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    • Other meeting · Press releases
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Migratory crisis: EU Council Presidency steps up information sharing between member states by activating IPCR

    The Council has taken over the last weeks a number of decisions to respond to the current migratory crisis. The scale of migratory flows has demonstrated the need for a more coordinated information sharing. The Luxembourg Presidency therefore decided on 30 October 2015 to trigger the Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) arrangements on an "information sharing mode". The aim is to monitor the development of migratory flows, to support decision-making and to better implement the agreed measures.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

    On 29 October 2015, the Minister for Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, Nicolas Schmit, and the Minister for Equal Opportunities, Lydia Mutsch, took part in a conference on individual taxation and employment organised in the Grand Duchy as part of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In his introductory speech, Nicolas Schmit stressed the importance of a taxation system which fully takes into account the development of the role of women in society. Lydia Mutsch called for work to be remunered in such a way that it encourages both men and women to join the labour market, and called into question the legal taxation framework based on marriage and on the principle of a main breadwinner in terms of household income.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Competitiveness, Economic and Financial Affairs
    Forum on SMEs and Skilled Crafts in Europe – The need for harmonisation of European regulations at the centre of the debates on eco-innovation issues and digital transformation for SMEs

    On 29 October 2015, a Forum for exchanging ideas and best practices on SMEs and craft businesses was organised in the Chamber of Trade under the heading 'SME and Skilled Crafts in Europe' in the frame of the Luxembourg Presidency. The objective was to present the challenges and opportunities that SMEs face in terms of eco-innovation and digital transformation. During her presentation of the priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency, the Secretary of State for the Economy, Francine Closener, insisted on the need to reduce border crossing costs and to establish common regulations.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs
    Conference on

    On 29 October 2015, during the conference entitled "Individual taxation and employment" organised in Luxembourg by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, a number of European experts in the field of tax and social policy gave updated presentations on individual taxation and the degree of individualisation in Member States. They also studied the link between the degree of individualisation and its repercussions on the employment of women. Finally, they spoke about the characteristics of transition phases in order to determine the factors which create a tax environment that fosters gender equality.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Economic and Financial Affairs
    Pierre Gramegna takes note of the differing positions of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union following the adoption of the amendments to the draft EU budget for 2016 by MEPs

    On 28 October 2015, the MEPs meeting in plenary session adopted several amendments to the position of the Council of the EU for the draft EU budget for 2016. "I have taken note of the differences between the budget as decided by the Council and the amendments passed by the European Parliament", declared Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finances and President of the Ecofin Council, following the vote by MEPs. "I agree to the convening of the Conciliation Committee by the President of the European Parliament", added the Minister.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Nicolas Schmit set out the Council's position on the

    The Luxembourg Minister in charge of relations with the European Parliament throughout the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council, Nicolas Schmit, spoke on 28 October 2015 on behalf of the Council to the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to discuss the "Smart Borders" package . He was responding to an oral question from the British MEP Claude Moraes (S&D). In his response, Nicolas Schmit stated that the creation of a European entry/exit system is "a necessary step to preserve the Schengen area".

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs
    6th EU Diversity Charters Annual Forum – The role of the public sector and media as promoters of diversity deemed

    Some 150 experts from the field of diversity and representatives of business, public institutions, the media and NGOs from around the EU met in Luxembourg, 28 October 2015, to take part in the 6th EU Diversity Charters Annual Forum. Co-organised by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the Diversity Charter Lëtzebuerg, the event, comprising various round tables and workshops, focused on the role played by the public sector and the media in this area.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs
    Nicolas Schmit presented the Council's position on the European semester during a debate at the European Parliament which revealed strong resistance among MEPs to the Commission's proposals

    The Luxembourg Minister in charge of relations with the European Parliament throughout the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, Nicolas Schmit, spoke on 28 October 2015 on behalf of the Council to MEPs at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to discuss the European semester. The European Parliament is about to vote on its report on the Semester and the implementation of priorities for 2015. Furthermore, the Commission has just made public (on 21 October) its package on strengthening Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which contains a chapter dedicated to the renewed "European semester". The debate revealed numerous differing opinions.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Speaking to the European Parliament, Nicolas Schmit replies to an oral question on the electronic mass electronic surveillance of European Union citizens

    On 28 October 2015, Nicolas Schmit, the Minister responsible for relations with the European Parliament during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), addressed the plenary assembly in Strasbourg in reply to an oral question on the mass electronic surveillance of EU citizens. Nicolas Schmit reminded those present that the Council shared the European Parliament's concerns regarding the secret surveillance programmes and their impact on the private lives and personal data of EU citizens. The Minister stressed that while Member States must take steps to protect their citizens from terrorism and other attacks on their sovereignty, they must also protect fundamental rights.

