Tagged: PolicyCompetition

CALENDRIER du 13 avril au 19 avril 2015

(Susceptible de modifications en cours de semaine)

Déplacements et visites

Lundi 13 avril

President Jean-Claude Juncker meets with Mr Vítor Caldeira, President of the European Court of Auditors and with Mr Henri Grethen, European Court of Auditors’ Member Luxembourg.

Mr Frans Timmermans reçoit M. Jean-Louis Nadal, Président de la Haute Autorité pour la transparence de la vie publique.

Mr Frans Timmermans receives Mr Peter Faross, Secretary General of The European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME).

Ms Federica Mogherini and Mr Johannes Hahn attend the Informal Ministerial Meeting with Southern Partners on the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy, Barcelona, Spain.

Mr Andrus Ansip receives Mr Thierry Breton, Chairman and CEO of Atos.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis makes a European Semester country visit to Rome; meets Mr Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister of Economy and Finance; Mr Giuliano Poletti, Minister of Labour, Mr Ignazio Visco, Governor of the Bank of Italy, and social partners.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič gives an opening speech at the Renewable Energy Economy Forum 2015 organised by the German Association for Renewables (BEE); Hannover.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič attends the Hannover Messe in Germany.

Mr Jyrki Katainen receives social partners about the Investment Plan.

Mr Jyrki Katainen receives the Confederation of European Paper Industries.

Mr Jyrki Katainen participates in EP Committee on International Trade (INTA).

Mr Jyrki Katainen delivers keynote speech at inaugural conference of EP intergroup.

Mr Günther Oettinger participates in Hannover Messe in Germany: speaks at the policy reception of the German Engineering Association (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau, VDMA) and Deutsche Messe on “Digital production – is Europe missing its opportunity?”.

Mr Neven Mimica attends the 7th World Water Forum in Daegu and Gyeongbuk in the Republic of Korea.

Mr Miguel Arias Cañete receives Mr Julio Rodriguez, Executive Vice President of Global Operations of Schneider Electric.

Mr Karmenu Vella in Riga (13-15/04). (13/04) visits the company Brivais Vilnis; meets representatives of local NGOs and Fisheries Advisory Council. (14/04) delivers speech at the Informal Environment Council. (15/04) attends the Informal Environment Council (joint meeting of the Environment and Energy ministers); delivers opening statement at the Green Bridge Forum.

M. Pierre Moscovici à Paris: rencontre M. Wilfried Guerrand, membre du Conseil d’administration du groupe Hermès et M. Jean-Noël Tronc, Directeur Général de la SACEM.

Mr Jonathan Hill delivers a speech at an event with the CEOs of SMEs organised by Eurochambres in Brussels.

Ms Violeta Bulc receives the representatives from the European Construction Industry Federation.

Ms Violeta Bulc receives Sir Graham Watson.

Ms Violeta Bulc receives Members of the Slovenian National Parliament.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska attends Hannover Messe in Germany:delivers a keynote speech at the Forum “Global Business and Markets”, meets with Mrs Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and with Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

Ms Vĕra Jourová in Berlin, Germany: meets with Mr. Heiko Maas, Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, Ms. Maria Böhmer, Minister of State and with Dr. Thomas de Maizière, Minister of Interior.

Ms Margrethe Vestager delivers a keynote speech “In Varietate Concordia” at Syddansk Universitet on nation states and nationalism in Odense, Denmark.

Mr Carlos Moedas in Jordan: participates in the conference “Addressing shared challenges through Science Diplomacy: the case of the EU – Middle East regional cooperation”.

 

Mardi 14 avril

Informal Environment Council (14-15/04)

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Ms Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister-President of the Saarland and members of the Saarland regional government.

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Milo Đukanović, Prime Minister of Montenegro

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of the European Central Bank.

Mr Frans Timmermans receives Mr Ton Heerts, Chairman of the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions (FNV) and Ms Catelene Passchier, Vice-Chair of the FNV.

Mr Frans Timmermans receives representatives of the Forum of Jewish Organisations of Flanders (FJO – Forum der Joodse Organisaties).

Ms Federica Mogherini in Lübeck, Germany: visits Willy Brandt House with Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mr Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development; attends discussion with students; attends G7 Ministerial meeting.

Ms Kristalina Georgieva attends the official opening of the exhibition “The Saga of the Thracian Kings – Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria” in the Louvre, Paris.

Mr Andrus Ansip speaks at a policy dialogue on transforming traditional businesses and creating jobs at the European Policy Centre.

Mr Andrus Ansip participates in the meeting of the Working Group of the European Parliament Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee on the Digital Single Market in Brussels.

Mr Andrus Ansip receives Mr Edgar Berger, Chairman and CEO, International Sony Music Entertainment, Mr Stu Bergen President, International Warner Recorded Music, Mr Richard Constant General Counsel, Universal Music Group International, Ms Frances Moore CEO, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Ms Olivia Regnier, Director European Office and European Regional Counsel, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Mr Jyrki Katainen at the Investment Plan roadshow in the Netherlands: meets with Mr Bert Koenders, Foreign Minister; Mr Mark Rutte, Prime-Minister and Mr Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Finance Minister as well as the provinces, business leaders, students and stakeholders.

Mr Günther Oettinger participates in Hannover Messe in Germany: speaks at the event “Industry 4.0 – Made in Germany”  along with Mr. Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, and Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and representatives of the industry; delivers a keynote speech ‘Europe’s Future is Digital’; meets with representatives of the industry, start-ups and research: Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Messe; Prof. Dr. Peter Gutzmer, Vice-President and CEO of Schaeffler; Mr. Thies Hofmann, Vice President of Business Development at Konux; Mr. Hermann Lertes, owner and CEO of H. Lertes GmbH & Co; Mr. Bernd Leukert, Member of the Executive Board of SAP; Mr. Daniel Siegel, founder of EliSE; Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, Director and CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI); Lucas Wintjes, Senior Vice PresidentSales and Industry Sector Management Factory Automation at Bosch Rexroth.During the day, Mr Oettinger also visits different stands, notably of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, H2FC European Infrastructure Project, OWL Clustermanagement, Microsoft, T-Systems, Siemens, Weidmüller, Endress+Hauser, ABB.   

Mr Johannes Hahn attends breakfast meeting hosted by CIDOB in Barcelona.

Ms Cecilia Malmström receives Members of the Slovenian Parliament.

Ms Cecilia Malmström receives Mr José Manuel González-Páramo, EU chairman of the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD).

Mr Neven Mimica attends the 7th World Water Forum in Daegu and Gyeongbuk in the Republic of Korea.

M. Pierre Moscovici reçoit M. Branko Grčić, vice-Premier Ministre Croate, Ministre du Développement Régional et des Fonds Européens et M. Boris Lalovac, Ministre des finances croate.

M. Pierre Moscovici reçoit une délégation du groupe parlementaire SPD du Bundestag.

M. Pierre Moscovici reçoit M. Patrick Kron, président-directeur général du groupe Alstom.

M. Pierre Moscovici reçoit M. Anton Hofreiter, co-président du groupe parlementaire des Verts au Bundestag.

M. Pierre Moscovici reçoit M. Jean-Dominique Senard, Président du groupe Michelin.

Mr Jonathan Hill receives Mr Mihály Varga, Hungarian Finance Minister.

Ms Violeta Bulc receives the representatives from the European Association with tolled motorways, bridges and tunnels.

Ms Violeta Bulc receives Mr James Hogan, CEO of Etihad.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska meets with Mr Krzysztof Kurzydłowski, Professor at the Warsaw University of Technology.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska receives Mr Patrcik Kron, CEO of Alstom.

Ms Vĕra Jourová in Berlin: meets with the Consumer Federation, with the Federation of German Industries, with Ms. Manuela Schwesig, the Minister for Family, Elderly, Women and Youth and with Dr. Meyer-Landrut, the Head of the European Policy Division in the German Chancellery

Mr Tibor Navracsics announces the winners of EU Prize for Literature 2015 at London Book Fair, London.

 

Mercredi 15 avril

College meeting

European Parliament plenary session (Brussels)

Informal Energy Council (15-16/04)

President Jean-Claude Juncker and the College receive the Spanish King Felipe VI.

Ms Federica Mogherini attends G7 Ministerial meeting in Lübeck, Germany.

Mr Andrus Ansip receives the Board of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis attends the Governing Council of European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.

Mr Jyrki Katainen participates in a Committee of the Regions conference on the Investment Plan.

Mr Jyrki Katainen receives CEOs from German Insurance companies.

Mr Johannes Hahn receives Mr Milo Đukanović, Prime Minister of Montenegro.

Ms Cecilia Malmström in Paris: meets the Prime Minister of France, Mr Manuel Valls; participates in the citizen dialogue “Parlons d’Europe” (Centre d’études européennes de Sciences Po); meets theChief of Staff of President of France, Mr Jean-Pierre Jouyet; visits the Assemblée Nationale; meets the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Laurent Fabius; visits an SME.

Mr Neven Mimica attends the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC.

Mr Christos Stylianides meets with Mr Nicos Anastasiadis, President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus.

Mr Jonathan Hill receives Mr Patrick Odier, President of the Swiss Bankers’ Association.

Mr Jonathan Hill receives Mr Alexander Erdland, President of the German insurers’ association (GDV).

Mr Jonathan Hill gives a keynote speech at the British Bankers’ Association Reception, Brussels.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska receivesrepresentatives of the Flemish Government.

Mr Tibor Navracsics gives a speech and hands over the European Heritage Label Award with Ms Silvia COSTA, Chair of Committee on Culture and Education of the EP, at the Ceremony, Brussels Solvay Library.

Ms Corina Creţu in Romania: visits EU-funded projects and meets with Mr Ioan Rus, Romanian Minister of Transport.

Mr Carlos Moedas receivesProf. Wolfgang Schuerer, Chairman of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate.

Mr Carlos Moedas receives Mr Paulo Moniz, Vice-Rector of the Universidade da Beira Interior (UBI).

 

Jeudi 16 avril

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Honorary Senator award in the European Senate, Düsseldorf-Neuss.

Ms Federica Mogherini attends Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015, The Hague.

Ms Kristalina Georgieva meets the winners of this year’s Juvenes Translatores award at a Special Award ceremony in Brussels, Belgium.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis visits Washington and Boston, USA (16-20/04): attends the IMF and World Bank Spring meeting, gives a speech at the Atlantic Council and participate in G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting; has bilateral meetings with M5s Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, Mrs Janet L. Yellen, Chair of the US Federal Reserve, and Mrs Natalie Jaresko, Ukrainian Finance Minister and Mr Ivaras Abromavichus, Ukraine’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade. (20/04) gives a lecture at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies.

Mr Jyrki Katainen at the Investment Plan roadshow in Bulgaria: meets Mr Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister; Mr Rosen Plevneliev, President; Mr Tomislav Donchev, Deputy Prime Minister; Mr Bojidar Lukarski, Minister of Economy and as well as business leaders, investors, MPs and students.

Ms Cecilia Malmström receives Ms Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD.

Ms Cecilia Malmström receives Ms Monica Mæland, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry.

Mr Neven Mimica attends the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC.

Mr Karmenu Vella delivers keynote speech at the Ocean Energy Forum (Hotel Crown Plaza, Brussels).

Mr Karmenu Vella attends the conference “The Atlantic our Shared Resource – Making the Vision Reality” (Palais d’Egmont, Brussels).

Mr Karmenu Vella receives members of the German Parliament.

Mr Pierre Moscovici in Washington (16-19/04): participates in a Public roundtable organised by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) on the theme ‘The recovery in Europe – the way forward’, delivers a speech at the World Bank / EIB conference on Climate Finance and has bilateral meetings.

Mr Christos Stylianides in Belgrade, Serbia: meets Mr Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister; Mr Nebojša Stefanović, Minister of Internal Affairs; Mrs Jadranka Joksimović, Minister and Mr Relief Marko Blagojević, Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Flood.

Mr Christos Stylianides Belgrade, Serbia: visits the Emergency Centre and attends the ceremony for Serbia’s entry into the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Mr Jonathan Hill receives Mr John Rishton, CEO of Rolls Royce.

Mr Jonathan Hill receives Mr Michael Meehan, CEO of Global Reporting Initiative.

Mr Jonathan Hill delivers a speech at the event organised by the Centre for European Reform, London.

Ms Violeta Bulcin Madrid, Spain: meets with Ms Ana Pastor, Minister for Public Works, visits with Mrs Inés Ayala Sender, MEP; Mr Luis De Grandes; Mr Izaskun Bilbao, MEP and Mrs Tania Gonzáles Peñas, MEP; and with Mr Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Secretary of State for European Affairs.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska receivesMrs Monica Mæland, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska meets with representatives of THALES: Mr Serge Adrian, Senior Vice-President; Mr Pawel Piotrowski, Country Director Thales Poland and Mr Marc Cathelineau, Senior Vice-President EU-NATO-UN.

Mr Andrus Ansip and Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska co-chair a roundtable discussion on cross-border parcel delivery with chief executives of national postal operators.

Ms Vĕra Jourová receives Mr Selakovic, Serbian Minister of Justice

Mr Tibor Navracsics gives a lecture as guest lecturer about the European Commission at Corvinus University, Budapest.

Ms Margrethe Vestager in Washington DC, USA (16-17/04): participates in the American Bar Association Antitrust Section’s 2015 Spring Meeting; meets with Ms Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission; meets with Mr J. Baer, Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice William; meets with Mr Michael Lee, Senator and Chairman of the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee; delivers speech on “Competition policy in the EU: Outlook and recent developments in antitrust” at the Peterson Institute for International Economics; meets with Ms Amy Klobuchar, Senator and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee.

Mr Carlos Moedas delivers an opening speech at the conference “The Atlantic – a Shared Resource: making the vision reality”, Palais d’Egmont, Brussels.

Mr Carlos Moedas delivers the keynote speech at the European University Association’s conference, Antwerp.

 

Vendredi 17 avril

Ms Kristalina Georgieva receives MsNathalie Loiseau, director of France’s Ecole Nationale d’Administration.

Ms Kristalina Georgieva receives Mr Jean-Pierre Bourguinon, President of the European Research Council.

Mr Andrus Ansip participates in the Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands.

Mr Jyrki Katainen at the Investment Plan roadshow in Hungary: meets Mr Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister and members of the Hungarian National Assembly’s Committee on European Affairs and the Committee on Economics, as well as SMEs, investors, NGOs, research institutes and students.

Mr Günther Oettinger speaks on the occasion on ‘Energy meets Digital’ ofthe Europa Forum Lech in Austria.

Ms Cecilia Malmström in Maastricht, the Netherlands: delivers speech “EU Trade Policy: Why should European Citizens care?” at the Jean Monnet Lecture, organised by the Maastricht University (Crowne Plaza Hotel)

Mr Neven Mimica attends the World Bank and with Mr Pierre Moscovici participate in International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC.

Mr Karmenu Vella receives the representatives from the environmental NGOs Green 10.

Mr Christos Stylianides in Zagreb, Croatia: visits the Parliament of Croatia, meets with, Mrs Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, President of Croatia and Mrs Vesna Pusić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

Mr Christos Stylianides in Gunja, Croatia: visits a site of the 2014 floods to see recovery and rehabilitation projects.

Mr Phil Hogan and Mr Carlos Moedas in Ireland: take part in the round table discussion in Glanbia, visit the Teagasc Food & Research Centre, Moorepark and the O’Brien Centre for Science, University College Dublin (UCD), Belfield.

Mr Jonathan Hill delivers a speech at a Reuters Newsmaker Event, London.

Mr Jonathan Hill meets Mr Terry Scuoler, CEO of the Manufacturers’ Organisation (EEF).

Ms Violeta Bulc in Madrid, Spain: participates at the “Forum Nueva Economía”, meets with the representatives of the of the Joint Committee for the EU and Committee for Public Works of the Spanish Parliament and the Spanish Senate; meets with representatives of enterprises in different transport sectors, CEOE transport council

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska participates at the conference: “I have a right – citizen on the EU internal market” in Wrocław, Poland.

Mr Tibor Navracsics and MrJyrki Katainen at the Investment plan Road-Show, Budapest, Hungary.

Ms Margrethe Vestager in Washington DC, USA (16-17/04): participates in the American Bar Association Enforcers Roundtable on enforcement priorities from leading antitrust authorities in the world; participates in Roundtable on banking reform at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

 

Samedi 18 avril

Mr Neven Mimica attends the World Bank and with Mr Pierre Moscovici participate in International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC.

Ms Violeta Bulc attends the Global Show for General Aviation in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

 

Dimanche 19 avril

Mr Neven Mimica attends the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC.

Mr Miguel Arias Cañete participates at the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate, Washington DC.

Ms Margrethe Vestager delivers keynote speech on transition from Minister to Commissioner at the Danish Seamen’s Church in New York, USA.

