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  1. newsState of play of Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

     

    The United Kingdom triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017. What has happened since then on the EU side?

    On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom notified the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union, in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

    On 29 April 2017, the European Council at EU27 adopted a set of political guidelines, which define the framework for the negotiations and set out the EU's overall positions and principles.

    On 3 May 2017, the European Commission sent a recommendation, including draft negotiating directives, to the Council to open the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom. On 22 May 2017, the Council, on the basis of the Commission's recommendation, authorised the opening of the Article 50 negotiations with the UK and nominated the Commission as Union negotiator. Together with the European Council guidelines agreed by the leaders of the EU27 on 29 April 2017, these negotiating directives outline the priorities for the first phase of the negotiations.

    The European Commission has also issued detailed position papers for the negotiations with the UK. Each paper is subject to an exchange of views between Michel Barnier, the Commission's Chief Negotiator, and the Council Working Party chaired by the General Secretariat of the Council, as well as the Brexit steering group of the European Parliament.

    The European Commission publishes these position papers on our website, both when they are shared with the other EU institutions as well as when they are sent to the UK. Position papers on the following topics have been published so far:

    1. Citizens' rights
    2. The financial settlement
    3. Nuclear materials and safeguard equipment (EURATOM)
    4. Issues relating to the functioning of the Union institutions, agencies and bodies
    5. Governance of the Article 50 agreement
    6. Goods placed on the market under Union law before the withdrawal date
    7. Judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters
    8. Ongoing judicial and administrative procedures
    9. Ongoing police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

    What happened during the first negotiation round?

    The first round of Article 50 negotiations between the European Commission and the United Kingdom took place on 19 June. Both parties agreed to create working groups on citizens' rights, the financial settlement and other separation issues. The coordinators of the negotiations on the EU and UK side will also start a dialogue on issues pertaining to Northern Ireland. The outcome of this first round of negotiations is outlined in the "Terms of Reference" agreed between the UK and the European Commission and is published on our website.  

    What will happen in the second negotiation round?

    The agenda for this round will be published on our website, once available.

    When does the United Kingdom cease to be a member of the European Union?

    The UK will cease to be a member of the European Union at midnight on 29 March 2019, unless the European Council decides unanimously to extend the two-year negotiating period. The United Kingdom will become a third country from the date of withdrawal.

    How will the withdrawal agreement be concluded?

    The negotiations on the UK's orderly withdrawal from the EU must be completed within a period of two years from the moment Article 50 is triggered. If no agreement is reached within this period, the Treaties will cease to apply to the UK.

    At the end of the negotiation period, the Union negotiator will propose an agreement to the Council and the European Parliament, taking into account the framework of the future relationship of the UK with the EU.

    The European Parliament must give its consent, by a vote of simple majority, including Members of the European Parliament from the UK.

    The Council will conclude the agreement. The Treaty foresees that this can be done by a vote of strong qualified majority (i.e. 20 countries representing 65% of the EU27 population).

    The UK must also approve the agreement according to its own constitutional arrangements.

    So how long does that leave for the actual negotiations?

    The negotiations themselves will last approximately 18 months (June 2017 – October/November 2018).

    Who will negotiate for the European Union?

    The Heads of State or Government of the EU27 invited the Council to nominate the European Commission as the Union negotiator. They welcomed the appointment of Michel Barnier as the Commission's Chief Negotiator.

    The European Commission as Union negotiator and Michel Barnier as the Commission's Chief Negotiator will systematically report to the European Council, the Council and its preparatory bodies, which will discuss Brexit in an EU27 format.

    Michel Barnier will keep the European Parliament closely and regularly informed throughout the negotiations via a dedicated Brexit steering group.

    The 27 Member States will be closely involved in preparing negotiations, giving guidance to the Commission's Chief Negotiator, and assessing progress via a dedicated Working Party, which has been created in the Council, with a permanent chair, to ensure that the negotiations are conducted in line with the European Council guidelines and the Council's negotiating directives.

    The European Council at EU27 will remain permanently seized of the matter, and will update its guidelines during the negotiations as necessary.

    What about the practical side of the negotiations? What language will they be in? How often will both sides meet?

    Practical issues, such as the language regime and negotiation structure, have been outlined in the Terms of Reference agreed between the European Commission and the United Kingdom on 19 June 2017. English and French are the two official languages of the negotiations.

    Where will the negotiations take place?

    They will take place in Brussels.

    What happens if no agreement is reached?

