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Published on 13-06-14

With our new round-up of EU news, each week we will sum up Commission and EU news of particular interest for the UK while also summarising London events on EU-related subjects. Let us know what you think at


    EC London Office weekly round-up

    Main news from Brussels this week

    José Manuel Barroso in Israel

    On 8 June, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso took part in the 14th Annual Herzliya Security Conference in Israel. The EC President said that even if the peace process is particularly challenging, peace will grant unforeseen possibilities in the relationships Europe and the Middle East. Three conditions are needed for success: non-violence, searching for a two-state solution and peaceful management of the conflict including the acceptance of pre-existing agreements and the recognition of the Israeli state.

    Mr Barroso and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu also agreed on Israel's association with the next "Horizon 2020" programme.

    José Manuel Barroso's speech

    José Manuel Barroso's address at the Hebrew University

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    Communication on research and innovation

    On 10 June, the European Commission published a new Communication on "Research and Innovation as sources of renewed growth". It details the steps taken since 2010 to implement the Innovation Union flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 growth strategy, makes proposals to help EU Member States maximise the impact of their research and innovation budgets and calls on them to prioritise R&I, as public authorities regain margins for growth-enhancing investment.

    State of the Innovation Union

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    Budget 2015

    On 11 June, the Commission proposed the EU budget for 2015, with a strong focus on projects that make Europe economically stronger and on issues that make a tangible difference to Europeans’ daily lives, such as energy, research and youth employment. All this with lower expenditure ceilings than in the previous financial period and with renewed discipline on administration costs.

    More information

    Environment Council in Luxembourg

    EU environment ministers ended the deadlock on GMO cultivation in Europe this week when they reached political agreement on new EU rules which will provide Member States greater choice to either restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs authorised at EU level on their territory. The proposal does not change the EU-wide risk assessment which will continue to be carried out by the European Food Safety Authority.

    The agreement paves the way for a second reading in the new European Parliament which could see the final adoption of the legislation in 2015.

    More information

    35 years of ensuring the food on Europe's tables is safe

    Members of the public can use a new Commission hosted consumer portal to check out food recall notices and public health warnings issued by EU food safety authorities and companies.  The launch this week coincides with the latest annual report on the work of the EU's Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), the system used by food safety authorities to exchange information on food safety alerts.  Over the past 35 years, RASFF has helped ensure that the food on Europe's tables meets some of the highest food safety standards in the world.

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

    EU and the UK

    'Implications of the European Parliament Elections'

    On 9 June, Mats Persson, Director of Open Europe; Philip Stephens from The Financial Times and Sarah Hobolt, professor at the LSE discussed the implications of the European elections at King’s College London. Sarah Hobolt questioned whether these elections were as different from previous EP elections as claimed. She thinks the result will lead to the European Parliament working more like a grand coalition.

    Mats Persson found it odd that voters were not interested in the elections, considering they come after seven years during which European integration has been a headline issue because of the crisis. He thinks the Commission President's position is anybody's race now and bets on Lithuania's President – and former EU Commissioner for Budget - Dalia GrybauskaitÄ—.

    Philip Stephens said the choice of the Commission president will not make a huge difference because important decisions will be taken in the Eurogroup, in Paris and in London: the Eurogroup for the banking union, in Paris because French recovery is a key issue now, and in London because of a possible referendum.

    'Will TTIP happen?'

    On 9 June, Chatham House organised a panel discussion with Jeffries Briginshaw, Managing Director, British American Business and Shawn Donnan, World Trade Editor, Financial Times. Jeffries Briginshaw was very positive about TTIP, answered the question with a big convinced yes, predicted the date to be around 2017/2018 and said it would be quite a substantive partnership. He highlighted the energy potential which is being talked up (with Ukraine in the background). He praised the negotiators who are performing with agility and transparency. Mr Briginshaw also welcomed the positive step by the EC in launching public consultation.

    Shawn Donnan emphasized the long negotiations we have entered, and referred to the Trans Pacific-Partnership negotiations which went through at least 29 rounds, when they stopped counting. He continued by pointing out the importance of politics over the next six months which will determine the future of TTIP. What will the European Commission look like in six months? The mid-term elections are coming up in the US and if Republicans win there could be a change of position on TTIP.

    Watch the full event here

    The EC's UK offices this week

    Gerald Howson – photo exhibition

    It's the last week to view Gerald Howson's pictures documenting life in Poland, at the 12-Star Gallery of Europe House. 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 pick out one of the week's most interesting comment pieces….which does not mean we agree with everything it says:

    Wise Men Warn on dangerous delusions of Brexit, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph


    EU fact of the week

    Problems with an airline, a car rental company or a tour operator during holidays?

    Thanks to EU passenger rights rules, if your flight or trip is delayed by several hours, the transports company you are travelling with should compensate you. If it is cancelled and you have to stay in a hotel away from your final destination, the airline or the train operator should pay for it. Before travelling, check how to claim your rights at airports, ports, and bus and train stations across Europe, or download the application for smartphones.

    Tweets of the week 

    EC in UK @EUlondonrep

     £51.7m towards opening access to Port Talbot came from the EU budget. Find out about other EU funded projects in UK!wd74RD


    British Influence @britinfluence

     6/11/14, 10:22 AM
    Some truths about #EU #migration....

    Quote of the week

    "Some Member States do not take into account that political promises have financial consequences (for the EU budget)" EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski

    Picture of the week


    EC President José Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman van Rompuy and László Surján, MEP, Vice_-president of the European Parliament welcome religious leaders to Brussels on 10 June

    Last update: 19/06/2014  |Top