Prévisions du mois d’avril:

20/04 Foreign Affairs Council (Luxembourg)

20/04 Agrifish Council (Luxembourg)

20-22/04 Informal Epsco Council

21/04 General Affairs Council (Luxembourg)

24-25/04 Informal Ecofin Council

27-30/04 European Parliament Plenary Session (Strasbourg)

 

Prévisions du mois de mai:

07/05 Foreign Affairs (Trade) Council

08/05 Foreign Affairs (Defence) Council

11/05 Eurogroup

12/05 Ecofin Council

18/05 Foreign Affairs Council

18/05 EYCS (Education and Youth) Council

18/05 EYCS (Culture and Sport) Council

18-21/05 European Parliament Plenary Session (Strasbourg)

21-22/05 Eastern Partnership Summit

26/05 Foreign Affairs (Development) Council

27/05 European Parliament plenary session (Brussels)

28-29/05 Competitiveness Council

31/05 Informal Agrifish Council

 

Prévisions du mois de juin:

01-02/06 Informal Agrifish Council

08/06 TTE (Energy) Council (Luxembourg)

08-11/06 European Parliament Plenary Session (Strasbourg)

09-10/06 Informal Cohesion Council

10-11/06 EU-CELAC Summit

11/06 TTE (Transport) Council (Luxembourg)

12/06 TTE (Telecommunications) (Luxembourg)

15-16/06 JHA Council (Luxembourg)

15/06 Environment Council (Luxembourg)

16/06 Agrifish Council (Luxembourg)

18/06 Epsco (Employment) Council (Luxembourg)

18/06 Eurogroup

19/06 Ecofin Council (Luxembourg)

22/06 Foreign Affairs Council (Luxembourg)

23/06 General Affairs Council (Luxembourg)

24/06 European Parliament plenary session (Brussels)

25-26/06 European Council

Permanence DG COMM le WE du 11 au 12 avril:

Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, +32 (0)460 764 328

Permanence RAPID – GSM: +32 (0) 498 982 748

Service Audiovisuel, planning studio – tél. : +32 (0)2/295 21 23

Cornerstones of the new EU Energy Union

Vice-President Šefčovič speech at EUFORES 15th Inter-Parliamentary Meeting on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Vienna

Ladies and gentlemen,

Two weeks ago, the European Commission adopted the Energy Union Strategy. I then called it the most ambitious energy project since the European Coal and Steel Community of the 1950s, because what we want to achieve, is nothing less than a fundamental transition of our energy system. We want to set our economy on a new, sustainable trajectory. As one Member of the European Parliament summarized it in a single image: we want to move from a Community of Coal and Steel to a Union of Sun and Wind.

Such an overarching strategy can only succeed if we work together across institutions and stakeholders at all levels: European, regional, national and local. Just like we worked together within the Commission, across portfolios, bringing together 14 Commissioners and 16 DGs. I am therefore very grateful for the opportunity to discuss the Energy Union directly with you – parliamentarians from across Europe, civil society, and businesses. Your contribution will be crucial to achieve the goals of this forward-looking energy and climate change policy.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Energy Union is a big step towards an energy market that is economically sustainable, environmentally friendly, and socially inclusive. An energy market that is integrated, interconnected, resilient and secure. It is a ‘triple win’ strategy, because it will benefit citizens, businesses, and the environment.

For that, we set out a series of concrete actions – both legislative and non-legislative – in the five dimensions that I presented to the European Parliament in my hearing and that, next week, the European Council will hopefully confirm:

  • First, securing our supply. Member States, and citizens, should know that they can rely on neighbouring countries when faced with possible energy supply disruptions. That is what the word ‘solidarity’ means in the energy field; that is how we can build more trust between Member States. We are therefore working on a series of measures to diversify our energy resources and supply routes. Next week, for instance, I will attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), in Kars, Turkey; a project that will bring gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field through Turkey, into Europe. It is this kind of projects we need. But security of supply means much more than only gas, however important gas will remain for years to come. Security of supply means – and I would even say: it means first and foremost – becoming more energy efficient, knowing that for every 1% improvement in energy efficiency, EU gas imports fall by 2.6%.
  • Energy security also means: building a single energy market will allow energy to flow freely across EU countries as a fifth European freedom. This internal market is the second dimension of the Energy Union Strategy.By removing technical and regulatory barriers of cross-border energy flows, consumers will enjoy the fruits of a increased competition – lower prices and better service!
  • The third, fourth and fifth dimensions go hand in hand with the first two and go to the core of today’s conference and the work you do at EUFORES, namely: increasing energy efficiency, decarbonising our economy and investing in innovative renewable sources of energy.

This covers a very broad range of issues, which will require the full involvement of many commissioners. Let me just mention three issues, amongst many other issues, that I intend to give a serious push in the weeks and months ahead.

First, to tap the full potential of energy efficiency of buildings. The figures clearly show why more action is needed in this field: currently, 75% of Europe’s building stock is not energy efficient; buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. About 35% of our buildings are over 50 years old. They eat energy! While older buildings consume about 25 litres of heating oil per square meter per year on average (some even up to 60 litres!), new buildings only need three to five litres on average. So we can – and should – do better.

Second, as the importance of the local level increases, we should pay more attention to initiatives at the local level, of course in full respect of the principle of subsidiarity. Smart Cities are an excellent example of how the municipal level can play a major role in the transformation of the energy market that we’re looking for. Last week I met an impressive delegation of mayors who shared several good examples of successful initiatives from all over Europe:

  • the German city of Heidelberg created an entire neighbourhood with only passive buildings, (in the city quarter of Bahnstadt. The neighbourhood is powered by district heating, primarily sourced from renewables with smart energy consumption meters, creating local jobs and a passive housing knowledge cluster for future projects.
  • Helsinki is a leader in heating and efficiency standards. 90% of the city is serviced by the district heating system with over 90% efficiency.
  • in the north of France, the city of Loos-en-Gohelle transformed its coal mine into a regional research centre of sustainable development. Visitors now face the surreal image of solar panels in front of the mine’s spoil tips.
  • and I could go on…

These examples showcase the various local initiatives which should be replicated across Europe, and I would add: with a particular emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe.

And third, we have to develop an energy and climate-related technology and innovation strategy to maintain Europe’s global leadership and competitiveness in low carbon technologies. Europe has all the necessary elements to become a global hub and a world leader in renewable technologies. It is in this field – in the field of low-carbon renewable energy sources, in the field of energy efficiency, in the field of smart appliances and smart grids – that Europe can regain its competitive edge! Smart grids are the European shale.

We must better focus our research and innovation policies, we must create synergies between energy and ICT (very appealing to young people), and between research and industry. New industries will emerge that will strengthen our economy and further support job creation across Europe.

It is in this context that I would also like to underline the importance of ecodesign and energy labelling. Not only because this framework will deliver by 2020 energy savings that are roughly the equivalent of annual primary energy consumption of Italy, not only because consumers can save several hundreds of euros per household per year, but also because there is a clear business case. If countries such as Brazil, China, Korea, South Africa and others adopt equipment energy labelling schemes similar to ours, it creates a market for our companies. Let us be the first mover and set the standards!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Strategy is written, the principles have been established, the real work starts now. We will start up a series of specific actions, such as:

  • developing a ‘Smart Financing for Smart Buildings’ initiative to facilitate access to existing funding instruments;
  • we will propose a strategy for heating and cooling; it’s an important hook, because as many of you told me: the energy crisis is first and foremost a heating crisis;
  • we will dedicate a significant share of the European Fund for Strategic Investments to energy efficiency and renewable energy;
  • we will review the Energy Efficiency Directive, as well as the Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings;
  • we should bring together potential investors and solid projects. There are investors willing to invest, and there is a need for smart investments, so let us connect the dots and remove obstacles
  • and we will develop, without delay, the robust governance framework that the Energy Union needs in order to deliver on its promises, including to make sure that we reach the targets set by the October European Council.

Through these and other measures, we will make sure that the principles we endorsed – such as the ‘energy efficiency first-principle – are transformed into reality and become operational.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The first reactions to the Energy Union Strategy have been positive and supportive, in the European Parliament, the Environment and Energy Council, amongst mayors, consumers, business associations, think tanks, and academia. Do not underestimate the importance of such reactions: they really help to create the positive dynamics needed to seize the current momentum and to implement what is on the table.

I therefore hope that throughout this process, I can continue to count on your support, whether you are a parliamentarian, entrepreneur, researcher, civil society activist or a citizen, and I am looking forward to your comments and ideas in today’s discussion and over the five years to come.

Thank you.

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERETSE KHAMA IAN KHAMA,

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERET…

13/11/14

1. Madam Speaker, before we begin may I request that we observe a moment of silence for those of our citizens who have departed from us during the past year. Thank you. 2. Honourable Members, it is my pleasure to once more present an updated assessment of how Government intends to move Botswana forward by seizing opportunities to secure our future. 3. As this is the first session of the 11th Parliament, let me preface my remarks by welcoming the newly elected members of this Assembly. Let me further congratulate you Madam Speaker on your own election.

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LT. GEN. SERETSE KHAMA IAN KHAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, TO THE FIRST SESSION OF THE ELEVENTH PARLIAMENT – “MOVING BOTSWANA FORWARD”

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1. Madam Speaker, before we begin may I request that we observe a moment of silence for those of our citizens who have departed from us during the past year. Thank you.

 

2. Honourable Members, it is my pleasure to once more present an updated assessment of how Government intends to move Botswana forward by seizing opportunities to secure our future.

 

3. As this is the first session of the 11th Parliament, let me preface my remarks by welcoming the newly elected members of this Assembly.  Let me further congratulate you Madam Speaker on your own election.

 

4. Today’s gathering is an outcome of our 11th consecutive general election. As is our tradition, the ballot was conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner. For this we can once more thank Batswana in general, as well as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and other individuals and organisations that helped to ensure the poll’s success.

 

5. In any democracy elections are the means to the greater end of forming a Government capable of translating the popular will into public service delivery. We who have the honour of sitting in this House are accountable to the hundreds of thousands who entrusted us with their votes. Although divided in their choices, the voters were united by a shared desire for a better future. It is, therefore, our responsibility to ensure that together we deliver that future by at all times putting the national interest before our own.

 

6. Last month my party, the Botswana Democratic Party, was re‐elected on the basis of a detailed manifesto that promised to secure our common future by building on our past achievements. Today, before this House I reaffirm our commitment to honour that pledge.

 

7. In as much as we recognise that a government of and by the people is not an event but a process; this administration shall continue to engage Batswana across the country about their concerns through various fora and media, from the venerable realm of dikgotla to the digital world of interactive online communication. It was as a result of wide-ranging consultation that our manifesto was predicated on what we understood to be our citizens’ core aspirations. These include achieving:

 

• Job creation for sustainable livelihoods and income generation;

• Food security through continued agricultural renewal;

• Expanded access to land and housing ownership;

• Access to world-class quality education that caters to current and future needs;

• Citizen, including youth, economic empowerment;

• Dignity for all through the eradication of poverty;

• Zero tolerance for corruption in all of its manifestations;

• Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and

• Government reform that leverages on the application of new technologies. 

 

8. Each of these commitments is based on realistic analysis of where our country is and needs to go in order to meet the reasonable expectations of its people, while improving our global standing in an ever more competitive world. Taken together they are consistent with our broader vision of achieving inclusive sustainable development that upholds the dignity of all.

 

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

 

9. Madam Speaker, owing to the prudent economic and financial management by my Government, the country was able to survive the 2008/09 global financial crisis and economic recession with minimum impact on the domestic economy. We were able to save jobs in both the public service and private sector, as well as continued to provide essential public services to our people.

 

10. Having successfully weathered the storm of the economic downturn, we can look forward to better days ahead, with economic growth buttressed by reduced inflation. These positive trends should allow us to revive some of our postponed projects, along with outstanding issues affecting the conditions of service among public employees. Our optimism is in part based on forecasts of continued, albeit still fragile, global economic recovery, with worldwide output projected to grow by 3.3% in 2014 and 3.8% in 2015.

 

11. Turning to the domestic economy, the gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices stood at P124 billion in 2013 and it is projected to expand to P136.5 billion in 2014. In real terms, the GDP grew by 5.8% in 2013, and is projected to grow by 5.2% in the current year, driven by both the mining and non-mining sectors.   Within the non-mining sector, retail and hospitality industries, as well as agriculture are experiencing growth.

 

12. Average national inflation continued to decline from 8.5% in 2011 to 7.5% in 2012 to 5.9% in 2013 and further to 4.5% in September 2014, which is well within the Bank of Botswana objective range of 3 to 6%. This positive trend gives us confidence in our ability to maintain a low inflation environment, which is necessary for domestic enterprises to compete in the global market.

 

13. In terms of our fiscal management, Government succeeded in restoring a balanced budget during 2012/13 financial year, after four years of budget deficits. For the 2013/14 financial year we were able to collect P 48.9 billion, up from the P 41.7 billion received in 2012/13, while total expenditures and net lending for 2013/14 amounted to P 41.73 billion. This resulted in a budget surplus of P7.2 billion, largely due to the good performance of the mineral sector. For 2014/15 a budget surplus of P1.3 billion is currently projected. These savings will allow us to reduce our debt burden and rebuild our financial reserves.

 

14. To sustain a positive balance sheet will, however, require expanded revenues. Here I can report that we were able to collect P48.9 billion in the 2013-14 financial year, up from the P41.7 billion received in 2012-13. The 2013/14 outturn for expenditure and net lending was P41.7 billion.

 

EMPLOYMENT

 

15.  Madam Speaker, to be meaningful to Batswana, economic growth has to be accompanied by expanded employment, which is why our manifesto listed job creation at the top of our aspirations. To reiterate what I said in my own message to the voters, of all our campaign promises tackling unemployment is the most important one. While there has been some progress in recent years, current estimates put unemployment among those 18 and above at just over 17%. Although this reflects a modest reduction since 2007, it has been insufficient to absorb all those seeking employment, especially among our talented youth. We can and shall do more.

 

16. Our Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) is a key instrument for job creation. Since its 2010 inception, EDD has been facilitating employment generating business opportunities by promoting the consumption of local products. While our immediate focus has been leveraging public procurement in support of domestic industries, as we move forward our emphasis will shift to developing greater internal capacity for export-led growth, while continuing to value local goods and services.

 

17.  So far a total of P13.3 billion worth of goods and services were recorded since the inception of the initiative. Out of this figure, the value of local manufacturers and service providers (EDD purchases) amounted to P590.5 million for 2010/2011, P1.8 billion for 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 and P2.3 billion for 2013/2014. Over one thousand enterprises have so far been registered under the EDD Programme, which has contributed to the employment of 28,000 Batswana.

 

18. We have already begun implementing our EDD Medium to Long Term Strategy, to develop sustainable sectors for economic growth and diversification. A leading example is the Leather Sub-sector Strategy, which is focused on the establishment of a Leather Park in Lobatse at a total cost of about P225 million. Government has agreed to finance the park’s primary infrastructure, a Common Effluent Treatment Plant, estimated to cost P102 million, while other components of the project will be financed through private sector investment.

 

19. Government had also budgeted over P20 million to provide temporary assistance for over 12 months to support 34 textile companies, employing 2,912 workers.

 

20. While the nurturing of SMMEs, support for existing industries and value addition remain critical in our achievement of job creation, we further anticipate that over the next few years local formal sector employment will be generated with the emergence of new economic opportunities through the synergies generated by the development growth nodes or clusters across the country.

 

21. In the Chobe region, for example, we anticipate an expansion of opportunities in tourism, construction, transport services and agriculture resulting from the construction of the road and rail bridge at Kazangula and phase one of the water pipeline to Pandamatenga, along with associated infrastructure. It is estimated that when completed these two mega-projects will create over 9000 permanent jobs.

 

22. Additional emerging labour intensive opportunities are already being generated in our urban areas, as reflected in Selebi-Phikwe’s development as a metallurgical hub, the continued growth of Gaborone as a global diamond as well as regional technical services centre, and Francistown’s growth as a nexus for trade and transport. We further anticipate additional jobs through synergies generated by new mining activities, the continued expansion of commercial agriculture and the development of Trans-Kgalagadi road and potential rail corridor.

 

COMPETITIVENESS    

 

23. A key to unlocking these job creation opportunities will be increasing our global competitiveness. To improve our competitiveness ranking in the area of goods market efficiency we have tightened our market monitoring for greater efficiency in the provision of goods and services, while the Competition Authority is reviewing mergers and potential cartel activity involving both local and foreign companies.

 

24. Madam Speaker, job creation is inevitably linked to investment. In this respect the latest FDI Intelligence report indicates that Global Greenfield FDI showed signs of recovery, increasing by an estimated 11% from 2012 to 2013. The increase in local investment has been even greater, with UNCTAD’s 2014 World Investment report showing Botswana having grown by 27% in 2013.

 

25.  The Botswana International Trade Centre (BITC) continues to promote our country as a competitive location for investment, making business contacts and generating leads. During the 2013-2014 financial year, BITC helped realise a total combined investment capital of just over 1 billion pula, of which P 642 million was from foreign direct investment (FDI) and P449 million came from new domestic investments. In 2012/13, BITC further recorded P1.9 billion worth of goods and services exported into the region and beyond, of which P738 million was attributable to financial and international business services by the financial services cluster.

 

26. Botswana was ranked number one in the 2014 Baseline Profitability Index, surpassing Hong Kong as a location for medium to long term returns on investment. In essence the Index suggests that investors can expect to do well here once they have established themselves in our market.

 

27. Government is, furthermore, working to limit the number of licenses and permits, while allowing mixed land use zoning, adopting risk based approach for Environmental Impact Assessments and Management Plans, and decentralising the management of electricity connections.

 

28.  Government has also embarked on a National Work Ethic programme to promote productivity. So far, 254 facilitators have been assessed to implement the programme, which commenced in May 2014.

 

29. The drafting of a Bill which will provide the legal framework for the establishment of Special Economic Zones and the Special Economic Zone Authority is being finalized.

 

30. The Rural Development Council (RDC) has been upgraded as the national consultative body to promote and coordinate the implementation of rural development policies and programmes. As a result community based projects such as the Zutshwa Salt Project and the Mogobane Irrigation Scheme, to mention some, have been resuscitated.

 

CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT

 

31. Madam Speaker, it is pleasing to note that to date, CEDA has funded 5,462 enterprises with a total value of nearly P8.55 billion, in the process creating over 48,935 thousand jobs.  During the 2013/14 financial year, CEDA assisted 151 new enterprises with a total monetary value of P152 million, collectively generating 1042 new jobs.

