European News Bulletin Jan No. 3

Migration :

                    1. The number of migrants arriving via the sea decreased in 2016. [1]

  According to a press release published on 6th January by Frontex the number of illegal immigrants arriving by sea in the Schengen Area totalled 364,000 out a total of 503 700 in 2016, ie a reduction of 2/3 in comparison with 2015. It should be noted that arrivals have increased sharply in Italy. (+20%) and have decreased by 79% in Greece thanks to the agreement concluded with Turkey.

Parliament :

                     2. Priorities for 2017 

  On 4th January the European Parliament presented its priorities for 2017. MEPs want notably to work on a fairer distribution of asylum seekers, the fight to counter terrorism, the single digital market, the fight to counter tax fraud and the reduction of greenhouse gases…

                3. Seven candidates for the Presidency of the European Parliament 

  On 17th January the election of the President of the European Parliament will take place in Strasbourg. The 7 candidates running to take over from Martin Schulz are Italians Antonio Tajani (EPP), Gianni Pittella (S&D) and Eleonora (GUE/NGL), Belgians Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) and Helga Stevens (ECR/N-VA), Briton Jean Lambert (the Greens) and Romanian Laurentiu Rebega (ENF)…

Council :

          4. Malta to preside over the Council of the European Union until 30th June 2017 

  Since January 1st, Malta has been presiding over the rotating Council of the European Union. Its priorities are migration, security, Single Market, a more inclusive European society, the Brexit negotiations.

Iceland:

           5. Referendum in Iceland on the European Union? 

  Negotiations regarding the formation of a government in Iceland are about to be completed between the Independence Party, Reform and Radiant Future. The idea of a possible referendum on Iceland joining the EU might feature in their government programme

Eurostat:

                  6. Drop in Unemployment 

  According to estimates published by Eurostat on 9th January the unemployment rate totalled 8.3% in the EU and 9.8% in the euro zone in November 2016. This was one of the lowest rates recorded since 2009 for the Union and since July 2009 for the euro zone

Studies/Reports :

                         7. Report on the European Social Fund 

  On 5th January the European Commission presented an assessment report of the European Social Fund. Between 2007 and 2014 the FSE helped, 9.7 million Europeans to find a job and enabled 8.7 million Europeans to achieve a diploma or qualifications