European Council

SAVE THE DATE | Debate | Payments security: do the EBA RTS on strong customer authentication create an open and secure market for retail payments in Europe? (May 31)

We are delighted to invite you to the debate organised by PubAffairs Bruxelles which will be held on Wednesday the 31st of May at 19.00 at the premises of Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science, 14-B, Brussels. The event will consist of a debate about the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) regulatory technical standards (RTS) on strong customer authentication and the creation of an open and secure market for retail payments in Europe.

Untitled

Although speakers and event details will be announced in the coming days, we are announcing this event now to make sure you save the date.

registerForEvent1

This event is kindly sponsored by

Print

About the debate

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published on the 23rd of February its final draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication. These RTS, which were mandated under the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and developed in close cooperation with the European Central Bank (ECB), are meant to lay the first stone for an open and secure market in retail payments in Europe. 

The final draft RTS are – in the EBA own words – “the result of difficult trade-offs between the various, at times competing, objectives of the PSD2, such as enhancing security, facilitating customer convenience, ensuring technology and business-model neutrality, contributing to the integration of the European payment markets, protecting consumers, facilitating innovation, and enhancing competition through new payment initiation and account information services”.

The EBA received hundreds of replies to the two consultations organized on the very matter; these may have influenced the introduction of some changes in the final RTS draft. Firstly, there is a new exemption from strong customer authentication based on the level of risk of a payment, and this for payments up to 500 euro. However, this exemption can only be used if the payer’s payment service provider (PSP) has an overall fraud rate lower than the reference fraud rate specified in the RTS. This change is likely to be welcomed by the e-commerce industry, where strong customer authentication might generate user friction and therefore cancellations of purchases. An important question is however whether one-size-fits-all fraud rates will be usable across different industries, such as e-banking and e-commerce and whether the same thresholds are appropriate in a BtoB context. Furthermore, the EBA has deleted in the final draft RTS its initial requirement to use different channels, devices or mobile applications to initiate and authenticate payments; this seems to make it possible to use a single device, and even a single mobile app, to initiate and authenticate a payment. Also, unattended payment terminals have been exempted from strong customer authentication as well as remote payments up to 30 euros.

The EBA has now submitted the final draft RTS to the European Commission for adoption, after which they will be reviewed by the European Parliament and the Council. Overall, transactional risk analysis technology has gained importance in the final draft RTS. However, for this to work, PSPs will need to keep their fraud levels under control in order to meet the reference levels. At the same time, the RTS also provide more flexibility to use mobile apps to authenticate payments. However PSPs will need to protect these mobile apps against various threats.

Payments security: do the EBA RTS on strong customer authentication create an open and secure market for retail payments in Europe?

This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Participants are free to use the information received but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the attendees may be revealed. For this reason, unless explicitly authorised by PubAffairs Bruxelles, the filming and/or the recording of the event by any means are strictly forbidden.

The event will commence with a welcome drink at 7h00 pm, followed by a panel debate at 7.30 pm. After the panel debate there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions.


We look forward to seeing you at 7h00 pm on the 31st of May at Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science 14-B, Brussels.

All our debates are followed by a drink in a convivial atmosphere.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

President Tusk calls a European Council on Brexit for 29 April | European Council – Press Release

“In view of what was announced in London yesterday, I would like to inform you that I will call a European Council, in an EU27 format (without the UK), on Saturday 29th April 2017 to adopt the guidelines for the Brexit talks,” said President Tusk at the press briefing with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on 21 March 2017.

“As you all know, I personally wish the UK hadn’t chosen to leave the EU, but the majority of British voters decided otherwise. Therefore, we must do everything we can to make the process of divorce the least painful for the EU, ” said Tusk.

He highlighted that the main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for all citizens, companies and member states that will be negatively affected by Brexit as well as for the Eu’s important partners and friends around the world.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Donald Tusk re-elected president of the European Council | European Council – Press Release

The European Council re-elected Donald Tusk as its president for a second term of two and a half years, from 1 June 2017 to 30 November 2019. Donald Tusk was also re-appointed as President of the Euro Summit for the same period.

He is the second full-time President of the European Council, following the creation of the post on 1 December 2009 under the Treaty of Lisbon.

• President Donald Tusk’s webpage
• Pictures and videos of Donald Tusk

Biography
Donald Tusk has been the President of the European Council since 1 December 2014. Prior to that, he was Prime Minister of Poland for 7 years.

• Biography of Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

The role of the President of the European Council
The President chairs European Council meetings and drives forward its work. He also ensures the external representation of the EU at his level on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy.

More information on the role of the President of the European Council

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

European Council: Leaders discuss growth, trade and migration | European Commission – Daily News

Meeting at the European Council, leaders noted that for the first time in almost a decade, all 28 economies are expected to grow over the next 2 years. They agreed that this good outlook needs to be sustained by continued structural reform efforts and determined action to complete the single market. Leaders also underlined trade policy as one of the most powerful engines for growth, welcoming the positive European Parliament vote on the EU-Canada trade agreement. Speaking at the press conference, President Juncker signalled that good progress is being made on concluding a trade agreement with Japan, saying “We will seize this opportunity to show the entire planet that we remain a continent of free and organised trade.” Leaders also discussed migration, welcoming the Commission’s Action Plan and Recommendation on returns. President Juncker called for renewed efforts in implementing agreed solidarity measures, whilst leaders agreed they would strive to agree on the Asylum policy reforms by June. President Juncker welcomed the re-election of Donald Tusk to serve a second term as European Council President.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

European Council to elect its President | European Council – Meetings

Agenda highlights

The EU leaders will look at a number of the most pressing issues, including economy, security, migration and the situation in Western Balkans.

Election of the President

At the beginning of the meeting, the European Council is expected to elect its President for the period from 1 June 2017 to 30 November 2019. Prime Minister Muscat, representing the Maltese presidency, will be chairing this part of the working session.

Economy

The spring European Council will traditionally focus on jobs, growth and competitiveness. Leaders will discuss the economic situation in Europe, trade policy, progress made on files related to the single market strategy, as well as the first phase of the 2017 European Semester.

“The overall outlook in terms of growth, employment and public finances is getting better. And we need to use this momentum to make the economies stronger while spreading the benefits of growth more widely and fairly among citizens. The deepening of the Single Market and a robust trade policy are two avenues to help us achieve those goals.”

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council in the invitation letter

Migration

On migration leaders will review what has been done to implement decisions taken at the informal summit in Malta on 3 February concerning the Central Mediterranean route. Prime Minister Muscat is expected to report to his colleagues on progress made in the Council on decisions taken by the European Council and in particular the Malta declaration on the external aspects of migration.

Security and defence

The heads of state or government will assess the implementation of its December 2016 conclusions on external security and defence. Leaders are also expected to welcome the progress made so far as outlined in Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on 6 March.

Looking at ongoing legislative work, the leaders are also expected to discuss internal security and the fight against terrorism.

External relations

The leaders will also discuss the situation in the Western Balkans. “The EU will remain engaged in the Western Balkans and stand by its commitments,” declared President Tusk in the invitation letter.

European Public Prosecutor’s Office

The leaders will also briefly address the possible establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Informal meeting

On Friday 10 March there will be an informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government of the EU to prepare for the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

EU budget framework 2014-2020: Council agrees to put greater focus on new priorities | European Council – Press Release

On 7 March 2017, the Council agreed to adjust the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 to bring it in line with new priorities. The agreed changes reinforce the EU’s support for tackling the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs. They will allow the EU to respond more easily to unexpected needs without changing the MFF expenditure ceilings. And they will help to avoid an excessive backlog of unpaid bills.

“This first-ever revision of the multi-annual budgetary framework will ensure that the EU budget is even more effective in tackling current challenges and responding to unexpected needs. It also avoids undue pressure on member states’ national budgets at a time of continuing efforts to consolidate public finances. The Maltese presidency, building on the work of the Slovak presidency, has worked very hard to unblock the deadlock of last year and we are very satisfied that an agreement could be reached today”.

Louis Grech, Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and President of the Council

More money for main priorities

The revised MFF will provide a reinforcement of €6.01 billion for the main priorities over the years 2017 to 2020. €2.55 billion will be available to address migration, reinforce security and strengthen external border control. €1.39 billion will stand ready for tackling the root causes of migration, and €2.08 billion will help stimulate growth and create jobs through a number of highly effective programmes such as the youth employment initiative (+€1.2 billion), Horizon 2020 (+€200 million), and Erasmus+ (+€100 million).

