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Vice President Vestager
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"The Commission has decided to appeal before the European Court of Justice the General Court's judgment of July 2020 on the Apple State aid case in Ireland, which annulled the Commission's decision of August 2016 finding that Ireland granted illegal State aid to Apple through selective tax breaks.

Category: Economy, finance, tax and competition

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President Ursula von der Leyen presenting the new European Pact on Migration and Asylum
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The European Commission is proposing a new Pact on Migration and Asylum, covering all of the different elements needed for a comprehensive European approach to migration. It sets out improved and faster procedures throughout the asylum and migration system. And it sets in balance the principles of fair sharing of responsibility and solidarity. This is crucial for rebuilding trust between Member States and confidence in the capacity of the European Union to manage migration.

Category: External relations and foreign affairs, Justice and citizens rights

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Vice President Frans Timmermans presenting the proposals
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The European Commission has presented its plan to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This level of ambition for the next decade will put the EU on a balanced pathway to reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

The new target is based on a comprehensive Impact Assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts. The Assessment demonstrates that this course of action is realistic and feasible. This raised ambition also underlines the EU's continued global leadership, ahead of the next UN climate conference (COP26).

Category: Energy and natural resources, Environment, consumers and health

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President von der Leyen addressing the European Parliament
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today mapped out in her first annual State of the Union Address to the European Parliament a path for the European Union to overcome the fragility laid bare by the coronavirus crisis and build a union of vitality.

The President stressed that with NextGenerationEU, Europe has a once in a lifetime opportunity to make change happen by design, and not by disaster or by diktat from others. She added that Europe has everything it needs to make this happen: It has the vision, the plan, the investment.

Category: Institutional affairs

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Mairead McGuinness
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is to propose to the Council and the European Parliament the appointment of Mairead McGuinness to the post of EU Commissioner. She will be in charge of Financial Services, Financial Stability and the Capital Markets Union.

Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis will assume responsibility for the trade portfolio, and he will remain the Commission's representative on the Eurogroup, alongside with Commissioner Gentiloni.

See below for the President's full statement.

Category: Economy, finance, tax and competition, Institutional affairs

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Michel Barnier speaking at the online event
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Michel Barnier, Head of the EU taskforce for relations with the United Kingdom, gave an online address today on the state of play in the negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK, the obstacles on the road to an agreement, and the key issues that will shape the relationship in the years to come.

See below for the full text of Mr Barnier's speech.

The event was co-hosted by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) and the European Commission Representation in Ireland.

Category: Institutional affairs

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President von der Leyen
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Last night Phil Hogan submitted his resignation from the post as Trade Commissioner.

I respect this. I am very grateful to Phil Hogan for his tireless and successful work as a Commissioner and as a member of the College.

I thank him warmly for his valuable contribution to the work of the Commission, not only in this mandate, but also in the previous mandate, when he was Commissioner in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Category: Institutional affairs

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Image of Hook Head Lighthouse
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A new EU survey has just been launched to gather Irish people’s opinions and levels of awareness of oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters.

The results of the survey will be used to inform the development of a major flagship 'mission' to be funded by the European Union under the forthcoming Horizon Europe programme (2021-2027).

Category: Environment, consumers and health

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Image of test tubes
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The European Commission has today concluded exploratory talks with Johnson & Johnson to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19. This is following the first positive steps with Sanofi-GSK on 31 July. The envisaged contract with Johnson & Johnson would provide for the possibility for all EU Member States to purchase the vaccine, as well as to donate to lower and middle income countries or re-direct to EEA countries.

It is anticipated that, once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, the Commission would have a contractual framework in place for the initial purchase of 200 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States, and could further purchase up to an additional 200 million vaccine doses. The Commission is also pursuing intensive discussions with other vaccine manufacturers.

Category: Environment, consumers and health

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Brendan Halligan
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"It was with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of Brendan Halligan.

Brendan was a committed European to his fingertips.  He was a pragmatic European intellectual, in the tradition of Spinelli, Monnet and Schuman.

A founder of the IIEA, Ireland’s foremost think tank, he had the foresight to see a need for a strong intellectual platform to discuss, debate and elaborate Ireland’s European and multilateral vocation.

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