Representation in United Kingdom

European Commission London Office weekly news round-up


Europe House
Europe House

Each week we sum up Commission news of particular interest for the UK while also summarising UK events on EU-related subjects. All comments welcome at


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.

More information

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.

More information

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.

More information

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.

More information

UK factsheet

Tweet of the week

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.

Picture of the week


Spain, France, Germany, Portugal and Poland were the top five EU producers of pumpkin in 2017, producing respectively 115,000 tonnes, 96,000 tonnes, 92,000 tonnes and 75,000 tonnes (Portugal and Poland) per annum.