Daily News 03 / 10 / 2017

Marchés publics: la Commission présente une initiative pour accroître l’impact des investissements publics

La Commission présente aujourd’hui une initiative visant une passation des marchés publics plus efficiente, professionnelle et durable, et qui s’appuie pleinement sur le numérique pour simplifier et accélérer les procédures. Cette initiative s’inscrit dans le cadre des efforts de la Commission pour renforcer le marché unique et stimuler les investissements dans l’Union européenne. Le Vice-Président Katainen et la Commissaire Bieńkowska présenteront cette initiative à l’issue de la réunion du Collège au Parlement européen de Strasbourg. Il sera possible de suivre la conférence de presse à partir de +/-15h30 (CET) sur EbS. Les journalistes ne se rendant pas à Strasbourg pourront suivre en direct de la salle de presse de la Commission européenne et poser leurs questions. Le matériel de presse, composé d’un communiqué de presse, d’un MEMO et d’une fiche d’information, sera disponible au début de la conférence de presse. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tél.: +32 229 80379)

 

L’Union Européenne finance l’extension du métro de Bucarest

251,8 millions d’euros du Fonds de cohésion sont investis dans l’extension de la cinquième ligne de métro de la capitale roumaine. Corina Creţu, commissaire à la politique régionale, a déclaré: “Grâce à l’UE, Bucarest se dote d’un métro moderne, ce qui aura un impact positif sur la qualité de l’air dans la ville, sur les entreprises locales, le tourisme et bien sûr, sur les habitants des quartiers qui seront nouvellement desservis.” Une fois les travaux achevés, la nouvelle section reliera l’Ouest de la ville au centre, de la rue Râul Doamnei jusqu’à la station Eroilor, qui fait la connexion avec les lignes 1 et 3. Elle sera longue de près de 7 km, avec 10 nouvelles stations et un dépôt. La nouvelle section devrait bénéficier à plus de 64 000 bucarestois qui réaliseront le trajet entre ces deux points de la ville en moins d’un quart d’heure. Les travaux devraient être terminés d’ici juin 2018. (Pour plus d’informations: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Investment Plan supports the digital economy: high speed broadband in Sweden and cyber security systems in France

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending €125 million to Swedish broadband provider IP-Only to support the expansion of its fibre network in cities and rural areas in Sweden. This deal will give high-speed internet access to over 400,000 homes by 2020. Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, said: “The agreement signed today with IP Only under the Juncker Plan is good news for Sweden just days after the first EU summit dedicated to Europe’s common digital project. Europe needs fast internet to reap the benefits of the digital single market. This is true for citizens and companies alike, in all corners of Europe: rural or urban.” And as Cyber Security Month kicks off, the EIB has also signed a €20 million financing agreement with CS Group in France under the Investment Plan. The company will use the financing to develop their research, development and innovation into cyber security systems. (For more information about any of the projects and the latest Investment Plan results see the Investment Plan website or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Rothesay by MassMutual and Cambourne

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Rothesay HoldCo UK Ltd of the UK by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (“MassMutual”) of the US and Cambourne Life Investment Pte. Ltd of Singapore, together with the Blackstone Group LP which is already a controlling shareholder of Rothesay. Rothesay is an insurance company, focusing primarily on offering risk transfer solutions for occupational defined benefit pensions within the UK. MassMutual is a company active in life insurance, retirement and investment products, primarily active in the US. Cambourne is a company managed by GIC Special Investments Pte. Ltd, an investment fund managing Singapore’s foreign reserves. The transaction creates limited horizontal and vertical relationships between the activities of Rothesay and the activities of MassMutual and Cambourne. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the companies’ low market shares in the areas where their activities overlap. 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.8630. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Eurostat: Août 2017 comparé à juillet 2017: Les prix à la production industrielle en hausse de 0,3% dans la zone euro, en hausse de 0,4% dans l’UE28

En août 2017 par rapport à juillet 2017, les prix à la production industrielle ont augmenté de 0,3% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,4% dans l’UE28, selon les estimations d’Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. En juillet 2017, les prix étaient restés stables dans la zone euro et avaient crû de 0,1% dans l’UE28. En août 2017 par rapport à août 2016, les prix à la production industrielle ont progressé de 2,5% dans la zone euro et de 2,9% dans l’UE28. Un communiqué de presse Eurostat est disponible en ligne. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

European Commission evaluates legal framework for OLAF investigations

An evaluation by the Commission, supported by an independent study and based on a wide-ranging consultation of stakeholders, concludes that the legal framework governing the work of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has allowed it to deliver on its mandate. With more investigations, better information exchange among the different partners of OLAF, as well as an increased protection of the rights of persons concerned by investigations, OLAF has greatly increased its effectiveness in recent years. At the same time, the creation of the European Public Prosecutor Office (EPPO) is a game-changer, and the coexistence of the two bodies will significantly enhance the Union’s capacity to tackle fraud with EU funds. The Commission will now consider whether a proposal to amend the legal framework for OLAF in the first half of 2018 is needed to ensure that OLAF and the EPPO can cooperate smoothly, and that OLAF has all the tools it needs to uphold the interest of EU citizens, and protect the EU budget against fraud and irregularities. The full Commission report is here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

STATEMENTS

State of play of negotiations with the UK: President Juncker and Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier debrief European Parliament

On Tuesday, 3 October, both President Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator for Article 50 negotiations, debriefed the Plenary Session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the state of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom. In his speech, President Juncker referred to Prime Minster May’s speech in Florence as “conciliatory,” underlining that work still remains to be done, and saying that “Until now, I can’t say that we are ready to enter the second phase of negotiations.” President Juncker stressed that “with the departure of the United Kingdom, a page in history has turned. And another one is about to be written to decide the future that we want to build at 27… Our future is not Brexit, it’s Europe.” In this context, President Juncker also recalled the Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union published on occasion of his 2017 State of the Union Address, which sets out the EU’s agenda for coming months. Michel Barnier recalled that the three main topics of the discussions on the UK’s orderly withdrawal – citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, and Ireland – “go together. They are inseparable.” A fifth round of negotiations will take place in Brussels next week. Michel Barnier reminded the Parliament that “our attitude is to remain resolutely constructive because we want to succeed. The sooner we agree on the principles of the orderly withdrawal, the sooner we can discuss the future partnership.” (For more information: Margaritis Schinas: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

Statement by High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Christos Stylianides on the recent attacks in Syria

“In the past two weeks, in Syria there has been the highest number of casualties in 2017, as a result of the heavy air attacks hitting civilians and civilian infrastructure, in particular hospitals and medical facilities, in Northern Syria. Since September 19, increased aerial bombardments across Idlib, Aleppo and Hama have left hundreds of civilians dead and many more injured. Amongst them children, women and also aid workers who are risking their lives to save those of others. This is a clear violation of international laws and conventions. The EU recalls the strict obligation for all parties to the conflict to make the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure their primary responsibility, in line with International Humanitarian Law. (…) Moreover, we call upon all parties to the conflict to ensure that humanitarian organisations can conduct their operations unhindered. (…) the EU continues to assist in finding a political solution to the conflict as the only viable way to end the suffering, as we remain committed to providing humanitarian assistance to all Syrian people in need, wherever they are and according to humanitarian principles. We expect de-escalation areas to be a step towards improving the situation on the ground, and creating the conditions for the success of the UN led intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.” Read the full statement here. (For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140; Lauranne Devillé – Tel.: +32 229 80833)       

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Commissioner Avramopoulos in Lampedusa to commemorate lives lost in the Mediterranean

Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos is today travelling to Lampedusa, Italy. He will take part, together with Italian Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti, in the commemoration ceremony in memory of the victims of the tragedy which took place off the island’s coast four years ago when over 360 persons lost their lives whilst trying to reach Europe. Ahead of the visit, Commissioner Avramopoulos said: “Today we remember the many lives lost, dreams destroyed, hope shattered of those trying to reach these shores, fleeing war and persecution. We commemorate the tragedy of 3 October 2013 – but we also commemorate each and every individual tragedy since then. Saving lives at sea and working towards safe and legal routes for those in need of protection has always been our priority. Our European history and heritage reminds us of our duties and our legacy towards solidarity, tolerance and openness.” Since 2015, 620,000 lives have been saved in the Aegean and the Mediterranean thanks to the Italian and Greek rescue operations as well as the European Border and Coast Guard’s Triton and Poseidon operations and Operation Sophia. Building on the progress achieved so far, the Commission last week presented next steps towards a stronger, more effective and fairer EU migration and asylum policy. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 2 298 67 64; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 58602)       

Commissioner Avramopoulos in Zagreb

Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Zagreb, Croatia, tomorrow where he will meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Minister of Interior Davor Božinović. Discussions will focus on EU migration, border and security policy. A joint press conference with Minister Božinović will take place around 14:30 CET and will be available on EbS. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456 ; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 2 298 67 64; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

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