General Market

CALENDRIER du 12 juin au 18 juin 2017

(Susceptible de modifications en cours de semaine)

Déplacements et visites

 

Lundi 12 juin 2017

12-15/06 European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

12-13/06 Agriculture and Fisheries Council

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg, France (until 14/06):receives Mr Nicolas Schmit, Minister for Labour of Luxembourg; Mr Sergei Stanishev, President of the Party of European Socialists (PES); Ms Pervenche Berès, Member of the European Parliament; and Ms Maria João Rodrigues, Member of the European Parliament, for an exchange of views on the European Commission’s proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights; and receives Mr Manfred Weber, President of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament.

Ms Federica Mogherini receives Mr Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Mr Andrus Ansip receives Mr Markus Borchert, President of Digitaleurope and Senior Vice-President, Market Europe at Nokia.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič in Astana, Kazakhstan: meets Mr Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan; and Mr Kanat Bozumbayev, Minister for Energy of Kazakhstan.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis in London, the United Kingdom: delivers a keynote address at the 2017 International Monetary Conference.

Mr Johannes Hahn receives Mr Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Ms Cecilia Malmström receives Mr Axel Eggert, Director-General of the European Steel Association (EUROFER); and CEOs from the European steel industry.

Mr Neven Mimica in Atlanta, the United States: participates in two panel discussions at the 108th Rotary International Convention; and meets Mr Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mr Karmenu Vella in Bologna, Italy: participates in G7 Environment Ministerial Meeting.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Luxembourg (until 13/06): meets Mr Jacques Mézard, Minister for Agriculture and Food of France.

M. Pierre Moscovici à Berlin, Allemagne (jusqu’au 17/06): rencontre M. Sigmar Gabriel,  Ministre fédéral des Affaires étrangères et Vice-chancelier d’Allemagne; et M. Martin Schulz, Président du Parti social-démocrate d’Allemagne; et participe à la conférence “Africa Partnership : Investing in a Common Future” organisée par la présidence allemande du G20.  

Mr Phil Hogan in Luxembourg: meets Mr Jacques Mézard, Minister for Agriculture and Food of France; Mr Tarmo Tamm, Minister for Rural Affairs of Estonia; and Mr Andrew McDowell, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Mr Carlos Moedas delivers a keynote speech at the European Open Science Cloud Summit, in Brussels.

Mr Carlos Moedas in Strasbourg, France: participates in the European Parliament Plenary debates on the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), the FP7 cost-effectiveness and the Midterm review of H2020.

 

Mardi 13 juin 2017

College meeting

European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg, France: addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ programme;receives Mr Ximo Puig, President of the regional Government of Valencia, Spain; and participates in the meeting of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament.

Ms Federica Mogherini in Oslo, Norway: attends the Oslo Forum co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Norway and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis in Strasbourg, France: meets Mr Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party (EPP).

Mr Karmenu Vella in Strasbourg, France: meets Mr Jacques Mézard, Minister for Agriculture and Food of France; and Mr Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Luxembourg: meets leading representatives of European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and HealthCare (EDQM).

Ms Vĕra Jourová in Strasbourg, France: signs the accession of the EU to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

Mr Tibor Navracsics in Strasbourg, France: addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ programme; and inaugurates the Erasmus+ Exhibition.

Ms Corina Creţu in Greece (until 16/06): in Athens: participates in event on Resilience Cities, together with Mr Yiorgos Kaminis, Mayor of Athens; meets Mr Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece; and representatives of the Romanian community in Athens.

 

Mercredi 14 juin 2017

European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg, France: addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on the preparations of the upcoming European Council; attends the speech by Mr Alassane Ouattara, President of Ivory Coast, to the plenary of the European Parliament; and meets Mr Alassane Ouattara, President of Ivory Coast.

Mr Frans Timmermans receives Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis in Luxembourg: meets Mr Rimantas Šadžius, Member of the European Court of Auditors (ECA); and participates in a working dinner with Mr Jānis Reirs, Minister for Welfare of Latvia.

Mr Günther Oettinger in Warsaw, Poland: attends the V4+4 conference on future of EU Budget.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis delivers a speech at the meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, in Brussels.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Rome, Italy (until 15/06): visits Fucino Space Centre.

Ms Vĕra Jourová delivers a keynote speech at a conference for the Launching of the European Barnahus Movement on innovative ways to support child victims of violence, in Brussels.

Mr Tibor Navracsics in Varna, Bulgaria (until 15/06): meets Ms Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the EU Presidency of Bulgaria; Mr Krasen Kralev, Minister for Youth and Sports; Mr Ivan Portnih, Mayor of Varna; Mr Krasimir Valchev, Minister for Education and Science; and representatives of Varna universities; delivers an opening speech at the Annual meeting of the youth organisations under the theme “Youth Spaces”; and participates in a Citizens’ Dialogue.

Ms Corina Creţu in Chios, Greece: meets Ms Christiana Kalogirou, Governor of North Aegean region; and mayors of the North Aegean islands; and visits two EU-funded projects “Mastiha Museum” and “Nea Moni (New Monastery)”.

Ms Margrethe Vestager in Leiden, the Netherlands: delivers a “Europa Lecture” at Leiden University.

Mr Carlos Moedas receives Ms Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Jeudi 15 juin 2017

European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

15-16/06 EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Geert Bourgeois, Minister-President of Flanders, Belgium.

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Belœil, Belgium: delivers a speech entitled “L’avenir de l’Europe” at a conference organised by the “Cercle de Belœil”.

Mr Frans Timmermans in Prague, the Czech Republic: delivers a keynote speech at the Prague European Summit; and meets Mr Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Ms Federica Mogherini in Oulu, Finland: participates in the high-level event on EU Arctic Policy “A sustainable Arctic – innovative approaches”.

Mr Andrus Ansip in Valletta, Malta: participates in the Digital Assembly conference organised by the European Commission and the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič receives Mr Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, Minister for Energy of Lithuania.

Mr Jyrki Katainen delivers a keynote speech at the 2017 Water Innovation Europe conference, in Brussels.

Mr Neven Mimica meets the National Authorising Officers of Western Africa, in Brussels.

Mr Karmenu Vella in Oulu, Finland (until 16/06): participates in the 2nd “Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit” in the panel “Visions for the Future”; and in the high-level event on EU Arctic Policy “A sustainable Arctic – innovative approaches”.

Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, Ms Vĕra Jourová and Mr Julian King in Valetta, Malta (until 16/06): participate in the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting.

Ms Marianne Thyssen in Luxembourg: participates in the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council; and in meeting of the Council on the Pillar of Social Rights.

M. Pierre Moscovici à Luxembourg: participe à la réunion annuelle du Conseil des gouverneurs du mécanisme européen de stabilité (MES).

Ms Violeta Bulc in Arnhem-Nijmegen, the Netherlands (until 16/06): participates in the global cycling summit Velo-City 2017; and delivers keynote speeches during the plenary and Mayors’ sessions of the summit.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Rome, Italy: delivers a speech at high-level conference “Space Policy for EU Integration”.

Ms Corina Creţu in Leros, Greece: meets Mr George Hadjimarkos, Governor of the South Aegean region; and mayors of South Aegean islands; and visits an EU-funded project: “Artemis Leros Boatyard”.

Ms Margrethe Vestager in Bornholm, Denmark (until 16/06): attends “Folkemøde” – Denmark’s Political Festival.

Mr Carlos Moedas in Paris, France:delivers a keynote speech at Viva Technology Conference on “Tech & Politics”.

Vendredi 16 juin 2017

Economic and Financial Affairs Council in Luxembourg

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Yves Pozzo di Borgo and Mr Simon Sutour, Members of the French Senate.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič delivers a keynote speech at “Tackling energy poverty in Europe – What more needs to be done?” event, organised by the European Policy Centre, in Brussels.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič receives Mr Christian Thimann, Chairperson of the European Commission High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and Group Head of Regulation, Sustainability and Insurance Foresight at the AXA Group.

Mr Jyrki Katainen receives Mr Christian Thimann, Chairperson of the European Commission High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and Group Head of Regulation, Sustainability and Insurance Foresight at the AXA Group.

Mr Johannes Hahn in Azerbaijan: on official visit.

Mr Karmenu Vella in Oulu, Finland (until 16/06): participates in the Arctic Stakeholder Forum “European investment priorities for the Arctic” as part of the high-level event on EU Arctic Policy “A sustainable Arctic – innovative approaches”.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Luxembourg: meets Mr Florian-Dorel Bodog, Minister for Health of Romania; Mr Juha Rehula, Minister for Family Affairs and Social Services of Finland; Ms Ellen Trane Nørby, Minister for Health of Denmark; and Ms Edith Schippers, Minister for Health, Welfare and Sports of the Netherlands.

Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, Ms Vĕra Jourová and Mr Julian King in Valetta, Malta: participate in the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting.

Ms Marianne Thyssen receives Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus of the European Council.

Mr Christos Stylianides in Nicosia, Cyprus: meets Mr Demetris Syllouris, President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus; presents the White Paper on the Future of Europe to the House of Representatives of Cyprus; and holds a speech at the Association for Social Reforms (OPEK).

Ms Corina Creţu in Athens, Greece: delivers a keynote speech at event on entrepreneurship, innovation and smart specialisation, organised by Attica region; visits an EU-funded project “State Museum of Modern Art”, accompanied by Ms Rena Dourou, Governor of Attica region; an EU-funded project: “Institute of Geodynamics National Observatory of Athens“; and meets Mr Dimitri Papadimitriou, Minister for Economy and Development of Greece; and Mr Alexis Charitsis,  Alternate Minister for Economy and Development.

 

Samedi 17 juin 2017

M. Frans Timmermans participe au colloque “Demain, une Union dans la fraternité” organisé par La Grande Loge de Belgique, à Bruxelles.

M. Pierre Moscovici à Berlin, Allemagne: rencontre M. Wolfgang Schäuble, Ministre fédéral allemand des Finances; et participe au Körber History Forum “Connecting Politics and History”, organisé par la Fondation Körber.

Ms Violeta Bulc in Florence, Italy: participates in the Executive Symposium on European Regulation of Airport Charges.

 

Prévisions du mois de juin:

12-13/06 Agriculture and Fisheries Council

12-15/06 European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

15/06 Eurogroup

15/06 Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

15-16/06 EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

16/06 Economic and Financial Affairs Council

16/06 Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

19/06 Foreign Affairs Council

19/06 Environment Council

20/06 General Affairs Council

23/06 European Council

 

Permanence DG COMM le WE du 10 au 11 juin 2017:

