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European Commission: Migratory and refugee crisis have taken ‘uncontrollable’ dimensions

The European Political Newspaper - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 17:27

The European Commission First Vice President, Frans Timmermans, and European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos just finished a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister, Vasiliki Thanou, where they discussed the problems Greece is facing with the increase in refugee and migratory influx to the country.

On exiting the meeting, Avramopoulos stated that the migratory and refugee issues,  “have taken uncontrollable dimensions”, and described Greece as one of the main points of entry.”

On his side, Timmermans expressed his agreement, and said that:

“Europe faces a crisis without precedent, it’s a terrible crisis, that will last for a along time, so we need structural solutions especially for those countries most affected by this crisis, and Greece is one of them.” … “I am overwhelmed by the attitude of the Greek population, very welcoming. The humanitarian element prevails in every discussion in Greece … people want to make the right moves, but they need assistance. And the European Commission is there, with the help of the Greek government, to offer that assistance.”

Timmermans reaffirmed that the Commission stands ready to help.

“That’s why we are here today, to discuss with the Greek government the best way that we can quickly implement the decisions that are necessary for us to be able to assist financially and with people an material so as the situation becomes better, because it is very difficult.”

The visit comes one day after Avramopoulos sent Thanou an official letter outline the steps that the Greek government needs to take in order to open the flow of funding from the European Commission.

Timmermans also stated that Europe is facing an “unprecedented humanitarian and political crisis” as it struggles with the huge influx of refugees and migrants.

The Commissioners will now head for a meeting with FRONTEX before departing later in the evening for the island of Kos, where the situation is thought of as one of the most difficult in the country.


Additional reporting by Irene Kostaki in Athens

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Categories: European Union

Ukraine declares Russia ‘military opponent’

The European Political Newspaper - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 17:18

Russia has yet to react to the military doctrine Ukraine approved Wednesday in which they are declared an opponent, according to AP. The doctrine comes after recent claims from Russia that they haven’t sent troops and equipment to Ukraine, and calls for Russia to seek NATO membership.

Russia’s denial is the result of accusations that they sent militia to the East of Ukraine, where separatist rebels oppose Ukraine joining NATO.

President Petro Poroshenko’s recent moves to change the constitution to transfer the power of regions including the east may have spurred the declaration.

On the doctrine, Poroshenko said it “not only officially establishes the Russian Federation as Ukraine’s military opponent, but states the task of relocating military units and creating the necessary military infrastructure in the eastern and southern regions.”

The doctrine will now go to Poroshenko for approval.

The doctrine comes seven days after Poroshenko met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Belgium.

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Categories: European Union

Europe of Knowledge in Context (ECPR 2015)

Ideas on Europe Blog - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 17:18

Beverly Barrett

Last week we convened in Montreal, Canada for the 9th general conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), which took place from 26-29 August at University of Montreal.  This was the first general conference of the ECPR to take place outside of Europe, and the francophone region of Quebec welcomed participants from around the world. The conference program included 59 sections, 372 panels and 1430 papers.


Panel on Ideas in the Global Governance of Knowledge (Photo credit: Mari Elken)

The Global Governance of Knowledge Policies: Europe of Knowledge in Context was the title of the Section 54. This section was organized by the UACES’s European Research Area – Collaborative Research Network (ERA-CRN) and co-chaired by Meng-Hsuan Chou (Nanyang Technological University in Singapore) and Mitchell Young (Charles University in Prague) who facilitated the nine panels among research and higher education policy scholars.


Mitchel Young and Meng-Hsuan Chou (Photo credit: Mari Elken)

An overview of some of the panel topics includes Regionalism and multi-level governance of higher education and research.  This panel made comparisons between the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) of the Bologna Process and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) higher education policies on degree compatibility, quality assurance, and recognition of degrees.  Global collaboration and competition in science, technology and innovation addressed international initiatives for research policy across countries in Europe and beyond.


The panel Researching the governance of knowledge policies: methodological and conceptual challenges made further comparisons among countries engaging in research innovation and explored ways to avoid methodological nationalism.  The panel Trade agreements and the supranational shaping of knowledge policies discussed the progress of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations while explaining the relationship to the services sector of higher education. Themes on higher education governance, international cooperation in education, and research policies were dominant throughout the session over three days. All panels were well-attended and led to lively, high-quality discussions.


ERA CRN lunch meeting (Photo credit: Mari Elken)

Next year the 10th general conference of the ECPR will take place in Prague, Czech Republic at Charles University from September 7 to 10, 2016.  We welcome scholars at various stages in their careers to participate in the ECPR and the ERA-CRN workshops and activities in the future. At the moment the network is preparing an application for the ECPR Standing Group ‘Politics of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation’; if you would like to join, please sign up here.


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Categories: European Union

War deprives 13 million children from Middle East and North Africa of education

The European Political Newspaper - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 16:33

More than 13 million children across the Middle East and North Africa cannot attend schools as a result of armed conflicts, says a new UNICEF report, that includes countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

The study also looked at Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, countries neighboring Syria where large numbers of refugees live, as well as Sudan and Palestine.

Schools have become places no longer safe for children. In 2014 alone, there were 214 attacks on the schools in these regions. Many schools were completely destroyed, damaged or have become occupied by a militant group. Even the routes to and from school are now considered extremely unsafe for children in these countries.

“I heard the noise, everyone was running. I saw my mother waiting at the corner. We ran together. I was happy to be home. This is all what I can remember,” described Rasha, fourth grade student from Syria, to UNICEF.

In Iraq, 700 children were killed and another 500 injured last year. In the Gaza Strip, 551 Palestinian children were killed only during 51 days of last summer’s conflict.

In Syria, more than 2 million children are out of school and almost half a million are at risk of dropping out. Many of them have to work instead and can be easily recruited into armed groups. 20% of those still attending school risk their life by crossing active lines of conflict to take their school examinations. They often have to learn in overcrowded classrooms, because of many internally displaced pupils from other schools. A similar situation is also found in countries neighboring Syria, where Syrians have sought refuge, especially in Turkey and Lebanon. These school are often very far from children’s homes, which means their parents cannot afford to pay for the transportation and they are forced to quit. Children attending school in Turkey need to also cope with the Turkish language as the institutional language.

“I had one ten year-old Syrian student who kept skipping Turkish class. It took a long time until he was convinced that he needed to learn the language,” Ra’ed, a teacher in a refugee camp in Turkey told UNICEF.

In times of conflict, the role of teachers requires added dedication and even physical courage. Many of them has left their job and fled the country as many of their colleagues were killed or injured.  In Syria almost one quarter of the country’s teaching personnel, some 52,000 teachers, have left their posts. That means that it is up to the remaining staff to cope with the limited number of teachers and provide children with at least a little education.



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Categories: European Union

Commission approves Shell takeover of BG Group

The European Political Newspaper - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 16:26

The Commission has approved, under the EU merger regulation, the sale of BG Group to Royal Dutch Shell, and in the process made Royal Dutch Shell one of the strongest oil and gas companies in the world. The Commissions investigation centered around analyzing both groups areas of operation, whether the sale would allow for competitive prices, and to ensure that after the sale the market would still be ruled by strong competition. In a statement on the merger Commission stated:

The Commission concluded that the takeover would not lead to Shell benefiting from market power in a number of markets, namely oil and gas exploration, the liquefaction of gas and the wholesale supply of liquefied natural gas.

Complex approval process 

Due to the size and nature of the acquisition, the approval by the European Commission is only the third hurdle out of five that Shell must get through, having already gained approval from the United States and Brazil Shell now awaits the final hurdles.  Per Shell CEO Ben van Beurden suggested the merger will make Shell more competitive and allow for durability in a low priced oil market right now, he said:

Receiving clearance from the European Commission underlines the good progress we are making on the deal. The transaction is on track for completion in early 2016. The recommended combination with BG is a springboard to change Shell into a simpler and more profitable company, making Shell more resilient in a world where oil prices could remain low for some time.

Now, Beurden must guide the merging companies through China and Austrialia’s anti-trust departments, which should be done by early 2016.

Reasons for Merger

The primary motivation for this merger is for Shell to get involved in the natural gas industry, in which BG has been able to carve out a significant market niche. With global oil prices so low, Shell felt that an acquisition of a natural gas company would allow them to boost production of energy in another sector, allowing them to wait out the low oil profits until the market went back up. Now, Shell has identified two new focuses, deep water oil and integrated gas, and the work done at BG makes this expansion possible. The hope for Shell is that they can eventually challenge petrol giant Exxon Mobil for supremacy in the energy market, but at a 150 billion dollar value they are still only half of what Exxon is worth.

Energy sector changes

Historically Shell has stayed away from large mergers and acquisitions, and there was some skepticism about whether or not they could handle such a high profile, 70 billion dollar merger. However, the details of the merger have been smooth thus far, and points to the future of the use of fossil fuel for energy. With anticipated high regulations against carbon emissions, the current low price of oil, and the lack of future viability for the resource, companies are beginning to opt for liquified natural gas which is likely the future of fossil fuels. The energy landscape is changing, and acquisitions like Shell and the BG Group will only become more common.

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Categories: European Union

Article - Marietje Schaake: EU technology should not be used to violate human rights

European Parliament (News) - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 15:59
Plenary sessions : Technology can help people to express themselves, but it can also be used to violate their human rights. On Tuesday 8 September MEPs vote on a report on the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in countries outside the EU. Report author Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the ALDE group, told us that the EU should lead by example and that European technologies should not contribute to human right violations.

Source : © European Union, 2015 - EP
Categories: European Union

Article - Marietje Schaake: EU technology should not be used to violate human rights

European Parliament - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 15:59
Plenary sessions : Technology can help people to express themselves, but it can also be used to violate their human rights. On Tuesday 8 September MEPs vote on a report on the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in countries outside the EU. Report author Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the ALDE group, told us that the EU should lead by example and that European technologies should not contribute to human right violations.

Source : © European Union, 2015 - EP
Categories: European Union

EU budget 2016: Council ready to negotiate with EP

European Council - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 15:45

On 4 September 2015, the Council adopted by unanimity its position on the draft 2016 EU budget. This confirms a political agreement reached by the Permanent Representatives Committee in July.

The Council's position constitutes the basis on which the European Parliament will decide by the end of October whether it adopts amendments. In this case, the Council's position will serve as a mandate to the Luxembourg presidency for subsequent negotiations with the Parliament.

"I am pleased that today the Council formally adopted its position on the draft EU budget for 2016. The unanimous support provides the presidency with a particularly strong mandate for the negotiations with the European Parliament in the autumn which we wish to hold in a spirit of loyalty and good inter-institutional cooperation. The current economic situation requires resources to be focused on jobs, investments and growth while respecting budgetary discipline and sound financial management. I am convinced that the Council's position strikes the right balance between Europe's priority investment needs and member states' economic and budgetary constraints", said Pierre Gramegna, minister for Finance of Luxembourg and President of the Council.  

Balanced position, adequate funding  

The Council's position provides for €153.27 billion in commitments and €142.12 billion in payments. Taking into account both past implementation rates and likely future absorption capacities, these are realistic amounts which will allow for proper policy implementation and allow the EU to ensure adequate financing of its priority areas. These include measures to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and manage migratory flows. The Council's position reflects the payment plan agreed with the Parliament on the phasing out of outstanding payment claims for the 2007-2013 cohesion programmes. And it respects the deal reached with the Parliament on the European fund for strategic investments.  

Substantial payment increases for priority areas  

The policy areas with the largest payment increases compared to the 2015 EU budget (as amended) include external policy (+22.4%), action in the area of security and citizenship, including migration (+15.4%) as well as research and other measures aimed at increasing competitiveness (+8.6%).  

Sufficient margins  

The Council's position foresees a reduction of €563.6 million in commitments and €1.4 billion in payments compared with the Commission's original proposal. This shows that the Council is determined to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on member state budgets at a time of fiscal consolidation. At the same time it means that the EU will have sufficient margin within the budget to react to unforeseen events and needs.  

A summary of the Council's position is set out in the table below:

  Appropriations by headingbillion €commitmentspayments

1. Smart and inclusive growth:

a) Competitiveness for growth and jobs

b) Economic, social and territorial cohesion










2. Sustainable growth: natural resources:

of which market related expenditure and direct payments





3. Security and citizenship:2.62.24. Global Europe:8.79.15. Administrative expenditure (for all EU institutions):  8.9  8.9  Special instruments:0.50.4Total appropriations153.3142.1In % of EU-28 GNI1.040.97 Next steps

If the European Parliament adopts amendments to the Council's position, a three-week conciliation period will start on 29 October 2015. The aim of this conciliation process is to arrive at a joint position of both institutions on the budget. This should happen by 18 November 2015 at the latest.

Categories: European Union

Press release - Agriculture committee opposes national bans on Imports of GM food and feed - Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development - Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

European Parliament (News) - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 12:38
The agriculture committee on Thursday rejected the Commission's draft law that would give member states the power to restrict or prohibit the use of EU-approved GM food or feed on their territory. It fears that arbitrary national bans could distort competition on the EU's single market and jeopardise the Union's food production sectors which are heavily dependent on imports of GM feed.
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Source : © European Union, 2015 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - Agriculture committee opposes national bans on Imports of GM food and feed - Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development - Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

European Parliament - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 12:38
The agriculture committee on Thursday rejected the Commission's draft law that would give member states the power to restrict or prohibit the use of EU-approved GM food or feed on their territory. It fears that arbitrary national bans could distort competition on the EU's single market and jeopardise the Union's food production sectors which are heavily dependent on imports of GM feed.
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Source : © European Union, 2015 - EP
Categories: European Union

94/2015 : 3 September 2015 - Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-89/14

European Court of Justice (News) - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 10:31
State aid
EU law does not preclude Italian legislation which, by reference to an EU regulation not in force at the time, provides for the application of compound interest to the recovery of State aid

Categories: European Union

93/2015 : 3 September 2015 - Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-398/13 P

European Court of Justice (News) - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 10:21
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Others v Commission
Approximation of laws
The Court of Justice confirms the validity of the regulation on trade in seal products

Categories: European Union

Remarks by President Donald Tusk before his meeting with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán

European Council - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 09:18

Good morning. Prime Minister Orbán has requested to see me and other leaders of the European institutions to discuss the situation in Hungary as a matter of urgency. Not everyone is a fan of the controversial solutions proposed by Prime Minister Orbán and I can understand why. However, one thing is clear, Prime Minister Orbán took action to strengthen the protection of the EU borders.

But in light of the huge and increasing number of refugees, European countries need to do more. Everyone realises that EU countries will not change their migratory policies overnight. But everyone should also realise that today our attitude to refugees is in fact an expression of European solidarity inside of Europe. The countries that are not directly affected by this crisis and have experienced solidarity from the EU in the past should show it to those in need. Today it is truly a paradox that the biggest countries in Europe, like Germany and Italy, need our solidarity. So does Hungary.

At the same time we should seriously address the containment of the wave of migration by strengthening the borders and getting the keys to our Europe back from the hands of smugglers and murderers. The two approaches of solidarity and containment must not be mutually exclusive. It would be unforgivable if Europe split into advocates of containment symbolised by the Hungarian fence and advocates of full openness voiced by some politicians as the policy of open doors and windows.

Now are times of a major test for all EU members. Therefore I call on all EU leaders to re-double their efforts, when it comes to solidarity with the members who face this unprecedented migratory wave. Accepting more refugees is not the only but an important gesture of real solidarity. Fair distribution of at least 100.000 refugees among the EU States is what we need today.

If leaders do not demonstrate good will, solidarity will become an empty slogan and will be replaced by political blackmail, divisions and a new blame game.

Reception centres where asylum requests are handled should be built closer to conflict areas outside Europe, where refugee camps already exist. These centres should be a way to get to the European Union for all asylum seekers. The EU should increase our assistance to the countries bordering with conflict areas in ensuring protection to those who are in danger. We are talking about Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and other partners in the region.

It will also demand an enormous effort of all institutions. Humanitarian efforts to contain migratory flows will require much greater engagement of Europe. It means a major increase in spending. When we talk about the new reception centres, better protection of borders or the economic development aid for countries outside the EU, much more money will be needed. Therefore leaders will need to decide on this as well when we meet in October.

Finally let me make a personal comment with reference to PM Orbán's article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . I want to underline that for me, Christianity in public and social life carries a duty to our brothers in need. Referring to Christianity in a public debate on migration must mean in the first place the readiness to show solidarity and sacrifice. For a Christian it shouldn't matter what race, religion and nationality the person in need represents. Thank you.

