The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached today a political agreement on a new set of rules that will ensure protection of 100% of EU farmers and of a very large majority of EU agri-food companies against practices contrary to good faith and fair dealing.
The new European law will cover agricultural and food products traded in the food supply chain, banning for the first time up to 16 unfair trading practices imposed unilaterally by one trading partner on another. Other practices will only be permitted if subject to a clear and unambiguous upfront agreement between the parties involved.
Today the European Commission adopted a strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050 – A Clean Planet for all.
The strategy shows how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research – while ensuring social fairness for a just transition.
Two new studies published today by the European Commission highlight the increasing importance of EU exports for job opportunities in Europe and beyond.
EU exports to the world are more important than ever, supporting 36 million jobs across Europe, two thirds more than in 2000. 14 million of these jobs are held by women. In addition, EU exports to the world generate €2.3 trillion of value added in the EU.
Exports from Ireland to countries outside the EU support 648,000 jobs in Ireland. Irish companies’ exports outside the EU were worth €128 billion in 2017.
The European Commission said today that Ireland's draft national budget is "compliant" with the EU's Stability and Growth Pact rules.
Ireland was one of ten countries that were found to be compliant: Germany, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, and Finland.
The EU and UK negotiators have agreed in full on the terms of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Protocol includes all the provisions on how the so-called “backstop” solution for avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would work. This forms part of the overall Withdrawal Agreement and will apply unless and until it is superseded, in whole or in part, by any subsequent agreement. Both the EU and the UK will use their best endeavours to conclude and ratify a subsequent agreement by 1 July 2020.
The negotiators of the European Commission and the United Kingdom have today reached a deal on the terms of the Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement.
All aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement have now been finalised and agreed at negotiator level. This agreement marks a decisive moment in the negotiations. The European Commission therefore recommended to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in the negotiations on the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, allowing the negotiations on the withdrawal agreement to be concluded and the next step of the process to be initiated. The negotiators have also agreed on an outline of the political declaration on the future EU-UK relationship.
The European Commission has today published a limited number of detailed contingency plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
In a Communication published today on "Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: a Contingency Action Plan", the Commission said:
"The Commission stands ready to engage as of now with the Member States that will be most affected by a disorderly withdrawal and explore pragmatic and efficient support solutions, in line with EU State aid law. In particular, the Commission will support Ireland in finding solutions addressing the specific challenges of Irish businesses.
The European Commission has today published detailed information on its ongoing preparedness and contingency work in the event of a no deal scenario in the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom.
In its Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast published this morning, the European Commission revised upwards its growth predictions for Ireland for 2018 and 2019 (see attached table) compared to the Summer 2018 forecasts. GDP growth for Ireland is now forecast to reach 7.8% in 2018 and 4.5% in 2019.
The Ireland country report says: "GDP growth in Ireland is expected to be strong this year, driven largely by the activities of multinational companies, but the pace is projected to moderate. The positive performance of the labour market and construction investment are expected to support the domestic economy in the near term. The government deficit is projected to turn slowly into a surplus, but risks to the fiscal outlook remain."
European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič is in Dublin today where he gave a keynote speech at the 2018 Climate Innovation Summit in Dublin Castle.
The focus of the Summit was on the finance needed to accelerate climate action. See below for the full text of the Vice-President's speech
During his visit, the Vice-President also met Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to discuss the Clean Energy Package and the preparation of Ireland's 2030 national energy and climate plan.
See below for the full text of the Vice-President's speech.