Jean-Claude Juncker

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

We are most pleased to invite you to participate in an evening of discussion on  the challenges the EU will be faced with in 2017 with our distinguished speakers Mr Markus Ferber MEP (EPP/DE), Mr Reinhard Butikofer MEP (Greens/DE), Mr Brando Benifei MEP (S&D/ITA) and Mr Pawel Swieboda, Deputy Head of the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC).

The debate will be moderated by Chris Burns, longtime journalist and moderator 

With the kind support of


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.

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Statements on the situation in Turkey | European Commission- Statements

Following the attempted coup in Turkey on Friday 15 July, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU Member States present at the Asia-Europe Meeting, which took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 15-16 July, issued a statement, saying: “Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law. We call for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order. We continue to follow closely the developments and to coordinate with the 28 EU Member States.” High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini also issued a joint statement with Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, stating:“We condemn the attempted coup in Turkey and reiterate our full support to the democratic institutions of the country. […] We underline the need for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order with its checks and balances and stress the importance for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms to prevail.” The full statements are available online.

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Plenary highlights: migration, Panama papers and €315 billion investment plan | European Parliament Newsroom

MEPs debated plans for investment in Africa to help migrants find work in their home country during June’s plenary session in Strasbourg this week. They looked too at ways to integrate migrants into the EU’s labour market without disadvantaging local workers. MEPs also approved the mandate for an inquiry committee into the Panama papers and reviewed the EU’s €315 billion investment plan. In addition Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev pleaded for more EU integration in a speech to plenary.

MEPs welcomed plans to invest in migrants’ countries of origin, especially in Africa, during Tuesday’s debate with Commissioner Frans Timmermans and the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. The aim is to support countries’ economic and social development and curb migration flows towards the EU. MEPs also debated a proposal for a blue card to enable Europe to attract highly-qualified foreign workers.During a debate on Wednesday morning, MEPs proved split on the results of the EU’s investment plan so far. Jyrki Katainen, the Commissioner responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, told MEPs that the plans was benefitting small and medium-sized enterprises and proposed extending it to countries outside the EU. Also on Wednesday, MEPs debated the state of democracy in Turkey after 138 members of the Turkish parliament had their immunity lifted. On Tuesday MEPs approved a report urging the European Commission to put forward rules for fairer trading between farmers and supermarkets, which should help to prevent food waste and overproduction.
The mandate for an inquiry committee into the Panama papers was approved on Wednesday. Its 65 members will have 12 months to conduct a detailed examination of the millions of documents that were leaked in April and the present its findings on the application of EU laws on money laundering and tax avoidance. In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, MEPs approved the Commission’s proposal for an anti-tax avoidance directive. Based on the principle that tax should be paid where profits are made, the proposal contains legally-binding measures to block the most common methods for companies to avoid paying taxes.
Parliament called for a focus on sustainability in New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition projects in a resolution adopted on Tuesday. The report by the development committee stressed the importance of restricting the use of dangerous pesticides and safeguarding the role of small family farms and women.
MEPs debated  on Tuesday how European companies could benefit from European space programmes such as Copernicus and Galileo and how satellites and navigation systems could create opportunities for security and defence.
MEPs approved on Thursday a plan to improve the mobility of workers in the EU by simplifying the rules concerning personal public documents, such as birth and marriage certificates.
In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, MEPs strongly criticised the Commission for failing to provide scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors, a type of chemical that is harmful to the body’s hormone system. This follows a judgement by the Court of Justice of the EU, which ruled that the Commission is breaching EU law by continuously delaying action. Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev addressed MEPs in plenary on Wednesday, stressing the need for integration and solidarity between member states. He also discussed the tense relations between Russia and the EU.

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MEPs split over achievements of the EU’s multi-billion euro investment plan | European Parliament – Newsroom

One year on from its launch, MEPs voiced sharply divided verdicts on the progress of the €315 billion investment plan for Europe, or “Juncker plan”, in Wednesday’s debate with EU Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen. While the EPP and S&D broadly welcomed the work of the “European Fund for Strategic Investment” (EFSI) and the Commission’s announcement that it proposes to extend the lifetime of the plan, MEPs from smaller groups were sceptical about its achievements to date.

Commissioner Katainen said that the Juncker Plan had helped to remove barriers to investment and highlighted its benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Over 185 agreements between the EFSI and banks would provide finance for over 150,000 SMEs, he said, adding that the Commission planned to present proposals later this year to extend the three-year term of the EFSI and to expand investment into third countries.

Statement by Jyrki KATAINEN, Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness

Political group speakers (Click on name to view the statements in full)

Othmar KARAS (EPP, AT) welcomed the proposal to extend the life of the plan and said it was one of the key answers to Europe’s structural problems.

Gianni PITTELLA (S&D, IT) said that while Europe needs an investment plan, it also needs to ensure that it provides for additional funding.

Sander LOONES (ECR, BE) suggested it was too early to assess the success of the EFSI and warned against “rushing in” with plans to extend investment into third countries.

Pavel TELIČKA (ALDE, CZ) said he remained a supporter of the plan but that the type of projects being funded and their quality needed to be reviewed.

Miguel VIEGAS (GUE/NGL, PT) said the plan had allowed large companies to dominate and had focused on richer, more developed areas.

Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens/EFA, BE) called for more money for the plan and said it should focus on countries which lack investment and have most potential for renewable energy projects..

Nigel FARAGE (EFDD, UK) said that the EU’s “grand plans”, such as this, had sown the seeds of its own destiny. Looking ahead to the UK’s 23 June “independence day” referendum, he said he hoped that this would be the last time he spoke in this Parliament..

Steeve BRIOIS (ENF, FR) described the EFSI as a “total failure” saying that it had focused financing on large, urban areas which had aggravated regional disparities

You can watch the plenary debate via EP Live, and EbS+.

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European Parliament Agenda | The Week Ahead 06 – 12 June 2016

Plenary session and committee meetings, Strasbourg

Migration compact. A new EU plan to address the root causes of migration will be presented by the EU Commission and debated in plenary on Tuesday afternoon. The “migration compact”, prepared by Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, foresees using EU funds to promote private investment in migrants’ countries of origin, particularly in Africa.

Integrating legal migrants. In a following debate, MEPs will discuss new plans by the EU Commission to set up uniform, efficient legal immigration procedures for those entitled to stay as well as an action plan for integration of third-country nationals. (Debate Tuesday)

Turkey. MEPs will debate the state of democracy in Turkey after 138 members of the Turkish parliament had their immunity lifted. Respect of fundamental rights is one of the conditions for a rapid introduction of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens as part of an arrangement for managing migration. (Debate Wednesday)

Juncker plan mid-term review. The first results of the European Commission’s ‎€315 billion investment plan for Europe will be debated on Wednesday morning with Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen. Most of the EU co-financed projects so far lined up to boost jobs and growth are in France, the UK, Italy and Germany.

Inquiry committee. Following the “Panama Papers” revelations about some 200,000 offshore letterbox companies, the, MEPs will vote on the creation of an inquiry committee to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. (Vote Wednesday)

Taxing multinationals. MEPs will give their opinion on the Commission’s proposal for an anti-tax avoidance directive on Tuesday morning and vote on a resolution on Wednesday. The proposal aims to close loopholes used by corporate tax avoiders.

Endocrine disruptors. Parliament is set to reiterate its demand that the European Commission publish the over-due scientific criteria needed to identify and tackle exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals. These criteria should have been published by the end of 2013. (Vote Wednesday)

Removing hurdles to free movement. Parliament will vote on new EU rules to facilitate the free movement of citizens by simplifying procedures for proving the authenticity of their personal public documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, in other EU member states. To avoid the need for translation, the provisions would introduce new multilingual EU forms to be attached to the documents. (Debate Wednesday, vote Thursday)

President of Bulgaria. Rosen Plevneliev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, will deliver a speech in the European Parliament on Wednesday at 12.00. The future of Europe and the current challenges that the EU is facing are expected to be among the topics addressed.

President’s diary. Parliament’s President Martin Schulz will meet Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Tuesday. On Wednesday he will meet Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev and hold a joint press point following Mr Plevneliev’s formal address to the plenary session.

