Main results – Eurogroup, 24/05/2018 | EU Council Press

Main results

The Eurogroup meeting took place in two formats – the first part was a regular meeting of the euro area ministers, and the second part was a meeting of the ministers of 27 EU member states.

Eurogroup meeting in regular format

Greece’s economic adjustment programme

The Eurogroup was informed about the staff-level agreement concluded by the institutions and the Greek authorities on 19 May. The focus is now on Greece’s successful implementation of the agreed reforms, ahead of the June Eurogroup meeting.

The Eurogroup also continued its discussions on possible debt measures in preparation for the decisions that are planned for the Eurogroup meeting in June.

Greece’s economic adjustment programme is now under its fourth and final review . The programme’s formal expiry date is 20 August 2018.

Economic situation in the euro area: European Commission spring forecast

The European Commission presented its 2018 spring forecast, published on 3 May.

Thematic discussion on growth and jobs: spending reviews

The Eurogroup held a follow-up discussion on spending reviews, this time focusing on the challenge of ensuring ownership when conducting spending reviews. Irish and Spanish ministers shared their countries’ experiences and lessons learned from their recently completed spending reviews.

The Eurogroup had previously discussed this topic in June last year, and in September 2016, when it adopted common principles for improving expenditure allocation.

Spending reviews help governments detect areas where savings and efficiency gains could be made and where spending could bring greater value for money.

Meeting in inclusive format

Banking union and European Stability Mechanism (ESM)

Finance ministers from 27 EU member states exchanged views on the completion of the banking union and the future role of the ESM. They took stock of the progress made so far and discussed the way forward in preparation for the upcoming leaders’ meeting in June.

Commission proposes new measures to further strengthen the Capital Markets Union and the Banking Union | EU Commission Press

Today the Commission is presenting a series of measures stemming from the Capital Markets Union and the Banking Union, leading to a stronger and more resilient Economic and Monetary Union.

irst, the Commission is today proposing risk-reduction rules that will allow market-led solutions for the development of sovereign bond-backed securities (SBBS). SBBS would contribute to weakening the link between banks and their home countries. SBBS would, by design, not involve mutualisation of risks and losses among euro area Member States. Instead, these securities would be issued by private institutions as claims on a portfolio of euro-area government bonds. The market-driven development of SBBS will help investors diversify their sovereign exposures and promote financial integration. Full press release, MEMO and factsheet on SBBS are available online. The Commission is today also presenting a series of actions to drive forward the Capital Markets Union (CMU). Following up on the first ever EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance, the Commission is now coming forward with its first tangible measures to enable the EU financial sector to lead the way to a greener and cleaner economy. More investments will be channelled into sustainable activities thanks to new rules that determine whether an economic activity is environmentally-sustainable or not. These proposals confirm Europe’s commitment to be the global leader in fighting climate change and implement the Paris Agreement. Full press release, MEMO and factsheet on sustainable finance are available online. The Commission is also proposing new rules to give small and medium enterprises (SMEs) better access to financing through public markets. As part of the CMU agenda, today’s initiative should help EU companies to tap market-based funding more easily and cheaply so that they can expand. Full press release and MEMO on SMEs financing are available online. Moreover, the European Commission is today proposing to strengthen EU rules on motor insurance to better protect victims of motor vehicle accidents and improve the rights of insurance policyholders. Today’s proposal will ensure that victims of motor vehicle accidents are protected, even when the insurer is insolvent. Full press release and MEMO on motor insurance are available online.

Security Union: Commission welcomes agreement on its proposal to tackle illicit cash flows | EU Commission Press

The Commission has welcomed the agreement reached by EU Member States and the European Parliament last night on key measures to control illicit cash flows at EU customs. The reinforced rules complement the EU’s anti-money laundering rules and form part of the European Agenda on Security and work to fight the financing of terrorism.

The decision was taken following a final round of negotiations in Brussels. Putting tighter controls on large cash flows strengthens the capacity of the EU to tackle money laundering, fight terrorism and organised crime, making it harder for terrorists and criminals to finance their activities. Cutting off the sources of financing is one of the most effective ways to stop potential terrorist attacks and criminal activities in the EU and worldwide. Welcoming the political agreement, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “We are going further than ever before in the fight against money laundering and terrorism, with the aim of ensuring a safer society. We are responding to the expectations of our citizens, who are understandably outraged by the criminals and terrorist activity on our soil. I welcome today’s agreement to curb the circumvention of cash controls at the EU’s external borders.” Last night’s press release on the agreement is available here.

