Slip-of-the-tongue of the day: Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva wishing a successful Winter Olympics to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, instead of Pyeongchang, in South Korea, where the games are actually being held.
Juncker’s schedule: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker “will not be alone” on Valentine’s Day. He’ll hold a briefing for journalists after the weekly College of Commissioners meeting on February 14, then host Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković for lunch and hold another press briefing.
Juncker then heads out to Lithuania, where he will meet President Dalia Grybauskaitė and attend the Baltic nation’s 100th birthday celebrations on Friday. Then it’s off to Germany for the weekend to attend the Munich Security Conference.
Employment and investment: The Commission has proposed €2.1 million in funds from the Globalization Adjustment Fund go toward training and finding new jobs for German former employees of Goodyear, the tire company.
The Commission also announced that the European Fund for Strategic Investments is expected to trigger €264.3 billion in mobilized investment, with 589,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises set to benefit from the investments. According to Andreeva, the Commission is at 84 percent of its target to mobilize €315 billion in investment by this summer.
The Commission didn’t talk about: Mercosur negotiations, which are set to continue in Asunción, the Paraguayan capital, on February 19. Trade negotiators are trying to wrap up the deal before election season hits Brazil. Commission spokesperson Daniel Rosario provided few details, saying he was leaving those to the negotiators.
Neither did the Commission elaborate on what is happening with the European Medicines Agency, which is set to be relocated to Amsterdam from London following Brexit. Asked who will foot the €400 million bill for the move, the Brits or Europeans, Andreeva said: “We don’t do the negotiations here in the press room.”
Media freedom and Montenegro: The “freedom of media is an important part of the assessment” that will determine whether the Balkan nation will be let in the EU. Commission spokesperson Maja Kocijančič said the Commission will publish a report in April documenting the state of press freedom not just in Montenegro, but other candidate countries as well.
Daylight savings: After the European Parliament’s vote on Thursday to review the biannual change of clocks also known as “summer time,” the Commission said it “is open to consider the summer time issue further.” Andreeva said: “We regularly check the regulatory fitness of existing EU laws,” and summer time is no exception.
Air quality: Asked for an update on the infringement proceedings against nine EU countries for falling afoul of their air pollution regulations, the Commission said the deadline for countries to respond with proposals and new commitments is midnight, otherwise their case will go to the European Court of Justice. “Our mailbox is still open. We’re prepared to consider any suggestions and contributions we might receive over the weekend,” said Andreeva.
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