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Tableau de bord des transports 2016: l’UE au travail pour renforcer le marché intérieur

La Commission européenne publie aujourd’hui l’édition 2016 du «tableau de bord des transports dans l’UE», un outil comparant les résultats obtenus par les États membres dans 30 catégories couvrant tous les aspects des transports. Ce tableau de bord a pour objectif d’aider les États membres à déterminer dans quels domaines ils doivent investir et agir en priorité. Il montre comment l’UE continue à approfondir le marché intérieur des transports et promeut le passage à une mobilité à faibles émissions, deux priorités de la Commission Juncker. Mme Violeta Bulc, commissaire européenne chargée des transports, a déclaré: «Mon objectif est que nous disposions d’un système de transports de haute qualité, décarboné, totalement intégré et efficient. Le tableau de bord sert de panneau indicateur sur le chemin vers cet objectif: il montre la voie à suivre et indique la distance restant à parcourir. Il est particulièrement encourageant de voir que les efforts de notre Commission pour combler le retard d’investissement dans le secteur des transports commencent à porter leurs fruits.» Avec des scores élevés dans 15 catégories, les Pays-Bas arrivent en tête du tableau de bord pour la troisième année consécutive, suivis par la Suède, l’Allemagne et l’Autriche. Plus d’informations sont disponibles dans un communiqué de presse dans toutes les langues, des fiches individuelles pour chaque pays et un MEMO. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 69143)

Following earthquakes that struck Italy yesterday evening, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has issued the following statement: “Several areas in Italy have been struck by earthquakes, including in the same towns that already suffered from a deadly earthquake in August this year. The EU stands in full solidarity with the Italian people and authorities at this time. Right now our thoughts are with all those affected and the first responders working on the scene. The European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre, which monitors natural disasters 24/7, has been in contact with the national civil protection authorities since yesterday evening. Following a request by the Italian authorities, the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Services has already been activated to provide damage assessment satellite maps for the affected areas. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are ready to provide further assistance.” The statement is available in English and Italian (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

€1 billion mark reached in EU support for micro-entrepreneurs

Since the EU started its microfinance initiatives, we have signed agreements with more than 100 microfinance providers, to support over 100,000 micro-entrepreneurs in 23 EU Member States. This cooperation between the European Commission, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and microfinance providers aims to mobilise over €1 billion of microfinance loans for micro-borrowers across the EU underProgress Microfinanceand theEU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). Target borrowers include unemployed, young self-employed, minority groups, women and rural communities where microfinance can help with work-integration, health care, social housing and education. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “We believe that, by improving access to finance and empowering people to use their skills and talents, microfinance opens up opportunities that have huge potential in terms of job creation, as it gives entrepreneurs the springboard they need to start and develop a business. Thanks to our EU funding, the availability of microcredit on the market has been increased and is expected to generate over €1 billion of microloans across Europe.” More information can be found here. In addition, today the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Millennium bcp have signed a guarantee agreement aimed at supporting micro-enterprises in Portugal under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). This new EaSI guarantee agreement with Millennium bcp will cover a loan portfolio of €18 million for around 900 micro-borrowers currently excluded from access to finance. The EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) Guarantee scheme was launched in 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the EIF. More information can be foundonline. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

Italy: Cohesion Policy co-finances the purchase of two patrol ships for rescue operations at sea

The Commission has approved a major project for Italy, worth €94 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for the purchase of two patrol vessels with all the necessary equipment to conduct rescue operations at sea. The adoption of this project follows the modification of the 2007-2013 Italian programme ‘Security for development’ in February 2016. The Italian authorities had then responded favourably to the Commission’s call for submitting requests to modify Cohesion Policy programmes and allow them to include more measures to tackle the migration challenge, both in the short and long term. “I am very glad to have approved this project and to support the tremendous efforts already undertaken by the Italian authorities to save lives in the Central Mediterranean. It gives me the occasion to reiterate that Cohesion Policy is flexible and able to finance a wide range of actions to support the reception and the integration of migrants. I invite all Member States to submit similar requests should the need arise,” said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu. More information on what the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds can do to support the European Agenda on Migration is available here. (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2017

Today the Commission is presenting its proposal on fishing quotas for next year in the Atlantic and the North Sea. This is the annual scheme for the amount of fish which can be caught by EU fishermen from the main commercial fish stocks next year, also referred to as Total Allowable Catches (TACs). The Commission, based on scientific advice received, proposes to maintain or increase the current fishing quotas for 42 stocks which are in good health, and reduce catches for 28 stocks which are faring poorly. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “Our goal is clear: we need to bring all stocks to healthy and sustainable levels as soon as possible so that our fishing industry can remain viable. This is not up to the Commission alone: stakeholders are fundamental enablers in this process. We are proposing an ambitious programme for 2017 and the only way forward will be to work with fishermen, scientists and national authorities to develop real solutions that lead to fisheries that are both economically profitable and sustainable”. Today’s proposal will be submitted for discussion and adoption by the Ministers of Member States at the Fisheries Council in December, to be applied as from 1 January 2017. More information is available in our press release and MEMO. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

New EU-Canada initiative to encourage cooperation between top scientists

Today a new agreement between Canada and the European Commission was concluded to encourage talented Canadian researchers to join European Research Council (ERC) teams in Europe. Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Dr Ted Hewitt signed the agreement this morning in Brussels.Commissioner Moedas said: “With this initiative we say again, loud and clear, that European science is open to the world. Bright minds from Canada will join European Research Council research teams across Europe, which in turn will gain from this influx of talent. They will perform cutting-edge science together, which is a win-win for Europe and Canada. Global science cooperation is essential to push top research further.”  Today’s deal will help Canadian scientists undertake research visits in Europe, temporarily becoming part of a team funded by the ERC – the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. The first initiative of this kind was signed in 2012 with the USA and agreements then followed with funding bodies in Korea, Argentina, Japan, China, South Africa, Mexico and very recently Brazil. These efforts are part of the Commission’s policy of making European research and innovation Open to the World. More information can be found here (ici, en version française). Photo and video coverage of the ceremony will be available soon on EbS. The signature took place ahead of a conference on “Frontier Research and Science Diplomacy” (speech by Commissioner Moedas – EbS coverage).(For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Marie Frenay – Tel.: +32 229 64532)

