[Op.Ed.] An ambitious partnership with the UK after Brexit, by Michel Barnier | EU Commission Press

Op-ed by Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator for the negotiations with the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. While we regretted the UK’s departure, we respect its sovereign decision. Our task is now to organise the disentanglement of the UK from the EU’s institutions and policies. And we also need to look towards the future.

After Brexit, the EU will remain a global player, with 440 million citizens, and one of the biggest world economies. The UK has been an EU member for 45 years. We share common values and have a number of common interests. The UK, which is a member of the G7 and the UN Security Council, can be an important partner of the EU, economically and strategically. In the current geopolitical context, we have an interest not only to strengthen the EU’s role in the world but to cooperate with the UK as a close partner.

How can we achieve a new partnership?

First, we need to make sure that the UK’s exit is orderly.  80% of the Withdrawal Agreement is agreed. We will protect the rights of more than 4 million EU citizens living in the UK and British nationals in the EU. This was our first priority and a major point of vigilance for the European Parliament. The UK has also agreed to honour all its financial obligations undertaken as an EU member. A 21 month transition period will give businesses and administrations time to adapt, as the UK would stay in our Single Market and Customs Union until 31 December 2020.

However, 80% is not 100%. We still need to agree on important points, such as the protection of “geographical indications”. This refers to the protection of local farm and food products like Scottish Whisky or Parmesan cheese, where EU protection has generated significant value for European farmers and producers. We need to find solutions for specific British territories, such as the UK’s sovereign bases in Cyprus, and Gibraltar on which bilateral negotiations are ongoing between Spain and the UK.

The biggest risk caused by Brexit is on the island of Ireland. We need to make sure that Brexit does not create a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and that the Good Friday Agreement, which has brought peace and stability to Northern Ireland, will be protected. Today, the cooperation and exchanges between Ireland and Northern Ireland occur within the common framework of the EU. Since we will not know what the future relationship will bring by Autumn 2018, we need to have a “backstop” solution in the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK agrees with this, and both the EU and the UK have said that a better solution in the future relationship could replace the backstop. What the EU has proposed is that Northern Ireland remains in a common regulatory area for goods and customs with the rest of the EU. We are ready to improve the text of our proposal with the UK.

Secondly, we need to agree on the terms of our future relationship.

Let’s be frank: as the UK has decided to leave the Single Market, it can no longer be as close economically to the rest of the EU. The UK wants to leave our common regulatory area, where people, goods, services and capital move freely across national borders. These are the economic foundations on which the EU was built. And the European Council – the 27 Heads of State or government – as well as the European Parliament have often recalled that these economic foundations cannot be weakened.

The UK knows well the benefits of the Single Market. It has contributed to shaping our rules over the last 45 years.  And yet, some UK proposals would undermine our Single Market which is one of the EU’s biggest achievements. The UK wants to keep free movement of goods between us, but not of people and services. And it proposes to apply EU customs rules without being part of the EU’s legal order. Thus, the UK wants to take back sovereignty and control of its own laws, which we respect, but it cannot ask the EU to lose control of its borders and laws.

But I remain confident that the negotiations can reach a good outcome. It is possible to respect EU principles and create a new and ambitious partnership. That is what the European Council has already proposed in March. The EU has offered a Free Trade Agreement with zero tariffs and no quantitative restrictions for goods. It proposed close customs and regulatory cooperation and access to public procurement markets, to name but a few examples.

On security, the EU wants very close cooperation to protect our citizens and democratic societies. We should organise effective exchanges of intelligence and information and make sure our law enforcement bodies work together. We should cooperate to fight crime, money laundering and terrorist financing. We can cooperate on the exchange of DNA, fingerprints, or Passenger Name Records in aviation to better track and identify terrorists and criminals. We are also ready to discuss mechanisms for swift and effective extradition, guaranteeing procedural rights for suspects.

If the UK understands this, and if we quickly find solutions to the outstanding withdrawal issues, including the backstop for Ireland and Northern Ireland, I am sure we can build a future partnership between the EU and the United Kingdom that is unprecedented in scope and depth.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS | Is a more integrated energy system the answer to the challenge of decarbonising Europe’s cities?

On the 5th of June PubAffairs Bruxelles hosted a debate about whether a more integrated energy system is the answer to the challenge of decarbonising Europe’s cities. Ms Andreea Strachinescu, Head of Unit, New Energy Technologies, Innovation and Clean coal, DG Energy, European Commission, Mr Thomas Nowak, Secretary General, EHPA, Mr Ingo Wagner, Policy Manager, Euroheat & Power, Mr Peter Remmen, Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate, Aachen University and Mr Fredrik Rosenqvist, Director Innovation E.ON participated as speakers. The debate was moderated by Hughes Belin, freelance Journalist.