Alexander WINTERSTEIN: +32 (0) 460 79 32 65

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

Service Audiovisuel, planning studio – tél. : +32 (0)2/295 21 23

General Market

Daily News 14 / 06 / 2017

EU institutions welcome the end of roaming charges in the EU 

As of tomorrow, 15 June 2017, roaming charges in the EU will no longer apply. On this occasion, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani and Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat, on behalf of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union stated: “The European Union is about bringing people together and making their lives easier. The end of roaming charges is a true European success story. From now on, citizens who travel within the EU will be able to call, text and connect on their mobile devices at the same price as they pay at home. Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU. Over the last 10 years, our institutions have been working hard together to fix this market failure. Each time a European citizen crossed an EU border, be it for holidays, work, studies or just for a day, they had to worry about using their mobile phones and a high phone bill from the roaming charges when they came home. Roaming charges will now be a thing of the past. As of tomorrow, you will be able to remain connected while travelling in the EU, for the same price as at home.” The full statement by the three EU institutions is available here. An overview of the new roaming rules is available on the roaming website. Details on how roam like at home works in practice are available in all official EU languages in the frequently asked questions, general factsheet, detailed factsheet as well as a recent MEMO. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524;Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel. +32 229 67083; Johannes Bahrke – Tel. +32 22958615)

President Juncker addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on the Commission’s preparations ahead of the European Council on 22 and 23 June 2017

This morning President Juncker addressed the Plenary of the European Parliament ahead of the next European Council on 22 and 23 June, in which he covered the Commission’s ongoing work in the areas of defence, security, climate change, migration and solidarity among EU Member States. He stressed the importance of common work on defence and security through all tools provided by the Treaties, especially following the recent terrorist attacks: “In Europe, determination will always triumph over fear” he said, repeating that such attacks “will not undermine our resilience”‘. He highlighted the Commission’s reflection paper on the future of European defence of last week stressing that “whichever road we go down, our ever closer partnership with NATO will remain the cornerstone of Europe’s defence and security”.  President Juncker reiterated that “global security requires much more than solely efforts on military expenses”, namely that “European and global stability also depend on our efforts in development cooperation and in the fight against climate change”. Addressing the issue of migration, President Juncker recalled the European Union’s role in the protection of our external borders through the creation of the European Border and Coast Guard saying that “never have our external borders been as well protected as today“. Stressing the importance of solidarity in migration, he underlined that it cannot be “a one-way street”. Member States have to play their role. The fact that they are not, is therefore why the Commission has launched infringement procedures – not to sanction Member States, but to ensure the application of jointly agreed European Union law, the President explained. The full speech is available here. President Juncker also addressed the European Parliament this morning, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the COP 21 Climate Agreement. President Juncker said that this is “more than a sad event. It is a sign of abdication from common action in dealing with the fate of our planet. […] We are disappointed and we regret the decision”. President Juncker underlined that “the abandonment of Paris by the U.S. administration will not mean the end of the Agreement.”  Reiterating that the EU will not renegotiate the Agreement, President Juncker said “We have spent 20 years negotiating. Now it is the time for action, now it is the time for implementation”, adding that the European Union “will step up our climate diplomacy and collaboration with other partners”. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Arias Cañete will co-host a major gathering with his Chinese and Canadian counterparts to implement Paris and accelerate the clean energy transition. The full speech of President Juncker is available here. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

Procédures d’infraction du mois de juin: la Commission prend des mesures en vue d’une mise en œuvre complète, correcte et en temps utile du droit de l’Union européenne dans l’intérêt des citoyens et des entreprises

Pour aider les citoyens et les entreprises à tirer pleinement profit du marché intérieur, la Commission européenne noue un dialogue permanent avec les États membres qui ne respectent pas le droit européen et, au besoin, ouvre des procédures d’infraction à leur égard. Les décisions prises aujourd’hui, dans le cadre des décisions régulières d’infraction, comprennent 12 lettres de mise en demeure, 25 avis motivés et un renvoi à la Cour de justice de l’UE. Elle clôt également 101 dossiers en cours lorsque l’État membre concerné, en coopération avec la Commission, a résolu le problème et assuré le respect du droit de l’Union et que, dès lors, une saisine de la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne n’est pas nécessaire. Un résumé des principales décisions et les références des communiqués de presse correspondants figurent ici. Les aspects essentiels des procédures d’infraction de l’UE sont énoncés ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Uldis Šalajevs – Tel.: +32 229 67560)

 

The Commission welcomes the European Parliament’s approval of its proposal to increase EU financial support following natural disasters

Yesterday the European Parliament gave its green light to the Commission’s proposal to provide special EU support to disaster-stricken regions, by covering up to 95% of the costs of the reconstruction works. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “Natural disasters can occur anywhere and anytime and EU citizens need to know that in times of need, the EU cares and is ready to step up its support. I very much welcome the vote of the European Parliament, as it means the proposal will soon enter into force and Member States will be able to activate this mechanism as soon as they need it.” The Commission proposed this amendment to the Cohesion policy Regulation in the wake of the earthquakes which struck four regions in Central Italy in 2016. President Juncker had announced that the EU would stand by Italy and its citizens, and help fully reconstruct the areas damaged, including the Basilica of San Benedetto in Norcia. But with this proposal, any Member State affected by a natural disaster will be able to activate this form of EU support. Member States struck by earthquakes, floods or severe droughts and forest fires can activate this special EU support from day one of a disaster, and for disasters that have occurred since the beginning of the current programming period, i.e. 1 January 2014. This would supplement EU Solidarity Fund assistance and provide a quick and efficient EU assistance to regions in distress. The proposal now has to be formally approved by the Council before entering into force. Commissioner Crețu issued a statement when the European Parliament and the Council had reached a provisional agreement on the proposal. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Juncker Plan backs loan to support environmentally-sustainable projects in Poland

