The European Commission welcomes today's approval in the European Parliament of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement. The trade agreement negotiated by the Commission is the first ever to include an explicit reference to the Paris climate agreement. It will create an open trading zone covering 635 million people and almost one third of the world's total GDP. The Strategic Partnership Agreement is the first ever bilateral framework agreement between the EU and Japan.
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have taken key steps today towards political agreement on rescEU, the plan to strengthen EU civil protection response to disasters. Multiple natural disasters have affected all parts of the EU in recent years, causing hundreds of casualties and billions in damage to infrastructure. To better protect citizens, rescEU will strengthen the existing EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In particular, a new European reserve of capacities will be established including forest fighting planes, special water pumps, urban search and rescue and field hospitals and emergency medical teams.
The European Commission has authorised Greece, under EU State aid rules, to extend by 20 years the concession granted to AIA to operate Athens International Airport. The fee AIA will pay for the extension respects market conditions, and therefore AIA receives no undue economic advantage or aid.
This evening, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission have reached a political agreement on the Cybersecurity Act which reinforces the mandate of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity, (European Union Agency for Network and Information and Security, ENISA) so as to better support Member States with tackling cybersecurity threats and attacks. The Act also establishes an EU framework for cybersecurity certification, boosting the cybersecurity of online services and consumer devices.
The Commission is today reporting on progress made in building a genuine and effective Security Union since the October European Council. Good progress is being achieved on a number of security initiatives, including the proposals to remove terrorist content online and to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard, but more efforts are needed from the European Parliament and the Council to deliver results on all pending security proposals ahead of the European Parliament elections in May 2019.
Today, the Commission responds to a new survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency which finds that 9 out of 10 European Jews feel Antisemitism has increased over the past five years.
Delivering on its strategy on artificial intelligence (AI) adopted in April 2018 today the Commission presents a coordinated plan prepared with Member States to foster the development and use of AI in Europe.
To protect its democratic systems and public debates and in view of the 2019 European elections as well as a number of national and local elections that will be held in Member States by 2020, the EU is presenting today an Action Plan to step up efforts to counter disinformation in Europe and beyond.
Taking stock of the progress made so far and following up on the call made by European leaders in June 2018 to protect the Union's democratic systems, the European Commission and the High Representative are setting out concrete measures to tackle disinformation, including the creation of a Rapid Alert System and close monitoring of the implementation of the Code of Practice signed by the online platforms. The Action Plan also foresees an increase of resources devoted to the issue.
In light of the upcoming European Council and Euro Summit in December, the Commission presents actions to strengthen the role of the euro in a changing world.
In his State of the Union Address in September 2018, President Juncker highlighted the strategic importance of the euro and the need to ensure that the single currency can play its full role on the international scene. Supported by upcoming decisions to strengthen Europe's Economic and Monetary Union, complete the Banking Union and advance on the Capital Markets Union, the euro needs to develop its global role and fully reflect the euro area's political, economic and financial weight.
Today, the European Commission is presenting its Second Report on the progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings.