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    • Council Meeting · Press releases
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Étienne Schneider: 'The Extraordinary Council must produce concrete results and decide on tangible measures'

    The Deputy Prime Minister for Internal Security, Étienne Schneider, will chair the extraordinary session of the Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) in Brussels on 20 November 2015. In cooperation with the French authorities, the Luxembourg Presidency convened the meeting to discuss and decide on the European response to the Paris attacks. The joint meeting will focus primarily on the European system for passenger name records (PNR), arms trafficking, strengthening external EU border controls and the fight against financing terrorism.

    • Third Country Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs
    Jean Asselborn at the 2nd Political Dialogue Meeting at ministerial level between the European Union and the Republic of Angola in Luanda

    Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, represented the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, at the 2nd Political Dialogue Meeting at ministerial level between the European Union and the Republic of Angola in Luanda on 19 November 2015. Within the framework of the cooperation agreement between the European Union and Angola, entitled "Joint Way Forward Angola - European Union", the discussions sought to move the relationship between Angola and the European Union to a higher level by strengthening political dialogue and bilateral cooperation in areas of common interest.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Competitiveness
    2015 SME Assembly – An ambitious policy for SMEs is 'a priority for the Luxembourg Presidency'

    In the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), the European 2015 SME Assembly was organised by the European Commission in Luxembourg, from 18 to 20 November 2015, as the culmination of the European SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) Week. The conference, which sets out to be a major event for SMEs in Europe, seeks to offer these enterprises a platform for exchange and debate, and thus to enable them to participate in shaping policies specific to their needs. The Secretary of State for the Economy, Francine Closener, and the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, opened the debates on 19 November, in the presence of the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Maria Teresa.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • General Affairs, Territorial Cooperation
    A General Affairs Council dedicated to cohesion policy

    On 18 November 2015, Camille Gira, Secretary of State for Sustainable Development chaired the General Affairs Council dedicated to issues related to EU cohesion policy. The Council adopted three sets of conclusions: simplification of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF); 25 years of European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg); and the contribution of the ESIF to the shift towards a low-carbon economy. The Council agreed on the possibility for Member States to make use of Interreg to respond to challenges due to the migration crisis.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Competitiveness
    2015 SME Assembly - The obstacles experienced by small businesses at the heart of discussions

    Dans le contexte de la Présidence luxembourgeoise du Conseil de l’Union européenne (UE), l'Assemblée européenne des PME 2015 a été organisée par la Commission européenne à Luxembourg, du 18 au 20 novembre 2015, en point d’orgue de la semaine européenne des petites et moyennes entreprises (PME). Le dernier jour de la conférence, plusieurs sessions ont été consacrées aux problèmes qu’affrontent les PME, comme les barrières au sein du marché intérieur ou le déficit en matière de compétences numériques. Costas Andropoulos, Chef d’unité de la Direction générale du marché intérieur, de l’industrie, de l’entrepreneuriat et des PME (DG Grow) de la Commission européenne, a conclu la conférence en indiquant que la Commission va retenir de ces sessions la nécessité de continuer à ‘penser aux petits d’abord’, de combler les lacunes restantes dans le marché unique, et de revoir les règles de TVA.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • General Affairs
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    Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, chaired the 'General Affairs Council' (GAC) of the European Union which was held on 17 November 2015 in Brussels. Jean Asselborn said that the agenda for the meeting of the Council was "very busy". It included preparations for the European Council on 17 and 18 December 2015, the first dialogue on the rule of law in the European Union as well as the state of play of negotiations between the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament on the inter-institutional agreement on improving regulations, called 'Better Legislation'. The Commission presented its work programme for 2016. Finally, the Luxembourg Presidency, in agreement with the future Dutch Presidency of the Council, presented a road map for the 2016 European Semester.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Competitiveness, Transport, Telecommmunications and Energy
    European Data Forum 2015 – Marc Hansen believes that 'Europe has a unique opportunity to invest in the development and deployment of HPC technology and Big Data to ensure the competitiveness of its research and industries'

    Under the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the 2015 edition of the 'European Data Forum' is being held in Luxembourg on 16 and 17 November 2015. This annual meeting of industry, research, public authorities and community initiatives, devoted to the challenges relating to Big Data and the data economy aims to respond to the question of 'how to use data integration in a European Digital Single Market?'. Marc Hansen, Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research, opened the second day of the conference with the European Commissioner for Digital Economy, Günther Oettinger.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Economic and Financial Affairs, Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs, Foreign Affairs
    High-level TTIP conference – Xavier Bettel calls for a comprehensive and qualitative agreement

    The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, together with the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), held a conference in Brussels on 17 November 2015 entitled "TTIP - What's in it for the social partners?". The purpose of the conference, which brought together social partners from the 28 Member States for the first time, was to address different aspects of the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being discussed by the EU and the USA, and in respect of which a number of concerns have been put forward.

    • Council Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Affairs/Defence Council - The Luxembourg Presidency stands with France offering assistance and solidarity

    During the 'Foreign Affairs' Council of the EU in the defence formation held in Brussels on 17 November 2015, the French Minister for Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, invoked the mutual assistance clause (Article 42(7) of the Treaty of Lisbon), which stipulates that in the event of an armed aggression against one of the Member States, the other 'Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power'. During his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence Étienne Schneider declared on behalf of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council: 'Alongside individual and coalition military action against Daesh (IS), which is responsible for these attacks, the European Union must continue to work together to find a political solution, and we must continue to support stronger security systems in friendly countries in the region. The Luxembourg Presidency and Luxembourg stand with and will continue to stand with our French neighbours and friends, offering assistance and solidarity in this time of hardship for their nation. We must not fall into the trap set by Daesh (IS) which seeks to lead us to alienate Muslims in our societies.'

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · Press releases
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Étienne Schneider meets the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz in order to discuss a European response to the Paris attacks

    The deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Security Étienne Schneider has met in Brussels, on 17 November 2015, the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. Following the terrorist attacks carried out in Paris on 13 November, and in view to strengthening the European response, the aim of this meeting was to ensure a greater involvement of the European Parliament in the future decisions to be taken on measures on security and in the domain of the fight against terrorism. In this context, the president of the European Parliament and Minister Schneider discussed the state of play of the negotiation on the proposal for a directive on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • Agriculture and Fisheries
    Agriculture Council – The simplification of the CAP, implementing support measures for agricultural markets experiencing difficulties, and issues linked to international trade at the heart of discussions

    The EU's Agriculture Ministers met in Luxembourg on 16 November 2015 for the Agriculture and Fisheries Council. Chaired by Fernand Etgen, Luxembourg's Minister for Agriculture, the Council covered CAP simplification measures. 'Among the main simplification measures put forward by Member States, being greener and rural development were a particular focus', explained Fernand Etgen. The Council was then informed by the Commission of the issues linked to international trade in agricultural products. 'Some very important meetings and some no less important negotiations are ahead of us', stressed Fernand Etgen, speaking about the WTO ministerial summit in Nairobi in December, future trade negotiations with competitive agricultural countries, and TTIP negotiations. Regarding the implementation of a package of support measures for agricultural markets experiencing difficulties, Fernand Etgen indicated that 'the lack of hindsight' concerning implementation will require 'a more thorough assessment', which will be presented at the start of 2016.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Competitiveness, Transport, Telecommmunications and Energy
    European Data Forum 2015 – For Xavier Bettel, the digital single market is 'an area where we can demonstrate that Europe is able to deliver'

    Under the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the 2015 edition of the "European Data Forum" is being held in Luxembourg on 16 and 17 November 2015. This annual meeting of industry, research, public authorities and community initiatives, devoted to the challenges relating to Big Data and the data economy, aims to respond to the question of 'how to use data integration in a European Digital Single Market?'. "To fully reap the potential of the rise of Big Data we have to ensure that data, its relays and its intermediaries, can all be trusted", explained Xavier Bettel in his opening address on 16 November 2015. For his part, Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Single Market, indicated that the ambition of the Commission is to make the data economy work in the EU.

    • Other meeting · Press releases
    • Education, Youth, Culture, Sport
    The Directors General of Vocational Training held a meeting in Luxembourg

    A meeting of the Directors General of Vocational Training was held in Luxembourg on 16 and 17 November 2015 in the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Minister for National Education, Childhood and Youth, Claude Meisch, first of all referred to the complex and difficult international context relating to the refugee situation. Claude Meisch believes that it is necessary to prevent a considerable humanitarian disaster through the cooperation of all EU countries. The work of the European Training Foundation (ETF) has shown that in the countries bordering on the European Union, vocational training and education generally contribute actively and sustainably towards integration and social peace within our societies.

    • Council Meeting · Press releases
    • Justice and Home Affairs
    Joint declaration by European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, and Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, representing the Luxembourgish Presidency of the Council of the EU

    “The barbaric attacks of 13 November 2015 are an attack against Europe as a whole. Europe has an historic responsibility to defend its fundamental values and not to succumb to terror. Europe remains united in solidarity against violence and hatred. We have this evening met in Paris in order to coordinate the immediate European action in response to the attacks and to prevent future attacks. European citizens expect a rapid, concrete and efficient response from the European Union. In this framework, the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union has convened, in coordination with France, an extraordinary meeting of the 'Justice and Home Affairs' Ministers on Friday 20 November in Brussels in order to provide a strong and united European response. It will focus on the following key subjects: a European PNR, the question of firearms security and the reinforcement of controls at external borders. We underlined the urgent need to take rapid and operational decisions and to put them into practice in a short timespan.”

  • Updated 15-07-2015