Last week the European Commission launched a public debate on the future of Europe by presenting a White Paper on the possible scenarios for the further development of the EU. The Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture published a study, in which it shows how trade agreements help boost European agricultural exports. The Council took a position on the revision of the emissions trading system and is now ready to start the negotiations with the Parliament.
# What future for the EU?
The European Commission has published a White Paper on the future of the EU, outlining five different scenarios that range from ‘limiting the EU’s function to the Single Market’ to ‘large-scale integration’. The Commission itself did not take an official position, however, in some cases it makes its preferred option clear, for example when it comes to the further integration of the Eurozone governance or the creation of a unified business code by a “coalition of the willing”.
The Commission encourages the Member States, who will discuss this issue at the European Council Summit in Rome on 25 March, as well as the citizens and civil society to engage in a public debate concerning the future of the Union.
Press Release (Commission)
# Trade agreements benefit European farmers
A study published by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture shows that trade agreements have helped boost EU agricultural exports. The study looked specifically at the EU trade agreements with Mexico, South Korea and Switzerland and found out that these agreements have increased EU agri-food exports by more than €1 billion and raised the added value in the agri-food sector by €600 million. The European farmers’ association Copa-Cogeca, however, criticized that despite these positive figures, farmers’ income has stagnated.
Press Release (Commission)
# Making the emissions trading system work
The Council has agreed its position on the revision of the emissions trading system (ETS). The ETS is an important tool in the EU’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to meet the obligations of the Paris Climate Framework. As a next step, the Council will now start the negotiations over the final agreement with the European Parliament.
Press Release (Council)
… the Heads of State and Government will meet at the European Council Summit in Brussels on 9 and 10 March. During this meeting, it is expected that the current President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, will be re-elected for a second term. The Agriculture and Fisheries Council will look at the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020 and will also discuss dual quality of food. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will organise a meeting with stakeholders to discuss novel food and the European Economic and Social Committee will hold a conference on the circular economy. In the European Parliament, the political groups will prepare the work for the upcoming plenary session in Strasbourg next week.