On Friday, December 8th, the European Commission recommended to the European Council that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom. The European Council meeting on December 15th will formally decide if this is the case, allowing negotiations to proceed to the second phase. The European Commission recommendation follows the Joint Report agreed by the European Commission negotiation team led by Michel Barnier and the United Kingdom Government.
The European Commission believes sufficient progress has been made in the three priority areas of citizen’s rights, Ireland and the financial settlement as laid out in the European Council Guidelines of 29th April 2017. You can read details of the Commission’s assessment at the state of progress of the negotiations here. Related documents are also available.
You may also be interested in: the statement made by the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, following the recommendation made by the European Commission.
Every September the President of the European Commission President gives his State of the Union Address to the European Parliament.
On Wednesday Jean-Claude Juncker delivered the State of the Union Address for 2017 and took stock of the achievements of the past year, presented his priorities for the coming year and outlined his vision of how the EU might evolve by 2025.
The European Commission has published documents and position papers on a wide variety of topics since the start of the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom as part of their approach to transparency.
Since 15 June 2017 roaming charges in the EU have been abolished allowing mobile customers to use their network provider’s allowance of minutes, text messages and data throughout the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) without incurring additional charges.
The abolition of roaming charges will continue to apply in the UK until it leaves the EU.
A new House of Commons Library briefing paper, available here, looks at possible scenarios after Brexit.
The factsheets below, produced by the European Commission, explain the current pre-Brexit situation.
As of today, (15th June 2017) data roaming charges for all travellers in the European Union have been abolished, as part of the wider project to create a Digital Single Market. The European Commission has produced a couple of useful factsheets (see links at bottom of article) on what this entails. However, as this BBC article explains, customers are still liable for extra charges if they exceed their contractually agreed data usage limits.
As the BBC article also points out, once article 50 has been fully implemented, it will be the up to a future UK Government to decide as to whether the UK adopts these pricing restrictions or not.
2018 is to be designated the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Find out more here or have a look at the video below.
“Our cultural heritage is more than the memory of our past; it is the key to our future. A European Year of Cultural Heritage will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage and to promote European excellence in the sector.”
Earlier this week the European Commission presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe, which forms the Commission’s contribution to the forthcoming Rome Summit to be held on the 25 March which marks 60 years since the Treaties of Rome established a common market.
The scenarios in the white paper are:
Scenario 1: Carrying On
Scenario 2: Nothing but the Single Market
Scenario 3: Those Who Want More, Do More
Scenario 4: Doing Less, More Efficiently
Scenario 5: Doing Much More Together
Read the full press release and access the full report and the annex here.