General Information

CALENDRIER du 3 octobre au 9 octobre 2016

­­­­­(Susceptible de modifications en cours de semaine)

Déplacements et visites

Lundi 3 octobre

European Parliament plenary session, in Strasbourg (03-06/10).

Informal Meeting of Employment, Social Policy and Health Ministers (until 04/10), in Bratislava.

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Ms Maria João Rodrigues, Member of the European Parliament, and representatives of the Group of the Appeal of 9 May.

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party.

Ms Federica Mogherini in Paris, France: attends a meeting on Libya at the Quai d’Orsay.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič in Bratislava, Slovakia: meets Mr Peter Kažimír, Minister of Finance of Slovakia; Mr Peter Pellegrini, Deputy Prime Minister for Investment of Slovakia.   

Mr Maroš Šefčovič in Bratislava, Slovakia: gives the opening speech at the European Nuclear Energy Forum plenary meeting.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič in Bratislava, Slovakia: meets Mr Ivo Nesrovnal, Mayor of Bratislava.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskisin New York City, the U.S. (until 6/10): Delivers keynote speech to Board Members of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association; meets Mr Jeffrey Sprecher, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and William C. Dudley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; meets Mr Michael Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change; visits the New York Stock Exchange.

Mr Günther Oettinger in Lisbon, Portugal: participates in a “Going local” event on the Digital Single Market with Ms Maria Manuel Leitão Marques, Minister of the Presidency and Administrative Simplification of Portugal, and Mr Jorge Oliveira, Secretary of State for Internationalisation of Portugal; he delivers a keynote speech at the event. He also participates in a hearing at the Parliament with Members of the Committees for European Affairs, for Economy, Innovation and Public Works and for Culture, Communication, Youth and Sports; meets Mr Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy of Portugal, Mr João Vasconcelos, Secretary of State of Industry of Portugal. He also meets Members of the Portuguese Industrial Strategic Committee and Representatives of Portuguese enterprises.

Mr Miguel Arias Cañete in Madrid, Spain: visits the premises of the Iveco Plant.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Bratislava, Slovakia (until 04/10): participates in the Informal Meeting of Health Ministers.

Ms Marianne Thyssen receives Members of the Caterpillar Joint Task Force.

Ms Corina Creţu in Bucharest, Romania: gives a keynote speech at the Conference and Urban Development Network workshop “My City in Our Europe”.


Mardi 4 octobre

College meeting

Brussels Conference on Afghanistan (until 05/10), in Brussels.


President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg.

President Jean-Claude Juncker participates at the Conference of Committee Chairs of the European Parliament.

Ms Federica Mogherini meets Mr Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.

Ms Federica Mogherini chairs EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

Ms Federica Mogherini chairs the EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting.

Ms Federica Mogherini meets Shri M. J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs of India.

Ms Federica Mogherini meets Mr Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

Ms Federica Mogherini meets Ms Rula Ghani, First Lady of Afghanistan.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Bratislava, Slovakia: participates in the Informal Meeting of Health Ministers.


Mercredi 5 octobre

Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, in Brussels.

President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on the Commission’s preparations for the October European Council.

Ms Federica Mogherini chairs the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič speaks at the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) conference “Industrial Regions and Climate Change Policies: Trade Unions’ Perspective”, in Brussels.

Ms Cecilia Malmström receives Mr Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

Mr Miguel Arias Cañete receives Mr Javier Cavada Camino, President of Wärtsilä Corporation, and Mr Kari Hietanen, Executive Vice President for Energy Solutions of Wärtsilä Corporation.

Mr Karmenu Vella in New Delhi, India (until 07/10): participates in the World Sustainable Development Summit 2016.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Paris, France (until 06/10): meets with representatives of the European Affairs and Social Affairs Committees of the French National Assembly and the Senate of France.

Ms Marianne Thyssen in Lisboa, Portugal: meets Mr José António Vieira da Silva, Minister of Employment, Solidarity and Social Security of Portugal.

Mr Pierre Moscovici à Paris, France: est en audition à l’Assemblée Nationale française devant les Commissions des Affaires européennes et des Finances.

M Phil Hogan à Clermont-Ferrand, France; assiste au ’25ème Sommet de l’élevage’.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Paris, France: delivers the opening speech at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Forum on Procurement for Innovation with Mr Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD; she also meets Mr Peter Žiga, Minister of Economy of Slovakia; and delivers a keynote speech at the High-level Debate “Boosting Innovation through Public Procurement”.

Ms Vĕra Jourová receives EU General Prosecutors for the European Public Prosecutors’ Office (EPPO).

Mr Carlos Moedas in Madrid, Spain: delivers two keynote speeches at the South Summit on “EUREKA, innovation across borders”, and on “Building the Digital Single Market: Opportunities for entrepreneurial ecosystems H2020”.


Jeudi 6 octobre

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Antoni Martí, Head of Government of Andorra.

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Paris, France: receives the Prize for European Engagement awarded by La Maison du Barreau and delivers a speech.

President Jean-Claude Juncker attends a dinner hosted by the Jacques Delors Institute.

Mr Frans Timmermans in Valetta, Malta: participates in a Citizens’ Dialogue

Mr Maroš Šefčovič exchanges views with representatives of City networks on the strategic objectives of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, in Brussels. 

Mr Valdis Dombrovskisin Washington D.C., the U.S. (until 10/10): participates in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group Annual Meetings. He holds a series of bilateral meetings, including with Mr Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Mr Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board, Mr Scott Morrison, Treasurer of Australia, Mr John Tsang, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, Mr Henrique Meirelles, Minister of Finance of Brazil. He also delivers keynote speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, participates in panel debate at the International Finance’s annual conference.

Mr Jyrki Katainen meets Mr Inge Thulin, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of 3M Company.

Mr Johannes Hahn in Syracuse, Italy: participates at the Fischer Symposium 2016 “Yearning for the unknown – Experiencing neighbourhood, living in an ‘enlarged’ Europe” addressing the Opening Speech “Europe-Unity in Diversity”.

Mr Miguel Arias Cañete receives representatives of the car industry.

Mr Miguel Arias Cañete receives Mr Inge G.Thulin, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of 3M Company.

Mr Karmenu Vella in New Delhi, India (until 07/10): participates in the World Sustainable Development Summit 2016.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Paris, France: meets Ms Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs and Health of France; Mr Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture of France; Ms Élisabeth Guigou, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly. He also meets Mr Philip Cordery, Member of the Social Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly; and with representatives of the consumer organisation “UFC-Que Choisir?”.

Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos in Bulgaria: participates in the official launch of the European Border and Coast Guard at the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing point.

Ms Marianne Thyssen in Lisboa and Sitra, Portugal; attends the Hearing at the Parliament and exchanges views on European Pillar of Social Rights; visits an EU-funded project CIAPA in Sintra; meets Mr José António Vieira da Silva, Minister of Employment, Solidarity and Social Security; Ms Margarida Marques, Secretary of State of European Affairs; Mr Miguel Cabrita, Secretary of State of Employment; Ms Cláudia Joaquim, Secretary of State of Social Security; Ms Ana Sofia Antunes, Secretary of State of Inclusion with Persons with Disabilities and Social partners.

Ms Marianne Thyssen in Lisboa, Portugal: attends the High Level Conference on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Mr Christos Stylianides in Dublin, Ireland: meets Mr Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland; and with representatives of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Houses of the Oireachtas. He also meets Mr Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Chair of the Houses of the Oireachtas; Mr Simon Coveney, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government of Ireland.

Mr Phil Hogan in Athens, Greece (until 07/10): meets Mr Evangelos Apostolou, Minister of Agricultural Development and Food of Greece; and Mr Nikolaos Voutsis, President of the Hellenic Parliament. He also participates in the Congress of European Farmers “Next steps to ensure a dynamic and sustainable EU agriculture sector”.

Ms Vĕra Jourová receives EU General Prosecutors for the European Public Prosecutors’ Office (EPPO).

Ms Vĕra Jourováv participates in a meeting of the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) on the ‘Volkswagen case’.

Mr Tibor Navracsics in Kosice, Slovakia: participates in and delivers a speech at the European Youth Conference.

Ms Margrethe Vestager participates in the opening of the Stakeholders Conference “Sector inquiry into e-commerce“, in Brussels.

Mr Carlos Moedas in Madrid, Spain: participates in a working breakfast with Members of the Association of Spanish Rectors of Universities and Association of Portuguese Rectors of Universities. He also visits the Spanish National Center of Cardiovascular Research, and the Google Campus.

Vendredi 7 octobre

President Jean-Claude Juncker participates at a debate hosted by Politique Internationale.

President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a speech at the 20th anniversary of Jacques Delors Institute “Notre Europe”.

Mr Frans Timmermans in Valetta, Malta: meets with Mr Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta; Mr Louis Grech, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EU Affairs; Mr Carmelo Abela, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security. He also attends a meeting of the Foreign and European Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Malta; meets Mr José Carreira, Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

Mr Maroš Šefčovič in Copenhagen, Denmark: gives a keynote speech at the session “The Foreign Policy Dimension of Energy transition” at the Inter-Parliamentary Meeting of the European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources (EUFORES), attends a meeting at the European Environmental Agency (EEA).

Mr Jyrki Katainen, Mr Christos Stylianides, and Ms Margrethe Vestager receive a network group of Danish CEOs, in Brussels.

Mr Johannes Hahn in Syracuse, Italy: participates at the Fischer Symposium 2016 “Yearning for the unknown – Experiencing neighbourhood, living in an ‘enlarged’ Europe”.

Ms Cecilia Malmström receives Mr Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Economic Affairs of Turkey.

Mr Karmenu Vella in New Delhi, India: participates in the World Sustainable Development Summit 2016.

Mr Pierre Moscovici in Washington D.C., the U.S., (until 9/10): takes part in the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group as well as the G7 and G20 Finance Minister Meetings; delivers a keynote speech on prosperity and growth at the Atlantic Council.

