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    • Other meeting · News articles
    • General Affairs
    EU-Switzerland Meeting – Jean Asselborn seeks to 'find common ground between the outcome of the popular vote and the European principles of free movement and non-discrimination'

    Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Asylum, Jean Asselborn, representing the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) attended the informal meeting, together with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga, in Brussels on 21 December 2015. The meeting was held in the context of consultations undertaken by President Jean-Claude Juncker and President Simonetta Sommaruga following a popular vote on 9 February 2014. During the press conference which followed the meeting, the two parties stated that they had failed to reach an agreement on amendments to be made to the rules on the free movement of persons as desired by Bern, although 'some progress' had been made. A new EU-Switzerland meeting has been scheduled for the end of February.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Etienne Schneider presented the achievements of the Luxembourg Presidency in the field of internal security to the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament

    The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Security, Etienne Schneider, presented the achievements of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the field of internal security to the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament on 21 December 2015. Counter-terrorism has dominated these achievements. According to him, "substantial progress" was made on the following issues: implementing the renewed internal security strategy for the period 2015-2020, the new Europol regulations and the PNR Directive, the fight against foreign terrorist fighters and combating illicit trafficking of firearms.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Before the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament, Jean Asselborn gave an overview of the Luxembourg Presidency within the context of the migration and refugee crisis

    Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, visited Brussels on 21 December 2015 to give an overview of the Luxembourg Presidency before the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee. Before MEPs, the Minister reviewed the work carried out in the field of migration policy and in respect of launching political dialogue with regard to the rule of law.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Félix Braz presented the achievements of the Luxembourg Presidency in the field of Justice and Data Protection to the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament

    On 21 December 2015, Félix Braz, the Luxembourg Minister of Justice, travelled to Brussels for the purpose of reporting on the achievements of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU before the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament, alongside Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Security, and Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and Minister of Immigration and Asylum. He presented the achievements of the Presidency in the field of Justice and Protection of Personal Data, specifically regarding the agreement reached on the regulation and the directive relating to the protection of personal data and regarding the agreements reached on procedural guarantees in criminal law matters. The Minister likewise pointed to the creation of a European Public Prosecutor's Office, the contribution of Justice in combatting terrorism and radicalisation, as well as judicial cooperation in the context of the migration crisis.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • General Affairs
    Xavier Bettel presented a preliminary review of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU at the closing of the European Council

    At the press conference following the European Council of 17 and 18 December 2015, Luxembourg's Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, together with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, presented a "preliminary review" of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Luxembourg Presidency has been marked by "a tragic and unprecedented worsening" of the refugee crisis and the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, stated Xavier Bettel who believes that Luxembourg has acted as a mediator to find common solutions. He welcomed the number of significant agreements reached within the Council and with the European Parliament, such as the proposed Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Nicolas Schmit speaks on behalf of the Council with regard to the detention of asylum seekers before a European Parliament concerned with the respect of fundamental rights of migrants and refugees

    On 16 December 2015, Nicolas Schmit, the Minister responsible for relations with the European Parliament, spoke on behalf of the Council before MEPs meeting in plenary session for a debate on the detention and use of force with regard to asylum seekers. Nicolas Schmit explained that detention measures may only be taken in exceptional circumstances and must be non-arbitrary, since a migrant is entitled, like any other person, to the right to liberty on the basis of international and European law.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • General Affairs
    Nicolas Schmit presents to the European Parliament the European Council's agenda for December, which will be dominated by migration and security

    Nicolas Schmit, the Minister responsible for relations with the European Parliament during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, addressed the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 16 December 2015. Speaking on behalf of the Council and opening the debate on preparations for the European Council meeting to be held on 17 and 18 December 2015, he stated that it 'will tackle issues that are key for Europe'.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • Environnement
    Environment Council – Ministers adopt conclusions on the mid-term review of the biodiversity strategy and a general approach on the reduction of emissions of air pollutants

