28 Feb 2018


Brexit, Brussels, Brussels Daily


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.

EU announces €24 million to address the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine

The European Commission announces today €24 million in humanitarian assistance to address the needs of conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine. On the occasion, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “Four years of conflict have put a tremendous strain on the civilian population in eastern Ukraine. We cannot overlook that there’s a humanitarian crisis at the European Union’s doorstep. Supporting all those in need, wherever they are, is a priority for the EU. Our new aid package will provide essential assistance such as food, healthcare and education for children.” The new EU funding will help address the basic needs of the most vulnerable populations along the contact line including in the non-government controlled areas. It will help those who fled the conflict areas to neighbouring countries. The EU, together with its Member States, is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid, early recovery and development assistance to Ukraine. With today’s announcement, the EU has now provided over €677 million since the beginning of the conflict in 2014. Video of Commissioner Stylianides‘ speech and statement will be made available on EbS at today’s high-level conference in Brussels organised by the European Commission and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine. Read the full press release here.


Commission creates Task Force Rural Africa to focus on development role of food and farming

A new expert group is to be created by the European Commission to provide expertise, advice and possible recommendations on enhancing the role of the EU agri-food and agro-industrial sector in the sustainable economic development of Africa. 

The first step in the creation of the Task Force Rural Africa (TFRA) is the call for applications for the selection of members, which will run until 23 March 2018. The group will consist of 11 members, all of whom should be experts with high level expertise and experience in agriculture, agri-business or agroindustry, trade, development policy or migration-related issues and with first-hand knowledge of the agri-food sector in Africa. They will all be appointed in a personal capacity, and will act independently and in the public interest. More information here


EUROSTAT: Flash estimate – February 2018 – Euro area annual inflation down to 1.2%

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.2% in February2018, down from 1.3% in January2018, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European UnionFull text available here


EUROSTAT: GDP per capita in 276 EU regions – Regional GDP per capita ranged from 29% to 611% of the EU average in 2016

In 2016, regional GDP per capita, expressed in terms of purchasing power standards, ranged from 29% of the European Union (EU) average in the Bulgarian region of Severozapaden, to 611% of the average in Inner London – West in the United Kingdom.   Full text available here


#investEU: New interactive map shows EU support to SMEs 

Helping small businesses get improved access to financing is a top priority for the EU. Thanks to the many financing programmes of the European Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF), hundreds of thousands of SMEs and entrepreneurs across Europe have received the financial boost they needed to start, grow and scale up their businesses. Now you can see exactly where the money has gone. The EIF and the Commission have launched a new, interactive map which allows you to zoom in down to street level to see which kinds of small businesses have received EU financing. You can search by financing programme, by sector, or simply move the map around to pinpoint the location that interests you the most. The map is available at

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