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Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker’s visit to the White House | EU Commission Press

We met today in Washington, D.C. to launch a new phase in the relationship between the United States and the European Union – a phase of close friendship, of strong trade relations in which both of us will win, of working better together for global security and prosperity, and of fighting jointly against terrorism.

The United States and the European Union together count more than 830 million citizens and more than 50 percent of global GDP. If we team up, we can make our planet a better, more secure, and more prosperous place.

Already today, the United States and the European Union have a $1 trillion bilateral trade relationship – the largest economic relationship in the world. We want to further strengthen this trade relationship to the benefit of all American and European citizens.

This is why we agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods. We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans.

This will open markets for farmers and workers, increase investment, and lead to greater prosperity in both the United States and the European Union. It will also make trade fairer and more reciprocal.

Secondly, we agreed today to strengthen our strategic cooperation with respect to energy. The European Union wants to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States to diversify its energy supply.

Thirdly, we agreed today to launch a close dialogue on standards in order to ease trade, reduce bureaucratic obstacles, and slash costs.

Fourthly, we agreed today to join forces to protect American and European companies better from unfair global trade practices. We will therefore work closely together with like-minded partners to reform the WTO and to address unfair trading practices, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, distortions created by state owned enterprises, and overcapacity.

We decided to set up immediately an Executive Working Group of our closest advisors to carry this joint agenda forward. In addition, it will identify short-term measures to facilitate commercial exchanges and assess existing tariff measures. While we are working on this, we will not go against the spirit of this agreement, unless either party terminates the negotiations.

We also want to resolve the steel and aluminum tariff issues and retaliatory tariffs.

Download the PDF here

Brexit WhitePaper – Full Version: The future relationship between the UK and the European Union | HM Document

Forward to the policy paper

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 and begin to chart a new course in the world. The Government will have delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum – the biggest democratic exercise in this country’s history. And it will have reached a key milestone in its principal mission – to build a country that works for everyone. A country that is stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking.

Download the full document here


EVENT HIGHLIGHTS | What role for energy storage systems in the EU energy transition?

On the 22nd of May, PubAffairs Bruxelles hosted a debate about what role energy storage systems play in the EU energy transition. Mr Michel Matheu, Head of EU Strategy and Stakeholder Relations, Électricité de France, EDF, Ms Andreea Strachinescu, Head of Unit of New Energy Technologies of DG Energy, European Commission, Mr Per-Olof Granström, Director for Energy at the Centre on Regulation in Europe, CERRE, Mr Patrick Clerens, Secretary General, European Association for Storage of Energy, EASE and Mr Jean-Baptiste Bart, Deputy Head at EDF were all present as speakers. The debate was moderated by Hughes Belin, freelance journalist.

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[FR] RÉSUMÉ | Débat | La « Stratégie numérique » de l’UE pour les Balkans occidentaux : quel impact sur le processus d’élargissement?

Le mardi 24 avril 2018, PubAffairs Bruxelles a organisé un débat en partenariat avec la Représentation permanente de l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) auprès de l’UE qui portait sur l’impact de la stratégie numérique de l’UE pour les Balkans occidentaux sur le processus d’élargissement. Le panel était composé par Mme Mariya Gabriel, Commissaire européenne à l’Économie et à la Société numériques, M. Johannes Noack, Membre du Cabinet du Commissaire européen Hahn, Politique européenne de voisinage et négociations d’élargissement et Mme Maja Handjiska-Trendafilova, Chef d’unité “Stratégie 2020 pour l’Europe du Sud-Est” au Conseil de coopération régionale.

Le dèbat modéré par Quentin Ariès, journaliste freelance.

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Understanding the rise of the populist establishment, by Z. Enyedi | Europp LSE Blog

Studies of populism have traditionally focused on the politics of opposition, such as protest movements and the campaigns of smaller parties. But as Zsolt Enyedi notes, recent election results have demonstrated that populist parties cannot only win power, but also show a surprising level of resilience when they enter government. He argues that populism can no longer be regarded simply as a symptom of the dysfunction of institutions: populists need to be appreciated as institution builders.

Populism – whether conceived as ideology, organisational strategy, a form of mobilisation, or discourse – is typically analysed in the context of protest movements and minor parties. Populist government receives less attention, and if it does, the discussion tends to be based on ideal-types or on the extrapolation of trends observed within the opposition circles of liberal democracies.

Now that we can see populists in power in an increasing number of countries, we need to reconsider the anti-establishment nature of populism. The two expressions, that is ‘populist’ and ‘anti-establishment’, are often used as synonyms, even in the context of those Latin American countries in which presidents frequently campaign on an anti-establishment ticket. The association between the two concepts is even stronger in Europe and in the US, where populist forces used to be marginal and oppositional. Well, they are no more. From Italy to Hungary, or from Poland to the United States, we now see how populists in government translate their ideas into policies.

