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Monday, 7 August 2017

EU Commission: 23 cities offer to host UK-based EU agencies

23 cities offer to host UK-based EU agencies

The Council has received 27 proposals by the member states, related to 23 cities, to host  the EU agencies currently based in the UK. There have been 19 offers to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and 8 for the European Banking Authority (EBA). All offers are available on the website of the European Council.

The two agencies will need to be relocated in the context of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. The future locations need to be decided by common agreement of the EU27 member states. On 22 June 2017, in the margins of the European Council (Article 50), the EU27 leaders endorsed a specific procedure for this decision. The first step was the submission of offers by the member states by 31 July 2017. 

European Medicines Agency

These are the cities proposed to host the EMA, as on 1 August 2017:

  • Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • Athens (Greece)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Bonn (Germany)
  • Bratislava (Slovakia)
  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Bucharest (Romania)
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Helsinki (Finland)
  • Lille (France)
  • Milan (Italy)
  • Porto (Portugal)
  • Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Malta (Malta)
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Warsaw (Poland)
  • Zagreb (Croatia)

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

European Banking Authority

These are the cities proposed to host the EBA, as on 1 August 2017:  

  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Frankfurt (Germany)
  • Paris (France)
  • Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Luxembourg-City (Luxembourg)
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Warsaw (Poland)

 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.

Assessment criteria

The applications will be assessed on the basis of six criteria agreed by the 27 member states: 

  • guarantees that the agency will be operational when the UK leaves the EU
  • accessibility of the location
  • schools for the children of the staff
  • access to the labour market and health care for the employees' families 
  • business continuity
  • geographical spread

Next steps

The Commission will publish an assessment of the offers based on the agreed criteria by 30 September 2017. Ministers will have a political discussion based on the Commission's assessment in October 2017 in the margins of the General Affairs Council (Art. 50).

The decision will be taken in the margins of the General Affairs Council (Art.50) in November 2017 by a vote of the 27 ministers. All offers will be submitted to the vote unless they are withdrawn by the countries concerned. The vote will consist of successive voting rounds as needed, with the votes cast by secret ballot and each of the 27 member states having the same number of votes.

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EU adds 3 persons and 3 companies to sanctions list over actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity

The EU has added 3 Russian nationals and 3 companies involved in the transfer of gas turbines to Crimea to the list of persons subject to restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. 

The EU has not recognised the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. As part of its non-recognition policy, the Council has prohibited the supply of key equipment for infrastructure projects in Crimea and Sevastopol in important sectors, including gas turbines in the energy sector. Establishing an independent power supply for Crimea and Sevastopol supports their separation from Ukraine, and undermines the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Gas turbines are a substantial element in the development of new power plants. 

The 3 persons have been added to the sanctions list for their responsibility in supplying Crimea with gas turbines from Russia. The turbines were originally sold by Siemens for use in the territory of the Russian Federation. The subsequent transfer of the turbines to Crimea was in breach of contractual provisions covering the original sale by Siemens. The companies placed under sanctions are the contracting party which purchased gas turbines and is responsible for the transfer, the current owner of the gas turbines, and a company specialising in control and communication systems for power plants, including in Sevastopol and Simferopol.  

These sanctions consist of an asset freeze and a travel ban which will now apply to a total of 153 persons and 40 entities. The measures were introduced in March 2014 and were last extended in March 2017 until 15 September 2017. 

The legal acts, including the names of the persons and the statements of reasons for listing them, are available in the EU Official Journal of 4 August 2017. The Council adopted these legal acts by written procedure.  

Link to official journal 

Other EU measures in place in response to the Ukraine crisis include:   

  • economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the  Russian economy, currently in place until 31 January 2018; 
  • restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2018.
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Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the alignment of certain countries concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine

On 28 June 2017, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1148[1]. The Council Decision extends the existing restrictive measures until 31 January 2018.

The Candidate Countries Montenegro* and Albania*, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this Council Decision.

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.

 [1] Published on 29.06.2017 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L166, p. 35.

 * Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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Declaration of the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the EU on Venezuela

The European Union and its Member States deeply regret the decision of the Venezuelan authorities to go ahead with the election of a Constituent Assembly on 30 July. 

The election of the Constituent Assembly has durably worsened the crisis in Venezuela. It risks undermining other legitimate institutions foreseen by the Constitution such as the National Assembly. The circumstances under which the election took place raise further doubts about the ability of the Constituent Assembly to effectively represent all components of the Venezuelan population. To all those who oppose serious negotiations, it has given an excuse to further drive conflict and use power unchecked. In addition, the legal attributions of the Constituent Assembly are unclear. 

The European Union and its Member States therefore cannot recognise the Constituent Assembly as they have concerns over its effective representativeness and legitimacy and call on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to take urgent measures to rectify the course of events. In particular, the effective installation of the Constituent Assembly should be suspended and the attributions of all institutions foreseen by the Constitution should be explicitly recognised. 

Further confidence-building measures, such as the release of all jailed political opponents, are also needed. In this respect, the EU and its Member States are deeply concerned by the news that Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma have been taken away from house arrest and ask for clarifications about their whereabouts. 

By taking this stand, the European Union and its Member States solemnly appeal to all those in Venezuela who have the democratic mandate to govern, to legislate and to administer law: they all need to exercise their respective responsibilities and negotiate a way forward. Negotiation, to be successful, needs compromise, and guarantees. It also needs the full respect for the constitutional rights and mandates of all legitimate State institutions, especially of the National Assembly, but also the Supreme Court and the Attorney General. 

The European Union and its Member States also welcome and encourage the offers of countries in the region and other international actors to accompany and facilitate such negotiations. They are ready to actively support all efforts towards this objective. 

In this context, they recall the four points identified in the 2016 dialogue and reiterated in the letter from Vatican Secretary of State Parolin, i.e. (i) an electoral calendar; (ii) opening of a humanitarian channel (iii) liberation of imprisoned opponents; and (iv) respect for the National Assembly. 

They call on all parties to refrain from violence, including through unidentified groups of armed civilians, and ask the authorities to ensure full respect for all human rights. 

The European Union stands ready to assist on all issues which could alleviate the everyday situation of the Venezuelan people. 

The European Union and its Member States are ready to gradually step up their response in case democratic principles are further undermined and the Venezuelan Constitution is not respected. 

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Mali: European Union supports the stabilisation in the central regions of Mopti and Segou

The Council has adopted a decision authorising a stabilisation action in the central regions of Mali, in the Mopti and Segou governorates. In response to the invitation from the Malian authorities, the European Union (EU) will deploy a team of experts to support Malian national plans and policies, in order to counter the growing insecurity and to re-establish and expand the civilian administration in these regions. The action's primary objective is to help consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality by strengthening general governance in this region for the benefit of the local communities.

The EU stabilisation team will be responsible for advising the Malian authorities in Mopti and Segou on governance-related issues, and supporting the planning and implementation by the Malian authorities of activities aimed at reinstating the civilian administration and basic services in the region. The team will be able also to support an enhanced dialogue between the Malian authorities and the local communities.

The stabilisation team will consist of 10 people and will have a budget of €3.25 million for an initial operating phase of one year. It will be based within the EU Delegation in Mali and will operate in Bamako, Mopti and Segou. This action will complement those of the EU Delegation in Mali and the CSDP missions deployed there (EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUTM Mali), and is part of the EU's integrated approach in Mali. The stabilisation team will also work in close cooperation with other international actors in the region, particularly the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

This stabilisation action is decided by the Council on the basis of Article 28 of the Treaty on European Union, which states that 'where the international situation requires operational action by the Union, the Council shall adopt the necessary decisions. They shall lay down their objectives, scope, the means to be made available to the Union, if necessary their duration, and the conditions for their implementation.' This is the first time that a Council decision has been decided in that context. The decision was adopted by the Council by written procedure.

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