More flexibility to meet unforeseen needs

The revised MFF also improves the EU’s capacity to respond more quickly to unexpected needs. To this end, the amounts for the emergency aid reserve and the flexibility instrument will be increased (by an average of €23 million and €145 million per year respectively) for the years 2017 -2020. It will also become possible to transfer unused amounts from one special instrument to another: amounts equivalent to the resources remaining unused under the European globalisation adjustment fund and the EU’s solidarity fund will be made available under the flexibility instrument.

Avoiding a backlog of unpaid bills

To counter the risk of an excessive backlog of unpaid bills the scope for recycling unused payments  from one year to the following years is increased. The Council also undertook to take any steps needed to avoid the excessive accumulation of unpaid bills.

Background

The MFF regulation sets out annual maximum amounts which the EU is allowed to spend on different policy areas over the period from 2014 to 2020. It translates political priorities into figures, ensures budgetary discipline for the EU and facilitates the adoption of the annual EU budget.

Next steps

The revised MFF regulation still needs the consent of the European Parliament before it can be adopted by unanimity by the Council.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

SAVE THE DATE | Debate | Will the year 2017 be a defining moment for the EU? (February 28)

We are delighted to invite you to the debate organised by PubAffairs Bruxelles which will be held on Tuesday the 28th of February at 19.00 at the premises of Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science, 14-B, Brussels. The event will consist of a debate about the challenges the EU will be faced with in 2017.

Although speakers and event details will be announced in the coming days, we are announcing this event now to make sure you save the date.

registerForEvent

 

About the debate

If Europe’s 2015 underlying features were the dragging on of the “Greek crisis‟ and the Eurozone macroeconomic imbalances, the main issues of the year 2016 have been the EU referendum and the refugee crisis. For the year 2017, along with the still standing neologism “Brexit‟, the keyword will most likely be “Populism‟. Although the interpretation and the possible consequences of this relatively new phenomenon vary according to the analytical approach adopted, it appears that this year Europe will not only be challenged in its capacity to react or contain a given emergency, but also in the way it will be able to regain cohesion and citizens’ trust. From the stand point of both EU institutions – national governments included – and the consolidation of the EU project itself, such evidence emerges despite the fact that the European and international economic outlook is finally improving. Indeed, finalising some of the most important long-standing issues related to the deepening of its integration process, the elaboration of new narratives or, at least, the setting up of an effective level-playing field will be crucial factors for Europe to give clear, tangible and positively-perceived responses to Europe’s (re)current challenges.

Up until the UK’s referendum much of the criticism about Europe was notably concentrated on the EU internal economic or institutional deficiency factors. Whereas, the refugee crisis sparked a substantial amount of disagreement, Brexit was rubber stamped by UK citizens and while the recent changing of the guard at the White House is taking place, it appears that the highest amount of pressure on Europe will come from the parallel-but-increasingly-convergent evolutions of the European and global political environment. This context unsurprisingly fits with a relatively recent Commission study which elaborated three scenarios to determine where the EU might arguably be in 2050. While the first two scenarios indicate that Europe, although to different extents, may become increasingly inward-looking and fragmented, the third scenario describes a much more attractive future which should allow the EU to prosper by choosing a pathway of greater integration.

During the last year, several observers warned about the possibility that a “perfect storm‟ would have torn the European project apart, however, as also recently reaffirmed by President Juncker, the European Union existence is not in doubt, but European institutions are faced with a last chance phase “as the gulf between European citizens and the EU political action is growing ever wider”. In line with this statement, several commentators have remarked that the European Union is perceived as an agent of insecurity rather than security. However, while some are pointing at Europe’s political risk linked to the several incoming national elections, others insist on Europe’s insufficient governance ability. Whatever the correct analysis might be, the question whether this year will unfold a change, a standstill or even a worsening of the current situation remains in Europe’s spotlight. Will the year 2017 be a defining moment for the EU?

This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Participants are free to use the information received but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the attendees may be revealed.

For this reason, unless explicitly authorised by PubAffairs Bruxelles, the filming and/or the recording of the event by any means are strictly forbidden.

The event will commence with a welcome drink at 7h00 pm, followed a panel debate at 7.30 pm. After the panel debates there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions.


We look forward to seeing you at 7h00 pm on the 28th of February at Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science 14-B, Brussels.

All our debates are followed by a drink in a convivial atmosphere.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

More efficient port services: Council adopts reform | European Council – Press Release

A new set of rules to increase the financial transparency of ports and create clear and fair conditions for access to the port services market throughout Europe was formally adopted by the Council on 23 January 2017.