Categories: European Union

Address by President Donald Tusk at the annual EU Ambassadors' conference

European Council - Thu, 03/09/2015 - 09:08

I am very happy to be here with you today. The more difficult the times, the more important it is to be in good company. The timing could not be better. Nor could you have chosen a more fitting theme for your annual conference: "The European Union in a changing global environment". The Union's representatives, delegations and missions abroad are our eyes and ears - and our voice - on the ground. Perhaps it sounds like a slogan but I really mean it. And I know it not only in theory or from documents and articles but also from my own experience. You are an indispensable part of Europe's response to a global environment that has grown more challenging and you will have an even more crucial role to play in the coming months. I will speak in more detail about the priorities in a minute.

First, I would like to thank you sincerely for the help you have given me since I took up the responsibility as President of the European Council, to represent the Union externally. Whether it has been hosting summits, visiting third countries, from Washington to Tbilisi, Yerevan to Baku, Tunis to Kiev, Tokyo to Chisinau, or engaging with foreign leaders, I have felt completely supported every step of the way.  Thank you very much, from my heart, not only an official compliment, I was really impressed.

When I took up office last December, my external priorities were:
To protect the fundamental values of the European Union from external threats;  
To make the Union strong internationally, starting with securing our borders and supporting those in the neighbourhood who share our values;
To prioritise strengthening the transatlantic relationship since the ties between Europe and the United States are absolutely essential to both our futures.

You will find that nothing has changed in my thinking since then except that these priorities are more urgent than ever and the consequences of failure more apparent.

When President Poroshenko visited Brussels last week, it was an opportunity to review the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and our response. The new call to respect the ceasefire, in place since Tuesday, and the vitally important deal on debt reduction for Ukraine are very welcome. Let us hope for the proper implementation of the Minsk agreement, which has come dangerously close to falling apart over the past few months. The latest dramatic events in Kiev only prove how difficult the process has been.   

Of course, I am pleased that the Union has maintained its unity on the sanctions imposed on Russia after the illegal annexation of Crimea. The way forward is to re-double our efforts to support the reform process in Ukraine and to resist attempts to destabilize the country. Ukraine's case is a test of Europe's fundamental values in the neighbourhood. Countries in the region are watching to see whether sovereign borders can be violated, because this has huge implications for their own security. They want to know whether the future is the rule of law, or the mix of muscle and corruption they have known in the past. Ukraine's future is a mirror image of the European Union's future as a global actor.

Securing our borders is the most immediate and toughest test facing us.  It is safe to assume that we will see over half a million irregular arrivals at Europe's external border this year, who are in part genuine asylum seekers from Syria and elsewhere. To rise to this challenge, the Union must mobilise all available tools - internal and external. We are fulfilling and will fulfil our responsibilities under the UN refugee convention. But that cannot be done if we sacrifice public order in the process. I am now working with the Presidency and with leaders to build a new consensus between governments on how the Union responds to sudden influxes of asylum seekers. After the last European Council, we have moved slightly closer to achieving a common position among the Member States, but there is still a long way ahead of us. We take note of some tensions between the countries, sorry to use a something like a simplification, of a divide between the East and West of the EU. Some member States are thinking about containing the wave of migration, symbolized by the controversial Hungarian fence. Others expect greater solidarity in advocating inter alia a so-called obligatory basis for quotas. Therefore the key challenge is to find for them all a common yet an ambitious denominator.         

Coping with mass population movements must become a de facto theme of both Europe's neighbourhood policy and its global agenda. First, we need new strategic alliances in our wider neighbourhood on migration and asylum. I recall that the European Council, already in June 2014, agreed that the key to dealing with many of our migration challenges "lies in relations with third countries, which calls for improving the link between the EU's internal and external policies." I want to impress upon you that this means working intimately with your host governments on migration and asylum matters and then making the link back to colleagues on the home affairs and development side here.

Our first goal is to ensure that people in need of international protection receive it, preferably as close to their home country as possible. Second, we must gain more control over mass population flows. To achieve both of these goals, it is necessary to have a successful outcome to both the Valetta and possible Budapest conferences in the coming months. Words are no longer enough in this matter. We need to deliver.

