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Latest daily news

The European Union is stepping up efforts to improve military mobility

As part of the drive to better protect citizens and improve the Union’s security environment, the European Commission and the High Representative are today proposing a number of actions to improving military mobility within the European Union. A Joint Communication adopted today outlines steps to be taken to address the obstacles which are hampering the movement of military equipment and personnel across the EU with the aim of facilitating and expediting their mobility to react in a fast and effective way to internal and external crises. In doing so, the European Commission and the High Representative are delivering on the commitment to use all the tools at their disposal to build a Union that protects. “European citizens understand that only together, as a Union, can we tackle the security challenges of our times. Cooperation inside the European Union and with our partners has become a must. There is a growing demand for our Member States to coordinate and work together on defence. So while we are moving forward with the Permanent Structured Cooperation to make our defence more effective, we have also decided to further strengthen military mobility among EU Member States and in cooperation with NATO,” said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “The European Union has a modern transport network that serves the needs of Europeans. These needs can also be of a military nature. The swift movement of military personnel and equipment is hindered by physical, legal and regulatory barriers. This creates inefficiencies in public spending, delays, disruptions, and above all a greater vulnerability. It is high time we maximise civil and military synergies also through our transport network in an efficient and sustainable manner.” More information is available in a press release. (For more information:Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570;Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Esther Osorio – Tel.: +32 229 62076; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 6 91 43)

 

EU report: Georgia successfully delivering on its reform commitments

Georgia’s implementation of its Association Agenda in 2017, which has been supported by the European Union, confirms the country’s commitment to political association and economic integration to the EU. The details of this progress are highlighted in the 2nd Joint Association Implementation Report on Georgia, released today by the European External Action Service and the European Commission, ahead of the EU-Georgia Association Council on 8 December 2017. “The European Union and Georgia have invested a lot in a strong partnership that is proving deeper day by day and that is bringing great benefits to our citizens. Since last March, Georgian citizens have been able to travel without a visa to the Schengen Area for short stays, we see more exchanges between our students than ever before, and there are more possibilities for trade among our businesses. Today’s report demonstrates clear progress in Georgia’s reform agenda. The European Union will continue to support the work that has still to be done in several important areas and will stay committed to the thorough and continued implementation of our Association Agenda”, said the High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini. “We continue to see positive results of the implementation of the Association Agreement”, said the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn. “The revised EU-Georgia Association Agenda provides a practical framework of priorities for joint work until 2020. The approximation to EU standards and regulations is allowing Georgia to become more and more an actor in the international market. The EU is Georgia’s largest trade partner and 2017 looks to have brought further increases. The accession of Georgia to the Energy Community Treaty as a full contracting party in July 2017 was another milestone bringing the EU and Georgia closer“. This 2nd Joint Report assesses the state of play of Georgia’s implementation of the Association Agenda since the EU-Georgia Association Council of December 2016. It focuses on key developments and reforms undertaken in line with the strategic priorities agreed between the EU and Georgia. A full press release on the Joint Report is available online. The Joint Report itself can be found here, and more information on EU-Georgia relations is available on the website of the EU Delegation and in the dedicated factsheet. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

 

The European Union steps up support to independent media in the Western Balkans

Freedom of media is one of the political criteria for EU accession – a must for countries willing to join the European Union. At the EU-Western Balkans Media Days conference that took place on 9-10 November in Tirana, Albania, the Commission announced that it will invest in new initiatives to support independent journalism, sustainable media outlets, and boost regional cooperation among public service media.Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, participating at the EU-Western Balkans Media Days said: ““Freedom of expression is a fundamental value of the European Union and inextricably linked to further progress on the EU path. The EU-Western Balkans Media Days pave the way to a more comprehensive approach to support independent media outlets, assist the expansion of media literacy in the region, help digitalisation and know-how transfer. A vibrant, economically sustainable, independent and pluralistic media sector is equally important for exercising freedom of expression as are the legal, political and judicial conditions that guarantee it.” A full press release is available here. The concluding speech by Commissioner Hahn will be available online. Photos and video of the event are available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

Commission facilitates new network to resolve consumer disputes in the travel sector

Today, the European Commission is supporting the launch of TRAVEL-NET, a network of Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies handling consumer disputes in the travel and public transport sector. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “Passengers frequently face severe delays or issues when they travel, as we’ve seen with the cancellation of Ryanair flights and the failure of Monarch Airlines over the past weeks. Consumers need efficient means of redress. I welcome the creation of the Travel network which brings key stakeholders in the travel sector together to endorse swift and simple alternative dispute resolution.” The network will allow the participating Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies to share knowledge and provide a forum to exchange best practices to help them deliver more effective dispute resolution. Issues with travel companies are the number one type of cross-border consumer dispute in Europe. These kinds of dispute can be resolved with help from an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body. If the dispute is about an online purchase, then consumers can use the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform to ask an Alternative Dispute Resolution body for help. Using these bodies has benefits for both the consumer and the company, since they are simpler, faster and cheaper than taking a case to court. The launch event is being hosted at the Commission’s office in Berlin, and is being attended by representatives of major transport companies, business and consumer associations and national authorities. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

Greece joins EU efforts to cooperate on high-performance computing

Greece is the 12th country to sign the European declaration on high-performance computing (HPC), joining the European effort to build the next generation of computing and data infrastructure. The EuroHPC declaration was launched in March 2017 and signed first by France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain during the Digital Day in Rome (see the press statementspeech and blog post by Vice-President Ansip). Four other countries have since joined this European initiative: Belgium in June, Slovenia in July, Bulgaria and Switzerland in October. Greece signed the EuroHPC declaration today in Athens. Vice-President Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society welcome this important step for EuroHPC: “We are very pleased that Greece is now part of this ambitious European project. By joining forces, we can lead in both the production and use of HPC technology in Europe and open the way to new innovative applications to benefit people, such as designing and simulating new medical treatments.” The signatories of this declaration have committed to work together to establish a world-class high-performance computing ecosystem that will acquire and operate world-class supercomputers and also build key hardware, software tools and applications needed to run HPC technology. The aim is to have EU exascale supercomputers operational by 2022-2023. All other Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme are encouraged to join forces and to sign the EuroHPC. More details are available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)

State aid: Commission approves Spanish support scheme for renewable electricity

The European Commission has found the Spanish scheme supporting electricity generation from renewable energy sources, high efficiency cogeneration of heat and power and waste to be in line with EU State aid rules. The Commission concluded that the Spanish measure will boost the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, in line with EU energy and climate goals, while any distortion of competition caused by the State support is minimised.  Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “I am pleased to see the latest Spanish renewables auctions have shown the positive effects of competition: companies are ready to invest in new installations with very low levels of State support. Spain’s transition to a low carbon, environmentally sustainable energy supply is important and this support scheme will help.” The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, ES.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of the West Midlands franchise by Abellio, Mitsui and EJR

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of the West Midlands passenger rail franchise by Abellio Transport Group Limited both of the UK, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc (Mitsui) and East Japan Railway Company (EJR), both of Japan. The West Midlands franchise is a passenger rail service across the West Midlands, from London Euston to Crewe and from Liverpool to Birmingham. Abellio, which is ultimately owned by the Dutch rail operator NS Group, operates a number of passenger railway concessions or franchise contracts in the UK and Germany. Mitsui is a major Japanese trading house engaged in a number of commodities and other business. EJR operates rail networks in Japan. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of its limited impact on the market structure. 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.8636. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Commissioner Avramopoulos in Bern for Ministerial Conference on Central Mediterranean Migration Route

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Bern, Switzerland on 12 and 13 November to participate in the third Ministerial Conference on the Central Mediterranean Migration Route, hosted by the Swiss Confederation this time. Discussions will focus on the comprehensive cooperation along the route. Commissioner Avramopoulos will be joined by the President of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard and Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga as well as the Estonian Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, together with the responsible ministers from Austria, France, Italy, Malta and Slovenia, the state secretary for the interior from Germany, and ministers from Chad, Tunisia, Mali, Niger and the Interior ministry secretary general of Algeria. The Director General of the International Organization for Migration William Lacy Swing and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi will also be present, together with Director General Yves D’Accord from the International Red Cross. A press conference is scheduled for 13:00 CET and can be followed on EbS(For more information: Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Thomas Kramer – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 