The Juncker Plan has backed a European Investment Bank loan agreement with Bank Ochrony Środowiska, a bank specialising in supporting environmentally-friendly projects, which will unlock EUR 75 million for small and medium-sized businesses in Poland. Some 40% of this amount is expected to support renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and waste management projects. This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness said: “The European Fund for Strategic Investments is playing an important role in facilitating access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses across Europe. Over 16,000 Polish businesses are already set to access EFSI-backed loans which will allow them to grow, innovate and hire new employees. Today’s agreement is especially encouraging, given that it supports projects which will contribute to creating a greener, more sustainable future.” The Juncker Plan is now expected to trigger over EUR 6.4 billion in investments in Poland and EUR 194 billion across Europe. For the latest figures country-by-country, see here. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

Energy Union: the EU Cohesion Policy invests to improve energy security in Poland

€112.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund will be invested in the construction of a 167 km-long natural gas pipeline between the cities of Lwówek and Odolanów, in the Polish region of Wielkopolska. The EU-funded project also includes the construction of interconnections in Krobia, Kotowo, Lwówek and Odolanów, and of supporting infrastructure. Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: “This project directly contributes to the implementation of the Energy Union, by improving Poland’s energy security. It will also help provide households and businesses with additional and affordable gas sources and as such boost economic competitiveness in the country and the neighbouring regions.” The Lwówek – Odolanów pipeline will connect the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in the city of Świnoujście, in North-West Poland, to the existing gas transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure. It was defined as a project of common interest (PCI) and has the potential to export gas to Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. As such, it is an important part of the North-South gas interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe. In the 2014-2020 period, €69 billion under the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds are supporting the EU’s Energy Union targets. More information on the contribution of the ESI Funds to the Energy Union is available here. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

EU boosts cooperation with key international partners to support its foreign policy objectives

The European Commission has adopted the Annual Action Programme 2017 (AAP 2017) of the Partnership Instrument, approving 19 new projects totalling more than €87 million. These projects will increase the impact of the European Union and help to achieve our objectives across a number of policy areas. A particular focus of this year’s Action Programme is climate action, clean energy, biodiversity and green diplomacy. The European Union has recently reiterated its full commitment to implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate action, and therefore to the promotion of secure, affordable, climate-friendly and sustainable energy sources. As a global leader in this field, the European Union will implement projects with partners in Asia and Latin America to enhance environmental resilience, to increase energy efficiency, and to assist the transition towards low carbon economies. Other priority areas of EU foreign policy, such as migration management and trade, are also reflected in the AAP 2017, in particular through supporting dialogue and cooperation on migration and mobility with India, and engaging with civil society in trade policy-making processes. Funding under the Partnership Instrument will also go towards fighting inequality, promoting responsible business and championing decent work opportunities in Latin America, notably for women and young people, as well as actions to support the European Union’s own public and cultural diplomacy. A full press release is available online. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359)

 

Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigations into Nike’s, Sanrio’s and Universal Studios’ licensing and distribution practices

The European Commission has launched three separate antitrust investigations into whether certain licensing and distribution practices of Nike, Sanrio and Universal Studios illegally restrict traders from selling licensed merchandise cross-border and online within the EU Single Market. The Commission will investigate whether the three companies, in their role as licensors of rights for merchandising products, may have breached EU competition rules by restricting their licensees’ ability to sell licensed merchandise cross-border and online. These practices may ultimately harm consumers by preventing them from benefiting from greater choice and lower prices, both online and offline. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “The Commission is investigating whether Nike, Sanrio and Universal Studios are restricting cross border and online sales of merchandising products. We are going to examine whether the licensing and distribution practices of these three companies may be denying consumers access to wider choice and better deals in the Single Market”. The full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Eurostat: First quarter of 2017 compared with the fourth quarter of 2016 – Employment up by 0.4% in both the euro area and in the EU28 – +1.5% and +1.4% respectively compared with the first quarter of 2016

The number of persons employed increased by 0.4% in both the euro area (EA19) and in the EU28 in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the fourth quarter of 2016, employment increased also by 0.4% in both areas. Commenting on the figures, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen said: “Employment has never been as high as now in both the EU and the euro area. Job creation has been the top priority of this Commission and our efforts are paying off: Since the Juncker Commission took up office in 2014, about 6.9 million jobs have been created. But we can’t stop here, as too many people are still excluded from the labour market. We need to act jointly so all Member States could enjoy the same progress. This is why the European Pillar of Social Rights is so important: its aim is to help Member States grow more closely together, towards better working and social conditions for all.” A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

Eurostat: La production industrielle en hausse de 0,5% dans la zone euro

En avril 2017 par rapport à mars 2017, la production industrielle corrigée des variations saisonnières a augmenté de 0,5% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,2% dans l’UE28, selon les estimations d’Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. En mars 2017, la production industrielle avait progressé de 0,2% dans la zone euro et de 0,3% dans l’UE28. En avril 2017 par rapport à avril 2016, la production industrielle a augmenté de 1,4% dans la zone euro ainsi que dans l’UE28. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

 

 
ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Vella co-host a high-level event on EU Arctic Policy in Oulu (Finland), 15-16 June

