Tag Archives: AnnikaBreidthardt

Daily News 21 / 09 / 2017

Commission sets out path towards fair taxation of the Digital Economy

The European Commission launched today a new EU agenda to ensure that the digital economy is taxed in a fair and growth-friendly way. The current tax framework does not fit with modern realities. The tax rules in place today were designed for the traditional economy and cannot capture activities which are increasingly based on intangible assets and data. As a result, the effective tax rate of digital companies in the EU is estimated to be half that of traditional companies – and often much less. At the same time, patchwork unilateral measures by Member States to address the problem threaten to create new obstacles and loopholes in the Single Market. The Communication adopted by the Commission today sets out the challenges Member States currently face when it comes to acting on this pressing issue and outlines possible solutions to be explored. The aim is to ensure a coherent EU approach to taxing the digital economy that supports the Commission’s key priorities of completing the Digital Single Market and ensuring the fair and effective taxation of all companies. Today’s Communication paves the way for a legislative proposal on EU rules for the taxation of profits in the digital economy, as confirmed by President Juncker in the 2017 State of the Union. Those rules could be set out as early as spring 2018. Today’s paper should also feed into international work in this area, notably in the G20 and the OECD. For more information, please consult thepress release and Q&A. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick McCullough – Tel: +32 229 87183)

Juncker Plan set to trigger €236.1 billion across the EU

The Investment Plan for Europe – the so-called Juncker Plan – is now expected to trigger €236.1 billion in investments. Following this month’s meeting of the European Investment Bank‘s (EIB) Board of Directors, operations approved under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) now represent a total financing volume of €46.5 billion and are located in all 28 Member States. The EIB has approved 312 EFSI-backed operations, supported by €36.1 billion in EFSI financing. The European Investment Fund (EIF) has also approved 306 SME financing agreements, with total financing under the EFSI of €10.4 billion. Around 454,000 small and medium-sized businesses are expected to benefit from improved access to finance as a result of these EIF agreements. The European Commission and the EIB Group estimate that the EFSI has so far supported 300,000 jobs across the EU. By 2020 that figure should be 700,000. On 13 September, the European Parliament and Member States came to an agreement in principle on EFSI 2.0 – the extension and reinforcement of the European Fund for Strategic Investments. (For more information about the EFSI 2.0 agreement, see our EFSI 2.0 Q&A, and for more details on Investment Plan projects and results see the new and updated website or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

EU – US Privacy Shield: Commissioner Jourová wraps up the meetings with US administration on the annual review

Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, concluded the joint review meetings of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, with a phone call with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The aim of the two-day exercise in the US was to investigate how the US commitments are being met through exchanges on the underlying US legal framework in place and on the functioning of the oversight mechanisms. Both sides agreed that the Privacy Shield is key for the data exchanges in transatlantic relations and expressed mutual commitment to making the Privacy Shield a success. Commissioner Jourová said:  “The discussions over the past days were fruitful. I appreciate the commitment the US administration has showed to Transatlantic data transfers and to our concerns. The Privacy Shield can be a win-win for the EU and the US, if implemented correctly.” The discussions with the US administration together with feedback from businesses, NGOs and other stakeholders will feed into the Commission’s annual review report which will be published in the second half of October. A joint press statement by Commissioner Jourová and US Secretary of Commerce Ross is available online.  (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

EU and China sign memorandum on water protection against pollution, wastage and climate change

Today, Commissioner for the Environment, Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and Chinese Minister of Water Resources, Chen Lei, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Water Policy Dialogue between the EU and China. The signature which took place at the High Level Conference of the Water Platform in Turku, Finland, is a sign of political commitment to the co-operation on water policy, and will help implement the joint priorities between the EU and China in the water sector. Commissioner Vella said: “Today’s signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on establishing an EU-China Water Policy Dialogue is not just welcome, it is essential. We are demonstrating our commitment to jointly address common water challenges. Water is the source of life. Climate change, pollution, increasing demand and wastage have put pressures like never before. We are showing that a global problem needs global action.” The Dialogue between the EU and the Ministry of Water Resources will give political steer to the Chinese Europe Water Platform and cover a number of areas such as developing and enforcing legislation to protect water, integrated water resources management, dealing with water disasters, adaptation to climate change, and improving cooperation on international water issues. Today’s signature with China comes less than a year after the EU – India Memorandum of Understanding on water cooperation. More information here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

Cohesion Policy invests in a gas pipeline in Poland

€79 million from the European Regional Development Fund will cover a part of the construction costs of the 130 km-long Zdzieszowice – Wrocław pipeline in South-West Poland. The new pipeline will reinforce the existing regional gas transmission system and increase its capacity. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “This Cohesion Policy project improving gas connectivity in Eastern Europe is a concrete example of EU solidarity. We invest in thousands of transport, digital and energy networks throughout Europe so our Union can grow faster and ever closer.” Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Well-connected energy infrastructure is essential to achieving the Energy Union. This EU support will help fill existing gaps in energy infrastructure, putting us on the path to a truly connected European energy market. This is necessary to strengthen the security of energy supply and a more efficient use of the energy resources.” The Zdzieszowice – Wrocław pipeline is part of the North-South Corridor included in the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) 2017, as an important part of the North-South gas interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe. It was defined as a project of common interest for trans-European energy infrastructure. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Commission acts to prevent mis-selling of insurance products

The Commission has today adopted rules to protect consumers when they buy insurance products in the EU. New rules on product oversight and governance will for the first time oblige insurers to prioritise the interest of consumers when designing, developing and distributing all insurance products from 2018 onwards. In addition, new conduct of business rules will ensure that consumers benefit from a high level of protection when they invest their savings in insurance-based investment products, such as certain types of life-insurance policies. Sellers of insurance products will have to comply with new standards on preventing and managing conflicts of interest, and on accepting commissions and payments from third parties (so-called “inducements”). The rules also set out which information sellers must gather from their customers when providing advice and in which cases investment products might be sold with limited advice or without advice. The implementing rules adopted today, in the form of two delegated regulations, stem from the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD). They will enter into force on 23 February 2018 along with the IDD, following scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council. They follow the adoption in August 2017 of an implementing technical standard (ITS) on the Insurance Product Information Document (IPID). More information is available online(For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel: +32 229 51958)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Civica by Partners Group

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Civica Group Ltd (“Civica”) of the UK, by certain investment funds advised and/or managed by Partners Group AG or its affiliates of Switzerland. Civica is a provider of software and IT related services. Partners Group is a global private markets investment management company with portfolio companies active in various businesses. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the overlaps between the activities of Civica and Partners Group’s portfolio companies, as well as their activities on related markets, are limited. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8616. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

EU at UN General Assembly: standing in for a credible rules-based global order

The European Union on Wednesday at the 72nd UN General Assembly demonstrated a strong commitment to multilateralism and joint solutions for global challenges. President of the European Council Donald Tusk, speaking on behalf of the EU at the General Assembly, underlined the EU’s support for the United Nations. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans at a high-level ministerial event on the Role of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Economic Empowerment of Women stressed that violence against women is a challenge for every society and that fighting for the rights for women is the way forward. He as well as High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini also spoke at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum which brought together the public and private sector. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini, most notably, chaired the E3/EU+3 and Iran Ministerial Meeting on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). On top of a number of bilateral meetings, she also addressed a high-level event on Libya under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, participated at a trilateral EU-UN-African Union meeting and delivered a statement on behalf of the European Union at the ministerial meeting of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBT), urging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to make credible progress on its obligations to denuclearise. She also hosted an informal session with Western Balkans leaders, where she was joined by Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who earlier in the day met with the Foreign Ministers of the region. Commissioners Hahn and Neven Mimica presented the European External Investment Plan as part of the EU’s contribution to Global Goals at an event with UNDP, while Commissioner Christos Stylianides spoke at humanitarian event on South Sudan. Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulosspoke at the event marking one year of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, at the GCTF Ministerial Meetings as well as at a high level event Preventing Terrorist Use of the Internet, where he highlighted the EU action in this field. On the agenda on Thursday a meeting of the Libya Quartet and a high level event on Syria. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Esther Osorio – Tel.: +32 229 62076)

 

Additional $293.89 million in support to Iraq pledged at the Ministerial event on Iraq

