Representation in United Kingdom



President Juncker, State of the Union

Jean-Claude Juncker this morning delivered his fourth annual state of the union (#SOTEU) address. He took stock of the EU's recent successes and biggest challenges and set out a series of new policy initiatives on, for example, tackling terrorism and money laundering, protecting free and fair elections and managing migration. 


On Brexit, President Juncker said: "the United Kingdom will never be an ordinary third country for us…it will always be a very close neighbour and partner, in political, economic and security terms." However, he added that "if  you  leave  the  Union,  you  are  of  course  no  longer  part  of  our  single  market,  and certainly not only in the parts of it you choose."

A theme running through the speech was the need for "a strong and united Europe" to "protect  our  citizens  against  threats…from  terrorism  to climate change…protect jobs in an open, interconnected world…and master the challenges of global digitisation."

The full speech and associated documents, including press releases on each of the new policy initiatives announced, can be found here


Dr Nicolas Malleson
Dr Nicolas Malleson

UK-based early-career researchers are top of the league in the European Research Council's (ERC) latest round of starting grants. Seventy nine researchers working in UK institutions will each receive up to €1.5 million (£1.4m) of EU funding to set up their own research teams and pursue ground-breaking ideas. Germany is in second place with 67 successful applicants.


One example of a UK-based project is the research carried out by Nicolas Malleson at the University of Leeds. Dr Malleson is using big data to develop more accurate forecasts of and responses to potential emergency situations such as flooding, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, fires, train or air crashes, etc. His work can also be used for more efficient urban management. One of the means of responding to civil emergencies is to simulate the behaviour of humans during disasters using mathematical models. However, current techniques are not designed to consider up-to-date information on urban movements and are usually based on historical data from censuses and surveys. Dr Malleson will address this shortcoming by integrating data assimilation methods, used in weather forecasting, and apply them to models of cities. He will develop a simulation of a city that will include real-time big data streamed from, for instance, social media, mobile phone use, and public transport records. This new technique could be used to develop more accurate forecasts of and responses to potential emergency situations. He will receive €1.4 million (£922.460) over five years.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Top talent needs good conditions at the right time to thrive. The EU provides the best possible conditions at the early stages of a researcher's career through the ERC Starting Grants. That's why this funding is so crucial for the future of Europe as science hub: it keeps and attracts young talent. This time the ERC attracted researchers of 48 different nationalities based in 23 European countries. It's an investment that will pay off, boosting the EU's growth and innovation."

In total, 406 early-career researchers throughout Europe will receive funding in this latest round. The share of women amongst the new beneficiaries is the largest ever in an ERC competition (some 40% are women). Out of 79 UK beneficiaries, 34 are women. To date, UK-based researchers have won 1.613 ERC grants, worth €2.89 billion (£2.67bn) at various stages of their careers.

List of all selected researchers by country of host institution

Lists of selected researchers by domain:

- Physical Sciences and Engineering;

- Life Sciences;

- Social Sciences and Humanities

More information

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It offers three core grant schemes: starting, consolidator and advanced. An additional funding scheme, Synergy Grants, has been re-launched in 2017 (deadline for application, 14 November 2017). Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age to run projects based in Europe.

Starting grants encourage young talented research leaders to gain independence in Europe and to build their own careers. The next deadline for application is 17 October 2017.

Consolidator grants back up researchers who want to establish their research teams and continue developing a successful career in Europe.

Advanced grants allow outstanding research leaders to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects in Europe. The scheme targets researchers who have already established themselves as top independent research leaders.

The grants are awarded under the 'excellent science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme.

This year, the ERC celebrates its tenth anniversary.


