages (also in Spanish). Stakeholders’ views will be taken into account when preparing the next MFF, to be presented in May 2018. See a speech “A Budget Matching our Ambitions” given by Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger at the conference “Shaping our Future” on 8 January 2018.
EUROSTAT: January 2018 – Annual inflation down to 1.3% in the euro area – Down to 1.6% in the EU
Euro area annual inflation rate was 1.3% in January 2018, down from 1.4% in December 2017. In January 2017, the rate was 1.8%. European Union annual inflation was 1.6% in January 2018, down from 1.7% in December 2017. A year earlier the rate was 1.7%. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Full text available here
Commission to host a roundtable on cryptocurrencies
On Monday 26 February, the Commission will host a roundtable on “Cryptocurrencies – Opportunities and Risks” in Brussels under the chairmanship of Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission Vice-President in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. Participants will exchange views on how the EU institutions, supervisors and Member States should respond to the challenges posed by fast technological developments, and seize the opportunities they offer. So-called cryptocurrencies (virtual currencies) and their underlying blockchain technology is affecting many sectors of the economy, including finance. In this context, the goal of the Commission is to ensure investor protection, market integrity and financial stability while taking full advantage of these new technological developments. The discussion will be organised around three themes: cryptocurrencies and their implications for financial markets, investor protection and market integrity in relation to cryptocurrencies as an emerging asset class, and the potential and challenges posed by initial coin offerings (ICOs). Participants will include EU institutions, EU countries, supervisors, central banks, industry, academics and crypto entrepreneurs. Vice-President Dombrovskis will brief the press on the outcome of the meeting in the Berlaymont VIP corner on Monday 26 February at 13:30 CET, and Europe by Satellite will transmit it live.
Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Gabriel heading to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress and discussions on 5G deployment
On Monday begins the yearly Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for the Digital Society and Economy Mariya Gabriel will both be attending the event at the beginning of the week. Vice-President Ansip will speak on Monday on the keynote panel discussion “The Future of the Industry: Transatlantic Digital Policy and Regulation” and participate in the Ministerial Programme for accelerating the uptake of next generation mobile network – 5G. Commissioner Gabriel will participate GSM Association’s (GSMA) Transatlantic Policy Dialogue. Both will hold a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the congress with telecoms industry representatives and pay a visit to several exhibitions showcasing the newest technologies and innovative products available. The discussions on the congress will focus mainly on two topics: the development of 5G markets and the accompanying legislation European Electronic Communications Code, and second, net neutrality and an open internet in Europe. Moreover, Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Gabriel will participate in a lunch discussion with a group of CEOs from the GSMA. Vice-President Ansip will also meet the Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai and Indian Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha. He will also welcome the new GSMA study on secure cross-border identification from mobile devices and visit the Graphene flagship stand that will exhibit prototypes and demonstrations of the use of graphene. Commissioner Gabriel will visit the 5G public-private partnership stand and will announce the launch of the “European 5G Observatory” and “European 5G Pioneer Award” Contest. On Tuesday afternoon, Vice-President Ansip will pay a visit to the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre. More information on 5G deployment and planned reforms in spectrum management in two factsheets here and here. Further details on the recent initiative on building European supercomputers can be found here.
Le Commissaire Moscovici en Occitanie, France ce lundi et mardi
Pierre Moscovici, Commissaire pour les affaires économiques et financières, la fiscalité et les douanes, est en visite en Occitanie, France, lundi et mardi 26 et 27 février. La visite commencera par une réunion et une conférence de presse avec la Présidente de la région, Carole Delga. Ensuite, le Commissaire participera à la signature du lancement du projet de financement pour des PMEs géré par les Fonds européen d’investissement (FOSTER Occitanie). Il prendra part ensuite àun dialogue citoyensur “L’Occitanie et l’Europe” à 16h30 le lundi. Ce dialogue sera diffusé en direct sur Facebook. Enfin, le Commissaire participera à une table ronde avec les entreprises et représentants locaux sur le développement de l’économie occitane avec l’Europe. Pendant sa visite, le Commissaire visitera aussi trois projets fondés par les Fonds européen de développement régional: une opération de rénovation thermique à Colomiers, un groupe de projets locaux innovants à Labège, et ‘l’Ecole de la 2ème chance‘ à Montpellier.
EU Civil Protection Mechanism to gain satellite telecommunications system
Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides met with Luxembourgish Ministers Daniel Kersch, responsible for Home Affairs, Civil Service and Administrative Reform and Romain Schneider, responsible for Social Security, Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and Sport, on the occasion of a new Luxembourgish contribution to strengthen the EU Civil Protection Mechanism: mobile, satellite-based telecommunications via the platform emergency.lu. This platform will establish internet and telephone communication directly in the aftermath of a crisis – if and when conventional tools of communication are temporarily out of order. Commissioner Stylianides said: “We welcome this contribution which is testimony to Luxembourg’s long-standing tradition of providing high added-value capacities for a better EU response to disasters in Europe and worldwide. The new telecommunication platform emergency.lu will establish internet and telephone communication as in the aftermath of hurricanes Matthew and Irma that destroyed communication infrastructure in the Caribbean.” Commissioner Stylianides also met with Jan Jambon, Belgian Minister of the Interior. Read the full press release here.