    The Ministers for the Environment of the European Union (EU) met on 16 December 2015 in Brussels for a Council meeting chaired by Carole Dieschbourg, Luxembourg's Minister for the Environment. The Ministers adopted conclusions on the mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. During the press conference after the Council meeting, Carole Dieschbourg welcomed the response given by the Ministers for the Environment to the petition launched by 500 000 citizens 'for ambitious biodiversity policies and against the watering down of the EU directives on nature'. The Ministers also adopted a general approach for the directive on the reduction of national emissions of certain pollutants (NEC Directive) by a large majority. The Minister for the Environment declared that 'after difficult discussions, we achieved a balanced compromise, which is supported by many Member States and is still ambitious', noting 'a step in the right direction'.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Environment
    COP21 - Camille Gira welcomes a

    On 15 December 2015, Camille Gira, Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, addressed the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg, on behalf of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, on the results of COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change held in Paris from 29 November to 12 December 2015. An agreement was adopted by 196 parties, which sets, from 2020, a universal binding framework designed to limit the global rise in temperatures. Camille Gira spoke of a "historic achievement" and an agreement that took 'a great step forward', while calling for the framework to be set out in more detail in the months and years ahead.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Economic and Financial Affairs
    European Corporate Governance Conference - The right balance between the different interests at stake and sustainable long-term investment at the heart of opening speeches from Félix Braz and Věra Jourová

    The 17th European Corporate Governance Conference took place on 15 December 2015 in Luxembourg under the auspices of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Commission. Luxembourg's Minister of Justice, Félix Braz, and the European Commissioner for Justice, Věra Jourová, delivered the opening speech for this event dedicated to the influence of new forms of financing on corporate governance, the governance of subsidiaries in multinational groups and recent developments in corporate governance of credit institutions and investment firms.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • General Affairs
    General Affairs Council – Ministers approve the interinstitutional agreement on better regulation and prepare the European Council in December

    The EU ministers responsible for European affairs met in Brussels on 15 December 2015, during the EU General Affairs (GAC) chaired by the Luxembourg Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn. During the meeting, the European ministers first of all wound up preparations for the European Council of 17 and 18 December. The Council also approved the text for a new interinstitutional agreement, entitled 'Better regulation', which had been the subject of a temporary agreement with the European Parliament and the Commission of 8 December 2015. This was after three months of negotiations led by the Luxembourg Presidency, which were 'difficult', but 'always held in a positive and cooperative atmosphere'. Finally, the GAC approved the programme of works for the Council for the forthcoming eighteen months, drawn up by the trio of successive Presidencies of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Environment
    COP21 – In Luxembourg, Carole Dieschbourg welcomes a good agreement which must now be implemented

    Two days after an agreement was reached during COP21 in Paris on tackling climate change, Luxembourg's Minister for the Environment and President of the Council of Ministers for the Environment of the European Union (EU), Carole Dieschbourg, held a press conference in Luxembourg on 14 December 2015 to give an overview of the climate change conference. The Minister hailed the 'successful' conference with 'the first universal and legally binding agreement' on climate change having been reached, while warning that it must now be implemented. 'It establishes a good basis to accelerate the transition to a new economy and living together', she stated.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • Agriculture and Fisheries
    Agriculture and Fisheries Council – Agreement on fishing quotas for 2016 in the Atlantic and the North Sea and fishing opportunities applicable to the Black Sea

    The EU's Fisheries Ministers met in Brussels on 14 and 15 December 2015 for the "Fisheries" part of the last Agriculture and Fisheries Council chaired by Fernand Etgen, Luxembourg Minister for Agriculture. The Ministers agreed on the allowable catches for 2016 in the Atlantic and the North Sea and adopted a political agreement on fishing opportunities and quotas for next year in the waters of the Black Sea. Fernand Etgen hailed a "strong and fair agreement" at the press conference held after the Council meeting. He added that "the agreement drawn up by the Luxembourg Presidency, in cooperation with the European Commission, is important both for the sustainability of stocks and the fisheries economy in the countries concerned", stressing that it is a compromise in line with the aim of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): fishing within the maximum sustainable yield.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • Agriculture and Fisheries
    Agriculture Council – Sustainable agriculture, school fruit, vegetables and milk schemes and the difficulties in the pig meat sector on ministers' agendas

    The EU's Agriculture Ministers met in Brussels on 14 December 2015 for the last Agriculture and Fisheries Council organised under the Luxembourg Presidency. Chaired by Fernand Etgen, the Luxembourg Minister of Agriculture, the Council discussed sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the bio-economy. The Presidency also informed the Council about the progress of work regarding the proposals for school fruit and vegetables, bananas and milk schemes. Finally, Ministers considered the deteriorating situation in the pork sector.