    The EU Treaties simply cease to apply to the UK two years after notification.

    Can a Member State apply to re-join after it leaves?

    Any country that has withdrawn from the EU may apply to re-join. It would be required to go through the accession procedure.

    Once triggered, can Article 50 be revoked?

    It was the decision of the United Kingdom to trigger Article 50. But once triggered, it cannot be unilaterally reversed. Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of the notification.

    Will you be transparent in the negotiations?

    The Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom are unique and differ from any other negotiation conducted by the European Union to date. Given their unprecedented nature, the European Commission has decided to adopt a tailor-made approach to transparency. The Commission, as European Union negotiator, will ensure a maximum level of transparency during the whole negotiating process. Read our transparency policy here.

    What are your core principles in these negotiations?

    The withdrawal agreement should be based on a balance of rights and obligations, while ensuring a level-playing field. Cherry-picking of the Single Market and a sector-by-sector participation in the Single Market has been excluded by the European Council guidelines. The Union has also stressed that its four freedoms (people, goods, services and capital) will remain indivisible. The negotiations will be based on the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The European Union will remain united throughout the negotiation period and the European Council has excluded that there would be separate negotiations between individual Member States and the United Kingdom on matters pertaining to the UK's withdrawal. The withdrawal agreement should respect the autonomy of the decision-making of the Union, as well as the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

    When will the negotiations move on to discussions on the future relationship of the European Union and the United Kingdom?

    Discussions on the framework for a future relationship with the United Kingdom will only begin once sufficient progress has been made in all areas of the first phase of the negotiations. It will be for the European Council to decide whether there has been sufficient progress. Michel Barnier has said publicly that he hoped that the European Commission would be in a position to report sufficient progress to the European Council in October.

    Where can I find out more about the Brexit negotiations?

    All information related to the Brexit negotiations can be found on our dedicated website, including all negotiation documents, press material, and speeches by Michel Barnier.

    MEMO/17/2001

    Brussels, 12 July 2017 Copyright European Union

  2. newsESMA issues principles on supervisory approach to relocations from the UK

     
     

    The opinion is a practical tool to support supervisory convergence in the context of increased requests from UK financial market participants seeking to relocate to the EU27. It covers all legislation referred to in the ESMA Regulation, in particular the AIFMD, the UCITS Directive, MiFID I and MiFID II.

    Steven Maijoor, Chair, said:

    “The UK plays a prominent role in EU financial markets and the relocation of entities, activities and functions to the EU27 creates a unique situation requiring a common effort, at EU level, to safeguard investor protection, the orderly functioning of financial markets and financial stability.

    “The EU27 have a shared interest in building a common approach to dealing with relocating firms that wish to continue to benefit from access to EU financial markets. Firms need to be subject to the same standards of authorisation and ongoing supervision across the EU27 in order to avoid competition on regulatory and supervisory practices between Member States. Effective and efficient supervision are essential to support the Capital Markets Union.”

    Supporting Supervisory Convergence

    In the course of the UK withdrawing from the EU, UK-based market participants may seek to relocate entities, activities or functions to the EU27 in order to maintain access to EU financial markets. These may seek to minimise the transfer of the effective performance of those activities or functions in the EU27, i.e. by relying on the outsourcing or delegation of certain activities or functions to UK-based entities, including affiliates. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the conditions for authorisation as well as for outsourcing and delegation do not generate supervisory arbitrage risks.

    New authorisations must be granted in full compliance with Union law and in a coherent manner across the EU27. Any outsourcing or delegation arrangement from entities authorised in the EU27 to third country entities should be strictly framed and consistently supervised. Outsourcing or delegation arrangements, under which entities confer either a substantial degree of activities or critical functions to other entities, should not result in those entities becoming letterbox entities nor in creating obstacles to effective and efficient supervision and enforcement.

    EU27 NCAs need to prepare for an increase in activities related to authorisation and supervision. ESMA will establish a forum – the Supervisory Coordination Network – to allow NCAs to report on and discuss cases of relocating UK market participants. This will help to promote consistent decisions by NCAs. ESMA is prepared to take further measures to support supervisory convergence, including issuing Q&As, providing additional opinions to NCAs, and conducting peer reviews.

    The opinion sets out nine principles:

    1. No automatic recognition of existing authorisations;
    2. Authorisations granted by EU27 NCAs should be rigorous and efficient;
    3. NCAs should be able to verify the objective reasons for relocation;
    4. Special attention should be granted to avoid letter-box entities in the EU27;
    5. Outsourcing and delegation to third countries is only possible under strict conditions;
    6. NCAs should ensure that substance requirements are met;
    7. NCAs should ensure sound governance of EU entities;
    8. NCAs must be in a position to effectively supervise and enforce Union law; and
    9. Coordination to ensure effective monitoring by ESMA.

    Next Steps

    ESMA intends to develop further guidance in areas such as asset managers, investment firms and secondary markets to provide sector specific details on the aspects described in the general opinion.

    Copyright European Union

  3. newsForest fires in Italy: EU provides immediate help through the Civil Protection Mechanism

     

    Italy is facing severe forest fires in its southern regions. It has requested European Union support through the Civil Protection Mechanism, upon which the EU has immediately responded.

    Three French air planes specialised in fire-fighting missions are now already on their way to help Italian authorities to bring the situation under control.

    Christos Stylianides,Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said: "The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is a strong example of solidarity in action and how Europe can better protects its citizens by pooling resources from different countries. I am very thankful to France for having immediately provided help in these times of great need. I want to assure our Italian friends that Europe stands ready to give further assistance if and when requested."

    In addition to the above, the European Union has deployed an expert to assist in coordinating the EU's emergency response on the ground. The EU is further ready to provide Copernicus satellite mapping.

    Background:

    On 12 July, the European Forest Fires Information System recorded 24 fires that burned in Italy. Forest fires rage over a big part in the south of the country, including the regions of Sicily, Basilicata, Campania, Lazio and Calabria. Forest fire risk is expected to remain at very high levels in the south of the country's mainland and Sicily while even worsening in Sardinia.

    The three deployed air planes are part of the European Emergency Response capacity. This means additional fire-fighting planes available that can be called to assist when national capacity is overwhelmed. The EU can fund up to 85% of the transport costs.

    This is the third time that Italy has asked for assistance from the EU Civil Protection Mechanism since its creation and the first time since the forest fires in 2009. This mechanism is being managed by the Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre, which operates on a 24/7 basis and plays a key role as a coordination hub to facilitate a coherent European response during emergencies inside and outside Europe.

    For more information:

    EU Civil Protection Mechanism

    IP/17/2025

    Brussels, 13 July 2017 Copyright European Union

  4. newsEuropean Commission Joint Research Centre opens its laboratories to wider scientific community

     

    The European Commission's in-house science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), is opening its scientific laboratories and facilities to scientists and researchers from the private and public sectors.

    As early as December 2017, researchers will be able to use JRC research facilities located in Ispra (Italy), and thereafter in Geel (Belgium), Karlsruhe (Germany) and Petten (Netherlands), thus helping to maximise the benefits of these world-class infrastructures and laboratories

    Past successful cooperation with universities, research institutes and SMEs has shown that there is big interest in using JRC facilities. With this initiative, the JRC aims to spread scientific knowledge, boost competiveness and help to bridge the gap between research and industry. The results will also feed into JRC's mission to support EU policymaking.

    Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: "The JRC hosts several high-value research facilities, some of which are unique in Europe and in the world. We know from past collaborations that many external researchers are keen to use these facilities to advance their work on some of the big challenges facing our societies and economies. By opening up our laboratories, we will realise their full potential in collaboration with European researchers and industry, for the benefit of policy-makers, businesses and, above all, citizens."

    During the pilot phase in 2017-2018, three facilities in Ispra will be opened to external users. They are the Reaction Wall and the Hopkinson Bar facility of the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA), and the Nanobiotechnology Laboratory.

    Access to other JRC facilities in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands will be possible after the pilot phase.

    Testing resistance against earthquakes and explosions

    The ELSA laboratory is equipped with the second largest reaction wall in the world and the largest one in Europe. This wall allows researchers to test the earthquake-resistance of buildings that are up to five floors high. The facility is equipped with sensors and high-resolution cameras that register the deformations of the building and a computer system for advanced numerical modelling. Insights gained from tests with the reaction wall have been used for example to help limit the potential damage caused by future earthquakes in seismic-prone regions of Europe.

    JRC research and data also contribute to the development of Eurocodes, a set of European standards for the construction sector, fostering innovation and making European buildings safer to live and work in. Eurocodes are used for the design of buildings and structures, such as the Millau Viaduct in France, the roof of the Liège railway station in Belgium and the roof of Hall M at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

    Another facility at the ELSA laboratory – the Hopkinson bar (HopLab) laboratory – is used to test the resistance of materials against blasts or explosions. The JRC HopLab is the world's largest Hopkinson bar, measuring over 200 meters. It allows large material samples or structural components to be tested in dynamic conditionsthat simulate impacts and blasts.