A total of $293.89 million additional support to Iraq was pledged on Wednesday at the Ministerial-level event on Iraq, co-chaired by the EU together with the Republic of Iraq, the US, UNOCHA and Germany. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “The end of the Mosul military campaign has marked the beginning of a new phase of international support to Iraq. A new phase in which the need for humanitarian aid and protection continues, in order to save and protect the lives of all Iraqis affected by the conflict. In addition, it is now more important than ever to bolster complementarities between humanitarian aid, stabilisation, early recovery and development support: this is crucial to enable Iraqi families to also rebuild their lives. The additional funding announced today by the EU is for lifesaving humanitarian action to the most vulnerable Iraqis, including survivors of violence, children who have lost their parents and childhood to the war. The European Union will stand by them”. Funding aims to provide lifesaving support to the affected populations in retaken areas and those affected by displacement, including in the aftermath of the Mosul military campaign. It will also provide physical rehabilitation and gender-based, psychosocial and mental health support to the survivors of violence during the conflict. More information on EU support to Iraq in our factsheet here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322;Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

EU and UN presented a new initiative worth €500 million to eliminate violence against women and girls

In order to help eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, the European Union and the United Nations have presented yesterday their new “Spotlight Initiative”. At the official launch at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini said: “The European Union is committed to combatting all forms of violence against women and girls, as they undermine our core fundamental rights and values, such as dignity, access to justice and gender equality. We need first to ensure that we keep women and girls safe, in order to empower them to deploy their full potential.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added: “Violence against women and girls is one of the greatest injustices of our time, which crosses all borders, generations, nationalities and communities. It deeply touches our hearts and our minds. And it is a serious barrier to any society’s full development potential. To make a real change, I invite all partners to join our Spotlight Initiative for a world in which all women and girls can truly shine!” Over the next few years, comprehensive programmes and large-scale targeted actions will be implemented to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, such as sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation; trafficking and economic (labour) exploitation; femicide; and domestic and family violence. Core areas of intervention will include strengthening legislative frameworks, policies and institutions, preventive measures, access to services and improving data gathering in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean. Read also our press release, Q&A (MEMO) and Joint Communiqué, and watch the interventions of High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Mimicahere. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Esther Osorio – Tel.: +32 229 62076; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)      

Le Vice-Président Šefčovič et la Commissaire Bulc à Tallinn

Le Vice-Président pour l’Union de l’Energie Maroš Šefčovič  et la Commissaire aux Transports Violeta Bulc sont à Tallinn pour une série de discussions sur la politique européenne d’infrastructure dans le domaine des transports. Le dossier était  à l’agenda du Conseil informel Transport organisé par la Présidence estonienne où le Vice-Président pour l’Union de l’Energie Sefčovič a mené une rencontre conjointe des Ministres de transport et d’énergie (écouter sa déclaration sur EbS). Il a souligné que la modernisation de l’infrastructure et la réduction des gaz à effet de serre dans le transport vont de pair et qu’il convient d’y faire face ensemble. Quant à La Commissaire Bulc, elle a eu un échange de vue avec les ministres européens sur les besoins de financement pour l’après 2020 afin de mettre en œuvre le réseau transeuropéen de transport.  Selon les estimations de la Commission, ceux-ci sont de l’ordre de 500 milliards d’euros pour le seul réseau “central” lors de la période 2021-2030. Par ailleurs, la Commissaire Bulc a profité de cette réunion pour attirer l’attention des ministres sur le deuxième Journée européenne sans mort sur les routes (projet EDWARD) qui se tient aujourd’hui à travers l’Europe. A partir de cet après-midi, le Vice-Président Šefčovič et la Commissaire Bulc participeront à la conférence “Connecting Europe” organisé conjointement avec la présidence estonienne. L’objectif est de réunir décideurs et parties prenantes afin de dresser un bilan des investissements d’infrastructure réalisés jusqu’à présent et d’identifier des actions et solutions de financement pour l’après 2020. La conférence est disponible en webstreaming à cette adresse. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 6 91 43) 

Commissioner Gabriel in Athens to talk about cybersecurity and digital priorities for Europe

Today, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel is in Athens to deliver a speech on “Digital Policy Priorities for Europe” in front of members of standing Committees on European Affairs and on Public Administration, Public Order and Justice of the Hellenic Parliament. The Commissioner’s meetings include Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Nikos Pappas, Greek Minister for Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, the first Vice-President of the Hellenic Parliament Anastasios Kourakis and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, President of the party Nea Dimokratia. She will also visit the site of the project “Development of e-prescription system and provision of related support services” in the e-Government Center for Social Security Services in Athens. Following the Commission’s proposals to scale up European tools to enhance cybersecurity in the EU, Commissioner Gabriel will also visit the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) Athens office on which the EU Cybersecurity Agency will be based. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel. +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698; Julia Bräuer – Tel.: +32 229 80707)

Urban Agenda for the EU: Commissioner Creţu meets mayors of capitals in Riga

Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu attends the annual Capital Mayors meeting in Riga, Latvia, today and Friday to discuss the implementation of the Urban Agenda for the EU“I want capital cities to be strongly involved in the Urban Agenda for the EU”, said the Commissioner ahead of the meeting, “they are on the forefront of most challenges faced by urban areas. In the current Cohesion policy framework, cities are given more autonomy to deal with the funds then ever; I’m also here to invite them to actively participate in the discussion on the future Cohesion Policy after 2020.” During her visit to Latvia, Commissioner Creţu will also meet Dana Reizniece-Ozola, the Latvian Finance minister to discuss the future EU budget and Cohesion Policy. The Commission will report on the progress made under the Urban Agenda for the EU in October. The next Cities Forum on 27-28 November in Rotterdam will be another occasion to discuss the Urban Agenda further. (For further information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

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

Daily News 15 / 09 / 2017

State of the Union 2017 – Democracy Package: Reform of Citizens’ Initiative and Political Party funding

On 13 September, in his annual State of the Union Address, President Jean-Claude Juncker stated: “Our Union needs a democratic leap forward. Too often Europe-wide elections have been reduced to nothing more than the sum of national campaigns. European democracy deserves better. We should be giving European parties the means to better organise themselves.” Increasing democratic legitimacy in the EU through stronger citizen participation is among the Ten Priorities of the Juncker Commission (Priority 10 – Democratic Change). To continue delivering on this commitment, the European Commission adopted two legislative proposals to revise the European Citizens’ Initiative Regulation and the Regulation on European Political Parties and Foundations. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans presented these two proposals in a press conference in Brussels today, stating: “With these proposals, we are empowering Europeans to participate in the democratic process. We want to make the European Citizens’ Initiative more accessible for all Europeans, and by lowering the age limit from 18 to 16, we have invited 10 million more young Europeans to step forward and help shape the EU’s policy agenda. At the same time, our political party reform will ensure that Europeans are better informed about the link between national and European parties, and will ensure that their funding better reflects the democratic choices made by citizens in the European elections.” A full press release and memo are available online. The First Vice-President’s press conference can be watched on EbS here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 

Convergence criteria for joining the euro: State of play for non-euro area Member States

As President Junckerstated, “It’s not my idea to request that Member States now gallop into the euro. They have to fulfil the criteria before joining the euro. This will not change. But a Euro-accession support instrument should help those who want to join.” This is why President Juncker in his 2017 speech on the State of the Union, proposed the creation of a Euro-accession Instrument, to offer technical and financial assistance to non-euro area Member States on their path towards full membership of the euro. All EU Member States except Denmark and the United Kingdom are required by the EU Treaties to join the euro once they fulfil all conditions, but as President Juncker said, “no one would be forced to do so. The strict convergence criteria for joining the euro would continue to apply”, he explained. Today the European Commission published the latest available facts and figures on the situation of non-euro area Member States vis-à-vis meeting the convergence criteria. See President Juncker’s statement in EN, DE and FR. More information is available online in the two factsheets covering the legal parameters (also available in DE) and on the convergence criteria and facts and figures on non-euro area Member States (also available in DE). (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Juliana Dahl – Tel.: +32 229 59914)

 

Juncker Plan: New projects signed, European Fund for Strategic Investments supports 300,000 jobs