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INVITATION | The project UNIT-e: real-life implementation feedback to legislators for a major EU Long Distance e-mobility project & Panel Debate on the way forward for cleaner road transport (June 26)

We are delighted to invite you to an afternoon discussion followed by a  debate on the way forward for cleaner road transport, which will be held on the 26th of June at the premises of The Office, rue d’Arlon, 80, Brussels.

This event will consist of a presentation on the results of the UNIT-e project, from 15.00 to 18.00, followed by a panel debate on the way forward for cleaner road transport, from 18.30 to 20.00.

The reception for the panel debate will start at 18.00.

The entire event will be moderated by Hughes Belin, freelance journalist.

Click here to download the updated programme

This event was organised in partnership with


UNIT-E Session (15.00-18.00)

15.00 > 15.05 | Introduction |

  • Patrick GAGNOL, Electric Mobility Project Manager, EDF

15.05 > 15.20 | Keynote speech |

  • Richard FERRER, Senior Project Manager, Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), European Commission

15.20 > 15.30 | UNIT-e project |

  • Patrick GAGNOL, Electric Mobility Project Manager, EDF

15.30 > 16.05 EV market outlook and needs in term of charging infrastructure by EV manufacturers

  • Odile GARÇON, Project Director, Electrical Vehicle Program, Infrastructures & Connected Services, Renault (France)
  • Kiyoko KURABAYASHI, EU Affairs Manager, Nissan (France)
  • Dr. Abayomi Otubushin, Corporate and Governmental Affairs, Representative Office Brussels, BMW Group (Germany)

16.05 > 16.45 Operators vision & UNIT-e implementation

  • Lucas MALACARNE, Project Manager EM, Sodetrel (France)
  • Geert LEPPENS, Customer Experience Manager, EDF Luminus (Belgium)
  • Andrea TREBIANI, Business Development Manager, ABB (Italy)
  • Simon CROWFOOT, Board Director, Ecotricity (UK)

16.45 > 17h00  COFFEE BREAK

17.00 > 17.50 

The Italian recharging infrastructure situation 

  • Pier Giuseppe NASO RAPPIS, General Secretary, IIC Istituto Nazionale delle Comunicazioni (Italy)

 Cross-border interoperability: assessment and recommendations 

  • Gilles CRAGUE and Anne GUILLEMOT, Researchers, Ecole des Ponts (France)

French Operator association AFIREVs’ vision: European interoperability issues 

  • Gilles BERNARD, President AFIREV Association Nationale pour le Développement de la Mobilité Électrique (France)

Round table:  eMobility services and interoperability in Europe

Patrick Gagnol (EDF), Gilles Bernard (AFIREV), Eric van Voorden (Last Mile Solution), Simon Crowfoot (Ecotricity), Odile Garçon (Renault), Kiyoko Kurabayashi (Nissan)

17.50 > 18.00 Future: towards high power « 350 kW » fast charging stations? 

  • Patrick GAGNOL, Electric Mobility Project Manager EDF (France)
  • Andrea TREBIANI, Business Development Manager ABB (Italy)

18.00 > 18.15 UNIT-e session closure by the European Commission

  • Helmut MORSI, Advisor to Director “Investments, Innovative & Sustainable Transport”, DG MOVE,  European Commission

18.00 > 18.15  COFFEE BREAK


18.15 > 18.30 | Registrations |

18.30 > 18.40 | Keynote speech | Ismail Ertug MEP (S&D/DE), Member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament

18.40 >19.45  | Panel discussion |

  • Claire DEPRE, Head of Unit, DG MOVE C3, Intelligent Transport Systems, European Commission
  • Ismail Ertug MEP (S&D/DE), Member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, European Parliament
  • Gregory PLANTET, Chief Financial Officer, Sodetrel
  • Christian EGENHOFER, Director Energy Climate House, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
  • Marie France Van Der Valk, Director European Affairs and Representation to the European Institutions alliance, Renault Nissan

19.45 > 20.00 | Question & Answer session |

The debate will be moderated by Hughes Belin, freelance journalist

20.00 | Networking cocktail |


About the UNIT-e results presentation and the panel debate on the future of electric mobility

Directly affecting public health, especially in city centres, the ever growing emission of CO2, PM and NOx is now high on the political agenda in Europe as well as on a global level. There is now a strong political push towards cleaner mobility. This is opening the field to a wide range of technological developments, for which sound business models still have to be found.