    Scientists at the ELSA laboratory have already collaborated with a large number of European and international institutions through joint competitive projects and collaboration agreements.

    Nanobiotechnology Laboratory

    The JRC Nanobiotechnology Laboratory is a state-of-the-art laboratory equipped with a wide range of facilities and cutting-edge instrumentation. The laboratory fosters interdisciplinary studies, with a special emphasis on the characterisation of nanomaterials, nanomedicines, and advanced materials and their interactions with biological systems.

    Access to the Nanobiotechnology lab will be provided to external researchers to promote the development and exploitation of nanotechnology and advanced materials. These Key Enabling Technologies provide the basis for further innovation and development in various sectors such as health, transport and energy.

    Background

    The JRC will offer access to its non-nuclear facilities to researchers and scientists from EU Member States, candidate countries and countries associated to the Horizon 2020 Research Programme. The JRC will not make a profit from opening up its facilities to outside users.

    A dedicated public portal has been set up as part of the JRC website with information on all aspects linked to the JRC Research Infrastructure Open Access initiative, including the publication of calls for proposals, information on the conditions and criteria for access as well as the submission process. The calls for access to the first three laboratories are available on the portal: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/research-facility/open-access.

    For More Information

    Pocket leaflet

    IP/17/2002 Brussels, 13 July 2017 Copyright European Union

  5. newsEU negotiation positions on Brexit issues published

    The European Commission has published details of its negotiation positions on a wide range of issues including

    Nuclear Materials and safeguard equipment (Euratom) - See https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/position-paper-transmitted-eu27-nuclear-materials-and-safeguard-equipment-euratom_en

    How the Commission envisages dealing with goods placed on the market under Union Law before the UK withdraws from the EU

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/position-paper-transmitted-eu27-goods-placed-market-under-union-law-withdrawal-date_en

    How the Commission envisages that judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters will operate https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/position-paper-transmitted-eu27-judicial-cooperation-civil-and-commercial-matters_en

    How the Commission envisages that judicial cooperation in police and criminal matters will operate https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/essential_principles_ongoing_police_and_judicial_coop._.pdf

    The role of the European Court of Justice going forward https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/essential_principles_ongoing_union_judicial_and_administrative_procedures.pdf

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/essential_principles_governance.pdf

    These position papers have been sent to the EU 27 for comment.

    Copyright in position papers lies with the European Union

     

     

  6. newsSecurity Union: Commission delivers on interoperability of EU information systems

     

    The Commission is today delivering on its commitment to ensure interoperability and address the existing shortcomings of EU information systems for security and border management, as set out by the Commission in its 7th Security Union Report on 16 May and endorsed by the European Council of 22-23 June. As a first step, the Commission is proposing to strengthen the mandate of the EU Agency for the operational management of large scale IT systems (eu-LISA), enabling it to develop and roll-out the technical solutions to make the EU information systems interoperable. In addition, the Commission is also proposing further improvements to the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) to allow Member States to exchange criminal records of non-EU citizens more efficiently.

    Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "Our border guards, law enforcement and immigration officers need to have access to the right information at the right time to do their job. The security of our citizens depends on the quality and availability of this information. With the stronger mandate we propose today, eu-LISA will become the EU's digital centre of excellence, to make our vision for the interoperability of our information systems a reality."

    Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: "We have a range of databases to help us fight terrorism and manage our borders but our systems can only be as strong and effective as the data with which they are fed. With today's proposals, we are addressing the current limits to the way our systems provide information, delivering on our commitment to ensure strong and smart systems for borders and security."

    Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, said: “Bringing the operational management of EU information systems under one roof and centralising the information exchange of criminal records of non-EU nationals is an important step forward. With today's proposals we are giving police, prosecutors and judges stronger tools against cross-border crime and terrorism."

    Ensuring interoperability: A stronger mandate for eu-LISA

    To address the current limits of EU information systems, eliminate information gaps and enable information to be shared between the systems, the Commission is today proposing to strengthen the mandate of eu-LISA. Today's reform will give the Agency a mandate to develop the necessary technical solutions to achieve interoperability. The Agency will also now be responsible for developing and managing future large-scale EU information systems.