Commissaire King lundi à Paris pour commémorer des attentats terroristes du 13 novembre 2015

Le Commissaire européen chargé de l’Union de la sécurité Julian King sera à Paris lundi où il participera à la cérémonie de commémoration des attentats terroristes du 13 novembre 2015 au Bataclan. A l’occasion de cette visite, il y rencontrera la Garde des Sceaux, Ministre de la Justice, Madame Nicole Belloubet et le Directeur de cabinet du Président de la République, Monsieur Patrick Strzoda, pour discuter, entre autres, des questions relatives aux défis actuels de la sécurité. Le Commissaire King visitera l’Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d’Information (ANSSI), où il rencontrera le Directeur général, Monsieur Guillaume Poupard. Dans l’après-midi, le Commissaire rencontrera le Coordinateur de la Coordination Nationale du Renseignement et de lutte contre le terrorisme (CNR), Monsieur Pierre Bousquet de Florian, ainsi que le secrétaire d’Etat au numérique, Monsieur Mounir Mahjoubi. (Pour plus d’informations: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

Calendar

The Commissioners’ weekly activities

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

Latest daily news

The European Union is stepping up efforts to improve military mobility

As part of the drive to better protect citizens and improve the Union’s security environment, the European Commission and the High Representative are today proposing a number of actions to improving military mobility within the European Union. A Joint Communication adopted today outlines steps to be taken to address the obstacles which are hampering the movement of military equipment and personnel across the EU with the aim of facilitating and expediting their mobility to react in a fast and effective way to internal and external crises. In doing so, the European Commission and the High Representative are delivering on the commitment to use all the tools at their disposal to build a Union that protects. “European citizens understand that only together, as a Union, can we tackle the security challenges of our times. Cooperation inside the European Union and with our partners has become a must. There is a growing demand for our Member States to coordinate and work together on defence. So while we are moving forward with the Permanent Structured Cooperation to make our defence more effective, we have also decided to further strengthen military mobility among EU Member States and in cooperation with NATO,” said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “The European Union has a modern transport network that serves the needs of Europeans. These needs can also be of a military nature. The swift movement of military personnel and equipment is hindered by physical, legal and regulatory barriers. This creates inefficiencies in public spending, delays, disruptions, and above all a greater vulnerability. It is high time we maximise civil and military synergies also through our transport network in an efficient and sustainable manner.” More information is available in a press release. (For more information:Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570;Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Esther Osorio – Tel.: +32 229 62076; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 6 91 43)

 

EU report: Georgia successfully delivering on its reform commitments

Georgia’s implementation of its Association Agenda in 2017, which has been supported by the European Union, confirms the country’s commitment to political association and economic integration to the EU. The details of this progress are highlighted in the 2nd Joint Association Implementation Report on Georgia, released today by the European External Action Service and the European Commission, ahead of the EU-Georgia Association Council on 8 December 2017. “The European Union and Georgia have invested a lot in a strong partnership that is proving deeper day by day and that is bringing great benefits to our citizens. Since last March, Georgian citizens have been able to travel without a visa to the Schengen Area for short stays, we see more exchanges between our students than ever before, and there are more possibilities for trade among our businesses. Today’s report demonstrates clear progress in Georgia’s reform agenda. The European Union will continue to support the work that has still to be done in several important areas and will stay committed to the thorough and continued implementation of our Association Agenda”, said the High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini. “We continue to see positive results of the implementation of the Association Agreement”, said the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn. “The revised EU-Georgia Association Agenda provides a practical framework of priorities for joint work until 2020. The approximation to EU standards and regulations is allowing Georgia to become more and more an actor in the international market. The EU is Georgia’s largest trade partner and 2017 looks to have brought further increases. The accession of Georgia to the Energy Community Treaty as a full contracting party in July 2017 was another milestone bringing the EU and Georgia closer“. This 2nd Joint Report assesses the state of play of Georgia’s implementation of the Association Agenda since the EU-Georgia Association Council of December 2016. It focuses on key developments and reforms undertaken in line with the strategic priorities agreed between the EU and Georgia. A full press release on the Joint Report is available online. The Joint Report itself can be found here, and more information on EU-Georgia relations is available on the website of the EU Delegation and in the dedicated factsheet. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

 

The European Union steps up support to independent media in the Western Balkans

Freedom of media is one of the political criteria for EU accession – a must for countries willing to join the European Union. At the EU-Western Balkans Media Days conference that took place on 9-10 November in Tirana, Albania, the Commission announced that it will invest in new initiatives to support independent journalism, sustainable media outlets, and boost regional cooperation among public service media.Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, participating at the EU-Western Balkans Media Days said: ““Freedom of expression is a fundamental value of the European Union and inextricably linked to further progress on the EU path. The EU-Western Balkans Media Days pave the way to a more comprehensive approach to support independent media outlets, assist the expansion of media literacy in the region, help digitalisation and know-how transfer. A vibrant, economically sustainable, independent and pluralistic media sector is equally important for exercising freedom of expression as are the legal, political and judicial conditions that guarantee it.” A full press release is available here. The concluding speech by Commissioner Hahn will be available online. Photos and video of the event are available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

Commission facilitates new network to resolve consumer disputes in the travel sector

Today, the European Commission is supporting the launch of TRAVEL-NET, a network of Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies handling consumer disputes in the travel and public transport sector. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “Passengers frequently face severe delays or issues when they travel, as we’ve seen with the cancellation of Ryanair flights and the failure of Monarch Airlines over the past weeks. Consumers need efficient means of redress. I welcome the creation of the Travel network which brings key stakeholders in the travel sector together to endorse swift and simple alternative dispute resolution.” The network will allow the participating Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies to share knowledge and provide a forum to exchange best practices to help them deliver more effective dispute resolution. Issues with travel companies are the number one type of cross-border consumer dispute in Europe. These kinds of dispute can be resolved with help from an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body. If the dispute is about an online purchase, then consumers can use the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform to ask an Alternative Dispute Resolution body for help. Using these bodies has benefits for both the consumer and the company, since they are simpler, faster and cheaper than taking a case to court. The launch event is being hosted at the Commission’s office in Berlin, and is being attended by representatives of major transport companies, business and consumer associations and national authorities. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

Greece joins EU efforts to cooperate on high-performance computing

Greece is the 12th country to sign the European declaration on high-performance computing (HPC), joining the European effort to build the next generation of computing and data infrastructure. The EuroHPC declaration was launched in March 2017 and signed first by France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain during the Digital Day in Rome (see the press statementspeech and blog post by Vice-President Ansip). Four other countries have since joined this European initiative: Belgium in June, Slovenia in July, Bulgaria and Switzerland in October. Greece signed the EuroHPC declaration today in Athens. Vice-President Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society welcome this important step for EuroHPC: “We are very pleased that Greece is now part of this ambitious European project. By joining forces, we can lead in both the production and use of HPC technology in Europe and open the way to new innovative applications to benefit people, such as designing and simulating new medical treatments.” The signatories of this declaration have committed to work together to establish a world-class high-performance computing ecosystem that will acquire and operate world-class supercomputers and also build key hardware, software tools and applications needed to run HPC technology. The aim is to have EU exascale supercomputers operational by 2022-2023. All other Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme are encouraged to join forces and to sign the EuroHPC. More details are available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)

State aid: Commission approves Spanish support scheme for renewable electricity

The European Commission has found the Spanish scheme supporting electricity generation from renewable energy sources, high efficiency cogeneration of heat and power and waste to be in line with EU State aid rules. The Commission concluded that the Spanish measure will boost the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, in line with EU energy and climate goals, while any distortion of competition caused by the State support is minimised.  Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “I am pleased to see the latest Spanish renewables auctions have shown the positive effects of competition: companies are ready to invest in new installations with very low levels of State support. Spain’s transition to a low carbon, environmentally sustainable energy supply is important and this support scheme will help.” The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, ES.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of the West Midlands franchise by Abellio, Mitsui and EJR

