Category Archives: EU

#EUCO: Charles Michel chairs EU Summit

“I look forward to welcoming you to the December European Council – my first European Council meeting as President” reads the invitation letter of the EU Council President Charles Michel.(Image above: archive).

“My intention is to build on the impressive work of my two predecessors and create a strong relationship with you, based on trust, confidence and transparency.

Together, we will provide the strategic guidance that Europe needs to tackle the many challenges identified in the Strategic Agenda adopted in June 2019.

Concerning this week’s European Council, the meeting will start at 15:00 on 12 December with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli. This will be followed by our first working session, in which we will begin by adopting our conclusions on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

We will then move to the vital challenge of Climate Change. I want us to agree on the commitment for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050. This would be a major signal from the European Council that the EU will take a global leadership role on this crucial issue. It is my conviction that the transition to climate neutrality will create new opportunities for economic growth and development.

However, we must also recognise that it will require efforts from all Member States. We will put in place a framework and the necessary resources to chart a fair and balanced path towards our objective. This means taking into account the different national realities and starting points.

Over dinner, we will discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework. This is another key area for the future of our Union. We must enter into a new stage of our work and engage seriously. There is no point repeating known positions and maximalist requests; concessions will be needed from all sides. We will work to identify the key elements of a final agreement.

The first day will conclude with a debrief on the implementation of the Minsk Agreement along with short conclusions on WTO, Africa and Turkey.

On Friday, our meeting will begin at 10:00 in the presence of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno. After an exchange of views on the economic situation, we will take stock of the progress made by the Eurogroup on strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union and give some indications on future work. A statement will be adopted to that end.

The proceedings will conclude in the Article 50 configuration.  We are ready for the next steps and reaffirm our desire for as close a relationship as possible with the United Kingdom. We will adopt short conclusions on Brexit.

I look forward to working closely with all of you on these issues, and many others, to make Europe bolder, more prosperous, and more self-confident.”

EU updates Arctic policy

“While recognising the primary responsibility of the Arctic states for the development of the region, the Council notes that many of the issues affecting the region are of a global nature and are more effectively addressed through regional or multilateral cooperation. It notes that the EU should continue to make a significant contribution in both regional and multilateral fora which deal with arctic matters.”

“In light of the new challenges and opportunities across the Arctic and growing international interest, the Council invites the High Representative and the Commission to continue to actively implement EU Arctic policy, to initiate a process in order to update this policy and to continue to report to the Council regularly.”

Von der Leyen Commission start

“Starting today, we are the guardians of the Treaties, the custodians of the Lisbon spirit. I feel this responsibility. It is a responsibility towards our predecessors, our founding fathers and mothers, and all that they have achieved” said new president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at inauguration event in Museum of European History Brussels on December 1.

“But it is also a responsibility towards our children. The responsibility to leave them a Union that is stronger than the one we have inherited.

https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/status/1201158580361203713?s=21

“This place (the House of European history) shows the road that has led us here. It shows the treasure that we have inherited. A continent in peace. The liberation from tyranny. A single market with unprecedented economic opportunities. Greater rights and liberties than in any other place in the world.

“It is our duty to preserve this treasure. For me, this is almost personal. You know that my father was there at the very beginning of this European adventure – I might even be in some of the pictures that we see here today. The history of the European project for me is also family history.

“But Europe is not just a treasure we inherit. Europe is a promise. Europe is future. Europe is something that we all have to build – brick by brick, day by day.

“Ten years ago, our predecessors were still discussing whether Europe should have a flag or an anthem. But in these ten years, millions of people have taken to the streets waving the European flag, our flag. And millions have been inspired and moved by the Ode to Joy, our European anthem.

“Europe is changing fast. Our responsibility is to accompany such change. To leave no one behind. To be a champion for our fellow Europeans – with their dreams and aspirations.

The people of Europe have the strength to look towards the future with confidence.

https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/status/1201159832105111552?s=21

EU diplomatic appointments

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy announces the intention to appoint two new Heads of EU Delegations. They will be formally appointed following receipt of the agréments:

•          Olof SKOOG has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations. He is currently Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations.

•          Sven KUEHN VON BURGSDORFF has been nominated as Head of the EU Office to West Bank and Gaza Strip. He is currently Senior Advisor on Mediation to the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Common Security Defence Policy-Crisis Response, European External Action Service (EEAS).