    The reformed eu-LISA Agency will:

    • Provide centralised operational management of EU Information Systems.The eu-LISA Agency, currently responsible at a central level for the operational management of the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS) and Eurodac, will also be responsible for the preparation, development and operational management of the new information systems proposed by the Commission; namely the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the EU Travel information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) as well as the upgraded European Criminal Records Information System for Third Country Nationals and Stateless Persons (ECRIS-TCN) proposed by the Commission today.
    • Develop the main technical features of the Commission's approach towards interoperability– once the relevant legislative instruments have been adopted – consisting of a European Search Portal, a shared biometric matching service and a Common Identity Repository to make sure all EU information systems interact efficiently and are readily accessible to police and customs officers on the ground.
    • Improve the quality of the data by developing automated data quality control mechanisms. These will ensure that incorrect or inconsistent data are automatically identified. The Member State which input the data will then be alerted so they can remove or update the data. 

    Exchanging non-EU nationals' criminal records: upgrading the 'ECRIS' System

    After proposing to reform the current system in January 2016 to include fingerprints of non-EU citizens, the Commission is today presenting a supplementary proposal to:

    • Create a centralised ECRIS-Third Country National system:a centralised database will make it possible to quickly verify if any Member State holds conviction information on a non-EU citizen. The proposed improvements will enable Member States to request the detailed conviction information through the ECRIS system directly from the identified Member States.
    • Help establish the identity of convicted non-EU citizens: ECRIS-TCN will contain information on names, addresses, fingerprints and facial images where available, significantly contributing to improving the reliability of identity information on non-EU citizens, which can often be less reliable than on EU citizens, given the uncertainty on identity documents presented.
    • Improve the exchange of information between Member States on convicted non-EU citizens: easier and faster access to criminal records will help law enforcement authorities become more efficient in their fight against terrorism and organised crime. 
    • Allow for interoperability with other EU databases: with a centralised system, ECRIS will be part of the systems developed and managed by the eu-LISA Agency, enabling information to be shared with other EU systems as part of the Commission's approach towards achieving interoperability. 

    Background

    President Juncker's State of the Union address in September 2016 and the European Council conclusions of December 2016 highlighted the importance of overcoming the current shortcomings in data management and of improving the interoperability of existing information systems. Recent terrorist attacks have brought this into even greater focus, highlighting the urgent need for information systems to be interoperable, and to eliminate the current blind spots where terrorist suspects can be recorded in different, unconnected databases under different aliases.

    In April 2016 the Commission presented a Communication on stronger and smarter information systems for borders and security, initiating a discussion on how information systems in the European Union can better enhance border management and internal security. In June 2016, the Commission set up a High-Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability to take this work forward and to address the legal, technical and operational challenges to achieve interoperability. The High-Level Expert Group held its last meeting on 25 April 2017 and presented the final report on 11 May 2017.

    Established in 2012, the European Criminal Records Information system (ECRIS) enables national judicial authorities to receive information on previous criminal convictions in other Member States. Member States currently send around 288,000 information requests per year through ECRIS on previous criminal convictions across the EU. The upgrade of ECRIS is a key priority of the Commission's European Agenda on Security, which calls for the inclusion of non-EU nationals within ECRIS to improve the fight against cross-border crime and terrorism. On 19 January 2016, the Commission took the first legislative step to improve the exchange of information on non-EU citizens via the ECRIS system, as the system currently in place is cumbersome and inefficient. Today the Commission proposes to further upgrade this tool.

    The EU Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems, eu-LISA, successfully started operations on December 1, 2012. It fulfills the operational management tasks forSIS II,VIS andEURODAC. The main operational task is to ensure that these systems are kept functioning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its other responsibilities include adopting the necessary security measures and ensuring data security and integrity as well as compliance with data protection rules.

    For More Information

    Factsheet: A Europe that protects

    Factsheet: Security Union: Interoperability

    Factsheet: Existing EU Information Systems

    High-level expert group on information systems and interoperability — Final report

    Communication: Stronger and smarter information systems for borders and security

     eu-LISA

    Proposal for a Regulation on the Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice

    Report on the functioning of the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) 

    Commission Staff Working document - eu-LISA evaluation: Executive summary

    Commission Staff Working document - eu-LISA evaluation: Full report

     European Criminal Records Information System

    Proposal for a regulation on ECRIS for non-EU nationals

     Security Union

    Press release: Security Union: Commission accelerates measures to prevent radicalisation and the cyber threat

    Communication: 8th Progress Report towards an effective and genuine Security Union

    Factsheet: Security Union

    IP/17/1788 Brussels, 29 June 2017 Copyright European Union

  7. newsSecurity Union: Commission accelerates measures to prevent radicalisation and the cyber threat

     

    Today, the European Commission presents the 8th report on progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union, calling for an acceleration of the ongoing work to enhance the security of EU citizens.

