Cohesion becomes central in EU recovery package

Cohesion becomes central in EU recovery package

Through the new REACT-EU emergency instrument, cohesion policy will be one of the key elements in the European Commission’s proposal for a recovery package, which takes into account that the impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been uneven across the EU.  “This is the European answer to the biggest crisis we have ever seen,” the Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Fereira, told a press conference about the EU recovery package, “I am very glad that inside the DNA of this recovery proposal, you have conversion, cohesion and reforms.” The…

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Food security once again in the spotlight of the EU after the COVID-19 crisis

Food security once again in the spotlight of the EU after the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on the EU’s flagship new food policy, as the Farm to Fork strategy (F2F), presented on Wednesday (20 May), demonstrated a renewed interest in food security to ensure the supply during crises of any nature. Although sustainability should have been at the core of the whole structure of the much-awaited F2F, the concept of food security has taken on an equally key role in the structure. Unveiling its food strategy, the Commission has recognised that the current COVID-19 pandemic, although not linked to…

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Sefkovic calls for equitable access to the EU market in China to “increase confidence” after COVID-19

Sefkovic calls for equitable access to the EU market in China to “increase confidence” after COVID-19

European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has renewed calls for European firms to gain fair market access in China after the global public health crisis has been reigned in, in an effort to restore trust and confidence. Speaking at a EURACTIV event on Friday (May 8), Šefčovič recalled his meeting last year with China’s President Xi at Beijing’s Belt and Road Summit, in which he pressed the leader on the issue of gaining market access to China for EU firms. “Our request for improving the relationship was a very simple one,”…

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France and Holland join forces to urge EU to show teeth on trade

France and Holland join forces to urge EU to show teeth on trade

France and the Netherlands have joined forces to urge the European Union to enforce environmental and labour standards more forcefully with countries the bloc signs trade deals with, according to a document seen by Reuters. The initiative comes as the EU tries to negotiate a new trade deal with Britain, which formally left the bloc on 31 January, amid concerns that it might seek to undercut EU labour and environmental standards to boost its competitiveness. The involvement of the traditionally strongly pro-free trade Dutch underscores a shift in European thinking…

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MEP calls for rapprochement to avoid Orwell’s fate for farmers

MEP calls for rapprochement to avoid Orwell’s fate for farmers

As long as there are ‘equal’ and ‘more equal’ farmers within the EU, its Eastern member states will be giving up farming and abandoning rural areas, a group of 65 EU lawmakers warned in a letter addressed to the presidents of the bloc’s top institutions. The lawmakers mentioned the most famous line of George Orwell’s timeless classic ‘Animal Farm’ to describe the need for a fair distribution of direct payments in the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), on a par with other European countries. “Fed up with this concept of…

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EU leaders urge Skopje to resolve its historic dispute with Bulgaria

EU leaders urge Skopje to resolve its historic dispute with Bulgaria

The draft declaration of Wednesday’s (6 May) EU summit with the leaders of the Western Balkans, calls on North Macedonia to find a solution to bilateral disputes in the implementation of the Treaty on Good Neighborhood Relations with Bulgaria. EU leaders will hold a summit with their colleagues from the Western Balkans in the form of a teleconference. Before the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, the summit was to be held in Zagreb, under the Croatian presidency, with the participation of the EU 27 leaders and their colleagues from Serbia, Montenegro, Albania,…

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Croatian President leaves state ceremony to protest Nazi salute

Croatian President leaves state ceremony to protest Nazi salute

Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic walked away from a state wreath-laying ceremony on Friday (1 May) in protest at a Nazi-era slogan worn by one of the participants, exposing once again deep divisions in the EU’s newest member. Milanovic, a former Social Democrat prime minister in 2011-2015, was in Okucani, eastern Croatia to mark the 25th anniversary of Operation Flash (Bljesak), in which Croatian forces retook large swathes of land held by rebel Serbs for four years. “I feel sorry. I came here to pay my respect to those who had…

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Commission experts call for code of conduct for saving migrants from the sea

Commission experts call for code of conduct for saving migrants from the sea

The EU should stop channelling funds to Libya to manage migration and train its coastguard as it is not a “safe country” for disembarkation of people rescued at sea, MEPs in the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee heard on Monday (27 April). Ahead of a videoconference of EU home affairs ministers on Tuesday, EU lawmakers met with the Commission, EU border agency Frontex, UNHCR, the Council of Europe and NGOs to discuss the migration situation in Libya and on the Central Mediterranean route. In the hearing, EU lawmakers discussed the situation…

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Questions remain on green aspects of EU recovery plan

Questions remain on green aspects of EU recovery plan

EU leaders on Thursday (23 April) tasked the European Commission with drafting a trillion-euro “recovery fund” linked to the EU budget but didn’t specify how it will support the green transition they claim to be committed to. Last month, they urged the Commission to promote “the green transition and the digital transformation” as part of the post-pandemic recovery plan. The priority is “first to repair crisis damage,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a press conference after the summit. “And then generate recovery, build resilience and guide our…

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UN head warns against repressive measures in the context of the coronavirus crisis

UN head warns against repressive measures in the context of the coronavirus crisis

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday (23 April) the coronavirus could give some countries an excuse to adopt repressive measures for reasons unrelated to the pandemic as he warned that the outbreak risks becoming a human rights crisis. Guterres released a UN report highlighting how human rights should guide the response and recovery to the health, social and economic crisis gripping the world. He added that while the virus does not discriminate, its impacts do. The new coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, has so far infected some…

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