The latest projects to receive support from the Investment Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) are Nova School of Business and Economics in Portugal, to extend their campus; Águas de Portugal, to improve water supply and sanitation; Mecachrome, a circular economy project in France; Amadéite Group in France to support investments in marine biotechnology; Vertis Venture 3 in Italy which finances early-stage technology projects; and today the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement to finance the construction of 524 near-zero-energy social houses in Navarra, Spain, creating more than 700 jobs. The European Commission and the EIB Group estimate that the EFSI has so far supported 300,000 jobs across the EU. By 2020 that figure should be 700,000. This week the European Parliament and Member States came to an agreement in principle on EFSI 2.0 – the extension and reinforcement of the European Fund for Strategic Investments. (For more information about the EFSI 2.0 agreement, see our EFSI 2.0 Q&A, and for more details on any of the projects and Investment Plan results see the new and updated website, which has even more data about EFSI financing including results for all countries, more material such as stories about small businesses that have benefitted so far, and all the latest news. You can also contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

Preparation of the Eurogroup and informal ECOFIN meetings, Tallinn 15-16 September 2017

Commissioner Moscovici represented the European Commission at today’s meeting of the Eurogroup. Both Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici attend the informal ECOFIN Council meetings today and tomorrow in Tallinn, Estonia. At today’s Eurogroup, Ministers held a thematic discussion on ways to increase the economic resilience of Member States in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in order to better withstand internal and external shocks. Ministers were also informed about the state of play of the stability support programme for Greece. Commissioner Moscovici participated in the press conference following the Eurogroup meeting. EU Ministers will exchange views during a working lunch on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union and maximising effectiveness of EU finances. This discussion will be followed by a working session on the same topic based on the Commission’s  Reflection Paper on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union published in May 2017. Ministers will further debate the implications of technological innovation in the area of financial regulation as part of the Capital Markets Union. On Saturday, Ministers will hold a working session on digital economy and taxation, given the importance of adapting European tax systems to the challenges of a modern economy. The discussion comes just days after President Juncker confirmed in his State of the Union letter of intent that the Commission would come forward in 2018 with a proposal for the taxation of the digital economy. In the final working session on Saturday, the ECOFIN will look at ways to increase cost efficiency and sustainability of EU customs IT systems. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the two press conferences following the ECOFIN sessions on 15 and 16 September.  (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 460 764687; Juliana Dahl – Tel.: +32 229 59914; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

 

La Commission approuve deux nouvelles appellations d’origine protégées de Franceet une de Grèce

La Commission Européenne a approuvé deux nouvelles appellations d’origine protégées de France et une de Grèce. Pour la France, la Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d’inscription du «Jambon noir de Bigorre» et du «Porc noir de Bigorre»dans le registre des appellations d’origine protégées (AOP). Le «Jambon Noir de Bigorre» est un jambon sec produit et affiné en Bigorre, zone située dans le sud-ouest de la France dans les Pyrénées. La viande de «Porc noir de Bigorre» provient de porcs gascons de race pure également élevés en Bigorre. Le lien entre le Porc noir et cette région s’affirme à partir du XIème siècle. Pour la Grèce, la Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d’inscription du «Πευκοθυμαρόμελο Κρήτης» (Pefkothymaromelo Kritis) dans le registre des appellations d’origine protégées (AOP). Il s’agit d’un mélange naturel de miels de thym et de pin produit en Crète. Ces trois nouvelles appellations vont rejoindre plus de 1400 produits déjà protégés dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR. Pour plus d’informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (pour plus d’information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185;Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)

 

European Union bringing communities in Kosovo together in support of cultural heritage protection

The European Union adopted a programme worth €2 million to support confidence building among the ethnic communities in Kosovo through cultural heritage protection. The European Commission adopted this week a programme – under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) – worth €2 million to support cultural heritage protection in Kosovo. The programme will support the continued rehabilitation of important cultural and religious sites, the development of cultural and rural tourism, as well as engaging communities to work together on cultural heritage protection. In doing so, this programme will contribute to greater understanding and reconciliation between ethnic communities. The full press release is available online (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

EU co-hosts major international climate meeting with Canada and China

The European Union, Canada and China are joining forces to strengthen global action in the fight against climate change. They will co-host a Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action on 15-16 September in Montreal, Canada. This gathering, a first of its kind, seeks to galvanise global momentum for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and will bring together ministers and high-level representatives from 34 economies that are part of the G20 and other invited countries. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will jointly lead the roundtable discussion on climate action and clean growth. Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said: “The EU remains committed to the Paris Agreement and its full and swift implementation. Domestically, we are progressing steadily with the finalisation of the measures to reduce our emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Internationally, we are strengthening our existing partnerships and seeking new alliances. Our aim is to raise global climate ambition, follow through with concrete action and support our partners, in particular the most vulnerable countries.” The meeting in Montreal takes place only days after this year’s State of the Union Address by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker where he underlines that he “wants Europe to be the leader when it comes to the fight against climate change. Set against the collapse of ambition in the United States, Europe will ensure we make our planet great again. It is the shared heritage of all of humanity” (read #SOTEU2017 SPEECH/17/3165). Two months before the next United Nations climate conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, the meeting will also provide the space for discussions on the expected outcomes of upcoming UN climate talks. More information on the Commission’s website. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

Clean, shared and intelligent mobility: Commission launches the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK

The European Commission is today launching the 16th edition of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK taking place from 16 to 22 September across more than 2000 towns and cities. The objective of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is to promote sustainable urban mobility and this year edition will encourage people to use shared forms of transportation such as bicycle and car sharing under the slogan ‘Sharing gets you further’. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “Shared mobility is a smart and innovative emerging model of transportation, with the potential to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads: for example, for each shared car, 15 private cars are off the road. But it’s not only about cars; we are witnessing a real explosion of shared bike systems in cities and towns across the EU. This is important, as we need to ensure that the future of urban mobility is both shared and sustainable.” Shared mobility solutions can indeed reduce congestion, air pollution and make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of urban transport, which is responsible for about 23% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is essential for Europe to be “the leader when it comes to the fight against climate change” envisioned by President Juncker in the State of the Union. The EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK will include events such as car-free days all across Europe and the second edition of the European day without a road death, which aims at raising awareness on road safety. More information is available here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 6 91 43)

Mergers: Commission approves banking joint venture by DNB and Nordea in the Baltics

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, a proposed joint venture between DNB of Norway and Nordea of Sweden. The joint venture, called the Luminor Group, would operate in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. DNB and Nordea are universal banks which offer a wide range of financial services to retail and corporate clients. They will combine their banking activities in the Baltics in the newly created Luminor Group. The Commission concluded that the proposed merger would raise no competition concerns in view of the strong competition that the Luminor Group will face post-transaction, notably from SEB bank and Swedbank, and the fact that DNB and Nordea are not considered to be particularly close competitors in the countries concerned by the transaction. 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.8414. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Le taux d’emplois vacants à 1,9% dans la zone euro

Le taux d’emplois vacants s’est établi à 1,9% dans la zone euro (ZE19) au deuxième trimestre 2017, stable par rapport au trimestre précédent et en hausse par rapport au taux de 1,7% enregistré en deuxième trimestre 2016, selon les chiffres publiés par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. Le taux d’emplois vacants dans l’UE28 s’est quant à lui établi à 2,0% au deuxième trimestre 2017, en hausse par rapport au taux de 1,9% relevé au trimestre précédent et à celui de 1,8% du deuxième trimestre 2016. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

Eurostat: La croissance annuelle des coûts de la main-d’œuvre à 1,8% dans la zone euro

Les coûts horaires de la main-d’œuvre ont augmenté de 1,8% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 2,2% dans l’UE28 au deuxième trimestre 2017, par rapport au même trimestre de l’année précédente. Au premier trimestre 2017, les coûts horaires de la main-d’œuvre avaient progressé de 1,4% et 1,6% respectivement. Ces données sont publiées par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

Excédent de 23,2 milliards d’euros du commerce international de biens de la zone euro

D’après les premières estimations pour le mois de juillet 2017, les exportations de biens de la zone euro (ZE19) vers le reste du monde se sont établies à 177,7 milliards d’euros, en hausse de 6,1% par rapport à juillet 2016 (167,6 mrds). Les importations depuis le reste du monde ont quant à elles été de 154,6 mrds d’euros, en hausse de 8,2% par rapport à juillet 2016 (142,8 mrds). En conséquence, la zone euro a enregistré en juillet 2017 un excédent de 23,2 mrds d’euros de son commerce international de biens avec le reste du monde, contre +24,8 mrds en juillet 2016. Le commerce intra-zone euro s’est établi à 145,6 mrds d’euros en juillet 2017, soit +5,6% par rapport à juillet 2016. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel.: +32 229 51383)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Reinvigorating Multilateralism: EU attends 72nd United Nations General Assembly Ministerial week

A high-level delegation of the European Union will attend the ministerial week of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, starting on 18 September in New York. The EU representatives will participate in a large number of events at the United Nations and meet with world leaders, reflecting the European Union’s engagement as a force for positive change, in support of multilateralism and a rules-based global order. The level and breadth of the EU’s participation illustrates the strong cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations, who work hand in hand to jointly deliver peace and security, advance human rights and sustainable development, thus changing lives across the globe for the better. To help find common solutions to global challenges, the European Union will host several events in the margins of the General Assembly. These include the launch of the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade and the launch of the EU – UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The EU will also host a ministerial-level event on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and a high-level meeting on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, following up on the 2017 Brussels conference. In the run up to the African Union – EU Summit in November 2017, a series of events dedicated to Africa will take place. See here the full press release with more information on the activities of the EU participants, and here a factsheet on EU – UN cooperation. For more information throughout the week follow key events also on EbS and the EU Delegation at the UN. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic Tel.: +32 229-86570; Esther Osorio Tel.:+32 229-62076)

 

Vice-President Maroš Šefcovic’ visit to Ukraine focused on energy policy reforms

On 15 September European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefcovic will pay a working visit to Kyiv. He will meet Ukrainian leadership and speak at the opening of the 14th Yalta European Strategy annual event on the geopolitics of energy policy. The Vice-President intends to discuss with his interlocutors the reform progress in energy sector, gas transit and Naftogaz reforms and explore ways to further develop the EU-Ukraine cooperation in the context of the Energy Union. During his visit, Vice-President will meet Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Vice Prime Ministers Hennadiy Zubko and Volodymyr Kistion, Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin. He will also meet with members of Verkhovna Rada Energy Committee and Naftogas CEO Andriy Kobolyev. Prior to his visit, Vice-President Šefcovic said: “The European Union strongly supports Ukraine’s reforms in the energy sector, which are central to modernising Ukraine’s economy and bringing concrete advantages to consumers and enterprises. I look forward to discuss with Ukrainian leadership our next steps to enable Ukraine’s full potential in the fields of energy efficiency, power sector and transit of gas.” (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: (+ 32 229 91269); Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: (+32 229 52589)

Commissioner Jourová on official visit to Washington D.C and San Francisco

Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová will visit Washington D.C. on Monday September 18 to launch the first annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The purpose of the review is to establish whether the arrangement adopted on 12 July, now used by over 2,400 firms, properly secures transfers of personal data from the EU to the US. After discussions with US administration and gathering feedback from range of stakeholders, from businesses to NGOs, the Commission will publish a report with its assessment in the coming weeks. The Commissioner will then visit Silicon Valley September 19-20 to quiz tech companies on their experience with Privacy Shield and discuss the ongoing work on social platforms in the EU, including combating illegal online hate speech, user’s terms and conditions, gender equality, especially in a tech environment and other upcoming EU initiatives. In particular, she’ll meet Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, representatives of Google and other tech companies, start-ups and NGOs. She will give a keynote at Berkeley University on ‘Between freedom and security – The future of justice on the Internet’. More information on the Privacy Shield is available online, as well as in a short video. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel. +32 229 67083; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

Commissioner Moscovici in Washington D.C. and New York, USA

Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Union, Pierre Moscovici travels to the United States on Sunday for several days of meetings with U.S. policymakers and stakeholders in Washington, D.C. and New York, including Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, as well as the Director-General of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva. On Monday in Washington he will deliver a speech at the Brookings Institution entitled ‘Europe’s window of opportunity: Seizing the moment to strengthen the Eurozone’. On Wednesday in New York, the Commissioner will attend the Bloomberg Global Business Forum and on Thursday he will take part in a conversation on ‘Transforming the Eurozone’ at Columbia University. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

Commissioner Navracsics to travel to Slovenia for international education congress

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will be in Ljubljana on Monday where he will open the 2nd World Open Educational Resources Congress. Organised by UNESCO and the Government of Slovenia, the Congress will adopt an Action Plan to further reinforce the use of open educational resources, such as openly licensed text, digital assets and media used for learning or teaching. The first edition of the Congress took place in Paris in 2012 and called on organisations to ensure that educational resources created with public funds are made available as open educational resources. Ahead of his visit, Commissioner Navracsics said: “Open Educational Resources have a critical role in boosting development and inclusion. Yet, high-quality educational materials are often still expensive and hard to access. Educational resources produced with public funding should be available to the public free of charge and without usage limitations. The European Commission is following this principle with its Erasmus+ programme, and many of the 2,800 projects completed since 2014 have created and released excellent open educational resources. We are working to ensure that all Erasmus+ funded educational resources become available under open licences in 2018.” (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184; Julia-Henriette Bräuer – Tel.: +32 229 80707)

 

La Commissaire Creţu en Roumanie

Lundi et mardi, la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu visite les villes de  Zalău et Cluj en Roumanie. Lundi à Zalău, la Commissaire rencontre le maire de la ville, Ioan Ciunt, aux côtés de plusieurs élus locaux, et visite un hôpital financé par l’UE. La Commissaire participe aussi à un Dialogue Citoyen avec Rovana Plumb, ministre déléguée pour les fonds européens, sur le thème du Discours sur l’état de l’Union 2017 du Président Juncker et du futur de l’Europe. “La Roumanie a eu une place de choix dans le discours du Président Juncker et j’espère que cela convaincra les citoyens roumains de se joindre activement à la discussion sur notre Europe, l’Europe de demain,” a commenté la Commissaire avant sa visite. Mardi à Cluj, Corina Creţu s’entretiendra avec des membres du comité pour le développement régional du Parlement européen, ainsi qu’avec de nombreux élus locaux, lors d’une table ronde sur les moyens de renforcer la capacité des administrations du pays pour garantir le succès des investissements de la politique de cohésion. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Commissioner King in Bucharest on Monday

EU Security Union Commissioner Julian King will be in Bucharest, Romania on Monday 18 September to discuss issues related to security, in particular information exchange and cybersecurity. During his visit, he will meet Mihai Tudose, Prime Minister of Romania, Minister of Justice Tudorel Toader and Minister of the Interior Carmen Dan. Commissioner King will also visit the Operational Headquarters – Central Management of the Romanian Border Control, which houses the Passenger Name Records (PNR), sea border and land border units, and later will meet with the specialised committees of the Romanian Parliament.(For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 299 63444)

Calendar

The Commissioners’ weekly activities

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

Daily News 28 / 07 / 2017

EU Trust Fund for Africa adopts €46 million programme to support integrated migration and border management in Libya

Following up on the Commission’s Action Plan to support Italy from 4 July, the EU Trust Fund for Africa adopted today a programme worth €46 million to reinforce the integrated migration and border management capacities of the Libyan authorities. The new actions respond to the measures proposed under the Action plan to address the migratory flows along the Central Mediterranean Route and it aims at stepping up activities in support of the Libyan Border- and Coast Guards, to enhance their capacity to effectively manage the country’s borders. The programme will be implemented by the Italian Ministry of Interior and co-financed by Italy. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: Security and stability in Libya are key for the Libyans, the region and Europe, and they come also by better managing the borders and strengthening the resilience of the population. While we keep working to a political solution to the political crisis in the country, that brings peace and reconciliation, we also continue to support the communities and the Libyan authorities, also in their capacity to address the migration flows, rescue migrants, making sure that human rights are respected, and fight against the smuggling networks. This new programme is part of our comprehensive approach: increased border management will go hand in hand with the work we are doing on the sustainable socioeconomic development of local communities, as well as protection, assisted voluntary returns and reintegration of migrants”. Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: The European Commission, through the EU Trust Fund for Africa is undertaking rapid and concrete measures to reduce migratory pressure along the Central Mediterranean Route. With this new package we have mobilised already €136 million to better manage migration in Libya and our work continues. The European Union, working hand-in-hand with its Member States will keep on supporting the Libyan authorities for the sake of the people in Libya, for the stabilisation of the country and of the region, which is part of our Neighbourhood.” A full press release is available online. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: + 32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887; Esther Osorio – Tel.: +32 229 62076)

 