    As set out in the European Council Conclusions of 22-23 June, recent attacks have once again highlighted the need to intensify the joint efforts at EU level to effectively fight terrorism, hatred and violent extremism. Against this backdrop, the Commission today outlines measures taken at EU level to counter radicalisation, fight terrorism and crime and their financing and tackle the cyber threat as well as reporting on the next steps towards interoperability of information systems.

    First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "Europe must face up to security challenges and terrorist threats together, with new action at EU level and an acceleration of our ongoing work to protect our citizens. With the backing of national leaders, the Commission has reviewed today what has been done so far, notably in fighting radicalisation and terrorist financing. We are also proposing additional measures to keep Europe safe, like making sure our EU security databases can work better together and improving our response to cyberattacks."

    Countering radicalisation — online and offline

    One year after presenting a set of concrete measures to support Member States in countering radicalisation  the majority of which are being implemented – the Commission is today outlining a number of additional initiatives to address in particular the use of digital communication and returning foreign terrorist fighters.

    •     Radicalisation online – the Commission has been working with key internet companies since 2015 including through the EU Internet Forum to detect and remove online terrorist content. In light of recent attacks however, internet platforms should step up their efforts – as called for by the European Council Conclusions of 22-23 June. To complement the work of Europol's Internet Referral Unit, the Commission calls on all Member States to establish national Internet Referral Units.
    •     Prevention and anti-radicalisation — The Commission will swiftly establish a High-Level Expert Group on Radicalisation to facilitate the further development and enhance the impact of EU policies in this area. The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) will also carry out a series of workshops on returning terrorist fighters for national authorities.

    In addition, as part of long-term measures against radicalisation, the Commission will continue to support social inclusion and integration through initiatives such as Erasmus +, the European Pillar of Social Rights as well as work with partner countries through targeted training and financial support.

    Strengthening cyber resilience and cybersecurity

    As announced in the Digital Single Market mid-term review, the Commission is accelerating its work to close the gaps in the current cybersecurity framework. A number of short-term and operational actions should be taken to strengthen our response to the increased cyber threat as a part of wider review of the 2013 Cybersecurity Strategy that will follow in September.

    •     Boosting systems and networks – the Commission will provide an additional €10.8 million in funding to 14 Member States under the Connecting Europe Facility to strengthen the network of national Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT network). The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), which led the law enforcement response to the WannaCry attack, should be equipped by Europol with further IT expertise.
    •      Criminal Justice  the Commission is looking into possible legislative action to improve cross border access to electronic evidence.The Commission is also examining the challenges posed by the use of encryption by criminals and will report on its findings by October 2017.

    Interoperability and terrorist financing

    The Commission has today taken further action to advance its new approach towards interoperability of EU information systems by presenting two legislative proposals on the eu-LISA Agency and the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN) (press release available here). In addition, the report takes stock of the work implemented under the 2016 Action Plan on Terrorist Financing.

    Background

    Security has been a political priority since the beginning of the Juncker Commission's mandate – from President Juncker's Political Guidelines of July 2014 to the latest State of the Union address on 14 September 2016.

    The European Agenda on Security guides the Commission's work in this area, setting out the main actions to ensure an effective EU response to terrorism and security threats, including countering radicalisation, boosting cybersecurity, cutting terrorist financing as well as improving information exchange. Since the adoption of the Agenda, significant progress has been made in its implementation, paving a way towards an effective and genuine Security Union. This progress is reflected in the Commission's reports published on a regular basis.  

    With regards to countering radicalisation, the European Commission has been supporting Member States' work for some time through initiatives and platforms such as the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and the EU Internet Forum. In June last year, the Commission presented a Communication setting out concrete actions to support Member States in preventing and countering violent radicalisation leading to terrorism.

    The European Council conclusions of 22-23 June 2017 further reiterated the EU's determination to cooperate at European level to fight terrorism and enhance EU's security.

