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  1. 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

  2. newsEU Position papers transmitted to the UK

    The European Commission has transmitted the following position papers to the UK Government as part of the start of the Article 50 necogiations.

    Position paper; essential principles on EU citizens rights - https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/position-paper-essential-principles-citizens-rights_en

    Position paper: essential principes on the financial settlement - https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/essential-principles-financial_settlement_en_0.pdf

     The terms of reference for the Article 50 necogiations have also been published - see https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/eu-uk-art-50-terms-reference_agreed_amends_en.pdf

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  3. newsSpeech by Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, following the first round of Article 50 negotiations with the UK

    Brussels, 19 June 2017

    Mesdames et Messieurs,

    Je suis heureux de vous retrouver, aux côtés de David Davis, pour cette première conférence de presse commune.

    Cette première session était importante. Je peux dire aujourd'hui qu'elle a été utile.

    ELM Translation

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    I am pleased to be standing here before you, alongside David Davis, at this joint press conference. This first round of discussions was important. I can confirm today that it was also useful.

                                                                        *** 

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    This first session was useful to start off on the right foot.

    And it was useful for me to sit down with my counterpart, David Davis. I look forward to working closely with you during this negotiation.

    Today, we agreed on dates.

    We agreed on organisation.

    We agreed on priorities for the negotiation.

    In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the UK happens in an orderly manner.

    Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship.

    We also agreed on how we will structure our talks. Our aim is to have one week of negotiations every month. And use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them.

    In the first phase, the negotiation rounds will be broken down into three groups: citizens' rights, the single financial settlement, and other separation issues.

    These groups will report back to their respective principals during each negotiating week.

    David Davis and I, as Chief EU Negotiator, will discuss the issues together, tackle difficulties, lift obstacles.

    We agreed that our closest collaborators will start a dialogue on Ireland. The protection of the Good Friday agreement and the maintenance of the Common Travel Area are the most urgent issues to discuss.

    We also agreed on the importance of timing for this first phase.

    Our objective is to agree on the main principles of the key challenges for the UK's withdrawal as soon as possible. This includes citizens' rights, the single financial settlement, and the question of the borders, in particular in Ireland.

    The European Council can then decide on whether we can show sufficient progress, or not. And if we can move to scoping the future relationship on trade and other matters.

                                                                        *** 

    Mesdames et Messieurs,

    Aujourd'hui, nous avons donc commencé à discuter de ces trois sujets clé dans le mandat que m'ont donné les 27.

    Nous devons nous engager mutuellement à garantir aux citoyens des deux côtés du channel qu'ils pourront continuer à vivre comme avant.

    Nous devons solder les comptes et honorer nos engagements financiers mutuels.

    Nous devons trouver des solutions pour préserver tous les engagements du Good Friday Agreement.

    C'est en levant les incertitudes sur ces sujets que nous poserons les bases de la confiance nécessaire pour bâtir un nouveau partenariat entre nous.

    En quittant l'Union comme il a choisi de le faire, le Royaume-Uni n'aura plus les mêmes droits et bénéfices que les Etats membres de l'Union. Je suis cependant convaincu qu'il est dans notre intérêt commun d'établir un nouveau partenariat entre les 27 et le Royaume-Uni et que ce partenariat peut contribuer à la stabilité durable de notre continent.

    Nous sommes à 27, avec les institutions, unis pour cette négociation et dans cette perspective. Mais, les 27 sont également unis pour, en toutes hypothèses, continuer à réformer, progresser, avancer ensemble.

    ELM Translation

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Today we have started the process of discussing these three key topics, which I was mandated to discuss by the EU 27.

    We must mutually work at guaranteeing the rights of citizens on both sides of the Channel, so they can continue to live as they done hitherto. We need to square off the accounts and honour our mutual financial commitments. We need to find solutions to preserve the terms of the Good Friday agreement. By jointly tackling the uncertainties caused by these subjects we will develop the mutual confidence to develop a new partnership between the UK and the EU.