The Commission has recently come out with a set of legislative proposals to decarbonise the transport sector. Electric mobility, the recent progress in batteries allowing to consider the adoption of electric vehicles for intercity journey, is considered part of the solution. The deployment of charging infrastructure to accompany this transition has been supported by the Connecting Europe Facility Program, leading to the existence of fast chargers along mobility corridors in Europe.

From a user’s perspective, this has to be implemented seamlessly, while ensuring a continuity of service when driving across borders. Charging time is also a challenge that must be addressed, compromising between user’s experience and acceptable costs.

This part of the event will present the results of UNIT-e, an EU Project, which deployed the infrastructure and services allowing electric driving from Dublin to Genoa, setting the foundation for an EU-wide interoperability of electro-mobility services.

These presentations will serve as a basis for an open debate between market players and legislators on the way forward for cleaner road transport.

Which is the most adequate infrastructure to support the deployment of electric mobility in Europe? Will the electricity system sustain this additional demand? Are incumbents well-positioned to develop the market or are we awaiting new players? What are the best measures to unleash private investment?


About the UNIT-e project

The European project UNIT-e, co-financed by the European Commission through the CEF program, brings together some important European e-mobility stakeholders such as energy suppliers, constructors, charger suppliers, city operators and academics. These include EDF and its affiliated companies Sodetrel and EDF Luminus, but also Renault, Nissan, BMW, Porto Antico di Genova, IIC (Istituto Internazionale delle Comunicazioni) and ENPC (Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées).

The project foresees the installation of fast charging stations at strategic locations along the Belgian, French, Italian and British motorways. This initiative sets the basis for an operational e-mobility network linking northern and southern Europe.

UNIT-e has created one of the first interoperable fast charging networks for electric vehicles in Europe (close to 300 FC available). It is connected to networks from previous projects including TEN-T, Corri-Door, and RCN. 38 stations «50 kW» have been installed : 5 in France, 6 in the UK, 4 in Italy (+ 4 stations 22 kW on the same sites), 23 in Belgium.

To learn more about the project UNIT-e you can also watch this video


In collaboration with


[FR] INVITATION | La gouvernance économique de la zone euro: quelles possibilités d’arriver à un consensus de long terme? (Juin 20)






Nous sommes heureux de vous inviter à une soirée de discussion organisée par PubAffairs Bruxelles et la Représentation Permanente de l’Organisation Internationale de la  Francophonie (OIF) auprès de l’UE sur la possibilité d’arriver à un consensus de long terme sur la gouvernance de la zone euro avec nos orateurs M. Gabriele Giudice, Chef d’unité, Approfondissement de l’UEM et macroéconomie de la zone euro, Commission européenne, DG ECFIN, le Député Jakob von Weizsäcker (S&D/DE), le Député Frank Engel (PPE/LU) et M. Gregory Claeys, Chercheur associé, Bruegel.

Le débat sera modéré par Gabriel Gresillon, correspondant à Bruxelles pour Les Echos.


À propos du débat

Au début de l’année 2017, le Parlement européen a publié un rapport qui a examiné et évalué les enjeux de la gouvernance économique de la zone euro en soulignant l’importance de favoriser un véritable débat sur l’évaluation globale de l’ensemble de la zone euro. Entre-temps, les élections italiennes ont  abouties à la formation d’un nouveau gouvernement et les résultats des élections en France et en Allemagne ont relancé le débat sur les possibles réformes de la zone euro.

Dans ce contexte, le rapport des Institutions européennes «Compléter l’Union économique et monétaire européenne» de 2015, notamment préparé par le président Juncker en coopération avec Donald Tusk, et les présidents de l’Eurogroupe, de la Banque centrale européenne et du Parlement européen, a été de nouveau au centre de l’attention lorsque des indications sur le timing, les modalités et les mesures nécessaires ont été données, afin que l’Union économique et monétaire puisse retourner vers un chemin de  stabilité et une prospérité de long terme.

En effet, le rapport représente une feuille de route pour les réformes de la gouvernance économique européenne qui, dans le contexte actuel, sont considérées par plusieurs observateurs comme nécessaires et urgentes. La gouvernance économique de la zone euro: quelles possibilités d’arriver à un consensus de long terme?


Cet évènement est régi par la règle de Chatham House Les participants sont libres d’utiliser les informations reçues, mais ni l’identité ni l’affiliation des participants ne peuvent être révélées. Pour cette raison, sauf autorisation expresse de PubAffairs Bruxelles, le tournage et/ou l’enregistrement des débats est strictement interdit.


L’évènement commencera avec une réception à 19h00, suivie par un débat à 19h30.

Nous espérons avoir le plaisir de vous voir le 20 Juin à 19h00 dans les locaux de The Office, rue d’Arlon, 80, Bruxelles.

A la fin de chaque débat, les participants sont invités à continuer la discussion autour d’un verre dans une ambiance conviviale.