    For More Information

    Communication: 8th Progress Report on Security Union

    Annex 1: State of play on the implementation of the action points set out in the Commission Communication on Radicalisation of 14 June 2016

    Annex 2: State of play on the implementation of the Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing of 2 February 2016

    Communication: Delivering on the European Agenda on Security to fight against terrorism and pave the way towards an effective and genuine Security Union

    Communication: European Agenda on Security

    Factsheet: EU Information Systems

    Factsheet: Security Union

    Factsheet: A Europe that protects

    IP/17/1789 Brussels, 29 June 2017 Copyright European Union

  8. newsAntimicrobial Resistance: Commission steps us the fight with new Action Plan

     

    Today the Commission adopted a new Action Plan to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) – a growing threat that is responsible for 25,000 deaths and a loss of €1.5 billion in the EU every year.

    The Action Plan is underpinned by a One Health approach that addresses resistance in both humans and animals. In parallel, the Commission adopted the first deliverable of the plan: EU Guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials in human health.

    Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: "Antimicrobial Resistance is a global growing threat, and if we do not step up our action and commitment now, by 2050 it could cause more deaths than cancer. The ambitious agenda I present today focuses actions on key areas with the highest added value for EU countries. By promoting prudent use of antimicrobials in people and animals, consolidating surveillance, improving data collection and boosting research, I aim to make the EU a best practice region worthy of shaping the global agenda on AMR in this increasingly interconnected world".

    Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, added: "Antimicrobial Resistance already kills thousands and is a significant burden for the society and the economy. It's a threat that no country can tackle alone. We need a truly European research effort to save human lives, animals and the environment. That's why the One Health Action Plan is so important – it will mean better research coordination and collaboration between EU Member States, as well as public and private sectors across Europe and beyond".

    The plan includes guidelines to promote the prudent use of antimicrobials in people. The guidelines target all actors – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospital administrators and others who play a role in antimicrobial use. They complement infection prevention and control guidelines which may exist at national level.

    In addition, the plan foresees more than 75 actions built on three main pillars:

    Pillar 1: Making the EU a best-practice region

    Making the EU a best-practice region will require better evidence, better coordination and surveillance, as well as better control measures. This will support Member States to establish, implement and monitor their national One-Health Action Plans on AMR in line with the commitment they made at the 2015 World Health Assembly. Examples of Commission support include providing evidence-based data with the support of our agencies, updating EU implementing legislation on monitoring and reporting AMR in animals, food and humans, enabling mutual learning, exchange of innovative ideas and consensus building, and co-fund activities in Member States to tackle AMR. The action plan will be extended to include environmental aspects as one of the major contributors to the development and spread of AMR.

    Pillar 2: Boosting research, development and innovation

    Actions under this pillar aim to boost research and further incentivise innovation, provide valuable input for science-based policies and legal measures to combat AMR and address knowledge gaps such as the role of AMR in the environment. The Commission will work in partnerships with Member States and industry, including small and medium enterprises, to address AMR in bacteria, fungi and parasites. Special attention will be given to the WHO priority list of pathogens as well as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and neglected infectious diseases.

    Funding and partnership programmes will focus on improving knowledge on effective infection control and surveillance including new diagnostics, and developing new therapeutics and preventive vaccines. Actions within these priority areas will help to improve public health and deliver economic and societal benefits throughout Europe and beyond.

    Pillar 3: Shaping the global agenda

    Whereas areas of action have been agreed upon internationally, the EU will work towards reinforcing engagement and collaboration with multilateral organisations, and intensifying cooperation with the most affected developing countries.As one of the largest markets for agricultural products, the EU can play a major role by promoting its standards and measures for addressing AMR with its trade partners. In the research arena, the EU will build upon its successful large-scale international initiatives, such as the European and Developing Clinical Trial Partnership and the Joint Programme Initiative, and further develop a stronger and interconnected AMR research landscape with global outreach.

    Background

    The new action plan builds on the first AMR Action Plan which ran from 2011 to 2016. The new plan draws on the recommendations of an independent external evaluation and views of stakeholders gathered through a public consultation. Respondents to the consultation were largely positive about the Commission's role in complementing Member States' action, with 79%) rating the Commission's actions as helpful.

     

    For more information:

    Fact sheet

    More information on the new EU One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance

    More information on Antimicrobial Resistance

    Research on Antimicrobial Resistance

    Follow us on Twitter: @V_Andriukaitis @EU_Health; @EUScienceInnov

    IP/17/1762 Brussels, 29 June 2017 Copyright European Union

  9. newsCommission launches a new pan-European personal pensions label to help consumers save for retirement

     

    European consumers will soon benefit from more choice when saving for retirement, thanks to Commission plans to create a new class of pension products.

