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In the capital of New Zealand, Wellington, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and New Zealand's Minister for Trade David Parker officially launched talks for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement.
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström together with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Trade Minister of Australia Steven Ciobo officially launched negotiations for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement between the EU and Australia in the Australian capital of Canberra.
For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission is proposing to increase the external action budget to €123 billion, to significantly simplify its structure, and make it much more flexible and effective to address today's global challenges.
Leaders of the G7 committed to fight protectionism and to defend the rules-based international trading system. G7 leaders called for the modernisation of the World Trade Organisation. They also stressed the need to avoid excess capacity in sectors such as aluminium and high technology.
The US announced that starting on 1 June 2018 it will impose additional duties of 25 % and 10 % respectively on imports of steel and aluminium from the EU.
The EU could protect itself better against unfairly cheap imports and combat environmental or social dumping more effectively, under a law backed by MEPs.
The Foreign Affairs Council held a debate on Iran, in particular the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), following the US withdrawal from the agreement as announced on 8 May.
The Council authorised the Commission to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. It also adopted conclusions on the negotiation and conclusion of EU trade agreements.
On 17 May, EU leaders met with their partners from the Western Balkans. On this occasion, they reaffirmed their mutual commitment to the European perspective.
The Commission presented the outcome of negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and the trade and investment agreements with Singapore to the Council. This is the first step towards the signature and conclusion of these agreements.
The European Commission adopted its annual Enlargement Package, including seven individual reports, assessing the implementation of the European Union's enlargement policy which is based on established criteria and fair and rigorous conditionality.
Foreign ministers discussed the latest developments in Syria, including the aftermath to the targeted US, French and UK airstrikes on chemical weapons facilities.
The High Representative and EU foreign ministers discussed the Salisbury attack. They adopted a statement expressing the EU's unqualified solidarity with the UK and its support, including for the UK’s efforts to bring those responsible for this crime to justice.
Defence ministers met in "PESCO format" for the first time. They adopted a decision formally establishing the list of projects to be developed under PESCO (permanent structured cooperation) and a recommendation on an implementation roadmap.
The draft Withdrawal Agreement consists of six parts – including introductory provisions, citizens' rights, other separation issues such as goods placed on the market before the withdrawal date, the financial settlement, transitional arrangements, and institutional provisions – and a protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland.