January 9, 2019
Published: European Commission
In its first weekly meeting of 2019 Commission discusses the main political challenges ahead
The College of Commissioners held today the first weekly meeting of 2019 which was devoted to discussing the challenges of this new year. Commissioners used the opportunity to take stock and discuss the year ahead, including the European elections in May and other important milestones ahead.
This year the EU agenda will be marked by three words: delivery, destiny and democracy.
Delivery is the Commission’s and President Juncker’s main focus right until the very last day in office. All the proposals based on the 10 Priorities of the Juncker Commission are now on the table but around 240 proposals still need to be adopted in the next 300 days. The College reaffirmed today that it will be working flat out to ensure as many as possible of these proposals are formally adopted by the co-legislators so we make a difference in people’s lives.
Commissioners also underlined that this is the year when Europe must take its destiny into its own hands, as President Juncker called for in his last State of the Union speech. On 9 May in Sibiu, in Romania, the 27 leaders will usher in a new dawn with a very special summit that will pave the way for a stronger, more united and more democratic Europe.
Just two weeks after Sibiu, Europeans will take part in the second largest election anywhere in the world – second only to the Indian general election. Democracy and European elections will be a chance for people to have their say on the kind of Union they want and for all parties from across the spectrum to put forward their ideas for the future.
The College also used the opportunity to discuss the agenda of their upcoming visit to Bucharest – on Thursday and Friday – for the meeting with the Romanian Presidency.
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen presented the state of play of the Juncker Plan and the latest figures on the European Fund for Strategic Investments. As of December 2018, the European Fund for Strategic Investments – at the heart of the Juncker Plan – has already mobilised €371.2 billion of investment across Europe and supported 856,000 small and medium businesses across the EU.
Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos debriefed the College on the state of play of the migration files and in particular recent developments in the Central Mediterranean. The latest Sea Watch 3 and Sea Eye case showed once again that predictable and sustainable solutions for disembarkation and allocation are urgently needed.
Commissioner Avramopoulos stated that the Commission spared no efforts to coordinate relocation pledges among Member States and make the disembarkation possible. He particularly thanked the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat for allowing the disembarkation of the two NGO vessels and commended Member States that agreed to receive the migrants disembarked in Malta. “Having 49 people on boats at sea, for almost 3 weeks, is not what the European Union stands for. The European Union is about human values and solidarity. And if human values and solidarity are not upheld it is not Europe”, said Commissioner Avramopoulos.