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of the West Midlands passenger rail franchise by Abellio Transport Group Limited both of the UK, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc (Mitsui) and East Japan Railway Company (EJR), both of Japan. The West Midlands franchise is a passenger rail service across the West Midlands, from London Euston to Crewe and from Liverpool to Birmingham. Abellio, which is ultimately owned by the Dutch rail operator NS Group, operates a number of passenger railway concessions or franchise contracts in the UK and Germany. Mitsui is a major Japanese trading house engaged in a number of commodities and other business. EJR operates rail networks in Japan. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of its limited impact on the market structure. 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.8636. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Commissioner Avramopoulos in Bern for Ministerial Conference on Central Mediterranean Migration Route

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Bern, Switzerland on 12 and 13 November to participate in the third Ministerial Conference on the Central Mediterranean Migration Route, hosted by the Swiss Confederation this time. Discussions will focus on the comprehensive cooperation along the route. Commissioner Avramopoulos will be joined by the President of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard and Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga as well as the Estonian Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, together with the responsible ministers from Austria, France, Italy, Malta and Slovenia, the state secretary for the interior from Germany, and ministers from Chad, Tunisia, Mali, Niger and the Interior ministry secretary general of Algeria. The Director General of the International Organization for Migration William Lacy Swing and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi will also be present, together with Director General Yves D’Accord from the International Red Cross. A press conference is scheduled for 13:00 CET and can be followed on EbS(For more information: Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Thomas Kramer – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 

Commissaire King lundi à Paris pour commémorer des attentats terroristes du 13 novembre 2015

Le Commissaire européen chargé de l’Union de la sécurité Julian King sera à Paris lundi où il participera à la cérémonie de commémoration des attentats terroristes du 13 novembre 2015 au Bataclan. A l’occasion de cette visite, il y rencontrera la Garde des Sceaux, Ministre de la Justice, Madame Nicole Belloubet et le Directeur de cabinet du Président de la République, Monsieur Patrick Strzoda, pour discuter, entre autres, des questions relatives aux défis actuels de la sécurité. Le Commissaire King visitera l’Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d’Information (ANSSI), où il rencontrera le Directeur général, Monsieur Guillaume Poupard. Dans l’après-midi, le Commissaire rencontrera le Coordinateur de la Coordination Nationale du Renseignement et de lutte contre le terrorisme (CNR), Monsieur Pierre Bousquet de Florian, ainsi que le secrétaire d’Etat au numérique, Monsieur Mounir Mahjoubi. (Pour plus d’informations: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

Calendar

The Commissioners’ weekly activities

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

Daily News 09 /11/ 2017

Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast:euro area economy on track to grow at fastest pace in a decade

The Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast published today shows that the euro area economy is on track to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with real GDP growth forecast at 2.2%. This is substantially higher than expected in spring (1.7%). The EU economy as a whole is also set to beat expectations with robust growth of 2.3% this year (up from 1.9% in spring). The Commission expects growth to continue in both the euro area and in the EU at 2.1% in 2018 and at 1.9% in 2019. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. We should use these good economic times to further strengthen the resilience of both Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union and individual countries.” Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated. We see good news on many fronts, with more jobs being created, rising investment and strengthening public finances. Yet challenges remain in the form of high debt levels and subdued wage increases. A determined effort from Member States is needed to ensure that this expansion will last and that its fruits are shared equitably. Moreover, structural convergence and the strengthening of the euro area are necessary to make it more resilient to future shocks and to turn it into a true motor of shared prosperity. The coming weeks will be decisive on this front.” The full press release is available in all languages here. The full Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast is available here. Commissioner Moscovici’s remarks will shortly be available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

President Juncker awarded Honoris Causa Doctorate by the University of Salamanca

Today President Juncker is in Salamanca, Spain where he will be formally awarded the title of ‘Doctor Honoris Causa’ by the University of Salamanca – one of the most prestigious and oldest universities in Europe, teaching students for over 800 years. The ceremony, which begins at 12:45 CET, will be opened by Rector of the University of Salamanca Mr Daniel Hernández Ruipérez. Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy will also attend, as well as representatives of regional authorities and members of the academic community. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524

Solidarité avec le Portugal: une première aide financière de l’UE pour reconstruire après les incendies

Aujourd’hui la Commission a décidé d’allouer une avance de 1,5 millions d’euros au Portugal au titre du Fonds de Solidarité de l’UE, afin de soutenir les efforts de reconstruction suite aux feux de forêt qui ont fait rage dans le pays. Cette avance précède le montant final d’aide qui sera proposé par la Commission à la fin de l’examen de la demande des autorités portugaises, sur la base des dégâts causés par les incendies de juin, juillet et août 2017. La Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu a déclaré: “Nous sommes de tout cœur avec le Portugal, avec ses habitants et avec ceux qui se battent courageusement et sans relâche contre les flammes. Depuis juin l’Union européenne fait le maximum pour aider les autorités portugaises à contenir et vaincre les incendies. Comme l’a réitéré le Président Juncker au Portugal la semaine dernière, nous sommes en train de revoir l’ensemble de nos mécanismes d’aide et de protection civile pour apporter notre soutien de manière plus forte et collective en cas de catastrophe naturelle. Nous ferons des propositions dans ce sens à la fin du mois.” La Commission est aussi prête à examiner une demande mise à jour des autorités portugaises, incluant les dégâts causés par les feux de forêt d’octobre, pour un montant final d’aide plus élevé.L’aide du Fonds de Solidarité pourra contribuer à rétablir les infrastructures et services publics affectés par les incendies et à couvrir les coûts de l’aide d’urgence et de nettoyage. Afin de participer à la régénération de l’activité économique dans la région du Centre, touchée par les incendies, la Commission avait accepté en août 2017 la modification du programme régional de politique de cohésion, pour soutenir les entreprises locales. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

EU Emissions Trading System: landmark agreement between Parliament and Council delivers on EU’s commitment to turn Paris Agreement into reality

The European Parliament and Council have today reached a provisional agreement to revise the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for the period after 2020. This revision will contribute to put the EU on track to achieving a significant part of its commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Today’s deal between Parliament and Council provides a clear outcome after more than two years of intensive negotiations, following the Commission’s proposal to revise the EU ETS in July 2015. Please find the full statement online. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

Education & training in Europe: inequality remains a challenge

Today, the European Commission published the 2017 edition of the Education and Training Monitor, which analyses and compares the main challenges for European education systems. The Monitor shows that national education systems are becoming more inclusive and effective. Yet it also confirms that students’ educational attainment largely depends on their socio-economic backgrounds. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “Inequality still deprives too many Europeans of the chance to make the most of their lives. It is also a threat to social cohesion, long-term economic growth and prosperity. And too often, our education systems perpetuate inequality – when they do not cater for people from poorer backgrounds; when parents’ social status determines educational achievements and carries over poverty and diminished opportunities on the job market from one generation to the next. We have to do more to overcome these inequalities. Education systems have a special role to play in building a fairer society by offering equal chances to everybody.” On 17 November, in Gothenburg, EU Leaders will discuss education and culture as part of their work on “Building our future together”. The European Commission will present this year’s data on Education and Training. The discussion in Gothenburg will give visibility to and stress the political significance of education reform.Commissioner Navarcsics will give a press conference at 12:30, which can be followed here. A press release in all EU languages, a generic factsheet and country-specific factsheets are available online at the beginning of the press conference. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

 

Financing boost for energy-efficient connected cars under Investment Plan

The Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan – continues to support financing in innovative sectors. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €245 million loan with Volvo Car Corporation to invest in a multi-faceted research and development programme. The programme includes the development of more energy-efficient engines, electric cars, and improved safety, navigation and driver-assistance facilities. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Investment Plan for Europe is boosting innovation throughout Europe, and today’s announcement is yet another example. This research and development project by Volvo will push the boundaries of automotive technology in Europe and take us another step closer to a low carbon economy.”  These deals under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) come hours after the Council gave its formal green light to EFSI 2.0 – the extension and strengthening of the EFSI. As a next step, the Regulation will go to a plenary vote in the European Parliament. (For more information see the Investment Plan website or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright  – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: new contracts signed as more and more refugees receive support