    By leaving the EU in the way proposed, the UK will not have the same rights and benefits as it would have as an EU Member. Nevertheless, I am convinced that it is in our common interest to establish a new partnership between the UK and the EU 27, and that this partnership could contribute to the long term stability of our continent.

    We are 27, and with the institutions, we are united in this necogiation and in our position. It should also be recognised that the EU 27 will continue to act together in order to reform, progress, and go forward together.

                                                                        ***

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    For both the EU and the UK, a fair deal is possible and far better than no deal. That is what I said to David today. That is why we will work all the time with the UK, and never against the UK.

    There will be no hostility on my side. I will display a constructive attitude, firmly based on the interest and support of the 27.

    And I will all the time seek the continued support of the European Parliament.

    Permettez-moi de terminer en citant Jean Monnet qui, quand on lui demandait s'il était optimiste ou pessimiste, répondait : ni l'un, ni l'autre, je suis déterminé. Voilà mon état d'esprit.

    ELM Translation - I would like to end by quoting Jean Monnet, who, when asked if he was an optimist or a pessimist, said "Neither one nor the other - I am just determined". This quote reflects how I feel at the moment.

    SPEECH/17/1704

  4. newsEuropean Solidarity Corps: Commission proposes more than €340 million to enable 100 000 placements by 2020

    Today, the Commission has put the European Solidarity Corps on a firm footing by proposing a budget for the next three years and a dedicated legal base.

    This will help consolidate the initiative and create more opportunities for young people. As well as offering volunteering, traineeships and job placements, the European Solidarity Corps will now also provide participants the opportunity to set up their own solidarity projects or to volunteer as a group.

    During a first phase launched in December 2016, eight different programmes were mobilised to offer volunteering, traineeship or job opportunities under the European Solidarity Corps. More than 30,000 young people have already signed up and the first participants have now started their placements. Under the leadership of Commissioners Oettinger, Navracsics and Thyssen, the Commission is today proposing to equip the European Solidarity Corps with one single legal base, its own financing mechanism and a broader set of solidarity activities. This will help further increase its coherence, impact and cost-effectiveness. The Commission proposes to allocate €341.5 million to the European Solidarity Corps over the period 2018-2020, to enable 100,000 young Europeans to take part by the end of 2020.

    Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "More than just a principle, solidarity is a state of mind that goes to the very heart of what the European Union is about. The Solidarity Corps is that principle personified. I am proud of what the Corps represents and grateful to all those signing up and the organisations providing placements for our young people. Today we are giving a proper legal form to the Corps, along with the budget to sustain it. The participants on the ground are the ones giving the Corps – and European solidarity – life."

    For the next phase of the European Solidarity Corps, the following types of activities are envisaged:

    • Solidarity placements will support young people in carrying out volunteering activities for up to 12 months, traineeship placements for usually 2–6 months, and job placements in compliance with relevant national legislation for 2–12 months.
    • Volunteering teams will allow groups of 10-40 young volunteers from different countries to make an impact together, for 2 weeks to 2 months.
    • Solidarity projects will allow small groups of at least five participants to set up and implement solidarity projects at the local level on their own initiative, for 2 to 12 months.
    • Networking activities will help attract newcomers to the European Solidarity Corps, allow the exchange of good practices, provide post-placement support and establish alumni networks.

    All of these actions will give young people across Europe new opportunities to engage in solidarity activities addressing societal challenges and strengthening communities. In parallel, they will help improve the skills and competences young people need for their own personal and professional development at the beginning of their careers. The European Solidarity Corps is an inclusive initiative. Targeted measures, such as additional funding or placements of shorter duration, will promote the participation of disadvantaged young people.

    Any public or private body adhering to strict quality requirements can propose projects for the European Solidarity Corps. It will be implemented by the European Commission, the Erasmus+ National Agencies in the Member States, and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). To improve the integration of European Solidarity Corps participants in the labour market, the active involvement of Public Employment Services, private employment services and Chambers of Commerce will be encouraged.

