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[Ticker] Italy to include basic income in 2019 budget - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 09:04
Economy minister Giovanni Tria announced on Wednesday that Italy's 2019 budget would include a basic income and a lower retirement age. The move aims to secure support for the budget from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, having pledged a basic income of up to €780 in election campaigns. The budget could rise eyebrows in Brussels, with Italy's public debt already the highest in the eurozone after Greece's.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] Malta's Pilatus Bank set to lose banking licence - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 09:00
The European Banking Authority (EBA) chairman, Andrea Enria, has backed a recommendation by the Maltese financial regulator to withdraw the Pilatus Bank's banking licence due to "the current circumstances of the bank's ultimate beneficial owner," reported Reuters. The owner, Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, was indicted in the United States in March for bank fraud, money laundering and the evasion of sanctions against Iran.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] Orban and Salvini branded 'pyromaniacs of Europe' - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 08:57
The leader of French president Emmanuel Macron's La Republique En Marche party, Christophe Castaner, set the tone for the upcoming European Parliament 2019 election campaign, calling Italy's Matteo Salvini and Hungary's Viktor Orban the "pyromaniacs of Europe". "We are talking about people whose only program is to say 'no'", he said in Paris on Wednesday, while encouraging people to sign up online before 15 November to be candidates.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] French court returns half of seized funds to Le Pen - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 08:52
The Paris Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday that judges investigating Marine Le Pen's party, formerly known as the National Front, had been within their rights to seize public subsidies as part of an EU funding probe - but the judges halved the amount from €2m to €1m. When the money was frozen on 28 June Le Pen called it a "death sentence" for her party.
Categories: European Union

ASEP10 gives priority to climate change

Written by Enrico D’Ambrogio,

The 10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP10) will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 and 28 September 2018. The meeting will focus on climate change and environmental challenges. The final declaration will be transmitted to the 12th ASEM Summit, to be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2018.


© European Union, 2018

The first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit was held in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1996. At that time it involved 26 partners. Since then, summits have been held every two years, alternately in the EU and Asia. After several rounds of enlargement, ASEM today consists of 53 members, including: 30 European countries (28 EU Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland); 18 Asian countries (the 10 members of ASEAN plus Bangladesh, China, Japan, India, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan); as well as Australia, Russia and New Zealand, together with the ASEAN secretariat and the EU. ASEM partners represent 60 % of the global population, 65 % of the global economy, 55 % of global trade and 75 % of global tourism.

ASEM is an informal and flexible inter-regional process of dialogue and cooperation that is based on equal partnership and aimed at enhancing mutual understanding. ASEM represents a forum for sharing information, and building confidence, rather than a tool for negotiation and problem-solving. Because of its informality, no formal or structured agenda is set out. The Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework (AECF), which ASEM established in 2000, defines its working methods. ASEM has no secretariat, and the Singapore-based Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is its only institution, set up with the aim to promote mutual understanding through intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The ASEM dialogue addresses issues of mutual interest, divided into three pillars: political; economic and financial; and social, cultural and educational. Besides the ASEM summits, numerous meetings take place among ministers and senior officials, as well as regular dialogues.


The Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) meeting gives a democratic input to this process. It is the parliamentary dimension of the Asia-Europe Meeting and assembles parliamentarians from the ASEM countries and the European Parliament (EP). It is normally convened on a regular bi-annual basis alternately in Asia and in Europe before ASEM summits (it did not take place in 1998 and 2000). ASEP 10 is scheduled for 27-28 September 2018, when, for the first time, it will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels.

ASEP10 is to focus on climate change and environmental challenges as a priority for the planet, and on multilateralism as a fair methodology to shape advanced and equitable international relationships. The programme includes three discussion panels on climate change and the environment’s impact on economy, migration and security. The final declaration will be transmitted to the 12th ASEM summit, scheduled to take place in Brussels on 18-19 October 2018, which should also discuss the Commission and the Vice President/High Representative’s joint communication on ‘Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy‘ adopted on 19 September 2018.

Climate change: a challenge for Europe, Asia and the world

In the summer of 2018, both Asia and Europe experienced the consequences of extreme weather, in countries such as Greece, India, Japan and Sweden. Cooperation between the EU and Asia on addressing climate change challenges is of increasing importance, especially after the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Asia’s rapid economic expansion is expected to increase its contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, projected to rise from 40 % in 2016 to 48 % in 2030. A 6oC temperature rise above pre-industrial levels is projected for the Asian landmass by the end of the century, which may even pose an existential threat to some countries. Asia is the most disaster-prone region in the world and 10 Asian countries are among the top 20 in the Global Climate Risk Index. Climate change impacts may slash up to 9 % off south Asia’s economy every year by the end of this century.

The European Union is committed to climate action and has been in the front line of setting ambitious climate and energy targets, with a view to assisting the shift towards a low-carbon economy. The EU is working towards cutting domestic GHG emissions by at least 40 % by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, with a medium-term goal of achieving a 20 % reduction by 2020. The long-term objective for 2050 is a reduction of GHG emissions of 80-95% compared to 1990. To meet the 20% target for 2020, the EU has set up an Emissions Trading System (ETS), the world’s biggest scheme for trading greenhouse gas emissions allowances. It has been reviewed in line with the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets. EU climate legislation includes the ETS (reformed with the introduction of a future market stability reserve), eco-design and energy labelling, the Effort-Sharing Decision/Regulation, the Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive, CO2 limits for cars and vans, and legislation on fluorinated greenhouse gases.

The EU is also actively engaged in the international efforts to reduce GHG emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The EU is the world’s largest contributor of climate finance to developing countries: together with its Member States and the European Investment Bank, it contributed €20.2 billion in public climate finance to developing countries in 2016. The EU’s flagship initiative is the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+). It also works closely with other countries and regions to advance dialogue and cooperation on climate change, for instance during the annual climate diplomacy weeks – in June and September 2018 – where EU delegations around the world reach out to communities and partner organisations.

European Parliament’s position ASEM and ASEP

Since 2002, the EP has been represented through ad hoc delegations at ASEP meetings. In 2018, the Parliament’s delegation is composed of up to 11 MEPs, including the president, the vice-president in charge of relations with Asia and the chairs of the ASEP-related delegations. In a resolution of 15 January 2014 on the future of EU-ASEAN relations, the EP stressed that ‘the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP), as the existing channels for dialogue between the EU and ASEAN, should be upgraded at governmental and parliamentary level and further extended’. In a resolution of 15 February 2017, MEPs welcomed the proposal from Mongolia (host of ASEP9 in 2016) to set up an ASEM centre, including a virtual/online facility. The Parliament also urged the Commission and the Vice President/High Representative to use ASEM summits or meetings to raise issues such as the situation of the Rohingya people, the freedom of expression in Vietnam and the situation of human rights in Laos.

Climate change

The EP advocates an ambitious EU climate policy with ambitious binding targets on climate and energy: a reduction by at least 40 % in domestic GHG emissions from 1990 levels; a 30 % share for renewable energy sources in energy consumption; and a 40 % increase in energy efficiency. Before the 23rd UNFCCC climate change conference (COP23), the Parliament voiced disappointment that, when introducing CORSIA, ICAO did not agree on emissions reductions in international aviation, but instead focused mainly on offsets. MEPs regretted that the quality of the offsets is not guaranteed, that the application of CORSIA is only legally binding from 2027 onward, and that there is a lack of commitment by major ICAO members. The EP voiced support for broad-based carbon pricing and the allocation of emissions-trading revenues to climate-related investments. It asked to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies by 2020. MEPs backed environmentally and socially sustainable biofuel production that does not lead to deforestation and rising food prices.

Read this ‘At a glance’ note on ‘ASEP10 gives priority to climate change‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Visit the European Parliament homepage on climate change.

