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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

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.

# State of the Union 2017

The State of the European Union is an annual speech delivered each September by the President of the European Commission before the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). President Juncker will deliver his next speech on Wednesday 13 September 2017.

The speech will be delivered against the backdrop of a changing political and economic landscape and the EU response to ensure a secure, prosperous and inclusive future of Europe. The views of the public are important. The Commission has been actively engaging with communities around Europe to gauge their views on their priorities for Europe looking ahead. This dialogue continues and will help to inspire the President's speech.

Info (Commission) 

# Trade means Jobs

According to Juncker, every €1 billion in EU exports supports the creation of 14,000 EU jobs.

EU companies export nearly as much as China to the rest of the world and more than firms in the US or any other country. These exports provide jobs for  31 million Europeans. In other words, 1 in 7 jobs in the EU depends on exports. They create opportunities for everyone, skilled and less skilled workers. These jobs pay better on average than most jobs in the rest of the economy. EU exports generate a significant share of jobs in almost all countries across the EU. More than 16% of Europeans in export-related jobs live in an EU country different from the one where the final product or service is exported. This is a clear benefit of the EU single market, and thus shows that joining forces benefits all of us. Last but not least, EU exports support 19 million jobs outside the EU. So what's good for Europe is also good for our partners.

Info (Commission)

# Application deadline for EU's LIFE programme in September

The European Commission launched a new call for proposals under the LIFE programme on 28 April, with application deadlines in September 2017. Nearly €260 million in funding will be available for environment and climate projects ("traditional projects").

A proposal may be submitted by any legal person registered in the European Union. For close-to-market projects the Commission mostly expects applications from private companies ("cleantech") – from small businesses to large industries. The LIFE programme is flexible: It's up to the applicant to decide on the project duration and budget, and whether the company would like to run the project on its own or join forces with partners from the same or a different EU Member State. Interested applicants should consider applying to the "Traditional projects" call for proposals in the following priority areas: LIFE Environment & Resource Efficiency & LIFE Climate Change Mitigation. 

News (Commission)

# European Capital of Innovation contest

The 2017 European Capital of Innovation award was launched in March 2017. Thirty two eligible cities from 17 countries applied to this year's competition to succeed Barcelona and Amsterdam, winners of the 2014 and 2016 European Capital of Innovation awards. The contest was open to cities with over 100,000 inhabitants from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.

Ten cities using the most innovative ideas to improve quality of life and to involve citizens in community life have reached the final stage of the European Capital of Innovation Award 2017. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:

"Every new edition of the European Capital of Innovation showcases more inspiring and innovative ideas from across Europe. The tough competition this year proved how vibrant our local innovation ecosystems are. The journey so far has been very exciting, and the best is yet to come. I am looking forward to announcing the winners in November and further cooperating with them."

News (Commission)

# EU-Ukraine Association Agreement fully enters into force

On 1 September, the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine entered fully into force. The Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together: it promotes deeper political ties and stronger economic links, as well as respect for common European values. The DCFTA provides a framework for modernising Ukraine's trade relations and economic development by opening up markets and harmonising laws, standards and regulations with EU and international norms.

President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said: "Determination is a virtue. Today, in spite of all the challenges, we have made it. With the entry into force of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, the European Union is delivering on its promise to our Ukrainian friends. I thank all those who made it possible: those who stood on Maidan and those who are working hard to reform the country for the better. This is a day of celebration for our European continent."

Press Release (Commission)

# New and improved car emissions tests

As of 1 September 2017, new car models will have to pass new and more reliable emissions tests in real driving conditions ("Real Driving Emissions" – RDE) as well as an improved laboratory test ("World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure" – WLTP) before they can be driven on European roads.

The Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen said: "The new emissions tests are a milestone in our ongoing work for cleaner and more sustainable cars over the coming years. But more remains to be done. The emissions scandal has shown that we need more independence in car testing, stronger market surveillance and the possibility for the Commission to intervene in case of wrongdoing. The Commission presented a proposal in January 2016 to achieve just that. It has been on the table since and it is high time that the European Parliament and Council adopt it. And we need to decisively pursue EU-wide efforts to foster low emissions mobility."

Press Release (Commission)

This week...

On Thursday, 7 September, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee will debate with the EU Commissioner for Security Julian King on the latest threats and challenges in the field of security. Furthermore, the Committee on Legal Affairs will discuss the effectiveness of EU provisions on the prevention and remedies of environmental damage. MEPs will also propose improvements to the directive on environmental liability. In addition, the Committee on Budgetary Control will meet on 04.09.17 to vote on its opinion on the EU budget for 2018. The report on the regulation and the need for reform in professional services will also be looked into by the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection on 04.09.17.

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