Brussels Letter week beginning April 25
- Offshore drilling
The referendum in Italy failed to restrict offshore drilling. The turnout for the referendum was 29 percent – a level beneath the required 50 percent to enable the validation of the proposal. This was encouraged by Italian Prime Minister Renzi who urged Italians not to vote for the referendum.
Representatives from countries representing over 90 percent of the global steel production gathered in Brussels to discuss the oversupply problem in the sector. However, no breakthrough was made on the issue.
- EU vs. Google
The European Commission informed Google that its preliminary view is that the company has breached EU antitrust rules, abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.
- Digital Europe
The European Commission presented a set of measures to support and link up national initiatives for the digitization of industry and related services across all sectors and to boost investment through strategic partnerships and networks. The Commission also proposed measures to speed up the development of common standards in priority areas, such as 5G communication networks or cyber security, and to modernize public services. The Commission also presented its blueprint for cloud-based services and world-class data infrastructure to ensure science, business and public services reap benefits of a big data revolution.
- Syrian Refugees
The Commission delivered an additional €110 million under the implementation of EU-Turkey agreement. A further €60 million in special measures will cover expenses for food, health care and accommodation of migrants who have been returned from Greece to Turkey. A further €50 million in humanitarian aid will address the immediate needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey. This brings the Commission's total support so far through the facility to €187 million.
- Visa Liberalization
The Commission published its report on the implementation of the EU-Turkey Agreement and found that good progress has been made to put the plan agreement into action. The Commission announced that they will present a third visa liberalization progress report for Turkey on May 4 and, if Turkey takes the necessary measures to fulfil the remaining benchmarks, the report will be accompanied by a legislative proposal for transferring Turkey to the visa-free list.
- Greek Crises
Eurozone finance ministers met in Amsterdam to discuss the Greek debt crises. Greece's creditors announced they are close to reaching an agreement with Greece on the reform agenda.
The European Council adopted a directive on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime. The directive aims to regulate the transfer of PNR data of passengers of international flights from airlines to member states as well as the processing of this data by the competent authorities. The directive establishes that PNR data collected may only be processed for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.