The European Commission reported on the impressive progress in the implementation of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, during the 8th meeting of the Steering Committee of the Facility that took place in Brussels yesterday. Over one million refugees have now been reached with the EU’s flagship humanitarian programme, the ‘Emergency Social Safety Net’ and multiple new contracts were signed for €115 million in the areas of humanitarian aid, socio-economic support and municipal infrastructure. Of the overall €3 billion budget for 2016-2017, €2.9 billion has been allocated. Of this, contracts have been signed for 55 projects worth over €1.78 billion, out of which €908 million have already been disbursed. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: “With the recent signatures of contracts worth over €100 million, the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey continues to deliver its commitment in supporting the refugees and host communities. A great example of this, are the Technical and Vocational programs organised with the Ministry of National Education, which aim at increasing employability by facilitating entry into the labour market and thus supporting the integration of refugees in their host communities.” Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said: “We have recently reached a milestone of one million most vulnerable refugees benefitting from our main EU humanitarian programme. We have also signed five new agreements with humanitarian organisations to provide protection and health services. It is clear that the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey is delivering and having a positive impact on the lives of the people who need our assistance.” You can find more information about the new contracts and the projects under the Facility in our press release here. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

EU delivers on blue economy commitments made at Our Ocean conference

In a rapid follow up to the EU-hosted 2017 Our Ocean conference, and in the run-up to the COP23 Ocean Day in Bonn (11 November), the European Commission today launched a new €14.5 million investment initiative to further promote sustainable blue growth across the EU. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “At the Our Ocean conference in Malta, the European Union led by putting the blue economy on the agenda for the first time. Now we are leading in the follow up. Today we launch a €14.5 million investment initiative for green projects to safeguard our marine ecosystems. On ocean energy, tackling marine litter, and along Mediterranean coastlines, I am delighted that we are so quickly following up on our Our Ocean pledges.”Funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, €8 million from this initiative is set aside to help SMEs, including start-ups, testing novel products and services in high-potential emerging blue economy sectors, including ocean renewable energy. In order to better tackle the growing challenge of marine litter, a further €2 million will target innovative technologies to prevent, monitor, remove and recycle marine litter from EU waters. Furthermore, €3 million will support twinning projects in the Mediterranean Sea, including between maritime training and education institutions, blue economy businesses and local fishing communities. Finally, €1.5 million is allocated to restoring marine and coastal ecosystems in the Mediterranean, including mitigation of climate change. The Our Ocean conference generated an unprecedented level of commitments: 437 were announced, including €7.2 billion in financial pledges. The EU alone announced 36 commitments amounted to over €550 million. Moreover, the EU–hosted conference saw for the first time large-scale mobilisation of the private sector in ocean conservation. Video selection of commitments here. More detailed information here(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

L’UE investit dans de meilleures connexions routières en Pologne

164,4 millions d’euros du Fonds de Cohésion sont investis dans la construction de la connexion routière entre les communes de Mielno et Białe Błota, dans la région de Couïavie-Poméranie, au centre de la Pologne. Le projet, qui se situe le long de la route expresse S5, aidera à assurer une liaison plus rapide, avec une réduction du temps de trajet de 21 minutes, et plus sûre entre le centre du pays et les villes de Poznań et Wrocław. “Cet investissement aura un impact positif sur l’économie locale et la cohésion territoriale; c’est tout le centre de la Pologne qui en bénéficiera,” a commenté la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu. Le projet devrait être achevé en juillet 2019. Plus d’informations sur la politique de Cohésion en Pologne sont disponibles sur la Plateforme Open Data. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Report: EU trade agreements in place deliver tangible benefits

The Commission today published a report assessing the implementation of the EU’s existing trade agreements. This is another step towards a fully transparent and inclusive trade policy, in line with the Commission’s commitments set out in the EU’s 2015 ‘Trade for All’ strategy. Commenting on the report, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The success of EU trade policy is measured not only by striking new trade deals but also by ensuring that our existing agreements actually deliver. The report published today confirms that our trade agreements are a boost for the European economy and that we are also on the right track when it comes to engaging concretely with our partners on labour and environmental standards.” The report shows that the export increases observed for the agreements negotiated in the past amount to as much as 416% for Mexico, 170% for Chile, and around 60% for South Korea and Serbia. The agricultural and car sectors appear to be benefiting the most (e.g. 244% increase in car exports to South Korea since 2011 and 92% and 73% increase to Colombia and Peru respectively for agricultural goods since 2013). The report also shows that EU companies do not yet take full advantage of the opportunities offered; a situation that calls for some extra awareness raising efforts, including at national level. The report highlights also numerous examples of positive collaboration on issues going beyond trade liberalisation that have been made possible thanks to EU trade agreements, including on human rights and labour conditions. The report will now be subject to discussion with Members of the European Parliament, Member States representatives in the Council, and civil society organisations. Commissioner Malmström will present the report to Member States’ Ministers at the Council meeting on Friday, 10 November. A press release is available online. For more information see the actual text of the report, a factsheet and a blogpost by Commissioner Malmström. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

 

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Ilva by ArcelorMittal

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Ilva by ArcelorMittal under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concerns that the proposed merger may reduce competition for a number of flat carbon steel products. ArcelorMittal is the leading producer of flat carbon steel, both worldwide and in Europe, with a wide production network within the European Economic Area. Ilva is a significant producer of flat carbon steel with major production assets in Italy. With the transaction, ArcelorMittal would notably increase its market leadership through the acquisition of Ilva’s steel plant in Taranto, Italy, which is Europe’s largest single-site integrated plant. The Commission’s initial market investigation raised several issues relating in particular to the combination of ArcelorMittal’s and Ilva’s offering of a number of flat carbon steel products, namely hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanised flat carbon steel products. At this stage, the Commission is concerned that, following the transaction, customers would face higher prices, particularly in Southern Europe, for these important inputs. The Commission will also further investigate whether the transaction could have an effect on the supply and prices of certain other products, such as metallic coated steel for packaging. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Steel is a crucial input for many goods we use in our everyday life, and industries dependent on steel employ over 30 million people in Europe. Those European industries need access to steel at competitive prices to compete in global markets. This is why we will carefully investigate the impact of ArcelorMittal’s plans to buy Ilva on effective competition in steel markets”. A full press release is available in EN, IT, DE, FR. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Aegon Ireland by Apollo Management

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Aegon Ireland plc of Ireland, by Athene Holding Ltd. belonging to the group Apollo Management L.P., both of the US. Aegon Ireland provides insurance products and services in the UK and Germany. Apollo Management is active in the private investments sector with investments in various businesses throughout the world. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there are only minor horizontal overlaps or vertical relationships between the activities of Aegon Ireland and Apollo. 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.8621. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)


ANNOUNCEMENTS

Future of EU finances – Commissioner Oettinger visits Cyprus

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, is visiting Cyprus on 10 and 11 November as part of his tour across EU Member States aimed to gather views on the future of EU finances and the EU’s multiannual budget post-2020. The Commissioner will meet the President, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, the Minister of Finance, Mr Harris Georgiades and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kassoulides. Commissioner Oettinger will discuss the challenges ahead of the next multiannual budget with Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Budget and Finance and Foreign and European Affairs. He will also take part in a stakeholder event where he will hear further views on how the next multiannual budget should look like. The meetings in Cyprus are part of the Commissioner’s broad consultation with all interested parties on the future of EU finances – #MFFtour27. The Commission kicked off this debate on 28 June 2017 with the publication of its Reflection paper on the future of EU finances, which is also available in Greek. Stakeholder views will be taken into account when preparing the next MFF, to be presented in May 2018. Commissioner Oettinger’s first reflections on the future of EU finances are available on his blog. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

Animal welfare 2nd EU Platform meeting: “Everyone is responsible”

On 10 November 2017 Commissioner Andriukaitis, in charge of Health and Food Safety, will open the second meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare. Under the motto “Everyone is responsible”, 75 stakeholders involved in this area will gather to work towards three main goals: a better application of EU rules on animal welfare, the development of voluntary commitments by its members and the promotion of EU animal welfare standards at global level. The Commission will establish a sub-group on animal transport with a specific focus on improving enforcement in this area – a key priority of the EU Commission in the field of animal welfare. In addition, the topic of ‘unwanted horses’ (abandoned due to high life costs, end of career as sport horses, behavioural problems etc.) will be discussed to explore possible contributions and voluntary initiatives of the members. Finally, the session dedicated to information sharing will focus on EFSA’s (European Food Safety Authority) Animal Health and Welfare Network and on the Animal transport guides pilot project. The meeting will be web-streamed here (as from 10:00 CET). (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