I have just returned from the Balkans, which has become the new route for the people smugglers. We should accelerate the parts of the enlargement process related to immigration and asylum so that these countries have a better infrastructure for handling migration challenges. And there is a clear need to revitalize links with Turkey so that we are once again confident friends and partners on this and in other matters.

Men, women and children are fleeing to our borders as a result of insecurity and economic decay in our immediate neighbourhood and the countries in neighbouring regions: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on. Europe's limited ability to stabilise the situation is not just a result of the shortcomings of the Union's neighbourhood policy. The regions in question are facing unprecedented threats like the rise of ISIS, which controls an area larger than the country of Britain on Turkey's border. This needs to be a matter of reflection for the democracies of the West and the international community more generally. The Gulf countries could do more to help stabilise the refugee situation, for example. This is a point I will be making at the UN General Assembly later this month.

While everyone is momentarily focused on the situation at our south-eastern frontier, the situation in Libya remains extremely serious. The Union continues to support the efforts of Bernardo Leon, the UN special representative, and we earnestly hope that a Government of National Accord can be agreed over the next weeks. Can I just say here that I particularly appreciated the speed at which our new naval mission in the Mediterranean was designed and deployed by our military staff last July. It is important to move to the next phase of the EUNAVFOR mission quickly.   

In three months, Paris will see one of the most important international events of the year: the UN climate conference, whose goal is to adopt a new climate change agreement. Climate change may put at risk not only the environment, but also prosperity, poverty reduction or even more broadly stability and security. It is also having an impact on migration flows that we know is real, even if hard to quantify at the present time.

The European Union was the first major economy to submit its contribution in March - a binding, emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This is the most ambitious contribution presented to date. It is important that other major economies make similar commitments, not least for our future competitiveness. Some G20 countries such as Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey did not do it. EU diplomacy should encourage these countries to come forward with ambitious contributions without delay.

I know the negotiations are advancing too slowly. But it is clear to me from recent meetings I attended, for example the G7 in June where we agreed on long-term objectives, the EU-China summit or the EU-CELAC summit that there is political will to reach an ambitious global climate agreement.

This topic will be on the agenda of the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly in September and the G20 in Turkey in November, which I will attend. With your help we need to prepare the ground well to avoid the traps of the past. I would like to wish France bon courage for the preparations ahead of December.

I want to stress again that I see the speedy agreement of TTIP as important. This is especially pressing now after the new economic uncertainty in Asia and since the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the world's biggest trade agreement for many years, will soon be concluded.

There are many other issues that I would like to discuss with you. But let me just say a brief word on the eurozone since I know that you have been facing many questions on this from your interlocutors on the ground over the past year. I will not give you a blow-by-blow account of events from January, as we worked to settle Greece's future in the eurozone. I am grateful that the authorities in Athens are now really showing their commitment to working constructively with the institutions following the agreement of a new ESM programme in August. Decisive and swift implementation by the incoming government will allow the Greek economy to return to a sustainable growth path based on sound public finances, enhanced competitiveness, high employment and financial stability. In the meantime, the eurozone as a whole is moving on to take the next steps towards strengthening economic and monetary union following on from the publication of the so-called 5 Presidents' report.

"May you live in interesting times": you know this Chinese curse. Indeed, we live in sobering ­- shocking - times. But this needs to be a spur to action, rather than the easy indulgence of apocalyptic thinking. I can never remember a time in politics when the world wasn't supposedly in chaos. So I  tend to take declarations of existential crises with a pinch of salt.

As we move forward as a team to prove that Europe remains a serious force in the world in our time, I can only recall the words of an ancient European, Virgil: Olim meminisse juvabit  ("It will be pleasant to remember former troubles.")

I wish you fruitful discussions and I look forward to achieving much together over the next few months. I am sure however that we are going to meet sooner rather than later in the countries of your daily work. Thank you very much again for your help and engagement.

Categories: European Union

Opinion - Towards a new international climate agreement in Paris - PE 560.685v02-00 - Committee on Foreign Affairs

OPINION on Towards a new international climate agreement in Paris
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Dubravka Šuica

Source : © European Union, 2015 - EP
Categories: European Union