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of lasers supplier Rofin-Sinar by Coherent, subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of US and German-based Rofin-Sinar by Coherent of the US. Both companies are global suppliers of lasers with broad product portfolios and global sales and service capabilities. The Commission had concerns that the proposed transaction, as initially notified, would lead to high combined market shares in low power CO2 lasers. To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Coherent offered to sell Rofin-Sinar’s Hull (UK) business manufacturing low power CO2 lasers. The divestment entirely removes the overlap between the activities of the two companies in low power CO2 lasers at the global level. It fully addresses the identified competition concerns. The full press release is available online in EN, DE and FR. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella – Tel.: +32 229 86801)

Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Brussels Airlines and TAP Portugal on code-sharing on Brussels-Lisbon route

The European Commission has informed Brussels Airlines and TAP Portugal of its preliminary view that their codeshare cooperation on passenger services between Brussels and Lisbon restricted competition between the two airlines, in breach of EU antitrust rules.Under this codeshare agreement, the two airlines granted each other the right to sell an unlimited number of seats of almost all categories (Business, Economy) on each other’s flights on the Brussels-Lisbon route. Prior to the agreement, Brussels Airlines and TAP Portugal had operated competing services on the route and were in fact the only two airlines flying this route. The Commission’s preliminary conclusion is that these practices eliminated competition on prices and capacity between the two airlines on the Brussels-Lisbon route and led to higher prices and less choice for consumers. EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “Code-sharing by airlines can bring benefits for passengers in terms of wider network coverage and better connections. However, we are concerned that in this particular case Brussels Airlines and TAP Portugal may have used their codeshare to restrict competition and harm passengers’ interests on the Brussels to Lisbon route.” The full press release is available online in EN, DE, FR, NL and PT. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella – Tel.: +32 229 86801)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Danmarks Skibskredit by Danish pension and investment funds

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Danmarks Skibskredit, a Danish ship financing institute, by Axcel IV, PFA Pension and PKS Funds, all three from Denmark. Danmarks Skibskredit provides mortgage-backed loans to shipping companies both in Denmark and internationally. Axcel IV is a Danish private equity fund. PFA Pension is a Danish commercial pension provider. PKS Funds is a group of three linked Danish pension funds for the healthcare and social work professions. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as there is only a very marginal potential overlap in the companies’ activities. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competitionwebsite, in the public case register under the case number M.8187. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella – Tel.: +32 229 86801)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Monster by Randstad

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Monster Worldwide, Inc. of the United States, by Randstad Holding n.v. of the Netherlands.  Monster is a provider of online job advertising and recruitment services. Randstad is active in the provision of temporary and permanent employment services as well as human resources consultancy services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because there are only very limited overlaps between the companies’ activities. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8201. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella – Tel.: +32 229 86801) 


European Commission participation at the GLOBSEC TATRA Summit and other major events in Bratislava on 27-28 October

Vice-President Georgieva, Vice-President Šefčovič, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Bieńkowska will attend the GLOBSEC TATRA Summit in Bratislava. This international conference is a flagship event of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU. Against this backdrop, it focusses this year on the following topics: European solutions of current challenges, Migration crisis, Economic and Monetary Union, Energy Union, Transatlantic relations and Digital Single Market. Some Members of the Commission present in Bratislava will participate as panellists in debates. Today, Vice-President Šefčovič will deliver a keynote speech – “The Energy Union – on track to deliver” – during a conference on the role of civil society in the Energy Union co-organised by the European Economic and Social Committee. Tomorrow, Vice-President Georgievawill speak at the session “Multiannual Financial Framework Post 2020 – Balance between Political Ambition and Realism“, Vice-President Šefčovič will speak at the session “Geopolitics and Energy – getting it Right for Europe“, and Commissioner Moscovici will speak at the session “Strengthening EMU in time of turmoil and crises”. In addition, Commissioner Bieńkowska will be opening the session on European Industry 4.0 and will close the session on Re-Industrialisation of the European Union 2016. The Members of the Commission will also have a variety of high-level bilateral meetings, speaking engagements and press activities in the margins of the conference. A more detailed calendar is available here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186)

Commissioner Thyssen visits Slovenia

Tomorrow, 28 October, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, will travel to Slovenia to discuss the European Pillar of Social Rights. She will give a keynote speech at the Conference “Quality Jobs for All”, organised by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Ahead of the visit, Commissioner Thyssen said: “The Pillar of Social Rights is a reconnection with the basic principles of our social market economy and European social model. That is a growth model where economic development and social progress go hand-in-hand. It should be a compass for convergence towards employment and social systems that are less vulnerable and more resilient to economic shocks. In order for us to reap the benefits of global, digital and collaborative economies, our labour markets and welfare systems need to function well and be fairer in all Member States.” During her visit, the Commissioner will also hold a bilateral meeting with the Slovenian Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Ms Anja Kopač Mrak. Finally, she will also meet with Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Labour, Family, Social Policy and Disability and the President of the EU Affairs Committee, as well as with Slovenian social partners. These meetings will be an opportunity to discuss not only the Pillar of Social Rights, the pensions reform and more general developments on the labour market. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)

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