Mr Phil Hogan in Athens, Greece: participates in the 3rd Panhellenic Congress on the Development of Greek Agriculture.

Ms Violeta Bulc receives Mr Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Economy of Turkey.

Mr Tibor Navracsics in Budapest, Hungary: meets representatives of the National Union of Students in Hungary (HÖOK) and the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Hungary (FIVOSZ).

Ms Corina Creţu receives Mr Sorin Grindeanu, President of the Timiș County Council of Romania, and Mr Cosmin Necula, Mayor of Bacău in Romania.

Ms Corina Creţu receives Mr Bogdan Marius Chirițoiu, President of the Romanian Competition Council.

Ms Margrethe Vestager in Paris, France: participates in the event marking the 20th anniversary of Jacques Delors Institute “Notre Europe”.

Mr Julian King in Mechelen, Belgium: meets Mr Bart Somers, Mayor of Mechelen, to discuss the prevention of radicalisation.


Samedi 8 octobre

President Jean-Claude Juncker attends the convention of the Christian Social People’s Party (CSV) of Luxembourg.


Dimanche 9 octobre

Prévisions du mois d’octobre:

10/10 Eurogroup, in Luxembourg.

10-11/10 Agriculture and Fisheries Council, in Luxembourg.

11/10 Economic and Financial Affairs Council, in Luxembourg.

13/10 Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, in Luxembourg.

13-14/10 Justice and Home Affairs Council, in Luxembourg.

17/10 Environment Council, in Luxembourg.

17/10 Foreign Affairs Council, in Luxembourg.

18/10 General Affairs Council, in Luxembourg.

19/10 European Council – Tripartite Social Summit, in Brussels.

20-21/10 European Council, in Brussels.

Prévisions du mois de novembre:

07/11 Eurogoup, in Brussels.

08/11 Economic and Financial Affairs Council, in Brussels.

11/11 Foreign Affairs Council, in Brussels.

14-15/11 Agriculture and Fisheries Council, in Brussels.

14-15/11 Foreign Affairs Council, in Brussels.

15-16/11 General Affairs Council, in Brussels.

16/11 Economic and Financial Affairs Council, in Brussels.

21-22/11 Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council, in Brussels.

28/11 Foreign Affairs Council, in Brussels.

28-29/11 Competitiveness Council, in Brussels.

Permanence DG COMM le WE du 1er au 2 octobre:

Ricardo CARDOSO, +32 (0)460 764 266

Permanence RAPID – GSM: +32 (0)498 982 748

Service Audiovisuel, planning studio – tél.: +32 (0)229 52123

General Market

Press Releases: U.S.-EU Energy Council

The text of the following statement was issued by the U.S.-EU Energy Council.

Begin Text:

The seventh United States-European Union Energy Council met today in Washington, D.C., chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and European Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. Minister for the Environment of the Netherlands Sharon Dijksma represented the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Energy Council, a forum on U.S.-EU energy priorities, promotes transparent, open and secure global energy markets; fosters policy and regulatory cooperation on efficient and sustainable energy use; and pursues joint research and development on clean energy and energy efficiency technologies. Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, the Energy Council also constitutes a platform for transatlantic dialogue on how to accelerate the clean energy transition in line with the ambition to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Bolstering Energy Security and Markets and Combatting Energy Vulnerabilities

The Council reaffirmed that energy security, through access to reliable, affordable, diversified, efficient and sustainable energy in the United States and Europe, remains a fundamental objective. The Council emphasized it is unacceptable to use energy as a political weapon and underscored its commitment to work together to improve energy diversification in the EU and its neighboring countries, including ensuring adequate market-based alternatives in terms of energy sources, suppliers, transportation routes, and demand-side management. The Council also underlined the importance of ensuring that global energy markets are open, transparent and liquid, and affirmed that enhancing transatlantic regulatory cooperation would help progress towards this goal.

The Council recognized that new supplies and suppliers, combined with diversified supply routes and sources, greater levels of interconnection, increased indigenous energy production, third-party access to gas transmission and storage facilities, access to LNG, as well as energy efficiency measures, will be critical to meeting the EU’s energy security objectives. In this respect, the development and better use of interconnections (including bi-directional), regasification and storage infrastructure is essential. It noted the importance of continuing efforts to swiftly implement EU Projects of Common Interest, particularly in Southeast and Central Eastern Europe, the Iberian Peninsula and the Baltic and Mediterranean regions, including interconnections to peripheral and vulnerable regions, and to complete internal market reforms. The Council also recognized the importance of respecting market needs when designing infrastructure and of open and predictable procedures to facilitate private sector investment and other participation in these projects, including by EU and U.S. companies. With a view to contributing to energy security in the gas market in the EU, the Council concurred that any new infrastructure should entirely comply with the Third Energy Package and other applicable EU legislation as well as with the objectives of the Energy Union. The Council reiterated its strong support for the opening of the Southern Gas Corridor, including the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and underscored the importance of the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector and the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, in Croatia (with evacuation pipelines), as well as in Greece if there is market demand. The Council recognized that the abovementioned infrastructure improvements would play a critical role in bringing alternative gas supplies into the Southeast and Central European region. The Council also acknowledged the potential of the Iberian Peninsula as an important gas entry point for the EU, as well as the Baltic connector and the Poland-Lithuania gas interconnector, which would bring essential alternative gas supplies to Finland and the Baltic States. In the electricity sector, the Council recognized the importance of fully integrating the Baltic States into the EU’s internal energy market and welcomed the completion of the Lithuania-Poland and Lithuania-Sweden power interconnections in December 2015.

The Council welcomed the lifting of U.S. crude oil export restrictions in 2015 and the commencement of U.S. LNG exports from the Gulf Coast in 2016, as they are important milestones for global energy markets that can also help improve security of supply globally and in Europe. The Council noted that the United States has already approved significant volumes of LNG exports to non-FTA countries and has applications for additional volumes currently under review. The United States is expected to become a significant natural gas exporter before the end of the current decade. The Council recognized the potential of the new gas resources in the Black Sea, the Caspian Basin, North Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean for the energy security of the EU and the wider region. The Council stressed the need to respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of EU Member States to explore and exploit their natural resources and stands ready to facilitate the development of these resources and corresponding infrastructure, underlining the need to respect international law.

The Council reaffirmed its commitment to the G-7 Principles of Energy Security endorsed by G-7 leaders at the Brussels and Elmau Summits in 2014 and 2015 as well as the commitment to provide energy sector support to Ukraine and other vulnerable countries. The Council stressed the role of Ukraine as an important natural gas transit country to the EU. Ensuring sufficient and diversified fuel supplies, including in the electricity sector, for Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and other vulnerable countries, remains a key priority for the United States and the European Union, and the Council welcomed their efforts to this end. The Council welcomed the close cooperation among the United States, the European Union and Canada to support Ukraine in developing a winter contingency plan, as well as the medium- and long-term efforts to improve Ukraine’s energy security. The Council underlined its support for the continuing reform of Ukraine’s energy sector, and for enhancing and making more transparent the legal, fiscal and policy framework and improving transparency in the context of the progressive integration of Ukraine into the European energy market. The Council noted the importance of Ukraine’s maintaining reform momentum and strengthening the implementation of energy sector reforms in line with its commitments under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the Energy Community, including those as established with the concurrence of the IMF, World Bank, EBRD and EIB. In particular, the Council supported adjustments in energy prices to move closer to reflecting costs, adoption of legislation creating an independent regulator, an electricity market law, and progress in unbundling its state oil and gas company, Naftogaz, in particular by establishing co-operation between Naftogaz and the European TSOs to develop common standards for the operation of the Ukrainian gas network. These efforts can help encourage the necessary investments that will increase domestic production of both natural gas and renewable energy, enhance Ukraine’s gas storage capacity and address the significant potential for energy efficiency. The Council also acknowledges the EU and U.S. contributions to Ukraine’s energy security by enabling reverse flows of natural gas to Ukraine and welcomes the progress made in the construction of the gas interconnector between Romania and the Republic of Moldova.

The Council recognized the importance of regulatory cooperation to ensure effective market functioning and to realize key infrastructure projects. The Council welcomed the existing regulatory cooperation between the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) concerning the supervision and oversight of the wholesale energy markets. The Council looks forward to further strengthening of regulatory co-operation in areas of mutual interest and the signing of the Administrative Arrangement between the FERC and the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission concerning cooperation and the exchange of information related to the field of wholesale energy market regulation.

The Council took note of the ongoing work to complete the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and the opportunity it presents to promote high standards for liberalized global trade and investment. In this context, the Council recognized T-TIP’s potential to foster free trade in energy and low carbon technologies by diminishing trade and investment restrictions, promoting cooperation and regulatory coherence, and enhancing transparency. The Council also recognized the potential for T-TIP to improve cooperation on technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment, while protecting the rights of our respective governments to regulate to ensure secure, viable, efficient, open, and competitive energy markets, and high levels of health, safety and environmental protection.

The Council underlined the importance of nuclear safety and related research around the world, including U.S.-EU cooperation under the existing U.S. DOE-Euratom nuclear research cooperation agreements. The Council commends the close coordination of U.S. and EU authorities on the global promotion of nuclear safety including the recent Nuclear Security Summit and through the G7 initiatives on Chornobyl and Ukraine, among others. The 30-year commemoration of the accident at Chornobyl on April 26 and the upcoming EU activities on nuclear legacies in Central Asia highlight the dedication of the parties to ensuring continuing advances in nuclear safety. In this context, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the promotion and implementation of the highest levels of standards of nuclear safety as well as independent and effective regulatory practices in third countries with civil nuclear programs and emphasized the role of the IAEA in strengthening international cooperation and information exchange.

The Council recognized the increasing cyber security risks and vulnerabilities to energy infrastructure in the United States and Europe. The Council highlighted U.S.-EU efforts under the G-7 Energy Ministerial to advance cooperation with universities, research institutions and the private sector to promote the development of resilient energy systems capable of effective responses to emerging cyber threats.

The Council noted that the Joint Caribbean-EU Partnership Strategy and the U.S. Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI), and the Caribbean and Central American Energy Security Task Force, as well as work under the Africa-EU Energy Partnership, the Power Africa initiative and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), could serve as productive vehicles for collaboration in support of energy vulnerable regions. This includes meeting Sustainable Development Goal 7 (ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all). In this context, the Council committed to cooperate in accelerating access to renewable energy in Africa and developing countries in other regions, building on existing work and initiatives with a view to reducing energy poverty, increasing electricity access and mobilizing substantial financial resources from private investors, development finance institutions, and multilateral development banks.

Transformation to a Clean Energy Economy and Achieving Climate Change Objectives

The Council welcomed as a vital breakthrough the adoption of the Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015 in Paris, and its signature by more than 170 parties on April 22, 2016 in New York. Recognizing that urgent and effective action is needed to address the threat of climate change, the Council committed to work towards addressing climate change.

The Council underlined the importance of the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement and urged all Parties to the UNFCCC to begin their domestic processes in order to ratify, accept or approve the Paris agreement as soon as possible, stressing the need for inclusiveness in decision-making and the importance for countries to transparently implement their nationally determined contributions.

Acknowledging the role of the High Ambition Coalition in the achievement of the Paris Agreement, the Council determined to continue cooperation commitment and momentum for climate action within this grouping of nations, while also seeking closer cooperation with Parties willing to raise the level of ambition of global climate action. The Council recognized the importance of the ongoing provision and mobilization of finance and technical assistance to those countries most in need, such as that under the Power Africa Initiative and Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, and strongly supports the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, including its focus on mobilizing all stakeholders.

The Council underscored the necessity of close U.S.-EU coordination to implement the commitments made at COP 21 in Paris, and acknowledged the essential role of clean and sustainable energy policies and technologies to meet these commitments. Furthermore, the Council committed to working towards addressing climate change, including by developing and deploying innovative technologies for the transformation of the energy sector by 2050, and to moving toward long-term national low-emission development.

The Council emphasized that the United States and the European Union can learn from each other’s best practices as well as work together to assist other countries in meeting their clean energy and climate targets. The Council recognizes the Clean Energy Ministerial as an important mechanism to facilitate implementation of COP21 commitments through sharing of best practices and coordination between the United States, the European Union and other major economies with forward-leaning clean energy strategies. The Council noted the importance of the second installment of the U.S. Quadrennial Energy Review, which is expected to assess the state of, and consider prospects for, the further development of the U.S. electricity sector in its totality.

The Council stressed that addressing climate change through scaling up clean, safe, secure and sustainable energy and energy efficiency is a critical component of a country’s security and economic development. In this respect, the Council specifically recognized that the creation of the appropriate enabling environment is a priority in both developed and emerging economies. In addition, by helping countries create enabling environments and establish trajectories to meet their clean energy goals, the United States and the European Union are working to generate momentum for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, and to build confidence that Nationally Determined Contributions can be met and over time, be made more ambitious, in order to make progress toward the long-term goal agreed in Paris. The Council intends to explore the possibilities of cooperation between the DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative and European Commission programs designed to manage the increasing share of renewable energy into the electricity grid.

The Council also emphasized the need for a substantial increase in public-private investment in research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects to accelerate the implementation of low-carbon energy and energy efficiency technologies and clean energy commitments. Recognizing the long-standing energy-research collaboration between the United States and the European Union, the Council welcomed efforts under Mission Innovation and the independent Breakthrough Energy Coalition to accelerate research and innovation in clean energy technology development as a significant outcome of COP21 and a critical enabler of increasing climate ambition over time. The Council committed to the long-term objective of encouraging effective energy policies and actions throughout the global economy, including facilitation of investments and contributions from the private sector. It also welcomed the upcoming signing of a Collaboration Arrangement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission regarding Research and Development in Energy-Related Fields.

The Council underscored that in order to achieve a sustainable, secure and affordable supply of energy globally, it is necessary to be ambitious in promoting safe and environmentally sound low-carbon technologies. The Council welcomed the energy goal within the catalogue of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The United States and the European Union strongly support universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services, and improvements in energy efficiency within the framework of the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 7. The Council noted the importance of market designs and infrastructure adaptations for electricity that are conducive to further integration of renewable energy resources into the grid.

The Council also welcomed the continued sharing of information in the following policy areas: LNG markets, smart grids, indigenous resources and Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCS), and noted the success of the joint U.S.-EU Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Interoperability Centers.

The Council sees particular benefits in increased cooperation on energy efficiency, especially for globally traded products with a high energy savings potential. Where appropriate and allowed by law, this could involve alignment of test and measurement procedures, the convergence of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), and joint outreach to other jurisdictions on the benefits and best practices of MEPS and energy labels, making use of relevant existing multilateral cooperation initiatives. This approach has been successfully implemented in the area of e-vehicles and smart grids, aligning priorities of public and private stakeholders to produce an agreed set of test procedures and standards on vehicle to grid communications, for example. The Council recognized the importance of exchanging best practices on energy efficiency in the buildings and transport sectors and intends to promote global commitment and cooperation on these issues in international fora.

Additionally, the Council underlined the importance of G20 countries phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies over the medium term.

Acknowledging the contributions of transport in the generation of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, the Council welcomed the new 21st Century Clean Transportation System initiative of the United States. The Council also underlined its support for efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation and international shipping sectors, in the context of the discussions within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), including for the adoption of a global market based measure to enable carbon neutral growth in international aviation from 2020 at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly meeting in September and the adoption of a global data collection system and continuation of discussions on further action at the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee meeting in October. Highlighting the continued need for action on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the Council also underlined the importance of adopting a Montreal Protocol phasedown amendment in 2016 that will contribute to improved appliance energy efficiency. Given the central role of the transport sector, common standards should be adopted in the medium term order to improve fuel quality, energy efficiency and emissions performance of heavy-duty vehicles, considering also the contribution of alternative fuels (such as natural gas, biomethane and sustainable biofuels).

The Council reiterated the importance of utilizing multilateral institutions to foster international energy cooperation, including the G-7, the G-20, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Energy Charter Treaty, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century and the Clean Energy Ministerial. The Council affirmed the importance of concluding an ambitious WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) by the G-20 Leaders meeting in September in Hangzhou that eliminates tariffs on a broad range of clean energy and environmental technologies. In addition, the Council discussed opportunities for cooperation in promoting clean and sustainable energy in other parts of the world, including mobilizing the long-term investments needed to transition to low-carbon economies. In this context, the Council took note of the work being carried out in the framework of the Clean Energy Ministerial and the Major Economies Forum, and the outcomes of the G-7 Energy Ministerial meeting in Japan on May 1-2, 2016.

The Council acknowledged the importance of research in the energy sector as agreed in the Joint Statement of the Energy Council of December 2014. The Council also acknowledged the importance of research in systems and technologies in the transport sector, as well as in fusion where ITER is a significant multilateral long-term research project. The Council noted the outcome of the Extraordinary ITER Council held in Paris on 27 April 2016.

The Council decided to establish a Climate Change Working Group, alongside the existing working groups on energy security, technology and policy. This working group will seek to increase and improve transatlantic cooperation bilaterally, as well as within multilateral and global settings, with a view to catalyzing and accelerating international efforts for the attainment of climate-related goals, and is mandated by the Council to hold its first meeting before the end of 2016.

General Market

Daily News 18 / 03 / 2016

Building the Energy Union by completing the internal energy market: Commission releases €200 million for cross-border energy networks
Today, the European Commission has opened a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key EU energy infrastructure projects. €200 million will be made available for projects which aim at eliminating bottlenecks preventing the free flow of energy across EU countries. Once finalised, the projects will help complete the EU internal energy market and create a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy, a priority of the Juncker Commission. EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “With this call for proposals we are actively investing EU money where it is most needed and where it will bring most gains. With the necessary investments, EU consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of a modern, reliable and sustainable EU-wide energy system. A fully functioning energy market with well-connected energy networks is an essential building block for the Energy Union.”This EU money is expected to act as a catalyst for speeding up the implementation of the projects and attracting much needed financing from private and public investors. With a total of €800 million for grants foreseen in 2016, this is the first of two CEF energy calls for this year. The deadline to submit applications is 28 April 2016. A decision on the selection of proposals to be funded is expected to be adopted by the end of July. Find more information about the CEF energy call for proposal and the Energy Union online. Furthermore, the Investment Plan for Europe (EFSI) has already helped to finance 21 projects in the energy and climate action sector. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

Investment Plan for Europe: another €150 million for Italian SMEs

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Credito Valtellinese s.c. (CREVAL) have signed an InnovFin agreement in Italy to provide €150 million in loans to innovative small and medium sized businesses in Italy. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Innovation is a key driver for job creation and economic growth in Europe. We want to help Italian businesses access the capital they need to turn their innovative ideas into reality. With today’s €150 million agreement we are doing exactly that.” More information is available online. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)

Antitrust: e-commerce sector inquiry finds geo-blocking is widespread throughout EU

The European Commission has published initial findings on the prevalence of geo-blocking which prevents consumers from purchasing consumer goods and accessing digital content online in the European Union. The information was gathered by the Commission as part of its ongoing antitrust sector inquiry into the e-commerce sector, launched in May 2015. In particular, the replies from more than 1400 retailers and digital content providers from all 28 EU Member States show that geo-blocking is common in the EU for both consumer goods and digital content. 38% of the responding retailers selling consumer goods and 68% of digital contentproviders replied that they geo-block consumers located in other EU Member States. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said “The information gathered as part of our e-commerce sector inquiry confirms the indications that made us launch the inquiry: Not only does geo-blocking frequently prevent European consumers from buying goods and digital content online from another EU country, but some of that geo-blocking is the result of restrictions in agreements between suppliers and distributors. Where a non-dominant company decides unilaterally not to sell abroad, that is not an issue for competition law. But where geo-blocking occurs due to agreements, we need to take a close look whether there is anti-competitive behaviour, which can be addressed by EU competition tools.” The press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and all other languages. The factsheet is available in EN. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

State aid: Commission approves aid for Finnish LNG terminal at Hamina

The European Commission has found that Finland’s plans to grant €28 million to build a small scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Hamina, on Finland’s South-East coast, are in line with EU state aid rules. The project improves security of energy supply in the region and contributes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, in line with EU energy and environmental objectives and without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. In particular, ending the energy isolation of the Baltic Sea Region and integrating it fully into EU energy markets is a key building block for the EU’s Energy Union strategy and one of the priorities of the Juncker Commission. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The Hamina LNG terminal is one of several planned in Finland. These small scale LNG terminals will provide a new source of cleaner fuel for the maritime industry and diversify Finland’s gas supply sources. It is a good example of EU state aid rules encouraging sound public investment and helping the EU reach its energy security and environmental goals.” A full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, FI and SV. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


New Development Education and Awareness Raising programme to be announced

Today EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will announce a new Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR) programme call for proposals, following wide consultations with civil society organisations across Europe. €90 million of funding to European Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities, including small and grassroots organisations, will be made available. The announcement will be made at the Civil Society Organisations Forum, taking place on March 17-18, in Brussels. Ahead of the event, Commissioner Mimica said: “The active engagement of the European public in global development issues is fundamental. During the migration crisis, civil society organisations have played a key role in the response which shows how powerful the involvement of the public and civil society has become. This new call for proposals will support civil society organisations in doing just that.” The DEAR programme supports projects designed and led by Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities (LAs), on topics such as climate change, migration or gender equality, workers’ rights, and sustainable consumption. The programme will also raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a universally agreed framework adopted by the United Nations in 2015 that involves all countries and people in order to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

Road Transport: Commission adopts common rules to facilitate enforcement and enhance road safety

The European Commission has today adopted a series of rules applicable to road hauliers and road passenger transport operators. They include a common classification of serious road safety infringements under transport legislation, as well as new specifications for smart tachographs (the device that records driving times of lorry, bus and coach drivers) making the best use of new digital technologies such as Galileo. The objective is to enhance road safety, contribute to a fairer competition between road transport operators and to facilitate a consistent enforcement of EU rules across borders. More information is available here. A Road Transport Conference bringing together Member States and stakeholders will be held in Brussels on 19 April.(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 69143)


EUROSTAT: Fourth quarter of 2015 – Euro area job vacancy rate up to 1.6% – EU28 rate up to 1.7%

The job vacancy rate in the euro area (EA19) was 1.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015, up from 1.5% in the previous quarter and the fourth quarter of 2014, according to figures published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The job vacancy rate in the EU28 was 1.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015, up from 1.6% in the previous quarter and the fourth quarter of 2014. A EUROSTAT press release is available online. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

EUROSTAT: Fourth quarter of 2015 – Annual growth in labour costs up to 1.3% in euro area – Stable at 1.9% in EU28

Hourly labour costs rose by 1.3% in the euro area (EA19) and by 1.9% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the third quarter of 2015, hourly labour costs increased by 1.1% and 1.9% respectively. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The two main components of labour costs are wages & salaries and non-wage costs. In the euro area, wages & salaries per hour worked grew by 1.5% and the non-wage component by 0.7%, in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the third quarter of 2015, the annual changes were +1.5% and +0.2% respectively. In the EU28, hourly wages & salaries rose by 2.0% and the non-wage component by 1.4% for the fourth quarter of 2015. In the third quarter of 2015, annual changes were +2.1% and +1.2% respectively. A EUROSTAT press release is available online. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)


Commissioner Johannes Hahn visits Bosnia and Herzegovina

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will be in Sarajevo on Monday 21 March for an official visit. The Commissioner will meet key interlocutors of the country including the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Chairman Mr. Bakir Izetbegović, as well as Presidency members Mladen Ivanić and Dragan Čović, Foreign Minister Mr. Igor Crnadak, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Mr. Denis Zvizdić, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr. Fadil Novalić, and the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Ms. Zeljka Cvijanović. The aim of the mission will be to discuss with the political representatives about the latest developments and country authorities’ efforts to further deliver on the EU integration path of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ahead of the visit Commissioner Hahn said: “I am encouraged by the country authorities’ efforts to deliver on the necessary steps towards the EU, in line with Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens’ expectations. It is essential that these reform efforts continue in order for the country to move forward on its EU path”. Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

Federica Mogherini in Lebanon on Monday 21 March

The High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini will travel to Lebanon on 21 March. During her visit she will meet with the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Tammam Salam, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri. This visit comes in the framework of the strong EU-Lebanon partnership, and is aimed at discussing developments in the country at these difficult times, and addressing common challenges such as the Syria crisis, the impact of refugees and the fight against terrorism. At the London conference, the EU and Lebanon agreed to do more to sustainably address the needs of refugees and host communities and on how to support the economic and social resilience of the country. A factsheet on the EU support to Lebanon in dealing with the refugee crisis is also online. Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 2 29 69921; Nabila Massrali – Tel.: +32 2 29 69218)

