Main news from Brussels this week
Managing migration along the Central Mediterranean route
Ahead of the meeting of Heads of State and Government in Malta on 3 February, the Commission and the European External Action Service have outlined a number of additional measures, in particular with and around Libya, to strengthen the EU's work along the Central Mediterranean route and save lives. These actions focus on the fight against networks that smuggle and traffic people, on effective management of migratory flows, on further efforts to save lives at sea and on improving the living conditions of migrants and refugees in Libya and neighbouring countries.
European Commission imposes anti-dumping duties on steel products from China and Taiwan
The Commission decided today (27 January) to impose definitive anti-dumping measures on two steel products originating in China and Taiwan: stainless steel tube and pipe butt-welding fittings. Chinese exports will now be taxed with anti-dumping duties ranging from 30.7% to 64.9%. Taiwanese exports will face anti-dumping duties ranging from 5.1% to 12.1%. These products are used to join pipes and tubes of stainless steel, and are commonly used in various industries such as petro-chemical, food processing, and shipbuilding as well as energy generation and construction. The EU currently has an unprecedented number of trade defence measures in place targeting unfair imports of steel products, with a total of 39 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, 17 of which are on products originating from China.
Antimicrobial resistance: Commission launches public consultation on new action plan
On 27 January, the Commission launched a public consultation on possible activities to include in the new "One Health" action plan against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) it plans to adopt by summer 2017. The consultation includes a questionnaire for public administrations and stakeholders and a questionnaire for citizens, to ensure that everyone has their voice heard on how best the action plan can support EU countries in the fight against AMR. The consultation will run until 28 April 2017. In the EU alone, AMR is responsible for 25 000 deaths and over €1.5 billion of healthcare costs and productivity losses annually.
2017 EU citizenship report: Commission promotes rights, values and democracy
On 24 January, the European Commission published its third EU citizenship report taking stock of progress since 2014 and further presenting actions to ensure citizens can fully enjoy their rights when working, travelling, studying or participating in elections.
The report sets out the Commission's priorities for further raising awareness of these rights and making them easier to use in practice. It will for instance organise an EU-wide information campaign on EU citizenship rights and strengthen voluntary engagement through the European Solidarity Corps.
28 January: European Data Protection Day
European Data Protection Day is marked on the 28 January each year around the anniversary of the opening for signature some 30 years ago of the Council of Europe Convention 108 for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data. The European Union has established common rules which ensure high standards of personal data protection. A comprehensive set of reforms was finalised in April 2016 and the new rules will apply as of May 2018.
All this week's key European Commission announcements can be found here
EU and the UK
£5.5billion EU backing for investment across the UK in 2016
The European Investment Bank supported a record number of UK-based projects in 2016 (over £5.5billion). Unprecedented support went to social housing investment. Transport, water and energy projects and transformational education also benefitted from the Bank's backing.
Europol and UK-EU security cooperation
This week, Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, the EU's police agency, spoke at the Centre for European Reform about the work of Europol on counter-terrorism and migration, the future of his agency and the effects of Brexit on UK-EU security co-operation.
He said it will be the job of the British government and political leaders in Europe to negotiate the future relationship between the UK and the EU but he is advising that security should be a priority. He went on to speak about a Europol security programme which includes many countries from outside the EU, such as Norway and Switzerland but also the United States. Overall, he hopes the UK would remain a leading member of Europe’s security community.
Listen to the podcast here
The EU Erasmus programme turns thirty
Latest figures about the EU's education and training programme Erasmus+ show that 30 years after its foundation the programme continues to make a difference to the lives of young people. In 2015 alone Erasmus+ supported more than half a million young people across Europe and beyond to study, work, train or volunteer abroad. The UK joined the programme from its start in 1987 and since then 600,000 people have participated in its various strands.
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:
Impact of immigration on native wages ‘infinitesimally small’ says author of study cited by leading Brexiteers by Ben Chu in the Independent
EU fact of the week
Figures on tourism in the EU in 2016: significant drop for the United Kingdom and France
In 2016, the number of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments fell substantially in the United Kingdom (-4.5%) and France (-4.6%) compared to 2015.
The number of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments in 2016 grew in nearly all other member states for which data is available (except Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg), with the largest increases in Bulgaria (+17.9%) and Slovakia (+16.0%).
These findings come from an article published this week by Eurostat, the EU's statistical office.
Tweet of the week
Quote of the week
"Building a circular economy for Europe is a key priority for this Commission. We have made good progress and are planning new initiatives in 2017. We are closing the loop of design, production, consumption, and waste management, thereby creating a green, circular and competitive Europe," First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development on progress made on the circular economy package.
Picture of the week