Insights | EU Insight 15 June, 2018

EU Insight 15 June, 2018

EU AGREES ON RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGETS

The Commission, European Parliament and the Council’s respective negotiators reached a political agreement on increasing the use of renewable energy in Europe. The new regulatory framework includes a binding EU-wide renewable energy use target for 2030 of 32%, with a clause to revise the target upwards by 2023. Following the agreement, the text of the Directive will now to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. It will then be published in the EU’s Official Journal and transposed into national law by Member States.

EUROPEAN REACTIONS TO THE US-NORTH KOREA SUMMIT

The EU and NATO welcomed the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which took place on 12 June in Singapore. The EU’s High-Representative Federica Mogherini stated that it “was a crucial and necessary step to build upon the positive developments achieved in inter-Korean relations and on the peninsula so far.” At the same time, she stated that the Iran nuclear deal, which “three years on, is delivering,” was part of the same diplomatic strategy. Mogherini stressed that the EU is ready to support the follow-on negotiations to ensure long-lasting peace, security and prosperity in North Korea.

REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA AND GREECE SETTLE NAME DISPUTE

After long intensive negotiations, Greece and Macedonia (FYROM) agreed to rename the former Yugoslav republic as the “Republic of North Macedonia” for official use. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras deemed the deal “a great diplomatic victory and a historic opportunity” for the region to foster “friendship and cooperation”. The solution to this longstanding dispute clears the way for the Republic of North Macedonia to bid for EU and NATO membership. In light of this, the European Council summit on 28-29 June will decide whether to approve the start of accession talks, and a NATO membership invitation could be extended following its 11-12 July summit. 

DIGITAL POLICY AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO BENEFIT FROM CLOSER COOPERATION

Finland, Sweden, Austria and Lithuania committed to cooperating closely at the EU level in the field of digital policy, signing the European declaration on High-Performance Computing, which now counts 20 signatories. In addition, cooperation on artificial intelligence is growing, with Cyprus and Greece being the latest countries to sign up, bringing the number up to 28 countries. In response, the Commission appointed 52 experts to advise on artificial intelligence and establish a ‘collaboration platform’ to build a stakeholder community – the European AI Alliance. The experts will now draft ethical guidelines by end-2018 and a set of recommendations by mid-2019.

SURVEY FINDS GROWING TRUST IN THE EU AND ITS FUTURE

According to the latest Eurobarometer, trust in the EU – 42% – is at its highest since 2010 and remains above trust in national parliaments or governments (34%). The survey also finds that a majority of Europeans are optimistic about the future of the EU – 58% – and overwhelmingly support the Economic and Monetary Union (74%). Finally, whilst the “free movement of people, goods and services within the EU [and] peace among EU Member States” are perceived as the most positive results of the EU, immigration and terrorism remain Europeans’ chief concerns. 

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 18 June: Agriculture and Fisheries Council. On the agenda: European maritime and fisheries fund post 2020, fisheries controls, fishing opportunities for 2019, future of CAP post 2020.
  • 21 June: Eurogroup.
  • 21 June: EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina Stabilisation and Association Council.
  • 21 June: EU-Armenia Partnership Council. On the agenda: economic, trade and sectoral cooperation, visa liberalisation, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
  • 21-22 June: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council. On the agenda: coordination of social security systems, work-life balance for parents and carers, transparent and predictable working conditions.
  • 22 June: Economic and Financial Affairs Council.

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