On Monday 22 May, the European Commission issued the Country Specific Recommendations for 2017 for all Member States, including Malta. The 2017 Country-Specific Recommendations addressed to Malta are the following:
On Tuesday 16 May, President Juncker announced his intention to allocate the Digital Economy and Society portfolio to Mariya Gabriel, the candidate for Commissioner from Bulgaria.
Meeting in Strasbourg, today the College of Commissioners has adopted two reports on the EU's emergency relocation and resettlement schemes and on progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union.
Ahead of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people are our parents, our children, our siblings, our friends, our neighbours and our fellow Europeans. Let's treat them as such. It's time we put an end to the widespread discrimination against LGBTI people together.
On 15 May, Commissioner Karmenu Vella, Adina-Ioana Valean, Chairwoman of the European Parliament's Environment Committee, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, First Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions and Neil Kerr, Deputy Permanent Representative of Malta signed a joint declaration proclaiming 21 May as the European Natura 2000 Day.
The European economy has entered its fifth year of recovery, which is now reaching all EU Member States. This is expected to continue at a largely steady pace this year and next. In its Spring Forecast released today, the European Commission expects euro area GDP growth of 1.7% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018 (1.6% and 1.8% in the Winter Forecast). GDP growth in the EU as a whole is expected to remain constant at 1.9% in both years (1.8% in both years in the Winter Forecast).
Europe Day, held on 9 May every year, celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historical '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 unthinkable.
1,345 students from all over the world have just received the good news that they have been awarded an EU-funded scholarship to begin studying for an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree this autumn. These scholarships will cover all the costs of their study programmes which will take them to two or more higher education institutions in pursuit of a joint or double Master's degree. Most programmes last two years.
The College of Commissioners has today sent a recommendation to the Council to open the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom. It includes draft negotiating directives. This legal mandate follows the adoption on Saturday by the European Council of political guidelines.
The eighth edition of the European Youth Week will take place across Europe from 1 to 7 May 2017. It will highlight the solidarity and social commitment of young people in Europe, inform and celebrate the Erasmus+ programme and serve to listen to young people's ideas on how to shape the future of EU youth policy.