Tag Archives: Leyen

COVID19: G20 pivotal role in global coordination

Today, Thursday 26 March 2020, the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen participated in the extraordinary G20 Leaders’ videoconference called by Saudi Arabia that currently holds the G20 Presidency.

Against the backdrop that Europe currently is at the epicentre of the global COVID-19 crisis, the Presidents thanked all G20 leaders for the solidarity shown to the European Union and its Member States most affected by the crisis.

They also underlined that the European Union is committed to international cooperation in tackling this pandemic and will continue to assist vulnerable countries and communities around the world, especially in Africa.

The Presidents of the Council and the Commission stressed that unprecedented events call for unprecedented action and that fast, massive and coordinated global action is necessary on the health and economic fronts to save lives and avoid a further economic crisis.

The G20 has a pivotal role in ensuring such global coordination.

The Presidents insisted that G20 countries should coordinate their macroeconomic policies, mobilising all instruments available, to mitigate the economic downturn, support workers and companies most affected.

President Michel and President von der Leyen also stressed that in order to limit the economic impact on our economies – and to maintain our ability to manufacture and provide the necessary protective and medical equipment, it is imperative that we keep trade flows and supply chains open and avoid any new restrictions.

The EU called on G20 members to assist each other in repatriating citizens stranded abroad who wish to return home.

The European Union thanked the G20 Presidency for its focus on global coordination towards enhancing our collective pandemic preparedness and welcomed the fact that the G20 asked the WHO, working closely together with relevant organizations, to come up quickly with a global initiative on pandemic preparedness and response.

In this context, Europe stands ready to set up an international online pledging event to ensure adequate funding to develop and deploy a vaccine against COVID-19.

Johnson’s post-Brexit vision

The European Union and Britain started arugment over a post-Brexit trade deal on February 3, setting out very different visions of a future relationship that could result in the most distant of ties, and even the departue without a deal.

Boris Johnson has set out his vision for a trade deal with the EU, saying there is “no need” for the UK to follow Brussels’ rules, underlining that in many areas British standards are higher and practices more advanced than the ones on the continent.
The PM expressed his clear preference for a Canada-style free trade deal, saying the UK would return to the Withdrawal Agreement if such a deal was not reached.

Almost three days since Britain officially left the EU, both sides presented their aims, with the question of whether the UK will sign up to EU rules to ensure frictionless trade shaping up to be the defining argument of the negotiations.

We have often been told that we must choose between full access to the EU market, along with accepting its rules and courts on the Norway model, or an ambitious free trade agreement, which opens up markets and avoids the full panoply of EU regulation, on the example of Canada“, the Boris Johnson said in his speech in Greenwich, London.

We have made our choice – we want a free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s but in the very unlikely event that we do not succeed, then our trade will have to be based on our existing Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.
The choice is emphatically not ‘deal or no deal’. The question is whether we agree a trading relationship with the EU comparable to Canada’s – or more like Australia’s. In either case, I have no doubt that Britain will prosper mightily.”
PM rejected the requirement for the UK to adopt Brussels-made rules “on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar, any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules”.

In any negotiations, both sides will do what is best for them.
The EU will protect the interests of our citizens and of the European companies.
We know time is short and the road is long, so we kick off the negotiations today”
the EU top executive Ursula von der Leyen said, indicating to the approach of the bloc.

MEPs give consent to Withdrawal Agreement

In Brussels Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have overwhelmingly gave their terms of the UK’s departure from the EU.

MEPs ratified the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by 621 votes to 49 following an debate highly charged with sentiments and vivid human emotions.

After the vote, MEPs marked the UK’s exit by singing Auld Lang Syne, is a Scots-language poem written by poet Robert Burns in 1788, and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions.

Several British MEPs said they hoped the UK would return one day although Eurosceptics, including the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage, used their final speeches to phrase the departure from the EU.

The UK is due to leave the bloc at 23:00 GMT on Friday. The Withdrawal agreement (WA) is expected to be signed off in Brussels later.

Some MEPs have marked the occasion with songs – others wore “always united” scarves. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told the UK: “We will always love you.”

Ratification of the Withdrawal agreement, agreed by the UK and EU in October, was not in doubt after it easily cleared its committee stage last week.

EU signs Brexit bill

“Charles Michel and I have just signed the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU, opening the way for its ratification by the European Parliament” the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen informed via her Twitter micro blog.

“Things will inevitably change but our friendship will remain. We start a new chapter as partners and allies” wrote EU Council president Charles Michel.

“Looking forward to writing this new page together” he added in French.

After parliamentary ratification in the UK was concluded earlier, with Royal Assent granted for the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, Constitutional Affairs Committee MEPs voted in favour of a positive recommendation regarding the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, with 23 votes for, three against and no abstentions.
The vote took place after a statement by Committee Chair Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT) and a discussion between the Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt (Renew Europe, BE) and political group coordinators.

The debate in the Committee focussed on Parliament’s contribution to protecting citizens’ rights in the context of Brexit (with the majority of speakers during the first round commending the EU’s negotiating team), as well as the steps that should be taken by the UK and EU27 governments to continue protecting these rights during the transition period and beyond. The discussion also addressed the overall impact of Brexit and the future relationship between the EU and the UK, which is going to be the objective of the future negotiations.

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

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.

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