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

Additional €165 million to tackle famine and drought affected countries in Horn of Africa

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica announced today (17 March) additional EU support of €165 million to address the multiple crises in South Sudan, Somalia and its neighbouring countries. From this package of support, €100 million will be allocated to respond to the severe crisis caused by the violent conflict in South Sudan to provide lifesaving assistance to vulnerable people in South Sudan and neighbouring countries. The remaining €65 million is planned to respond to the serious droughts in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

More information

The European Commission and member states' consumer authorities ask social media companies to comply with EU consumer rules

On 16 March, EU consumer authorities and the European Commission met with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to hear and discuss their proposed solutions to two areas of concern: a growing number of consumers have complained about having been targeted by fraud or scams when using social media websites, as well as having been subject to certain terms of services that do not respect EU consumer law.

More information

EU strategy for Syria

On 14 March, the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) proposed a strategy for Syria that defines how the EU can better contribute to a lasting political solution in the country under the existing UN-agreed framework. The strategy also looks at how the EU can continue its assistance to over 13 million people in need in Syria, help build resilience and stability in the country, and support post-agreement reconstruction and the voluntary, dignified and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons once a credible political transition is underway. (See also EU fact of the week below)

More information


EU education programme for 230,000 refugee children to attend school in Turkey

On 16 March, the European Commission launched its largest ever humanitarian programme for education in emergencies to encourage some 230,000 refugee children to attend school in Turkey. The €34 million 'Conditional Cash Transfer for Education' (CCTE) project will provide bimonthly cash-transfers as of May 2017 to vulnerable refugee families whose children regularly attend school. The project will be implemented in partnership with UNICEF and its partner, the Turkish Red Crescent.

More information

New anonymous whistleblower tool

A new tool to make it easier for individuals to alert the Commission about secret cartels and other antitrust violations while maintaining their anonymity was launched by the European Commission on 16 March. Anti-competitive practices include agreeing on prices or procurement bids, keeping products off the market or unfairly excluding rivals and can cause immense damage to Europe's economy. They can deny customers access to a wider choice of goods and services at reasonable prices, stifle innovation and put companies out of business.

More information

Commission proposes a new EU Action Plan to fight drug use and trafficking

On 15 March, the Commission proposed a new EU Action Plan on drugs for the period 2017-2020. It identifies new priority areas for action such as the monitoring of new psychoactive substances. The plan also promotes the use of new communication technologies for prevention of drug abuse and for gathering evidence about the links between drug trafficking and the financing of terrorist groups, organised crime, migrant smuggling or trafficking in human beings.

More information

Approval to stop trade in minerals financing armed conflicts

New rules will ensure that minerals used by European industries are sourced responsibly, diverting revenues away from rebel groups, conflict, and terror. On 16 March, the European Parliament adopted by an overwhelming majority the proposal to stop trade in conflict minerals. The regulation brokered by the Commission and voted yesterday by the European Parliament will impose due diligence rules on companies importing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. Such metals and minerals are used in the production of everyday products such as mobile phones, car and jewellery. The rules will cover up to 95% of imports as of 1 January 2021.

More information

'The EU in 2016' report

On 15 March, the European Commission published its 2016 report on the activities of the EU. The report complements the White Paper on the future of Europe, providing an insight into the major EU events, initiatives and decisions of 2016.

All this week's key European Commission announcements can be found here

EU and the UK

2016 Report of the Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products

On 16 March, the Commission unveiled the results of the 2016 annual report on the Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products. Since 2003, this system ensures that information about dangerous products withdrawn from the market and/or recalled from consumers anywhere in Europe is quickly circulated between member states and the European Commission, so that appropriate action can immediately be taken across the EU. It enables a quick exchange of information about dangerous products posing a risk to health and safety of consumers i.e. chemical risks, etc. Thirty-one countries (EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) currently participate.

Most countries notified products belonging to categories ‘toys’ and ‘clothing, textiles and fashion items’. The United Kingdom was amongst countries which concentrated more on ‘motor vehicles’.

