About the European Semester 2018 Spring Package Commission recommendations for Member States and the 2021-2027 long-term budget

Following the individual country reports of early March in the scope of the European Semester and the subsequent Spring economic forecast, the Commission issued on May 23rd it’s reports to Member States except Greece, part of a separate procedure.

The overall tone is quite upbeat with quotes such as “Europe experiences the strongest growth in a decade and it is set to continue this year and next” and “For the first time since the creation of the single currency, all euro area countries will have a deficit below 3% of GDP in 2018”. That said, there were also words of caution like “However, new risks are emerging such as volatility in global financial markets and trade protectionism” and “we must ensure that responsibility remains the name of the game in the future too”. We could also add the effects of the Italian political crisis which is weighing quite heavily in the core values of the European Union.

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Withdrawal Agreement

The European Commission published on Wednesday 28th of February 2018 the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator in charge of the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom, held a press conference at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium to present the document. There was an immediate reaction from the UK’s Prime Minister which, in essence, was in the form of disapproval and the “hard” border between Northern Ireland and Ireland was also a source of debate.

That said, it is a starting point for further discussions as the UK will leave the EU on 30 March 2019.

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Brexit, Council and VAT changes


The UK government has decided the date of the UK withdrawal: the 29th March 2019. This was the UK's sovereign decision. Mrs May has asked to benefit from the Single Market and the Customs Union for a short period after this. The European Council has indicated its readiness to consider this request. The conditions are clear: everyone has to play by the same rules during this transition. (Source: EC statement, February 5th 2018)

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The Bulgarian Presidency Highlights

On January 1st the Republic of Bulgaria took over the presidency of the EU Council. The country is a member since 2007 and it is the first time that it is in this position.

The country chose its own national motto “United we stand strong” to support the task.

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