Daily News 25 / 11 / 2015

Président Juncker à la Session Plénière du Parlement européen sur les attentats de Paris

Ce matin, le Président Juncker s’est adressé aux députés européens à Strasbourg suite aux attentats le vendredi 13 novembre à Paris. Le Président a dit: “Je voudrais répéter devant cette haute Assemblée les propos que j’ai tenus immédiatement après les terribles attentats de Paris. Je mets en garde contre les amalgames dangereux, pernicieux, consistant à mettre sur un pied d’égalité les réfugiés, les demandeurs d’asile, les migrants et les terroristes. Ceux qui ont perpétré et fomenté les attentats à Paris sont exactement les mêmes qui obligent les malheureux de cette planète à fuir. Il ne faut pas transformer le malheur en affaire oratoire. Il ne faut pas céder à cette tentation en fait dramatiquement ridicule. Je voulais dire ici que nous devons sauvegarder l’esprit de Schengen. Oui, le système de Schengen est partiellement comateux, et il faudra que ceux qui croient en l’Europe, en ses valeurs, en ses principes et en ses libertés essaient – et ils le feront – de réanimer l’esprit Schengen. Si l’esprit Schengen quitte nos territoires et nos cœurs, nous perdrons plus que Schengen. Une monnaie unique ne fait pas de sens si Schengen tombe. Et donc il faudra savoir que Schengen n’est pas un concept neutre, n’est pas un concept anodin, mais que c’est une des pièces maîtresses de la construction européenne.” Le texte complet de son discours est disponible en ligne ici. (Pour plus d’information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)


EU-Turkey Cooperation: A €3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey

The European Commission is setting up a legal framework – a Refugee Facility for Turkey – to coordinate and streamline actions financed in order to deliver support to Syrians under temporary protection and host communities in Turkey. The funds – €3 billion – will be provided in the most flexible and rapid way possible, and will help national and local authorities in line with burden-sharing within the framework of Turkey-EU cooperation. The Turkey Refugee Facility is the answer to the European Council’s call for significant additional funding to support refugees in Turkey. The Facility, which is set up in full cooperation with the European Parliament, will provide a coordination mechanism, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. European Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans said: “In dealing with the refugee crisis, it is absolutely clear that the European Union needs to step up its cooperation with Turkey and Turkey with the European Union. We both need to work together and to implement the Joint Action Plan which will bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration. Within this framework, the setting up of a Turkey Refugee Facility translates our intentions into concrete actions. This money is about providing support to further improve daily lives and socio-economic conditions of Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey.” A press release is available here. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)


European Commission to increase humanitarian support to education for children in emergencies

The European Commission is set to increase in 2016 its humanitarian funding for education in emergencies to 4% of the EU’s overall humanitarian budget. The commitment was championed earlier this year by EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, and has now found strong support from the European Parliament and EU Member States. “Investing in children today is an investment in the future. This is why education in emergency situations is my priority. Increasing humanitarian funding in this area will bring real results for children and their families who find themselves in emergency situations, from those in Syrian refugee camps to children affected by Ebola in West Africa. No child should be left behind; education is key to ensure that all girls and boys have a chance at a bright future,” said EU Commissioner Stylianides. A press release is available here. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

European Commission announces new Pan Africa Action Plan projects

The European Commission has announced nearly €150 million for nine projects to support governance and human rights, as well as innovation and learning throughout the African continent. The announcement was made on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, as part of the ‘Pan-African Action Plan’. European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said “The actions launched under the Pan-African programme will allow us to deepen our collaboration with Africa to address common challenges such as violence against women, climate change, as well as the promotion of peace, security, good governance and the development of new technologies.” A press release and a fact sheet are available. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

€57 million of EU funds for enhanced cross-border cooperation between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro

The Commission adopted yesterday a new cross-border cooperation programme for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, worth around €67 million, with €57 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. The programme aims to improve the quality of common health and social care public services, to promote the development of sustainable tourism activities, to boost the competitiveness of local businesses and to preserve the region’s environment. The descriptions of the 2014-2020 programmes are available on Commissioner Crețu‘s webpage and on the Inforegio website. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Financial benchmarks: Commission welcomes agreement on new rules to prevent manipulation

The European Commission has welcomed last night’s agreement between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on a Regulation of financial benchmarks – indices or indicators used to price financial instruments and financial contracts or to measure the performance of an investment fund. The new rules were first proposed by the Commission in September 2013 in the wake of the alleged manipulation of various benchmarks which were to the clear detriment of consumers and companies throughout the EU. Following last night’s agreement, the EU is setting a global standard in this area. The new rules will reduce the risk of manipulation by ensuring that benchmark providers in the EU have prior authorisation and are subject to proper supervision. Jonathan Hill, EU Commissioner responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said “Benchmarks are critical for the functioning of our financial markets. Manipulating benchmarks amounts to stealing from investors and consumers and undermines confidence in markets. Today’s agreement should help to rebuild confidence in financial markets in the European Union”. A press release is available here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick Mc Cullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Solina by Ardian France

