The European Union and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reaffirm strong commitment to serving Palestine refugees
The European Union and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) are holding a Strategic Dialogue on the way forward for their partnership. The discussion takes place in light of the current financial crisis facing UNRWA and the need to broaden its donor base and continue reforming the Agency. The EU and UNRWA remain committed to protecting the rights of Palestine refugees and continue the delivery of essential services to more than 5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, has said that “the European Union stands by its commitment to Palestine refugees and UNRWA. We have accelerated our contribution to UNRWA’s Programme Budget in 2018 and are committing to maintaining the present level of support to 2020. I recognise the importance of providing predictability to UNRWA in these difficult times. The Agency is a crucial stabilising factor in the Middle East. We stress the need, in parallel, for UNRWA to pursue deep reforms and to focus on the needs of the most vulnerable refugees.” UNRWA Commissioner-General PierreKrähenbühl expressed gratitude that, “once again, UNRWA could count on the support of the EU to overcome the unprecedented challenges it faces. The EU has been one of our most reliable donors for decades. I am very grateful for the support of the EU in mobilising the international community around a concerted global response to the most severe financial crisis in our seventy year history and helping us build new funding alliances needed to ensure improved income diversity.” The full press release is available here.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over Phoenix by Apollo
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control over Phoenix Services International LLC by Apollo Management, L.P., both of the US. Phoenix provides services to steel producers such as handling, processing and sales of slag, as well as recovery and sizing of scrap metal to customer specifications. Apollo controls several investment funds, investing globally in companies and debt in various businesses such as chemical, cruise line, hospital, security, financial services and glass packaging. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given that the companies’ activities do not overlap. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8778.
Commissioner Navracsics in Sofia for Culture Ministerial meetings
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, travels to Sofia, Bulgaria today for two ministerial meetings on culture. Given the momentum for EU cultural policy following the Commission’s recent communication on Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture, both meetings provide timely opportunities for high-level discussions on the subject. Tomorrow, 28 February, the Commissioner will participate in the Informal Culture Council organised by the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU with the theme of ‘Culture – an inclusive value for the EU’. He will highlight the important role culture plays in various policy areas to strengthen a European identity in all its diversity as well as ways how to involve young people in preserving and developing European values through culture. On Thursday, 1 March, the Commissioner will attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of Culture Ministers to discuss ‘The Role of Culture in International Relations: the Road Forward’. He will update ministers on the implementation of the 2016 EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations and on upcoming policy and programme developments in the field of culture in the EU. The Commissioner will also highlight the international dimension of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. The Asia–Europe Meeting is an Asian–European political dialogue forum to strengthen relations and different forms of cooperation between its 53 partners.
Citizens’ Dialogue in Copenhagen – tomorrow’s landscape of European research and innovation
On 27 February, Commissioner Carlos Moedas in charge of research, science and innovation engages in a discussion with Danish education and science professionals from the field of politics, academia and business. The Citizens’ Dialogue will focus on how to boost innovation in Europe, create better links between research and education, and increase impact through a mission-oriented approach. This event comes at an opportune moment in the discussion about the EU research and innovation programme beyond 2020. It is particularly important to receive public input in the context of the public consultation open until 8 March. The Citizens’ Dialogue with some 250 expected guests takes places at 3:00 pm at the University of Copenhagen and can be followed live.