General Market

Daily News 16 / 05 / 2017

President Juncker consults the European Parliament on Mariya Gabriel as Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society

President Jean-Claude-Juncker interviewed today Mariya Gabriel, the candidate proposed by the Bulgarian Government for Commissioner to replace former Member of the Commission Kristalina Georgieva. On this basis, President Juncker confirmed the competencies of Mariya Gabriel required under Article 17(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to become candidate for Commissioner and announced his intention to allocate the Digital Economy and Society portfolio to her. A Mission Letter sent today by President Juncker to Mariya Gabriel details her main tasks and responsibilities as Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy and Society. Following today’s interview of Mariya Gabriel and the announcement by President Juncker of the portfolio allocation, the process will now follow Article 246(2) TFEU and point 6 of the Framework Agreement between the European Parliament and the European Commission. An exchange of views between Mariya Gabriel and the relevant Committee of the European Parliament is expected to take place in the coming weeks. Read the full press releaseavailable in all EU languages here. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

Commission calls on Member States to meet obligations under the EU’s emergency relocation and resettlement schemes and sets out new approach on interoperability of information systems on borders and security

Meeting in Strasbourg, today the College of Commissioners will adopt two reports on the EU’s emergency relocation and resettlement schemes and on progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union. The first report will take stock of actions taken by Member States over the last month to fulfil their commitments under the relocation and resettlement schemes. On the European Agenda on Security, today’s report will provide an update on the state-of-play with regards to the important work being carried out to improve security in the EU, and at its borders through better data management and the interoperability of information systems. Full press material will be available online at the start of the press conference in Strasbourg with Commissioners Avramopoulos and King which will be livestreamed here.(For more information:  Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 299 63444)

Commission registers European Citizens’ Initiative on reducing the wage and economic differences

The European Commission has today decided to make a partial registration of a European Citizens’ Initiative which invites the Commission to propose “Legal acts that clearly demonstrate the EU’s intention to eliminate wage inequalities between Member States and which – to achieve this objective – allow for a more efficient cohesion of these states“. The formal registration of this Initiative on 22 May 2017 will start a one-year process of collection of signatures of support by its organisers. Should the Initiative receive one million statements of support within one year, from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react within three months. The Commission’s Decision makes clear for which kind of legal acts the signatures may and may not be collected in this case, dependent on the competences set out in the Treaties. More information is available in the press release available here. (For more information:Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

“Lower Saxony in Europe and Europe in Lower Saxony”: speech by President Juncker at the Lower Saxony Landtag

As part of his discussions with regional parliaments and local authorities, President Juncker was in Hannover, Germany yesterday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Parliament of Lower Saxony. Speaking about the importance of national and regional parliaments, President Juncker declared: “Nations are not temporary inventions of history, their presence is permanent. And the same applies to regions. We can only construct Europe with and not against them”. The President also stressed that “it is important that the European Commission (…) remains in intensive dialogue with national and regional parliaments” and invited the Lower Saxony Parliament to be involved in European politics even more and to participate in the debate about the future of Europe. In his speech, the President addressed a wide range of issues, from EU migration policy, to the Digital Single Market, Capital Markets Union, Energy Union, the Juncker Plan and our single currency, the euro. Speaking about the social dimension of Europe, he said: “We have to pay more attention to the concerns of Europeans in social matters. (…) We must again turn back to those, for whom Europe was invented. Dreaming cannot be forbidden”. Finally, President Juncker alsospoke about the benefits Member States derive from the European Union, notably though the EU budget. “In Europe there are no net payers and net recipients. In Europe, all Member States are net recipients because without Europe they would be net payers,” he said. The full speech in German is available here, and a recording can be found on the EbS website. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

Commission welcomes European Parliament vote on extension and reinforcement of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Juncker Plan

The Commission welcomes the vote by Members of the European Parliament’s Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs committees to agree their position on extending, expanding and reinforcing the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the so-called “EFSI 2.0”. The proposal seeks to extend the EFSI’s duration and enhance its financial capacity. The target of investment mobilised is to be increased from EUR 315 billion by 2018 to at least half a trillion euro by 2020. The proposal also places a greater emphasis on additionality and aims to further enhance the EFSI’s transparency and geographic balance. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The European Fund for Strategic Investments has already proven to be an important tool to boost investment, support jobs and spur growth across all 28 Member States. The extension of the EFSI represents an opportunity to build on that success. I look forward to continue working with Members of the European Parliament and Member States in the weeks to come to secure a final agreement.” The Commission now calls on the Parliament and Member States to continue working towards the final adoption of the EFSI 2.0 proposal as quickly as possible to the benefit of public and private promoters driving investment projects in Europe. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