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Holding Solina SAS by Ardian France SA, both of France. Ardian France is a private equity asset management company which controls a number of portfolio companies. Solina manufactures and supplies aromatic and functional ingredients for the nutrition and food processing industry, as well as for catering and retail food service customers. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as the companies have very limited potential vertical relationships concerning the supplies of certain food ingredients, such as seasonings. Furthermore, the companies are not present in the same markets. The operation was examined under the simplified merger procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7821. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

EUROSTAT: 6.3% of tax revenues came from environmental taxes in the EU in 2013

In the European Union (EU), environmental taxes amounted to €330.1 billion in 2013, compared with €272.1 billion in 2003. However, the share of environment taxes in total revenues from taxes and social contributions decreased over this 10-year period, from 6.9% in 2003 to 6.3% in 2013. The share of environmental taxes in total revenues from taxes and social contributions is an indicator of the flagship initiative for a resource-efficient Europe under the Europe 2020 strategy. The objective to be reached is at least a 10% share for the EU by 2020. When looking at the main categories of environmental taxes, taxes on energy (77% of total environmental taxes) made up more than three-quarters of the total revenue from environmental taxes in the EU, well ahead of taxes on transport (20%) and those on pollution and resources (3%). A Eurostat press release can be found here. (For more information:Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick Mc Cullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)




Statement by Commissioner Marianne Thyssen on Council and European Parliament deal on revamped European jobs search network (EURES)

Today, we have concluded discussions with the Council and the European Parliament on the reform of the pan-European job search network (EURES) Regulation (IP/14/26). The amendment will expand the scope of EURES, the European placement and recruitment tool. It is estimated that EURES provides about 150 thousand recruitments per year. In 2014 more than 9 million different job vacancies were published on the portal. This important initiative will improve the pan-EU job search network, increasing the range of services available and will thereby facilitate national and cross-border labour mobility. The proposal will increase the number of vacancies published, as well as the efficiency in the matching of job offers and jobseeker profiles. I am confident that the EURES regulation, once officially adopted, will get us closer to a fully functioning European labour market to foster growth and jobs” Commissioner Thyssen said. Earlier this week, another crucial step to ensure fair labour mobility within the EU internal market was taken by the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament in the form of a European Platform against undeclared work. The proposal to establish the Platform will make it possible for it to start working as soon as next year. The full statement of Commissioner Thyssen is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Justyna Milanowska – Tel.: +32 229 94246)



The High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini to attend the Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial meeting in Barcelona on Thursday 26 November

High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini will be co-chairing, with the Jordan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Judeh, the first meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), a unique forum gathering the 28 EU Member States, 10 Arab Mediterranean countries and 6 non-EU non-Arab countries (Turkey, Israel, Bosnia, Albania, Montenegro and Monaco), since November 2008 in Marseille. During the meeting, Ministers will discuss issues of common interest such as economic regional integration and development, the new European Neighbourhood Policy, migration and countering radicalisation. (For more information Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 6992; Nabila Massrali – Tel.: +32 229 6921)

Commissioners Hahn and Andriukaitis visit Georgia to attend the sixth Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety will participate at the sixth Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue which will take place in Tbilisi on 26 November. Hosted by Georgia, the meeting will bring together Ministers and high level officials of the six Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine) for a high level exchange and policy coordination on foreign affairs and on health cooperation. Helga Schmid, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service will be also attending the forum. During his two-day visit, Commissioner Hahn will also take the opportunity to meet President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. He will also meet with the Chairman of the Parliament David Usupashvili and leaders of the parliamentary factions, as well as with civil society. Commissioner Andriukaitis will hold bilateral meetings with Dr. David Seergenco, Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs and with Mr. Otar Danelia, Minister of Agriculture. Video and photos of the visit will be made available on EbS. A press release is available here. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Enrico Brivio – Tel. +32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

European Commission appoints two Directors in DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations and one Director in DG Health and Food Safety

The European Commission has decided to appoint three new Directors: Mr Lawrence Meredith to the position of Director “Neighbourhood East” in the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), Mr Peter Wagner as Director – Head of the Support Group for Ukraine, and Ms Sabine Juelicher to the position of Director in DG Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE). Mr Meredith, a British national, joined the Commission in 1997. He has worked in the area of external policies since 2000 and has been Head of Unit “Strategy and Policy” since the beginning of 2013. Mr Wagner, a German national, joined the Commission in 1999 and first became Head of Unit in 2005. He joined the Support Group for Ukraine earlier this year. Ms Juelicher, a German national, has been working in the Commission since 1999 and first became Head of Unit in 2008. She has been in her current position of Head of Unit “Authorisation of medicinal products, European Medicines Agency” since January 2013. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)