    With today's proposal, the Commission is delivering on its promise made when launching the European Solidarity Corps to present a legal proposal by spring 2017. The draft Regulation now needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council before it can enter into force. In their Joint Declaration, the EU institutions committed to delivering on the proposal by the end of this year.

    Also today, the Commission adopted two new initiatives on school and higher education, including a proposal on graduate tracking to help Member States collect information on what graduates do after their studies.

    Background

    During his 2016 State of the Union address, Commission President Junckerannounced the creation of a European Solidarity Corps, offering young people between the ages of 18 and 30 the opportunity to take part in a wide range of solidarity activities across the EU. Since its launch on 7 December 2016, more than 30,000 young people have joined the European Solidarity Corps. In March, matching with organisations began; since then, about 9000 participants have been contacted, around 110 offers were made, and the first participants started their placements.

    To prepare its proposal, the Commission launched both an open online survey and targeted consultations with stakeholders, which concluded in a Stakeholder Forum. Stakeholders emphasised the importance of quality placements and participation of disadvantaged young people, the necessity to put in place a dedicated budget, appropriate communication and outreach measures and lean and effective governance structures, as well as the need to validate the skills acquired in complementarity with initiatives at national level.

    This proposal comes at the time of celebrating the 30th anniversary of Erasmus, one of the most successful programmes of the EU. What started as a modest higher education exchange programme, today offers under the name Erasmus+ a wide range of learning opportunities in higher education, vocational education and training, school education, adult education, youth and sport.

    For more information

    Memo: Taking the European Solidarity Corps forward: Questions and Answers

    Factsheet: Taking the European Solidarity Corps forward

    Factsheet for organisations

    Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the legal framework of the European Solidarity Corps and amending Regulations (EU) No 1288/2013, (EU) No 1293/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1305/2013, (EU) No 1306/2013 and Decision No 1313/2013/EU

    European Solidarity Corps Portal registration page

    European Solidarity Corps facebook page

    Follow Commissioner Oettinger on Twitter

    Follow Commissioner Navracsics on Twitter

    Follow Commissioner Thyssen on Twitter and Facebook

    Brussels, 30 May 2017

    IP/17/1383

  5. newsJoint statement by the Department for Exiting the European Union and the European Commission.

    Brussels, 15 June 2017

    The following joint statement has been issued by the Department for Exiting the European Union and the European Commission:

    "Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June."

    For More Information

    Q&A on Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union

    Task Force on Article 50 Negotiations with the United Kingdom (TF50) webpage

    STATEMENT/17/1656

     

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  6. newsSecurity Union: European Commission welcomes the Council's commitment to improve information exchange and border management

    Luxembourg, 9 June 2017

    Following the adoption by the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the conclusions on information systems and interoperability and the general approach on the Commission's proposal for a European Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS), Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King made the following joint statement:

    “The recent tragic attacks in Europe have reminded us, once again, that all Member States need to work together to protect our citizens from the threat of terrorism. Effective information sharing is a key element of our efforts to prevent terrorism and the Commission has been working relentlessly over the past two years to improve information management for borders and security, make more effective use of EU-level systems and close information gaps.

    We need to ensure that our border guards and police, our immigration officers, our customs and judicial authorities have the necessary information at their disposal to protect our external borders, lead the fight against terrorism and organised crime and better protect our citizens. Ensuring that persons can only be registered under one identity in our information systems for security, border and migration management is essential for this.

    The conclusions adopted yesterday by the Council on the way forward to improve this information exchange and ensure interoperability of EU information systems prove that this is a shared priority at the highest political level. The Commission, together with the Council, the European Parliament, EU Agencies and the European Data Protection Supervisor will continue to drive this work forward with a view to increasing interoperability of the EU's information systems at every step of the way, in full respect of fundamental rights.  

