Daily News 28 / 07 / 2017

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

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

 

E-commerce: making online shopping safer for consumers

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

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

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

 

Commission consults on how to better protect victims of car accidents

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[related_post themes="text" id="17111"]