More information

Tenth anniversary of the European Research Council

From 13 to 20 March, special events are taking place across the UK and Europe to mark the 10th anniversary of the European Research Council (ERC) – the first European funding organisation that supports excellence in frontier research. In the UK, the universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Newcastle, Oxford, Queen Mary, Roehampton, Sheffield and the Tate gallery in London organised events for the ERC week. For example, Wild Sensing, an EU-funded project, had an interactive installation – at Tate Exchange – which made it possible for visitors to observe the movements of Arctic animals. These movements help understand climate change. Since 2007, the ERC has funded 858 British researchers and a total of, 1,488 top researchers based in UK host institutions, most of these focused on physical sciences and engineering. The total ERC funding awarded to UK researchers in the last ten years is about €2.6 billion (£2.2bn).

More information

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….(normally we include a disclaimer saying it does not necessarily represent our views….but this week it does, as it is by the UK's European Commissioner Sir Julian King!)

In an article for the Independent he warned about the new cyber threats that stem from the use of everyday objects and the need for vigilance and coordinated action to address them.

EU fact of the week


Infographic about the Syrian crisis

Tweet of the week

Federica Mogherini‏ @FedericaMog

Today on my blog: The best response to those who think Europe is stuck …

Quote of the week

"I will never accept this comparison between the Nazis and the governments currently in power. […] And the one who is doing this is taking distance from Europe and not trying to enter the European Union." European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaking at the European Parliament

Picture of the week


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel pay tribute to the victims of the Brussels attacks, which happened almost a year ago, on 22 March.

11 March is European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism.

Here in this picture, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel pay tribute to the victims of the Brussels attacks, which happened almost a year ago, on 22 March.


Eurobarometer 86

This report covers a number of the key issues and looks at recent changes in beliefs and attitudes across the 28 member states, and compares them to the UK. It is based on a survey conducted across the European Union in the autumn of 2016. Standard Eurobarometer surveys are conducted twice every year and seek to give continuing feedback on EU citizens’ opinions and feelings.


Key UK findings include:

  • a noticeable fall over the past six months in the number of UK citizens having negative feelings on immigration: concerns over immigration almost halved from 11% to 6%

  • 36% cited inflation and rising prices as the major concern facing them, up from 27% six months previously (EU average is 28%)

  • a higher level of understanding of how the EU works (rising from 55% of the population to 60% over the past six months)

  • a strong increase in pessimism on the future of the EU (from 46% to 51%)

  • almost half the UK respondents (48%) believe the UK could better face the future outside the EU compared with 42% taking the opposite view. With an EU average of 32%, in three other countries half or almost half of the respondents believed that life outside the EU would give them a better chance in the future: Slovenia (50%), Cyprus (49%) and Italy (45%).

Other findings include:

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the UK poll think the right of EU citizens to work in the UK is ‘a good thing’ – an increase from 57% six months previously
  • The proportion of UK citizens who feel positive about immigration from other EU states to the UK rose from 49% to 58%

Download the full report here

Standard Eurobarometer 86 UK

National Report UK


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NFU Cymru debate

NFU Cymru will host an open debate between European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and Ukip MEP Stuart Agnew.

Location:Bishop's Meadow, Hay Road, Brecon, LD3 9SW

Further details here


Bydd NFU Cymru yn cynnal trafodaeth agored rhwng Phil Hogan, Comisiynydd Amaeth Ewropeaidd, a Stuart Agnew ASE UKip.

Lleoliad: Bishop's Meadow, Hay Road, Aberhonddu, LD3 9SW

Manylion pellach yma

10/05/2016 - 18:30

NFU Cymru will host an open debate between European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and Ukip MEP Stuart Agnew.

Location:Bishop's Meadow, Hay Road, Brecon, LD3 9SW

Further details here


Bydd NFU Cymru yn cynnal trafodaeth agored rhwng Phil Hogan, Comisiynydd Amaeth Ewropeaidd, a Stuart Agnew ASE UKip.

Lleoliad: Bishop's Meadow, Hay Road, Aberhonddu, LD3 9SW

Manylion pellach yma


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School Sessions

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