Diplomatie scientifique: le commissaire Moedas participe au World Science Forum en Jordanie     

Carlos Moedas, le commissaire en charge de la recherche, de la science et de l’innovation, se rend en Jordanie à partir d’aujourd’hui jeudi pour participer au World Science Forum, un forum qui rassemble les communautés scientifique, politique, économique et issue de la société civile de plus de 100 pays. Vendredi, le Commissaire abordera les apports majeurs de la diplomatie scientifique dans son discours inaugural, intitulé “Science Diplomacy to Strengthen Governance and Build Enduring Relationships”. Toujours dans le cadre du World Science Forum, il participera ensuite à la signature de l’accord entre l’UE et la Jordanie pour le partenariat en matière de recherche et d’innovation dans la zone méditerranéenne (PRIMA). La Jordanie est un partenaire important de l’UE dans la recherche, notamment grâce au projet d’accélérateur de particules SESAME. La journée de vendredi se conclura par une conférence de presse, qui abordera également la présentation du récent programme de travail 2018-2020 d’Horizon 2020, leprogramme de recherche et d’innovation européen, en soulignant en particulier l’ouverture au monde de ce programme qui renforce la coopération internationale avec un budget de plus d’un milliard d’euros investis dans trente initiatives phares. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tél.: +32 229 80379)

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

Daily News 09 /11/ 2017

Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast:euro area economy on track to grow at fastest pace in a decade

The Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast published today shows that the euro area economy is on track to grow at its fastest pace in a decade this year, with real GDP growth forecast at 2.2%. This is substantially higher than expected in spring (1.7%). The EU economy as a whole is also set to beat expectations with robust growth of 2.3% this year (up from 1.9% in spring). The Commission expects growth to continue in both the euro area and in the EU at 2.1% in 2018 and at 1.9% in 2019. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. We should use these good economic times to further strengthen the resilience of both Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union and individual countries.” Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “After five years of moderate recovery, European growth has now accelerated. We see good news on many fronts, with more jobs being created, rising investment and strengthening public finances. Yet challenges remain in the form of high debt levels and subdued wage increases. A determined effort from Member States is needed to ensure that this expansion will last and that its fruits are shared equitably. Moreover, structural convergence and the strengthening of the euro area are necessary to make it more resilient to future shocks and to turn it into a true motor of shared prosperity. The coming weeks will be decisive on this front.” The full press release is available in all languages here. The full Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast is available here. Commissioner Moscovici’s remarks will shortly be available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

President Juncker awarded Honoris Causa Doctorate by the University of Salamanca

Today President Juncker is in Salamanca, Spain where he will be formally awarded the title of ‘Doctor Honoris Causa’ by the University of Salamanca – one of the most prestigious and oldest universities in Europe, teaching students for over 800 years. The ceremony, which begins at 12:45 CET, will be opened by Rector of the University of Salamanca Mr Daniel Hernández Ruipérez. Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy will also attend, as well as representatives of regional authorities and members of the academic community. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524

Solidarité avec le Portugal: une première aide financière de l’UE pour reconstruire après les incendies

Aujourd’hui la Commission a décidé d’allouer une avance de 1,5 millions d’euros au Portugal au titre du Fonds de Solidarité de l’UE, afin de soutenir les efforts de reconstruction suite aux feux de forêt qui ont fait rage dans le pays. Cette avance précède le montant final d’aide qui sera proposé par la Commission à la fin de l’examen de la demande des autorités portugaises, sur la base des dégâts causés par les incendies de juin, juillet et août 2017. La Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu a déclaré: “Nous sommes de tout cœur avec le Portugal, avec ses habitants et avec ceux qui se battent courageusement et sans relâche contre les flammes. Depuis juin l’Union européenne fait le maximum pour aider les autorités portugaises à contenir et vaincre les incendies. Comme l’a réitéré le Président Juncker au Portugal la semaine dernière, nous sommes en train de revoir l’ensemble de nos mécanismes d’aide et de protection civile pour apporter notre soutien de manière plus forte et collective en cas de catastrophe naturelle. Nous ferons des propositions dans ce sens à la fin du mois.” La Commission est aussi prête à examiner une demande mise à jour des autorités portugaises, incluant les dégâts causés par les feux de forêt d’octobre, pour un montant final d’aide plus élevé.L’aide du Fonds de Solidarité pourra contribuer à rétablir les infrastructures et services publics affectés par les incendies et à couvrir les coûts de l’aide d’urgence et de nettoyage. Afin de participer à la régénération de l’activité économique dans la région du Centre, touchée par les incendies, la Commission avait accepté en août 2017 la modification du programme régional de politique de cohésion, pour soutenir les entreprises locales. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

EU Emissions Trading System: landmark agreement between Parliament and Council delivers on EU’s commitment to turn Paris Agreement into reality

The European Parliament and Council have today reached a provisional agreement to revise the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for the period after 2020. This revision will contribute to put the EU on track to achieving a significant part of its commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Today’s deal between Parliament and Council provides a clear outcome after more than two years of intensive negotiations, following the Commission’s proposal to revise the EU ETS in July 2015. Please find the full statement online. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

Education & training in Europe: inequality remains a challenge

Today, the European Commission published the 2017 edition of the Education and Training Monitor, which analyses and compares the main challenges for European education systems. The Monitor shows that national education systems are becoming more inclusive and effective. Yet it also confirms that students’ educational attainment largely depends on their socio-economic backgrounds. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “Inequality still deprives too many Europeans of the chance to make the most of their lives. It is also a threat to social cohesion, long-term economic growth and prosperity. And too often, our education systems perpetuate inequality – when they do not cater for people from poorer backgrounds; when parents’ social status determines educational achievements and carries over poverty and diminished opportunities on the job market from one generation to the next. We have to do more to overcome these inequalities. Education systems have a special role to play in building a fairer society by offering equal chances to everybody.” On 17 November, in Gothenburg, EU Leaders will discuss education and culture as part of their work on “Building our future together”. The European Commission will present this year’s data on Education and Training. The discussion in Gothenburg will give visibility to and stress the political significance of education reform.Commissioner Navarcsics will give a press conference at 12:30, which can be followed here. A press release in all EU languages, a generic factsheet and country-specific factsheets are available online at the beginning of the press conference. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

 

Financing boost for energy-efficient connected cars under Investment Plan

The Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan – continues to support financing in innovative sectors. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €245 million loan with Volvo Car Corporation to invest in a multi-faceted research and development programme. The programme includes the development of more energy-efficient engines, electric cars, and improved safety, navigation and driver-assistance facilities. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Investment Plan for Europe is boosting innovation throughout Europe, and today’s announcement is yet another example. This research and development project by Volvo will push the boundaries of automotive technology in Europe and take us another step closer to a low carbon economy.”  These deals under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) come hours after the Council gave its formal green light to EFSI 2.0 – the extension and strengthening of the EFSI. As a next step, the Regulation will go to a plenary vote in the European Parliament. (For more information see the Investment Plan website or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright  – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: new contracts signed as more and more refugees receive support

The European Commission reported on the strong progress in the implementation of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, during the 8th meeting of the Steering Committee of the Facility that took place in Brussels yesterday. Over one million refugees have now been reached with the EU’s flagship humanitarian programme, the ‘Emergency Social Safety Net’ and multiple new contracts were signed for €115 million in the areas of humanitarian aid, socio-economic support and municipal infrastructure. Of the overall €3 billion budget for 2016-2017, €2.9 billion has been allocated. Of this, contracts have been signed for 55 projects worth over €1.78 billion, out of which €908 million have already been disbursed. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: “With the recent signatures of contracts worth over €100 million, the EU Facility for Refugees continues to deliver its commitment in supporting the refugees and host communities. A great example of this, are the Technical and Vocational programs organised with the Ministry of National Education, which aim at increasing employability by facilitating entry into the labour market and thus supporting the integration of refugees in their host communities.” Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said: “We have recently reached a milestone of one million most vulnerable refugees benefitting from our main EU humanitarian programme. We have also signed five new agreements with humanitarian organisations to provide protection and health services. It is clear that the EU Facility for Refugees is delivering and having a positive impact on the lives of the people who need our assistance.” You can find more information about the new contracts and the projects under the Facility in our press release here. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

