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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 Commission is proposing a targeted adjustment to intellectual property rules to help Europe's pharmaceutical companies tap into fast-growing global markets and foster jobs, growth and investments in the EU.
With the amount of harmful plastic litter in oceans and seas growing ever greater, the European Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe's beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear.
The Commission has proposed to reshape the rules governing excise duty on alcohol within the EU, paving the way for a better business environment and reduced costs for small alcohol-producing businesses and better protection for consumer health.
The Commission has proposed new rules to give small and medium enterprises (SMEs) better access to financing through public markets. Part of the EU's Capital Markets Union (CMU) agenda, today's initiative should help EU companies to tap market-based funding more easily and cheaply so that they can expand.
The Council had an exchange of views on a long term vision for the contribution of culture to the EU after 2020, focusing in particular on what actions need to be undertaken at EU level to raise the level of ambition in the cultural field, so that culture becomes a real driver of change in the future.
The European Commission presents the 2018 country-specific recommendations (CSRs), setting out its economic policy guidance for Member States for the next 12 to 18 months.
The Commission proposed the 2019 draft EU Budget of €166 billion in commitments, corresponding to a 3% increase over 2018, investing in a stronger and more resilient European economy and promoting solidarity and security on both sides of the EU's borders.
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.
The Commission is advancing work to build a European Education Area by 2025, reinforce the cultural dimension of the European Union and bolster youth participation, with a new set of measures, including a new Youth Strategy and a new Agenda for Culture.
The Commission has adopted a new policy framework that aims to increase humanitarian funding for education in emergencies and crises to 10% of its overall humanitarian aid budget as of 2019. The policy also aims to bring children caught up in humanitarian crises back to learning within 3 months.
The European Commission is publishing the results of the 2018 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), a tool which monitors the performance of Member States in digital connectivity, digital skills online activity, the digitisation of businesses and digital public services.
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 Juncker Commission is undertaking the third and final set of actions to modernise Europe's transport system. The objective is to allow all Europeans to benefit from safer traffic, less polluting vehicles and more advanced technological solutions, while supporting the competitiveness of the EU industry.
The Commission is providing national, regional and local actors with practical help to improve air quality in Europe, and stepping up its enforcement against 7 Member States who have breached agreed EU rules on air pollution limits and type approval for cars.