COMMISSION PRIORITIES FOR 2018
In its first meeting of 2018, the College of Commissioners discussed the institutional priorities for this year. The College set out its ambition to deliver reform of the Economic and Monetary Union, secure the EU’s borders, overhaul the EU’s asylum system, complete the Digital Single Market, and bring the Western Balkans closer to the EU. 89 priority files are currently on the table, with 29 having already been delivered. The meeting also included a presentation of the major new proposals to be expected for 2018, which will feed into the Commission’s Roadmap for “a more united, stronger and more democratic Union”.
BULGARIAN COUNCIL PRESIDENCY OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED IN SOFIA
Bulgaria took over the rotating presidency of the Council and outlined its priorities which consist of the future of Europe and young people, European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans, security and stability in a strong and united Europe, and the digital economy. The EU institutions’ highest representatives were present at the ceremony in Sofia and commended the Bulgarian commitment to the European neighbourhood policy, as well as their plans to adopt the euro and join the Schengen area. Bulgaria will hold the presidency until the end of June of this year, when Austria takes over for its six month tenure.
EU CLEAN ENERGY INDUSTRIAL COMPETITIVENESS AND INNOVATION FORUM LAUNCHED
Climate Action and Energy Commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, opened the first High-level meeting of the EU Clean Energy Industrial Competitiveness and Innovation Forum. It aims to bring together the industrial basis for renewables in the EU and to gain its support to take advantage of the growth opportunities of the clean energy transition. Industry leaders and public decision-makers discussed how to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU renewable energy value chain, research and innovation, and how to resolve trade policy issues. The follow up event will be part of the EU Industry Days in February 2018.
COMMISSION CALLS FOR MORE EFFORTS ON REMOVING ILLEGAL CONTENT ONLINE
Several Commissioners, including Vice-President Andrus Ansip, met with representatives of online platforms to discuss the progress made in tackling the spread of illegal content online, including terrorist propaganda and racist or hate-filled speech, as well as breaches of intellectual property rights. In its Work Programme for 2018, the Commission set out a commitment to continue to promote cooperation with social media companies in detecting and removing illegal content and, while it has commend the efforts of online platforms in tackling violent and extremist content, is looking to encourage industry to further increase the prevention, detection, and removal of illegal content online.
JUNCKER PLAN SUPPORTS CANCER RESEARCH
The European Investment Bank announced that it is providing a loan of €40 million to Indivumed GmbH as part of President Juncker’s Investment Plan for Europe. Indivumed is a physician-led, global oncology company; the funding will allow them to continue their development of a global database, supporting the work of cancer researchers by providing access to data from cancer patients, as well as investing in the latest technology to better understand cancer data. The financing for this project is awarded by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, which makes funding available for sound investments that contribute towards EU policy goals.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
•15 – 19 January: Plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. On the agenda: Review of the Estonian Presidency, debate on the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 14 and 15 December 2017, presentation of the programme of activities of the Bulgarian Presidency, a speech and debate from the Taoiseach of Ireland Leo Varadkar on the Future of Europe.