Juncker Plan: EUR 80 million for Italian SMEs

The Juncker Plan has backed a European Investment Fund (EIF) agreement with Banca Popolare Pugliese, an Italian financial intermediary, to provide EUR 80 million in financing to innovative Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps over the next two years. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Juncker Plan, was a crucial factor in making this loan agreement possible. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Investment Plan has already proven to be a success and Italy is amongst the Plan’s top beneficiaries. I am delighted that, with today’s agreement, even more Italian small and medium-sized businesses will gain access to the finance they need to innovate, grow, hire new employees and expand their activities.” The Juncker Plan is now expected to trigger over EUR 31 billion in investments in Italy and EUR 183.5 billion across Europe. For the latest figures country-by-country, see here. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

Commission introduces new measures to fight poaching and end trade in raw ivory

The Commission is moving to end the export of old raw ivoryas of 1 July, with the adoption of new guidance on the EU rules governing ivory trade. Today’s decision, foreseen in the EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking, will help to prevent that legal ivory trade fuels international ivory trafficking, which has risen significantly over the last decade. The Commission will also grant new financial support of € 2.25 million to the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to help with the implementation of the decisions on international wildlife trade agreed at the CITES Conference of Parties in October 2016. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: “Fighting international ivory trafficking is a battle we can’t afford to lose. By ending the export of ivory tusks and other raw ivory we are living up to our responsibility. And we are delivering on the next commitment in our Action Plan against wildlife trafficking. Our financial support for developing countries will strengthen their capacity to implement the CITES Convention. This is essential to achieve progress in the fight against poaching and for sustainable wildlife trade.” A press release and Q&A on the new guidelines are available online.(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: + 32 229 93321)

 

Aviation Safety: Commission clears all airlines from Benin and Mozambique from EU Air Safety List

The European Commission updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of non-European airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. The EU Air Safety List seeks to ensure the highest level of air safety for European citizens, which is a top priority of the Aviation Strategy adopted by the Commission in December 2015. Following today’s update, all airlines certified in Benin and Mozambique are cleared from the list, while four individual airlines are added (Med-View, Mustique Airways, Aviation Company Urga and Air Zimbabwe). Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “I am glad that we are able to take all carriers from Benin and Mozambique out of the air safety list. Their reforms have paid off. This is also a signal to the 16 countries that remain on the list. It shows that work and cooperation pays off. The Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency are ready to assist them and raise the safety standards worldwide”. More information is available in a press release in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 6 91 43)

European Commission marks the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia

Ahead of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people are our parents, our children, our siblings, our friends, our neighbours and our fellow Europeans. Let’s treat them as such. It’s time we put an end to the widespread discrimination against LGBTI people together.”Commissioner Věra Jourová added: “No matter who you love or who you are, everyone should enjoy the same rights and be protected from discrimination in the same way. We call on Member States to unblock discussions on the Equal Treatment Directive which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in education, social protection and access to goods and services.” Last year, the Commission published a list of actions to advance LGBTI equality, which sets out the EU’s activities in this field for 2016-2019. Outside the EU, engaging in same-sex relationships is still considered a crime in more than 70 countries. You can find online a statement by High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini. For the first ever, the Commission will organise, under the responsibility of Commissioner Günther Oettinger,an event for European Commission staff on the occasion of IDAHOT tomorrow, on the theme of ‘Inclusion and Identity in the Workplace: an asset for all of us’. To show the Commission’s support for diversity and for LGBTI equality, the European Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters and the headquarters of the European External Action Service will be lit up tonight in the colours of the rainbow flag. A factsheet on advancing LGBTI equality is available online, as well as the first testimony in the series of #EU4LGBTI stories – Roberto & Andrea. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: + 32 229 67083; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

EUROSTAT: Le PIB en hausse de 0,5% tant dans la zone euro que dans l’UE28

Au cours du premier trimestre 2017, le PIB corrigé des variations saisonnières a augmenté de 0,5% dans la zone euro (ZE19) ainsi que dans l’UE28 par rapport au trimestre précédent, selon l’estimation rapide publiée par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. Au cours du quatrième trimestre 2016, le PIB avait crû respectivement de 0,5% et 0,6%. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Juliana Dahl – Tel.: +32 229 59914)

 

EUROSTAT: Excédent de 30,9 milliards d’euros du commerce international de biens de la zone euro

D’après les premières estimations pour le mois de mars 2017, les exportations de biens de la zone euro (ZE19) vers le reste du monde se sont établies à 202,3 milliards d’euros, en hausse de 13% par rapport à mars 2016 (178,9 mrds). Les importations depuis le reste du monde ont quant à elles été de 171,4 mrds d’euros, en hausse de 14% par rapport à mars 2016 (150,7 mrds). En conséquence, la zone euro a enregistré en mars 2017 un excédent de 30,9 mrds d’euros de son commerce international de biens avec le reste du monde, contre +28,2 mrds en mars 2016. Le commerce intra-zone euro a progressé à 168,1 mrds d’euros en mars 2017, soit +12% par rapport à mars 2016. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations:Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska- Tel.: +32 229 Kinga 51383)