 

32. Since its inception, LEA has also facilitated the creation of 4995 new jobs, including 568 in the ongoing financial year. The Authority has further trained a total of 9,317 entrepreneurs. In an effort to inculcate an entrepreneurial culture, LEA embarked upon the Entrepreneurship Awareness Workshops among secondary school leavers, vocational trainees and prison inmates; over 26,000 of whom have been trained.

 

33. Madam Speaker, through the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), we have encouraged our small and medium enterprises to implement quality assurance activities within their businesses. Progress has been made in certification of goods especially in the building and construction industry. To further ensure that prescribed goods entering our borders comply with domestic standards, a BOBS office has been opened at the Tlokweng Border.

 

RULE OF LAW

 

34. Madam Speaker, adherence to the rule of law remains a cornerstone to our national development. It is thus encouraging that independent comparative surveys, as well as domestic polling, consistently place us among the best in the world as well as first in Africa in terms of our upholding the rule of law while ensuring the safety and security of all our citizens. These surveys include:

 

• 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, where we ranked first in the category of safety and security;

• World Justice Project’s 2014 Rule of Law Index, where we were ranked 25th in the world as well as first in Africa;

• 2014 Global Peace Index where we were at 36th place, ranking above half of European countries surveyed;

• 2014 Legatum Index for Governance and Rule of Law, where we were ranked 28th in the world; and

• 2013 Global Democracy Index, where besides ranking 35 out of 167 countries we achieved a near perfect score in the area of civil liberties.

 

35.  In light of such reputable findings it is unfortunate to say the least that some individuals, working through foreign as well as domestic media, including rumour mongering on social media, have attempted to instil the perception of Batswana living in fear. This is in an apparent effort to undermine this country’s longstanding and shared record of peace, order and good Government.

 

36. While the mass circulation of false and malicious reports intended to incite undue alarm may be aimed at promoting the political agenda of some, it is at the collective cost of tarnishing the image of the country as a whole. It is also a threat to the economy we all must depend upon for our livelihoods. Such disinformation should therefore be rejected with contempt by all peace-loving Batswana. All citizens, residents and potential visitors to Botswana can be confident that this Government will continue to both abide and uphold the rule of law without fear or favour.

 

37. Let me, nonetheless, also observe that we have not, and shall not, allow past achievements or international accolades to breed complacency as we recognise that, here as elsewhere, criminal activity is constantly evolving and increasingly sophisticated. We therefore remain determined to pursue a zero tolerance approach to all forms of criminal activity, including corruption.

 

38. To counter emerging domestic and trans-national challenges the Police Service has deployed integrated law enforcement strategies to combat all forms of criminality and anti-social behaviour. This has involved an ongoing redirection of resources to deal with violent and intrusive, cross border and cyber based criminal activities.

 

39. Whilst total recorded crime excluding road traffic violations rose by 4.7% during the year 2013, significant reductions were, however, registered in respect of violent and intrusive crimes.  Offences in this category, which included burglary, store breaking, robbery, house breaking, threats to kill, murder, rape, motor vehicle and stock theft, declined by 15.4%.

 

40. Road traffic management poses an additional policing challenge. Analysis of road accidents shows a youth bias, expressed in reckless driving, often aggravated by the influence of alcohol. As a result of the increase in the intensity of road policing initiatives, the number of detected road traffic offences rose by 32.4%, while there was a corresponding decrease in the number of fatal road accidents by 2.6%.

 

41. Madam Speaker, the Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation continues to improve security in the prisons and rehabilitation of offenders. While overcrowding has been a problem in some of the Prison institutions, there has been substantial reduction in congestion since 2008. In June 2014 there were 3824 offenders held in prisons, which was 13% below the authorised holding capacity.

 

42. Madam Speaker, the internal and external challenges of today’s constantly changing security landscape, call for a structurally aligned, strategically focused and adequately resourced, as well as highly trained and motivated, defence force. The BDF will thus continue to evolve its structures and strategies to defend the nation, while continuing to provide assistance to other law enforcement agencies in combating crime, including poaching.

 

ACCESS TO JUSTICE

 

43. Madam Speaker, as was most recently demonstrated in the Judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal upholding the constitutionality of the Standing Orders of this very House, our Judiciary continues to independently and effectively deliver on its constitutional mandate of settling disputes, both large and small, without fear or favour.  This Government will, as always, respect decisions of the Courts and expects all citizens to do the same.  Equally, we must all display tolerance and recognize everyone’s right to approach the Courts for the resolution of any legal issue no matter how strongly we may disagree.

 

44. To improve everyday access to justice several special court projects like the stock theft, maintenance, traffic, small claims and most recently corruption court have been put in place so as to speed up and improve the case disposal rates, while promoting greater access to justice by simplifying court rules and processes to make them more user friendly.  In addition a Court Annexed Mediation will be in place by the end of the current financial year.  This f

Two Europes or One Europe?

European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Valedictory speech by President Barroso

European Parliament plenary session

Strasbourg, 21 October 2014

Mr President, Honourable Members,

First of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation to address this Parliament in what would be the last time I have this opportunity. In fact, we are coming to the end of my second mandate as the President of the European Commission and I am very happy to be here with you and my colleagues to present to you our bilan, since this is my second Commission, I think I can also refer to the last ten years.

I want to share with you my feelings, my emotions, what I think about the way the European Union has responded to these very challenging times and what I think are the most important challenges for the future.

I think you can agree with me that these have been exceptional and challenging times. Ten years of crisis, and response of the European Union to this crisis. Not only the financial and sovereignty debt crisis – let’s not forget at the beginning of my first mandate we had a constitutional crisis, when two founding members of the European Union rejected, in referenda, the Constitutional Treaty. So we had a constitutional crisis, we had a sovereign debt and financial crisis, and in the most acute terms we now have a geopolitical crisis, as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The constitutional crisis that we had was in fact solved through the Lisbon Constitutional Treaty. The reality is that at that time, many people were saying that it would be impossible for the European Union to find a new institutional setting. And in fact there were moments of ambiguity and doubt. But basically, we could keep most of the acquis of the European Union, including most of the new elements of the Lisbon Constitutional Treaty, which was ratified by all Member States including those that today seem to have forgotten that they have ratified the Lisbon Treaty.

More recently – because I learned to leave to the end the economic issues because they are still with us – we had this very serious challenge and threat to our stability, in Europe, coming from the unacceptable behaviour of Russia regarding Ukraine. And we took a principled position. We offered Ukraine an association agreement and a free trade agreement and I am happy that, in spite of all the difficulties, Ukraine was there, signing and ratifying the association agreement, and I want to congratulate this Parliament, because the same day at the same hour the Parliament in Ukraine was ratifying this agreement, you were also ratifying the agreement showing you can offer hope to Ukraine as part of the European family of nations.

At the moment I am speaking to you, this crisis is not yet solved – we know that. But I think we can be proud that we have kept a position of principle, that we have condemned in the most unequivocal terms the actions of Russia and that in fact an association agreement was ratified, not only with Ukraine, but also with Georgia and Moldova because I believe we have a duty to those countries that are looking to Europe with their spirit and their hope to share with us the same future and because they want to share with us the same values.

At this moment we are still mediating and, today, there is a meeting mediated by the Commission on energy with the Russian government and the Ukrainian government, so a political negotiated solution is possible, we are working for that. It is in the interest of all the parties to have a political agreement, but a political agreement that respects the principles of international law, a political agreement that respects the right of country that is our neighbour to decide its own future and a political agreement that respects the sovereignty, the independence of that country. So, we should be proud of what we have been doing in this very challenging geopolitical crisis.

And we also had the financial and sovereign debt crisis. The reality is that the crisis was not born in Europe, but the fact is that because we were not prepared, because the Euro-area had not yet the instruments, we were very much affected by it – not only in financial terms, in economic terms, in social terms and in political terms. I think this crisis was probably the biggest since the beginning of the European integration process in the 50s of the last century. Let’s now put things into perspective.

Dear Members of Parliament,

Let’s remind ourselves what was the main opinion of most analysts in the economic and financial media, or even many of our countries or outside of Europe, about what could happen: everybody was predicting Greek exit, Greece exiting the Euro, and, of course, Greece exiting Euro would certainly, immediately have had a cascading effect in other countries, a domino effect that was indeed already felt in countries such as Ireland or Portugal. But let’s not forget, Spain was also under very heavy pressure, and Italy. We were staring into the abyss. I remember well what happened in discussions in the margins of G20 in Cannes in 2011, I remember well when analysts were predicting with almost unanimity a Greek exit and at least 50% of them were predicting the implosion of the Euro. And what happened? Not only was there no exit of the Euro, now we are to welcome the 19th member of the Euro, Lithuania will join us in the 1st of January 2015. And not only did Greece not leave the Euro area, it has enlarged and the European Union has been enlarging as well. This is a point that has been very much underestimated in our analysis.

2004, the year I had the pleasure and the honour to assume the leadership of the European Commission, do you remember that we were 15? Today, we have 28 countries. So we have almost doubled the membership of the European Union during this crisis. Is there a better proof of the resilience and the capacity of adaptation of our Union? The fact that we were able to remain united and open during the crisis I think confirms the extraordinary resilience and the strength of the European Union and this should not be underestimated.

I know that, for some, these things do not count for much. They are in a way making an idealisation of the past; they dream probably of a closed Europe; they think Europe was better when half of Europe was under totalitarian communism. I don’t think that. I think Europe today is better than when half of Europe was under communism. The fact that the European Union was able, during all this crisis, to open, to consolidate and to unite on a continental scale almost all of Europe around the values of peace, of freedom and of justice, I think it is a great thing we should commemorate and not to be ashamed of, as some seem to be.

So, this is I think also a reason to commemorate. Many people were predicting, as you probably remember, those of you following these issues at that time, that the European Commission would not be able to function with 25 or 27 or 28 Members, that the European Union would be blocked. The reality is that the European Union was not blocked by the enlargement; the reality that I can share with you now is that sometimes it was more difficult to put together some of the founding Members of the Union than all the 28 countries of Europe.

So I think we should be proud of that as well, collectively, because the European Union was able to remain united and open during the crisis. And when I say open, I mean it in all senses of the word, including with an open attitude towards the world. For instance, when we have promoted a proactive climate agenda after the failure of the Doha Development Round and the Doha trade talks. And we are now leading in that sense, because I believe that trade can be one of the best ways to support growth globally and in the European Union. Or when we, because it was an initiative of the European Union, went to the former President of the United States of America, inviting him and convincing him to organise the first G20 meeting at Heads of State or Government level, because that was a way of having a global cooperative approach and to avoid the return to ugly, nasty protectionism. That could be a temptation in times of crisis. So we were able to keep Europe not only united and, in fact, enlarging its membership, but also open to the rest of the world.

But now, are we stronger or are we weaker? I know that the most critical people today will say that we are weaker. But are we really?

In fact, when the crisis erupted, we had almost no instruments to respond to it. We were facing, as it was said at that time, an unprecedented crisis. Yet we had no mechanisms, for instance to support the countries that were facing the immediate threat of default. A lot has been done. We have collectively, the Commission and the Member States and always with the strong support of the Parliament, we have created a new system of governance. We have today a much more reinforced governance system than before, including with unprecedented powers for the community institutions, and we have done everything to keep the community method at the centre of our integration. For instance, the Commission today has more powers in terms of governance of the Eurozone than before the crisis. The European Central Bank has today the possibility to make direct supervision of the banks in Europe, something that would have been considered impossible earlier; it would have been almost unimaginable before the crisis. And I remember when we spoke about the banking union, when I gave an interview saying that we need a banking union, I received some phone calls from capitals saying ‘Why are you speaking about the banking union? This is not in the Treaties’. And I responded, ‘Yes it is not in the Treaties, but we need it if we want to fulfil the objective of the Treaties, namely the objective of stability and growth’. And today we have a banking union.

Honourable members,

If we look at things in perspective and we think where we were ten years ago and where we are now, we can say with full rigour and in complete observance of the truth that today the European Union, at least in the euro area, is more integrated and with reinforced competences, and we have now, through the community method, more ways to tackle crisis, namely in the euro zone. Not only in the system of governance in the banking union, but also in the legislation of financial stability, financial regulation, financial supervision.

We have presented around 40 new pieces of legislation that were all of them approved by the European Parliament. And once again I want to thank you, because in almost all those debates the European Parliament and the European Commission were on the same side of the debate and were for more ambition, not less ambition for Europe. And so today, I can say that we are stronger, because we have a more integrated system of governance, because we have legislation to tackle abuses in the financial markets, because we have much clearer system of supervision and regulation. So, I think we are now better prepared than we were before to face a crisis, if a crisis like the ones we have seen before should come in the future.

Of course, you can say that there are many difficulties still. Yes, and I am going to say a word about this in a moment regarding the prospects for growth, but please do not forget where we were. We were very close to default, or, to use a less polite word, to a bankruptcy of some of our Member States. And look at where we are now. From the countries that had to ask for adjustment programmes, Portugal and Ireland exited the programme successfully. Ireland is now one of the fastest growing countries in Europe. And in fact all the others that were under the imminent threat of collapsing, are now in a much more stable mood. Spain, that asked for a programme for the banks, also has improved successfully. So in fact only two countries of all those, because we should not also forget the Central and Eastern European countries that also had adjustment programmes, even if they were not yet in the euro area, only two countries are still completing their adjustment programmes.

The deficits now on average in the Eurozone are 2.5%. This is much less than in the United States or in Japan. So, in terms of stability, we are much better now than before. By the way, the Eurozone has a trade surplus. The European Union in general now will have a surplus in goods, in services and, for the first time in many years, in agriculture.

I am saying that because very often the opinion in some of the political sectors is that we are losing with globalisation. This is not the case. Some countries of our Union in fact are not winning that battle, but on average we can say that Europe is gaining the global battle in terms of competition, namely in terms of trade and investment.

But of course, growth is still timid. I think that basically we cannot say that the crisis is completely over, because threats remain, but we have won the battle of stability. Today nobody in the world will honestly bet on the end of the euro. The euro has shown that it is a very strong, credible and indeed stable currency. The reality is that our growth is still timid and clearly below expectations.

So what can we do for growth? This is the important question. And for that I need to make a reminder once again. I know very well that very often the European Union policy and namely the European Commission policy has been presented as completely focused on austerity. I think this is a caricature.

We have constantly asked at least for three important lines – fiscal consolidation certainly, for the countries that are feeling the pressure of the markets. It would be completely irresponsible if they could not frontload a programme of rigour to correct their public finances, but we have always said with equal vigour, probably some would not like to listen, the need for structural reforms, for competitiveness, because the reality is that even before the crisis we were growing under our potential, that is the reality, and with serious problem of lack of competitiveness in some of our countries and so that is why we needed more ambitious structural reforms.

But we have also argued in favour of investment. I have always said that we need more investment, public and private investment. Private investment will come the more we show that we have competitive economies that we can attract private investment. Indeed I am now happy to see that most of our countries, certainly at a different pace, but they are pursuing ambitious structural reforms that would have been considered completely impossible before the crisis.

And the reality is, if we want to be honest in terms of the analysis that the countries that have suffered the most during the financial crisis were precisely those that have lost in terms of cost competitiveness before the crisis. And now, for instance the reforms that have been made by Spain, by Ireland, by Portugal, by Greece, are impressive.

Now, apart from the political consolidation and the structural reforms, we have always seen the need for more investment. Private investment, but public investment as well. You will remember the debate about the MFF. President Schultz remembers certainly. We were together in many meetings asking the Member States to do more in terms of investment and the most important instrument we have at European level for investment is the Multiannual Financial Framework, that is around one trillion euros.

So if there is not more ambitious investment it was not because of a lack of ambition of this Commission, or a lack of ambition of this Parliament. It was because of the opposition of some capitals. This is the reality. We are for solid investment, targeted investment for growth. Not only with the MFF. Remember the proposals that for instance here in the State of the Union speeches with you I have put forward. The increase of the capital for the EIB that finally was agreed. The project bonds that the Member States have accepted, but only as pilot project bonds. The facility that we have created for SMEs with loans from the EIB and funds from the structural funds, from our budget. Unfortunately only two countries wanted to pursue that line.

Or, for instance, the programme for youth, the Youth Guarantee that we have proposed and that the Member States have agreed. But now with the Youth Employment Initiative, only two countries have accepted to have a dedicated programme for youth employment.

So, my dear colleagues, let’s be clear: we are for investment. I wish all the best to the new Commission and to my friend and colleague Jean-Claude Juncker, to have the support of the Member States for a more ambitious investment programme for the next years. I believe this is possible now, I believe the awareness is much bigger on this matter. But once again this is part of a comprehensive strategy that combines fiscal consolidation with structural reforms and investment, and, of course, all the measures taken by us in terms of the banking union and in terms of financial regulation for stability.

And I’m saying this with this vigour because I think it would be now a mistake, after everything we have done, to give up, to show less determination, to abandon the road of structural reform. I think we have done a part of the job, stability is broadly there, growth, even if it is slower than what we would like to have, but now we need determination to complete the reforms so that sustainable growth, not growth fuelled by debt, excessive public or private debt – because such growth is artificial, it’s a fictional growth, and afterwards, sooner or later, we would pay the price – but sustainable growth – that I believe it is possible if we continue the courageous path of reforms and a stronger governance for the European Union.

I don’t have the time now to go over all the other policies we have been developing over the years. But let me just highlight one or two, because I think they are very much at the moment of decision, and I think they are important.

I’m extremely proud that is was my Commission in my first mandate, in 2007, that put forward the most ambitious programme for climate protection in the world. And we are still leading in the world in terms of the climate agenda.

In fact, we were able to join the climate agenda with the energy security agenda, and I’m saying that because this week we are going to have an important discussion in Brussels at Heads of State and Government level, and I hope that the European Union will keep its leadership role – of course not to be isolated but to have others, because we have a responsibility towards our planet. And this is was certainly one of the great advances of these years, that the European Union was able to make the most important and bold steps in terms of fighting climate change.

Another area where I think we could very proud is – in spite of all the restrictions because of our financial situation – that it was possible in the MFF to get 30% more for Horizon 2020, for research and technology. I think there is a great opportunity now for us to do more in that area, as also in the culture side, with our Creative Europe programme.

The reality is that in some areas it was possible, in spite of the economic and financial crisis, to increase investment at European level.

But I’m also very proud that in spite of the pressures of our budgets, we could always be there in terms of development aid and neighbourhood policy.

Whenever there was a big tragedy in the world, from the tsunami in Indonesia to the recent Ebola crisis, from the Syrian refugee crisis to Darfur, we were there, we were among the first. And I think we, Europeans, should also be proud of that, because we are still, together with our Member States, the most important donor for development aid in the world. That is something that corresponds very much to our values and I’m happy that in spite of all the crises we did not abandon our obligations in terms of development cooperation.

I have already said a word about trade. I think it is very important to keep an ambitious trade agenda, an open Europe but for free and fair trade. And the Commission has concluded a record number of agreements, not only with South Korea, Singapore, Central America – the first region to reach an agreement -, Peru, Ecuador, recently with Canada, with Western Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa. And I could also mention some others that are now progressing, like Japan, the United States and also an investment agreement with China.

So we are the most important trade bloc in the world. We are the biggest economy in the world.

And I’m saying that because today I know it’s very fashionable the pessimism, the defeatism about Europe, what I call the intellectual glamour of pessimism. But I believe that we have a good record to show and I believe that together, collectively, we are much stronger and we can better defend our interests and protect our values.

Dear colleagues – I call you colleagues because I believe we have been sometimes in discussions but we have been colleagues in this great enterprise that is the European project -, I think politically we have some lessons to draw.

One is that we have shown great resilience. I think we can say that the forces of integration are stronger than the forces of disintegration. And I believed that day and night, sometimes in very dramatic moments, sometimes when I had to make dramatic appeals to some capitals: to the richer countries, asking them to show more solidarity; and to the poorer countries asking them to show more responsibility.

Sometimes we have done it very discretely, it’s true. The European Commission is probably more discreet than others. I did not want the Commission to be part of the cacophony of different voices during the most acute moments of the crisis. It was extremely market sensitive that situation. But I can tell you, in my full conscience, that we have done everything we could with existing instruments to avoid the fragmentation of the euro or to avoid a division in the European Union. And I very often had to call on my colleagues in the European Council, Heads of State and Government, to show the ethics of European responsibility.

But one of the lessons I draw from this is that if eventually it was possible to come to decisions, it is true that it was sometimes extremely painful and difficult. And took time. We have said also, and I think it is something that we can all agree: democracy is slower than the markets are.

The Commission would have preferred, and I’m sure this Parliament as well, decisions to be bolder, more comprehensive, faster. But we are a Union of democratic states, we are not a super state. And we have to respect different sensitivities.

One of the conclusions I draw from these ten years of experiences is the need to cooperate between institutions. I know sometimes it is more popular to put forward impossible ideas and to criticise others. But I firmly believe that we need to engage with different institutions, that it is not a solution to oppose the countries to the European Union. On the contrary, we have to show to our countries that they are stronger if they are part of the European Union. That we are not diluting their national identity but, on the contrary, we are asking them to share their sovereignty so they can project better their interests globally. I’m firmly convinced of this.

And I’m saying this to you now, as I am leaving in a few days: my only interest is that these lessons are learned so that we do not repeat some mistakes in the future. At the same time, I think we can say that it is not through confrontation but through cooperation that we can attain our objectives.

At the moment I prepare to hand over this very challenging and interesting job to my good friend Jean-Claude Juncker, I want to say here, on my behalf and on behalf of all my colleagues of the Commission, that we wish the new Commission all the best, that they have a great challenge ahead of them but that they could count also on our support. And I’m sure of the support that this Parliament is going to give to them.

Because, Mr President, the relations were not always perfect. But I think you can agree that we were able to establish a fruitful relationship between the Parliament and the Commission.

I’ve been in this Parliament more than 100 times. There was never a Commission that was so often represented in the Parliament as my two Commissions. We have established this cooperation and I’m so grateful because this Parliament, sometimes with very strong demands, was always supportive of the community method, was always supporting the community institutions. And I believe this is very important for the future of Europe.

My dear colleagues of the European project,

The way to solve the problems we have in Europe is not through revolution and even less through counter-revolution. It’s by compromise, it’s by reform. Evolution and reform. We have to reform to adapt to the new challenges but not with new clashes between the institutions, not with clashes against our countries. And I believe that if this idea of strong cooperation putting the European common good above all else, I think my colleague and friend Jean-Claude Juncker and his new Commission will have success, of course based on the support I’m sure you are going to give them.

Because the European Union is a union of values. In these last days I had to face many journalists and they asked me ‘what was your most emotional moment? Which moment did you prefer?’ And I have many, and I also had very difficult ones, to be honest. But one of my most emotional moment was when, on behalf of the European Union, together with Martin Schulz and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, we received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the European Union.

I think this was a powerful reminder sent to us from the global community that we count in this world and that what we do is very important. That the values that were at the origin of the creation of our Union, namely the value of peace, are still at our essence today. And that we have to fight for them.

And I think is the moment I really said I want to share with all those in the different institutions, including this Parliament, that have been working for a united, open and stronger Europe. And when I leave this office, with all my colleagues at the Commission, I can tell you that we have not achieved everything we could, or everything we would have liked to have achieved, but I think we have worked with the right conscience, putting the global interest of the European Union above specific interests. And I believe that now there are conditions to continue to do work for a united, open and stronger Europe.

I thank you for your attention.

Auf wiedersehen, goodbye, au revoir, adeus.

Muito obrigado, thank you very much.

Following the statements of the Members of the Parliament, President Barroso made the following closing remarks:

Mr President,

I should like to take up a number of the points raised by the previous speakers. Firstly, I believe that proof that we – and by “we” I mean the Commission of which I have had the honour of being Presidentare on the right track lies in the fact that the criticisms have come from the opposite ends of the spectrum, though often couched in the same terms, resolutely ignoring the difficulties and extraordinary challenges that we have had to face and failing to put forward any coherent response.

The truth is that we have been through possibly the worst economic and financial crisis we have seen since the countries of Europe began to come together and that it was not the European Union or Europe that spawned the crisis. This is what some defenders of national sovereignty, as they like to call themselves, do not or will not understand. It was not Europe that created excessive private debt or caused the financial sector to behave irresponsibly. Quite the opposite – this all took place under national scrutiny, or rather lack thereof. Europe is the answer. We now have one of the most ambitious regulatory and supervisory systems in the world, if not the most ambitious. In other words, saying that Europe is worse off because of the European Union is simply not true. It shows a complete lack of respect and a lack of intellectual rigour. Europe is not responsible for the financial crisis, which had its roots in the United States. Europe had its weaknesses, but what the European Union did was to respond. The blame for this does not lie with the European Union, and I believe this is something that all those who share the European ideal – be they at the left, right or centre of the political spectrum – should have the courage to state, because by remaining silent we will be reinforcing the populist rhetoric of the extreme right and extreme left.

I listened carefully to those of you who said that populism was on the rise and who laid the blame for this at the door of the European Union. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not true. It is abundantly clear that populism and xenophobia exist outside the European Union. Look at the anti-immigrant incidents that have taken place in Switzerland. Look at what happened in Norway when that terrorist killed all those young people because he was opposed to a multicultural Europe. Look at the Tea Party movement in the United States. Is Europe to blame for America’s Tea Party movement?

We are currently seeing an aggressive form of populism around the world, which espouses arguments from both the left and the right. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference. So to say the European Union is responsible for this shows a lack of intellectual rigour and a lack of political integrity. What we have to do, as Europeans, is to demonstrate that it was not Europe that caused the crisis or the public debt in the Member States. There was little that Europe could do when, for example, one Member State falsified its accounts. This is something Europe had to face. The first initiative of my second Commission was to ask the Member States to give us more powers to supervise national statistics, because in my first Commission this was rejected. And not by Greece. It was rejected by the big Member States, which were reluctant to hand more powers over to the European Union. So if we really want to have a debate, let us be quite clear and strict in terms of intellectual integrity and political candour.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is one thing that I would like to say to you with the greatest of conviction. The team that I have had the honour of heading has worked with enormous commitment and diligence, whilst always putting Europe’s interests first. There is something that I want to say to you, since this is a political assembly with a wealth of political dynamics, but where the emphasis is always on the common European good. My Commission was not made up of colleagues from the EPP, socialists or liberals. It was made up of people who worked for Europe. My party is the EPP and I am proud of that, but, as President of the Commission, my party is Europe and that is the message I wish to convey, in particular to the major forces of the pro-European centre-left and centre-right.  Differences must, of course, be aired, but they must not be allowed to weaken the pro-European camps. We cannot hand the extreme right or extreme left anything else on a plate. Pro-European forces must come together. They must have the courage to defend Europe. They must do so at national level, and not just here in Strasbourg. We need a major coalition of this nature for Europe because I believe that we have the strength to win the battles of the present and those of the future.

Thank you very much for your attention.

CALENDRIER du 13 au 19 octobre 2014

Commission européenne

Bruxelles, le 10 octobre 2014

CALENDRIER du 13 au 19 octobre 2014

(Susceptible de modifications en cours de semaine)

Déplacements et visites

Lundi 13 octobre

Eurogroup, Luxembourg

AGRIFISH Meeting of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers, Luxembourg

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO and Mr Karel DE GUCHT receive Mr Nguyễn Tấn DŨNG, Prime Minister of Vietnam

Mr Siim KALLAS receives Mr Raymond BENJAMIN, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Mr Janez POTOČNIK in the Republic of Korea (13-17/10): participates in the 12th High-Level Meeting of the Conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Alpensia Convention Center, Pyeongchang)

Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in the signing ceremony of the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 for Vietnam with Mr Nguyễn Tấn DŨNG, Prime Minister of Vietnam

Ms Androulla VASSILIOU attends the opening and delivers a keynote speech at EU Youth conference organized under the Italian EU Presidency (Rome)

Mr Karel DE GUCHT receives the Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, Mr Vu Huy HOANG

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD receives representatives of “Young Ideas for Europe”

Mr Štefan FÜLE visits Jordan

Mr László ANDOR in Budapest: attends and gives speech at conference “Nothing about us without us? – Roma participation in policy making and knowledge production” at Corvinus University of Budapest; speaks at conference of Hungarian trade unions on “Decent wages”; gives presentation on “Europe after the crisis” at Európa Klub

Mardi 14 octobre

AGRIFISH (Agriculture and Fisheries Council), Luxembourg

ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Council), Luxembourg

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO receives Mr Edmund STOIBER, chairman of the High-Level Group on Administrative Burdens

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO and Ms Androulla VASSILIOU receive Mr Michel PLATINI, President of the Union of the European Football Associations

Ms Catherine ASHTON leads meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State in framework of Iran Nuclear Talks, Vienna

Mr Joaquín ALMUNIA delivers a keynote speech at the 31st AmCham EU Competition Policy Conference, Brussels

Mr Andris PIEBALGS is in Rome: participates in a Conference on energy

Mr Karel DE GUCHT in Rome: delivers a speech at a dialogue on the TTIP; event organised by the Italian presidency with participation of the Italian Prime Minister Mr Matteo RENZI, the Italian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mr Carlo CALENDA and U.S. Trade Representative Mr Michael FROMAN

Mr Johannes HAHN receives Mr Max HIEGELSBERGER, Regional Minister of Upper Austria; receives Mr Erwin PRÖLL, Governor of Lower Austria and attends with him the opening of the Exhibition Lower Austria; receives Mr Vidar HELGESEN, Minister at the Office of the Prime Minister

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD delivers a keynote speech at the Arctic Futures Symposium, organized by the International Polar Foundation (Residence Palace, Brussels)

Mr Štefan FÜLE visits Lebanon

Mr László ANDOR in Budapest: gives speech at a conference on Health & Safety organised by Napi.hu

Mr László ANDOR in Rome: gives opening speech at European Social Fund conference on Youth Guarantee, organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU; meets Mr Giuliano POLETTI, Minister of Labor and Social Policies of Italy; attends presentation of European Social Fund project “Torna subito”

Mercredi 15 octobre

FAC informal meeting of the 28 European Foreign Trade Ministers, Rome

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO in Milan (15-16/10)

Ms Catherine ASHTON leads meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State in framework of Iran Nuclear Talks, Vienna

Mr Joaquín ALMUNIA delivers a keynote speech and participates in the Award Ceremony of 2014 EARTO (European Association of Research and Technology Organisations) Innovation Prize, Brussels

Mr Ferdinando Nelli FEROCI, Mr Michel BARNIER and Mr Tonio BORG participate at the High Level Forum on the Food Chain, Brussels

M. Michel BARNIER participe à la conférence “L’homme face aux risques de l’argent”, organisée par l’Institut Catholique de Paris, Paris

Mr Andris PIEBALGS receives new President of CONCORD Mr Johannes TRIMMEL

Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in the signing ceremony of the National Indicative Programme (NIP) with Cameroon

Jeudi 16 octobre

EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council), Luxembourg

Mr Siim KALLAS meets a delegation from the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Brussels

Ms Androulla VASSILIOU delivers speech at the Conference: “A highly-qualified and well-trained work force: a key factor for European competitiveness” (Representation of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate, Brussels)

Ms Maria DAMANAKI meets with Mr Charalambos SIMANTONIS, President of the Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association (Athens)

Ms Kristalina GEORGIEVA receives the Disaster Risk Reduction Champion Prize from Ms Margareta WAHLSTROM, UN SRSG for Disaster Risk Reduction

Mr Johannes HAHN in Vienna: gives a speech at the Board meeting of the Fraunhofer Society; in Brussels: gives a closing statement at the “Mayors Adapt Signing Ceremony”

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD participates in the signatory ceremony of “Mayors Adapt”, the Covenant of Mayors Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change (Berlaymont building, Brussels)

Ms Connie HEDEGAARD in Deauville (France) to participate in the Women’s Forum Global meeting for a dialogue “A Champion for Climate Action” (Centre International de Deauville, Les Planches)

Mr Štefan FÜLE receives the Turkish Minister for European Union Affairs Mr Volkan BOZKIR

Mr Dacian CIOLOŞ in Rome: participates in a panel discussion at the World Food Day – CFS (FAO Committee on World Food Security) Special Event: Innovation in Family Farming: Towards Ensuring Food Security and Nutrition; holds a series of meetings focussing on agriculture and food security issues.

Mr Neven MIMICA in Zagreb: visits a local school and meets with students who are using the ConsumerClassroom.eu educational platform

Vendredi 17 octobre

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO in Geneva

Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in the signing ceremony of NIP with Tadjikistan

Mr Johannes HAHN in Piran: gives an opening speech to the “Rethinking Europe – Creative regions for a strong Europe” Seminar

Mr László ANDOR in Torino: attends conference on the European Social Charter organised by the Council of Europe and the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU

Mr Tonio BORG visits food retailers concerning food waste

Mr Neven MIMICA in Zagreb: meets the Minister of Economy, Mr Ivan VRDOLJAK, launches a consumer rights information campaign, meets representatives of consumer organisations

Samedi 18 octobre

Mr José Manuel Durão BARROSO in London (18-20/10)

Mr Andris PIEBALGS is in Nepal

10:00 Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in a visit to the Bagmati river

11:30 Mr Andris PIEBALGS participates in a project visit

Ms Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN is invited to the Royal College of Physicians where she receives an Honorary Fellowship, Dublin

Dimanche 19 octobre

Mr Andris PIEBALGS is in Nepal: meets President Dr Ram Baran YADAV; meets Prime Minister Mr Sushil KOIRALA; meets Foreign Minister Mr Mahendra Bahadur PANDE; meets the Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Mr Arjun THAPA; meets Minister of Finance Dr Ram Sharan MAHAT

12:30 Mr Johannes HAHN in Piran: gives a closing speech on “Challenges of the Adriatic Ionian region” at the “Rethinking Europe” Seminar

Prévisions du mois d’octobre:

20/10 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council), Luxembourg

20-21/10 EYCS informal meeting of the 28 European Sports Ministers, Rome

20-23 European Parliament plenary session, Strasbourg

21/10 GAC (General Affairs Council), Luxembourg,

23-24/10 European Council, Brussels

28/10 ENVI (Environment Council), Luxembourg

30/10 Informal meeting of the EU Ministers of Tourism, Naples

Prévisions du mois de novembre:

06/11 Eurogroup, Brussels

07/11 ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Council), Brussels

08/11 Eurogroup

10-11/11 AGRIFISH (Agriculture and Fisheries Council), Brussels

12-13/11 European Parliament plenary session, Brussels

14/11 ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Council), Brussels

17-18/11 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council), Brussels

18-19/11 GAC (General Affairs Council)

21/11 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council), Brussels

24-27/11 European Parliament plenary session, Strasbourg

25/11 EYCS (Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council)

27/11 TTE (Transport, Telecommunications and Energy)

Prévisions du mois de décembre:

01/12 EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council)

03/12 TTE (Transport, telecommunications and energy)

04-05/12 COMPET (Competitiveness Council)

04-05/12 JHA (Justice and Home Affairs Council)

09/12 ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Council)

09/12 TTE (Transport, telecommunications and energy)

11/12 EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council)

12/12 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council)

12/12 EYCS (Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council)

15/12 FAC (Foreign Affairs Council), Brussels

15-16/12 AGRIFISH (Agriculture and Fisheries Council)

15-18/12 European Parliament plenary session, Strasbourg

16/12 GAC (General Affairs Council)

17/12 ENVI (Environment Council), Brussels

18-19/12 European Council (Brussels)

Permanence DG COMM le WE du 11 au 12 octobre:

Joe HENNON, +32 (0) 498 953 593

Permanence RAPID- GSM: +32 (0) 498 982 748

Service Audiovisuel, planning studio – tél. : +32 (0)2/295 21 23

Para uma União da Inovação mais forte, coesa e aberta – Working for a Strong, Cohesive and Open Innovation Union

Comissão europeia

[Só faz fé o texto proferido]

José Manuel Durão Barroso

Presidente da Comissão Europeia

Para uma União da Inovação mais forte, coesa e aberta – Working for a Strong, Cohesive and Open Innovation Union

O futuro da Europa é a ciência

Lisboa, 6 outubro 2014

Sua Excelência o Senhor Presidente da República,

Senhora Secretária de Estado,

Senhora Presidente do Conselho de Administração da Fundação Champalimaud, cara Dra. Leonor Beleza,

Senhora Comissária, Dear Máire Geoghegan-Quinn,

Senhor Comissário indigitado, meu caro Eng. Carlos Moedas,

Minhas Senhoras e meus Senhores,

Ilustres convidados,

Caros amigos,

Tenho muito prazer em estar aqui hoje convosco para vos falar do papel da ciência no futuro da Europa. Gostaria de começar por agradecer à Senhora Presidente da Fundação Champalimaud, Dra. Leonor Beleza, por nos acolher nesta impressionante sede de uma instituição que em relativamente pouco tempo já ganhou reconhecimento nacional e internacional pelo seu trabalho ao serviço da ciência. Quero de modo muito especial agradecer ao Senhor Presidente da República pela honra que nos dá ao ter dito sim quando o convidei para presidir à abertura desta conferência.

De fato, não poderíamos ter escolhido um sítio melhor do que Lisboa para realizar a conferência. A sensibilidade para a descoberta e para a abertura a novos horizontes faz parte do ADN de Portugal!

E as novas gerações têm honrado esse legado, como foi brilhantemente demonstrado pelos jovens João Pedro Estácio Gaspar Gonçalves de Araújo, Mariana de Pinho Garcia e Matilde Gonçalves Moreira da Silva, que há menos de duas semanas foram reconhecidos entre os melhores jovens cientistas da Europa por ocasião do 26.º Concurso da União Europeia para Jovens Cientistas realizado em Varsóvia.

E também não teria sido possível escolher melhor sítio que a Fundação Champalimaud, que não só é um centro de excelência em investigação sobre a saúde, como também uma instituição muito empenhada em divulgar a educação científica junto do público em Portugal. A atitude dos cidadãos em relação à ciência é, sem dúvida, um aspeto crucial que importa ter em consideração. O progresso científico deve ser devidamente explicado para poder ser bem recebido, em vez de ser encarado, com muitas vezes acontece, com injustiçadas dúvidas ou até perniciosas resistências.

Esta conferência não poderia ocorrer em melhor altura, pois é precisamente nesta semana que se procede a entrega dos Prémios Nobel, que se iniciou esta manhã com o Prémio Nobel da Medicina de 2014 – cujos vencedores, como já foi dito, foram John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser e Edvard Moser, que felicito muito sinceramente. E é com grande orgulho que o faço, pois estes últimos dois neurocientistas, apesar de trabalharem na Noruega, foram ambos bolseiros do Conselho Europeu de Investigação (ERC).

Quero também agradecer muito a presença entre nós do Prémio Nobel da Física, Serge Haroche, que participará logo a seguir numa das mesas redondas, e a todos os outros eminentes cientistas, empresários e membros da sociedade civil que quiseram juntar-se a nós nestes dois dias de importantes reflexões.

A Comissão Europeia tem vindo a colocar a ciência, a investigação e a inovação no centro da agenda europeia. Para construir uma Europa forte, unida e aberta neste domínio, a Comissão tem desempenhado um importante papel procurando soluções para os problemas, estabelecendo pontes e promovendo os nossos princípios fundamentais.

A ciência, a investigação e a inovação são áreas a que tenho dedicado especial atenção desde o início do meu mandato de dez anos como Presidente da Comissão Europeia. Os alicerces foram criados ao longo dos anos: desde a criação do Instituto Europeu de Inovação e Tecnologia (EIT) e do altamente reputado Conselho Europeu de Investigação – European Research Council -, à participação da Europa em grandes projetos científicos como por exemplo – um dos maiores em curso no mundo – o Reator Termonuclear Experimental Internacional (ITER), cujos progressos constatei pessoalmente durante a visita que efetuei em julho a Cadarache, em França, na sede do projeto.

A razão pela qual dedico uma atenção especial a este setor está relacionada com a grande esperança na ciência, na grande confiança que tenho nas capacidades da mente humana e numa sociedade criativa para solucionar os seus problemas. O mundo está a mudar drasticamente, a uma velocidade nunca vista. Acredito que muitas das soluções, na Europa e fora dela, virão de novos estudos científicos e das novas tecnologias. Gostaria de ver a Europa a liderar esse esforço a nível global, o que será determinante para o futuro bem-estar e a prosperidade das nossas sociedades e para a influência europeia a nível global.

A verdade é que foi possível, mesmo em momentos de grandes dificuldades financeiras, colocar a investigação no centro da estratégia para o crescimento e para o emprego – a Estratégia Europa 2020: com o objetivo de criar condições favoráveis à inovação; promover o dinamismo da União da Inovação; lutar por um maior investimento na inovação, na tecnologia e no papel da ciência.

Gostaria de aproveitar esta oportunidade para enaltecer o trabalho incansável e muito competente da Comissária para a Investigação, a Inovação e a Ciência, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, em prol da obtenção de resultados concretos num setor com tão grandes ambições. Muito a ela se deve, nomeadamente na luta de persuasão de alguns Governos no sentido de nos apoiarem em relação a um orçamento mais ambicioso para a investigação.

Acredito igualmente – e tive experiência direta disso durante estes anos – na importância da competência científica independente e consistente. De facto, a Comissão Europeia é muitas vezes chamada a tomar decisões que são extremamente complexas do ponto de vista técnico e que têm profundas repercussões do ponto de vista social, e até, muitas vezes, implicações de um ponto de vista ético. E penso que essas decisões devem ser sustentadas numa abordagem científica.

Foi por essa razão que decidi criar o cargo de conselheiro científico principal do Presidente da Comissão Europeia, exercido pela Professora Anne Glover, e também criamos o Conselho Consultivo para a Ciência e Tecnologia (STAC), que nos aconselha e apoia nos domínios da ciência e da tecnologia.

Dado que o progresso da ciência levanta por vezes questões éticas, a Comissão Europeia é também aconselhada pelo Grupo Europeu de Ética para as Ciências e as Novas Tecnologias, um organismo independente, pluralista e pluridisciplinar, cujo papel se encontra já bem consolidado.

Dado que há muito a fazer quando se aceita a ideia de que a mudança é uma oportunidade de melhorar; e que as novas formas de pensar e os novos dados podem obrigar-nos a abandonar visões por vezes antiquadas do mundo e a aceitar algo de novo, dei também o meu pleno apoio a várias iniciativas prospetivas no âmbito da Comissão Europeia, desde o projeto ESPAS (European Strategy and Policy Analysis System) à criação de uma rede interna em matéria de prospetiva, que cobre também o domínio científico.

Penso que estes exercícios prospetivos são realmente necessários pois, embora a incerteza faça sempre parte da decisão política, a falta de antecipação política adequada pode e deve ser evitada. Os decisores políticos precisam de dispor de alternativas de políticas públicas bem informadas que lhes permitam tomar decisões claras e estratégicas a médio e longo prazo.

Por isso solicitei, portanto, ao meu Conselho Consultivo para a Ciência e Tecnologia (STAC) que se debruçasse sobre estas questões e que elaborasse um relatório sob o lema «O futuro da Europa é a ciência». É precisamente disso que se trata: identificar os desafios e as oportunidades que a ciência, a tecnologia e a inovação colocam à Europa e formular uma série de recomendações em três domínios diferentes, todos eles de importância primordial para os cidadãos europeus: o futuro da sua saúde, o futuro do trabalho e o futuro do ambiente.

Queria aproveitar esta oportunidade para agradecer publicamente aos membros do STAC. Sempre trabalhámos juntos, de uma forma aberta e construtiva. Sempre valorizei o seu aconselhamento e congratulo-me com o relatório que é hoje mesmo publicado na ocasião da realização da conferência.

Gostaria agora de vos explicar sucintamente o que significa uma Europa forte, unida e aberta do ponto de vista da Comissão Europeia no que se refere à ciência e à investigação.

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Contradicting what I call an intellectual glamour of pessimism about Europe, which unfortunately happens to be rather fashionable in some circles, we have to recognize that, when it comes to research and innovation, Europe is strong. Much stronger than what sometimes is publicly acknowledged. Europe is one of the leaders in science in the world!

We are not short of world-class researchers and innovators with the skills and ideas to drive Europe forward. And today’s audience is a perfect illustration of this. We have twice the number of science and technology graduates than in the United States; with 7% of the world’s population, we still produce roughly a third not only of the world’s GDP, but also of patents and high impact scientific publications; and despite the crisis almost all our Member States have improved their innovation performance; and we have been able to halve the innovation gap that we still have with the United States and Japan. While in science we are, in many areas, the number one in the world, in innovation we are not always in the first places.

But we cannot afford to rest on these laurels. We live in a world where scientific and technological progress is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, and where South Korea is moving further ahead, with China quickly catching us up. So we need to capitalize on our strengths and to address also some of our weaknesses.

From a European Commission’s perspective, this basically means to act as a problem-solver in an environment of scarce resources and under very challenging circumstances. This is what we have been doing over these last years.

The best illustration of this is certainly the new research programme Horizon 2020. This is a large framework programme with wide-ranging objectives from supporting excellence in science – with the European Research Council now chaired by Professor Bourguignon – to developing industrial leadership and addressing key societal challenges, allowing us to focus on the big priorities relevant to our citizens.

That said, as we are all aware, money is the crux of the matter. But despite very difficult financial conditions, we have managed to get our Member States closer to our objectives for research, with an increase of 30% through the new Horizon 2020 programme – around € 80 billion for the next seven years – which makes it today one of the most important scientific funding programmes in the world.

I have to say, to be honest with our Member States, that while in some areas they were very negative when we discussed the Multiannual Financial Programme for the next seven years regarding some expenditure, when it came to science there was, generally speaking, very good opening from our Member States considering the ambitious proposals of the Commission. And this is certainly a very important progress, compared to the situation in the past.

And because entrepreneurs, researchers, innovators cannot afford to have their energy and time drained with red tape, with Horizon 2020 red tape was sensibly reduced. All phases of the innovation cycle are now funded under a single platform.

More private investment has also been secured to address major societal challenges. Public-private partnerships are one of the key elements of Horizon 2020. The private sector has committed to invest nearly € 10 billion in Joint Technology Initiatives stimulating innovation in areas such as medicines, transport and bio-based industries. Together with EU and Member States funding, this amounts to a € 22 billion boost for growth and jobs in Europe over the next 7 years.

Another example of the European Commission acting as a problem-solver is the Risk Sharing Finance Facility that we have set up jointly with the European Investment Bank.

As you know, one of the major obstacles to getting innovation to the market is the insufficient availability of finance for new and innovative projects, particularly for SMEs. The principle of this Risk Sharing Finance Facility is that for every billion euro of European budget money, the European Investment Bank has mobilised € 12 billion in loans and over € 30 billion in final research and innovation investment. Concretely, this has led to additional resources of up to € 40 billion since 2007 for research and innovation activities, which would otherwise be left unfunded. Besides, a very substantial share of Horizon 2020 will be devoted to funding innovative SMEs which, no need to recall, form the backbone of the European economy.

And I am happy and even proud to add that after 30 years of negotiation, – because the Member States were not able to agree on a common position on that matter – we finally agreed a European-wide patent, even if there are two Member States that are outside the final agreement. This is a major step forward in our effort to deliver a more innovative-friendly business environment in Europe. We estimate that once fully implemented, this will reduce the cost by up to 80% for small and medium size business and individual researchers to register their creative ideas.

But clearly the European Commission’s actions are not enough. They are necessary but not sufficient. Our countries must also act as problem-solvers and our governments make an equal effort in research. Budgetary consolidation is certainly an essential prerequisite for sound growth and competitiveness. But investment in growth and jobs of the future are also vital. And if you want to invest in the future, you should think science, research and innovation!

Ladies and gentlemen,

A stronger Europe is also a more united Europe. And for Europe to be more united in the field of science, research and innovation, we have to address existing fragmentations, notably between academic and business worlds, between public and private sectors.

From a European Commission’s perspective this means to act as a bridge-builder and make the knowledge triangle work better in favour of new socio-economic benefits. This is what we have been doing over these last years, notably through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) which I took the initiative to create during my first mandate and which was launched in 2008.

The EIT, and I recently visited the headquarters of the EIT in Budapest, precisely brings together the three strands of the knowledge triangle – higher education, research and innovation – and businesses, in new types of partnership, the so-called Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) operating so far in three areas, but we are going to enlarge them: sustainable energy, climate change and ICT; and with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship. Until 2020, the EIT will be expanded to new areas and five new KICs will be created, as well as its outreach capacity that will be strengthened.

By 2020, the EIT is expected to train 10.000 Master students, 10.000 PhDs and create 600 new companies, and achieve systematic impact in the way universities, research centres and companies cooperate for innovation.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions are also another good example of how to bridge gaps between sectors. Horizon 2020 will allow for the funding of 65.000 researchers under the new Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions which will combine research excellence with training on entrepreneurial skills; and encourage researchers to engage with industries and other employers during their fellowship.

A more united Europe depends also on an increased mobility of researchers and on the development of pan-European infrastructures. This is, as you know, the objective of the European Research Area: to have a real single market for knowledge, research and innovation. Good progress has been made. Most of the conditions for achieving a European Research Area are in place at the European level. The completion of this objective therefore now largely depends on national reforms and on national implementation. Member States are expected to present “European Research Area (ERA) roadmaps” by mid-2015, outlining their next steps towards the implementation of a true European single market for research.

And as it is just impossible to speak of a more cohesive Europe without referring to cohesion policy, I would like to mention that, to maximise territorial and social cohesion, Smart Specialisation Strategies are being developed with the support of the European Regional development Fund as well as other relevant funds, in order to make the most of the innovation potential of each region and each country across Europe. This is what we call the “Staircase to Excellence”, allowing all Member States to attain the best level in science with the support of European funding.

Finally, a stronger Europe is also an open Europe. When I had the great honour to deliver, together with my colleague, the President of the European Council, the acceptance speech of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union in Oslo, I made a point about science and culture being at the core of our European project, precisely as a way of going beyond borders. I think it is very interesting that the idea of the European Union was, to some extent, to overcome borders and divisions and in science we know something about that. As Louis Pasteur said: “La science n’a pas de patrie.”

From a European Commission’s perspective this means to hold true to our Union founding values and principles by reaching out not only to our countries, but to all countries in the world. For example 15.000 out of the 65.000 researchers to be funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions will be non-EU researchers.

We are also promoting a dynamic science diplomacy. Horizon 2020, for example, is fully open to participation from international partner countries as shown by the agreement we recently signed with Israel. And I am happy that we have now found a solution to associate Switzerland to the Horizon 2020 programme that is one of the most important science and research funding programmes in the world.

We are also developing major dialogues on science and innovation with other world regions, notably with Africa. For instance, a year ago, we have agreed to start working towards a long-term jointly funded and co-owned research and innovation partnership with Africa, with a first focus on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture.

Another example is the decision taken with the United States and Canada, in May 2013, to join forces on Atlantic Ocean research, to better understand this Ocean and to promote the sustainable management of its resources.

That said, openness is not a one-way street. It has to be reciprocated. Our ongoing negotiations of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) contribute to the establishment of a level playing field with our international partners, with the aim of ensuring, in particular, equivalent protection of intellectual property rights. We are clearly aiming at promoting win-win situations, so as to foster international research and innovation opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have been through the worst financial, economic and social crisis since the start of European integration. This has clearly put our European model to the test. This was the biggest stress test ever in terms of European integration. Under these challenging circumstances, it was not easy to struggle to keep Europe united and open to the world, and to prepare Europe to emerge stronger and better prepared for the demands of globalisation, prepared to deal with demographic, technological and environmental challenges. A Europe ready to face the future.

In this process, the European Commission has always considered science and innovation as key strategic priorities for promoting a competitive European economy, but also a vibrant European society. We have been fully committed to create a more science and innovation-friendly environment. Because indeed “the future of Europe is science.”

And the discussions you will have later today and tomorrow on foresight will be an opportunity to highlight how much science and innovation are key to deliver on the issues which matter most for every European: health, jobs and therefore the society they live in and the economy. And there is no alternative: we have to deliver on these issues – crucially on jobs – to regain the trust of our citizens.

The reforms driven by the European Commission, and of course with our Member States, over the past five years are a solid foundation for that. Still a lot remains to be done. Science and innovation have to remain more than ever strategic priorities. But one thing I can tell you very sincerely after these ten years in the European Commission is that the European Union has demonstrated its great resilience. All those that were betting on the implosion of the euro or on the implosion of the European Union, were wrong. And one of the things that tie us together is, and should continue to be, science and the commitment to an open society where these ideas and this creativity can be kept and can be developed.

Let me conclude in Portuguese,

A título mais pessoal, quero manifestar hoje a minha satisfação por saber que a enorme responsabilidade de conduzir a ciência no futuro incumbirá ao meu compatriota e amigo, o Comissário português indigitado, Carlos Moedas. Gostaria de agradecer a sua presença hoje e estou confiante de que desenvolverá profundos esforços a favor da ciência, da investigação e da inovação. Desejo-lhe o melhor para as suas futuras funções. Para o futuro de Portugal e para o futuro da ciência na Europa!

E a todos vós desejo muito êxito nas discussões acerca do futuro da Europa e da ciência.

Muito obrigado pela vossa atenção.

Speaking notes for The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport to the Association of Canadian Port Authorities

Belledune, New Brunswick
August 18, 2014

Check against delivery

Introduction

Thank you for that kind introduction.

It’s great to be back at ACPA. Your conference last year in Nanaimo was one of the first events I attended last year as Minister and it’s a pleasure to again see so many familiar faces.

It’s also great to see you all in Belledune – a coastal region that is close to home for me.

Wherever home is, being federal Minister of Transport brings challenges and achievements from right across the country.

So, in keeping with the “Anchors Away” theme of this year’s conference, I’d like to share with you some recent developments that relate to transportation across Canada.

They highlight some of the key challenges that we face and explain how we are addressing them.

And they demonstrate how transportation connects to our country’s trade agenda – whether through our policies and regulations, our infrastructure, the people who operate our transport networks and our efforts to protect people and our environment.

Transportation and trade in Canada

Much of our work focuses on the fact that Canada is a trading nation and because of this, transportation is integral to our economic growth and prosperity.

We can reap economic advantages of international trade, but to do so, we must respond to global change and ensure our transportation networks can meet global demands.

This means ensuring that our physical infrastructure is up to the task, that we plan strategically for future demands and that we strengthen our relationships with public and private partners, both in Canada and abroad.

To this end, our government has concluded free trade agreements with 10 countries in less than seven years, and is negotiating with 30 more.

As you know, last year, Prime Minister Harper announced an historic agreement-in-principle with the European Union, providing access for Canada to a market of more than 500 million consumers. Just recently, the remaining technical discussions have been concluded on the agreement.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is Canada’s most ambitious trade and investment initiative, broader in scope and deeper in ambition than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Once implemented, it will cover virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-EU trade, including transportation.

In March, our Prime Minister also announced an important trade agreement with Korea – our first with an Asian country. South Korea is not only a major economic player and a key market for Canada – it also serves as a gateway to the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.

Gateways, borders and corridors

To pursue our ambitious trade agenda, we are supporting these agreements with transportation initiatives here in Canada.

For example, we launched the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative in 2006 and have invested 1.4 billion dollars in Asia-Pacific Gateway projects in partnership with all four western provinces, municipalities and the private sector.

Since 2007, we have announced 39 strategic infrastructure investments in nine provinces under the 2.1 billion-dollar Gateways and Border Crossings Fund.

This includes investments in the Atlantic Gateway and Trade Corridor, where we are developing an integrated multimodal system to strengthen transportation networks in our Atlantic and Central regions.

For example, we recently announced about 185,000 dollars under the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund for the SmartATLANTIC Saint John buoy project to help improve the efficiency, safety and environmental stewardship of marine transportation in the Bay of Fundy.

These initiatives demonstrate how our government is taking action to pursue our aggressive trade agenda by strengthening marine transportation and the networks that feed it.

We have demonstrated the power of collaboration, engagement and public-private partnerships to achieve a common goal.

And we continue to help the economy of the entire country by strengthening supply chains and making the most of trade opportunities in important international markets, such as Asia, Europe, and North and South America.

Conditions for Port Competitiveness

At the heart of our plans is the need to create the right conditions for an efficient, competitive and sustainable transportation system to move Canadians and Canadian products.

And, as part of this direction, the action we are taking to support the important role that our ports play in this system.

This action is not only to encourage investment in Canadian products. This government is also committed to creating the right conditions to ensure that we have competitive ports to support our assertive trade agenda.

To that end, I am pleased to announce that I have approved amendments that will allow all Canada Port Authorities, or CPAs, to enter into long-term lease agreements and use the lands they manage to generate revenues that would support future port projects.

This change is part of a long-standing commitment to ensure consistency of lease terms for all CPAs rather than a select few.

CTA Review

In addition to addressing specific factors, such as leases, we are moving ahead on overall transportation issues.

For example, two months ago I launched a review of the Canada Transportation Act headed by David Emerson, who is no stranger to many of you.

It’s been some 13 years since we last did a review of the transportation legislation in Canada and the world has changed. We need to ensure our transportation system effectively supports Canada’s international competitiveness, trade and prosperity.

The review is an opportunity to examine our legislation and policy frameworks, to ensure they are up to date and contain the right measures for modern times.

It will look at how we can ensure that the national network has the capacity and is nimble enough to meet medium and long-term demands.

More specifically, with respect to ports, the CTA Review will provide an opportunity to examine the governance and service delivery models for Canada Port Authorities and identify how they can be improved.

I trust that ports will work with the ACPA and stakeholders as well as the CTA panel, to help develop ways that we can work together to address these matters.

And I am confident that the CTA Review will produce solid recommendations to help Canada map out its transportation plans for the future.

Marine Security regulation amendments

As some of you may know, in July, Transport Canada published Regulations Amending the Marine Transportation Security Regulations. These changes will improve marine security and bring greater clarity and consistency for marine operators.

They aim to meet mandatory requirements set by the International Maritime Organization and reflect recent changes made to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

And they will result in a seafarer community that is more alert and better prepared for security risks.

Transport Canada conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the amendments on the marine industry.

It concluded that, while the amendments might create some incremental costs in the short term – due mostly to enhanced security training provisions for seafarers – the overall benefits of the amendments would significantly exceed these costs.

These amended regulations will further align Canada’s marine regulatory approach with that of the United States. This will eliminate duplication and impediments to trade without compromising marine security.

They will ease the regulatory compliance burden and improve efficiency and flexibility for operators.

And they will cut red tape for businesses, so they can focus on what they do best: create jobs and promote economic growth.

Infrastructure

All of this said, the “nuts and bolts” of transportation is truly nuts and bolts. In other words, we need the physical networks – roads, rails, ports and air facilities – to move goods and people safely, securely and efficiently.

And so, following the direction we established for our Gateway initiatives, we are now moving ahead with world-class infrastructure as the platform on which to base our country’s economic productivity.

That is why this government is building on its historic infrastructure investments and providing 70 billion dollars for public infrastructure over the next decade.

This includes the 53 billion dollar New Building Canada Plan for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure.

It is the largest and longest federal infrastructure plan in our nation’s history and its investments will enhance our global competitiveness.

We have, and will continue to deliver infrastructure projects in this region that not only fuel Canada’s economy, but also improve the flow of local road and rail traffic and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Skills training

While I have spoken about how we are investing in many things, there is another form of investment we can’t forget. That is the investment in people – the men and women who work on the front lines of transportation.

Globalization demands rapid technological change in all transportation sectors.

We can meet such demands only if transportation workers receive proper training and support, whether that is from employers, educational institutions or government.

This training and support is on the rise in Canada. For example, last fall, I attended the opening of the new British Columbia Maritime Employers Association Waterfront Training Centre, which trains women and men who choose careers in marine transportation.

This kind of training demonstrates a significant shift: from a workforce of the physically strong doing casual, short-term work, to a more diversified force of permanent, multi-skilled professionals, who choose to pursue port work as a career.

It is essential to ensure that Canada continue to have enough people with the right skills and training to support a modern transportation network.

And I am hopeful it will also support greater involvement on the part of women in transportation leadership.

As someone who has worked in traditionally male dominated environments, I understand the challenge women can face to be leaders.

However, times are changing. For example, I know of three other women who serve as CEOs of port authorities in Canada: Karen Oldfield in Halifax, Sylvie Vachon in Montreal, and Donna Taylor in Oshawa.

I hope they can be role models for women looking to work in transportation management.

In a country as large as Canada, transportation will always be a major factor, and it will require leaders whose skills and commitment will matter more than their gender.

Transportation Safety and Environmental Responsibility

Finally, I’d like to talk a little bit about our commitment to transportation safety and environmental responsibility.

Natural resources — including oil, minerals, and agricultural and forestry products — remain essential to Canada’s economy.

Because we want to develop them responsibly, Transport Canada is supporting both regulatory and voluntary approaches to reduce emissions from transportation sources and develop cleaner options.

For example, through our Clean Transportation Initiatives, we are working with industry to create technology and tools at ports to synchronize truck arrivals with those of container ships. This can cut down congestion at ports and reduce emissions.

Also at ports, including the Port of Halifax here in Atlantic Canada, we are supporting development of shore power technology to reduce emissions by allowing ships to turn off engines while docked and connect to electric power supplies.

I expect all of you have heard about the World-Class Tanker Safety System, whose development Transport Canada is leading.

To secure the marine sector’s key role in Canada’s global trade and economic agenda, we must ensure that world markets remain confident in our ability to transport our goods efficiently, but also in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

This is why we have announced we will develop new measures to strengthen our oil tanker safety system.

These measures will give Canada the most robust and comprehensive oil spill regime in the world, built on the key pillars of prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation.

Conclusion

As I noted at the start, many of our transportation initiatives relate to our country’s trade agenda and help connect us to a global supply chain that reaches, not only beyond this region, but beyond this continent.

Many of the actions we must take to plan, regulate and invest in transportation must also consider these complex factors.

As a former member of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Port Authority, I know firsthand that ports need to continuously improve supply chain efficiency, reliability, and security to stay competitive in the continuously evolving world of global commerce.

And as Canada’s Transport Minister, I am committed to helping the marine shipping sector build safe, secure, environmentally responsible and efficient transportation for the future.

Thank you for the opportunity to explain how our work is contributing to our communities and our country’s economic prosperity.

Daily News of 2014-07-31

MEX 14 / 31.07

DAILY NEWS

31 / 07 / 14

G-7 Leaders Statement on Ukraine

G-7 leaders joined yesterday in expressing their grave concern about Russia’s continued actions to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. “This week, we have all announced additional coordinated sanctions on Russia, including sanctions on specific companies operating in key sectors of the Russian economy. We believe it is essential to demonstrate to the Russian leadership that it must stop its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine and tangibly participate in creating the necessary conditions for the political process.”, said G-7 leaders in a joint statement. “We remain convinced that there must be a political solution to the current conflict, which is causing rising numbers of civilian casualties. We call for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, and underline the need to implement President Poroshenko’s peace plan without any further delay.”

Read the full statement online .

June 2014: Euro area unemployment rate at 11.5%; EU28 at 10.2%

The euro area (EA18) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.5% in June 2014, down from 11.6% in May 2014, and from 12.0% in June 2013. This is the lowest rate recorded since September 2012. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.2% in June 2014, down from 10.3% in May 2014, and from 10.9% in June 2013. This is the lowest rate recorded since March 2012. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Eurostat estimates that 25.005 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 18.412 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in June 2014. Compared with May 2014, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 198 000 in the EU28 and by 152 000 in the euro area. Compared with June 2013, unemployment fell by 1.537 million in the EU28 and by 783 000 in the euro area. European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: “The unemployment figures for June 2014 confirm the first signs of economic recovery we have been seen in Europe over the past year. But while job destruction seems to have come to a halt, the reduction of unemployment has only been very modest so far. Our objective must be to create the right macroeconomic conditions for sustainable recovery and for Member States to implement structural reforms such as the Youth Guarantee to ensure that the recovery is job-rich. Only then will we see the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs every month, and an end to these excessively high and unacceptable levels of unemployment.”

Other news

Bank transfers: Single Euro Payments Area to bring easier payments and transfers in euro area from 1 August

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) creates a true European Single Market for retail payments in euro where and transfers, direct debits and payments between Member States are as easy and fast as the equivalent domestic transactions. It will become operational in all eurozone countries on 1st August 2014. It will also apply to euro-denominated transactions in non-eurozone countries from 30th October 2016. SEPA will greatly facilitate euro payments for citizens and businesses and increase competition between banks.

Commission adopts French programme to use €499 million from Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived

The European Commission has approved today the French Operational Programme to use the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). France, the first Member State to have its FEAD programme adopted, will receive 499 million euros in current prices in the period 2014-2020 to support the provision of food aid to those most in need in the country (complemented with €88 million from national resources). Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, commented: “I welcome the swift adoption of the French operational programme. The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived will play a key role to help Europe’s most vulnerable citizens with food or other basic goods. In many Member States severe material deprivation is on the rise and many households cannot afford a meal. I am looking forward to approving the programmes of all the other Member States, so that the rest of the 3.8 billion euros available can be put to the best use in our fight against poverty”.

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights: Customs authorities detain nearly 36 million fake goods at EU borders in 2013

Customs authorities in the EU detained almost 36 million items suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR) in 2013, according to the Commission’s annual report on customs actions to enforce IPR. Although this is less than previous years, the value of the intercepted goods still represents more than € 760 million. Today’s report also gives statistics on the type, provenance and transport method of counterfeit products detained at the EU’s external borders. See also the Q&A: MEMO/14/501 .

EU develops new driverless car parking system – so you never waste another minute looking for a space

There are only a few minutes before your flight check-in closes, or before your train departs, but you now have to spend precious time hunting for a free space at the airport or station car park. Imagine leaving your vehicle at the main entrance and letting the car do the rest on its own. Researchers from Germany, Italy, the UK and Switzerland are working on this, and successful tests took place at Stuttgart airport earlier this year. €5.6 million of EU funding is invested in the system which will be available in the coming years. Vice President Neelie Kroes said:We need to think ahead and find smarter ways to move, to save time, money and our environment. Who wouldn’t want to save time parking their car?

Compromise found: Part of EU fleet can continue fishing in Mauritanian waters until end of 2014

EU vessels fishing shrimps and small pelagics in Mauritanian waters in the framework of the EU-Mauritania Fisheries Protocol will be able to continue to do so until 15 December 2014. This is part of the compromise which EU negotiators found last night in Nouakchott after the Mauritanian authorities had upheld the position that all EU vessels would have to leave Mauritanian waters as of 1 August 2014. According to the agreement found, Mauritania accepted EU fishing activities for a period of 24 months as part of the bilateral Fisheries Protocol, hence the shrimps and small pelagics fisheries which started in January 2013 can continue, whereas those EU vessels which had been fishing tuna and demersals since August 2012 during a transitional period will need to leave Mauritanian waters today. Furthermore, the EU and Mauritania agreed to continue the discussions for a renewed Fisheries Protocol so to allow the full EU fleet to resume their activities soon. More information

Flash estimate – July 2014: Euro area annual inflation down to 0.4%

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.4% in July 2014, down from 0.5% in June, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, services is expected to have the highest annual rate in July (1.3%, stable compared with June), followed by non-energy industrial goods (0.0%, compared with -0.1% in June), food, alcohol & tobacco (-0.3%, compared with -0.2% in June) and energy (-1.0%, compared with 0.1% in June).

Aides d’État: la Commission conclut que la cristallerie belge Val Saint-Lambert a reçu des aides d’État incompatibles; autorise la vente de certains de ses actifs

La Commission européenne a conclu que certaines des mesures d’aide octroyées par la région wallonne à Val Saint-Lambert SA (VSL) ont conféré à l’entreprise un avantage indu sur ses concurrents, en violation des règles de l’UE en matière d’aides d’État. VSL doit à présent rembourser ce montant, majoré des intérêts, pour atténuer les distorsions de concurrence engendrées par l’octroi de ces aides incompatibles avec le marché intérieur européen.

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Pirelli’s steel tyre cord business by Bekaert

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the steel tyre cord business of the Italian company Pirelli by its Belgian-based rival NV Bekaert SA. Steel tyre cord is used to reinforce radial tyres and has a major impact on their safety and performance. The Commission concluded that the acquisition would not raise competition concerns as the merged entity’s customers, which are large, multinational tyre companies, have countervailing buyer power which is further strengthened by over-capacity in the steel tyre cord market. In addition the Commission found that Bekaert will continue to face effective competition from a number of other strong competitors located outside the European Economic Area (EEA), in particular in Belarus, Korea and China. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7230 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Uniqa Life by Uniqa Insurance Group.

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Uniqa Life of Italy by the Uniqa Insurance Group (Uniqa) of Austria. Uniqa Life is a life insurance company active only in Italy, while Uniqa is an Austrian-based insurance group offering products and services in all insurance sectors (life, non-life, re-insurance) in a number of European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the very low combined market shares resulting from the transaction. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7298 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of GEA’s heat exchanger business by private equity company Triton

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over the German heat exchanger business of GEA by the private equity company Triton of Jersey. Triton invests in medium-sized businesses in Northern Europe, in particular in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the five Nordic countries. GEA’s heat exchanger business manufactures a broad portfolio of heat exchangers serving different applications such as power, climate and environment or oil and gas. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, because the overlaps between the activities of Triton’s portfolio companies and GEA’s heat exchanger business are limited. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7306 .

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Doeflex by INEOS in plastic compounding sector

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Doeflex Compounding Limited (Doeflex) of the UK by INEOS AG (INEOS) of Switzerland. Doeflex is a PVC compounder with a single manufacturing facility located in Swindon, UK, controlled by two individuals. INEOS is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products. Among other activities, INEOS produces commodity S-PVC E-PVC, plasticizers and S-PVC compounds in the European Economic Area (EEA). The Commission examined the effects of the merger on competition in the area of S-PVC compounding and more specifically for the manufacture and sale of dry blended and gelled compounds in North Western Europe, Western Europe and the EEA. S-PVC compounds are intermediate products between S-PVC and end-products. They are obtained by blending additives such as plasticisers, heat stabilisers and pigments with S-PVC. S-PVC compounds are then further processed to produce end-products such as pipes, window and door frames, cables, etc. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns because the merged entity would continue to face strong competition after the merger and customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in the market for S-PVC compounds and its sub-segments. The Commission found, in particular, that other strong players, such as Kem One, which recently acquired Solvay’s compounding business, and Begra will continue to compete with the merged entity in these markets. The Commission also found that in spite of the vertical links between INEOS’s upstream activities in S-PVC, E-PVC and plasticizers and its compounding business, the proposed transaction does not affect INEOS’s ability and incentives to shut out competitors from the S-PVC compounds market or customers from access to supplies because INEOS was already vertically integrated pre-transaction and the addition of Doeflex’s business has limited impact on the pre-existing situation because of its limited size. More information will be available on the competition website, in the Commission’s public case register under the case number M.7132 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Bull by Atos

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Bull S.A. by Atos S.E., both of France. Atos delivers IT services, including managed services, business process outsourcing, consulting & systems integration and cloud & enterprise software. Bull is active in the development of High Performance Computing (HPC) supercomputers and uprange servers, in the design, building and managing of data centres, HPC infrastructure and cloud computing solutions, in the consulting as well as integration and maintenance of critical business applications and in the design, consulting and integration of end-to-end security solutions. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not give rise to competition concerns, given the parties’ moderate combined market positions resulting from the proposed transaction and the presence of a number of strong players that are active on the respective markets. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7308 .  

Western Premiers focus on competitiveness and rural and remote communities

Iqaluit, Nunavut (July 10, 2014) – Western Premiers met in Iqaluit over the past two days and emphasized the importance of continued economic growth in the West. Premiers discussed a number of priorities including labour market development, market access and internal trade. They also acknowledged the vital role that rural and remote communities play in the prosperity of Canada.

Developing the labour market

The need for skilled labour continues to increase in Western Canada. With a number of major projects either underway or in the development phase, existing labour shortages are only expected to deepen.

Premiers agreed that residents in their rural and remote communities need to be prepared to take advantage of increased job opportunities from the growing economy. They emphasized the shared role of employers, industry and government in skills development and on-the-job training to build capacity at the local level, particularly in Aboriginal and northern communities.

Having trusted, reliable, and up-to-date labour market information is essential for governments, employers, and for workers making employment decisions. Premiers discussed the importance of prioritizing the use of data to make joint decisions, and committed to sharing labour market information.

Western Premiers agreed to:

  • call on their Labour Market Ministers to continue developing opportunities for individuals in rural and remote communities to build the skills needed to benefit from economic development;
  • ask Western Labour Market Ministers to prepare a report on labour mobility and demand of major projects within the western provinces and territories;
  • show leadership and cooperation in supporting worker mobility by enhancing the transferability of post-secondary and trades education credits, including competency-based assessments; and
  • call on the federal government to provide better access to existing data from areas of federal jurisdiction, such as Employment Insurance data by economic development region and tax data.

When discussing changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) announced by the federal government on June 20, 2014, Premiers agreed that it is important to ensure Canadians have the first chance at the available jobs, and that employers should be held responsible for violating the rules of the program. However, Premiers are concerned that the recent changes go too far in restricting access to the program. Western Canada has a strong economy and unique labour market needs that often make it necessary for employers to rely on foreign workers when qualified Canadians cannot be found. Limiting the ability to hire foreign workers to address critical labour shortages will unduly punish responsible employers in Western Canada, particularly those in smaller and remote communities where Canadian workers are not readily available. Premiers also noted that temporary foreign workers often transition to permanent residency, such as through the Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs, and become long-term contributors to the labour force. Premiers emphasized the need to ensure that the planned overhaul of Canada’s economic immigration system in 2015 is responsive to the diverse needs of western Canadian jurisdictions.

In advance of the FPT Labour Market Ministers’ meeting, Western Premiers discussed their concern about the federal government’s intention to alter provincial-territorial Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDA). 

Labour Market Development Agreements enable provinces and territories to provide direct assistance to Employment Insurance-eligible clients, ensuring they attain the valuable skills required to return to the workforce as quickly as possible. Premiers noted that existing programs have proven to successfully support Canadians getting the training they need to get back to work. Western Premiers also noted that the responsibility over skills training has been devolved by the federal government to provinces and territories, as they are best placed to better deliver training and support programs that meet local needs. The federal government has provided no evidence that any change in approach is needed. Western Premiers will also discuss this issue at the 2014 Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island later this summer.

Western Premiers also discussed the challenges posed by the timing of LMDA and TFWP changes. Premiers urged the federal government to:

  • consider how these changes may reduce labour availability; and
  • engage in a collaborative dialogue with western Canadian provinces and territories to explore ways to accommodate the unique labour challenges of the region.

Improving market access

Western Premiers congratulated the federal government on concluding the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. They welcomed federal efforts to secure further free trade agreements (FTAs) with key markets to strengthen Canada’s competitiveness and urged the rapid conclusion of ambitious FTAs, including the Canada European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and bilateral agreements with India and Japan.

Premiers noted that an ambitious TPP would improve Canada’s access to the Asia-Pacific region and ensure that Canada remains a preferred market for the United States (US).  US protectionism continues to be a concern for Premiers.  Premiers supported the federal government’s work in the US and in international forums, to address US Protectionism, particularly the Grow America Act.

Premiers also discussed the need for improved bilateral air transport agreements to ensure western provinces and territories can fully capitalize on the FTAs.

Canada’s trade success hinges on having an effective and efficient transportation system to reliably get goods and services to market. To this end, Western Premiers:

  • welcome a transparent review by the federal government of the Canada Transportation Act, focusing on regulatory and policy changes to improve the competitive environment and balance the relationship between shippers and railways;
  • call on the federal government to expand monitoring systems and information sharing and ensure full transparency between stakeholders involved in Canada’s supply chain system; and
  • call on the federal government to work with provinces, territories and the private sector to ensure that gateway facilities and transportation networks, in particular the Asia-Pacific gateway, accommodate current and future exports.

Modernizing internal trade

Premiers agreed it is essential to accelerate cooperative efforts to strengthen Canada’s economic union. Western Premiers support an ambitious modernization agenda to achieve substantial progress. Premiers noted that the original Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) was signed as a direct result of Premiers’ leadership in 1994 and took effect in 1995. Since that time, significant progress has been made by the provinces and territories to broaden the AIT’s coverage on labour mobility and public procurement, to remove technical barriers in the agriculture and foods sector, and to put in place an enforceable dispute resolution mechanism.

Western Premiers remain committed to the objectives originally set out in the 1994 Agreement.  However, the Canadian economy and the global trading environment within which Canada operates have evolved since the AIT was signed. As such, bold new steps must be taken to maximize our country’s ability to be globally competitive and to ensure consistency between our internal and international trade agreements.

Exploring solutions for off-grid communities

Western Premiers are committed to supporting economic growth throughout the West and noted the challenges faced by some off-grid and remote communities that rely on diesel-fueled energy generation technologies, which are often expensive and emissions intensive. Premiers agreed that resource development and community and economic growth should be enhanced through the availability of innovative off-grid energy solutions in these communities.

Western Premiers directed their Energy Ministers to work on identifying barriers to the reduction of diesel use in off-grid communities and ways to increase access to affordable, clean, and reliable supplies of energy. Ministers are asked to focus on practical solutions that use innovative technologies that can be applied to small communities. Premiers directed Energy Ministers to report back on this work at the Western Premiers’ Conference in 2015. Western Premiers will also work with their colleagues across the country in addressing this issue through the Canadian Energy Strategy.

Improving access to housing

Western Premiers recognized that access to stable and affordable housing is fundamental to a strong economy and to the health and well-being of western Canadians. Adequate housing allows families to participate more readily in the workforce, reduces dependencies on costly government programs such as healthcare, policing and justice and increases the level of academic achievement attained by children and youth. This is particularly evident in Aboriginal and northern communities. Premiers stressed the need to work with the federal government to develop a long-term, sustainable partnership to support housing needs.

Addressing aboriginal child welfare

Western Premiers discussed the disproportionate and large number of Aboriginal children taken into care across the country. They recognized the need for governments to work in consultation with Aboriginal communities to address this Canada-wide problem.

Western Premiers urge the federal government to show leadership and commit to working in partnership with provinces, territories and Aboriginal communities to address these critical issues facing Aboriginal children and families.

Western Premiers directed provincial and territorial Social Services Ministers work with Aboriginal Affairs Ministers to consider ways to reduce the number of Aboriginal children taken into care by child welfare authorities and to improve the quality of care.

Disaster management and assistance

Western Premiers discussed the frequency and severity of recent natural disasters, including current major floods in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and stressed the critical importance of continuing strong, reliable federal support for disaster management and recovery assistance.

Premiers call on the federal government to:

  • broaden the definition of a “disaster event” to include multiple smaller events that have large, cumulative impacts;
  • maintain its longstanding 90-10 cost-sharing arrangement for disaster recovery; and
  • allow communities to rebuild to a higher, more resilient standard.

They praised first responders and Canada’s military for their exemplary efforts in dealing with emergency situations across the country and acknowledged that they had been key to saving lives and livelihoods. Noting that advance planning and investment in disaster mitigation infrastructure have been proven to reduce the scale and costs of natural disasters, Western Premiers called on the federal government to substantially strengthen its new mitigation programs to enable provinces, territories and Aboriginal communities to move ahead quickly with high-priority flood protection and other projects.

2015 Western Premiers’ Conference

Premier Wall confirmed that Saskatchewan will host next year’s Western Premiers’ Conference.

###

Contact Information:
Yasmina Pepa
Press Secretary to Premier Taptuna
867.975.5059
ypepa@gov.nu.ca

Asia & Europe: an enduring and deepening economic relationship

European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Karel De Gucht

European Commissioner for Trade

Asia & Europe: an enduring and deepening economic relationship

Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM): A partnership for the 21st Century

Friends of Europe Conference

Brussels, 8 July 2014

Ladies and gentlemen,

The dramatic economic and political changes taking place in Asia require Europeans to think hard about the future of our relationship with the countries to our East.

But in doing so we must remember that this is not a new relationship – but one with a long and deep history.

After all, the famous early trade routes between Europe and Asia not only brought prosperity to individual merchants, they fundamentally changed the character of life in Europe – bringing variety and innovation – from the decimal system to the fireworks. Trade was also, we must acknowledge, the main driver of the regrettable past of European colonialism in the region.

History reminds us too that while the current economic rise of so many Asian countries is certainly shifting the global economic centre of gravity to Europe’s east; it is, in reality, only returning to a more central position. And this is the mathematical consequence of lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

All this is to say that Europe and Asia are not strangers, but rather old partners renewing and deepening their ties, for the benefit of people at both ends of our vast land mass, and on the islands all around it.

This is why the Asia Europe Meeting is so important. It provides the Heads of State and Government of 51 Asian and European countries a forum both to build on our existing relationship and to deepen our ties.

The success of that endeavour is essential for the economic future of the European Union.

There are two forces by which international trade and investment boost growth:

Imports work on the supply side of the economy – making companies more competitive by giving them access to the world’s best inputs at the world’s best prices.

Exports work by responding to demand – giving us access to the world market.

The phenomenon of global value chains that produce goods in many steps, across many countries boosts both of these effects even more.

For these forces to help build a sustainable recovery in Europe, links with Asia are essential.

On the supply side, let me explain this with an example. Imports from China are essential to the competitiveness of many industries in Europe. Why? Because the parts and components that we get from the Chinese are used in European factories to make European finished products. The result is that more than a million jobs in Europe depend directly on imports from China.

On the demand side, we need to look at the bigger picture. The economic advancement of so much of the world’s population is creating massive new markets for European products. Economists project that over the next 20 years more than 60% of the world’s growth is going to happen in Asia. And by the way – that projection already assumes a gradual slowdown in growth in many countries there.

The conclusion: Europe has to be connected to Asia if it wants to be part of global growth. It’s that simple.

The good news is that we are already doing very well.

The EU is one of the largest trading partners of all Asian countries. And in 2012 we were either the first, second or third most important trading partner for ten of ASEM’s Asian members. By way of comparison, the United States has this kind of relationship with just two of those countries, as the second most important trading partner, after the EU, of Japan and China.

Moreover, the European Union’s deep relationship with China in particular plugs us into wider regional value chains, as does our status as the second largest partner for Singapore – the gateway to ASEAN.

For ASEAN as a whole, trade with the European Union represents some 13% of their total. This puts us in third place behind China and Japan. This is the result of geography and regional value chains. But we again outperform the US, who comes fourth.

And on top of all of this the EU is also a major investor in Asia, where we sent more than 20% of all our investment flows in 2012. And around 13% of all investment flows into the EU came from the region the same year.

That’s a lot of figures. But I don’t say all of this just to give an economic lecture.

I say it because too often in Europe we focus on our weaknesses. We sometimes forget that the Single Market and makes us a trade and investment powerhouse. We need to remember it when we design our policies.

What then should our policies be?

If we are doing so well can we just sit back and relax? Clearly not.

It is essential that we build the bridges that will allow our relationship to continue to flourish. In doing so we must use our resources wisely, focusing on what we can do to get pragmatic results.

Our first area of action is on the bilateral front:

Since 2011 we have been seeing the benefits of our ground-breaking free trade agreement with South Korea – with Europe’s exports to Korea up 24%. We now meet regularly in the framework of the agreement to make sure it is fully implemented.

We have also finished negotiations with Singapore, which is just the first of several negotiations with ASEAN countries. Talks are now underway with Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. And it is my goal that these agreements serve as building blocks for an eventual broader deal with ASEAN as a whole.

We are also in negotiations with India. They have been ongoing now for some time. But that is because we are determined to achieve a high quality result. And the EU looks forward to working with the new Indian government to achieve that.

Furthermore, we are negotiating a free trade agreement with Japan – the region’s second largest economy and one of the EU’s most important trading partners. One year into this highly ambitious negotiation we have already made significant progress on key areas like non-tariff barriers. We will continue to work hard to bring it to an ambitious conclusion.

Our relationship with China, given its size and role in the region, is naturally both close and complex. We are now well into a negotiation to improve both access and protection for investments in both directions.

If we take all of these agreements collectively, they will open markets for either trade, investment or both with 95% of the Asian economy. That will be an enormous step forward for EU-Asia economic relations.

It is true that these agreements do take time. But that is because they are of a very high standard. We could have concluded many of them long ago if we wanted low ambition deals that don’t bring about real market opening.

Even so, these bilateral discussions are only part of our relationship with the countries of Asia.

We are also determined to work hard together in the multilateral context.

Last year’s agreement on trade facilitation and other issues at the World Trade Organisation’s ministerial conference in Bali has shown there is life in the multilateral trading system. Now Europe and Asia are together making sure that this agreement is fully implemented.

The European Union is also working with China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, along with 9 other partners for a new agreement to liberalise trade in green goods.

But our most important task, of course, is to work with Director General Azevedo to find a way through the logjam at the core of the Doha Round. The European Union wants a meaningful outcome that reflects today’s realities and will help spur global economic growth.

In our view that means working towards concluding the DDA in the shortest timeframe possible, by the next ministerial conference if we can. To achieve that, we will need to simplify our overall approach. All Members will also need to adjust their expectations and focus on their key interests. Only that will allow us to get a balanced outcome across the main parts of the negotiations.

Of course that is really only the beginning. No matter how successful our efforts are, a completed Doha Round will still leave major gaps in the multilateral rulebook:

We will still have to answer key questions like how to deal with the interaction of trade policy and regulation for example. There is also the vexed issue of what rules state-owned enterprises should follow when they compete in the open market.

And, over the medium term, the World Trade Organization will have to be the forum by which Europe, Asia and our other partners work out global answers to these trade questions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The shift in the global economic balance of power means that the first trade and investment priority for Europe is to find ways to deepen the already significant bilateral ties between Europe and Asia. I would argue that we are well on our way to achieving that. What we need now are discipline and diligence.

But the bilateral relationship is really only part of the equation. The larger issue is how we are going to jointly help set the rules for the global economy of the 21st Century. As I have suggested that will ultimately need to happen in the World Trade Organisation, using our bilateral deals as something of a stepping stone.

Some may argue that this is not possible, that on these longer term issues Europe and Asia are too far apart. But I do not agree, I believe that as a group of trading nations we all have a shared interest in open markets. And the need for an international economic rule of law follows directly from this.

That, then, is not a European value, but a global one. So I have every confidence that by working together we will be able to succeed.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Josh Earnest en route Joint Base Andrews, 6/27/2014

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

June 27, 2014

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Joint Base Andrews

12:02 P.M. CDT
 
MR. EARNEST:  Good afternoon, everybody.  It’s nice to see you all.  I hope you enjoyed the day or two we spent in the Twin Cities.  I know for some of you that was a homecoming.  The President certainly enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time outside of Washington, D.C. 
 
I might just add at the top that I think the last 24 hours have served as a rather apt illustration of the different approaches that are pursued by our elected leaders in Washington, D.C.  On the one hand, you have a President who is bound and determined to do anything he can, either working with Democrats and Republicans in Congress or working around Republicans, to make progress on policies that would expand economic opportunity for the middle class. 
 
On the other hand, you have Republicans in Congress who seem just as bound and determined to use every means at their disposal to try to stop the President from moving the country forward.  And in effect, that seems to preserve some of the built-in advantages that benefit the wealthy and the well-connected.  And I think you can anticipate that the President will be spending more time in the weeks ahead sort of demonstrating his determination to benefit middle-class families, and highlighting the starkly different approaches.
 
Q    Josh, was this speech his kickoff for his role heading to the midterms?
 
MR. EARNEST:  No.  I would characterize this as yet another opportunity for the President to highlight the stark difference in approaches that I was talking about at the beginning. 
 
Q    Josh, I wanted to ask you about the situation in Ukraine.  Russia is already threatening trade sanctions against Ukraine for signing a political and economic pact with the EU.  If Russia follows through with that, would that constitute the kind of destabilizing actions that would prompt U.S. sectoral sanctions?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, let me start with some comments that I do have on this.  As you know, there were some conversations that took place between President Poroshenko and members of the U.N. — I’m sorry, the European Council earlier today.  The European Council and the United States will continue to seek immediate and positive stabilizing action from the Russian government.  Comments from President Putin, like the ones that you cited, are meant to intimidate the Ukrainian government, and are simply unhelpful.
 