Statement by Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Jourová ahead of the entry into application of the General Data Protection Regulation | EU Commission Press

As of tomorrow, 25 May, new data protection rules will apply across the EU.

On this occasion, Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Europe’s new data protection rules will be a reality tomorrow. Europeans’ privacy will be better protected and companies  benefit from a single set of rules across the EU. Strong data protection rules are the basis for a functioning Digital Single Market and for the online economy to prosper. The new rules ensure that citizens can trust in how their data  is used and that the EU can make the best of the opportunities of the data economy.” Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, added: “Personal data is the gold of the 21st century. And we leave our data basically at every step we take, especially in the digital world. (…) Data protection is a fundamental right in the EU. The new rules will put the Europeans back in control of their data. (…) The rules are based on a risk-based approach. Companies that have been making money from our data, have more responsibilities. They should also give something back to the consumers; at least the security of their data. Companies, which do not process data as their core business activity, have less obligations and mainly have to make sure that the data they process are secure and used legally. They will also be rules with teeth. Everyone, especially those companies that monetise our personal data, will have an interest to play by the rules.”   On 6 April 2016, the EU agreed to a major reform of its data protection framework, by adopting the data protection reform package, comprising the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replacing the twenty years old Directive. On 25 May 2018, the new EU-wide data protection rules are becoming applicable after a two year transition period. New rules to strengthen data protection in EU institutions, bodies and agencies were agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators yesterday, in the so-called ‘trilogues’. Tomorrow, Commissioner Jourová will open an exhibition on the General Data Protection Regulation at 10:00 at the Commission’s info point at Schuman roundabout; journalists are welcome to join for a photo-op. The Commission is then organising in the afternoon an event dedicated to the topic, where Commissioner Jourová and Andrea Jelinek, Head of Austria’s Data Protection Authority and Chair of the Article 29 Working Party, will deliver the keynote speeches. The full programme is available online and journalists can register per e-mail. The event will also be streamed online. The full statement is available online, as well as Q&As and factsheets.

Follow-up answers from Facebook after the meeting between EP leaders and Zuckerberg | EU Parliament Press

Facebook has sent a first set of replies to the EP President on a number of outstanding questions left unanswered at the meeting between EP leaders and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg met on Tuesday with EP President Antonio Tajani, leaders of the political groups and the Chair and Rapporteur of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

Following a request by President Tajani, Facebook has now sent a first set of answers to the remaining questions posed by leading MEPs. The answers deal with topics such as the Cambridge Analytica data breach, “shadow profiles”, data from non-Facebook users and fake accounts.

All answers can be found here

INVITATION | Is a more integrated energy system the answer to the challenge of decarbonising Europe’s cities? (June 5)

We are most pleased to invite you to participate in an evening of discussion on whether a more integrated energy system is the answer to the challenge of decarbonising Europe’s cities with our distinguished speakers Ms Andreea Strachinescu, Head of Unit, New energy technologies, innovation and clean coal, DG Energy, European Commission, Mr Paul Voss, Managing Director, Euroheat, Mr Thomas Nowak, Secretary General, EHPA, Prof. Peter Remmen, Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate, Aachen University and Mr Fredrik Rosenqvist, Director Innovation, E.ON.

The debate willl be moderated by Hughes Belin, freelance journalist

This event is kindly sponsored by


This event is organised within the framework of the

About the debate

50% of the world’s population lives in cities. In the EU, that figure is even higher and demographic data suggests that this trend will continue to grow in the coming years.

Meanwhile, the EU’s global leadership in finalising the Paris Agreement sets a higher ambition which must be met with a will to deliver.

But what happens when these two phenomena – urbanisation and decarbonisation – collide? Millions more people will be living in cities in the coming years. Millions of people who will need clean, secure and affordable energy to heat their homes, power their cars and light their cities.

Experts already agree that there are enough thermal energy flows generated by human activity to provide the base for heating and cooling an entire city. In fact, it is possible to use and reuse all available thermal energy to decrease pollution and energy consumption.

As such, electricity, heat and transport can no longer be viewed as three separate sectors. They need to be integrated – working together to produce greater results. However, as the need for greater integration becomes more apparent and imperative, our energy systems’ reliance on non-integrated approaches to production, distribution and consumption is only growing.

The EU has gone someway in reshaping European energy policy to meet demand. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is encouraging member states to focus on measures that exploit the potential of heating and cooling for energy saving, while the upcoming Gas Directive specifically seeks to boost sector coupling.

Moreover, there are technologies in-play today that connect buildings with different needs and balance residual thermal energy flows between them, such as E.ON’s ectogrid.

It is clear that meeting our Paris targets will require more than a passing reference to sectoral integration. In fact, it could be the most important phase for our cities. We thus need to ask: is Europe ready? Does the EU have the right policies? Does it provide the right support for innovation?

In short, is a more integrated energy system the answer to the challenge of decarbonising Europe’s cities?


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 5th of June at the premises of The Office, rue d’Arlon 80, 1040, Brussels.

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

Photo Album | Debate | What role for energy storage systems in the EU energy transition?

Cohesion policy beyond 2020: conference discusses good governance and solid administrations in the future management of EU funds | EU Commission Press

Tomorrow the Commission is organising a conference in Brussels (Charlemagne building) on “Good Governance for cohesion policy”, open to the press.

Commissioner for regional policy Corina Crețu said: “I say it often, good, transparent governance and solid administrations are as important as the money itself to ensure quality EU investments. This conference will give us the opportunity to discuss what tools and what skills are needed for the most effective management of EU funds and which actors to involve for transparent and open institutions.” The keynote address will be given by Deputy Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Mari Kiviniemi. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella will open the conference. Speakers and participants, coming from all over Europe, include Tomislav Donchev, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Raši, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Information, Pedro Marques, Portuguese Minister of Planning and Infrastructure, Jerzy Kwieciński, Polish Minister for Investment and Development, as well as President of the Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz and MEP Constanze Krehl. In the context of the conference, the Commission will announcethe five countries and regions selected to take part in a new pilot action testing and developing solutions for administrative capacity-building in the post 2020 framework.

EU agencies step up cooperation on cybersecurity | EU Commission Press

High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel are hosting today the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the European Union’s agencies working on cybersecurity and cyber defence.

Through this MoU, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the European Defence Agency (EDA), Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU Institutions, Agencies and Bodies (CERT-EU) agree to step up their cooperation to equip Europe with the right tools to deal with new cyber challenges. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini, who is also the Head of the European Defence Agency, said: “Cyberspace threats do not know of national borders. Cooperation among Member States but also at European level is therefore essential. Europe is stronger when it tackles threats together, in a common and coordinated approach. And this is exactly where this Memorandum of Understanding is key and where the added value of the European Union lies: working together, joining forces, putting the experiences and the knowledge of all at the service of our citizens’ security.” This initiative will contribute to the EU’s cyber resilience and collective security by enhancing information sharing; cooperate on education and training and reinforcing collaboration on cyber exercises. It reflects the inter-institutional cooperation impetus initiated by the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive) and the European Commission’s cybersecurity initiatives from September 2017. A full press release will be available here at 15:00 CEST.

Expanding clean energy is a global top priority: European Commission at Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial | EU Commission Press

On 23 and 24 May, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and the Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete and Carlos Moedas will attend two Ministerial meetings focussing on the clean energy transition globally.

Energy Union Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas will participate in the Mission Innovation Ministerial in Malmö. This third mission innovation (MI-3), co-hosted by Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, the European Commission and the Nordic Council of Ministers, focuses on accelerating clean energy innovation and boosting public research and development spending in the field of clean energy. Energy ministers along with high-level representatives of business and the research community will celebrate what has been achieved so far and initiate engagement in new areas. Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will participate in the Ninth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9) in Copenhagen, also co-hosted by Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the European Commission, representing the European Union. Business leaders from the energy sector and high-level representatives from the world of finance will take part. CEM is an important forum to advance the global clean energy transition and promote clean energy technologies. It focuses on the promotion of policies and programs that advance clean energy technologies, share lessons learned and best practices and encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy. Participating countries in both fora represent about 90% of global clean energy investment and 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. For information and further programme details on the Commission’s website.