The EU member-states are striving for an agreement on the European Union’s top jobs by July 2, by the day of the new European Parliament constitution – in the attempt of avoiding an institutional crisis, the European diplomats say.
The diplomats doubt if the a deal can be reached at the Summit, pointing to a disagreement between Berlin and Paris over a German candidate Manfred Weber’s bid to take over the job of the President of the Commission later this year.
The five top executive positions are to be attributed to start a new political cycle.
European Council President Donald Tusk said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that EU leaders would agree on candidates to hold the bloc’s top jobs when they meet in Brussels on June 20.
“I remain cautiously optimistic, as those I have spoken to have expressed determination to decide swiftly. I hope we can make it on Thursday” Tusk said.
The top jobs include the successors for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt Mario Draghi, and Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council.
Following an European election end May, the new European parliament is due to gather in Strasbourg for the first time on July 2 and should then elect its new president for 2019-24.
The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker congratulates on His Imperial Majesty Naruhito on his accession to the throne. “My best wishes for a long, peaceful & prosperous reign. There could be no better occasion than the beginning of a new Japanese era, Reiwa, to further develop our friendship & our harmonious relations” Juncker wrote in his Twitter microblog.
Previously the president of the European Council Donald Tusk suggested the name of the new imperial era #Reiwa could become the motto of the EU-Japan relations.
Emperor Naruhito has ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 126th ruler of his dynasty, and Japan’s first modern monarch, taking his nation into a new era.
The EU and Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force on February 1, 2019. EU firms already export over €58bn in goods and €28bn in services to Japan every year.
The agreement secures the opening of services markets, in particular financial services, e-commerce, telecommunications and transport. It furthermore:
- facilitates to EU companies access to the procurement markets of 54 large Japanese cities, and removes obstacles to procurement in the economically important railway sector at national level;
- addresses specific sensitivities in the EU, for instance in the automotive sector, with transition periods of up to 7 years before customs duties are eliminated.
The president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani expressed his grief, and his support to France in dramatic moments of aftermath of fire, consuming greatest Paris monument. He called Notre-Dame “first Cathedral” of his life, and added that his heart is broken. The emotional address of the president came during the morning Plenary session in the European parliament, Strasbourg.
The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said in his Twitter micro blog, that he had been following the development of the situation “minute by minute”, underlining that Notre-Dame belongs to humanity. He referred to the fire as “horror”, sharing feelings of French nation.
The president of the European Council Donald Tusk stepped forward with an optimistic message of possibility of reconstruction of Notre Dame. Being a citizen of Polish city of Gdansk he ensured that it is possible, illustrating his opinion with the experience of his home town, which suffered almost total destructed and resurrected.
European Union leaders agreed to offer the UK six more months to leave the bloc, more than Prime Minister Theresa May said she requested. The Brussels Summit concluded in the early hours on April 11 that the second extension is granted, which signifies Britain will not exit on April 12, as the suggested the first extension, shifting the deadline to October 31.
However the extension does not define if it must end with the UK exit, or it can be followed by the other extension in case the deal is not endorsed by the Westminster by that moment. It certainly offers more time to Prime minister to convince the Members of Parliament to support her Article 50 Agreement with the EU. The deal rejected three times in the House of Commons is not to be re-opened or re-negotiated the EU underlines, claiming it is the best possible agreement, and there will be not other.
The shifting of the Brexit deadline has an impact on the European Parliament, meaning the UK has an obligation to organise the European elections, being the EU member-state. Any further shifting the deadline beyond end October would mean the UK would participate in appointment of the European Commissioners, the development seen as irrelevant to the UK decision to leave the EU.
EU-China Summit took place the 21st time on 9 April in Brussels, providing a forum for engagement at the highest level and for advancing the relationship as regards the bilateral and multilateral agendas.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk represented the European Union at the Summit. The People’s Republic of China was represented by Premier Li Keqiang.
“In today’s world, our partnership is more important than ever before. We share the same belief that working together makes the world a stronger, safer and more prosperous place”, said President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“As good friends, we can also be honest with each other when we need to be or when progress is slower than we would like. This honesty and a strong determination to face our challenges together have allowed us to make real progress, reflected in today’s Joint Statement. But we can do a lot better. We need to find a better balance and level of reciprocity. Europe wants to trade more and invest more in China but we need rules that allow us to do so. We want to work with China, because we believe in the potential of our partnership.”
The European Union and China have agreed a Joint Summit Statement, which is available online, along wth the full remarks of President Juncker at the press conference following the Summit.
Significant progress has been made on a number of key issues, as highlighted:
- Preserving the international rules-based trade system with the World Trade Organisation at its core and strengthening international rules on industrial subsidies;
- Enhancing bilateral trade and investment, including through removing key market access barriers, and moving to conclude negotiations on an Investment Agreement and an agreement on Geographical Indications;
- Tackling global and regional challenges together, including foreign policy priorities, climate change and cyber activity.https://twitter.com/EU_Eurostat/status/1115497594472542209
Reflecting upon the third Westminster negative vote on the endorsed by the EU Article 50 Agreement, president of the European Council Donald Tusk calls for a Summit of the heads of states and governments in Brussels on April 10.
Earlier the same day on March 29 House of Commons have rejected Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement on the day the UK was due to leave the EU. The document has been negotiated for two years.
The government lost by 344 votes to 286, a margin of 58.
From now onward the European Commission prepares for no-deal Brexit.
“The European Council will start on Thursday (21.03.2019) afternoon with our usual exchange with President Tajani. We will then turn to Prime Minister May who will share her assessment of the latest developments regarding Brexit. After this, we will discuss the next steps concerning Brexit at 27″ Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council wrote in his open letter.
In the statement president Tusk underlined “..even if the hope for a final success may seem frail, even illusory, and although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we cannot give up seeking – until the very last moment – a positive solution, of course without opening up the Withdrawal Agreement. We have reacted with patience and goodwill to numerous turns of events, and I am confident that, also now, we will not lack the same patience and goodwill, at this most critical point in this process.”
“I believe that we could consider a short extension conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons. The question remains open as to the duration of such an extension. Prime Minister May’s proposal, of the 30th of June, which has its merits, creates a series of questions of a legal and political nature”, Tusk continued, adding that the issues would be discussed during the European Council Summit #EUCO.