Le Commissaire Moscovici est en déplacement au Mans aujourd’hui

Pour ce 4eme déplacement en région en France qui a pour but de rapprocher l’Europe de ses territoires, le Commissaire Moscovici a souhaité mettre l’accent sur la recherche et l’innovation, et sur la complémentarité des universités et des entreprises en la matière. Le Commissaire rencontrera des équipes dont le travail au quotidien illustre cette complémentarité. Il s’agit notamment de celle de l’Institut des Molécules et matériaux du Mans, de celle du laboratoire d’acoustique de l’Université du Maine, et de celle du centre de transfert de Technologie du Maine. Ces deux derniers établissements bénéficient de fonds européens. Après ces visites, Pierre Moscovici s’entretiendra avec des acteurs économiques locaux, des universitaires et des étudiants. Dans la perspective de ce déplacement, le Commissaire Moscovici a déclaré : “L’innovation et la recherche sont un socle de développement important pour l’Europe, qui se construit aussi au cœur des régions et des territoires. Je me réjouis d’échanger avec des chercheurs, universitaires et entreprises de la région du Mans sur leurs projets et la manière dont l’Europe est à leurs côtés, eux qui sont des artisans de la relance de l’économie européenne”. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen participate in the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth

On Monday 21 March, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, will open the first edition of the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth taking place in Brussels, together with the Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Employment of The Netherlands, Jetta Klijnsma. Vice-President for the Euro and Social dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, will close the event. The Convention will also be attended by Allan Larsson, special adviser to President Juncker on the European Pillar of Social Rights (speech is available online). The Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth, which takes up the torch of the previous Convention of the European Platform against Poverty, will gather around 400 policy makers and representatives of the civil society. The aim of the Convention is to discuss what the EU can do to ensure that all citizens reap the benefits of truly inclusive growth. This includes fighting poverty, reducing unemployment and making sure no one is left behind. The Convention will also provide an opportunity to discuss the European Pillar of Social Rights, on which the Commission has launched a broad consultation on 8 March. Commissioner Thyssen commented: “The Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth reflects our firm commitment to reconnect policy making with the expertise and views of the civil society. I am confident that it will lead to a fruitful exchange on social policies and notably on building the Pillar of Social Rights. I want to involve as many people as possible, from all walks of life so that the Pillar is as representative and realistic as possible in the context of a rapidly changing world.” The event is open to accredited journalists and will also be web streamed. Vice-President Dombrovskis‘ closing remarks will be made available here, Commissioner Thyssen‘s speech here and the agenda of the Convention can be found here(For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)


Commissioner Cecilia Malmström meets with US Trade Representative in Brussels

EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrӧm meets today with US Trade Representative Michael Froman in Brussels as part of the joint efforts to keep up an accelerated pace in the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The meeting will focus on market access issues, notably services, public procurement and industrial tariffs. The Commissioner and the Trade Representative will take stock of negotiations and build on recent progress made, notably in the field of regulatory cooperation. In the evening, the two will take part in the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum, where they will participate in a discussion on TTIP and other trade issues moderated by David Ignatius of the Washington Post. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)


Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete in Vienna for high-level EU-OPEC meeting

On 21 March EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete attends the high-level EU-OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) meeting in Vienna. The meeting will focus on the challenges caused by the recent downward trends in oil prices and analyse possible future trends in the oil market in the light of a sharp decline in investment in oil exploration and production. The discussions will also reflect on how the current times of low oil prices can be an opportunity to phase out environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies, and to promote measures on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Commissioner Arias Cañete said: “Excessive oil price volatility is harmful for the economies of both producing and consuming countries. As we demonstrated in the Paris climate talks last year, Europe’s commitment to a clean energy future is non-negotiable. Eliminating fossil fuels subsidies worldwide is certainly a step in the right direction. I look forward to discussing with OPEC countries how we can best work together to ensure the global clean energy transition.” The EU’s oil imports are expected to account for more than 90% of its total oil consumption by the next decade. OPEC comprises 13 oil producing nations which account for over one-third of the global oil supply all together. The EU has held meetings within the EU-OPEC dialogue since 2004. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


Competition: Commissioner Vestager meets Chinese counterparts in Beijing to discuss competition policy and economic reform

During her visit to Beijing, Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager had various meetings with her counterparts in the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of State Administration of Industry and Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and the Development Research Center of the State Council, to discuss cooperation on competition issues between the EU and China, as well as China’s reform agenda. Following her meetings, Commissioner Vestager said: “The meetings confirmed our shared interest in strengthening our cooperation on competition matters. They provided me with a first-hand sense of the challenges and urgency of China’s reform—in particular the ambition to let the market shape the economy, for domestic and foreign operators alike. I believe the European experience of building our open single market and our history of restructuring and liberalising a number of sectors contains useful ideas in this respect. In particular, I shared with my Chinese counterparts the Commissions experiences as enforcer of state aid control within the single market.” For more details see website of DG Competition. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)




The Commissioners’ weekly activities