President Juncker visits Portugal, 30-31 October
At the invitation of the Portuguese President, President Juncker is travelling to Portugal today and tomorrow on what is his second official visit to the country as President of the Commission. Later today, in Lisbon, he will meet Prime Minister António Costa in a bilateral meeting, before being received by President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and will then participate, on invitation of the President, in a meeting of the Council of State. Tomorrow, 31 October, President Juncker will be awarded the Honoris Causa diploma by the University of Coimbra, in the presence of President Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Assembly of the Republic Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, Prime Minister Costa, and representatives of the diplomatic corps of the EU countries. After a working lunch with Prime Minister Costa, President Juncker and the Prime Minister will meet the leaders of the 130-year-old Academic Association of Coimbra and participate in a debate with students and entrepreneurs on “Future of Europe – what Europe do we want?” at the Gil Vicente Academic Theatre.
Forest fires: EU helps mobilise firefighting planes and satellite mapping for Italy
The European Commission has helped mobilise emergency support for Italy through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, following a request for assistance to battle forest fires in the country. In an immediate response, Croatia has offered 2 specialised Canadair planes that have been operating in the affected areas in northern Italy since yesterday. The EU’s Copernicus satellite system has also been activated to provide mapping services for the local civil protection authorities. “The EU is here to help. Firefighting aircraft and our EU satellite mapping system are supporting the national civil protection authorities. I want to thank Croatia for its swift response to Italy’s request. Our thoughts are with all the people and the brave first responders working in the affected areas. This week I had the pleasure of meeting the head of the Italian Civil Protection department Mr Borelli and our cooperation with Italy is excellent,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The Commission’s 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is closely monitoring the situation in Italy and other natural disasters across Europe, including the flooding in northern and central Europe over recent days. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has now been activated 17 times since this summer by several countries across Europe for forest fires. The European Commission coordinates offers of assistance through the Civil Protection Mechanism and offers to co-finance related transport costs to countries offering support. President Juncker has tasked Commissioner Stylianides to put forward proposals this year to boost the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, following the many devastating natural disasters across Europe this past year. Photos and video stockshots of the Emergency Centre are available, as well as a MEMO ‘Fighting forest fires in Europe – how it works’.
Vice-President Dombrovskis in Tallinn, Estonia
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, is in Tallinn and Tartu for a European Semester visit and a Citizens’ Dialogue on 30 to 31 October. Vice-President Dombrovskis’ visit also includes several bilateral meetings, including with Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonia, Toomas Tõniste, Minister of Finance of Estonia, Ardo Hansson, Governor of the Bank of Estonia and Eiki Nestor, Speaker of the Riigikogu, Parliament of Estonia.On Monday, the Vice-President will deliver a keynote speech on “The Future of the Economic and Monetary Union. The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance and the EU Legal Framework” at the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union(SECG) in Tallinn. On Tuesday, Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue on “The Future of the Economic and Monetary Union“, in the framework of the European Semester in Tartu.
Future of EU finances – Commissioner Oettinger visits Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, is visiting Estonia on 31 October, Latvia on 1 November and Lithuania on 2 November as part of his tour across EU Member States aimed to gather views on the future of EU finances and the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). In Estonia, the Commissioner will meet the country’s Prime Minister, Mr Jüri Ratas, Mr Toomas Tõniste, Minister of Finance, and Mr Matti Maasikas, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister. He will also exchange views with members of the Finance, Economic Affairs and EU Affairs Committees of the Estonian Parliament. Commissioner Oettinger will deliver a keynote speech at the Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union and answer questions by citizens at a Citizens’ dialogue in the Estonian Business School. In Latvia, the Commissioner will meet Ms Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Minister of Finance, Mr Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kaspars Gerhards, Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development, and Mr Jānis Dūklavs, Minister of Agriculture. Commissioner Oettinger will discuss the challenges ahead of the EU budget with members of the European Affairs and Budget Committees of the Latvian Parliament, and with the wider public at a Citizens’ Dialogue. In Lithuania, the Commissioner will meet the country’s Prime Minister, Mr Saulius Skvernelis, Mr Vilius Šapoka, Minister of Finance, Mr Bronius Markauskas, Minister of Agriculture, Mr Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, Minister of Energy, and Mr Albinas Zananavičius, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. Commissioner Oettinger will visit the Parliament and meet the speaker and members of the European Affairs committee and deliver a keynote speech at a conference on Lithuania and the future of EU finances. The meetings in the three Baltic states are part of the Commissioner’s tour aimed to gather the broadest possible views on the future of EU finances – #MFFtour27. The Commission kicked off this debate on 28 June 2017 with the publication its Reflection paper on the future of EU finances, which is also available in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian. Stakeholder views will be taken into account when preparing the next MFF, to be presented in May 2018.
Commissioner Jourová on visit to Prague
Today, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, is on a visit to Prague, Czech Republic. This morning, the Commissioner gave a keynote speech at the conference “Jewish Communities and Western Democracies: What Future?”. In the afternoon, she will participate in a round table with stakeholders to discuss the Commission Work Programme for next year. The Commissioner will use this visit also as an opportunity to meet Mr Aleš Chmelař, Czech State Secretary for European Affairs, and Mr Ondřej Malý, Government Co-ordinator of Digital Agenda.
Commissioner Gabriel in Bucharest to discuss progress on Digital Single Market legislation
Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel is in Bucharest, Romania for a two-day visit. This morning she delivered a keynote speech at the 7th annual high-level international conference ‘New global challenges in cybersecurity’ focussing on the Commission’s proposals to scale up EU’s response to cyber-attacks. After the speech she met with Romania’s Minister for Communications and Information Society Lucian Șova to discuss among other digital topics the coordination of spectrum policies that is vital for successful 5G deployment. Later today, Commissioner Gabriel will meet Deputy Vice Prime Minister of Romania Ion-Marcel Ciolacu with a focus on the swift progress on the Digital Single Market legislation. Additionally to the bilateral meetings, the Commissioner will visit the startup mentoring programme Innovation Labs, hold a meeting on tackling illegal content online and participate in a working breakfast of the Digital Romania International Forum ‘Start-ups in 4.0 industries’. Tomorrow morning she will hold a keynote speech at the Forum and meet the representatives of the Parliament of Romania. In the afternoon she will briefly meet Codette community – an education and inclusion project brought to life by women who are passionate about ICT –, and visit Dream project dedicated to the inclusion of blind or visually impaired people. The Commissioner’s visit concludes with a bilateral meeting with Alexandru Oprean, State Secretary in the Romanian Ministry of Culture.