Tag Archives: Jean-Claude Juncker

Juncker letter to May

“In these challenging times, we therefore share with you the determination to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for citizens and companies in a situation where a Member State leaves the European Union after more than four decades of closest economic and political integration. That is why the Withdrawal Agreement that you and the Leaders of the 27 EU Member States agreed after long negotiations is so important. It represents a fair compromise and aims to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, thereby limiting the negative consequences of Brexit. That is also why we wish to establish as close as possible a relationship with the United Kingdom in the future, building on the Political Declaration, which the Leaders of the 27 EU Member States agreed with you. It is also why we want negotiations to this effect to start as soon as possible after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

EPP Weber aims for EU agenda of change

Manfred Weber (Germany, EPP) backed by 79% of his party members, launches his campaign across the continent for a position of the president of the European Commission, the powerful executive branch of the European Union, the guardian of the treaties, also possessing powers to  propose laws and policies on its own initiative. Although there is no election for this particular position, but an appointment behind the closed doors of the Council, there is an obvious need to introduce Brussels politician to the broader European audiences.

Starting his European tour in Cyprus, the stronghold of the European People‘s party, Weber (46) promises to re-connect the European project with the citizens through attentive listening to them, and crystallizing broader frame programme for the five-year period mandate ahead of his appointment.

Representing young generation of the European politicians, Weber claims that the EU project’s success depends on clarity of the messages, which should replace the general slogans, filling them with the “concrete substance”, including taking a definite stand on existential for the EU27 issues as Turkey‘s accession. He also wishes similar clearly-shaped approach to the trade agreements: CETA, EU-Japan, and the others, which were in the lime-light of an intense public debate.

However it is the “democratisation” of Europe that is at heart of the project, Weber claims, eager to make key promises to Europeans while assuming the job, a gesture needed to restore the link between the citizens and the institutions. One of the mistakes of the past, Weber presumes, was insufficient investment in European youth, the deficiency he would address.

Although Weber underlined that he only started his campaign, he reiterated his loyalty to basic EPP framework, believing in Trans-Atlantic relations as one of the core policy for the EU security, especially now, when “it became cold outside Europe“. Nevertheless he criticized the European foreign policy lacking of ambition, letting the the others like US, Russia, or Turkey to take lead. “There should be more Europe in external affairs and defence, and the intentions should be lined with concrete initiatives, which are lacking nowadays”, – he said referring to the declarations of Macron-Merkel to organise the EU army, complementing NATO. Some of the projects could be delivered without delay, Weber assumes, pointing at cyber-defence, and drone brigade, – both costly high-tech projects, difficult to implement for small EU member-states. However he had no immediate answer to the decision-making mechanism in such a unit, suggesting it can be resolved in due time. The other matter to be reformed is unanimity in decision-making process in foreign policy and defence, shifting to qualified majority voting.

Weber underlined his sees his major political partners in Socialists, and Liberals, brushing off the perspective of co-operation with the European far-right: “I don’t want to listen Le Pen“, he said frankly. He also has cast doubt in success of new Liberal Macron-Rutte alliance, who have not so many issues in common.

However, as a contemporary politician Weber believes the technocratic position only is not good enough for the leader of the European Commission, offering an emotional pledge to defeat cancer. There should be a sufficient European funding to find a remedy, Weber believes, referring to his personal experience of losing his brother to cancer.

The initiative to launch a campaign across Europe for the position of the president of the European Commission is certainly innovative, however it might be also related to low profile of Manfred Weber, known as a leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament, who has punched above his weight being a Bavarian politician, without any relevant national or international experience.

The incumbent President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is the longest-serving head of any national government in the EU, he led Luxembourg as Prime minister (1995-2013), and chaired Eurogroup for eight years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit simulations on motorway

Britain began simulations for the upheaval of a no-deal Brexit by lining up 87 trucks at a little-used airport for a trip towards the United Kingdom’s most important trading gateway to continental Europe. (Image: illustration).

The group of 89 HGVs set off at 08:00 GMT from the disused Manston Airport, near Ramsgate in Kent, on a 20-mile route to the Port of Dover, the UK media reports.

At Dover, lorries were directed to the Eastern Docks roundabout where they did a loop and drove back to the airfield.

Prime minister May said that Britain would be in uncharted waters if the negotiated with the EU27 Brexit deal is rejected by the Westminster, in a vote, postponed to mid-January.

Facing defeat in parliament last month, May cancelled the vote on the agreed with the EU deal and pledged to seek further political and legal assurances from Brussels. The EU did nothing to calm the tensions, on contrary the European Commission president Jean-Claude Junker described May’s requests as “nebulous“, causing further deterioration of political climate.

Juncker also stated that the renegotiation of the deal is not possible. Many experts assess the EU27 hash position toward the UK as a deliberate ideological choice to “punish” Britons, creating a negative example for those, who might be interested to follow London on the way to exit the bloc.