EU delivers on blue economy commitments made at Our Ocean conference

In a rapid follow up to the EU-hosted 2017 Our Ocean conference, and in the run-up to the COP23 Ocean Day in Bonn (11 November), the European Commission today launched a new €14.5 million investment initiative to further promote sustainable blue growth across the EU. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “At the Our Ocean conference in Malta, the European Union led by putting the blue economy on the agenda for the first time. Now we are leading in the follow up. Today we launch a €14.5 million investment initiative for green projects to safeguard our marine ecosystems. On ocean energy, tackling marine litter, and along Mediterranean coastlines, I am delighted that we are so quickly following up on our Our Ocean pledges.”Funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, €8 million from this initiative is set aside to help SMEs, including start-ups, testing novel products and services in high-potential emerging blue economy sectors, including ocean renewable energy. In order to better tackle the growing challenge of marine litter, a further €2 million will target innovative technologies to prevent, monitor, remove and recycle marine litter from EU waters. Furthermore, €3 million will support twinning projects in the Mediterranean Sea, including between maritime training and education institutions, blue economy businesses and local fishing communities. Finally, €1.5 million is allocated to restoring marine and coastal ecosystems in the Mediterranean, including mitigation of climate change. The Our Ocean conference generated an unprecedented level of commitments: 437 were announced, including €7.2 billion in financial pledges. The EU alone announced 36 commitments amounted to over €550 million. Moreover, the EU–hosted conference saw for the first time large-scale mobilisation of the private sector in ocean conservation. Video selection of commitments here. More detailed information here(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

L’UE investit dans de meilleures connexions routières en Pologne

164,4 millions d’euros du Fonds de Cohésion sont investis dans la construction de la connexion routière entre les communes de Mielno et Białe Błota, dans la région de Couïavie-Poméranie, au centre de la Pologne. Le projet, qui se situe le long de la route expresse S5, aidera à assurer une liaison plus rapide, avec une réduction du temps de trajet de 21 minutes, et plus sûre entre le centre du pays et les villes de Poznań et Wrocław. “Cet investissement aura un impact positif sur l’économie locale et la cohésion territoriale; c’est tout le centre de la Pologne qui en bénéficiera,” a commenté la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu. Le projet devrait être achevé en juillet 2019. Plus d’informations sur la politique de Cohésion en Pologne sont disponibles sur la Plateforme Open Data. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Report: EU trade agreements in place deliver tangible benefits

The Commission today published a report assessing the implementation of the EU’s existing trade agreements. This is another step towards a fully transparent and inclusive trade policy, in line with the Commission’s commitments set out in the EU’s 2015 ‘Trade for All’ strategy. Commenting on the report, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The success of EU trade policy is measured not only by striking new trade deals but also by ensuring that our existing agreements actually deliver. The report published today confirms that our trade agreements are a boost for the European economy and that we are also on the right track when it comes to engaging concretely with our partners on labour and environmental standards.” The report shows that the export increases observed for the agreements negotiated in the past amount to as much as 416% for Mexico, 170% for Chile, and around 60% for South Korea and Serbia. The agricultural and car sectors appear to be benefiting the most (e.g. 244% increase in car exports to South Korea since 2011 and 92% and 73% increase to Colombia and Peru respectively for agricultural goods since 2013). The report also shows that EU companies do not yet take full advantage of the opportunities offered; a situation that calls for some extra awareness raising efforts, including at national level. The report highlights also numerous examples of positive collaboration on issues going beyond trade liberalisation that have been made possible thanks to EU trade agreements, including on human rights and labour conditions. The report will now be subject to discussion with Members of the European Parliament, Member States representatives in the Council, and civil society organisations. Commissioner Malmström will present the report to Member States’ Ministers at the Council meeting on Friday, 10 November. A press release is available online. For more information see the actual text of the report, a factsheet and a blogpost by Commissioner Malmström. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

 

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Ilva by ArcelorMittal

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Ilva by ArcelorMittal under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concerns that the proposed merger may reduce competition for a number of flat carbon steel products. ArcelorMittal is the leading producer of flat carbon steel, both worldwide and in Europe, with a wide production network within the European Economic Area. Ilva is a significant producer of flat carbon steel with major production assets in Italy. With the transaction, ArcelorMittal would notably increase its market leadership through the acquisition of Ilva’s steel plant in Taranto, Italy, which is Europe’s largest single-site integrated plant. The Commission’s initial market investigation raised several issues relating in particular to the combination of ArcelorMittal’s and Ilva’s offering of a number of flat carbon steel products, namely hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanised flat carbon steel products. At this stage, the Commission is concerned that, following the transaction, customers would face higher prices, particularly in Southern Europe, for these important inputs. The Commission will also further investigate whether the transaction could have an effect on the supply and prices of certain other products, such as metallic coated steel for packaging. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Steel is a crucial input for many goods we use in our everyday life, and industries dependent on steel employ over 30 million people in Europe. Those European industries need access to steel at competitive prices to compete in global markets. This is why we will carefully investigate the impact of ArcelorMittal’s plans to buy Ilva on effective competition in steel markets”. A full press release is available in EN, IT, DE, FR. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Aegon Ireland by Apollo Management

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Aegon Ireland plc of Ireland, by Athene Holding Ltd. belonging to the group Apollo Management L.P., both of the US. Aegon Ireland provides insurance products and services in the UK and Germany. Apollo Management is active in the private investments sector with investments in various businesses throughout the world. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there are only minor horizontal overlaps or vertical relationships between the activities of Aegon Ireland and Apollo. 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.8621. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)


ANNOUNCEMENTS

Future of EU finances – Commissioner Oettinger visits Cyprus

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, is visiting Cyprus on 10 and 11 November as part of his tour across EU Member States aimed to gather views on the future of EU finances and the EU’s multiannual budget post-2020. The Commissioner will meet the President, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, the Minister of Finance, Mr Harris Georgiades and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kassoulides. Commissioner Oettinger will discuss the challenges ahead of the next multiannual budget with Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Budget and Finance and Foreign and European Affairs. He will also take part in a stakeholder event where he will hear further views on how the next multiannual budget should look like. The meetings in Cyprus are part of the Commissioner’s broad consultation with all interested parties on the future of EU finances – #MFFtour27. The Commission kicked off this debate on 28 June 2017 with the publication of its Reflection paper on the future of EU finances, which is also available in Greek. Stakeholder views will be taken into account when preparing the next MFF, to be presented in May 2018. Commissioner Oettinger’s first reflections on the future of EU finances are available on his blog. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

Animal welfare 2nd EU Platform meeting: “Everyone is responsible”

On 10 November 2017 Commissioner Andriukaitis, in charge of Health and Food Safety, will open the second meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare. Under the motto “Everyone is responsible”, 75 stakeholders involved in this area will gather to work towards three main goals: a better application of EU rules on animal welfare, the development of voluntary commitments by its members and the promotion of EU animal welfare standards at global level. The Commission will establish a sub-group on animal transport with a specific focus on improving enforcement in this area – a key priority of the EU Commission in the field of animal welfare. In addition, the topic of ‘unwanted horses’ (abandoned due to high life costs, end of career as sport horses, behavioural problems etc.) will be discussed to explore possible contributions and voluntary initiatives of the members. Finally, the session dedicated to information sharing will focus on EFSA’s (European Food Safety Authority) Animal Health and Welfare Network and on the Animal transport guides pilot project. The meeting will be web-streamed here (as from 10:00 CET). (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

Diplomatie scientifique: le commissaire Moedas participe au World Science Forum en Jordanie     