E-commerce: making online shopping safer for consumers

The Commission has today issued guidelines to help national market surveillance authorities better control products sold online. In 2017, 55% of Europeans buy online (2017 Consumer Scoreboard) and get products shipped directly to their door, escaping the authorities’ traditional controls. Some of these products might be dangerous and not in line with EU product safety laws, for instance toys containing substances banned in the EU. The guidelines published today clarify: 1) that any product sold online to the EU has to comply with EU product legislation, even if the producer is based outside the EU; 2) the obligations of online marketplaces when authorities require them to remove dangerous products through the ‘notice and action procedure’, as defined in the e-commerce directive; and 3) the responsibility of all actors in the supply chain, including fulfilment service providers who receive the order, package and send the product. Vĕra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “Shopping online is an easy way for consumers to shop, but it shouldnevercome at the expense of safety. With the new guidelines, national surveillance authorities will be able to check products bought online and ensure that all products sold in Europe are safe. Our latest figures show that trust in e-commerce is growing. Today’s safety measures will further contribute to this trend and reassure consumers. It’s our duty to make sure online commerce is as safe as traditional shopping.” Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, added: “With rising online sales, national market surveillance authorities find controlling and tracing products sold on-line increasingly complex. This guidance will ensure Europeans can shop online safely while further measures to strengthen market surveillance in Europe are planned for later this year.” As outlined in the 2015 Single Market Strategy, the Commission is working on a package of measures later this year that will open up more opportunities to companies that want to expand cross-border and keep unsafe and non-compliant products out from the EU market. Full guidelines available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Maud Noyon – Tel.: +32 229 80379)

La Commission agit pour assurer l’avenir financier de l’Orchestre des jeunes de l’Union européenne

La Commission européenne a proposé aujourd’hui une solution juridique solide et transparente qui permettra à l’UE de poursuivre son soutien financier à l’Orchestre des jeunes de l’Union européenne. L’Orchestre, qui forme de jeunes musiciens, parmi les meilleurs en Europe, bénéficie de l’appui des institutions européennes depuis sa création en 1976. Ce soutien est essentiel à la formation des jeunes musiciens, à la possibilité qu’ils ont de se produire à l’échelle internationale, de bâtir leur carrière et de développer leur talent sous la direction de chefs d’orchestre réputés. Très ému lorsqu’il avait appris que l’Orchestre traversait des difficultés financières, le Président de la Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, avait annoncé des solutions pour sa survie dès juin 2016. Il a déclaré : “Depuis 40 ans, l’Orchestre des jeunes de l’Union européenne incarne la diversité culturelle de l’Europe et a permis à des jeunes venant d’horizons différents de rassembler leurs talents et de faire partager leurs passions. Notre Union a toujours porté la culture dans son cœur. Ceux qui tentent de la réduire à des termes purement politiques ou économiques oublient tout ce que nous avons réalisé et à quel point la culture nous a aidés à le faire“. Depuis 2016, l’UE a réservé pour l’Orchestre une subvention d’un montant de 600 000 euros par an. Aujourd’hui, la Commission propose au Parlement européen et au Conseil de modifier le règlement établissant le programme de soutien aux secteurs culturels et créatifs, Europe Créative, afin que l’Orchestre soit reconnu en tant qu’organisation habilitée à recevoir un soutien financier sans passer par des appels à proposition devenus par ailleurs très compétitifs. (Pour plus d’informations:Nathalie Vandystadt – Tél.: +32 229 67083; Maud Noyon – Tél.: +32 229 80379)

 

Commission consults on how to better protect victims of car accidents

The Commission launches today a public consultation on how best to protect victims of motor vehicle accidents.  In particular, the Commission intends to look into the role and functioning of motor guarantee funds, especially in cases where the insurer of the liable party becomes insolvent. Moreover, it seeks to increase the role of the insurance claims history of individuals when moving between EU Member States, which is used to calculate no-claims discounts. This initiative follows the publication of the Consumer Financial Services Action Plan in March 2017. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, said: “The Motor Insurance Directive affects us all. Many people own a car and any EU citizen can become the victim of a motor vehicle accident. If accidents happen in the EU, no matter if in your home country or abroad, proper compensation mechanisms should be in place. The latest developments in the car and insurance markets and recent case law require that we evaluate our legislation in the field.” The EU motor insurance legislation has been evolving since 1972, continually strengthening the protection of injured parties in accidents abroad. The Motor Insurance Directive was last amended in 2009. Evidence from court cases, citizens’ complaints and enquiries suggest that Member States implement the Directive differently. The input from this consultation will help the Commission review all elements of the Directive. The consultation questionnaires, one aimed at consumers and one at professionals and interested organisations, are available here. The consultation will be open until 20 October 2017. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153;Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

State aid: Commission approves rescue and restructuring aid scheme for SMEs in Belgium’s Wallonia region

The European Commission has found a €20 million Belgian aid scheme aimed at facilitating the rescue and restructuring of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) in the region of Wallonia to be in line with EU State aid rules. Under the scheme, which will run until 2020, the publicly-owned “Société Wallonne de Gestion et de Participation” (“SOGEPA”) will be entitled to offer rescue and restructuring support to Walloon SMEs in financial difficulty. SOGEPA will provide support notably if a company’s default would likely to trigger social hardship in the region. For example, SMEs impacted by the recent closure of Caterpillar’s Belgian plant in Gosselies may be eligible for aid under the scheme. The Commission assessed the scheme under the Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on the rescue and restructuring of non-financial companies in difficulty and found that the aid will be transparent and limited in time and in scope. The Commission found that the support will contribute to economic cohesion and development in the region, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. The scheme also requires potential beneficiaries of restructuring aid to present a sound restructuring plan ensuring their long-term viability, and to make a significant own contribution to the restructuring costs. More information will be made available under the case number SA.47781 in the public case register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. The State Aid Weekly e-News lists new publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Concentrations: la Commission autorise la création d’une entreprise commune entre LVMH et Marcolin

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, la création d’une entreprise commune entre le groupe français LVMH et l’entreprise italienne Marcolin. L’entreprise commune concevra, developpera et fournira des produits d’optique dans le monde entier. LVMH fournit des produits de luxe tels que des bijoux, des parfums et de la maroquinerie. Marcolin fabrique et distribue des produits d’optique, notamment des montures et des lunettes de soleil. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence dans la mesure où les chevauchements entre les activités des entreprises sont modestes. Par ailleurs, les relations verticales créées par l’opération entre les activités de fourniture de produits d’optique de Marcolin et les activités de distribution au détail de LVMH demeurent limitées. L’opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d’affaire M.8509. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Eurostat: Le revenu réel des ménages par habitant en hausse dans la zone euro et quasi stable dans l’UE28

Dans la zone euro, en termes réels, le revenu des ménages par habitant a augmenté de 0,2% au premier trimestre 2017, après avoir diminué de 0,1% au trimestre précédent. La consommation réelle des ménages par habitant est restée stable au premier trimestre 2017, après une hausse de 0,1% au quatrième trimestre 2016. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: + 32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

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

Daily News 22 / 06 / 2017

European Council 22-23 June: Leaders discuss migration, security, defence and economy

Today and tomorrow, EU leaders will discuss a number of priorities that figure on the European agenda, including migration, security, defence, the economy and the digital single market. They will also – at 27 – discuss and decide on the procedure and the criteria for the relocation of the two EU agencies from London (the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority). The June European Council will focus on making Europe a more secure, sustainable and prosperous place for its citizens. It will build on the Union’s forward momentum, unity and shared sense of purpose as it makes progress on a number of priorities set out in the Bratislava, Malta and Rome Declarations. The meeting will be an opportunity for the leaders to reaffirm their commitment to a strong, open and global EU that stands up for a rules-based international system and fights for fairness at home and abroad. The European Commission’s recent proposals on migration and defence will be the basis for leaders’ discussion on migration, defence and internal security. The spectre of recent attacks will sharpen the focus for the discussions on internal security and the fight against terrorism. On migration, leaders will take stock of progress since March, focusing notably on the Central Mediterranean route and the ongoing talks on the reform of the Common European Asylum System. Aspects linked to the single market, the economy, external affairs and digital Europe will also be discussed. A press conference by President Juncker and President Tusk is scheduled for 18:30 CET today and tomorrow at 12:30 CET, President Juncker will hold a joint press conference with President Donald Tusk and Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat. Both events will be webstreamed live via EbS. (For more information:Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 9138)

Migration: President Juncker at the High Level Conference in the European Parliament

