May 29th, 2013
Number of View: 1708
Today the Commission adopted an important package of proposals concerning the economic policies of the EU and each one of its member states. Two positive messages are to be retained:
First, all the countries have clear although differentiated obligations. “Deficit” countries must restore fiscal sustainability and promote structural reforms so as to boost their competitiveness. “Surplus” countries must stimulate economic growth and create a positive spill-over elsewhere in the EU, notably by boosting their domestic demand. For the first time, it is acknowledged the crisis is not an affair of the periphery.
Second, austerity alone is not an economic policy. It is leading to recession and makes fiscal consolidation even more difficult to achieve. Therefore, we are adjusting the pace of consolidation to the specific constraints that each country faces. Time is very important for achieving reforms. The effort to achieve balanced public finances must not kill the prospects of recovery. This decision will give much needed breathing space to governments and citizens.
Still, many problems remain – high debt, dramatic unemployment, increasing poverty, social unfairness and their unintended evil, such as anti-European populism. But the positive political steps already taken can give us the possibility to defend the legitimacy of European institutions and our perspective.
May 28th, 2013
Number of View: 1177
According to the World Tourism Organisation, for 44% of all tourists around the world, food comprises one of the main reasons for choosing their destination.
This was one message I communicated in the event ‘Gastronomy Days – Destination of Origin: Greece’ in Athens last Sunday. Greece, like other Mediterranean and European countries, has the potential to produce and promote its local products internally and externally for their unique quality and identity.
Information and labelling are essential aspects in this process. Not merely for marketing reasons, but for allowing consumers to make the sustainable food choice. The upcoming reform of the Common Fisheries Policy aims to do just that: provide reliable information about the food we buy. Where was the fish caught, when was it caught, was it sustainably fished and traded. Read the full entry
May 24th, 2013
Number of View: 1414
Floating research platform in the Atlantic Ocean
A year ago, I was really impressed by my visit to Galway’s Marine institute. The institute is a living example of turning “blue growth” into reality. The level of innovative marine research here is really advanced: it brings together international renowned scientists and companies to develop future oriented policy applications, like for instance tidal wave energy.
Inspired by this experience upon my return to Brussels, I discussed with my colleague Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn and we decided to pursue our efforts to cooperate widely on transatlantic research programmes. Read the full entry
May 16th, 2013
Number of View: 1793
I welcome the decision made by the Arctic Council on EU’s permanent observer application, during its ministerial meeting yesterday in Kiruna, Sweden. We are working hard with our Canadian partners on the outstanding issue on seal products. I am confident that the Canadian authorities will recognise the constructive efforts the EU has made by integrating exemptions in legislation on seal products. These exemptions value traditional seal hunting, which is vital to indigenous communities, hence avoiding adversely affecting their economic and social interests. Read the full entry
May 8th, 2013
Number of View: 2557
On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman, France’s foreign minister, sparked the creation of what is now know as the European Union
The European Union continues to cope with the economic crisis, but the pro-Europe sentiment of its citizens is fading away.
A change of attitude is necessary to regain trust in the European institutions. A policy shift from austerity towards growth and employment will serve this purpose. There are signs that the European leadership is increasingly working in this perspective. Read the full entry
April 29th, 2013
Number of View: 2640
Russia filed its first complaint since its accession to the World Trade Organisation. It concerns the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Mauritania.
The current Protocol to this agreement has been signed after long negotiations on 26 July 2012 and the EU Council of Ministers will now decide on it, with the consent of the European Parliament. It offers fishing opportunities for demersal, including shrimps, tuna and pelagic fisheries. This new protocol ensures sustainability and the catching of the available surplus in all these fisheries, in order not to impact on local fishermen, and is fully based on best scientific advice. A clause has been included allowing for suspending the agreement in case of human rights violations and – in line with the principles of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy – it foresees a substantial increase of ship-owners’ fees. Read the full entry
April 22nd, 2013
Number of View: 2988
At the EU Council today (22nd April), I discussed with the Ministers the Action Plan adopted by the Commission to address the problem of incidental catches of seabirds. The proposal that we put on the table has at its core international guidelines that list measures fishermen should take to avoid catching seabirds during fishing operations.
There are numerous ways in which our fisherman can help to put an end to the unfortunate seabird bycathes and work against the extinction of some seabird species: setting longlines at night, having bird scaring lines and many more. The Action Plan lists all possible measures that have been developed, adapts them to fisheries within the EU to date and also identifies the need for more research and awareness-raising. We are ready to help our fishermen in any way possible towards this. For example, we are discussing possible funding opportunities, giving up to 85% of the total amount that is needed for them to do the necessary technical adaptations for mitigation. Read the full entry
April 18th, 2013
Number of View: 4971
Today, with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Philippe de Fontaine-Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Andrew Winbow, Assistant Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), we met in Athens on the occasion of the 12th Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and Investment (FEMIP) Conference, to affirm our commitment to work collectively and in partnership to support a blue and sustainable economy in the Mediterranean region and to maximise marine and maritime cooperation across all bordering countries. Ministers responsible for maritime affairs in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta and Palestine were also present. Read the full entry