    An important building block in this way forward is the European Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS), and we welcome the Council's adoption today of a general approach. ETIAS will allow us to gather advance information on persons travelling visa-free to the EU and to ensure that those who may pose a security risk are identified before they reach our borders. We call on the Council and the Parliament to work constructively in order to swiftly adopt the legislation and to make ETIAS operational as soon as possible."

    Next steps

    The Commission will continue discussing the new approach to data management for security and borders with the European Parliament and the Council with the aim of reaching a common understanding on the way forward before the end of 2017. The discussion will feed into the proposal on interoperability which the Commission will present shortly. The preparation of the legislative proposal will include a public consultation and an impact assessment, including on fundamental rights.

    As regards ETIAS, the Council and the European Parliament should start negotiations as quickly as possible to reach an agreement before the end of 2017 and ensure it is operational by 2020.

    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. In his State of the Union speech, President Juncker also announced that the Commission would propose in November 2016 a European Travel Information System (ETIAS) – an automated system to determine who will be allowed to travel to the Schengen Area. The setting up of this system was further prioritised in the Bratislava Roadmap signed and agreed by the EU 27 leaders.

    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 its final report on 11 May 2017.

    The seventh report on progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union welcomed the High-Level Expert Group's report and recommendations. Based on these, the progress report proposed the way forward to address structural shortcomings under the three main areas: maximising the utility of existing information systems; where necessary, developing complementary systems to close information gaps; and ensuring interoperability between our systems.

    For More Information

    Press Release on Commission sets out new approach on interoperability of information systems

    Press Release on Commission proposes a European Travel Information and Authorisation System

    Communication on 7th Progress Report on Security Union

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    STATEMENT/17/1569

  7. newsApril 2017 compared with March 2017 - Industrial production up by 0.5% in euro area - Up by 0.2% in EU28

    Brussels, 14 June 2017

    In April 2017 compared with March 2017, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 0.5% in the euro area(EA19) and by 0.2% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In March 2017 industrial production rose by 0.2% in euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28.

    Full text available on EUROSTAT website

    STAT/17/1642

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  8. newsEnd of roaming charges in the EU: Joint statement by 3 EU institutions

    Brussels, 14 June 2017

    As of tomorrow, 15 June 2017, roaming charges in the European Union will no longer apply. President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat, on behalf of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, issued the following statement:

    "The European Union is about bringing people together and making their lives easier. The end of roaming charges is a true European success story.

    From now on, citizens who travel within the EU will be able to call, text and connect on their mobile devices at the same price as they pay at home. Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU.

    Over the last 10 years, our institutions have been working hard together to fix this market failure. Each time a European citizen crossed an EU border, be it for holidays, work, studies or just for a day, they had to worry about using their mobile phones and a high phone bill from the roaming charges when they came home. Roaming charges will now be a thing of the past. As of tomorrow, you will be able to remain connected while travelling in the EU, for the same price as at home.

    It has been a long time coming, with many actors involved. By working closely together, the European Union has delivered a concrete, positive result for European citizens. We are proud that the EU has put an end to very high roaming prices and thankful to those who showed the determination to overcome the many challenges and pursue this goal.

    At the same time, the EU has managed to find the right balance between the end of roaming charges and the need to keep domestic mobile packages competitive and attractive. Operators have had 2 years to prepare for the end of roaming charges, and we are confident that they will seize the opportunities the new rules bring to the benefit of their customers.

    The end of roaming charges is at the foundation of the EU's Digital Single Market and is another step towards building a united and sustainable European digital society, accessible for all our citizens."

    For More Information

    Frequent questions and answers

    General factsheet on the end of roaming charges

     

    Copyright European Union

    Detailed factsheet: How does it work?