    • Other meeting · Press releases
    • Economic and Financial Affairs
    EU and Liechtenstein sign deal on automatic exchange of tax data

    On 28 October 2015, the European Union and Liechtenstein signed an agreement on the automatic exchange of financial account information aimed at improving international tax compliance. "I am glad that this agreement could be reached between the European Union and Liechtenstein, as it constitutes an important step towards a level playing field and greater tax transparency in Europe and beyond," said Pierre Gramegna.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · Press releases
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Félix Braz intervenes in the European Parliament’s on the reform of the statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union

    On 28 October 2015, the European Parliament voted during its plenary session in favor of an extensive reform of the statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union which doubles the number of judges of the General Court in 3 steps by 2019. This vote endorses a compromise text which is a result of informal meetings between the representatives of the four institutions: the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Court of Justice. The Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) had approved the compromise on 21 October 2015.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs
    Nicolas Schmit addressed the European Parliament on the issue of the long-term unemployed, which he described as a 'wound in the EU'

    On 28 October 2015, the Minister for Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy and President of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), Nicolas Schmit, spoke on behalf of the Council of the EU at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The Luxembourg minister had been asked to reply to an oral question by Thomas Händel MEP (GUE/NGL) on the Council recommendation on integrating the long-term unemployed into the labour market.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Transport, Telecommmunications and Energy
    Nicolas Schmit hails

    European MEPs meeting at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 27 October 2015, have adopted an agreement concluded after two years of negotiations with the Council of the EU on the regulation on the single market for electronic communications. In turning down any amendment to the text, the MEPs adopted the Council's position on first reading. This text provides for the progressive phasing out of roaming charges for mobile telephones by 15 June 2017 as well as the introduction of the first EU rules aiming to safeguard open Internet access, thereby ensuring Internet neutrality.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Economic and Financial Affairs
    Pierre Gramegna participated on behalf of the Council in the debate at the European Parliament on the draft 2016 EU budget

    The Luxembourg Minister of Finance and President of the Ecofin Council, Pierre Gramegna, attended the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 27 October 2015, in order to participate, on behalf of the Council, in the debate on the amendments which the Parliament is preparing to vote on the Council’s position on the European Union’s (EU) 2016 draft budget. This position, which provides for €153.27 billion in funding commitments and €142.12 billion in payment allocations was presented by Pierre Gramegna to the European Parliament on 8 September 2015. In its draft resolution presented on 16 October 2015, the Parliament intends to increase funding commitments by more than €4.15 billion and payment allocations by almost €4.34 billion. An approach which Pierre Gramegna deems to be “maximalist and ambitious in the extreme”.

    • Third Country Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs
    Jean Asselborn chaired the Political Dialogue Meeting at ministerial level between the European Union and the Southern Africa Development Community

    On behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, chaired the Ministerial Political Dialogue Meeting between the European Union (EU) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), which was held in Luxembourg on 27 October.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • Environment
    Environment Council – Ministers discussed the Emissions Trading System, subsidies which are harmful to the environment and the global Sustainable Development Goals

    European Union (EU) Ministers for the Environment met in Luxembourg on 26 October 2015 for a Council chaired by Carole Dieschbourg, Luxembourg's Minister for the Environment. They discussed the proposal to review the European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS), the environmental dimension of the European Semester process, and studied the implementation of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development adopted at the United Nations Summit in New York in September 2015. This point was the subject of a working lunch with Ministers in charge of Cooperation, in which the Luxembourg Minister responsible for this area, Romain Schneider, also participated. The Volkswagen Affair was also on the agenda.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Economic and Financial Affairs, Foreign Affairs
    15th FEMIP Conference – Jean Asselborn and Nicolas Schmit highlight the cooperation with Mediterranean countries as a way to respond to the challenges of the refugee crisis

    On 26 October 2015, Nicolas Schmit, Minister for Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, and Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Minister for Immigration and Asylum, participated in the 15th "Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership" (FEMIP) Conference organised in Luxembourg by the European Investment Bank (EIB). In his opening speech, Nicolas Schmit highlighted the importance of "inclusive growth" to "gain the confidence" of EU citizens and "neighbours to the South". On closing the conference, Jean Asselborn, highlighted that the FEMIP, "a key reference of the economic and financial Euro-Mediterranean partnership", was the expression of the EU's long-term cooperation policy with the countries of the Mediterranean and a "key player" in the area.

    • Other meeting · Press releases
    • Transport, Telecommmunications and Energy
    A few days before the opening of the trilogue negotiations on the fourth rail package, François Bausch attended a conference aimed at promoting railway transport in Europe, at the Milan Expo 2015

    François Bausch, Minister of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, attended a conference aimed at promoting railway transport in Europe held on 26 October 2015 by the CER (Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies) at the Milan Expo 2015. This conference brought together all the main bodies (European Commission, Council and European Parliament) involved in the negotiations that will begin on Friday, 30 October during a trilogue in Strasbourg, on the three proposals of the fourth rail package's political pillar.

    • Council Meeting · Press releases
    • Development, Foreign Affairs

    The "Foreign Affairs" (Development) Council met in Luxembourg on 26 October 2015 and was chaired by the High-Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini. The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union outlined and prepared the agenda - a full day was allocated to this meeting - which reflects the growing importance given to development policy and humanitarian aid during the 2nd half of 2015.

  • Updated 15-07-2015