Carlos Moedas, le commissaire en charge de la recherche, de la science et de l’innovation, se rend en Jordanie à partir d’aujourd’hui jeudi pour participer au World Science Forum, un forum qui rassemble les communautés scientifique, politique, économique et issue de la société civile de plus de 100 pays. Vendredi, le Commissaire abordera les apports majeurs de la diplomatie scientifique dans son discours inaugural, intitulé “Science Diplomacy to Strengthen Governance and Build Enduring Relationships”. Toujours dans le cadre du World Science Forum, il participera ensuite à la signature de l’accord entre l’UE et la Jordanie pour le partenariat en matière de recherche et d’innovation dans la zone méditerranéenne (PRIMA). La Jordanie est un partenaire important de l’UE dans la recherche, notamment grâce au projet d’accélérateur de particules SESAME. La journée de vendredi se conclura par une conférence de presse, qui abordera également la présentation du récent programme de travail 2018-2020 d’Horizon 2020, leprogramme de recherche et d’innovation européen, en soulignant en particulier l’ouverture au monde de ce programme qui renforce la coopération internationale avec un budget de plus d’un milliard d’euros investis dans trente initiatives phares. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tél.: +32 229 80379)

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

Daily News 23 / 10 / 2017

EU pledges additional €30 million for the Rohingya crisis at Geneva donors’ conference

The European Union is co-hosting today in Geneva a ‘Pledging Conference on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis’. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has announced the EU’s contribution of an additional €30 million for the Rohingya communities in Bangladesh. This comes on the top of over €21 million in overall EU assistance already allocated to Rohingya and host communities in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, bringing total EU support for this year to over €51 million. “Today, we stand united for the right cause. The cause of stateless people who have suffered for too long: the Rohingya. The Rohingya deserve nothing less than every other human being in the world. They deserve a future. We have a moral duty to give these people hope. Our humanitarian support will work to provide essentials like water, sanitation, food, healthcare, protection, and education”, said Commissioner Stylianides. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “Beyond the immediate response, we need to think of long-term solutions for Rohingya and host populations alike. Whilst the focus should remain on creating an enabling environment for safe and dignified voluntary returns of Rohingya to Myanmar, we need to also ensure that local communities, who are already facing enormous challenges, are not left behind and that we provide them medium and long-term development assistance. Any solution has to inevitably include political dialogue with all parties involved.” Commissioner Stylianides will travel to Bangladesh next week to meet with Rohingya refugees and visit EU aid projects in the affected areas.Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Commission proposes €5.4 million from Globalisation Fund for former retail workers in Greece and Finland

Today, the European Commission has proposed to provide Greece with €2.9 million euro and Finland with €2.5 million euro from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) following a significant number of redundancies in the Greek and Finnish retail sector. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: “The retail sector in both Greece and Finland has been hit hard by the economic crisis and changing trade patterns. The proposed support from Europe’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund now aims at helping these redundant workers to adapt their skills and facilitate their transition to new jobs or help them set up their own enterprises.” Greece applied for support from the Globalisation Fund following the dismissal of 725 workers in 9 enterprises operating in the retail sector. The redundancies occurred mainly in the Attica region, but ten other regions have also been affected by the layoffs. The measures co-financed by the Globalisation Fund will help the 725 former retail workers by providing them with occupational guidance and counselling; vocational training; contribution to business start-up; hiring incentives; and job-search and training allowances. Finland, on the other hand, applied for support from the EGF following the dismissal of 1,660 workers in three retail enterprises. Thanks to this financial support, 1,500 Finnish redundant workers will be offered support and guidance to find new jobs, for example through vocational and re-training courses. The proposals now go to the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for approval. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)

 

Publication of latest agri-food trade figures: high performance of EU agri-food exports continues

Published today by the European Commission, the latest monthly trade report shows that European agri-food exports remain strong for August 2017 further increasing the trade balance to €2.4 billion. The European agri-food exports rose to €11.5 billion in August 2017, an 8% increase compared to July 2017. Highest increases of monthly exports were again towards Russia and the USA, with respectively an added €153 million and €108 million compared to 2016. By sector, exports of wine and vermouth and milk powders have increased the most with respectively an extra €130 million and an added €123 million compared to last year. EU agri-food imports have also increased by 4% compared to the same time last year, resulting in a surplus of €2.4 billion in the agri-food trade balance.This month’s report focuses on agri-food trade with Russia. After an initial drop, both in banned products and non-banned products, EU exports of non-banned products to Russia resumed growth and reached € 6 299 million in the period September 2016 to August 2017, which represents an increase in value by 14% compared to the previous period. This brings back Russia now to be the 4th biggest export destination for EU agri-food products, just before Japan. The full report is online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

Ahead of Commissioners’ participation in Council discussion on Digital Single Market: Commission publishes new study to support 5G roll-out

Ahead of tomorrow’s Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council that will concentrate on most pertinent Digital Single Market issues, the Commission published today the latest study on spectrum assignments that will support the EU’s work towards successful 5G deployment. The results affirm that licence duration and auction prices influence investments in better network coverage. For example, there is a tendency for higher investment levels in countries that have awarded longer licences. There is additionally evidence that high spectrum prices can be associated with lower 4G availability. These findings will provide supplementary input to the ongoing negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission’s proposal for new EU telecoms rules – the European Electronic Communications Code. Tomorrow’s Council meeting in Luxembourg aims to accelerate progress on the Digital Single Market legislative files, in particular on spectrum and 5G deployment. Additionally, the Ministers hold a follow-up debate on cybersecurity following the European Council conclusions, the Tallinn Digital Summit and the Commission’s proposals to scale up the EU’s response to cyber-attacks. For the Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, Commissioner Julian King in charge of Security Union, as well as Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel will participate. The European Electronic Communications Code is crucial for creating the Digital Single Market, as it will boost investments in high-speed and quality networks. It provides the necessary basis for the 5G roll-out at the same time all across the EU. Read more about the topic in the proposal from 2016. Further details on the spectrum assignments study can be found here. Spectrum factsheet will be available soon here. Overview factsheets on the Digital Single Market can be found here: state of play, timeline, cybersecurity. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)

 

Commission publishes report and its proposal on sustainable development following the latest negotiating round with Mercosur

The Commission’s report from the latest round of trade negotiations between the European Union and Mercosur – the block including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – is now online. The Commission has also made available online its negotiating proposal on the enforcement of the trade and sustainable development chapter. Both publications come as part of the Commission’s commitment to a more transparent trade policy. Other EU negotiating proposals for an agreement with Mercosur are available here. During the round held between 2 and 6 October, all issues were covered and talks advanced in a number of areas. The round report includes details on all of them, including trade in goods and services, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, as well as intellectual property rights (including geographical indications). As regards market access, the EU fulfilled now its commitment by putting on the table the remaining elements of its market access offer in time with a view to reaching a political agreement by the end of the year. This is a well-calibrated offer that takes into account Europe’s agricultural sensitivities. The EU remains committed to reaching a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious trade agreement with Mercosur. Both sides agreed to hold the next round in Brasilia from 6 to 10 November. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

 

Citizens’ Initiative: Commission receives organisers of ‘Stop Glyphosate’ Initiative 

This morning, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Health & Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis received the organisers of the ‘Stop Glyphosate’ European Citizens’ Initiative, after they collected and submitted to the Commission over 1 million signatures in support of their Initiative.  This is the 4th successful European Citizens’ Initiative so far. The ‘Stop Glyphosate’ Initiative calls on the European Commission “to propose to member states a ban on glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use”. In line with the Citizens’ Initiative regulation, the Commission has invited the organisers to Brussels to present their ideas in more depth. A public hearing will also be arranged in the European Parliament to allow all stakeholders to present their views, and then the Commission will decide, within 3 months of submission of the Initiative (on Friday 6 October 2017), whether to act by proposing legislation, act in some other way to achieve the goals of the Initiative, or not act at all; all three options are possible under Article 11(4) of the Treaty of the European Union. In all cases, the Commission will present a Communication explaining its reasoning. The European Citizens’ Initiative is a valuable tool in the hands of citizens, and allows them to contribute to shaping EU law and policy. The Commission recently presented a proposed reform of the Citizens’ Initiative Regulation, to make the tool even more accessible to citizens and to encourage its wider use. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