Pre-session press briefing. The EP Press Service will hold a press briefing at 16.30 on Monday. (EP Press conference room, Strasbourg

Click here for the schedule of the days

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Presidents Juncker and Tusk at the G7: Joint press conference and Joint G7 Leaders’ Statement on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement/Free Trade Agreement | European Commission – Daily News

At a pre-G7 Summit press briefing with President Tusk, President Juncker addressed a wide range of issues, including the recovery of the global economy, the EU’s multilateral and bilateral trade agenda and the state of play of the EU-Turkey migration deal. He also announced that given the success of the Investment Plan for Europe, he would propose prolonging the Plan behind 2018. Finally, he expressed concerns about the overcapacity of China in the steel sector calling for stronger trade defence instruments at EU level. President Juncker‘s remarks are available online. In the margins of the G7 Summit currently taking place in Ise-Shima, Japan, Presidents Juncker and Tusk on behalf of the EU,Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, issued a statement calling for the acceleration of negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)/Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to reaching an agreement in principle as early as possible in 2016, and commended the work of negotiators for the substantial progress made over the last 3 years. Read the full statement here. The EU is a full member of the G7, and has been participating in all Summits since 1977 – for more information about this year’s Summit, a factsheet is available in EN, FR, DE and IT.

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Commission releases 2016 European Digital Progress Report: unequal progress towards a Digital Single Market | European Commission – Daily News

Building on the results of the EU Digital Economy and Society Index published in February (press release), the Commission today releases its report on the digital performance of EU Member States. The Commission has monitored the implementation of national digital reforms and, ahead of the Competitiveness Council later this week, gives advice to achieve better results in areas from broadband coverage to online public services, digital skills and e-commerce. The Commission also publishes today a full report on a new international index (iDESI) on digital performance comparing EU Member States to 15 other countries. International data shows that the top EU performers (Sweden, Denmark, and Finland) are also leading countries on the global stage, followed by South Korea and the United States. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Data shows online shopping and selling is not at its high. We will soon present a set of proposals which will boost e-commerce in the EU. That means no more barriers that discourage companies from cross-border trading and prevent people from getting the most competitive offers online.Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Europe’s digital performance is good on the global stage, however some countries could do better. Therefore we come with advice that will help EU Member States improve their digital performance for the benefits of their society and economy and will contribute to creating a Digital Single Market.The Commission also publishes today a Eurobarometer study on e-communications. The study found mobile internet access increased significantly with 69% of households now having at least one member with a mobile internet access, a +21 points increase over 2014. More information can be found here.

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EVENT HIGHLIGHTS: “EU policy after the elections: what is next?” (17 June)

On Tuesday 17th of June, at the premises of Science14 Atrium in Brussels, PubAffairs Bruxelles hosted a debate concerning the EU policy scenario once the new European Commission takes office. The debate was moderated by Gabriele Steinhauser, Correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, while the discussant were Mrs Rebecca Harms MEP, co-President of the Greens/EFA, Mr Hannes Swoboda MEP, President of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats and Mr Roland Freudenstein, Deputy Director and Head of Research of the Wilfred Martens Center for European Studies.

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Analysis: David Cameron’s attempt to block Juncker was a masterclass in how to lose friends in Europe | Europp – LSE Blogs

Despite opposition from the UK and Hungary, the European Council nominated Jean-Claude Juncker as the next President of the European Commission on 27 June. Eunice Goes writes on the attempt made by British Prime Minister David Cameron to block Juncker’s nomination. She argues that the strategy adopted by Cameron simply served to alienate potential allies and ultimately left the UK isolated in the negotiations.

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Save the date: 8 July – Dangerous liaisons or avenues to greater influence in the global arena? EU trade policies towards the east and the west of the world

We are delighted to invite you to the debate organised by PubAffairs Bruxelles which will be held on the 8th of July at 19.00 at the premises of Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science, 14-b, Brussels. The debate will concern EU trade policies towards the east and the west of the globe. Although speakers and event details will be announced in the coming days, we are sending you this email now to make sure you save the date.


This event is kindly sponsored by:


About the debate

In 2010, the European Commission communication concerning “trade, growth and world affairs” aimed at revisiting the EU trade policy strategies set out in the previous Commission’s “Global Europe” release of the year 2006, while acknowledging the role of external economic relations as a vital catalyst for growth and job creation, as well as the need to coordinate the EU’s internal and external policies. The Commission committed itself “to asserting the EU more effectively on the world stage by actively contributing to shaping the future global economic order and defending the European interest worldwide”. This important shift in EU trade policy was due not only to the need to respond to the economic crisis, to keep pace with a fast-changing global environment and to cope with the challenges posed by emerging economies, but was also a consequence of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which mandated the Commission to both include the European Parliament in the decision-making process and to ensure stricter consistency with the principles and the objectives of the Union’s external action.

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