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EC London Office weekly round-up
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Published on 06-06-14

We are trialling this new weekly round-up of EU news. Each week, we will sum up Commission news of particular interest for the UK while also summarising London events on EU-related subjects. Let us know what you think at COMM-UK-PRESS@ec.europa.eu

 

    EC London Office weekly round-up

    Main news from Brussels this week

    G7 in Brussels

    On 4-5 June 2014, a G7 summit was hosted in Brussels by the European Union, represented by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. The summit discussed the situation in Ukraine and relations with Russia as well as other foreign policy topics, the global economy, trade, energy security, climate change and development. The two-day meeting began at 8 p.m. on Wednesday 4 June and ended on Thursday 5 June at 3 p.m.

    G7 leader's communiqué

    Brussels G7 Summit Declaration

    Country Specific Recommendations

    On 2 June, the European Commission proposed a series of country specific recommendations focusing on what can realistically be achieved in the next 12-18 months to make growth stronger, more sustainable and more inclusive, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU's long-term growth and jobs plan.

    These recommendations will be discussed by EU leaders at an EU summit on 26-27 June. The Council – in this case national Finance Ministers – will then adopt final texts. Through this annual process, Member States agree collectively on what each government needs to do individually to consolidate and build on the signs of economic recovery now being seen.

    The proposed recommendations for the UK were on budgetary policy, the housing market, youth employment, child poverty and childcare, finance for SMEs and infrastructure. Among the recommendations were:

    -        Increasing housing supply;

    -        Addressing London housing price rises – adjust Help to Buy 2;

    -        Engaging employers to address skills mismatches;

    -        Implementing Universal Credit and other welfare reforms to deliver work incentives and support;

    -        Improving the availability of affordable, quality childcare;

    -        Ensuring that the Business Bank really delivers as planned, promoting access  to bank and non-bank financing;

    -        Supporting challenger bank emergence;

    -        Tracking progress on the plan – delivering regular transparent updates on the infrastructure side.

    More information

    Full recommendation for the UK

    Twelve UK universities win EU translation teaching label

    Twelve British universities, more than in any other EU country, have won European Commission recognition for the quality of their translation teaching at master’s level. The Commission unveiled the list of universities granted membership of its European Master's in Translation (EMT) network on 2 June. The network recognises translation courses that meet agreed professional standards and market requirements and member universities can use the EMT logo as a quality label to promote their teaching.

    More information

    UK business and academics join world’s largest civilian robotics programme

    The European Commission this week launched the world's largest civilian research and innovation programme in robotics, involving some 180 EU companies and research organisations. Covering areas such as manufacturing, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and households, the SPARC initiative is the EU’s industrial policy effort to strengthen Europe’s position in the global robotics market. This new public-private partnership, under the umbrella of euRobotics, is expected to create over 240,000 jobs in Europe, and increase Europe’s share of the global market to 42% (a boost of €4 billion per year, £3.244 billion).

    More information

    Trilateral energy meeting between the EU, Russia and Ukraine

    Following receipt of payment of 786 million USD (£467.4 million) by Gazprom from Naftogaz, a trilateral meeting on energy security between EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan took place in Brussels on Monday 2 June. Real progress has been made. Intensive discussions led to a bilateral meeting between the CEOs of Gazprom and Naftogaz who discussed key commercial issues for a settlement of the ongoing gas supply questions. The CEOs of Gazprom and Naftogaz have developed an approach in which both companies will further consult and continue talks in the next days. It was agreed that as long as these talks are ongoing: there will be no interruption of delivery; there will be no prepayment for gas deliveries for June and no party will go to Stockholm for arbitration.

    5th Access City Award competition

    This week, the European Commission opened the competition for the fifth 'Access City Award 2014', the European award for accessible cities. The annual prize recognises and celebrates cities for their efforts to make it easier for disabled and older people to gain access to public areas such as housing, children’s play areas, public transport or communication technologies. Cities with at least 50,000 inhabitants have until 10 September 2014 to submit their entries. The European Commission will present the awards on 3 December 2014 in Brussels, at the annual "European Day of People with Disabilities Conference". The UK has yet to win but last year Belfast was shortlisted among the seven best.

    More information

    All this week's key European Commission announcements can be found here

    EU and the UK

    'The 2014 EP elections: a victory for European democracy?

    On 2 June, Professor Maurice Fraser chaired the European Institute's annual lecture. Speakers included Dr Sara Hagemann, Professor Jonathan Hopkin and Dr Mareike Kleine.

    'Britain and Europe: A Common Future?'

    On 5 June, Sir Menzies Campbell MP, former Liberal Democrat leader discussed the future of Britain and Europe at Chatham House.

    The EC's UK offices this week

    Gerald Howson – photo exhibition

    From 27 May to 13 June, the 12-Star Gallery of Europe House will exhibit Gerald Howson's pictures documenting life in Poland. In 1959, Gerald Howson was commissioned by the British magazine “The Queen” to provide a photographic illustration to an article about cold-war Poland. The British historian, painter and photographer travelled to Krakow, Nowa Huta, Lublin and Warsaw. The painterly quality of his art left an indelible mark on each and every image he took.

    For upcoming events, please have a look at our newsletter

    EU in the UK media this week

    Every week, we will pick out one of the week's most interesting comment pieces….which does not mean we agree with everything it says. This week the Sunday Express is unusually, if hardly uncritically, supportive of the EU:

    Fixing EU's flaw is better than aiding sinister Putin

    EU fact of the week

    Travelling in the world

    As a citizen of the UK, you are automatically an EU citizen, thus entitled to consular assistance if you are outside the EU, even if your own country is not represented. You can go to any other EU Member State's consulate or embassy to ask for help, if for example you are arrested, have a serious accident or lose important documents.

    You are also entitled to assistance in crisis situations: EU Member States must help citizens evacuate when needed as if they were their own nationals.

    You can find out if the UK is represented at your destination on the European Commission's consular protection website.

    Tweet of the week

     Mark English ‏@EULondonMark

     

    European Commission a friend to the UK, says @HeatherGrabbe at #Policy Network..indeed:sgl mkt,digital,CAP reform,fin services,energy +more 

     

     

    Quote of the week

    "I think it is also hard for me to imagine it would be advantageous for Great Britain to be excluded from political decisions that have an enormous impact on its economic and political life" Barack Obama, at the G7 summit

    Picture of the week – Prime Minister David Cameron and EC President Barroso at G7 summit

    Last update: 12/06/2014  |Top