    • Third Country Meeting · News articles
    • General Affairs
    The 2nd Accession Conference with Serbia at Ministerial level chaired by Jean Asselborn opened the first two negotiation chapters on financial control and the normalisation of relations with Kosovo

    On behalf of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, on 14 December 2015, Jean Asselborn, the Luxembourg Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, chaired the 2nd Accession Conference with Serbia at Ministerial level, which was held on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council (GAC). During this meeting, the first two negotiation chapters - one concerning financial control, the other on the normalisation of relations with Kosovo - were opened with a view to Serbia's accession to the EU.

    • Third Country Meeting · News articles
    • General Affairs
    EU-Turkey Intergovernmental Conference – Jean Asselborn announces the opening of Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policy

    For the first time in two years, a new chapter of Turkey's accession negotiations has been opened. That was what Jean Asselborn, the Luxembourg Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, announced on 14 December 2015, following an intergovernmental conference between the European Union (EU) and Turkey which took place in Brussels on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council (GAC) held on 15 December. The conference opened negotiations on Chapter 17, on 'Economic and Monetary Policy' bringing the number of chapters opened to 15 out of 35. The Minister welcomed the fact that a 'fresh impetus had been given to this process' thanks to this opening that fits 'within the context of re-energising the accession process', endorsed by the EU-Turkey Summit on 29 November 2015.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • Transport, Telecommmunications and Energy
    TTE Telecommunications Council – EU regulations on telecommunications, network and information security and web accessibility at the heart of the discussions

    European Ministers for Telecommunications met in Brussels on 11 December 2015 to discuss telecommunications at the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (TTE). The Council, chaired by Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg Prime Minister and Minister for Communications and Media, focused on the EU review of telecommunications, network and information security and web accessibility. The European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, also informed the Ministers about ongoing negotiations relating to the telecommunications / Information Society in the framework of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    • Informal Ministerial Meeting · News articles
    • Development
    Informal meeting of Ministers for Development Cooperation – Ministers stress the importance of development for world stability

    European Union (EU) Member State Ministers in charge of Development Cooperation met in Luxembourg on 9 and 10 December 2015 for an informal meeting marked by the closing of the European Year for Development 2015 (EYD). The negotiations underway at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21), the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, as well as a discussion with NGOs were on the agenda of this meeting chaired by the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Romain Schneider.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Economic and Financial Affairs
    Conference 'Financing the Circular Economy' - How to smooth the transition towards the Circular Economy

    As part of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) organised a conference in Luxembourg on 10 December 2015, entitled 'Financing the Circular Economy'. The purpose of this meeting was to involve the European financial sector in the Circular Economy, which is essential for EU Member States if they wish to combat commodity shortages and resulting price fluctuations and the destruction of the natural environment. Following words of welcome from Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, and from the President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, the European Commissioner heading the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, presented the 'Circular Economy' package adopted by the European Commission the previous week, on 2 December 2015.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • Transport, Telecommmunications and Energy
    TTE Transport Council – Ministers discussed social aspects of road transport

    European Union (EU) Ministers for Transport met in Brussels on 10 December 2015 to discuss the Transport section of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (TTE). The Council was chaired by François Bausch, the Luxembourg Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure. Ministers for Transport held a policy debate on the social aspects of road transport. During a working lunch, Ministers addressed issues related to road safety. The Council adopted at first reading its position on the three legislative acts that make up the technical pillar of the fourth railway package.

  • Updated 15-07-2015