STATEMENTS

Statement by Commissioner Stylianides on the Ebola outbreak in the Northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and EU Ebola Coordinator Christos Stylianides has issued a statementfollowing the declaration of an Ebola outbreak in the Northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo: “The EU is fully committed to provide all support necessary. The national authorities, with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the European Commission’s experts in the country as well as international medical NGOs, have set in motion initial measures to respond to the situation. The European Commission’s Emergency response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is taking necessary preparedness measures for a potential EU intervention in case the European Medical Corps and logistical capacities would be needed. In these early days of the outbreak our priority must be to maintain close and efficient coordination with the national authorities, the WHO, EU Member States, international partners and NGOs on the ground. (…) In this regard we are in close contact with our Member States. This new outbreak is a stark reminder that we can never let our guard down. (…)” The full statement is online here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322, Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Le Commissaire Moedas à l’inauguration de SESAME, “un projet phare de la diplomatie scientifique”

Le commissaire en charge de la recherche, de la science et de l’innovation Carlos Moedas a participé aujourd’hui à la cérémonie d’inauguration de l’accélérateur de particules SESAME (“Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East”), à Allan, en Jordanie, en présence de sa Majesté le Roi de Jordanie et des représentants de 17 pays partenaires, ainsi que de l’UNESCO, de l’AIEA et du CERN. Le Commissaire a souligné le fort engagement de l’Union européenne dans ce projet, centre de recherche le plus avancé du Proche-Orient et symbole de la collaboration pacifique entre les pays de la région. “SESAME est la preuve la plus incontestable que la diplomatie scientifique est synonyme d’excellence et représente un outil incomparable pour améliorer les relations entre les pays, les régions et les cultures en promouvant la paix et la stabilité dans la région. La science est un langage universel qui permet d’ouvrir des canaux de communication et de construire des relations de confiance. Je suis fier que l’Union européenne apporte son soutien à ce projet phare de la diplomatie scientifique“, a déclaré le Commissaire. Demain, mercredi, le commissaire Moedas continuera sa visite au Proche-Orient et rencontrera à Jérusalem le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou et le ministre de l’Economie Eli Cohen. Après une rencontre avec des étudiants à l’université Ben Gourion de Beer-Sheva, il visitera le Cyber Teck Park de la ville. Il participera le soir à une réception en l’honneur des 10 ans du Conseil européen de la recherche (ERC). Plus d’informations sur SESAME et l’engagement de l’UE ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: + 32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278; Maud Noyon – Tel.: +32 229 80379)

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

General Government

Daily News 07 / 12 / 2016

Investing in Europe’s youth: Commission presents measures to improve opportunities for young people and launches European Solidarity Corps

The European Commission is today launching the European Solidarity Corps, just two months after President Juncker announced it in his State of the Union address and as a first deliverable of the priorities for action identified in the Bratislava Roadmap. As of today, young people between the ages of 18 and 30 can sign up for new opportunities to make an important contribution to society across the EU, and to gain invaluable experience and acquire valuable skills at the start of their career. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “The European Solidarity Corps will create opportunities for young people willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity – something the world and our European Union needs more of. For me, this has always been the very essence of what the European Union is about. It is not the Treaties or industrial or economic interests that bind us together, but our values. And those who work as volunteers are living European values each and every day.” At 13:00 today, Vice-President Georgieva will officially launch the European Solidarity Corps under the Skyshelter Dome at the Schuman roundabout.In addition to the European Solidarity Corps,the Commission is also presenting a series of measures to boost youth employment, improve and modernise education, more investment in skills of young people, and better opportunities to learn and study abroad. Today’s proposals bring together at EU-level for the first time different types of action with a single goal: to improve opportunities for young people. The measures will be presented by Commissioners Thyssen, Stylianides and Navracsics following today’s College meeting. More information on the entire package can be found in the following press release and memo. More detailed information on the European Solidarity Corps can be found here. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083)

Ententes: la Commission inflige des amendes d’un montant total de 485 millions € au Crédit Agricole, à HSBC et à JPMorgan Chase pour participation à une entente concernant des produits dérivés de taux d’intérêt en euro