Yesterday, President Juncker addressed the participants of the High Level Conference on Migration in the European Parliament. In his opening speech, the President reminded: “Our migration policy is guided by two fundamental European principles: responsibility and solidarity. That is why I made it clear during the European election campaign, together with others, that we cannot abandon a country if the well-being of its people is at stake. Where a country sits on a map of the world cannot be the sole factor in determining how much responsibility a country should bear in the refugee issue.” Recalling the European Union’s role in the protection of its external borders, President Juncker said that “more than 1,600 European border guards are currently supporting the national guards”. President Juncker also reiteratedthe importance of the principle of solidarity: “solidarity is not a one-way street […] every country must take its fair share of responsibility”, adding that “if there are some who refuse, the Commission must also honour its own responsibilities.” President Juncker also welcomed the newly-established cooperation with countries of origin and transit, notably in the form of the Partnership Framework with Africa. €200 million will be mobilised in 2017 for migration-related activities in North Africa: in Libya but also in Egypt and Tunisia, the President explained. The full speech is available here and a recording of the press conference by President Juncker, President Tajani and High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini is available on EbS. (For more information:Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

Juncker Plan: EUR 50 million for Italian SMEs

The Juncker Plan has backed a European Investment Fund (EIF) loan agreement with Valsabbina, an Italian bank, to unlock EUR 50 million for an estimated 150 small businesses. This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Italy is among the top beneficiaries under the European Fund for Strategic Investments. I am glad that today’s agreement will facilitate access to finance for more Italian companies to invest in research, innovation and job-creation. I wish the beneficiaries of this transaction every success.” As of June 2017, the Juncker Plan is now expected to trigger over EUR 33 billion in investments in Italy and EUR 209 billion across Europe. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

Initiative pour les PME: un nouveau coup de pouce financier pour les startups et entreprises roumaines

La Commission européenne salue les nouveaux accords signés entre le Groupe Banque Européenne d’Investissement (BEI) et deux banques en Roumanie – Bancpost et Banca Transilvania – dans le cadre du programme Initiative pour les PME. Cela s’ajoute aux trois accords signés le mois dernier avec les banques roumaines Raiffeisen Bank, Banca Comerciala Romana et ProCredit. Ces accords devraient bénéficier à près de 3 700 startups et petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) roumaines. La Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu a déclaré: “Je suis ravie de voir que les entreprises roumaines profitent pleinement du potentiel de l’Initiative pour les PME. Les entrepreneurs roumains sont talentueux et les petites entreprises roumaines sont compétitives, mais ils ont souvent besoin d’un coup de pouce supplémentaire pour développer des produits innovants, accéder à de nouveaux marchés et créer des emplois dans le pays. C’est précisément ce à quoi sert ce programme. J’espère aussi que la Roumanie servira d’exemple dans l’UE et convaincra les autres États membres d’adopter l’Initiative pour les PME”. Avec une contribution de 100 millions d’euros du Fonds européen de développement régional (FEDER), l’Initiative pour PME roumaine investit les fonds de la politique de Cohésion dans des instruments financiers qui permettront de lever près de 540 millions d’euros, afin de stimuler le développement des petites entreprises.Plus d’information est disponible dans ce communiqué de presse sur le site du Fonds Européen d’Investissement (FEI).(Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Agreement reached on better protection of consumers

Last evening, the European Parliament and Council reached a political agreement on the Commission’s proposal to improve the EU-wide cooperation mechanism for consumer protection. These new rules will introduce a quick and more efficient cross-border cooperation mechanism between the national enforcers. They will have faster tools to react in a joint action when illegal practices are reported by consumers in at least two thirds of the EU countries. “Strengthened cross-border enforcement is crucial in the digital age where harmful practices can be replicated easily in many countries with just one click,” said Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. “Enforcement authorities will gain modern tools to protect consumers online, such as the power to remove online shopping scams, as well as in any case of EU-wide infringement of consumer rights.” For the first time in the case of widespread illegal commercial practices, authorities will be able to accept commitments from traders that they will provide remedies to the consumers affected. Further work on compensation will be carried out as part of the EU consumer legislation review. Another change is the creation of a new EU-wide market alert system to detect new threats more rapidly. It will include evidence sent by consumer and trade associations. This is a significant step towards a fairer and more efficient enforcement of consumer laws across the EU. Today’s agreement is another concrete deliverable of the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy. This legislation is part of the Commission’s efforts to update consumer rules.Today’s agreement will now need to be formally endorsed by the European Parliament, Council and Commission. The Member States will then have up to 24 months to make sure their consumer authorities are ready to meet the new standards. Further details are available in the factsheet(For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

EU announces €85 million as Uganda faces world’s fastest growing refugee crisis

Uganda is now facing the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, due to a continuous and unprecedented influx of people fleeing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan among others. The country is now hosting over 1.27 million refugees and asylum seekers. “To help Uganda deal with this unprecedented situation and support the most vulnerable refugees, the European Commission has today announced €85 million in humanitarian aid and longer term development assistance. Many refugees have fled conflict in South Sudan, seeking sanctuary from violence, hatred and hunger. Uganda’s example of helping vulnerable people cope with displacement is an example for the whole region and the world. However, no country can deal with such a high number of refugees on its own. The EU funding announced today will help our humanitarian partners working in Uganda bring some relief to those who have lost everything”, said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The announcement comes as Commissioner Stylianides is attending the Uganda Solidarity Summit on refugees taking place in Kampala on 22 and 23 June, on behalf of the European Commission. Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

La Commission enregistre une nouvelle spécialité traditionnelle de Bulgarie

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d’inscription du «Пастърма говежда» (Pastarma govezhda) dans le registre des Spécialités Traditionnelles Garanties (STG). Le «pastarma govezhda» est une spécialité de viande crue séchée avec une saveur et une odeur de viande de bœuf maturée. La méthode de production traditionnelle, caractérisée par le processus de séchage, a rendu ce type de produit unique pour la Bulgarie. Il s’agit du 5ème produit bulgare à être enregistré comme Spécialité Traditionnelle Garantie. Cette nouvelle appellation va rejoindre plus de 1400 produits déjà protégés dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR. Pour plus d’informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (Pour plus d’information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185;Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Huber Silica by Evonik, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation Evonik’s acquisition of Huber Silica. Evonik and Huber Silica are both manufacturers of speciality chemicals, including precipitated silica, a chemical used in tyres, toothpaste, defoamers, paints and coatings. The Commission’s investigation concluded that the transaction, as notified, raised competition concerns in the markets for: (i) precipitated silica for toothpaste and for defoamer applications; and (ii) hydrophobic precipitated silica, which is used in several products including defoamers, paints, coatings, food and feed additives. To address the competition concerns, Evonik and Huber Silica offered to divest several of their activities related to these markets. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed merger, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou  Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of DONG E&P by INEOS

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over DONG E&P of Denmark, by INEOS of the UK. DONG E&P is engaged in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons. INEOS is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products, with some activities in the upstream oil and gas sector. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given that the companies’ activities overlap to a limited extent and that a number of alternative suppliers would remain in the market after the merger. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8473. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou  Tel.: +32 229 13740)


ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Commissioner Hahn at the Third Eastern Partnership Youth Forum

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations will represent the Commission at the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Youth Forum which is taking place in Warsaw on 22-23 June. The EaP Youth Forum will bring together over 300 youth leaders, youth workers and youth policy makers from EU Member States and the EU’s six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The Forum, organised by the European Commission and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the run up to the Eastern Partnership Summit (Brussels, November 2017), will provide a unique opportunity to discuss policies and programmes dedicated to young people. Ahead of his participation in the Forum, Johannes Hahn said: “Active, critical and responsible citizenship among young people is key in addressing the challenges we face in the European Union and our Eastern Neighbourhood. I look forward to lively discussions with young people at the Eastern Partnership Youth Forum in Warsaw! The resulting recommendations will be instrumental in shaping our youth policies: I expect youth to figure prominently among the issues to be discussed at November’s Eastern Partnership Summit“. The full press release is available online. Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

 

Commissioner Moscovici in Spain on 22-23 June

Commissioner Moscovici is in Madrid, Spain where he will later today deliver a speech at the Nueva Economía Forum. The Spanish minister for Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Mr Luis de Guindos, will introduce the Commissioner and they will meet bilaterally in advance of the event. This afternoon, the Commissioner will also go to the Spanish Parliament to meet the Mixed Committee for the EU and the Committee for the Economy and Competitiveness. Tomorrow, Commissioner Moscovici will be in Seville, where he will meet Ms Susana Díaz, President of the Andalucía region, Ms Maria-Jesús Montero, Regional minister of Andalucía for Finance and Administration, and Mr Antonio Ramírez de Arellano, Regional minister of Andalucía for the Economy and Knowledge. The Commissioner will then visit Aerópolis, the only science and technology park in Europe exclusively devoted to the aerospace industry. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194)