On 15-16 June, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini will co-host, together with the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Timo Soini, a high-level event on the European Union’s Arctic Policy in Oulu, Finland. The conference, featuring speakers from both EU and non-EU countries, will look at innovative approaches to addressing the challenges confronting the Arctic. Commissioner Vella said: “The European Union has a deep understanding that environmental and climate protection brings not just green benefits, but geopolitical stability. On the Arctic, just as on the Paris Agreement I can assure you that the EU is solid. That is something that will not melt under any political heat.” High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini will speak to the press alongside the Prime Minister of Finland, Juha Sipilä at 16:30 and Commissioner Vella and Minister Soini will hold a press conference at 18.30, both at the Oulu Music Hall and available on EbS. In the morning of the 16 June, there will be the high-level Arctic Stakeholder Forum and in the afternoon the annual Arctic Indigenous Peoples’ Dialogue. The full programme of the Conference is available here. Live streaming of the conference is available online, and for the ‘1st panel session: The Arctic is local and global – increasing expectations’ and for the ‘2nd panel session: The Arctic – a Northern light for innovation’, both on 15th June, on EbS. For more information on the EU’s Arctic policy, visit the website. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen attend Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumers Council

Tomorrow, 15 June, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, will attend the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumers Council (EPSCO). First, Ministers will hold a policy debate on the 2017 European Semester, and adopt Council conclusions onstrategies for making work pay following the informal meeting of EU Social Affairs and Employment Ministers on 3 April, and the Court of Auditor’s special report on youth unemployment. Ministers are also expected to adopt a general approach on the Commission’s second proposal to better protect workers from cancer-causing chemicals under the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive. Several progress reports will also be discussed, including on the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive as well as the proposed revision of the coordination of social security systems, on equal treatment, on women on company boards, and on the accessibility requirements for products and services as proposed under the Commission’s Accessibility Act. During lunchtime, Ministers will also hold a first informal debate on the European Pillar of Social Rights. A first press conference will take place at 12:45, with Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Thyssen and Minister for European Affairs and Equality of Malta, Helena Dalli. At the end of the Council meeting, a second press conference will take place, foreseen around 18:30, with Commissioner Thyssen, Maltese Minister for Education and Employment, Evarist Bartolo, and Maltese Minister for Family and Social Solidarity, Michael Falzon. Both press conferences can be followed here. More information as regards the Council agenda is available here. (For more information:Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253;Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)

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

General Market

CALENDRIER du 12 juin au 18 juin 2017

(Susceptible de modifications en cours de semaine)

Déplacements et visites

 

Lundi 12 juin 2017

12-15/06 European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

12-13/06 Agriculture and Fisheries Council

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg, France (until 14/06):receives Mr Nicolas Schmit, Minister for Labour of Luxembourg; Mr Sergei Stanishev, President of the Party of European Socialists (PES); Ms Pervenche Berès, Member of the European Parliament; and Ms Maria João Rodrigues, Member of the European Parliament, for an exchange of views on the European Commission’s proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights; and receives Mr Manfred Weber, President of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament.

Ms Federica Mogherini receives Mr Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Mr Andrus Ansip receives Mr Markus Borchert, President of Digitaleurope and Senior Vice-President, Market Europe at Nokia.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič in Astana, Kazakhstan: meets Mr Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan; and Mr Kanat Bozumbayev, Minister for Energy of Kazakhstan.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis in London, the United Kingdom: delivers a keynote address at the 2017 International Monetary Conference.

Mr Johannes Hahn receives Mr Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Ms Cecilia Malmström receives Mr Axel Eggert, Director-General of the European Steel Association (EUROFER); and CEOs from the European steel industry.

Mr Neven Mimica in Atlanta, the United States: participates in two panel discussions at the 108th Rotary International Convention; and meets Mr Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mr Karmenu Vella in Bologna, Italy: participates in G7 Environment Ministerial Meeting.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Luxembourg (until 13/06): meets Mr Jacques Mézard, Minister for Agriculture and Food of France.

M. Pierre Moscovici à Berlin, Allemagne (jusqu’au 17/06): rencontre M. Sigmar Gabriel,  Ministre fédéral des Affaires étrangères et Vice-chancelier d’Allemagne; et M. Martin Schulz, Président du Parti social-démocrate d’Allemagne; et participe à la conférence “Africa Partnership : Investing in a Common Future” organisée par la présidence allemande du G20.  

Mr Phil Hogan in Luxembourg: meets Mr Jacques Mézard, Minister for Agriculture and Food of France; Mr Tarmo Tamm, Minister for Rural Affairs of Estonia; and Mr Andrew McDowell, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Mr Carlos Moedas delivers a keynote speech at the European Open Science Cloud Summit, in Brussels.

Mr Carlos Moedas in Strasbourg, France: participates in the European Parliament Plenary debates on the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), the FP7 cost-effectiveness and the Midterm review of H2020.

 

Mardi 13 juin 2017

College meeting

European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg, France: addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ programme;receives Mr Ximo Puig, President of the regional Government of Valencia, Spain;andparticipates in the meeting of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament.

Ms Federica Mogherini in Oslo, Norway: attends the Oslo Forum co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Norway and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis in Strasbourg, France: meets Mr Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party (EPP).

Mr Karmenu Vella in Strasbourg, France: meets Mr Jacques Mézard, Minister for Agriculture and Food of France; and Mr Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Luxembourg: meets leading representatives of European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and HealthCare (EDQM).

Ms Vĕra Jourová in Strasbourg, France: signs the accession of the EU to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

Mr Tibor Navracsics in Strasbourg, France: addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ programme; and inaugurates the Erasmus+ Exhibition.

Ms Corina Creţu in Greece (until 16/06): in Athens: participates in event on Resilience Cities, together with Mr Yiorgos Kaminis, Mayor of Athens; and meets representatives of the Romanian community in Athens.

Ms Margrethe Vestager in Copenhagen, Denmark: meets Mr Kristian Jensen, Minister for Finance of Denmark.