    STATEMENT/17/1590

  9. newsEurogroup statement on Greece

    The Eurogroup welcomes that agreement has been reached between Greece and the institutions on a policy package of structural measures, which aims at shoring up growth and addressing the underlying structural imbalances in public finances and paves the way for a successful completion of the second review of the ESM programme.

    The Eurogroup also welcomes the adoption by the Greek parliament of the agreed prior actions for the second review, notably the ambitious post-programme fiscal package, which is composed of an income tax reform broadening the tax base and a pension reform. Together they deliver net savings of 2% of GDP which will underpin the fiscal targets post-2018. It also contains a contingent expansionary package to enhance the growth potential of the Greek economy and to improve the Greek social safety net that will be implemented provided that the agreed medium-term targets are met. We also welcome the adoption of a package of decisive measures to effectively address non-performing loans (NPL), such as establishing an active secondary market, an Out-of-Court Debt Workout framework, as well as all actions to make the Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations (HCAP) fully operational.

    Moreover, the policy package includes a large number of structural measures aimed at enhancing the growth potential of the Greek economy. With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices. The Eurogroup also commends the Greek authorities for adopting legislation to implement OECD recommendations to strengthen competition, to facilitate investment licensing and to further open-up regulated professions. We welcome the commitment by Greece to continue on its reform path.

    The Eurogroup also commends Greece and the European Commission for the exceptional mobilisation of EU Funds to boost investment in support of jobs and growth since July 2015, for a total amount of nearly EUR 11 bn. The Eurogroup calls upon the Greek authorities to work closely with the European Commission to ensure that additional EUR 970 million made available following the review of the national cohesion policy funding envelopes for the period from 2017 - 2020 are fully absorbed. Furthermore, we commit to continue to provide high-level experts to support the design and implementation of reforms through technical assistance projects.

    In parallel the Eurogroup invites Greece together with the institutions as well as relevant third parties by the end of this year to develop and support a holistic growth enhancing strategy including improvements of the investment climate. Further options for mobilizing additional funds from national development banks and other international financial institutions (such as the EIB and EBRD) should be explored. 

    The Eurogroup supports the efforts of the Greek authorities to work with the European institutions on the creation of a National Development Bank that would coordinate the implementation of development and promotional activities. The Eurogroup calls upon Greece, the European Commission and IFIs to work together to strengthen the pipelines of viable investment projects. Efforts should be made to step up the technical assistance from the European Investment Advisory Hub with a view to facilitating the preparation of investable projects and the establishment of investment platforms.

    Today the Eurogroup discussed again the sustainability of Greek public debt with the objective that Greece regains market access at sustainable rates. The Eurogroup reconfirmed the commitments and principles contained in the statements of May 2016. We noted that the implementation of the agreed short term debt measures already contributes to a substantial lowering of the gross financing needs (GFN) of Greece over the medium and long term and significantly improves the profile of Greek public debt.

    The Eurogroup welcomes the commitment of Greece to maintain a primary surplus of 3.5% of GDP until 2022 and thereafter a fiscal trajectory that is consistent with its commitments under the European fiscal framework, which would be achieved according to the analysis of the European Commission with a primary surplus of equal to or above but close to 2% of GDP in the period from 2023 to 2060.

    The Eurogroup concluded that debt sustainability should be attained within the framework of the debt measures envisaged by the Eurogroup in May 2016. In this regard, the Eurogroup recalled the assessment of debt sustainability with reference to the agreed benchmarks for gross financing needs: GFN should remain below 15% of GDP in the medium term and below 20% of GDP thereafter so as to ensure that debt remains on a sustained downward path.

    The Eurogroup recalls that it stands ready to implement a second set of debt measures to the extent needed to meet the aforementioned GFN objectives, in line with the Eurogroup statement of 25 May 2016. This includes abolishing the step-up interest rate margin related to the debt buy-back tranche of the 2nd Greek programme, the use of 2014 SMP profits from the ESM segregated account, the restoration of the transfer of the equivalent of ANFA and SMP profits to Greece (as of budget year 2017), liability management operations within the current ESM programme envelope taking due account of the exceptionally high burden of some Member States, and EFSF reprofiling within the maximum Programme Authorised Amount.

