14 03 2018
General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 20/03/2018
The Council, meeting in an EU27 format, will discuss the draft guidelines on the framework for a future relationship with the UK after Brexit. Ministers will look at the text ahead of the European Council (Article 50) meeting later in the week, where the EU27 leaders will adopt the guidelines.
These guidelines will serve as a mandate for the EU negotiator to start discussing the framework for the future relationship, with the aim of reaching an overall understanding. That understanding will be reflected in a political declaration accompanying the withdrawal agreement and referred to in it.
In addition, the Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will update ministers on the state of play of the Brexit negotiations.
European Council (Art.50), 22-23/03/2018
The European Council (Art. 50), in an EU 27 format, will review the state of the negotiations following the United Kingdom’s notification of its intention to leave the EU and adopt additional guidelines.
Read annoted agenda here
President Juncker addresses the European Parliament on the guidelines on the framework of future EU-UK relations and on preparations ahead of the European Council meeting of 22 and 23 March 2018
Speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg this morning, President Juncker highlighted that further clarity is needed from the UK to reach an understanding on the future relationship, when he said: “As the clock counts down, with one year to go, it is now time to translate speeches into treaties; to turn commitments into agreements; broad suggestions and wishes on the future relationship to specific, workable solutions.” The President added that this is especially important with regards to Ireland. “Both the United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed that there should be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement must be preserved in all its dimensions. And life for citizens on both sides of the border should be the same as it is today”, President Juncker said, underlining the unity within the European Union and the 27 Member States when it comes to Ireland. “For us, this is not an Irish issue. It is a European issue“, he said. “It is all for one and one for all – that is what it means to be part of this Union”. The full text of President Juncker‘s speech is available online here. The European Commission published the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom on 28 February. More information is available here. In a second intervention in the European Parliament today, and following his recent tour of the Western Balkans, President Juncker said that the March European Council is about focussing on building a stronger, more democratic and united Union. Addressing the US decision to impose restrictions on steel and aluminium, President Juncker underlined that in the run-up to the Council, the Commission will continue to make the point that exports from the European Union are clearly not a threat to the United States’ national security: “We will defend our workers, we will defend our industry, and we will do so respecting the rules that the world agreed to under the WTO”, he said. Ahead of the Spring European Council, which will have a strong focus on economic affairs, President Juncker underlined that strengthening the European Union means investing in the architecture of our Economic and Monetary Union, and that now is the time do this as Europe’s economy grows; this includes completing the Banking Union, and developing the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund, he said, stressing that “this is a means to creating the conditions for a better, more prosperous and fairer life for all our citizens”. The full text of the speech is available online here.
COLLEGE MEETING: Commission adopts proposals for a European Labour Authority and for access to social protection: delivering further on the European Pillar of Social Rights
Today, the European Commission is taking more concrete new initiatives to further deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights. More specifically, the Commission presents its proposal for a European Labour Authority, as announced by President Juncker in his 2017 State of the Union address, as well as an initiative to ensure access to social protection for all workers and self-employed. These initiatives are accompanied by a Communication on the monitoring of the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which will be closely linked to the European Semester of policy coordination. Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “Europe is now steadily growing and employment is on the rise, but we have to ensure that growth is more inclusive to the benefit of all. This package sets out a number of steps to make that happen: by making sure the rules for people to live and work across the European Union are well known and enforced, by following up on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, pushing the broader momentum for social rights, and by focusing on access to social protection. A stronger social Europe is a more sustainable Europe.” Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, added: “Our work to ensure fair labour mobility culminates in today’s proposal for a European Labour Authority. This is essential for a well-functioning European labour market. It will help citizens and businesses on the move find the right information and strengthen cooperation between the Member States to enforce fair and effective rules. And with our proposal on access to social protection, we are working with Member States to make sure that nobody is left behind. Our aim is to ensure that people have access to adequate benefits no matter how the new world of work evolves.” Commissioner Thyssen‘s press conference on the topic can be watched here. More information is available in this press release, as well as in a detailed memo on the European Labour Authority and a second memo on the Recommendation for access to social protection for workers and self-employed. The main points of the proposals are summarised in a factsheet on the Labour Authority and one on access to social protection. Finally, you can find an update on the implementation of the Pillar of Social Rights in this factsheet.
Commission launches Knowledge Centre to boost food quality and step up the fight against food fraud
Responding to consumer concerns about food quality and fraudulent practices concerning food, the European Commission will tomorrow launch a Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality, operated by the Joint Research Centre. The Knowledge Centre, a network made up of experts in and outside the Commission, will support EU policymakers and national authorities by providing access to, and sharing up-to-date scientific knowledge on food fraud and food quality issues. Ahead of the launch, Commissioner Navracsics said: “The quality of the food we eat is important to all of us, and because food fraud is a transnational criminal activity, the EU has a clear role to play in the response. The launch of the Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality will help protect the integrity of the EU food chain and safeguard the quality of food products, generating a clear added-value for Europeans.” Commissioner Jourová said: “The Commission takes the issue of food quality and unjustified differentiation very seriously and has already taken a number of concrete steps to tackle the issue. This newly created Knowledge Centre will further contribute to collecting and processing science-based evidence. Its work will also contribute to developing a common testing methodology, which in turn will help us apply and enforce food and consumer protection laws.” Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, who is responsible for the Joint Research Centre, will launch the new Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality in Strasbourg in the presence of Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, and Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vêrá Jourová. A full press release is available online. You can find more information about the Joint Research Centre here.
Preparation of the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, 12-13 March 2018
Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at today’s Eurogroup and tomorrow’s ECOFIN meeting. Today, the ministers will continue the discussion on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, in preparation for the Euro Summit which will take place in the margins of the European Council on 22-23 March. The Eurogroup will also take stock of progress made with the stability support programme for Greece and discuss inflation and exchange rate developments ahead of the upcoming International Monetary Fund spring meetings. Commissioner Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meetingwhich can be followed live on EbS. On Tuesday,ministers are expected to agree on a package of measures to reduce risks in the banking sector and on new transparency rules for tax planning intermediaries. They will update the EU’s common list of tax havens, which was first agreed in December. Ministers will also discuss Country Reports under the 2018 European Semester process, as well as macroeconomic imbalances in some Member States. The preparation of the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors that is going to take place in Buenos Aires on 19-20 March is also on the agenda. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference following the ECOFIN.
Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Meeting at technical level
o Technical clarification to the Joint Report on the financial settlement
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Meetings at technical level
o Technical clarification to the Joint Report on citizens’ rights
o Other separation issues
Meetings at Coordinators’ level
o Ireland / Northern Ireland
Thursday, 15 March 2018
Meeting at technical level
o Other separation issues
Additional meetings at Coordinators’ level may be scheduled.