    Today's proposal will provide pension providers with the tools to offer a simple and innovative pan-European personal pension product (PEPP). This new type of voluntary personal pension is designed to give savers more choice when they are putting money aside for old age and provide them with more competitive products.

    PEPPs will have the same standard features wherever they are sold in the EU and can be offered by a broad range of providers, such as insurance companies, banks, occupational pension funds, investment firms and asset managers. They will complement existing state-based, occupational and national personal pensions, but not replace or harmonise national personal pension regimes. The Commission is also today recommending that Member States grant the same tax treatment to this product as to similar existing national products to ensure that the PEPP gets off to a flying start. The new products will also ultimately bolster the Commission's plan for a Capital Markets Union by helping to channel more savings to long-term investments in the EU.

    Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission Vice-President, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "The pan-European personal pension product is an important milestone towards completing the Capital Markets Union. It has enormous potential as it will offer savers across the EU more choice when putting money aside for retirement. It will drive competition by allowing more providers to offer this product outside their national markets. It will work like a quality label and I am confident that the PEPP will also foster long-term investment in capital markets."

    Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness said: "Today's proposal is another example of the benefits that can be derived from delivering the Commission's Capital Markets Union Action Plan and completing the single market for capital in the EU. Pan-European personal pension products will act to promote competition amongst pension providers, granting consumers more choice of where to place their savings. Completing the CMU is also an important element of the Investment Plan for Europe. I am pleased that this proposal will also work to channel savings towards long-term investments, helping to achieve the Investment Plan's objectives of upgrading infrastructure, boosting growth and supporting jobs."

    Key benefits

    Currently, the European market for personal pensions is fragmented and uneven. The offers are concentrated in a few Member States, while in some others they are nearly non-existent. This variation in supply is linked to a patchwork of rules at EU and national levels, which impede development of a large and competitive EU-level market for personal pensions. The PEPP will allow consumers to voluntarily complement their savings for retirement, while benefitting from solid consumer protection:

    • PEPP savers will have more choice from a wide range of PEPP providers and benefit from greater competition.

    • Consumers will benefit from strong information requirements and distribution rules, also online. Providers will need to be authorised by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) to provide the PEPP.

    • PEPP will grant savers a high level of consumer protection under a simple default investment option.

    • Savers will have the right to switch providers – both domestically and cross-border - at a capped cost every five years.

    • The PEPP will be portable between Member States, i.e. PEPP savers will be able to continue contributing to their PEPP when moving to another Member State.

    The regulatory framework that the Commission is proposing today will create opportunities for a wide range of providers to be active on the personal pension market:

    • Providers will be able to develop PEPPs across several Member States, to pool assets more effectively and to achieve economies of scale.

    • PEPP providers will be able to reach out to consumers across the whole EU through electronic distribution channels.

    • PEPP providers and savers will have different options for paymentsat the end of the product's lifetime.

    • PEPP providers will benefit from an EU passport to facilitate cross-border distribution.

    The proposal for the PEPP Regulation is accompanied by a Commission Recommendation on the tax treatment of personal pension products, including the PEPP. The Commission encourages Member States to grant the same tax treatment to PEPPs as is currently granted to similar existing national products, even if the PEPP does not fully match the national criteria for tax relief. Member States are also invited to exchange best practices on the taxation of their current personal pension products which should foster convergence of tax regimes.

    Background

    The PEPP is one of the key measures announced in last month's Mid-term Review of the Capital Market Union, the Commission's project to create a single market for capital in the EU. The PEPP supports the goal of the CMU, which is to create the right conditions to unlock funding so that it can flow from Europe's savers to Europe's businesses.

    Currently, only 27% of Europeans between 25 and 59 years old have enrolled themselves in a pension product. PEPP would contribute to unlocking this vast potential and boost investment in our economy.

    Today's proposed Regulation builds on almost 600 contributions to the Commission's public consultation on personal pensions in October 2016. Many respondents said the current supply of personal pension products in the EU was insufficient. It also took into account two reports from EIOPA in 2014 and 2016 and an external study by an external contractor.

    The PEPP proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. Once adopted, the Regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

    For More Information

    MEMO

    Factsheet

    DG FISMA website on Personal Pensions Products

    CMU Action Plan Mid-Term Review

    IP/17/1800

    Brussels, 29 June 2017 Copyright European Union

  10. newsAgenda of the meeting on the 19th June between David Davis and Michel Barnier

    A copy of the agenda for the first round of negotiations to be held on the 19th June is available at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/art50-agenda-20170619_en.pdf

     Copyright European Union

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