 

Mercredi 14 juin 2017

European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg, France: addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on the preparations of the upcoming European Council; and attends the speech by Mr Alassane Ouattara, President of Ivory Coast, to the plenary of the European Parliament

Mr Frans Timmermans receives Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis in Luxembourg: meets Mr Rimantas Šadžius, Member of the European Court of Auditors (ECA); and participates in a working dinner with Mr Jānis Reirs, Minister for Welfare of Latvia.

Mr Günther Oettinger in Warsaw, Poland: attends the V4+4 conference on future of EU Budget.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis delivers a speech at the meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, in Brussels.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Rome, Italy (until 15/06): visits Fucino Space Centre.

Ms Vĕra Jourová delivers a keynote speech at a conference for the Launching of the European Barnahus Movement on innovative ways to support child victims of violence, in Brussels.

Mr Tibor Navracsics in Varna, Bulgaria (until 15/06): meets Ms Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the EU Presidency of Bulgaria; Mr Krasen Kralev, Minister for Youth and Sports; Mr Ivan Portnih, Mayor of Varna; Mr Krasimir Valchev, Minister for Education and Science; and representatives of Varna universities; delivers an opening speech at the Annual meeting of the youth organisations under the theme “Youth Spaces”; and participates in a Citizens’ Dialogue.

Ms Corina Creţu in Chios, Greece: meets Ms Christiana Kalogirou, Governor of North Aegean region; and mayors of the North Aegean islands; and visits two EU-funded projects “Mastiha Museum” and “Nea Moni (New Monastery)”.

Ms Margrethe Vestager in Leiden, the Netherlands: delivers a “Europa Lecture” at Leiden University.

Mr Carlos Moedas receives Ms Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Jeudi 15 juin 2017

European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

15-16/06 EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Geert Bourgeois, Minister-President of Flanders, Belgium.

President Jean-Claude Juncker in Belœil, Belgium: delivers a speech entitled “L’avenir de l’Europe” at a conference organised by the “Cercle de Belœil”.

Mr Frans Timmermans in Prague, the Czech Republic: delivers a keynote speech at the Prague European Summit; and meets Mr Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Ms Federica Mogherini in Oulu, Finland: participates in the high-level event on EU Arctic Policy “A sustainable Arctic – innovative approaches”.

Mr Andrus Ansip in Valletta, Malta: participates in the Digital Assembly conference organised by the European Commission and the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Mr Jyrki Katainen delivers a keynote speech at the 2017 Water Innovation Europe conference, in Brussels.

Mr Neven Mimica meets the National Authorising Officers of Western Africa, in Brussels.

Mr Karmenu Vella in Oulu, Finland (until 16/06): participates in the 2nd “Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit” in the panel “Visions for the Future”; and in the high-level event on EU Arctic Policy “A sustainable Arctic – innovative approaches”.

Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, Ms Vĕra Jourová and Mr Julian King in Valetta, Malta (until 16/06): participate in the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting.

Ms Marianne Thyssen in Luxembourg: participates in the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council; and in meeting of the Council on the Pillar of Social Rights.

M. Pierre Moscovici à Luxembourg: participe à la réunion annuelle du Conseil des gouverneurs du mécanisme européen de stabilité (MES).

Ms Violeta Bulc in Arnhem-Nijmegen, the Netherlands (until 16/06): participates in the global cycling summit Velo-City 2017; and delivers keynote speeches during the plenary and Mayors’ sessions of the summit.

Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Rome, Italy: delivers a speech at high-level conference “Space Policy for EU Integration”.

Ms Corina Creţu in Leros, Greece: meets Mr George Hadjimarkos, Governor of the South Aegean region; and mayors of South Aegean islands; and visits an EU-funded project: “Artemis Leros Boatyard”.

Ms Margrethe Vestager in Bornholm, Denmark (until 16/06): attends “Folkemøde” – Denmark’s Political Festival.

Mr Carlos Moedas in Paris, France:delivers a keynote speech at Viva Technology Conference on “Tech & Politics”.

Vendredi 16 juin 2017

Economic and Financial Affairs Council in Luxembourg

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Yves Pozzo di Borgo and Mr Simon Sutour, Members of the French Senate.

Mr Maroš Šefčovič delivers a keynote speech at “Tackling energy poverty in Europe – What more needs to be done?” event, organised by the European Policy Centre, in Brussels.

00:00 Mr Valdis Dombrovskis

Mr Jyrki Katainen receives Mr Christian Thimann, Chairperson of the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and Group Head of Regulation, Sustainability and Insurance Foresight at the AXA Group.

Mr Johannes Hahn in Azerbaijan: on official visit.

Mr Karmenu Vella in Oulu, Finland (until 16/06): participates in the Arctic Stakeholder Forum “European investment priorities for the Arctic” as part of the high-level event on EU Arctic Policy “A sustainable Arctic – innovative approaches”.

Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis in Luxembourg: meets Mr Florian-Dorel Bodog, Minister for Health of Romania; Mr Juha Rehula, Minister for Family Affairs and Social Services of Finland; Ms Ellen Trane Nørby, Minister for Health of Denmark; and Ms Edith Schippers, Minister for Health, Welfare and Sports of the Netherlands.

Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, Ms Vĕra Jourová and Mr Julian King in Valetta, Malta: participate in the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting.

Ms Marianne Thyssen receives Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus of the European Council.

Mr Christos Stylianides in Nicosia, Cyprus: meets Mr Demetris Syllouris, President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus; presents the White Paper on the Future of Europe to the House of Representatives of Cyprus; and holds a speech at the Association for Social Reforms (OPEK).

Ms Corina Creţu in Athens, Greece: delivers a keynote speech at event on entrepreneurship, innovation and smart specialisation, organised by Attica region; visits an EU-funded project “State Museum of Modern Art”, accompanied by Ms Rena Dourou, Governor of Attica region; an EU-funded project: “Institute of Geodynamics National Observatory of Athens“; and meets Mr Dimitri Papadimitriou, Minister for Economy and Development of Greece; and Mr Alexis Charitsis,  Alternate Minister for Economy and Development.

 

Samedi 17 juin 2017

M. Frans Timmermans participe au colloque “Demain, une Union dans la fraternité” organisé par La Grande Loge de Belgique, à Bruxelles.

M. Pierre Moscovici à Berlin, Allemagne: rencontre M. Wolfgang Schäuble, Ministre fédéral allemand des Finances; et participe au Körber History Forum “Connecting Politics and History”, organisé par la Fondation Körber.

Ms Violeta Bulc in Florence, Italy: participates in the Executive Symposium on European Regulation of Airport Charges.

 

Prévisions du mois de juin:

12-13/06 Agriculture and Fisheries Council

12-15/06 European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg

15/06 Eurogroup

15/06 Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

15-16/06 EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

16/06 Economic and Financial Affairs Council

16/06 Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

19/06 Foreign Affairs Council

19/06 Environment Council

20/06 General Affairs Council

23/06 European Council

 

Permanence DG COMM le WE du 10 au 11 juin 2017:

Alexander WINTERSTEIN: +32 (0) 460 79 32 65

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

Service Audiovisuel, planning studio – tél. : +32 (0)2/295 21 23

General Market

Latest daily news

Revised European Neighbourhood Policy: supporting stabilisation, resilience, security

Today, the European Commission and the High Representative has published the report on the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The Report shows that the new policy approach ensures stronger joint ownership and more flexibility by recognising different aspirations and diversity of each partner. The revised ENP reinvigorated the relations between the European Union and its neighbours to the East and South, with a greater focus on stabilisation, resilience and security. The High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The European Union has been investing a lot in economic development, resilience, security, democracy and the rule of law in our Eastern and Southern neighbours. One year and a half after the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, we have managed to build – in cooperation and full partnership – a tailor made approach with each and every country, to ensure it addresses the real needs and interests, for the sake of all our citizens”. Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn commented:”We consulted widely before updating the Neighbourhood Policy – and this report shows how we are really putting into action the results of that consultation: a stronger focus on mutual interests, greater differentiation to reflect the diversity of our partners, a greater sense of shared ownership of the policy and more flexibility in how it is implemented “. Available online are the full press release, a Q&A and the joint communication. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Catherine Ray – Tel.: + 32 229 69921; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: + 32 229 64887; Lauranne Devillé – Tél.: +32 229 80833; Adam Kaznowski – Tel: +32 229 89359)

Juncker Plan set to trigger more than EUR 194 billion in investments across all 28 Member States

Following this week’s meeting of the European Investment Bank’s Board of Directors, the Juncker Plan is now expected to trigger EUR 194 billion in investments across all 28 Member States. This represents well over half of the EUR 315 billion target of total investments to be mobilised by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Juncker Plan, that was originally earmarked. The operations approved under the EFSI represent a total financing volume of just under EUR 37 billion. The EIB has now approved 224 EFSI-backed projects under the EFSI’s Infrastructure and Innovation Window, worth just under EUR 28 billion in EFSI financing. The European Investment Fund (EIF) has now approved 275 SME financing agreements, with total financing under the EFSI of almost EUR 9 billion. Given its success so far, President Juncker has made it clear that the proposal to extend and reinforce the EFSI (the so-called “EFSI 2.0”) is among the Commission’s top legislative priorities. The proposal has already made good progress. The Commission welcomed this week’s European Parliament vote on the EFSI 2.0 and 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. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

Commission welcomes the signature of EU technical support programme

The European Commission welcomes today’s signature of the new EUR 142.8 million Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP). The programme will allow to address new requests for reform support from the Member States and tailor the support specifically to the needs of each Member State and each situation. Already now there is a widespread interest from Member States as regards the support for design and implementation of reforms. Preliminary expressions of interest cover various reform areas, ranging from public administration reforms, public financial management reviews, building capital markets and better targeting of social welfare systems. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue said: “This new EU programme will allow the Commission to expand the reform support it provides to help Member States, upon their demand, to carry out essential reforms that can help modernise economies, strengthen competitiveness and encourage investment. We will shortly present our policy guidance under the European Semester – reform priorities for each Member State. With the new EU programme, countries have a possibility to benefit from best expertise and know-how to shape and implement reforms.” (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Juliana Dahl – Tel.: +32 229 59914)

European Commission reports on the application of the Charter of fundamental rights in the EU in 2016

Today, the European Commission has published its annual Report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The report outlines the initiatives taken in 2016 by the EU to strengthen fundamental rights. It also looks at how these rights were applied across a range of EU policies and in the Member States in 2016. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “The European Union is not just a market or a currency, it is first and foremost a Union of values.  As guardian of the Treaties the European Commission has a special duty to uphold the fundamental rights and the rule of law throughout this Union, a responsibility which we share with all the EU’s institutions and Member States.” Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender equality added: “The European Commission has been working in all areas of EU law to safeguard fundamental rights across Europe. (…) We must continue to make sure that rights are a reality for everyone across Europe. Fundamental rights are for all.” This year’s Report concludes that recent developments pose serious threats to fundamental rights. The Commission will ensure that all EU legislative proposals and all bodies bound by the Charter will continue to respect it. We will pay particular attention to the important system of checks and balances, in particular the key role of supreme courts and constitutional courts in upholding the EU’s common values. The report also announces that the 2017 Fundamental Rights Colloquium will focus on the promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality next November. A press release and the full report are available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253;Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

