Strong mobilization against pension reform casts doubt on French government

Strong mobilization against pension reform casts doubt on French government

In protest at the government’s pension reform proposal, French workers staged a massive strike on Thursday (5 December), which paralysed the country. With teachers and transport sector workers expected to strike again today, this will be the ultimate test for President Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to reform the country. Scheduled for three months, the strike that started on Thursday (5 December) in France brought together around 800,000 demonstrators. There were many many civil servants, as well as lawyers, firemen, doctors, students, but also yellow vests and so-called ‘casseurs’ (hooligans). The mobilisation…

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USA promises 100% tariffs for French champagne, cheese, digital tax bags

USA promises 100% tariffs for French champagne, cheese, digital tax bags

The US government on Monday (2 November) said it may slap punitive duties of up to 100% on $2.4 billion in imports from France of Champagne, handbags, cheese and other products, after concluding that France’s new digital services tax would harm US tech companies. The US Trade Representative’s office said its “Section 301” investigation found that the French tax was “inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy, and is unusually burdensome for affected US companies,” including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc. US Trade Representative…

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European Space Agency receives astronomical budget

European Space Agency receives astronomical budget

The European Space Agency (ESA) will enjoy a budget of €14.4 billion over the next five years, after the agency’s 22 member states agreed on Thursday (28 November) to increase funding for space exploration. The larger budget will be earmarked for putting the first space station in orbit around the moon, with the aim of putting European astronauts on the lunar surface for the first time, as well as an anti-asteroid system, 5G satellites and a black-hole mission. Germany is now the largest financial contributor to ESA’s coffers, with €3.3…

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Harnessing the potential of French offerings for the benefit of the Western Balkans

Harnessing the potential of French offerings for the benefit of the Western Balkans

In recent days, the discourse on the Western Balkans’ EU accession has been dominated by discussion of the (in)famous French non-paper, finally explaining the thinking behind the changes in the enlargement methodology announced earlier by President Macron. Milena Lazarevic explains how the French proposal might work. Milena Lazarevic is the programme director at European Policy Centre (CEP) Belgrade. Ever since France blocked the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania at October’s European Council meeting, criticising and even bashing French proposals has been a popular sport within the…

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Frontier Research – Good Return On Investment?

Frontier Research – Good Return On Investment?

From healthy lives to sustainable cities, from food security to equal societies – frontier research is often credited to have the potential to produce paradigm-shifting discoveries with economic, societal and policy impacts. With almost 10,000 researchers supported all over Europe, the European Research Council (ERC) is a key component of the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. But while the main objective of frontier research is to fund multi-disciplinary, pioneering projects allowing scientists to follow their curiosity, critics of the concept consider there should be more control over the…

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Time to direct supplies to the EU carbon market

Time to direct supplies to the EU carbon market

The UN shipping body’s failure to agree on immediate climate measures means the incoming European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, must make good of her promise to include the maritime sector under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), aruges Sam Van den plas. Sam Van den plas is policy director at Carbon Market Watch, an NGO advocating for fair and effective climate action The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) last week once again postponed decisions on concrete and immediate measures, such as reducing the speed of ships, to address…

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French PM strives to push for pension reform amid calls for “unlimited” strikes

French PM strives to push for pension reform amid calls for “unlimited” strikes

The French government’s determination to push for pension reform does not appear to be wavering in the face of mounting calls for protest by trade unions, students, teachers and the ‘yellow vest’ movement. EURACTIV France reports. The government in Paris is determined to push ahead with its pension reform, even if this means that strikes could block part of France. That is because the rail workers’ General Confederation of Labour (CGT-Cheminots) initially called for an unlimited strike to take place on 5 December, to protest against the amendment of the…

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EU finance and education ministers hold “historic” meeting to increase skills investment

EU finance and education ministers hold “historic” meeting to increase skills investment

Ministers of finance and education of the EU member states met on Friday (7 November) for the first-ever joint Council with the aim of discussing the importance of education for a strong economy. “Today is a historic day, since for the first time ever we had the opportunity to discuss topics related to education together with finance and education ministers,” said Li Andersson, minister for education in Finland, which currently holds the Council’s rotating presidency. Although the ministers spent more than three hours discussing this issue, there were no proposals…

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Huawei’s billion-euro pitch to Vestager

Huawei’s billion-euro pitch to Vestager

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has released 2018 figures showing its presence in Europe provided a €12.8 billion stimulus to the EU’s economy, backing the company’s claim that it has become an essential element of Europe’s digital ecosystem. The figures, published on Monday (4 November), were intended particularly for incoming Commission Vice-President Margarethe Vestager who vowed to make “Europe fit for a digital age” as part of her new five-year mandate. The publication of Huawei’s 2018 economic data in Europe comes as America’s pressure on the company appears to be easing….

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Commission tells member states to adjust their economies further

Commission tells member states to adjust their economies further

The European Commission sent a number of letters to member states that are at risk of missing their fiscal targets for 2020. Brussels wants more information on how they intend to balance their public finances. Italy and Spain were among the eurozone countries that received a letter, an EU official had told EURACTIV.com on Monday evening, before they were submitted on Tuesday morning (22 October).  Belgium, France and Portugal also received a missive on Tuesday. According to EU rules, the Commission must seek additional information within the seven days after the…

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