News from Brussels / Week 04-10 September 2017
During the last week, Frans Timmermanns, first Vice-President of the Commission, called for a binding transparency register for all EU institutions. In an informal meeting in Tallinn, Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, talked about the illegal abuse of the insecticide Fipronil and invited the ministers to a high-level ministerial meeting on 26 September in Brussels to discuss how to improve the way EU networks are dealing with food safety and food fraud. They also debated the risk management measures in the future Common Agricultural Policy. Besides, the Commission presented its principles on the relationship between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations on Thursday. The European Parliament's Committee on the Environment criticized the Commission's plan to mitigate controls on Japanese food and feed imports. In addition, the MEPs, especially Guy Verhofstadt and President Antonio Tajani, remain skeptical that there will be great progress in the Brexit negotiations until October. There were moreover discussions about reducing the number of parliamentarians after Brexit. The Council decided that the EU budget for 2018 should cover growth, employment, security and migration.
News from Brussels / Week 28 August - 03 September 2017
Last week on Wednesday, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker met with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to discuss a number of current EU policies. During the Brexit negotiations, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier perceived only little progress in the key issues. In addition, the feedback period for the evaluation of the feed additives directive started and MEPs called for an improvement of the information exchange system on food safety risks in response to the Fipronil scandal. On 1 September, the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine entered fully into force and since Friday, new car models need to pass new and more reliable emissions tests in real driving conditions.
News from Brussels / Week 19-25 June 2017
Last week, the European Commission proposed new transparency rules for tax advisors, accountants, banks and lawyers. The European Parliament auditioned the Bulgarian commissioner-designate in charge of the digital portfolio Maria Gabriel. The Council extended its sanctions on Russia and reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement as a response to Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier held his first talks with U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis. The Maltese presidency reached an agreement with the European Parliament to strengthen consumer protection law.
News from Brussels / Week 12-18 June 2017
Last week, the College of Commissioners met in Strasbourg to discuss a proposal to amend the so-called European Market Infrastructure Regulation and President Juncker addressed the plenary of the European Parliament on the Commission's preparations ahead of the European Council. Also, EU institutions welcomed the end of roaming charges in the EU and MEPs discussed EU cohesion policy for the next funding period from 2020 onwards. Besides, the Commission welcomed the agreement reached at the Eurogroup between Greece and the institutions.
News from Brussels / Week 03-12 June 2017
Last week, the first meeting of the EU Animal Protection Platform took place in Brussels. Also, general elections were held in the UK, leading to uncertainty for the start of Brexit talks. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker opened this year's European Development Days, at which EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Federica Mogherini, First Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, EU Consumer Protection Commissioner Neven Mimica and Vytentis Andiukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety attended. Furthermore, 20 Member States reached a political agreement on the establishment of the new European Public Prosecutor's Office under enhanced cooperation and the Commission presented a number of important new initiatives for the completition of the Capital Markets Union. Besides, French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party is on course to win a massive majority after the first round of parliamentary elections.
News from Brussels / Week 08-14 May 2017
Last week, Bulgaria nominated MEP Mariya Gabriel as Commissioner. The EU Council discussed the new anti-dumping methodology and took stock of trade relations with Chile, New Zealand and Australia. It also debated the state of play of trade negotiations with Japan, Mexico and Mercosur and discussed about the EU-Myanmar/Burma Investment Protection Agreement. The Commission identified three main action points in the Digital Single Market and published its final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry. The European Parliament held a hearing on the situation and rights of EU citizens in the UK.