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THE EUROPEAN RULES of competition are like football in the happy and famous definition of Gary Linecker: “That sport that the English invented, in which Germany always wins”. The European Council last Friday gave the green light to the work of reform of industrial policy and competition, a melon opened by Germany and France, furious with the Commission for its veto to the merger of the railway businesses of Alstom and Siemens. The Council asked the Commission to present, by March 2020 at the latest, a long-term strategy on the single market, and another on the industrial future of the EU. Germany and France are now holding — not always did — the story that, in order to compete on an equal footing with the Chinese giants of infrastructures, doped by the State, the European Union — that is, Germany and France, which are their greater industrial powers- need to create “European champions”. The deployment of 5G mobile telephony and data networks, led by companies such as Huawei, whose technology is suspected of making it possible to monitor their users, and the landing of Chinese corporations in large infrastructure tenders in member states of the EU are trends that are seen with apprehension in Brussels, but above all, in Paris and in Berlin. In other European capitals, such as Madrid, Rome or Athens, the film is seen in another way, and in it, the Chinese are the good: they are opening a silk route in the opposite direction, for which they reach billions of euros in investments and industrial partners that build motorways and high-speed trains at a more competitive price, and with a more advanced technology than that of European “champions”. Touching the rules of competition can be dangerously divisive at the moment, in a European Union to which, as Gideon Rachman points out in the Financial Times , it is fatal to manage more than one crisis at the same time. With Brexit, for now, it’s enough.
Plenary session of the European Parliament. Decisive week for the rup agenda. The Plenary of the European Parliament that begins this Monday will debate (on Tuesday) and vote in first reading (on Wednesday) the Regulation on the Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund Plus, two of the most important instruments -for its amount- of the Cohesion Policy.
The French overseas “continue to suffer inequalities and discrimination.” A report presented in the National Assembly speaks of the “isolation, the smallness of the internal markets and the low level of professional training of the active population” as persistent causes of “a particularly worrying economic and social situation”. [ Outremers 360º ]
Le Pen in Mayotte and Reunion. The president of the National Association visits the French rup of the Indian Ocean, from this Tuesday, March 26, as part of her campaign for the European elections in May. [ Mémento — Content of payment]
Guadalupe is committed to cinema for its economic development.Television series such as The Crimes of Agate Christie and Murder in Paradise , and films like Tiny 2 have been filmed on the island, which hopes to become a leading stage for film and audiovisual. [ Mémento — Content of payment]
The European Commission supports the transition to clean energy in La Palma. The island is among the first six pilot projects of the Clean Energy initiative for the EU Islands. [ Clean Energy for EU Islands ]
The Azores, the Canary Islands and Madeira will jointly request a Maritime and Fisheries Fund specific to the outermost regions. [ Canary Ports ]
Brigitte Bardot: in La Réunion “they have the genes of savages”.The actress writes to the Prefect to complain about the mistreatment of animals on the island, which imputes alleged “wild genes” and “reminiscences of cannibalism” of the meetings. The Overseas Minister, Annick Girardin, heads a long list of reproaches to the actress for their racist insults. [ Franceinfo , Twitter by Annick Girardin ]
European universities — Amazonian science at Campus Rup
The University of Guayana is one of the strengths of the Campus Rup project, the alliance of seven universities in the outermost regions of the EU to create a European overseas university, with a unique virtual campus, physical mobility between regions, recognized credits and degrees for all. Guyana brings specialization in the study of the natural and cultural diversity of the Amazon, and a strategic situation, as the only European and French-speaking university in South America. We have analyzed the educational and scientific offer of the University of Guayana, and the ecosystem of research in the region. This is what we have learned .
Cohesion policy — An important vote for the rup
The European Parliament votes in plenary session this Wednesday, March 27, the draft legislative resolution on the new Regulation of the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund for the next budget cycle from 2021 to 2027, in which the Cohesion Policy will invest 330,000 million euros, one in three euros of the total budget of the Union. The status of the outermost regions materializes, to a large extent, through the ERDF (200,000 million euros) and the Cohesion Fund (41,000 million), the two most powerful instruments of the European Cohesion Policy. There are 51 mentions to the outermost regions in the amendments that will be voted on Wednesday. We have analyzed them, and we summarize them in this article by Europa Rup .
Public opinion — Europe, despite everything
The European Union is still a good idea, for most Europeans. Neither the debt crisis, nor the migration crisis, nor the Brexit have demolished confidence in the institutions of the Union, according to the Pew Research Center Europe in a recently published survey . Field work has been carried out this March in ten EU countries. The majority perceives that the European Union promotes democracy (64%) and peace (74%), although it is also seen as intrusive (51%), inefficient (54%) and disconnected from the needs of citizens (62%) . The EU’s outlook is more favorable in Poland (73%) and Spain (67%) — two of the Member States that receive the most European funds — and clearly unfavorable in Greece (62%). The Parliament raises some skepticism: 45% of Europeans have an unfavorable view of the European Parliament, compared to 50% who are in favor. The division in British society is clearly perceived in the survey: 45% have a negative opinion of the EU, compared to 48% with a favorable view. Europeans are pessimistic about the future of the next generation: 58% think that today’s children will live worse than their parents. The next Parliament and the next Commission have a lot of work ahead to improve perceptions of European integration. And yet, with all that has fallen since the financial crisis of 2008 — and still falls — a majority continues to support the EU to realize the ideal of a democratic, peaceful, careful human rights and prosperous Europe.
Here the conversation begins
“Critics of Orbán within the European People’s Party are certain that they have been inoculated against the Fidesz issue, at least during the European Parliament’s electoral campaign.” Without Fidesz’s suspension, they would have been discredited to face the extreme right and they would be vulnerable to the fingers pointing from the left, yet the dispute is likely to grow in electoral importance.One of the main opponents of [Manfred] Weber is Frans Timmermans, the center-left Spitzenkandidat , who throughout of his term as Vice President of the Commission has closely monitored Orbán’s respect for democracy. ‘Compare and contrast’ will be an obvious line in the electoral debates.“
Tim King, “How the EPP lost its way” , in Politico Europe , March 22, 2019.
See you tomorrow!