    The Eurogroup stands ready to implement, without prejudice to the final DSA, extensions of the weighted average maturities (WAM) and a further deferral of EFSF interest and amortization by between 0 and 15 years. As agreed in May 2016, these measures shall not lead to additional costs for other beneficiary Member States.

    In order to take into account possible differences between growth assumptions in the DSA and actual growth developments over the post-programme period, the EFSF reprofiling would be recalibrated according to an operational growth-adjustment mechanism to be agreed. This mechanism will be fully specified as part of the medium-term debt relief measures, following the successful implementation of the ESM programme to make sure the GFN benchmarks defined above are respected and to ensure that the ceiling established by the EFSF Programme Authorised Amount is respected. The Eurogroup mandates the EWG to work further on this as of 2018.

    At the end of the programme, conditional upon its successful implementation and to the extent necessary, this second set of measures will be implemented. The exact calibration of these measures will be confirmed at the end of the programme by the Eurogroup on the basis of an updated DSA in cooperation with the European institutions, so as to ensure debt sustainability and compliance with the European fiscal policy framework. This DSA, while based on cautious assumptions, will also take into account the impact of growth enhancing reforms and investment initiatives.

    For the long term, the Eurogroup recalls the May 2016 agreement that in the case of an unexpectedly more adverse scenario a contingency mechanism on debt could be activated. The activation of this mechanism would be considered subject to a decision by the Eurogroup and could entail measures such as a further EFSF re-profiling and capping and deferral of interest payments.

    Acknowledging the staff level agreement reached with Greece on policies, IMF management will shortly recommend to the IMF's Executive Board the approval in principle of Greece's request for a 14-month  Standby Arrangement.  The IMF welcomes the further specification of the debt measures given today by Member States, and agrees that it represents a major step towards Greek debt sustainability. The IMF arrangement will become effective with resources made available in accordance with its terms, provided that the programme stays on track, when IMF staff can assure to the IMF's Executive Board that there is an agreement on debt relief measures, that, appropriately calibrated at the end of the programme, would secure debt sustainability.

    In view of the full implementation of all prior actions and subject to the completion of national procedures, the ESM governing bodies are expected to approve the supplemental MoU and the disbursement of the third tranche of the ESM programme amounting to EUR 8.5 bn to cover current financing needs, arrears clearing, and possibly room to start building up a cash buffer.

    In view of the ending of the current programme in August 2018, the Eurogroup commits to provide support for Greece's return to the market: the Eurogroup agrees that future disbursements should cater not only for the need to clear arrears but also to further build up cash buffers to support investor's confidence and facilitate market access.

  10. newsCommission launches reflection on harnessing globalisation

     

    Following the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe presented on 1 March, the Commission is publishing today its Reflection Paper on Harnessing Globalisation.

    Based on a fair assessment of the benefits and downsides of globalisation, today's Paper aims to launch a debate on how the EU and its Member States can shape globalisation in a way that anticipates the future and improves the lives of Europeans.

    Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission, said: "Globalisation is good for the European economy overall, but this means little to our citizens if the benefits are not shared fairly and more evenly. Europe must help rewrite the global rulebook so that free trade becomes fair trade. So that globalisation becomes sustainable and works for all Europeans. At the same time, we must focus our policies on getting people the education and skills they need to keep up with the evolution of our economies. Better redistribution will help guarantee the social cohesion and solidarity this Union is based on."

    Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Globalisation is a formidable force bringing benefits to Europe and the rest of the world but also many challenges. To preserve the benefits of openness but also address its drawbacks, Europe must promote a stronger rules-based global order, act resolutely against unfair practices, make our societies more resilient and our economies more competitive in the face of a fast changing environment."

    The reflection paper takes an honest look at what globalisation has brought to the EU. The fact is that, even if the EU has greatly benefitted from globalisation, it has also brought many challenges. Around the world, globalisation has helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and enabled poorer countries to catch up. For the EU, global trade has boosted EU economic growth, with every €1 billion of additional exports supporting 14,000 jobs. Cheaper imports also benefit poorer households in particular. But these benefits are not automatic nor are they evenly distributed among our citizens. Europe is also impacted by the fact that other countries do not all share the same standards in areas such as employment, environmental or safety standards, meaning that European companies are less able to compete on price alone with their foreign counterparts; this can lead to factory closures, job losses or downward pressure on workers' pay and conditions.

    However, the solution lies neither in protectionism nor in laissez-faire politics. The evidence presented in the Reflection Paper shows clearly that globalisation can be beneficial where it is properly harnessed.  The EU must ensure a better distribution of the benefits of globalisation by working together with Member States and regions as well as with international partners and other stakeholders. We should seize together the opportunity to shape globalisation in line with our own values and interests.

    Today's Reflection Paper opens up a vital debate on how the EU can best harness globalisation and respond to its opportunities and challenges:

    • On the external front, the paper focuses on the need to shape a truly sustainable global order, based on shared rules and a common agenda. The EU has always stood for a strong and effective 'multilateral' global rulebook and should continue to develop it in a way that addresses new challenges and ensures effective enforcement. For example, the EU could push for new rules to create a level-playing field by addressing harmful and unfair behaviour like tax evasion, government subsidies or social dumping. Effective trade defence instruments and a multilateral investment court could also help the EU act decisively against countries or companies that engage in unfair practices.
    • On the domestic front, the paper suggests tools to protect and empower citizens through robust social policies and providing the necessary education and training support throughout their lives. Progressive tax policies, investing in innovation and strong welfare policies could all help redistribute wealth more fairly. Meanwhile, use of EU structural funds to assist vulnerable regions and the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund (see Factsheet on the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund) to help displaced workers find another job can help mitigate negative impacts.

    Background

    Around a third of our national income comes from trade with the rest of the world. As overseas markets have grown, European exports have grown supporting higher-paid jobs. By specialising in what they do best, countries can produce more for less, boosting consumers' purchasing power. People travel, work, learn and live freely in different countries. They interact with each other on the web, sharing their ideas, cultures and experiences. Students have online access to courses run by leading universities across the world. International competition and scientific cooperation have accelerated innovation. Globalisation has also lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and enabled poorer countries to catch up.

    But globalisation also brings challenges. Many Europeans are concerned that globalisation leads to inequality, job losses, social injustice, or lowering environmental, health or privacy standards. They sometimes also feel threatened in their identities, traditions and ways of living. These concerns must be recognised and addressed.

    Harnessing globalisation, shaping the world for the better, promoting high standards and values outside Europe, protecting our citizens from unfair practices, and making our societies resilient and our economies more competitive are all key priorities for this Commission.

    The reflection paper on the harnessing globalisation follows up on the White Paper on the Future of Europe presented on 1 March, which set out the main challenges and opportunities for Europe in the coming decade. The White Paper marked the beginning of a process for the EU27 to decide on the future of their Union. To encourage this debate, the European Commission, together with the European Parliament and interested Member States, will host a series of 'Future of Europe Debates' across Europe's cities and regions.

    The paper on the harnessing globalisation will be followed by a series of reflection papers on:

    • deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, on the basis of the Five Presidents' Report of June 2015;
    • the future of Europe's defence;
    • the future of EU finances.

    For More Information

    Reflection paper on harnessing globalisation

    Factsheet: European Globalisation Adjustment Fund - Ten Years of European Solidarity

    Follow First Vice-President Timmermans on Facebook and Twitter

    Follow Vice-President Katainen on Facebook and Twitter

    IP/17/1230 Brussels, 10 May 2017 Copyright European Union

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