MEPs approve of Leyen Commission

The plenary vote has concluded the process of careful examination by Parliament of the proposed team of commissioners. Its objective has been to ensure that the EU’s executive body has the democratic legitimacy to act in the interest of Europeans.

The MEPs approved of Ursula von der Leyen team with +461 in favour, -157 against and 89 abstentions.

MEPs elected Ursula von der Leyen as Commission president in July. Then, from the end of September to mid-November, parliamentary committees organised hearings with each of the nominees to judge their suitability for their proposed post.

On 21 November political group leaders and Parliament’s president Sassoli agreed that the process of examination had been completed and that Parliament is ready to hold the final plenary vote.

The vote took place after the introduction of the opinions of the leaders of the political groups on Wednesday 27 November in presence of Ursula von der Leyen, who will her team and the new Commission’s programme. Following a debate, MEPs will decide by simple majority whether to elect the Commission or not.

The new Commission will start work on 1 December.

MEPs to vote Commission team on 27 November

The Conference of Presidents – President Sassoli and political groups’ leaders – closed the the European Commission candidates hearings process today. MEPs will vote on the new Commission on 27 November. (Image: illustration)

During the last two months, the European Parliament has played its democratic role, scrutinising the performances of the proposed Commissioners closely. The hearings have been detailed, and sometimes difficult, but they provide a unique and transparent way for Members to verify whether the Commissioners-designate are ready for the job ahead. Today we completed the final assessment and are ready to vote on the full College of Commissioners next week” said European Parliament President David Sassoli after the meeting.

Over the next five years, Europe has many issues to face – from providing long-term solutions on migration and asylum to leading the world in the fight against climate change. We need a European Commission ready to act on the issues that matter to Europeans. As the direct link with EU citizens, the Parliament will continue to hold the Commission to account and ensure it delivers on its promises.”

After an exchange of views with the Commission’s three executive Vice-Presidents-designate Frans Timmermans, Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis, the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents conducted their final assessment of the hearings of all Commissioners-designate.

Having analysed the evaluation letters from the committees in charge and the recommendation of the Conference of Committee Chairs, it gave its green light and declared the hearings officially closed.

A vote in Parliament will now take place on 27 November at noon, following a presentation by Ursula von der Leyen of the College of Commissioners and their programme.

Sentinel 6 – cooperation masterpiece

The European space agency (ESA) and industry officials assembled at the IAGB engineering company venue in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany, on November 15 to start the countdown of the satellite Sentinel-6 launch.

The consturciton of twin Sentinel6 satellites ensures the observation of world oceans, reflecting the highest level of the European science, and technology, but not only. Producing Sentinel-6 in framework of Copernicus programme is a fruit of engagement of 57 companies in 17 countries, acting in Europe and abord. However it is the cooperation between ESA and the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), that is the most significant element of success Josef Aschbacher, the Director of ESA underlined. NASA will take charge of launching both Sentinel6 satellites in the next decade.

In countdown to Sentinel-6 launch which is scheduled in one year time on November 2020, the ESA opened a floor debating the future implications of the European space programmes, contributing the EU economies, safety and security, and especially addressing the climate change challenge.

One might think that a year countdown is an exaggeration, but considering the Sentinel-6 spectrum of implications in different endeavours, 12 month long period of introduction of the capabilities and benefits of the new satellites is definitely right period of time to engage investors and beneficiaries.

The tremendous positive effect of Sentinel-6 on communities, and societies, can be released at full through communication, and explanations to the ensemble of multiple potential users of their benefits, and advantages.

Space is a innovative endeavour, responding to civilian and strategic interests, enhancing progress worthy of long-term investments, especially at present when the European space sector is increasingly challenged by the emergence of new players like China, India, Japan and South Korea. This international competition in services requires support of European autonomy in venturing space, in view of its paramount impact on economies of the EU member-states.

The Copernicus services address six major areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management, and security. Offering a support a wide range of applications, including environment protection, management of urban areas, regional and local planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, health, transport, climate change, sustainable development, civil protection, and tourism, – the Copernicus programme creates a modern framework for European societies, directly benefitting from science and innovation.

From mid-November France Airbus started series of tests of Sentinel6, A satellite at the Space Test Centre of IABG in Ottobrunn to confirm its readiness for exploitation in space for five years. During the test period, lasting until spring 2020, the Airbus experts will examine its ability to survive the severe conditions of launch and the space environment.

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