No 150 – 1st June 2017
Robust views on "Europe Today" by EU Political Director
Mr Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary-General and the Political Director of the EU diplomatic service, shared his reflections on the present and future of the European Union. Mr Belliard's speech was followed by many questions on a wide range of topic including EU relationship with NZ and Australia or European defence. The event was organised by the EU Delegation in cooperation with the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.
Minute of silence for victims of terrorist attacks
On behalf of the EU, HR/VP Federica Mogherini extended her condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the terror attacks. These attacks took place in the holy month of Ramadan, when many are in a period of worship and prayer. Mrs Mogherini reaffirmed the EU's commitment to support politically and financially the Iraqi people and authorities in their quest to fight all forms of terrorism in the country and build a peaceful, democratic, prosperous and inclusive Iraq. Similarly, she underlined the willingness of the EU to support all steps towards peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and the functioning of its institutions. The European Parliament plenary session on 31 May opened with a minute of silence for all victims of terror attacks in Manchester, Egypt, Baghdad and Kabul.
Towards a Europe of Defence
With a worsening security situation in Europe's neighbourhood and a strong economic case for greater cooperation on defence spending amongst EU countries, the Commission believes now is the time to make strides towards a Security and Defence Union. HR/VP Federica Mogherini stressed that security and defence are priorities for all European citizens, which is why the EU is stepping up its defence to be more and more effective as a security provider within and beyond its borders. As well, the EU is building cooperation among member states and with NATO. On Wednesday 7 June, the Commission will launch the European Defence Fund announced in the European Defence Action Plan and publish a reflection paper on the future of European defence.
Consult the factsheet on EU defence.
HR/VP Federica Mogherini visits Argentina and Chile
HR/VP Federica Mogherini visited Argentina on Monday 29 May, where she met President Mauricio Macri and Minister of Foreign Affairs Susana Mabel Malcorra. Bilateral political and economic relations, as well as support to regional integration and to multilateralism were at the core of her visit. On Tuesday 30 May HR/VP Mogherini was in Chile where she met President Michelle Bachelet, Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Muñoz and the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean Alicia Bárcena. Argentina and Chile are important partners of the EU in a wide spectrum of areas, from foreign policy to trade and investment, and closely cooperate in multilateral fora on global issues such as climate change and security.
MEPs back national carbon cuts under Paris Agreement
Plans for national greenhouse gas (GHG) emission cuts were backed by Environment Committee MEPs on Tuesday 30 May. These 30% cuts from 2005 levels will help deliver on the EU’s overall target for 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement. The Effort Sharing Regulation helps set binding national targets for sectors not covered by the EU carbon market - i.e. agriculture, transport, building and waste. Each EU Member State will have to follow an emission reduction pathway calculated from a starting point 2018. To ensure long-term predictability, MEPs also set a target for 2050, of reducing GHG emissions by 80% compared to 2005. The text will be put to a vote in a plenary session in June.
WiFi4EU: free WIFI in EU public spaces
A new scheme for free WIFI in public spaces was agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators. More than 5000 wireless internet connections will be created in public areas across the EU. Rapporteur Carlos Zorrinho said that "this high-speed broadband access to Wi-Fi services free of charge is key to building a Digital Union that does not leave anyone behind." The draft deal needs to be approved by the Parliament and the Council before the legislation enters into force.
EU Commission pledges €44 million euros in humanitarian assistance
The European Commission has announced humanitarian assistance of over €44 million to help people in need in South-West and Central Asia, who continue to face the consequences of years of conflicts and displacement, as well as recurrent natural disasters. €25.5 million will help internally displaced people in Afghanistan while humanitarian organisations working in Iran will receive close to €10 million to provide for the basic needs of Afghan refugees and their families. Organisations in Pakistan will benefit from €7 million to help displaced Pakistanis and Afghan refugees. Finally, in Central Asia, over €2 million will be provided for disaster risk reduction so communities are better prepared to respond to natural hazards.
Read more here and consult each country's fact sheet on EU aid.
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