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Daily News

10 / 03 / 2017


European Council: Leaders discuss growth, trade and migration

Meeting at the European Council, leaders noted that for the first time in almost a decade, all 28 economies are expected to grow over the next 2 years. They agreed that this good outlook needs to be sustained by continued structural reform efforts and determined action to complete the single market. Leaders also underlined trade policy as one of the most powerful engines for growth, welcoming the positive European Parliament vote on the EU-Canada trade agreement. Speaking at the press conference, President Juncker signalled that good progress is being made on concluding a trade agreement with Japan, saying "We will seize this opportunity to show the entire planet that we remain a continent of free and organised trade." Leaders also discussed migration, welcoming the Commission's Action Plan and Recommendation on returns. President Juncker called for renewed efforts in implementing agreed solidarity measures, whilst leaders agreed they would strive to agree on the Asylum policy reforms by June. President Juncker welcomed the re-election of Donald Tusk to serve a second term as European Council President. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)


EU and ASEAN take new steps to re-launch region-to-region trade talks

The EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) today agreed in a joint statement to take new steps towards resuming talks for a-region-to-region agreement. The decision follows a meeting between Commissioner Malmström and economic ministers from the 10 countries of ASEAN in the Filipino capital of Manila. Commissioner Malmström said: "2017 marks the 40th anniversary of fruitful cooperation between the EU and ASEAN. There is still much to be done to unlock the full potential of the EU-ASEAN relationship, and  the quickly changing international environment now makes us turn our eyes even more towards Asia. I am glad to see that both sides are now ready to seize the momentum and start preparations towards re-launching these negotiations. This is a significant and timely initiative, and it shows that the EU and ASEAN are committed to take the lead together on regional and global trade." The participants of today's ministerial meeting also agreed to further explore the joint EU and Canadian initiative for a multilateral investment court, to serve as a single global judicial instance for resolving investment-related disputes. While a region-to-region trade agreement is the long-term goal, the EU has already concluded bilateral trade deals with ASEAN members such as Singapore and Vietnam, and negotiations are underway with Indonesia and the Philippines, and with Myanmar for an investment-only agreement. Trade was also discussed at the European Council, where the President's conclusions reiterate the EU's strong commitment to a robust trade policy and an open and rules-based multilateral trading system, with a central role for the WTO. The conclusions also underline the EU's intention to resolutely advance on all ongoing negotiations for ambitious and balanced free trade agreements. More information is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


Juncker Plan: EUR 75 million to finance the construction of energy efficient buildings in Sweden

The Juncker Plan has backed a EUR 75 million European Investment Bank (EIB) loan agreement with Swedish real estate company Castellum to finance the construction of new energy-efficient office buildings. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Juncker Plan, was a crucial factor in making this loan agreement possible. Castellum will use the loan to finance the construction of two new nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) office buildings in Stockholm and Örebro. Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, said: "Improved energy efficiency in buildings is an important part of our transition towards a greener society but it often requires significant investments. This is where the Investment Plan can play an important role. With today's agreement, the European Fund for Strategic Investments will contribute to Sweden's development towards a reduced dependency on fossil fuels." A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)


Joint Statement ahead of the European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism

Ahead of the European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos, Vera Jourová and Julian King said: "We remember and honour the victims of all terrorist atrocities, regardless of nationality or religion, and regardless of when or where they happened. We pay respect to all those who lost their lives in those tragic events and express our solidarity with those who lost their loved ones and witnessed the devastation these attacks caused. We stand united in denouncing all forms of terrorism across the globe. Our words may not undo the damage done but we have an obligation to help better protect our citizens and prevent others from falling victim to terrorist attacks. In the same way that we are working together to tackle the threat of terrorism, we are also working together to deal with its consequences. It is vital that victims of terrorism have access to the necessary protection, support and assistance. […] The EU as a whole has taken action on all fronts to counter the threat of terrorism while ensuring that victims' rights are at the heart of our work." The full joint statement is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


EU Internet Forum: Commissioner Avramopoulos, the current and incoming Presidencies of the Council of the EU and U.S. internet companies on progress on removal of terrorist content online

Today, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos together with the Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, Mr Carmelo Abela, representing the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and the Estonian Minister of the Interior, Mr Andres Anvelt, representing the incoming Presidency of the Council of the EU, issued a press release with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on the progress made on removal of terrorist content online. In the press release, which comes in the follow up to the EU Internet Forum organised in December 2016, Commissioner Avramopoulos said: "Over the last 18 months, we have managed to build a relationship of trust and mutual understanding with the major internet companies. I am pleased with the progress we are making. I welcome the voluntary initiative of the industry to set up a mechanism to remove terrorist content from the internet. Today, a prototype of this mechanism is in action. The voluntary partnership with the internet industry is making a difference. I welcome also the commitment of the internet industry to contribute to the EU Civil Society Empowerment Programme, which will empower civil society to pass positive narratives on the internet." A press release is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)



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