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New Anti-Terrorism Measures and Preparation of European Council

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As announced by President Juncker in his 2017 State of the Union address, the Commission presented today alongside its 11th Security Union Report a set of operational and practical measures to better defend EU citizens against terrorist threats and deliver a Europe that protects.

The measures to be rolled out over the next 16 months will help Member States address vulnerabilities exposed by recent terrorist attacks and will make a real difference in enhancing security. The measures will support Member States in protecting public spaces and close the space in which terrorists can operate by further restricting access to explosive precursors and improving cross border access to financial information.

The Commission is also proposing to support law enforcement and judicial authorities that encounter encryption by criminals in criminal investigations. The measures presented today include the next steps on countering radicalisation and reinforcing the EU’s external action on counter-terrorism including through Europol. The Commission recommended to the Council of Ministers to authorise the opening of negotiations for a revised Passenger Name Records Agreement with Canada.

Beyond these practical measures for the short term, to be taken over the next 16 months, the Commission is working towards a future European Intelligence Unit, as announced by President Juncker as part of his vision for the European Union by 2025.

Preparation of European Council

The College prepared the October European Council (19-20 October) which will mark an important step on the roadmap towards a more united, stronger and more democratic Union as put forward by President Juncker in his State of the Union address.

EU leaders will discuss a range of topics including migration, the Digital Single Market, defence and security, external relations, the future of Europe and article 50 negotiations with the UK. Commission’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier debriefed the College on the state of play after the 5th round of negotiations and the dinner with Prime Minister May a few days ago.

Addressing natural disasters in Europe

The College also discussed the numerous recent natural disasters that Member States are facing across Europe. The College insisted on the need for a stronger collective European response although the primary responsibility for prevention and response to such disasters lies with Member States. President Juncker has tasked the Commissioners in charge to develop further proposals on strengthening the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism and crisis response.

First annual review report of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

The Commission published the first annual report on the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The report shows that in its first year of operation this framework has ensured adequate protection and safeguards for personal data transferred from the EU to the U.S.. All the necessary administrative structures and procedures have been put in place in the U.S., including new redress possibilities for Europeans. Safeguards regarding access to personal data by U.S. public authorities are in place. However, the implementation of the framework can be improved further. The report sets out several recommendations on how to achieve this, including a more proactive monitoring of companies’ compliance with their Privacy Shield obligations by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Commission also asks the U.S. to appoint as soon as possible a permanent Privacy Shield Ombudsperson, as well as to ensure that the empty posts are filled on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

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Digital Technology Will Help Djibouti Leap into the Future

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Digital technology will have a critical part to play in boosting Djibouti’s socio-economic development and meeting the ambitious goals set out in its national strategy, Vision Djibouti 2035. As a key step toward building a strong, inclusive digital economy, the Government of Djibouti and the World Bank are co-hosting a high-level event that will explore the potential benefits of digital development and propose a concrete roadmap of action.

“Disruptive technologies are creating new business models, opening up new markets, and giving consumers access to more products and services than ever before. It is hard to overstate the economic potential of these transformations,” said Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Djibouti’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. “In a country like ours, developing a high-performing digital ecosystem will provide a unique chance to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The Digital Economy conference starting today will bring us one step closer to this vision.”

“The digital sector will be key to improving the lives of Djiboutian people, expanding our economy, and strengthening our position as a logistics and commercial hub. With eight submarine cable landing on our shores, there is no doubt Djibouti has what it takes to become a digital leader in the region,” noted Abdi Youssouf Sougueh, Minister of Communications. “We are keen to bring in development partners like the World Bank to leverage this infrastructure to the fullest and reinforce all the other fundamentals that are necessary to nurture a vibrant digital economy.”

The conference will bring together a wide range of government representatives, technology pioneers, and development partners. Building on this uniquely diverse combination of knowledge and global perspectives, participants will assess Djibouti’s digital landscape, share international best practices, discuss how technology can help modernize all sectors of the economy, and outline a clear strategy and action plan for digital development in the country.

“Countries around the world are leveraging digital innovation to accelerate economic growth and build a better future for people, and Djibouti is very well positioned to gain from that approach,” said Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Digital Development. “I am confident this event will pave the way for close collaboration on digital development between the Word Bank, Djibouti, and countries across the Middle East and Africa.”

In addition to discussing Djibouti’s opportunities and challenges, the event will also highlight the need for bolder action on digital development engagement across the region.

Sessions will cover all key dimensions of digital development, with a focus on how to strengthen the five pillars of the digital economy: digital infrastructure; innovation and entrepreneurship; digital financial services and identification; digital platforms; and digital literacy and skills.

“Technological innovation holds great promise for Djibouti. By harnessing the full power of the digital economy, the country could see significant GDP growth, create a future-proof labor market, and raise living standards for all segments of the population. We stand ready to work hand in hand with Djibouti on this journey, to help create the right conditions for a thriving digital sector,” said Atou Seck, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti.

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The first shopping tourism project in Mexico

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Municipality of León (Guanajuato, Mexico) have signed an agreement to carry out the country’s first project to develop Shopping Tourism, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism of the State of Guanajuato.

The project is expected to serve as an international reference point and as a showcase at major tourism forums.

The Tourism Observatory of the State of Guanajuato has been a member of the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories since 2014. At the World Tourism Organization’s General Assembly held in Medellín, Colombia, in September 2015, Guanajuato expressed its interest in being one of the destinations to develop a project on shopping tourism, and León was the selected destination in light of the fact that 27% of its tourists visit the city to go shopping.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

The project will help León (Guanajuato, Mexico) to develop innovative shopping tourism offerings that link the public and private sectors and that highlight the destination’s tourism attractions and products as well as tourism’s contribution to socio-economic development, which includes the creation of jobs directly in the tourism sector and in the many activities related to the sector.

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Smart city matchmaking in Barcelona

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This year’s Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), Europe’s biggest Smart City related event, takes place from 13 to 15 November in Barcelona and will, like previous editions,  attract several thousand stakeholders.

During the congress, on November 14, the Smart Cities Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities (EIP-SCC) will organise its next matchmaking event, seeking to bring projects and investors together to stimulate action. It is especially tailored to match individual projects with financing.

To take part, stakeholders must register on the matchmaking platform where they will join other cities, industry and financial players. Registered users need to submit short descriptions of their upcoming projects. A dedicated team will then process and match them with financiers’ interests, leading to one-to-one meetings, organised specifically and individually for them and their projects.

Should participation in above-mentioned event not be possible, the matchmaking platform will remain available also after the Barcelona congress, as the EIP-SCC will organise further matchmaking events in the future.

In addition, there will be an exhibition stand, where interested stakeholders can meet any of the 12 Horizon 2020 Lighthouse projects (representing € 270 million of EU funding), experts from the EIP-SCC, the Smart Cities Information System, as well as the European Commission.

Finally, there will be a number of sessions organised at the mentioned exhibition stand as part of the SCEWC programme covering a wide range of Smart City related topics. The full programme is available at http://www.smartcityexpo.com/en/agenda-2018.

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