Tag Archives: Luxembourg

New heads of EU representations

Brussels 20.07.2021 Today, the Commission has appointed two new Heads of Representation in Paris and Luxembourg.

Ms Valérie Drezet-Humez will start in her new function in Paris on 01 September 2021. Ms Anne Calteux will take up her duties as Head of Representation in Luxembourg, at a date still to be decided. They will act as the official Representatives of the Commission in the Member States under the political authority of President Ursula von der Leyen.

Ms Valérie Drezet-Humez, a French national, with 25 years of experience in the Commission, will draw on her strong policy background, her strategic communication and managerial skills and legal expertise in EU matters. Since 2010, she has been working in the Secretariat-General, as Head of Unit responsible for briefings for the President and Vice-Presidents touching upon all policy priorities and political developments. Prior to that, she headed the team in charge of written, empowerment and delegations procedures in the Secretariat-General where she acquired a deep understanding of the functioning of the Commission while supporting critical adoption to enable Commission decision-making. She started in the Secretariat-General as policy assistant to the deputy Secretary-General and then to the Secretary–General, after leaving the Directorate General for Translation where she was policy assistant to the Director-General, posts where she was exposed to the political and delivery dimension of files. She joined the European Commission in 1995, in the Directorate-General for Environment, where she worked in the industry and environment domain, and in policy coordination, a domain which is key to the current political agenda. Ms Drezet-Humez is a lawyer who graduated from the University of Lyon III where she specialised in EU Law.

Ms Anne Calteux, a Luxembourg national, brings a long experience in the Luxembourg and European diplomacy to her new assignment, which will allow her to effectively manage key political communication and strategic coordination. Since 2016, Ms Calteux has held a number of leading positions where she exercised a high level of responsibility and crisis management, most notably the last one as a responsible to coordinate the COVID-19 Crisis Cell in the Ministry of Health in Luxembourg. As a Head of EU and International Affairs and a Senior Advisor to the Minister in the Ministry of Health in Luxembourg since 2016, she has gathered ample knowledge of EU affairs and policies. Between 2016 and 2018 Ms Calteux headed the Communications Unit at the Ministry which proves her sound communication and analytical skills and ability for overall strategic orientation and management of the Commission’s Representation in Luxembourg. Between 2004 and 2013, she worked in the Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the European Union, as a Counsellor in charge of public health, pharmaceuticals and social security. Ms Calteux holds a Master of laws, from LLM, King’s College in London, where she has specialised in Comparative European law.

The Commission maintains Representations in all capitals of EU Member States, and Regional Offices in Barcelona, Bonn, Marseille, Milan, Munich and Wroclaw. The Representations are the Commission’s eyes, ears and voice on the ground in EU Member States. They interact with national authorities, stakeholders and citizens, and inform the media and the public about EU policies. Heads of Representations are appointed by the President of the European Commission and are her political representatives in the Member State to which they are posted.

EU diplomats focus on Belarus

Brussels 21.06.2021 “Today, at this meeting in Luxembourg, the first thing is to talk about Belarus. We are first going to have a meeting with the Belarus opposition leader, Ms [Sviatlana] Tsikhanouskaya. She will explain the situation in the country; there will be a debate; and then we will approve the package of new sanctions, which is a wide package. I think it is about 86 people or entities. Not only people, but also entities” said the High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival to the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.

“Then we will also discuss about the economic sanctions, which will be presented to the European Council at its next meeting. The European Council, as you know, does not take decisions, but gives political guidelines. The economic sanctions, which affect the economy of Belarus, are going to be discussed here today and will be approved after consideration by the European Council.

“Then we are going to have a meeting also with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Iraq, in a lunch with him. The situation in Iraq is also worrisome and we will see what we can do in order to help this country.

“Latin America will be the third issue. Since I am here [in the position of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy], I have been trying to make people understand that Latin America is not on our political agenda enough. The COVID-19 situation in Latin America is really appalling. Frankly speaking, it is decreasing everywhere in the world, but not in Latin America where it continues to increase. And we have to do more for Latin America. There are two Association Agreements on the way and we have to accelerate them. And then, for sure, there is the issue of Mercosur. We are going to take stock of the whole relationship with Latin America.

“There are many other issues on which we have to put our attention: Ethiopia, Turkey. I am coming back from Turkey and Lebanon. In Lebanon, I sent a clear message about the need for the political class to be able to agree on a government, because the country cannot stay without a government in such a difficult situation.

“We will have an overview of the situation in the world, but the main issues are Belarus, Iraq and Latin America”.

EU top diplomats meet in Luxembourg

Luxembourg 12.10.2020 The meeting of Foreign ministers, chaired by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, will review recent developments and debate issues related to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, Russia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The EU Ministers will first be briefed by Borrell about a number of recent developments and upcoming events, including: Nagorno-Karabakh,the Kyrgyz Republic, Mozambique, the EU-Ukraine Summit, Venezuela, and the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024.
The Council will discuss the evolving situation in Belarus and follow up on the four strands of action agreed at EU level, including support to Belarusian society. Ministers will adopt new Council conclusions on Belarus which will guide the finalisation of the in-depth review of EU-Belarus relations.

Josep Borrell and the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkans regional issues, Miroslav Lajčák, will update the Council on the latest developments and challenges regarding the Dialogue.
Ministers will be invited to reflect on the state of EU-Russia relations within the framework of the five guiding principles, and taking account recent developments, like the Navalny case.
The Council will have a strategic discussion on EU relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, building on discussions held at the July 2020 Foreign Affairs Council about the considerable impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the region and the EU response. Ministers will also consider the potential revival of high level EU political engagement with the region.

Ministers will be informed about the Indo-Pacific region, and the Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Bosnia and Herzegovina and Operation EUFOR Althea.
Over a working lunch, ministers will have a strategic discussion on multilateralism.

ECB: ECJ versus German judges

The European Court of Justice found itself in utmost controvericial situation in its 68-year history created by the German judges.

In a long-awaited ruling on the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program, Germany’s constitutional court in Karlsruhe accused the EU Court of Justice of overstepping its powers when it backed the ECB’s controversial policy.

The EU chief spokesperson declined an immediate reaciton to this particular issue, promisiing to look into it in-depth in cominng days. However he underlined that European Union law has a primacy over the German constitution and the rulings of the European Union’s top court are binding for the German constitutional court.

Reminindg of the EU general legal framework has been the Commission responce to a German constitutional court ruling that the Bundesbank must stop buying government bonds under the European Central Bank’s long-running stimulus scheme within three months unless the ECB can prove the purchases are needed.

The German ruling has been announced in contradiction to the EU’s top court ruling in 2018 that the ECB bond buying programme was in line with EU law.

“Notwithstanding the analysis of the detail of the German Constitutional Court decision today We reaffirm the primacy of the EU law, and the fact that the rulings of the European Court of Justice are binding on all national courts,” the Commission spokesperson said.

COVID19: Luxembourg hosts migrant minors

A group of unaccompanied refugee children was relocated from Greek islands to Luxembourg, the European Commission said.

Twelve children between the ages of 11 and 15 were taken from Lesvos, Samos and Chios to Luxemburg, and 50 more will be transferred to Germany this coming weekend.

Greece says there are 42,000 asylum-seekers on its islands, of which 1,500 are children and minors.

To ease pressure on Greek authorities, the European Commission in early Mach opened a relocation program for minors who had been stranded in camps on the islands.

Ten EU members, and Switzerland, responded to the Commission’s call.

The eleven countries pledged to relocate 1,600 asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors and families in a fragile situation.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted the program, but Luxemburg gave the green light last week after Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn and Greek Minister of Migration Policy Giorgos Koumoutsakos had a exchange of opinion via telephone.

The decision was intended to support Greek authorities “facing in particular the risk of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in overcrowded refugee camps,” the government of Luxembourg explained in a statement April 15.

In times where coronavirus is taking its toll on everyday life, it is commendable to see Member States honoring their commitments and working together to help vulnerable migrants on the Greek islands,” EU Commissioner for Promoting our European way of life Commissioner Margaritis Schinas said as 12 children arrived in Luxemburg.

Greece imposed a curfew on migrants living in Lesvos’ Moria refugee camp in March.

The Ritsona refugee camp near Athens was placed under lockdown two weeks ago after 20 cases of coronavirus infection were established.

Human Rights Watch launched a campaign April 14 to secure the release of hundreds of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Greece.

According to the #FreeTheKids campaign, at least 331 children are under police custody waiting for transfer to a shelter.

Greek authorities call the measures protective custody.

COVID19: Eurparl to distribute meals

The European Parliament President outlines measures to help support the communities where parliament works

In a video message, European Parliament President David Sassoli today outlined measures Parliament is taking to support health workers and those in need in Brussels. The President said:

“Showing concrete solidarity with citizens. This is the line of the European Parliament. In agreement with the Brussels Capital Region, we have decided to make part of our building available to homeless people and the most vulnerable in society, during this serious health emergency.

“In addition, our kitchens will make more than 1000 meals a day to be distributed to those in need, as well as to health workers to help them do their jobs.

“We want to be close to those who suffer, to those who work tirelessly in our hospitals, to the city and people of Brussels, as well as those of Strasbourg and Luxembourg, who welcome us and who need our help today. Europe’s strength is in its ability to act in solidarity.”

Original VIDEO available on European Parliament site:

https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/statement-sassoli-measures-solidarity-brussels_I188710-V_v

Image below: archive: European Parliament, Strasbourg

Juncker and Johnson to meet in Luxembourg

EU and British negotiators will continue talks next week, a UK government spokeswoman said in conclusion of the latest round of talks in Brussels.

“The UK has presented some ideas on an all-island SPS (animals and food products) solution. Further discussions between teams will take place next week,” the spokesperson said.

16/09/2019 AMENDED

None of the EU proposals on Irish border were accepted by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to the European Parliament representative to Brexit talks, Guy Verhofstadt all three EU proposals on Irish border made by the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker did not get an approval from the UK government.

Juncker will not attend Biarritz G7

Urgent hospitalisation prevents Jean-Claude Juncker (64), the incumbent president of the European Commission from attending the G7 summit in Biarritz (France) on August 24-26, a spokesperson said. (Image: archive)

Jean-Claude Juncker a former Luxembourg Prime minister, and the chair of the Eurogroup, whose health has been the subject of widespread speculation for years, will conclude his mandate as head of the commission on October 31. He will be replaced by the German politician Ursula von der Leyen.

Juncker urgently hospitalised

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has interrupted his summer holiday in Austria to be urgently submitted to hospital to remove his gallbladder.

According to the press-release of the European Commission services, “had to shorten his holiday in Austria for medical reasons. He was taken back to Luxembourg where he will undergo an urgent cholecystectomy [surgical removal of the gallbladder].” 

Recovery from cholecystectomy might take from two up to eight weeks, dependent on the type of surgery performed in each specific case. In case of laparoscopic surgery with minor cuts, the period will take less time, than from a conventional open surgery.

Cholecystectomy removal is a relatively common and straightforward procedure. It is possible to live an active life without a gallbladder. However the multiple complications are also possible, depending to each individual situation.

The former Luxembourg Prime Minister, whose health has been a subject of numerous speculations for years, will conclude his mandate as the head of the European Commission and pass the responsibility to the German Ursula von der Leyen on October 31.

No military solution to Yemen conflict

On 25 June 2018 in Luxembourg EU foreign ministers discussed the latest developments in Yemen together with UN Special Envoy (UNSE) Martin Griffiths, who briefed them on his peace plan. Ministers exchanged views on ongoing EU efforts, including political outreach, and in particular the regional dialogue with Iran on Yemen, as well as humanitarian and development support. They explored ways to strengthen the UN-led process.

The Council adopted conclusions on Yemen  against the background  of the recent intensification of military operations in and around the port of Hodeidah, through which 70% of food imports to Yemen are shipped. More than 22 million people -80% of the population of the country – are in need of humanitarian or protection support.

The EU reiterated that there cannot be any military solution to the conflict and underlined its strong support for the UNSE Martin Griffiths, and his efforts to bring about an inclusive political solution.. The EU will maintain its engagement with all parties to the conflict and stands ready to increase its action in Yemen, including in delivering humanitarian aid across the country and in mobilising development assistance to fund projects in critical sectors.

The Council underlines that sustainable peace can only be achieved through negotiations with the meaningful participation of all relevant parties, including civil society, women and youth. The EU therefore supports the UNSE’s efforts to restart the political process, and in particular his intention to renew inclusive political negotiations as soon as possible.

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