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European Commission London Office weekly news round-up
EU and the UK
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker held phones calls with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker held phone calls with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on 2 October, and with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, on 3 October, to discuss the UK's latest proposal in the context of the Article 50 negotiation, which includes a legal text, explanatory note and letter from PM Johnson.
Latest news on the Article 50 negotiations can be found here
Main news from Brussels this week
European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström called on the US to open talks for a new regime on aircraft subsidies
On 2 October, following the publication of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) award regarding the amount of U.S. countermeasures in the WTO Airbus dispute, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström issued a statement expressing readiness on behalf of the European Union to work with the United States on fair and balanced solutions for the respective aircraft industries.
EU guidance on the handling of visa applications from residents of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions
The European Commission and the European External Action Service have this week sent EU member states and non-EU Schengen countries guidance on how to handle visa applications lodged by residents of the non-Government controlled areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The guidance provides a set of uniform treatment criteria to help member states' consulates to establish the actual place of legal residence of Russian passport holders, as well as details on how to process visa applications by residents of the non-Government controlled areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions holding Russian passports.
New rules make household appliances more sustainable
On 1 October, the European Commission adopted new eco-design measures for products such as refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and televisions. For the first time the measures explicitly require that such appliances are repairable and recyclable.. This will contribute to the objectives of the circular economy by improving their life span and by making their maintenance, re-use and upgrade easier. The new eco-design measures will also help the recycling and waste handling of appliances. The Commission estimates that combined these measures, will lead to 167 TWh of final energy savings per year by 2030. This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of Denmark and corresponds to a reduction of over 46 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. These measures can save European households on average €150 per year. The texts will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the coming weeks and will enter into force 20 days later.
EU in the media this week
Every week, we pick out one of the week's most interesting stories or comment pieces….which does not mean we agree with everything it says:
‘Will London's post-Brexit future be as gloomy as predicted?’ by Howard Davies on the Guardian.
EU fact of the week
EU unemployment t at lowest level since 2000
Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, announced on 30 September that in August 2019 the EU28 unemployment rate was 6.2%, down from 6.3% in July 2019 and from 6.7% in August 2018. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since the start of the EU monthly unemployment series in January 2000. The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in August 2019was 7.4%, down from 7.5% in July 2019 and from 8.0% in August 2018. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since May 2008.
Tweet of the week
Today I had two phone calls on #Brexit, first with Dublin then with London.
My message to Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar: We stand fully behind Ireland.
My message to PM @BorisJohnson: We remain open but still unconvinced.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 3, 2019
Quote of the week
“But trade is so much more than simply numbers. Trade is about people's livelihoods and jobs. Trade wars are easy to start, but escalate quickly and usually end badly. Whoever starts a trade war will end badly in his own camp. Europe will always defend free and fair trade, based on a level playing field and reciprocity. We will not be naïve, but we are ready, willing and determined to do business”, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his speech to the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU accepting their Special Bridge Builder award.
Picture of the week
On 2 October, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier updated the European Commissioners on the state of the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom.