POLITICS & POLICY
The reform of the French labour market is making the headlines in France. On Wednesday, French Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud presented a draft bill containing amendments to the current system, aimed at introducing some elements of flexibility in the job market. Whereas some trade unions lamented that the Government is trying to change the text of the former El-Khomri law unilaterally, the General Secretary of the French Force Ouvrière union, Jean-Claude Mailly said that the concertation “goes into the right direction”.
Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Front National, announced that the party might undergo a period of profound change. Le Pen said that on the occasion of the FN’s next national congress – which is to be set between January and March 2018 – the party might even change its name. According to some FN officials, the aim is to extend the ideological scope of the party as to make place for the almost 11 million French voters who chose Le Pen in the second round of the recent presidential elections.
Brexit continues to be under the spotlight. On Wednesday, European Commissioner for Budget Günther Oettinger announced that because of the UK leaving the Union, the next Multiannual Financial Framework (the EU’s main budget instrument) will suffer from a €11 billion hole. As a consequence, it is likely that important social chapters of the common budget, such as cohesion policy, will be subject to cuts.
Meanwhile, Lilyana Pavlova, the Bulgarian Minister for regional development, announced that cohesion policies will be one of the main priorities of the Bulgarian presidency in the first half of 2018. Karl Haeusgen, the vice-president of the German Mechanical Engineering Association, accused both the EU and the UK, to be underestimating the difficulties implied by the Brexit negotiations, and the economic consequences of the UK leaving the Single Market.
In other news, the refugee crisis continues to make the headlines in Italy and across Europe. On Wednesday, the Italian Government warned that it could block foreign NGO ships from entering the country’s ports after they rescue migrants at sea. This threat is only the last of a long series of warnings issued by Italian authorities, which argue for the need for more solidarity from other European Member States. Earlier this year, as well as in 2016, the Italian Government entered a row with Eastern European Member States on the matter. Italian authorities accused countries such as Poland and Hungary to ignore their responsibilities in the frame of the EU refugee relocation scheme.
“The aim is to bridge a pension gap that is emerging due to the ageing of the population. In 2060, we expect only two people in working age for every pensioner, compared to the ratio of four to one today. It is a tool for product providers and businesses to offer a quality personal pensions product based on single EU standards”.
Vladimir Dombrovskis, EU Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue, speaking about a new EU regulation introducing a personal European pension product.
Source: EurActiv, 29.06.2017
The percentage of voters backing Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union according to latest opinion polls ahead of Germany’s September 2017 elections.
Source: Die Welt, 28.06.2017
Photo Credits CC: Sea-Watch Org
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