As the Council said, we expect that by Monday, June 30th, this coming Monday, that the following steps will be taken:  First, that there’s an agreement on a verification mechanism monitored by the OSCE for the ceasefire and for the effective control of the border between Ukraine and Russia.  Second, that there be a return to Ukrainian authorities of all three border checkpoints.  Third, that the remaining OSCE observers who have been held hostage will be released along with all of the other hostages that have been taken.  And fourth, that there would be the launch of substantial negotiations on the implementation of the peace plan that President Poroshenko put forward. 
 
Let me also use this opportunity to reiterate our call for President Putin to move Russian combat forces away from the border, to cease support for separatists, and to urge separatists to abide by the ceasefire and disarm.  Together, these actions would send a clear signal that Russia is interested in a diplomatic settlement resulting in stability in eastern Ukraine.
 
We’ve talked frequently about the potential that Russia has and that President Putin personally has to play a constructive role in de-escalating the conflict there.  And these are some examples of the kinds of steps that we’d like to see by Monday to demonstrate his commitment to playing that constructive role.  Threats of trade sanctions would be a pretty good example of the kinds of things that we would consider unhelpful.
 
The fact of the matter is, the kinds of agreements that Ukraine and Georgia and Moldova signed today are the kinds of agreements that should be decisions made solely by those sovereign governments.  And the undue influence by outside actors is completely inappropriate.
 
Q    You mentioned June 30th.  What’s the significance of that deadline?  Do sanctions follow the day after?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, we have demonstrated — well, I guess I would say that we have signaled a clear willingness to act in concert with our partners and allies to further isolate Russia.  There have already been some steps that have been taken that have isolated Russia from the international community as a result of the unhelpful actions of the Russians, and additional unhelpful actions would lead to additional economic costs that would have to be borne by Russia.  That is an option that remains on the table. 
 
Q    June 30th is a pretty important day then. 
 
MR. EARNEST:  It is an important day in the context of seeing Russian action on the steps that I just outlined.  I’m not prepared to draw a clear line between these steps and sanctions at this point, but suffice it to say that the threat of sanctions only looms larger, and economic costs would increase, if Russia fails to take these actions.
 
Q    So all four of these actions are prerequisites in your mind?
 
MR. EARNEST:  All four of these are very specific steps that we would like to see the Russians take in advance of Monday.  And failing to take them only increases the likelihood that additional economic costs could be imposed.
 
Q    Can you tell us about the meeting this afternoon on the VA?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, I can tell you that the President is planning to meet with the acting head of the Veterans Administration, Sloan Gibson, and Rob Nabors, who’s the Deputy Chief of Staff that the President sent over to the VA to look into so many of the problems that have been uncovered in recent weeks at the VA. 
 
I don’t have a readout in advance of that meeting, but I know that we are working to try to provide you some information at the conclusion of that meeting about what they discussed.
 
Q    What about the timing for naming a new Secretary of the VA?  Is that going to be a topic of discussion?  Is that imminent today, next week?
 
MR. EARNEST:  I don’t have any update for you in terms of the timing.  That remains a very high priority of this administration to install new leadership at the VA, to start putting in place some of the reforms that, frankly, were initiated by the previous VA Secretary, and have also been recommended by some of the other individuals who are looking at the problems at the VA.  I know that the inspector general is working hard at this.  You know that Mr. Nabors is also working hard to put together a report assessing some of the problems at the VA and maybe offering up some reforms.
 
So there’s some very important work that needs to get done at the VA, and that work will be enhanced when there is new permanent leadership at the VA.  I don’t have an update for you in terms of timing, but that search remains a high priority. 
 
Q    After that guy at the Cleveland Clinic withdrew, did that kind of put you guys back to starting all over again in your search?
 
MR. EARNEST:  No, it didn’t.  It didn’t.  We’ve had an ongoing process for some time, and we’ve made some progress in that process.
 
Q    You’ve narrowed the choices?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve made a lot of progress, and it remains a high priority.  But I’m not in a position to offer up any guidance in terms of timing at this point.
 
Q    Josh, the President several times on this trip seemed be very critical of the news media.  Why was he sort of stressing that message on this trip in particular?  He seemed to also sort of be tying in the news media with the Republicans of just focusing on false scandals and the wrong storylines. 
 
MR. EARNEST:  That’s not how I interpreted his remarks.  My interpretation is that so much of what — that what Washington is focused on seems to be materially different than what people all across the country are focused on.  I don’t see that as an indictment of the news media.  I see that —
 
Q    He said you won’t hear these things covered, you won’t see this on the nightly news; we had a conference the other day on working families, that wasn’t on the nightly news a lot.  I mean, these are the things he was saying several times.  At the fundraiser he said it as well.  You don’t see it?  I mean, the White House has said he doesn’t watch TV news, but yet he was very critical of the TV news.  How does he know what they’re covering or what they’re not?
 
MR. EARNEST:  To say that he’s not a regular viewer doesn’t mean he’s not aware of what’s on it.  But look, I think what the President is trying to highlight is his commitment to focusing on those issues that are the subject of so many discussions around kitchen tables in middle-class homes all across the country.  And those issues may not be as sexy or as intellectually captivating as some of the other things that are on the news more regularly, but it doesn’t mean that they’re less important to millions of families all across the country.
 
In fact, at least to this President, those kinds of discussions about balancing work and family obligations, and expanding economic opportunity, and better access to job training and a college education — these are the kinds of bread-and-butter issues that, again, aren’t necessarily sexy issues, but they have been the primary motivation for this President’s agenda since he decided to enter the presidential race in early 2007.
 
And that’s not an indictment of any specific news organization, but it is an indictment I think of Republicans who are focused on different priorities.  After all, they were ostensibly elected by their constituents to focus on the kinds of issues that will have the most direct impact on the lives of their constituents.  All I can say is that’s what the President is focused on.  And I think that what we have seen is a pretty apt comparison between a President who’s bound and determined to do everything he can to benefit middle-class families, and Republicans in Congress who are bound and determined to stop the President from making progress on behalf of middle-class families.
 
Q    There have been general polls that say that, in the midterms, that Republicans are likely to pick up seats in the House and potentially win the Senate.  If that’s true, then why does the President believe that maybe the public does actually believe in what this Republican message that he’s so critical about is actually translating better than his own message?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, the fact is that these sort of electoral polls are going to go up and they’re going to go down.  I think what the President is interested in is having a broader national conversation about what we can do to make sure that Washington, D.C., remains responsive and in touch with the concerns that are expressed and experienced in the everyday lives of so many middle-class families. 
 
That’s one of the benefits of holding up the story of Rebekah Erler, from Minnesota — that so many of the controversies and political conflict that’s highlighted on the evening news isn’t just relevant in her life as much more basic elements of what are we going to do to make quality childcare less expensive; what are we going to do to make it a little easier for somebody to take off work if a child or a parent gets sick; what are we going to do to make sure that middle-class families have an opportunity to send their kids to college and save for retirement, and also have enough money set aside to take a modest vacation with their kids.
 
These are basic fundamental issues.  And again, I understand why these issues are in the evening news every night.  I understand why they’re not on the front page of an influential newspaper like The Washington Post.
 
Q    Why not?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, because, again, they’re not as sexy.  Maybe they don’t make —
 
Q    If you’re going to say something about the Post, the Post won a Pulitzer for explanatory journalism about poverty this year — Eli Saslow.  So I just want to point that out.  Some of our best-read content.
 
MR. EARNEST:  Again, I did not mean that as a criticism of the Post.
 
Q    I know.
 
MR. EARNEST:  I genuinely didn’t.  It’s not an intentional jab to suggest that The Washington Post is an influential newspaper.  It actually is.
 
Q    I know, I appreciate that.  You said it wasn’t on the front page.
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, it’s not on the front page every day I think is the point that I’m making.  It has been on the front page.  And I remember Eli did some good work where he traveled to Kentucky and sat with people were signing up people who were benefitting from Obamacare.
 
Q    And he wrote a book about the President’s letters that you got, if I recall.
 
MR. EARNEST:  Yes.  So there’s good work that’s done.  But again, that’s not the — again, those aren’t the blaring headlines on the front page of the Post.  And I don’t mean that as a criticism of the people who are making those decisions.  I just want to suggest that there is a difference — that while the stories that are being covered and getting front-page attention are leading the network news are interesting, and in many cases very important to the future of this country.  The conflict in Iraq in has been in the news and on the front page of The Washington Post a lot.  That’s an important issue.  But there are also important issues related to the day-to-day challenges experienced by middle-class families.
 
And I think what the President is saying is that even if they’re not on the front page of The Washington Post every day, they are at the top of his mind every day when he wakes up and goes to work in the Oval Office.
 
Q    Josh, let’s talk about landmines and the announcement this morning that the U.S. will stop acquiring them.  What is the current size of the U.S. stockpile of landmines?  And are they currently being used anywhere in the world?
 
MR. EARNEST:  I’m not in a position to detail the inventory of landmines that are in the U.S. stockpile.  I can tell you that there was a commitment that was announced today that the United States will not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines in the future, including to replace existing stockpiles.  And what that means is we were signaling our clear aspiration to eventually accede to the Ottawa Convention.
 
Now, that does raise the question in the minds of some defense experts about the defenses that are in place along the border between North Korea and South Korea.  And let me just be clear that the announcement today in no way signals a reduction in our commitment or our ability to assist in the defense of our allies in South Korea.  This is an issue that’s going to require some additional study.  And eventually, we would like to find a way that we can, like I said, continue the robust defense that’s in place of our allies in South Korea while eventually acceding to the Ottawa Convention. 
 
Q    So is it those concerns about the situation on the Korean Peninsula that is keeping the U.S., despite this announcement, from immediately just starting to destroy our stockpile or at least committing not to use them?
 
MR. EARNEST:  I don’t think I’m in a position to sort of give you a thorough analysis of all the reasons that we may not be ready to accede to that convention today.  But I do think it is a notable adjustment of U.S. policy that we are now articulating our desire to be able to accede to the Ottawa Convention. 
 
But again, we do that knowing that our commitment to protecting our allies in South Korea has in no way been diminished.
 
Q    And on Syria, on the announcement of the President’s request for half a billion dollars to help train the rebels, does that signal that the situation in Iraq and in Syria has basically become one regional conflict?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, there are certainly regional elements to the violence and destabilizing activity that we’ve seen in that region.  There’s no doubt about that.   
 
I think what the announcement that you’ve seen represents a couple of things.  The first is, there has been a — there’s already been a wide range of efforts in place to support moderate elements of the Syrian opposition.  We’ve talked about in the past that this includes a significant amount of humanitarian assistance that’s been provided to the opposition but also to countries in the region who are dealing with the consequences of the violence and instability that has racked that country.  We’ve also seen the provision of a wide range of both military and non-military assistance to the Syrian opposition — to moderate elements of the Syrian opposition, I should say.
 
So the second thing is that this is an announcement that additional vetting has been done that makes the U.S. government and the Obama administration in particular more comfortable with providing additional assistance to moderate elements of the Syrian opposition.  And that’s an important next step. 
 
Ultimately, though, one element of our policy hasn’t changed, which is that finally resolving the situation in Syria is going to require a diplomatic solution.  And it’s no doubt that it’s a little disheartening that a diplomatic solution seems quite a ways off, but that continues to be, in our judgment, the only resolution to that ongoing conflict.
 
Q    Is there an expectation for timing on how Congress will take up that request?  And is it too little, too late already? 
 
MR. EARNEST:  No, I don’t think so, primarily because I think that they are — this may be, at the risk of sounding naïve and overly optimistic, an area where there could be some bipartisan common ground. 
 
So, frankly, due at least in part to our travels to Minnesota, I haven’t seen all of the reaction from leaders from both parties on Capitol Hill to this request for additional funding for overseas contingency operations, but we’ll see.  Hopefully, Congress will act pretty quickly.
 
I know that, at least rhetorically, there have been some influential Republican members of Congress who have indicated that this would be a good thing to do, but I would understand if they’d want to take a look at our proposal and consider it more carefully before eventually taking action.  But hopefully, that can be done quickly, and action in the legislature can be done quickly as well.
 
Q    Our reports have armed drones flying over Iraq, and then also Iranian drones doing surveillance.  So any reaction or updates on the President’s thinking with what’s going on in Iraq?  And then secondly, there’s reports that Khattalah is going to be back in the U.S. as soon as this weekend, so any updates on or briefings that he’s had on that? 
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, first let me say that I think that we have acknowledged — well, I know that we have acknowledged that we have increased the amount of intelligence-gathering and surveillance equipment in Iraq, including surveillance drones.  This is part of our effort to try to get a better sense about what’s actually happening on the ground in Iraq as it relates to the strength of ISIL.  So that’s something that we’ve previously talked about, and that is an effort that is ongoing.  And we have acknowledged publicly that the increase in resources now allows us to have around-the-clock eyes on the situation in Iraq.
 
In terms of armed drones, I’d say two things about that.  For operational details, I’d refer you to my colleagues at the Department of Defense.  But the second thing is that the President has reiterated his commitment many times to making sure that we have the resources in place and the equipment in place to provide for the protection of U.S. personnel in Iraq.  There have been other moves that have been announced by the Department of Defense to ensure that those resources and that equipment and those capabilities are at the ready.  That included the movement of an aircraft carrier in the region and other Navy vessels to provide for the protection of U.S. personnel in Iraq.  But in terms of individual operational changes in our posture, I’d refer you to the Department of Defense. 
 
In terms of Abu Khattalah, I don’t have any updates in terms of the timing of his arrival in the United States to stand trial. 
Q    Week ahead?
 
MR. EARNEST:  I do have a week ahead. 
 
Q    I have one before the week ahead.
 
MR. EARNEST:  Sure.
 
Q    We haven’t seen Rebekah’s letter, although the President quoted from it extensively in his speech.  Are we going to get to see that?  If not, why?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Only because the letter included some personal details about her family’s situation that I think she — rather, pretty understandably didn’t want to share.
 
Q    Could you just redact those?  (Laughter.)  You could.
 
MR. EARNEST:  We probably could, but I think at this point we’ve shared as much of the letter that we’re going to share at this point.
 
Q    And just one quick one.  Martin Indyk’s resignation as the Mideast peace envoy — I know his deputy has stepped up as an interim.  Will the President replace — announce a full-time permanent replacement for that position?
 
MR. EARNEST:  That’s a good question.  I’ll have to take that question.  I actually would suggest that you check with my colleagues at the Department of State.  They may have a better sense of that. 
 
The President is certainly appreciative of all that Mr. Indyk has done in pursuit of trying to find a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  He’s done really important work.  He’s an expert in this area.  He’s returning to the Brookings Institution, but we anticipate that he will continue to be involved in this administration’s efforts to try to resolve that situation.
 
We have complete confidence in his deputy who is going to take over.  And this is a process in which the United States continues to be engaged.
 
The week ahead:
 
On Monday, the President will welcome back to the White House Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.  The visit will highlight our close relationship with Chile and our strong partnership with the Bachelet administration on advancing peace and global security, social inclusion and free trade.  The President looks forward to consulting with President Bachelet on U.N. Security Council matters, other multilateral and regional issues, and ongoing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as on expanding educational exchanges and deepening our collaboration in the areas of energy, science and technology.  The Vice President will also participate.  It sounds like a long meeting.
 
In the afternoon, the President will host a reception at the White House in recognition of LGBT Pride Month.  The First Lady will also attend that reception.

On Tuesday, the President will hold a Cabinet meeting and attend a couple of other meetings at the White House. 

On Wednesday, the President will host top economists for lunch to discuss ways to accelerate economic growth, expand opportunity, and improve the competitiveness of the American economy. 
 
On Wednesday [Thursday], the President will attend meetings at the White House.
 
On Friday, the President and First Lady will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration with a barbeque, a concert, and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.  Some White House staff and their families from across the administration will also attend this event for the concert and fireworks viewing.  The event will be streamed live at whitehouse.gov/live.
 
Q    Can I ask about the economists?  This is the second recent lunch he’s having with economists.  Is it the same group?  And what did he learn from the first one, and what does he hope to learn from this one?
 
MR. EARNEST:  It’s a different group of economists.  And as you know, the President is always on the look for some outside-the-box ideas for ways that we can strengthen America’s economic competitiveness and expand economic opportunity for the middle class.
 
So again, I think the President is looking forward to what he would describe as a pretty open-ended discussion.  He’s looking for people who are legitimate experts in this field to bring their ideas.  And the President has put forward a lot of good ideas already.  He’s going to continue to push those ideas, but he’s also not going to stop looking for new ideas, some outside-the-box ideas — maybe even some ideas that might cause Republicans to drop their strident opposition to policies the President supports that could, again, move the country forward.
 
So the President is looking forward to the discussion.  I wouldn’t expect any major announcements out of the lunch, but I can tell you that it’s an opportunity for the President to have the kind of conversation and to draw out the kinds of ideas that he thinks would be good for the country.
 
Q    But there’s these two recent meetings.  And I mean, I’ve been doing this for about a year or so, and I don’t recall him having lunch with economists before.  Is there something about right now or the time that we’re in right now that would cause him to look for these fresh ideas, these out-of-the-box ideas?
 
MR. EARNEST:  Well, two things about that.  Like most Americans, the President has lunch every day — and we don’t tell you about who has lunch with him.  So that’s part of it.  But the President has periodically over the course of his administration looked for opportunities to sit down with experts in a wide range of fields to talk to them about their ideas for the kinds of policies that would strengthen the country.  And this is just the latest example.  There is no one thing that has precipitated this series of meetings.  But the President really enjoyed the discussion that he had with economists a couple of weeks ago, and he’s really looking forward to next week’s discussion as well.
 
Thanks, guys.

END
12:30 P.M. CDT