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EU Council Meeting 28-29 June 2018 (Brexit)

An EU Council meeting was held on 28-29 June 2018 which focused on migration. Leaders also discussed security and defence, as well as economic and financial affairs.

As regards Brexit, the European Council (Art. 50), in an EU 27 format, reviewed the state of play of Brexit negotiations and adopted conclusions on progress made.

  • The European Council welcomed the further progress made on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement. However leaders highlighted that important aspects still need to be agreed.
  • EU27 leaders expressed their concern that no substantial progress had yet been achieved on agreeing a backstop solution for Ireland/Northern Ireland. They stressed the need for intensified efforts so that the Withdrawal Agreement, including its provisions on transition, can be concluded as soon as possible in order to come into effect on the date of withdrawal. Negotiations can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken so far are respected in full.
  • The European Council (Art. 50) stressed that work had to be accelerated with a view to preparing a political declaration on the framework for the future relationship. This requires further clarity as well as realistic and workable proposals from the UK as regards its position on the future relationship.
  • Finally, the European Council renewed its call upon member states, EU institutions and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes.
  • Galileo Security Monitoring Centre back-up site moves to Spain

    The EU Commission adopted a decision, on 24 January 2018, to transfer the back-up site of the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre from the United Kingdom to Spain.

    The Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC) is a technical infrastructure which plays a key role in ensuring the security of the EU’s satellite navigation programme Galileo, including its Public Regulated Service (PRS). The GSMC has its main and operational location in France and its back-up site in the United Kingdom (Swanwick). As a consequence of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the GSMC’s back-up site needs to be relocated from the United Kingdom to one of the 27 EU Member States.

    On 18 January 2018, representatives of 27 Member States in the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Programmes Committee voted in favour of the Commission proposal to relocate the back-up site to Spain.

    With this formal decision, the Commission has launched the process for the transfer of the back-up site from the UK to Spain and the new site will become operational in the coming months.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-389_en.htm

    Galileo is a key component of the Commission’s Space Strategy, which focuses on fostering new services, creating business opportunities, promoting Europe’s leadership in space and maintaining Europe’s strategic autonomy. The high-precision global satellite navigation system already supports emergency operations, provides more accurate navigation services, offers better time synchronisation for critical infrastructures and ensures secure services for public authorities.

    The Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) is an encrypted navigation service for government-authorised users, such as civil protection services, customs officers and the police. This system is particularly robust and fully encrypted to provide service continuity for government users during emergencies or crisis situations.

    A growing number of companies and innovative start-ups are using Galileo data and enabling their devices, including the newest versions of smartphones.

    Once the constellation is completed, it will improve in-car navigation and mobile phone signals, help road and rail transport become safer and act as a catalyst for R&D and high-tech job creation around Europe.

    References

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-3530_en.htm

    https://www.gsa.europa.eu/security/prs

    http://www.usegalileo.eu/EN/

    Council of the EU Meeting Dec 2017

    During a meeting of the Council of the European Union, held on 15 December 2017, EU27 leaders assessed the progress of Brexit negotiations and concluded that there had been sufficient progress to move on to their second phase of the negotiations.

    On that basis, they adopted draft guidelines to move to the second phase of negotiations where they will also start discussions on:

    • A transition period
    • A framework for the future relationship

    The EU draft guidelines are available at

    Guidelines for Brexit negotiations, 15 December 2017 (pdf)

    EMA and EBA agencies Relocation

    by Politicker 0 Comments

    The two agencies currently based in the UK, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA), are to be relocated in the context of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

    The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU. The EMA is essential for the functioning of the single market for medicines in the EU.

    The European Banking Authority (EBA) works to ensure effective and consistent prudential regulation and supervision across the European banking sector. Among other tasks, the EBA assesses risks and vulnerabilities in the EU banking sector through regular risk assessment reports and EU-wide stress tests.

    EU27 ministers voted on the relocation of the UK-based EU agencies in the margins of the General Affairs Council (Art. 50) meeting on 20 November 2017. The selected location of the EMA is Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the EBA is Paris, France.

    Relocation of the UK-based EU agencies

    European Medicines Agency to be relocated to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, (press release, 20/11/2017)

    European Banking Authority to be relocated to Paris, France, (press release, 20/11/2017)

    The UK and the European Investment Bank (EIB)

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) was established by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the shareholders/members can only be member states of the EU. The Statute of the European Investment Bank is defined by PROTOCOL (No 5) ON THE STATUTE OF THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK which can be found in a copy of the Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union available at

    Document 12016M/TXT

    After Brexit, the UK will no longer be allowed as a shareholder of the EIB unless an alternative arrangement is agreed during the withdrawal negotiations. This will be an interesting topic for discussion.

    Currently, the UK is one of the four largest shareholders in the EIB and provides approximately 16% of the EIB’s capital. Capital in the EIB is used to fund infrastructure projects.

    EIB investments in the UK economy came to €6.9 billion in 2016, making the country the 5th largest recipient of EIB loans last year. Infrastructure projects accounted for 47% of total investments, while environment claimed 36%. Innovation and support to smaller businesses in the UK claimed 14% and 3% respectively. Over the past five years (2012-2016) the EU bank has invested over €31.3 billion in the British economy.

    http://www.eib.org/

    The EIB financial report for 2016 shows reserves of €69,036,534 consisting of €21,699,135 paid up capital and a further €44,480,798 accumulated profits. This would imply the UK’s share would be worth €11,045,845 (or around €11.0 billion).

    2016 Financial Report of the EIB

    Other details from the financial report shows the bank has liabilities of around €470 billion – is the UK liable for 16% of this debt (around €75 billion) when it leaves the EU ? These debts were incurred by the Bank – do individual shareholders still bear responsibility after they divest their interest and end up effectively paying off the loans owed by somebody else under separate legal agreement ? If so, does this imply that the UK could have a claim to a share (16%) of future profits.

    Elsewhere, recent reports show that funding received by the UK is slowing because of Brexit

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/brexit-eu-bank-cuts-off-cash-for-british-building-projects-s2qvc66z2
    http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/european-investment-bank-stops-investment-britain-/
    https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/european-investment-bank-freezes-public-building-loans-due-to-brexit/10022730.article

    The articles mention that since Article 50 was invoked, only 3 projects have had funding signed off and since June there have been no projects financed.

    Of course, the UK remains a full member of the EU until a withdrawal agreement is reached or the time limit for talks expires.

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