Maritime Transport: passenger ships will be safer thanks to the EU

The European Commission welcomes the final adoption of a number of legal texts to simplify and improve passenger ship safety rules by the Council of the EU today. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “The adoption of these new safety rules is an important deliverable in our EU maritime year. At times when citizens expect the European Union to protect them, we are sending a clear message: your safety is our priority.” The adopted package ensures that the passenger ship safety rules are clear, proportionate and deliver a common level of safety for EU citizens. For example, once fully implemented by Member States, all competent authorities will have immediate access to passenger data in case of emergency and all passenger ships longer than 24 meters made of steel and aluminium will be built according to common European safety standards. The adopted package is a result of proposals made by the European Commission in June 2016, following recommendations made within the Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) Programme. The new rules will enter into force 20 days after the publication in the Official Journal. More information is available here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 6 91 43)

 

EU announces €106 million support package for people affected by the crises in Sudan

The European Commission has announced a €106 million support package – €46 million in humanitarian assistance and €60 million for development – to directly assist people in Sudan affected by forced displacement, undernutrition, disease outbreaks and recurrent extreme climatic conditions. Some 4.8 million people in Sudan currently need urgent assistance. The announcement comes as Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides is currently in Sudan, visiting EU humanitarian aid projects in South Darfur. “Here in Sudan the humanitarian situation continues to be critical. Millions have been displaced for many years in Darfur. Our new EU funding is crucial to respond to the needs of the increasing numbers of refugees, notably from South Sudan, and internally displaced people, as well as of the hosting communities. The humanitarian aid I am announcing today will help bring life-saving relief to the most vulnerable populations. Full humanitarian access throughout the country is crucial so that humanitarian workers can deliver aid safely to those in need”, said Commissioner Stylianides. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “The European Union is committed to directly support the people of Sudan. Our new development aid will boost our ongoing efforts through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. It addresses the needs of the most vulnerable Sudanese communities and offer livelihood opportunities, by better linking the EU’s humanitarian and development work in Sudan”. The full press release is available here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

Commission warns Vietnam over insufficient action to fight illegal fishing

The Commission is continuing its fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing worldwide by warning Vietnam, with a “yellow card”, about the risk of it being identified as a non-cooperating country. Today’s decision highlights that Vietnam is not doing enough to fight illegal fishing, due to the lack of an effective sanctioning system to deter IUU fishing activities and the lack of action to address illegal fishing activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels in waters of neighbouring countries, including Pacific Small Island Developing States. Furthermore, Vietnam has a poor system to control landings of fish that is processed locally before being exported to international markets, including the EU. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “With this action today we demonstrate our firm commitment to fight illegal fishing globally. We cannot ignore the impact that illegal activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels are having on marine ecosystems in the Pacific. We invite the Vietnamese authorities to step up their fight so we can reverse this decision quickly. We are offering them our technical support.” The decision does not, at this stage, entail any measures affecting trade. The “yellow card” is considered as a warning and offers the possibility for Vietnam to take measures to rectify the situation within a reasonable timeframe. To this end the Commission has proposed an action plan to support the country in addressing the identified shortcomings. A press release is available here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

La Commission approuve trois nouvelles indications géographiques de Croatie, Danemark et France

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d’inscription de trois nouveaux produits dans le registre des indications géographiques: le «Danbo» (IGP), le «Kintoa» (AOP) et le «Varaždinsko zelje» (AOP). Provenant du Danemark, le Danbo est un fromage affiné à pâte demi-dure élaboré à base de lait de vache. L’appellation Danbo est une combinaison des deux noms danois Dan et Bo. Etymologiquement, Dan est le dérivé scandinave de Danerne, nom désignant le peuple des Danois, tandis que Bo signifie «l’habitant». Le nom Danbo est ainsi l’appellation historique d’un habitant du Danemark. Le Kintoa provient de France et plus particulièrement du Pays basque français. Il s’agit d’une viande de porc issue de la race «Pie noir du Pays basque». Le terme Kintoa trouve son origine dans ce qu’on appelait le droit de quinta: depuis le XIIIème siècle, les rois de Navarre autorisaient les éleveurs de porcs à les emmener en transhumance dans les montagnes royales de Navarre et en échange, ils prélevaient un porc sur cinq, d’où le nom donné à ce droit (quinta).  Enfin, le Varaždinsko zelje est un chou de Croatie cultivé dans le département de Varaždin au nord du pays. Les membres de la famille, toutes générations confondues, participent à la récolte et se transmettent ainsi l’expérience et le savoir-faire nécessaires pour effectuer la récolte manuelle du produit. Ces trois appellations vont rejoindre plus de 1405 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 clears acquisition of legal support service firm CPA by LGP

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of CPA Global Group (CPA) of the UK by Leonard Green & Partner, L.P. (LGP) of the US. CPA is active in the legal support services sector, more specifically in patent renewal and related services. LGP is a private equity investment firm, which primarily focuses on companies providing services, including consumer, business and healthcare services, as well as retail. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies are not active on the same or related markets. 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.8650. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Eurostat: Transmission des données du déficit et de la dette pour 2016 – 2ème notification, déficit public de la zone euro et de l’UE28 respectivement de 1,5% et 1,7% du PIB, dette publique à 88,9% et 83,2%

Le déficit ainsi que la dette publique se sont réduits en termes relatifs en 2016 par rapport à 2015, tant dans la zone euro (ZE19) que dans l’UE28. Le ratio du déficit public par rapport au PIB a baissé dans la zone euro, passant de 2,1% en 2015 à 1,5% en 2016, ainsi que dans l’UE28, de 2,4% à 1,7%. Le ratio de la dette publique par rapport au PIB a reculé dans la zone euro, passant de 89,9% à la fin de l’année 2015 à 88,9% à la fin de l’année 2016, ainsi que dans l’UE28, de 84,5% à 83,2%. Dans ce communiqué de presse, Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne, fournit les données relatives au déficit et à la dette des administrations publiques, sur la base des chiffres déclarés par les États membres lors de la deuxième notification de 2017 pour les années 2013 à 2016, dans le cadre de l’application de la procédure concernant les déficits excessifs (PDE). Cette notification est fondée sur le système des comptes nationaux SEC 2010. Ce communiqué de presse inclut également des données sur les dépenses et recettes des administrations publiques. Le communiqué EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d’informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vice-President Šefčovič in Luxembourg for second Energy Union Tour

On Monday 23 October, Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will be in Luxembourg for the second Energy Union Tour. The Vice-President will meet Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider as well as the Minister for the Environment and Climate Carole Dieschbourg. Vice-President Šefčovič will promote the different components of the Energy Union stressing the need for investment in the clean energy transition which is at the heart of the Clean Energy for All Europeans proposals. Further he will call on the Luxembourgish authorities to use its forward-looking “Third Industrial Revolution” Strategy and its new “Climate Pact” to meet the goals of the Energy Union. The Vice-President will also visit the LuxÉnergie biomass co-generation plant. Ahead of his visit, Vice-President Šefčovič said: “Luxembourg is making good progress towards its 2020 climate and energy targets, as its emissions decreased by 16 percent between 2005 and 2016. I believe that the recently adopted “Climate Pact” between the state and municipalities is an excellent way forward and even a model for others. Local involvement and leadership is vital for our success in this area.” information on the 2017 Energy Union tour are available here. More information on the Energy Union is available here. More information on the Commission’s website here (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.:+32 229 52589)

 

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen in Facebook live chat

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, will participate today Monday 23 October at 15.00 CET in a Facebook live chat on “Trade and the Global Economy” on the European Commission’s Facebook page. Following the State of the Union speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission unveiled in September a progressive and ambitious trade package. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: “Global trade needs to be proactively shaped and managed to ensure it is fair, projects values and remains firmly anchored in a rules-based system. With the rising threat of protectionism and weakened commitment of large players to global trade governance, the EU must step up to take the lead. Our approach is balanced and responsible: we open markets, but we also set high rules and standards to govern globalisation, and we make sure there is a level playing-field. Trade enables EU’s industry to thrive, it creates opportunities for SMEs to export and allows them to create jobs.”(For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

 

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