The regulation will make it easier for new providers of certain port services to enter the market. It will create a more level playing field and reduce legal uncertainties for ports, port service providers and investors. This should encourage investment in ports, improve the quality of services provided to port users, and even help reduce prices.

The new rules will ensure transparency of port charges and public funding of ports. This will lead to better use of public funds and the effective and fair application of EU competition rules in ports. At the same time the new rules are designed to take into account the diversity of the sector across Europe.

Hon. Joe Mizzi, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, said: “I welcome these reforms. The port sector is vital to the success of Europe’s economy, and it stands to benefit from the increased transparency and clarity which these new rules bring.”

This final vote by the Council concludes the procedure at first reading. The European Parliament voted on 14 December 2016. The legal act will be signed by both institutions in mid-February and published in the EU Official Journal a few weeks later. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Better mobile connectivity across Europe: Council confirms 700 MHz deal | European Council – Press Release

The EU is responding to the rising demand for wireless connectivity by opening a key frequency band for mobile broadband. At the same time, the new rules take account of the continuing need for adequate bandwidth for television broadcasting. On 20 January 2017 member states’ ambassadors endorsed the deal concluded with the European Parliament on 14 December 2016.

Dr Emmanuel Mallia, the Maltese Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy, said: “Today’s decision means faster and better internet access, which is good for businesses and individuals right across Europe. We are also paving the way for the introduction of 5G technology, which will allow for greater connectivity and innovation.”

Under the agreement, EU countries will reassign the high-quality 700 MHz frequency band (694-790 MHz) to wireless broadband services by 30 June 2020. This coordinated use of airwaves will promote the take-up of 4G and help offer higher speeds and better coverage even in rural areas. It will also make it easier to roll out 5G (expected from around 2020), allowing for the large-scale introduction of innovative digital services such as telemedicine, connected cars and smart cities.

If member states are unable to meet the 2020 deadline, they may delay the reallocation by up to two years in duly justified cases. The agreed text sets out the possible reasons for such a delay. These include for example financial reasons and harmful interferences resulting from unresolved cross-border coordination issues.

The 470-790 MHz range is currently widely used for digital television broadcasting and wireless microphones, for instance in theatres, concerts and sporting events.

To give the audio-visual sector long-term regulatory predictability, broadcasting services will maintain priority in the sub-700 MHz band (470-694 MHz) at least until 2030, based on national needs. Member states will have the flexibility to use this range for other purposes, including mobile internet services, but this use must be compatible with broadcasting needs.

All EU countries must adopt a national roadmap by the end of June 2018, setting out how they will implement the decision. These roadmaps will be public.

How will it become law?

Once the agreed text has undergone legal-linguistic finalisation, it must be formally approved first by the Parliament and then by the Council (agreement at first reading). The procedure is expected to be completed in spring 2017.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Report by President Donald Tusk to the European Parliament on the European Council meeting of 15 December 2016 | European Council – Press Release

I want to congratulate you warmly on your election as President of the European Parliament, and to wish you and all the Members of the House well for 2017.

No-one can have any doubts that it will be an extraordinary year for Europe and the European Union. Last year, we managed to make progress on migration, security and the economy in spite of the unprecedented difficulties we faced. This was thanks, in great part, to your hard work and sense of responsibility in responding to events. Similarly,  I trust that we will rise together to meet the challenges of the next months.

I would now like to briefly outline the main results of the December European Council. Leaders discussed our efforts to regain control on migration. The radical drop in irregular migration on the Eastern Mediterranean route was possible thanks to our decision to get back to Schengen, the closure of the Western Balkan route and Turkey’s co-operation. In this context, leaders stressed their commitment to implement the EU-Turkey Statement, which also requires efforts from the Turkish side.

As regards the Central Mediterranean route, High Representative Mogherini reported on the progress with African countries. Last year, one hundred and eighty thousand  migrants arrived irregularly to Italy. This is a situation that cannot continue. That is why Libya and our approach to the Central Mediterranean route will be the key point of the next informal summit in Malta.  As you know, the EU supports the Government of National Accord and its efforts to consolidate peace and stability in Libya. We stand ready to step up the EU’s engagement to strengthen the capacity to address security issues and consolidate institutions, in full respect of Libyan sovereignty.

You can read the full statement here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn