Europe News Updates Feb no. 6

Euroactive News Updates. 

Financial Crisis:

The IMF issues an alert on the economic situation in Greece

photo non dispoOn 7th February, the International Monetary Fund published a report on Greece’s economic situation which highlights that country’s difficulties, particularly the vulnerability of public finances, tax evasion, structural obstacles to investment and growth, and a “totally unsustainable” debt

Migration:

Visas: Findings of the Advocate General at the European Court of Justice

photo non dispoAccording to the Advocate General who rendered his findings to the EU Court of Justice on 7th February, Member States must issue a humanitarian visa in cases where there are serious and proven reasons to believe that refusal would expose people seeking international protection from torture or inhuman or degrading treatment

The Swiss make naturalisation of third-generation immigrants easier

photo non dispoOn 12th February Switzerland voted to make the naturalisation of third-generation immigrants easier, with 59% of the vote. Naturalisation will not be automatic, however, but the procedure will be made faster and less expensive

 

15 European countries work together to protect their borders

photo non dispoAt a meeting in Vienna on 8th February, Ministers from 15 Central and South Eastern European countries reached an agreement to draw up military and civil cooperation programmes by the end of April. The various countries want to ensure protection of their borders in case of problems with the agreement signed between the European Union and Turkey

Combat against terrorism
photo non dispoOn 7th and 8th February representatives from the police forces of the 28 Member States, Switzerland and Norway met in Berlin to discuss the terrorist threat. They stated their will to improve cooperation and the sharing of information, particularly within the European context

Commission :

Increased growth forecasts despite “exceptional risks”

photo non dispoEconomic growth in the euro zone should remain robust, despite “exceptional risks”, stated the European Commission on 13th February. In its winter forecasts the European executive now expects growth in the euro zone at 1.6% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018, after 1.7% in 2016. For the EU, growth is set to be 1.8% in 2017 and 2018, compared with 1.9% in 2016.

Digital Single Market

photo non dispoEuropean citizens who subscribe to on-line services giving them access to music, games or programmes, can now benefit from this content whilst residing temporarily in another EU Member State…

 

€168 billion mobilised by the EU investment plan

photo non dispoTwo years after being launched by the Commission, the Investment Plan for Europe has already mobilised a total of over €168 billion in investment, i.e. well over half of the amount of €315 billion initially planned

 

Parliament:

Review of the rules on car approval

photo non dispoTo prevent another scandal of the Volkswagen emissions kind, MEPs on the internal market commission modified the rules of the car approval system on 9th February…

 

Agreement on a support mechanism for reforms for growth

photo non dispoMEPs and Council negotiators agreed on 8th February to a mechanism offering Member States technical assistance with the structural reforms necessary to stimulate growth and jobs, on a voluntary basis. The agreement has yet to be approved by Parliament in plenary session

Council :

Conclusions from the meeting of the 28 European Affairs ministers

photo non dispoOn 7th February the 28 European Affairs ministers prepared the European Council meeting to be held on 9th and 10th March, focussing on the economy, security and defence. They confirmed prolongation of temporary controls at the borders of 5 Member States and discussed efforts to be made to achieve the creation of a European Public Prosecutor’s office

 

The Council approves the agreement on roaming charges

photo non dispoOn 8th February, the Council gave its agreement to the end of roaming charges as from 15th June 2017. Now that the final decisions have been made, consumers will at last know how much data they can use whilst roaming if they have an “unlimited” contract

Diplomacy:

Meeting between Federica Mogherini and Rex Tillerson

photo non dispoOn 9th February Federica Mogherini met the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, for the first time. She warned against any kind of American “interference” in EU policy, particularly after remarks made about Brexit by the US President…

France:

French Prime Minister in Brussels

photo non dispoFollowing a meeting on 6th February, the President of the European Commission and the French Prime Minister excluded the possibility of London negotiating a relationship with the EU that would be more advantageous than the one currently existing between the various countries in the Union. They also raised the subject of the European basis of social rights, the investment plan, the combat against terrorism and the directive on posted workers

Lithuania:

Arrival in Lithuania of German battalions under the NATO flag

photo non dispoOn 7th February, the German Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, went to Lithuania to reaffirm her support for Lithuania, with the arrival of German battalions under the NATO flag. These troops are here to reinforce EU security on the border with Russia

Portugal:

The OECD praises Portugal’s economic recovery

photo non dispoOn 6th February, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) praised in its “Economic Study of Portugal” the structural reforms undertaken by that country. These have resulted in accelerated growth, a fall in unemployment and progress in exports