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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

News from Brussels / Week 25 September - 01 October 2017

Last Week, the French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech at the Sorbonne University on the Future of Europe on Tuesday. The Commission issued a set of guidelines on the application of EU food and consumer laws to dual quality products. On Thursday, the fourth round of the Brexit negotiations were concluded. And on Friday, the Digital Summit took place in Tallinn.

# EU to Become a Digital Leader

On the 29th of September the Estonian Presidency of the Council, the European Council and the European Commission organised the Tallinn Digital Summit. The aim is to serve as a platform for launching high-level discussions on plans for digital innovation enabling Europe to stay ahead of the technological curve and be a digital lead in the global world in the years to come.

Technological transformation and digitalisation profoundly affect jobs, industries, education and welfare systems in Europe. As stated in the Rome Declaration, it is essential for Europe to embrace technological change in order to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for its citizens.

Jüri Ratas, the Prime Minister of Estonia, concluded that Europe should become a global leader in cybersecurity by 2025. To achive this, Europe needs a common approach to cybersecurity. He also wants to promote the EU as a home for enterprises and innovators in the digital age. He envisions fair playing field for different companies, especially SMEs, and a change of taxation rules, so that profits are taxed where they are generated.

Preliminary Conclusions (Estonian Presidency)

# Macron Calls Merkel to Work Together for a New Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel in one passionate speech to set up a new Europe together. "We need a sovereign, strong Europe in the world" Macron said on Tuesday at the Sorbonne University in Paris. This is the only way to master globalisation, protect citizens and give young people a perspective. Two days after the Bundestag elections, in which the parties CDU, CSU and SPD had lost a massive number of votes and right-wing populists had for the first time returned to the German Parliament, Macron called for a willingness to negotiate. "Look at the past,"he said. "We have no choice, we can't leave room for nationalists. We must take responsibility, everyone in their place…Europe is the future, identity and promise of peace.”

Plans for the Future of Europe (European Commission)

# New Guidelines on Dual Quality Products

On Thursday, the Commission issued a set of guidelines on the application of EU food and consumer laws to dual quality products, as announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in this year's State of the Union. The guidelines will help national authorities to determine whether a company is breaking EU laws when selling products of dual quality in different countries.

In this regard Juncker said: "I will not accept that in some parts of Europe, people are sold food of lower quality than in other countries, despite the packaging and branding being identical. We must now equip national authorities with stronger powers to cut out any illegal practices wherever they exist".

On 13 October, the Commission will participate in the Consumer Summit, a high-level ministerial meeting on the topic of dual food quality organised in Bratislava by the Slovak and Czech governments.

Press Release (European Commission)


# No Progress on Trade Arrangements during fourth Round of Brexit Talks

Following a fourth round of talks in the Belgian capital with Brexit Secretary David Davis, EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that while they had made progress, more needed to be done. This is somewhat a change in tone, but only a small step in the right direction given the amount of work that lies ahead.

David Davis, the U.K.'s Brexit secretary, told reporters Thursday that negotiators had achieved "decisive steps forward" during the fourth round of talks, including on citizens' rights. EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier nodded in agreement but added that they aren't yet in a position that allows the discussion of future trade arrangements – set to happen after October.

News (European Parliament)

This week...

The Estonian Council presidency will hold a series of conferences on the digital economy. During the plenary in Strasbourg, the European Parliament will discuss cybercrime and evaluate the progress of the Brexit negotiations. On Wednesday, Estonia will host a conference on soil protection, whose goal is to secure sustainable food production and ecosystem services. On Thursday, leading e-governance experts, decisionmakers, donors, and civil society groups will meet in Tallinn to discuss how to transfer e-governance knowledge and expertise among Member States. On the same day, the LIBE Committee will vote on the Copyright in the Digital Single Market and the European Economic and Social Committee will host a discussion on “The digital single market – trends and opportunities for SMEs”.  Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager will participate in a Citizens' dialogue on the Future of Europe in Copenhagen on Sunday.

METRO Office EU Affairs

Information about the author

METRO Office EU Affairs is the team in the Representative Office of METRO AG in Brussels. Brussels@metro.de