The 9th May is an important date for all Europeans. Europe Day marks the anniversary of the 'Schuman declaration'. At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations a thing of the past.
9 May marks the most important recurrence for all Europeans: Europe Day. The date is the anniversary of the historical 'Schuman declaration', considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union. To mark this anniversary, the European Commission Representation in Malta is launching the Europe Day Slogan Facebook Competition. Let us know what this day means to you, write a short Europe Day slogan and win!
The European Commission is today proposing to the European Parliament and Council of the European Union to lift the visa requirements for the citizens of Turkey, under the understanding that the Turkish authorities will fulfil, as a matter of urgency and as they committed to do so on 18 March 2016, the outstanding benchmarks of its Visa Liberalisation Roadmap. The proposal is presented together with a Report on progress by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements of the Roadmap.
Today the European Commission is presenting proposals to reform the Common European Asylum System by creating a fairer, more efficient and more sustainable system for allocating asylum applications among Member States. The basic principle will remain the same – asylum seekers should, unless they have family elsewhere, apply for asylum in the first country they enter – but a new fairness mechanism will ensure no Member State is left with a disproportionate pressure on its asylum system. Today's proposals also include transforming the existing European Asylum Support Office (EASO) into a fully-fledged European Union Agency for Asylum to reflect its enhanced role in the new system and reinforcing of the EU's fingerprinting database, Eurodac, in order to better manage the asylum system and to help tackle irregular migration.
The Commission has today proposed a Recommendation, to be decided upon by the Council, to prolong proportionate controls at certain internal Schengen borders, namely in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Norway for a maximum period of six months. National measures have already been introduced by these countries to address the threat to public policy and internal security resulting from the secondary movements of irregular migrants. Today's draft Recommendation proposes to extend these measures, in line with the Schengen Borders Code, as, and despite significant progress made by Greece, not all of the serious deficiencies identified could be adequately and comprehensively addressed within the three months' limit.
Economic growth in Europe is expected to remain modest as key trading partners' performance has slowed and some of the so far supportive factors start to wane. As a result, GDP in the euro area is forecast to continue growing at modest rates over the 2015-2017 period. According to its spring forecast, the Commission expects euro area GDP of 1.6% in 2016 and 1.8% in 2017 after 1.7% in 2015 (Winter forecast: 2015: 1.6%, 2016: 1.7%, 2017: 1.9%). GDP growth in the EU is expected to moderate from 2.0% last year to 1.8% in 2016 before reaching 1.9% in 2017 (Winter forecast: 2015: 1.9%, 2016: 1.9%, 2017: 2.0%).
Europe has a good record when it comes to the freedom of the media. But the situation is far from perfect. Albert Camus once said: "A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad." I believe this is even more relevant in the age of digital media. The recent legislative proposals on public media service as well as the recent debate about the limits of satire both in the EU and Turkey serve as a stark reminder that the freedom and independence of the media and freedom of speech are not set in stone but are contested. If we are to protect our own precious liberties and maintain our ability to serve as a beacon for our own neighbourhood and the world, we must thus remain vigilant.
As of tomorrow calling, texting or surfing online from another Member States (roaming) will get cheaper. When travelling in the EU, mobile devices users will only pay a small amount on top of their domestic prices: up to €0.05 per minute of call made, €0.02 per SMS sent, and €0.05 per MB of data (excl. VAT).
Today, following an agreement by social partners on working conditions in the fishing sector, the European Commission is translating the agreement into a legal proposal for a Directive. In 2013, the EU social partners in the fishing sector reached an agreement, which proposed to align EU law with the "Work in Fishing" Convention 2007 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Once adopted by the Council, this directive will implement the social partner agreement, which provides for a higher level of protection of EU fishermen.
Delivering a deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is one of the top priorities of European Commission President Juncker. The Five Presidents’ Report, presented on 22 June 2015, is the basis for achieving this aim within the next decade. In addition, the Commission committed itself to stimulate a broad-based consultation, facilitate discussions and open debates across the EU.