College meeting: European Commission publishes draft Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement
The European Commission has today published the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The draft Withdrawal Agreement translates into legal terms the Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on the progress achieved during phase 1 of the negotiations, published on 8 December 2017, and proposes text for those outstanding withdrawal issues which are mentioned in, but not set out in detail, in the Joint Report. It also integrates the text on the transition period, based on the supplementary negotiating directives adopted by the Council (Article 50) on 29 January 2018. The draft Withdrawal Agreement is published online in accordance with the Commission’s transparency policy. The Commission has presented the draft Withdrawal Agreement now to first allow for time for consultation with the Member States and the European Parliament and, subsequently, for negotiation with the United Kingdom. Given that the Withdrawal Agreement needs to be agreed and ratified before the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is important to leave sufficient time for negotiation. The overall Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement will need to be concluded by the Council (Article 50), the European Parliament, and the United Kingdom according to its own constitutional requirements. More information is available here.
New Commission initiative to improve administrative capacity in managing EU funds
The Commission is today launching a call for participation in a pilot action to help managing authorities in Member States further enhance the way EU funds are managed and invested. The selected candidates will receive support through a new approach, based on expertise from the Commission, in cooperation with the OECD, and an integrated and coordinated use of available assistance and instruments. In particular, it will help managing authorities prepare a comprehensive roadmap with clear objectives, as well as implement identified actions. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “Cohesion Policy is more than just funding; it is also about making the best use of available funding. This can only be achieved via high quality administration which ensures that EU citizens benefit from the best possible results. This pilot initiative will assist selected managing authorities to prepare for the next financial period, beyond 2020.” The European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds channel over €450 billion to tens of thousands of beneficiaries over the 2014-2020 funding period. This pilot action is part of a broader Commission initiative to ensure effectiveness of EU funds on the ground, in line with the Reflection Paper on the future of the EU Finances.