La Commission européenne a infligé des amendes pour un montant total de 485 millions € au Crédit Agricole, à HSBC et à JPMorgan Chase pour leur participation à une entente concernant des produits dérivés de taux d’intérêt en euro. Les banques se sont entendues sur des éléments de la fixation du prix des produits dérivés de taux d’intérêt en euro, et ont échangé des informations sensibles, en violation des règles de l’UE concernant les pratiques anticoncurrentielles. Contrairement à Barclays, à Deutsche Bank, à RBS et à Société Générale, avec lesquelles la Commission est parvenue à une transaction concernant la même affaire d’entente en décembre 2013, Crédit Agricole, HSBC et JPMorgan Chase ont choisi de ne pas régler cette affaire par voie de transaction avec la Commission. Cette dernière a donc poursuivi son enquête à leur égard selon la procédure normale applicable en matière d’ententes. La décision d’aujourd’hui marque la fin de la première des différentes enquêtes ouvertes au sujet d’ententes dans le secteur des services financiers. Mme Margrethe Vestager, commissaire chargée de la politique de concurrence, a déclaré à ce propos: «Un secteur financier sain et concurrentiel est indispensable pour soutenir l’investissement et la croissance. Les banques doivent respecter les règles de concurrence de l’UE au même titre que n’importe quelle autre entreprise exerçant ses activités dans le marché unique.» Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne en EN, FR et DE. La conférence de presse du commissaire Vestager est disponible sur EbS.Voir aussi la déclaration du commissaire Vestager. (Pour plus d’informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Fitness Check of Nature legislation: Commission considers options for improved implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives

Today the College held an orientation debate on the next steps of the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives. These Directives are vital for Europe’s nature conservation policy and as such, their implementation needs to be improved. This was one of the findings of the extensive evaluation the Commission has been carrying out since late 2014 in which it has been consulting citizens and stakeholders across all EU Member States. Today First Vice-President Timmermans, Vice-President Katainen and Commissioner Vella, presented the key findings of this evaluation to the College and discussed the next steps. The challenges and problems identified primarily relate to the insufficient management and lack of adequate investment in the Natura 2000 network of protected sites, as well as to local deficiencies such as delays, unnecessary burdens for project permits and lack of adequate different assessments in regulating individual species. The evaluation identified the need to improve the implementation of the Directives and their coherence with broader socio-economic objectives, including other EU policy areas such as energy, agriculture and fisheries. On the basis of today’s Orientation Debate, the Commission will develop an Action Plan to correct the deficiencies encountered in the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives. The Action Plan will contain a series of concrete measures such as holding regular meetings with mayors and other local authorities to assess implementation challenges and help Member States take the necessary corrective action. Moreover, the Plan will design, in partnership with Member States and relevant stakeholders, appropriate implementation guidelines for regional actors, reducing unnecessary burdens and litigation, and incentivising national and regional investment in biodiversity. The Committee of the Regions will be closely involved in the follow-up of today’s orientation debate and Commissioner Vella with First Vice-President Timmermans and Vice-President Katainen will inform the College regularly about the progress on addressing the problems and shortcomings identified by the Fitness Check. (For more information: Enrico Brivio– Tel.: +32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

Securing Europe’s external borders: European Border and Coast Guard Agency launches rapid reaction pool of border guards and equipment

Today the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is launching the rapid reaction pool of border guards and equipment. As of today, the Agency will be able to deploy equipment and a standing reserve of at least 1,500 border guards and experts at short notice to support Member States in emergency situations at the EU’s external borders. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: “As of today, there should no longer be shortages of staff or equipment for the operations of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. This is an important milestone in the roll-out of the Agency and will ensure, at all times, that sufficient support is available to help Member States in cases where the common external EU border is placed under strong pressure.” Launched on 6 October, in record time and less than a year after it was first proposed by the Commission, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will ensure the effective application of strong common border management standards and provide operational support and intervention where necessary to promptly respond to emerging crises at the external borders. The Agency will now be able to draw on 1,500 experts committed by EU Member States and Schengen associated countries that can be deployed within five working days. The border guards and experts of the rapid reaction pool will be in addition to the officers deployed in regular Agency operations at the EU’s external borders. The Agency currently has 1,200 officers deployed in operations at EU external borders. As of today, the Agency will also have at its disposal the necessary technical equipment that can be used in rapid intervention operations, including vehicles, vessels and aircrafts. You can find a press release by the European Border and Coast Guardhere. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423; Kasia Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

L’Union européenne renforce son soutien au Burkina-Faso avec 800 millions d’euros

M. Neven Mimica, Commissaire européen pour la coopération internationale et le développement, est aujourd’hui à Paris pour participer à la Conférence internationale sur le Burkina Faso pour le financement du Plan national de développement économique et social (PNDES). Le Plan national pour le développement économique et social jette les bases pour la mise en œuvre des objectifs du nouveau gouvernement à l’horizon 2020. La Commission européenne compte l’appuyer avec un important soutien de 800 millions d’euros. Le Commissaire Mimica a fait la déclaration suivante : «Nous sommes aujourd’hui réunis pour discuter du Plan national pour le développement économique et social, plan que le Gouvernement du Faso présente à la communauté internationale. Il s’agit d’un Plan ambitieux qui doit mener à la consolidation de la démocratie et au développement durable du pays. L’Union européenne soutiendra à hauteur de 800 millions d’euros les efforts entrepris afin que la population du Faso voit rapidement les effets d’une stabilité retrouvée et bénéficie des dividendes de la paix.» Lors de cette conférence, le Commissaire Mimica va signer trois conventions de financement, dont deux appuis budgétaires, pour un montant de 205 millions d’euros.(Pour plus d’informations: Carlos Martin – Tel: +32 229-65322, Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft. The decision is conditional on compliance with a series of commitments aimed at preserving competition between professional social networks in Europe. Microsoft and LinkedIn are mainly active in complementary business areas, except for minor overlaps in online advertising. The Commission’s investigation under EU merger rules focused in particular on three areas: (i) professional social network services, (ii) customer relationship management software solutions, and (iii) online advertising services. In the professional social network services market, the Commission was concerned that Microsoft would use its strong market position in operating systems for personal computers and productivity software to strengthen LinkedIn’s position among professional social networks. This would make it harder for new players to start providing professional social network services in the EEA. To address those concerns, Microsoft offered a series of commitments which will apply in the EEA for a period of five years and will be monitored by a trustee. These commitments address the competition concerns identified by the Commission. Regarding customer relationship management software and online advertising services, the Commission’s concerns were not corroborated. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “A growing number of Europeans subscribe to professional social networks. These networks are important for professionals to connect and interact and to find new career opportunities. Today’s decision ensures that Europeans will continue to enjoy a freedom of choice between professional social networks.” A full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella – Tel.: +32 229 86801)

Une personne sur quatre âgées de 15 ans ou plus dans l’Union européenne est un fumeur

Alors qu’un peu plus de trois quarts (76,0%) des personnes âgées de 15 ans ou plus vivant dans l’Union européenne (UE) ne fumaient pas en 2014, 19,2% fumaient quotidiennement du tabac et 4,7% en fumaient de manière occasionnelle. En d’autres termes, près d’une personne sur quatre (24,0%) âgées de 15 ans ou plus dans l’UE était actuellement fumeur en 2014. La proportion de fumeurs actuels varie selon le sexe, avec une proportion plus importante d’hommes fumant (28,7%) que de femmes (19,5%) dans l’UE en 2014. Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissaire européen à la santé et la sécurité alimentaire, a déclaré: “Les taux élevés de fumeurs dans l’Union européenne, et les preuves que les jeunes Européens continuent d’en payer le prix de leur santé constituent une de mes plus grandes préoccupations. Les données qu’Eurostat publie aujourd’hui démontrent à nouveau la nécessité des mesures fortes adoptées à l’échelle de l’Union européenne pour encadrer les produits du tabac et que les pays de l’UE doivent mettre en œuvre depuis le 20 mai de cette année. Ces nouvelles mesures comprennent des images d’avertissement relatives aux conséquences du tabac sur la santé humaine, ainsi que l’interdiction des arômes et de divers paquets attrayants. Elles visent à décourager les jeunes de fumer et à faire en sorte que les citoyens de l’UE de tous les âges soient pleinement conscients des effets nocifs du tabagisme.” Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel. +32 229 87624)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Second EU Internet Forum to counter terrorist content and hate speech online

Tomorrow, the European Commission will host the second EU Internet Forum with the participation of Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos, Věra Jourová and Julian King. The Forum will bring together the Commission, Member States, EUROPOL, the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and Internet companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube. The meeting will push for further progress on reducing accessibility to terrorist propaganda online and empowering civil society to increase the volume of effective alternative narratives on the Internet. The participants will also discuss a tool developed by the Internet industry to create a shared database to help identify potential terrorist content on social media and prevent its reappearance on other platforms. The Commission and Internet companies will sign a joint statement on curbing terrorist content on the Internet. The Commission will also report on progress made in addressing the surge of xenophobic and racist online hate speech. A press release from the launch of the EU Internet Forum is available online and a press point with Commissioners Avramopoulos and King will take place tomorrow in the VIP corner at 15:30. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423; Kasia Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

Commissioners Avramopoulos, Jourová, King and Stylianides to attend the Justice and Home Affairs Council

Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos, Věra Jourová, Julian King, and Christos Stylianides will attend the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on 8-9 December 2016. On Thursday, Justice Ministers will discuss the latest development regarding the directive on the fight against fraud to the EU’s financial interests (the so-called PIF directive), the digital content directive part of the digital contract proposal and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office proposal (EPPO).  Discussions over lunch will focus on the code of conduct on countering illegal online hate speech. Finally, the Commission will report on the follow-up to the June Council conclusions on improving criminal justice in cyberspace. On Friday, Home Affairs Ministers will discuss the Commission proposals for a reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), including the reform of the Dublin mechanism, the establishment of a European Agency for Asylum and the proposals to create a common procedure for international protection in the EU, uniform standards for protection and rights granted to beneficiaries of international protection and the further harmonisation of reception conditions in the EU. Over lunch, the application of the principles of responsibility and solidarity in the context of the EU’s migration and asylum policy will be discussed. Home Affairs Ministers are also expected to agree on a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the Eurodac regulation and possibly on the Entry-Exit System. Furthermore, Ministers will discuss the fight against terrorism, including policy options as regards foreign terrorist fighters, the cooperation between law enforcement agencies and electronic communication service providers and the management of the consequences following terrorist attacks including by strengthening Civil Protection measures. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 22962253; Carlos Martín Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: + 32 229-65322)

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

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

Latest daily news

Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and Equa bank sign an agreement to benefit Czech SMEs

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Equa bank have signed a COSME agreement in the Czech Republic, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a key pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe which aims to revive investment in strategic projects around Europe. The COSME agreement will allow Equa bank to provide CZK 1.8bn (ca. EUR 66.5m) of loans to SMEs over the next two years with substantially reduced collateral requirements. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “This EFSI-backed COSME deal demonstrates once again that the EU actively supports small businesses, the biggest job creators in the Czech Republic and across the EU. Thanks to this agreement, more than 250 small companies in the Czech Republic will gain access to the finance they need to grow their businesses, which is great news.”(For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: + 32 229 6151)

Launch of European Platform on Undeclared Work: Commission joins forces with Member States to fight social dumping

Following the approval of the Commission’s proposal to create a platform to enhance cooperation in combatting undeclared work, today marks its launch. The platform aims to turn undeclared work into declared work, to ensure social protection for millions of Europeans who lose out through various kinds of risky job arrangements, including dependent work relationships hidden as self-employment. Chaired by the Commission, the platform will enable discussions on the ways and means to improve policies and measures tackling undeclared work and foster cooperation between national authorities and other actors, including those related to cross-border aspects of undeclared work. Additionally, the platform focuses on increasing public awareness of the issue. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said at the launch event this morning: “This Commission vowed to put people at the heart of our policymaking and here, we have taken bold action to defend our social values and to strengthen fairness in our common market. For us it is clear: there is no place for unfair working conditions and social dumping in our European Union.” The platform is composed of the relevant authorities of all Member States and representatives of cross-industry social partners on EU level. Commissioner Thyssen‘s speech can be found here. More information can be found here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

Outcome of the G7 summit in Japan

In Ise-Shima, the G7 summit concluded with the adoption of a Leaders’ Declaration and outreach working sessions with Asian partners and international organisations. The EU, as a full G7 member represented by Presidents Juncker and Tusk, has inspired an ambitious outcome of the summit and welcomes its results. The G7 Leaders’ Declaration notably stresses the special responsibility of the G7 to lead international efforts to tackle global challenges. Under the G7 Ise-Shima Economic Initiative leaders agreed a number of measures to boost strong and sustainable global growth, including by boosting investment and implementing commitments on fair and transparent taxation. They also agreed to enhance G7 assistance to tackle the global refugee crisis. They reaffirmed their commitment to open and fair global trade and called for swift progress on various regional trade agreements, including the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and TTIP. Leaders recognised that global excess capacity in industrial sectors, especially steel, is a pressing structural challenge with global implications that needs to be urgently addressed through elimination of market distorting measures. They reaffirmed their desire to lead by example and implement swiftly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The G7 also took a clear position on a number of foreign policy issues and adopted an Action Plan on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism. Presidents Juncker and Tusk had a number of bilateral meetings, including with Japan, Canada and Vietnam. Read the G7 Leaders’ Declaration. More information on: www.ec.europa.eu/news. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524)

EU announces new funding to support post-conflict process in Colombia

During an official visit to Colombia on 26-27 May, HR/VP Mogherini announced that the EU will provide an overall package of over €575 million to support Colombia’s post-conflict and peace building efforts. This package brings together cooperation funds provided by the EU Trust Fund, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (€18 million) in support of the Colombian Government`s Rapid Response Plan and loans offered by the European Investment Bank together with ongoing cooperation (€67 million for period 2014-2017). During her visit, HR/VP Mogherini said: “The EU has supported the current peace process since the beginning and it will continue to accompany Colombia in the post conflict phase. Solid peace can only be built if the final peace agreement is effectively implemented and the EU has vast experience in peace building. We are determined to stand by Colombia, a close partner and ally, in its noble pursuit of bringing durable and lasting peace as well new opportunities to all Colombians.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica also added: “Today’s announcement sends a clear signal of the EU’s ongoing and increasing commitment to Colombia – both over the short term, in helping to promote peace in areas affected by conflict, and over the long term, supporting durable and sustainable peace in the country”. A press release is available here. (For more information: Catherine Ray Tel.: +32 229 69921; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

Commission implementation tool launched to help Member States comply with EU environmental legislation 

Today the European Commission is launching the Environmental Implementation Review which will give the first comprehensive overview on the state-of-play of how key environmental policies and laws have been implemented on the ground in Member States. The aim of this process is to help Member States comply with the rules, anticipate problems and identify solutions and priorities before formal infringement proceedings are initiated. Full implementation of EU environmental legislation could save the EU economy €50 billion every year in health costs and direct costs to the environment. Commissioner Vella said: “The Environmental Implementation Review shows that grassroots efforts help environmental policies to take hold. For example, if EU water legislation were to be fully implemented, the combined annual benefits to society could reach € 2.8 billion. If Natura 2000 sites were to be fully manned and managed our biodiversity trends would improve. If air quality rules were followed we could reduce respiratory illness among our population. We need to step up our work with Member States to close the gaps. The earlier we act, the less costly it will be.(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

As Blue Fin Tuna season opens Vella asks to push for more effort to protect Mediterranean fish stocks

Fish stocks in the Mediterranean are deteriorating at an alarming rate, threatening the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of fishermen. Taking the #MEdfish4ever campaign to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean(GFCM) in Malta on Monday (30 May), Karmenu Vella, the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries will urge representatives to increase fish stock recovery effort. Citing the successful recovery of Blue Fin Tuna, as shown by ICCAT agreement to an increase of 60% of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) over three years. Vella stated that; “As the blue fin tuna season opens we see that thanks to our joint efforts, fishermen can take to the sea with renewed sense of purpose. Our task this week and over the coming months, is to extend this success story to other Mediterranean stocks”. The blue fin tuna campaign for purse seiner vessels will run this year from 26 May to 24 June in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic.  The Medfish4ever campaign was launched at Seafood expo. Efforts are largely focussed towards a major Ministerial declaration in spring of next year. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

State aid: Commission clears closure of lignite-fired power plants in Germany

The European Commission has found German plans to grant €1.6 billion public financing for mothballing and subsequently closing eight lignite-fired power plants to be in line with EU state aid rules. Under the plans notified by Germany in November 2015 eight lignite-fired power plants would be mothballed and closed. With the mothballing and closure of the eight power plants the German Government aims to reduce CO2-emissions by 11 – 12.5 million tons per year as of the year 2020, when all eight plants will have stopped operating. This constitutes more than half of the additional contribution that the German energy sector still needs to make in order to meet the national emission target for 2020. The operators of these power plants would be compensated for foregone profits as they cannot continue to sell electricity on the market. The Commission found that the remuneration is primarily based on the foregone profits that the operators of the eight plants would have earned, had they continued operating in the electricity market for four more years, which is less than the average expected lifetime of the plants. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure promotes EU environmental objectives, as it helps Germany to achieve its CO2 emission target, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. The press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

State aid: Commission clears €2.13 billion aid to alleviate social and economic impact of closing 26 uncompetitive coal mines in Spain

The Commission has found Spanish plans to grant €2.13 billion for the orderly closure of 26 uncompetitive coal mines to be in line with EU state aid rules. The aid aims to alleviate the social and environmental impact of the mine closures without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. In April 2016 Spain notified plans to grant public support to the operators of 26 coal mines that are due to be shut down until 2018. The aid aims to ease the closure process by covering production losses of the mines until closure. It will also provide financial support to those workers, who have lost or will lose their jobs due to the closures, by funding severance payments and social security benefits. Furthermore, it will finance the safety and remediation works necessary after the mine closures. The Commission concluded that the plans are in line with EU state aid rules, in particular Council Decision 2010/787/EU. The press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and ES. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of building materials group Italcementi by HeidelbergCement, subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Italian building materials group Italcementi by its German competitor HeidelbergCement. The clearance is conditional on HeidelbergCement selling Italcementi’s entire business in Belgium. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “Competitive markets for cement and concrete are essential for the EU’s construction sector. I welcome the proposed commitments as they will ensure that HeidelbergCement’s multibillion euro takeover of Italcementi will not harm effective competition.” The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition from the remaining players and that the takeover would have led to higher prices for cement and ready-mix concrete in in Belgium and its neighbouring regions. The Commission found that the commitments offered by HeidelbergCement address the competition concerns identified and concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would raise no competition concerns. A press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and IT. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

 

Mergers: Commission approves joint venture of the non-US asset management businesses of Warburg Pincus, General Atlantic, Santander and Unicredit

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture combining the non-US asset management businesses of SAM Investment Holdings Limited and Pioneer Global Asset Management S.p.A.. SAM is currently jointly controlled by the private equity firms Warburg Pincus LLC and General Atlantic LLC, both of the US, and by the banking group Banco Santander S.A., of Spain. Pioneer is currently solely controlled by the banking group UniCredit S.p.A. of Italy. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the companies’ moderate combined market shares, in particular on the concerned markets in Poland, and the presence of a number of strong competitors. 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.7877. In March 2016, the Commission already cleared the parallel acquisition of Pioneer’s US asset management business by Warburg Pincus, General Atlantic and UniCredit (M.7874). (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

Eurostat: Le prix de l’électricité à usage domestique a augmenté de 2,4%…tandis que celui du gaz a baissé de 1,7%

Dans l’Union européenne (UE), le prix de l’électricité facturée aux ménages a connu une majoration moyenne de 2,4% entre le second semestre 2014 et le second semestre 2015, atteignant 21,1 euros les 100 kWh. Depuis 2008, le prix de l’électricité dans l’UE a augmenté de 33%. Parmi les États membres de l’UE, le prix de l’électricité à usage domestique était compris, au second semestre 2015, entre moins de 10 euros les 100 kWh en Bulgarie et plus de 30 euros les 100 kWh au Danemark. Le prix du gaz facturé aux ménages a quant à lui diminué de 1,7% en moyenne dans l’UE entre les seconds semestres 2014 et 2015 pour s’établir à 7,1 euros les 100 kWh. Depuis 2008, le prix du gaz dans l’UE a augmenté de 32%. Parmi les États membres de l’UE, le prix du gaz à usage domestique s’échelonnait au second semestre 2015 entre un peu plus de 3 euros les 100 kWh en Roumanie et Hongrie et près de 12 euros les 100 kWh en Suède. Les diverses taxes et redevances représentaient en moyenne un tiers (33%) du prix de l’électricité facturée aux ménages dans l’UE au second semestre 2015, et quasiment un quart (23%) du prix du gaz. Un communiqué de presse d’EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Le Commissaire Pierre Moscovici est en déplacement à Nancy aujourd’hui

Pour ce cinquième déplacement en région en France visant à rapprocher l’Europe de ses territoires, le Commissaire Pierre Moscovici se rend à Nancy, dans le Grand-Est, région ouverte sur trois Etats-membres : l’Allemagne, la Belgique et le Luxembourg et qui a également une porte sur la Suisse. Il visitera notamment une entreprise spécialisée dans l’ingénierie acoustique, qui a bénéficié du soutien du Plan Juncker d’investissement pour le lancement  d’un projet innovant sur les études acoustiques des parcs éoliens. Le Commissaire s’entretiendra aussi avec un groupe de chefs d’entreprises et de responsables locaux sur le rôle essentiel que joue l’Union européenne dans le développement économique des territoires. Ce déplacement fera également une large place au dialogue avec les citoyens, puisque le Commissaire participera à une conférence étudiante organisée par l’ISAM-IAE (Université de Lorraine) sur le thème « L’Europe face aux crises ou crise de l’Europe ? ». Dans la perspective de ce déplacement, Pierre Moscovici a déclaré : «il est indispensable de présenter sur le terrain ce que fait l’Europe au quotidien pour ses acteurs économiques et pour ses citoyens. Les projets bénéficiant du Plan Juncker constituent un excellent terreau pour ces échanges. Je me réjouis de me rendre une nouvelle fois dans les régions françaises, dans le but de réconcilier l’Europe et les citoyens, en expliquant ce qu’elle fait pour eux pour soutenir l’innovation et relancer la croissance et l’emploi ». (Pour plus d’information Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: + 32 229 71607)

Commissioner Jonathan Hill to meet Welsh Government officials, financial sector representatives and students in Cardiff

Jonathan Hill, Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union, is in Cardiff today to meet Welsh Government officials, financial services representatives as well as students of financial regulation. In all these meetings, he will set out the importance of the Single Market for financial services and set out his plans for a Capital Markets Union across Europe and other measures to encourage financial services. Commissioner Hill will also take this opportunity to discover what lies behind the growing success of Cardiff’s financial sector, which is the fastest-growing in the UK, while listening to any concerns about the EU’s role in this area. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – +32 229 51958)

Open Day 2016 of the European Institutions: 28 May

As part of Open Day 2016, the European Commission’s Berlaymont building will be open to the public from 10 am to 6 pm with the following highlights: opening ceremony with Vice-President Šefčovič, guided tours of the 13th floor including the room where the College of Commissioners meets, walking tour through five ‘villages’ illustrating the Commission’s main priorities, various musical performances, and a series of mini-dialogues and meetings attended by prominent figures from the Commission, including Vice-Presidents Katainen and Šefčovič. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein Tel.: +32 229 93265)

 

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

Calendar

The Commissioners’ weekly activities