Categories: European Union

EU orders Ryanair to meet European rules on local contracts - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 08:05
The European Commission ordered Ryanair on Wednesday (26 September)  to respect EU rules by giving workers contracts in the country they live rather than in Ireland where its planes are registered.
Categories: European Union

Leaked memo exposes business rift on climate change - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:56
BusinessEurope, the EU employer organisation, was urged to reconsider its stance on climate change after a leaked internal memo exposed what others in the business community have now rebuked as an “extreme lowest common denominator” that does not represent their view.
Categories: European Union

Court orders Polish PM to correct election rally comment - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:51
A court on Wednesday ordered Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to correct within 48 hours comments he made comparing his government's record with its predecessor's, during a crucial election campaign.
Categories: European Union

‘We don’t have to rush our trucks legislation’, warns MEP - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:36
The head of the European Parliament’s environment committee has urged her MEP colleagues not to rush the adoption of new EU rules on heavy-duty vehicle emissions, casting doubt on whether the Third Mobility Package can be finalised under this current Parliament.
Categories: European Union

Kurz reacts after far-right-controlled ministry suggests muzzling press - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:29
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had to intervene Tuesday (25 September) in the wake of a reported suggestion from an interior ministry official that police should limit contact with three critical media to a minimum.
Categories: European Union

Macron and Europe: Six figures to consider - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:25
A year to the day after Emmanuel Macron’s impassioned pro-Europe Sorbonne speech, the outcomes seem meagre. The Élysée Palace sees things differently though and has defended the work done towards making the president’s proposals a reality. EURACTIV France reports.
Categories: European Union

Net zero emissions feasible by 2050 if EU economy goes cross-sectoral, new report says - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:15
With the European Commission expected to present its mid-century climate plan in November, a report released on Thursday (27 September) shows net zero emissions can only be achieved by 2050 if member states develop more innovative, cross-sectoral, and 'beyond business-as-usual' scenarios.
Categories: European Union

Lost in confusion, Europe staggers towards elections - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:14
Two weeks after Jean-Claude Juncker's speech in Strasbourg triggered kick-off debates in the European Parliament about the 2019 elections, Emmanuel Macron - one of the most closely watched politicians in Europe - officially launches his campaign in Berlin on Saturday (29 September).
Categories: European Union

MEPs agree to scrap €70m in Turkey funding - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:13
The European Parliament’s Budget Committee has voted to withhold €70 million in pre-accession funds from Turkey, after MEPs decided Ankara has not improved rule of law conditions.
Categories: European Union

Spain furious over Flemish letter to Catalan separatist - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:13
Spain summoned the Belgian ambassador over a letter sent to jailed Catalan separatist Carme Forcadell by the speaker of the regional Flemish parliament questioning democracy in Spain, a diplomatic source said Wednesday (26 September).
Categories: European Union

From Budapest to the Balkans, via Brussels - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:11
Macedonia is still going through a painful reconstruction as a society. But if we really believe that the Western Balkans region belongs in Europe, it is time to insist on respecting European values, writes Ivana Jordanovska.
Categories: European Union

[Opinion] EU elections 2019: the case for an alliance against far-right - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:05
There are some coordinated efforts to create a pro-European political front that can cope with far-right forces ahead of the EU elections in May 2019.
Categories: European Union

Medical devices emerge as low-hanging fruit in EU-US trade talks - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:02
Medical devices came up as one of the first issues EU and US representatives discussed as part of fresh talks to improve the trade relations, European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen told EURACTIV.
Categories: European Union

In May 2019, Europe will vote on migration - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 07:00
Shortly after settling in at La Moncloa, Spain's new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, welcomed the ship Aquarius after it was rejected by the Italian government. But a few months later, his immigration policy changed, writes Beatriz Becerra.
Categories: European Union

Trump takes aim at Iran at UN Security Council, Macron hits back - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 06:53
President Donald Trump on Wednesday (26 September) accused Iran of spreading chaos and China of meddling in US elections at a UN Security Council meeting that laid bare divisions between the United States and other world powers.
Categories: European Union


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