May will update Juncker on Brexit

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will listen to British Prime Minister Theresa May update on the UK Brexit plans on December 4, Friday, a spokesperson of the relevant service said. (Image: illustration).

At present, according to polls, the majority of Conservatives in the Parliament are against the governmental deal, negotiated with  the EU during last two years. The EU top executives clearly indicated there will not no re-negotiations of the deal. “That is THE DEAL!” Jean-Claude Juncker said arriving at a special EU Brexit Summit, when commenting of prospects of a “better deal” suggested by some British politicians.

 

 

 

 

Romania chairs EU for next six months

From January 1, 2019 Romania will takeover the Presidency of the European Union from Austria to chair the bloc for upcoming six-month. During this 6-month period, the Romanian presidency will chair meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council.

Earlier European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he doubted whether the Romanian government fully understands what it means to take the chairmanship of the Council of the European Union for six months.

In an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Juncker said that despite being technically well-prepared the “Bucharest government has not fully understood what it means to chair the EU countries.

Prudent action requires a willingness to listen to others and a strong desire to put one’s own concerns to one side, Juncker explained, adding that he had doubts that this is the case with Romania.

In November, a European Commission report said that Bucharest had significant deficiencies in implementing the rule of law and defeating corruption.

The developments over the last 12 months sadly have called into question and sometimes even reversed the progress made over the last 10 years,” Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told reporters.

Juncker expressed concern that Romania’s political instability would not project an image of a united entity on the European stage.

A united front is needed at home in order to promote the unity of Europe during the presidency of the Council,” the commission president told Welt am Sonntag.

Last month, Romania’s centrist president, Klaus Iohannis, admitted that his country was not ready assume the EU presidency.

The Commission’s report and the European Parliament’s resolution address the same things,” he said. “They tell us Romania has gone back in time to before its 2007 EU accession.”

EU-Japan ‘strategic partners’ era

From December 2018 to February 2019 EU-Japan relations are set to receive a major lift with the signing of a new trade agreement and a strategic partnership.

Although EU and Japan already enjoy good relations, they have agreed to upgrade their partnership against a background of increasing international tensions and protectionism.

The proposed trade agreement will make it easier for European companies to export to Japan, while a planned strategic partnership will boost cooperation on common challenges such as security and the environment.

 

The European Parliament endorsed both proposals of the Commission during the December plenary. The Council will also have to approve both agreements before they can enter into force.

EU companies export more than €58 billion worth of goods and €28 billion in services to Japan a year, but the trade agreement will boost this even further by removing remaining barriers to trade. This includes eliminating 90% of tariffs on more than 90% of the EU’s exports to Japan. This is expected to save EU exporters about €1 billion in customs duties a year. In addition, Japan will recognise the special status of more than 200 European agricultural products from specific regions, known as Geographical Indications. Measures will also be taken to lower non-tariff barriers, for example by relying on international standards rather than specific Japanese requirements.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement sends a timely signal in support of open, fair, values- and rules-based trade at a time of increasing protectionism and an erratic trade policy by US President Donald Trump. This agreement also represents an opportunity for the European Union (EU) in the Asia-Pacific, especially since the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional free trade agreement, and helps promote EU values and high standards in the region.”  MEP Pedro SILVA PEREIRA a Portuguese member of the S&D group, said the agreement was being concluded at an important time:

“This agreement will foster not only closer bilateral economic ties, but also concrete cooperation on sustainable development like the fight against climate change. The agreement can, in addition, enhance coordination on multilateral issues with Japan and help shape rules for the global economy in line with our high standards and shared values of respect for human rights, democracy and the rules of law” the MEP added.

MEPs said they saw the agreements as possible models for cooperation with other countries.

It is the first EU trade agreement with a commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and with dedicated chapters on corporate governance and small and medium-sized enterprises. The agreement also upholds the EU’s high standards on environmental protection, consumer protection, food safety and labour rights, protects public services and respects the right to regulate
Silva Perreira said.

The two agreements have been possible because the EU and Japan are like-minded partners with shared values of democracy and a common vision for global trade and cooperation… high standards and the readiness to address current global challenges should be the cornerstone of future cooperation agreements” MEP Alojz
Peterle said.

Juncker’s double game with May

In hope to promote her Article 50 deal  among UK lawmakers in Westminster British Prime Minister Theresa May requested clarifications from Brussels, however instead of the shoulder, she received an elbow from EU top executive Jean-Claude Juncker, who criticized Britons as being ‘nebulous‘ .

At press-conference in Brussels May said she has been  “crystal clear” with the European commission president and other EU leaders during the Summit meeting over Brexit about the assurances she needed over Irish border ‘backstop’.

The description of the UK position Theresa May presented as ‘nebulous‘ caused diplomatic raw in Brussels, and beyond, questioning Juncker’s intentions to defend the the Article 50 deal in these challenging times, when there is a considerable opposition among MP to endorsing it. The vote has been postponed, and a new date will be announced shortly, highly likely in the beginning of new year, but the latest on January 21.

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