 

La Commissaire Thyssen accompagne sa Majesté le Roi des Belges en Suisse

Aujourd’hui et demain, le 22 et 23 juin, la Commissaire pour l’Emploi, les Affaires sociales, les Compétences et la Mobilité des Travailleurs, Marianne Thyssen, accompagnera la délégation de sa Majesté le Roi des Belges à une visite officielle à la Suisse, dont le thème central sera la formation duale (“Duale Ausbildung”). La visite débutera avec l’accueil officiel par la Présidente de la Confédération helvétique, Mme Doris Leuthard. Ensuite, la délégation aura un échange de vues sur le système suisse de la formation duale avec le Secrétaire d’ Etat suisse, Mr Mauro Dell’Ambrogio. Le vendredi 23 juin, la délégation belge rendra visite à l’entreprise ABB Turbo Systems à Baden, pour en apprendre plus sur la formation duale dans la pratique. Après une introduction sur le Libs, le plus grand centre de formation industrielle de la Suisse qui travaille ensemble avec plusieurs entreprises de la région, la délégation participera à une table ronde, présidée par le Conseiller fédéral et Chef du Département fédéral des Affaires économiques, l’Education et la Recherche suisse, Mr Schneider-Ammann, pour discuter de l’innovation, de la formation des professeurs et de l’implication des entreprises dans la formation. Suivant un lunch de réseautage avec des élèves et professeurs de différents secteurs, la mission se conclura par une visite à une école professionnelle à Luzern, pour discuter de la mobilité des élèves et des contrôles de qualité. (Pour plus d’informations: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)

Commissioner Jourová on official visit to the Middle East

Commissioner Jourová will travel to Israel and Palestine from 22 to 26 June, where she will be the first European Justice Commissioner to visit. The aim of the visit is to strengthen cooperation in the fields of justice and gender equality. Today, Commissioner is in Ramallah, where she meets Palestinian authorities including Minister of Justice, Dr Ali Abu Diak and the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Haifa Al Agha. The Commissioner will then participate in a roundtable on gender equality and the fight against violence against women. She will also meet EUPOL COOPS, which is the EU Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support. On 25 and 26 June, Commissioner Jourová will exchange views with Israeli authorities including President Reuven Rivlin, Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, and Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel. The aim of the meetings is to reinforce the EU-Israel cooperation on data protection, fight against anti-Semitism and online hate speech. Commissioner will then participate in the 11th High-Level EU-Israel Seminar on Combatting Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism. Finally, she will deliver a keynote speech on “Justice, freedom and tolerance in cyberspace: building trust and addressing risks” at the 2017 Cyber Week in Tel Aviv. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

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

Latest daily news

Bank On Nature: Commission and EIB sign first loan agreement backed by Natural Capital Financing Facility to support biodiversity

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are announcing today the first loan agreement backed by the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF), a financing partnership between the Commission and the EIB supporting nature and climate adaptation projects through tailored loans and investments, backed by an EU guarantee. Today’s agreement will see Rewilding Europe Capital receive a EUR 6 million loan to provide support for over 30 businesses across Europe, focused on restoring and protecting natural areas. This will support and is in line with the upcoming Action Plan of the Commission to improve the implementation of the EU’s Habitats and Birds Directives and is expected to create hundreds of new jobs. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said, “Nature is essential for our lives, and our economy. The recent successful evaluation of the EU nature directives illustrated this. The Rewilding Europe project will be the first of many that the Bank on Nature initiative, building on the NCFF, will assist in our plans to create rural jobs and protect nature”. The rewilding areas concerned are: Western Iberia (Portugal), Velebit Mountains (Croatia), Central Apennines (Italy), Southern Carpathians (Romania), Danube Delta (Romania), Rhodope Mountains (Bulgaria), Oder Delta (Germany/Poland) and Lapland (Sweden). A signing ceremony with Vice-President Katainen, Commissioner Vella and EIB Vice-President Taylor will take place today at 15.00 and can be followed liveon EbS+. A press release will be available at the time here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: + 32 229 93321; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

EU’s Official Development Assistance reaches highest level ever, with €75.5 billion in 2016

New figures confirm that the EU and its Member States have consolidated their place as the world’s leading aid donor in 2016. With €75.5 billion in 2016, this constitutes an 11% increase compared to 2015 levels. The EU’s assistance has increased for the fourth year in a row and reached its highest level to date. In 2016, EU collective ODA represented 0.51% of EU Gross National Income (GNI), having increased from 0.47% in 2015. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: “I am proud thatthe EU remains the world’s leading provider of Official Development Assistance – a clear proof of our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We call on all development actors to re-double their efforts to do likewise. And we do not stop there. Leveraging private sector investments, helping mobilise domestic resources and intensifying joint efforts with EU Member States, we seek to make the most of all financing sources for development.” Read the press release and the fact sheet. (For more information: Carlos Martín Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: + 32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: + 32 229 92256)

 

First Vice-President Timmermans announces Commission plans to revise European Citizens’ Initiative Regulation

In a speech this morning at the annual European Citizens’ Initiative Day, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans announced the Commission’s plans to revise the European Citizens’ Initiative Regulation and further improve the use of this important tool. The First Vice-President said, “I want to make the ECI more accessible and citizen-friendly. I want the ECI to become a popular and living instrument, one that citizens are familiar with… There are obstacles to a more accessible and citizen-friendly ECI which have their origin in provisions of the ECI Regulation itself. We should take a careful look at those too… This process could culminate in a proposal to revise the ECI Regulation this year.” The Commission will make proposals later this year, based on lessons learned in the five years since the Regulation came into force, and drawing on a public consultation to be launched before the summer. European Citizens’ Initiatives were introduced by the Lisbon Treaty as a democratic tool in the hands of citizens. If a registered Initiative receives the signatures of one million citizens from at least seven Member States, the Commission must decide whether or not it will take the requested legislative action, and explain the reasons for that choice. In the first five years, the Commission has registered over 40 Initiatives, which have collected over six million signatures. Three Initiatives have reached the College of Commissioners for discussion after passing the one million signature threshold and two of the three have seen concrete policy actions in response, including in the Commission’s 2017 Work Programme. More information on European Citizens’ Initiatives is available on the dedicated website here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 

EU releases humanitarian assistance to Africa as needs grow

With an aid of €47 million, the EU will help support the most vulnerable in the Great Lakes as well as in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, who continue to face the consequences of years of conflict and displacement, as well as widespread food insecurity and natural disasters. Of this support, €32 million will go to populations in the Great Lakes region – including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, while €15 million will go to the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, including Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho. “We stand in full solidarity with the people of Africa. The assistance announced today will help the millions affected by forced displacement, food insecurity, and natural disasters in the Great Lakes region and in the Southern part of the continent. The EU remains committed to help people in need wherever they are and to leave no one behind,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. Humanitarian partners in Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 2 million people remain displaced by internal conflict and where malnutrition is high, will receive the main bulk (€22.7 million) of the funding allocated for the Great Lakes region. The regional impact of the Burundi crisis will also be covered. In Southern Africa and Indian Ocean, funds will go towards helping those affected by food insecurity caused by prolonged drought, as well as to strengthening capacities to manage recurrent disasters. The largest part (€6.2 million) of the package to this region will go to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in Madagascar, which was hit by the tropical cyclone Enawo last month – one of the most powerful cyclones to have affected the country during the last ten years. (For more information: Carlos Martín Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: + 32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.:+32 229 69140)

 

Capital Markets Union: Commission holds public hearing ahead of Mid-term Review 

The Commission is today hosting a public hearing on the progress of the Capital Market Union (CMU) Action Plan and to gather views on the next steps for this flagship project. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, opened the event in Brussels and Vice-President Jyrki Katainen will give a keynote speech. Panellists will include Members of the European Parliament, representatives from national governments, industry and supervisory authorities, as well as consumer and investor associations. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “The CMU involves a deep rebalancing of our financial system so we can offer more funding opportunities to our businesses and more investment choices for citizens. We have already delivered more than half of the first batch of 33 actions. We must now build on this solid start and tackle other barriers to cross-border investment. Today’s public hearing is a welcome chance to hear views on how best way to achieve our policy goals“. Building on the recent public consultation, today’s hearing will inform the preparation of the CMU Mid-term Review, scheduled for June 2017. The programme of the conference is available here. The event is web streamed here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel: +32 229 56153; Letizia Lupini– Tel: +32 229 51958)

 

Un rapport de la Commission montre comment la politique de Cohésion de l’UE peut aider les régions à faible revenu et à faible croissance

Dans ce rapport sur les régions de l’UE qui accusent un retard en matière de croissance ou de richesse, la Commission définit clairement les voies à suivre afin de soutenir des stratégies de croissance régionale avec l’aide des fonds européens. Le rapport évalue ce qui favorise ou entrave la compétitivité de ces régions et les raisons pour lesquelles elles n’ont pas encore atteint les niveaux de croissance et de revenus escomptés. Il identifie également leurs besoins en matière d’investissement – le capital humain, l’innovation, la qualité des institutions ou encore l’accessibilité – ainsi que les instruments de la politique de cohésion de l’UE susceptibles d’aider ces régions à construire leur avenir. La Commissaire européenne chargée de la politique régionale, Corina Crețu, a déclaré: «Pour chaque obstacle au développement, la politique de cohésion propose une solution. Des stratégies de développement régional sur mesure peuvent rendre ces régions plus attrayantes pour les habitants, les travailleurs et les entreprises. Voilà ce que nous faisons: nous aidons les régions à cerner leurs besoins et leurs atouts concurrentiels et nous leur fournissons les outils qui leur permettront de mettre en place de meilleures politiques». Un communiqué de presse et un mémo sont disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d’informations: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tél.: +32 229 56169)

 

Concentrations: la Commission européenne autorise l’acquisition du Groupe Prosol par Ardian

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l’acquisition de Groupe Prosol par Ardian, les deux basées en France. Le Groupe Prosol est un distributeur au détail en France de fruits et légumes frais, de produits de la mer et de produits laitiers. Ardian est une société de capital-investissement. La Commission a conclu que l’opération envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence dans la mesure où les deux entreprises ne sont pas actives sur le même marché ou sur des marchés liés ou complémentaires. La transaction a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d’affaire M.8442. (Pour plus d’informations: Ricardo Cardoso  – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Hamburg Süd by Maersk Line, subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of container liner shipping company Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft KG (HSDG) of Germany by Maersk Line A/S of Denmark, subject to conditions. Both Maersk Line and HSDG are active worldwide in container liner shipping. The proposed transaction would lead to the combination of two leading container liner shipping companies. Maersk Line is the largest container shipping company, while HSDG is number nine worldwide. The clearance is conditional upon the withdrawal of HSDG from five consortia (Eurosal 1/SAWC, Eurosal 2/SAWC, EPIC 2, CCWM/MEDANDES and MESA) on trade routes connecting (i) Northern Europe and Central America/Caribbean, (ii) Northern Europe and West Coast South America, (iii) Northern Europe and Middle East, (iv) the Mediterranean and West Coast South America and (v) the Mediterranean and East Coast South America. On these routes, the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition after the transaction. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Competitive shipping services are essential for European companies and for the EU’s economy as a whole. The commitments offered by Maersk Line and HSDG will maintain a healthy level of competition to the benefit of the very many EU companies that depend on these container shipping services.” A full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and DA(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Concentrations: La Commission autorise l’acquisition du contrôle conjoint de trois parcs photovoltaïques par Engie, Omnes Capital et Prédica

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l’acquisition des sociétés françaises PV Besse et PV Sanguinet par la société française Futures Energies Investissements Holdings contrôlée conjointement par les sociétés françaises Engie, Omnes Capital et Prédica Prévoyance Dialogue du Crédit Agricole (“Prédica”). PV Besse exploite un parc photovoltaïque à Besse-sur-Isole dans la région du Var et PV Sanguinet possède deux parcs photovoltaïques à Sanguinet dans la région des Landes. PV Besse et PV Sanguinet sont actuellement contrôlées par Engie. Engie est active dans les secteurs du gaz, de l’électricité et des services énergétiques. Omnes Capital est une société de gestion d’actifs indépendante. Prédica est active dans le secteur de l’assurance et fait partie du Groupe Crédit Agricole. La Commission a conclu que l’acquisition envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problèmes de concurrence en raison des chevauchements limités entre les activités des entreprises concernées au niveau de la production, de la vente en gros et de la fourniture d’électricité, ainsi que du développement de parcs photovoltaïques. La transaction a été examinée en vertu de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d’affaire M.8413. (Pour plus d’informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

Mergers: Commission approves energy consulting joint venture between Siemens and Allgäuer Überlandwerk

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture between Siemens AG and Allgäuer Überlandwerk GmbH (AÜW), both of Germany. The joint venture is based in Kempten, Germany and operates under the name of egrid applications & consulting GmbH (egrid). egrid is currently solely controlled by AÜW. It will provide energy consulting services on decentralised electricity networks, primarily in Germany. Siemens has worldwide activities in several areas, in particular digitalisation, automatisation and electrification. AÜW is a local energy supplier and operator of a distribution network in Allgäu. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns due to the limited activities of the joint venture. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8430.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Eurostat: La production industrielle en baisse de 0,3% dans la zone euro – En baisse de 0,2% dans l’UE28

En février 2017 par rapport à janvier 2017, la production industrielle corrigée des variations saisonnières a diminué de 0,3% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,2% dans l’UE28, selon les estimations d’Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. En janvier 2016, la production industrielle avait augmenté de 0,3% dans les deux zones. En février 2017 par rapport à février 2016, la production industrielle a progressé de 1,2% dans la zone euro et de 2,1% dans l’UE28. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations:Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278; Maud Noyon – Tel.: +32 229 80379)

 


ANNOUNCEMENTS

Stakeholder Forum concludes the Commission’s consultation on the future shape of the European Solidarity Corps *modified on 11/04/2017 at 19:30

Tomorrow in Brussels, a major Stakeholder Forum will bring together around 500 representatives of volunteering and youth organisations, other civil society actors, public employment services, national authorities and young people, to discuss how to further shape and consolidate the European Solidarity Corps. European Commission President Juncker said: “Every gesture of solidarity makes a positive difference to someone. Yet, if we bring individual acts together in a common European effort, a whole society benefits. This is what the European Solidarity Corps is all about. We have to cater for the different needs of our young people, organisations and communities across Europe. We have to ensure that everyone who wants to can take part. And we have to respect and make the most of the diverse cultures and traditions that make our Union what it is.” The Stakeholder Forum will focus on how to make attractive offers to both young people and organisations, how to ensure the Solidarity Corps functions effectively, supports participants’ transition into the labour market and participation in society, and is open to young people with fewer opportunities. The Stakeholder Forum wraps up a broad consultation process involving a public consultation and a series of meetings with key interested parties. The input received will feed into the Commission’s legislative proposal on the future of the initiative, to be presented in late spring. Already now the European Solidarity Corps offers volunteering opportunities, traineeships and job placements in solidarity projects across Europe. Since the launch in December more than 27,000 young people have registered. The database opened to organisations in March and the first participants already started their placements. The closing session of the Stakeholder Forum with President Juncker, the President of the European Parliament, Tajani and the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, George Dassis, as well as the opening session with Commissioners Oettinger and Navracsics and the President of the Committee of the Regions, Markkula, can be followed live via web-streaming. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

Johannes Hahn in Warsaw tomorrow for the Visegrad group Ministerial meeting on Eastern Partnership

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will be in Warsaw, Poland, tomorrow 12 April to participate at the Ministerial Meeting on Eastern Partnership organised by the Visegrad Group (V4). The meeting will bring together Commissioner Hahn, Ministers of Foreign Affairs from EU and from Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). The participants will take stock of the progress on deliverables and will focus their discussions on priority projects, such as connectivity and economic developments.  Ahead of the mission, Commissioner Hahn said: “The success of the Eastern Partnership is based on our shared values. Our partnership aims to deliver tangible and visible results for our citizens; results that contribute to greater stability and resilience of the region. I am looking forward to participate at the Visegrad group Ministerial. In the last year, we have been advancing in priority areas – economic development, strengthening institutions and good governance, mobility and people-to-people contacts, and notably connectivity, but still more needs to be done. In Warsaw, I will stress that Eastern Partnership is and will remain our priority for the future.” Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

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