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European Commission London Office weekly news round-up
Main news from Brussels this week
EU commits €300 million for clean, healthy and safe oceans
The EU made 23 new commitments worth around €300 million at the fifth edition of Our Ocean conference which took place in Bali, Indonesia this week. The commitments include: €100 million for Research and Development (R&D) projects to tackle plastic pollution; €82 million for marine and maritime research, such as ecosystem assessments, seafloor mapping and innovative aquaculture systems and €18.4 million to make the European blue economy – the economic sectors that rely on the ocean and its resources – more sustainable. The EU's showpiece Earth observation programme Copernicus will also benefit from an additional €12.9 million for maritime security and for research dedicated to coastal environmental services, in addition to the €27 million Copernicus funds devoted at Our Ocean 2017 conference.
EU consumers can bank on new EU rules to make opening accounts easier and clearer
EU consumers will find it easier to shop around for the best and cheapest bank account offers as new EU rules on banking transparency came into effect on 31 October. These complement measures introduced in 2016 which give consumers the right to open a basic bank account or switch to a new provider anywhere in the EU.
All this week's key European Commission announcements can be found here
EU and the UK
EU citizens living in UK urged to check eligibility to vote in 2019 EP elections
EU citizens living in the UK are being encouraged to check their eligibility to vote in the upcoming European Elections which take place between 23-26 May 2019. Following the UK's decision to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, UK citizens will no longer be able to vote. However, EU27 citizens living in the UK are eligible to vote, subject to certain conditions. To help voters, the EP has produced a set of country factsheets which provide a snapshot of voting conditions and national contacts points.
Latest news on the Article 50 negotiations can be found here
For upcoming events, please have a look at our newsletter
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:
Britain’s failure to appreciate Ireland’s position may yet lead to a border poll by Simon Nixon in the Times.
EU fact of the week
EU Equal Pay Day
EU Equal Pay Day is celebrated yearly on 3 November. It marks the moment when women symbolically stop getting paid compared to their male colleagues, with 16% of the working year remaining. Women in the EU still earn on average 16.2% less than men. There's also a gender pension gap of 36.6%.
There are considerable differences between EU countries, with the gender pay gap ranging from less than 8% in Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia to more than 20% in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia and United Kingdom.
Tweet of the week
Misleading press articles today on #Brexit & financial services. Reminder: EU may grant and withdraw equivalence in some financial services autonomously. As with other 3rd countries, EU ready to have close regulatory dialogue with UK in full respect for autonomy of both parties.
— Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) November 1, 2018
Quote of the week
“We need the oceans and the oceans need us. We have to urgently reduce marine litter and other sources of pollution, halt illegal fishing and support fragile marine ecosystems," Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime affairs and Fisheries.