Tag Archives: MajaKocijancic

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 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)

Latest daily news

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Clean, shared and intelligent mobility: Commission launches the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commissioner Navracsics to travel to Slovenia for international education congress

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

 

La Commissaire Creţu en Roumanie

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

 

Commissioner King in Bucharest on Monday

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

Calendar

The Commissioners’ weekly activities

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

Daily News 15 / 09 / 2017

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Clean, shared and intelligent mobility: Commission launches the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commissioner Navracsics to travel to Slovenia for international education congress

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

 

La Commissaire Creţu en Roumanie

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

 

Commissioner King in Bucharest on Monday

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

Calendar

The Commissioners’ weekly activities

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

Daily News 05 / 07 / 2017

Joint Letter of President Juncker and President Tusk to EU Heads of State or Government on the EU’s Priorities for the G20

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk have today sent a joint letter to EU Heads of State or Government, setting out the EU priorities for the G20 Summit which takes place on 7-8 July in Hamburg, Germany. The two Presidents write, by way of introduction: “Europe’s role in the world and our responsibility at the international level in these turbulent times are growing. More than ever the EU has become a global point of reference for all those who value the principles of liberal democracy and human rights, free and fair trade or concrete actions in facing global challenges, such as climate change, poverty, terrorism and illegal migration. A strong and determined Union is the best way to promote our values and interests, to support a rules-based multilateral system, and ultimately to protect and defend citizens. With this in mind we will participate in the G20 Summit in Hamburg later this week”. In their letter, the two Presidents set out the EU’s goals in 9 different areas: 1. The G20’s key role in making the global economy work for all; 2. Bolstering an open and fair rules-based multilateral trading system; 3. Demonstrating that ambitious climate action is good for economic growth and jobs; 4. Tapping the potential of the digital revolution; 5. Advancing the global fight against tax avoidance and evasion; 6. Stepping up efforts to fight terrorism and terrorist financing; 7. Aiming for a more resilient international monetary and financial system; 8. Sharing responsibility for refugees and migrants; 9. Partnering with Africa for investment, growth and jobs. Presidents Juncker and Tusk will hold a joint press conference ahead of the G20 Summit, at 9.15 on Friday 7 July, in the G20 press centre in Hamburg. More information about the EU’s participation in the G20 is available in this brochure. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

Trade and Strategic Partnership agreements on the agenda of the EU-Japan Summit taking place in Brussels tomorrow 

On Thursday 6 July, Brussels will play host to the 24th Summit between the European Union and Japan. The European Union will be represented by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. Japan will be represented by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. The Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, will also participate, along with several Japanese Ministers. The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement and EU-Japan trade agreement will be the primary agenda points, with negotiations having progressed significantly over the past months and a political agreement between the leaders now within reach. The Summit will also provide an opportunity for the leaders to review and strengthen the EU-Japan relationship, including both bilateral issues, as well as regional and global challenges. Counter-terrorism, security, energy, data protection, climate action, migration and foreign policy priorities are all expected to be discussed. A joint press conference of the three leaders will take place in the Council at 12:10 tomorrow and will be shown live on EbS. A background briefing for journalists ahead of the Summit will take place at 14:30 this afternoon in the Council press room.  For more information, see the following: website of the 24th EU-Japan Summit, website of the EU Delegation to Japan, EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement website). (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382;Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185)

Statement by First Vice-President Timmermans Statement by First Vice-President Timmermans on the final award made on 29 June by the Arbitration Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the arbitration between Croatia and Slovenia

Following yesterday’s College meeting in Strasbourg, First Vice-President Timmermans issued the following statement: “The Commission held a discussion on the final award made on 29 June by the Arbitration Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration as regards maritime and land borders between Croatia and Slovenia. This is an issue that has been going on for more than 20 years. The Commission has always been supportive of the peaceful settlement of border disputes between Member States. In this particular process we have also acted as facilitator, leading to the establishment of the arbitration process in 2009. In this particular case, now that there is a decision, the Commission takes good note of the final award and expects both parties to implement it. In the same vein the Commission welcomes that both Prime Ministers of Slovenia and Croatia will meet on 12 July and have agreed that no unilateral steps would be taken before then. The Commission hopes that both Prime Ministers can come to an agreement on how best to implement the award. The Commission of course stands ready to contribute to or facilitate this process. Once we are on our way in this process the College will come back to the issue to discuss the progress and see how the Commission can help bring about a full implementation and just implementation of the award.” The statement is online here in all EU languages. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

EU releases additional aid as crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasaï province worsens

The European Commission has announced additional humanitarian aid of €5 million to help scores of people in urgent need of assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s conflict-torn provinces of Kasaï. This will expand the EU’s humanitarian response to eight Congolese provinces affected by conflict. This funding brings EU humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in the Democratic Republic of Congo to almost €28 million euros since the beginning of the year. Over 1.3 million people are currently internally displaced, with some 35 000 new cases reported during May alone. Since the beginning of the year, an average of 8 000 people per day have been displaced. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “The European Union is extremely concerned by the current humanitarian crisis in Kasaï, causing horrible suffering to so many people. The funding we provide today will help for the very first time in this region our humanitarian partners to respond to the most urgent needs of those affected by the conflict. But ultimately, it is only by laying down arms and restoring peace that all those caught in this conflict will be able to return home and rebuild their lives”. A full press release will be available here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela –Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

EU Response to Drugs: Commission proposes to restrict new synthetic opioid

Today, the European Commission has proposed to subject the new psychoactive substance furanylfentanyl to control measures across the European Union. According to the risk assessment report provided by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), furanylfentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid which can cause severe harm to health. The substance is sold online in small and wholesale amounts as a “research chemical”, typically as a powder and as ready-to-use nasal sprays. So far, furanylfentanyl has been detected in 16 Member States and is associated with 23 deaths, in addition to 11 acute non-fatal intoxications. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “The rise in the availability of new psychoactive substancesremains a considerable public health challenge in Europe. It is a rapidly evolving and extremely dangerous threat able to cause serious harm and even death. Our response needs to be equally quick and effective and that is why we have recently agreed on a new legislation on new psychoactive substances”. The Commission’s proposal will now be discussed by the Member States in the Council, which, in consultation with the European Parliament, will decide whether to adopt the measures. More information on EU Drug Report 2017 is available online.(For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Polish bank guarantee scheme

The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules a prolongation of the Polish bank guarantee scheme until 30 November 2017. The scheme provides for State guarantees in favour of different types of solvent credit institutions in Poland. It was initially approved in September 2009 and prolonged several times, last time in December 2016. The Commission found the prolongation of the scheme to be in line with its guidelines on state aid to banks during the crisis because it is well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission is authorising guarantee schemes on banks’ liabilities for successive periods of up to six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register, under the case number SA.48227. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Irish credit union resolution scheme

The European Commission has found the prolongation of an Irish scheme for the orderly winding-up of credit unions to be in line with EU state aid rules, and in particular with the 2013 Banking Communication (see also MEMO). The objective of the scheme is to safeguard financial stability when a credit union becomes unable to meet regulatory requirements. It allows Ireland to provide aid for transferring the assets and liabilities of a failing credit union to an acquirer through a competitive process. This will help to achieve the maximum value for the assets and liabilities, ensuring that the aid is limited to the minimum necessary for an orderly winding-up and that no buyer gains an undue economic advantage through the acquisition of under-priced assets and liabilities. The scheme is valid until 30 November 2017. The Commission initially approved the scheme in December 2011. It was prolonged several times, the last time in December 2016. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the reference SA.48337. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Mergers: Commission clears the creation of a joint venture between Cummins and Eaton Corporation

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture between Cummins of the United States, and Eaton Corporation of Ireland. The joint venture will develop and supply automated transmission systems for heavy-duty and medium-duty commercial vehicles.  Cummins is active in the supply and servicing of engines and related products. Eaton is active in the supply of transmission systems for commercial vehicles, among other solutions for the management of electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, because the joint venture has no, or negligible, actual or foreseen activities in the EEA. 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.8495.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Eurostat: Excédent de 58,9 milliards d’euros des échanges courants de l’UE28

Le compte des opérations courantes de la balance des paiements de l’UE28, corrigé des variations saisonnières, a enregistré un excédent de 58,9 milliards d’euros (1,6% du PIB) au premier trimestre 2017, en hausse par rapport à l’excédent de 52,9 mrds (1,4% du PIB) du quatrième trimestre 2016 et à celui de 57,4 mrds (1,5% du PIB) du premier trimestre 2016, selon les estimations d’Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153)

Eurostat: Le volume des ventes du commerce de détail en hausse de 0,4% dans la zone euro

En mai 2017 par rapport à avril 2017, le volume des ventes du commerce de détail corrigé des variations saisonnières a augmenté de 0,4% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,2% dans l’UE28, selon les estimations d’Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. En avril, le commerce de détail avait progressé de 0,1% dans la zone euro et de 0,5% dans l’UE28. En mai 2017 par rapport à mai 2016, l’indice des ventes de détail s’est accru de 2,6% tant dans la zone euro que dans l’UE28. Un communiqué de presse Eurostat est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations:Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Commissioner Andriukaitis visits Republic of Moldova on 5 July

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis is on official visit to Chisinau, Moldova on 5 July. Commissioner Andriukaitis will have a series of meetings, including with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Mr Pavel Filip, Minister of Health Ms Ruxanda Glavan and Minister of Economy Mr Octavian Calmic. Meetings with the representatives of European Business Association and Medical University will also take place. Ahead of his visit Commissioner Andriukaitis said: “My visit to Chisinau will be a good opportunity to send a signal of cooperation between the EU and Moldova also on health matters, and to discuss various topics from my portfolio, including antimicrobial resistance, tobacco control, vaccination, access to medicines, food safety, among others.”(For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council: Ministers to discuss migration, interoperability, e-justice and digital contracts in Tallinn

On Thursday and Friday, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, and Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union, will attend the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Council in Tallinn, Estonia. The meeting will start with a discussion on migration. To steer the debate, the European Commission presented on Tuesday an Action Plan on the Central Mediterranean Route to support Italy, reduce migratory pressure and increase solidarity among Member States. The Ministers will then discuss the cooperation with Ukraine in the field of internal security. Later that day, they will focus on interoperability of EU information systems, including the legislative proposals on eu-LISA, the EU Agency responsible for the management of information systems, and exchange of criminal records of third country nationals recently put forward by the Commission. On Friday, the Ministers will exchange views on data retention, e-justice, the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders’ proposal and on the harmonisation of contract rules for online sales of goods in the Digital Single Market. Also on Friday, a meeting with Eastern Partnership Justice and Home Affairs Ministers will take place to discuss cooperation on the fight against organised crime, specifically cybercrime and corruption. A press release and factsheet on the Action Plan on the Central Mediterranean Route are available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253)

 

Les Commissaires Hahn et Bulc en visite en Turquie

Johannes Hahn, Commissaire responsable de la politique européenne de voisinage et des négociations d’élargissement et Violeta Bulc, Commissaire en charge des transports, se rendront en visite officielle en Turquie afin de discuter des relations bilatérales et des défis communs auxquels font face l’Union européenne et la Turquie.  La Commissaire Violeta Bulc sera aujourd’hui à Istanbul où elle visitera notamment le troisième pont sur le Bosphore qui constitue un maillon clé de la future ligne ferroviaire entre Halkali et Kapikule. Celle-ci permettra d’améliorer les connexions entre l’Union Européenne et la Turquie et bénéficie à ce titre d’une contribution financière européenne à travers l’Instrument d’aide de préadhésion. Demain à Ankara, elle rencontrera le ministre des Transports, de la Navigation et Communication, M. Ahmet Arslan, afin de donner un nouvel élan au dialogue sectoriel de haut-niveau UE-Turquie en matière de Transport. Elle s’entretiendra également avec le Ministre de l’économie M. Nihat Zeybekçi et le Ministre de l’Intérieur, M. Süleyman Soylu. Le Commissaire Johannes Hahn sera également à Ankara demain où il visitera le centre de formation de santé  pour les médecins et infirmiers syriens ainsi que le centre de santé dédié aux réfugiés syriens actuellement en construction. Ces centres sont financés par la Facilité de l’UE en faveur des réfugiés en Turquie. Le Commissaire rencontrera également des membres du gouvernement tels que le Premier Ministre, M. Binali Yıldırım, le Ministre pour les affaires européennes, M. Ömer Çelik, le Ministre du développement M. Lutfu Elvan, le Ministre de l’économie M. Nihat Zeybekçi et le Ministre de la santé M. Recep Akdağ. Photos et vidéos seront disponibles sur EBS. (Pour plus de renseignements: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 6 91 43)

Commissioner Navracsics in Madrid for hearing at the Spanish Parliament

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, is in Madrid today where he is contributing to the current debate in Spain on education reform. Discussing with a Parliamentary sub-committee, the Commissioner underlined the importance of education as a key driver of economic growth and social cohesion as only good, effective and inclusive education systems can help equip people with relevant skills and enable Member States to stay competitive in the global race. He highlighted how the Commission can help countries develop effective education policies and support them in their implementation with concrete tools and instruments, whilst respecting their sovereignty over their own education systems. Earlier this morning, Commissioner Navracsics met Spanish Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, for a working breakfast, and he will visit later today the Spanish Congress and meet Chairwoman María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)

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