Positive trade balance for EU agri-food products after record value in monthly exports

According to the latest figures published today by the European Commission, the monthly value of EU agri-food exports in March 2017 reached a value of almost €12.7 billion, which is €1.31 billion (+11.3%) higher than in March 2016. This is the highest monthly export value seen over the last 5 years. Highest increases in monthly export values (March 2017 compared to March 2016) were recorded for the USA, Japan, Russia and Switzerland. Following the strong increase in exports, the trade balance in March 2017 reached €1.8 billion. When looking at the last 12 months, from April 2016 to March 2017, EU agri-food exports reached a value of €133.5 billion, corresponding to an increase by 3.6% in value terms compared to the same period one year ago. Focusing on the EU export performance per product category over the last twelve months, it confirms the trend of pig meat exports’ recovery. Main origins for EU agri-food imports over the past 12 months were Brazil, USA, Argentina and China, followed by Switzerland, Turkey, Indonesia, Ukraine and Ivory Coast. The full report is online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52509)

 

Education: new report shows positive trends in the teaching and learning of foreign languages

Pupils in primary education have started learning their first foreign language at an earlier age and are continuing with it throughout the years of compulsory education. The numbers of lower secondary students learning two foreign languages is up compared with ten years ago. And most countries now have provisions in place to support migrant children who need to learn the language of their host country. These are some of the main results of a report on ‘Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe‘ published today by the European Commission’s Eurydice network. Less positive is the fact that the level of ambition for learning a second foreign language is still remarkably low. It is also worth noting that more than half of language teachers in Europe have travelled abroad for professional reasons, many of them with the support of funding from EU programmes such as Erasmus+, the EU Programme for education, training, youth and sport. Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “Speaking several languages is becoming an essential skill in Europe, not only for finding a job but also for participating in society. We need to make better use of innovative teaching methods and new technology to improve young people’s language learning experience.” The Eurydice report, which covers EU Member States and some other European countries, combines evidence from various sources with in-depth analysis on language learning and teaching.  (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)

Mergers: Commission fines Facebook €110 million for providing misleading information about WhatsApp takeover

The European Commission has fined Facebook €110 million for providing incorrect or misleading information during the Commission’s 2014 investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. The EU Merger Regulation obliges companies in a merger investigation to provide correct information that is not misleading as this is essential for the Commission to review mergers and takeovers in a timely and effective manner. This obligation applies, regardless of whether the information has an impact on the ultimate outcome of the merger assessment. When Facebook notified the acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014, it informed the Commission that it would be unable to establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts. However, in August 2016, WhatsApp announced updates to its terms of service and privacy policy, including the possibility of linking WhatsApp users’ phone numbers with Facebook users’ identities.On 20 December 2016, the Commission addressed a Statement of Objections to Facebook detailing its concerns. The Commission has found that, contrary to Facebook’s statements in the 2014 merger review process, the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook and WhatsApp users’ identities already existed in 2014, and that Facebook staff were aware of such a possibility. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Today’s decision sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules, including the obligation to provide correct information. And it imposes a proportionate and deterrent fine on Facebook. The Commission must be able to take decisions about mergers’ effects on competition in full knowledge of accurate facts.” A full press release is available online in EN, DE and FR. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission alleges Altice breached EU rules by early implementation of PT Portugal acquisition

The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections alleging that multinational telecommunications company Altice (the Netherlands), breached the EU Merger Regulation by implementing its acquisition of telecommunications operator PT Portugal before notification or approval by the Commission. The EU’s Merger Regulation requires that merging companies notify transactions prior to their implementation (“the notification requirement”), and do not implement transactions unless and until they have been notified and cleared by the Commission (“the standstill obligation”). Compliance with these obligations is essential for legal certainty, enables the Commission to conduct a correct analysis of the impact of mergers in the market and prevents the potentially detrimental impact of transactions on the competitive structure of the market. In this way, market forces work for the benefit of consumers. In today’s Statement of Objections, the Commission takes the preliminary view that Altice actually implemented the acquisition prior to the adoption of the Commission’s clearance decision, and in some instances, prior to its notification. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “If companies jump the gun by implementing mergers prior to notification or clearance, they undermine the effective functioning of the EU merger control system. The Statement of Objections sent to Altice shows how seriously the Commission takes breaches of the rules designed to protect the merger control system “. A full press release is available online in EN, DE, FR, NL and PT. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

EU and 79 African, Caribbean, Pacific countries in joint push to implement global climate deal

The European Union and 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) developing countries, who together make up more than half of the signatories to the Paris Agreement on climate change, today reaffirmed their strong and steadfast commitment to full implementation of the agreement, urging all partners to keep up the momentum created in 2015. The EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States made the call at a UN climate change conference taking place in Bonn, ahead of the upcoming G7 and G20 leaders’ summits and the next annual UN climate negotiations COP23 in November. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Today more than ever, Europe stands by its long-term partners most vulnerable to climate change. We, developed and developing countries together, will defend the Paris Agreement. We are all in, and our joint commitment to this Agreement today is as in Paris: irreversible and non-negotiable.” The ACP Group and EU have agreed common positions on the next steps to implement the Paris Agreement and strengthened cooperation to promote low-emission, climate-resilient development. As an example of this increased cooperation, the EU has announced support of EUR 800 million for the Pacific Region up to 2020, with around half earmarked for climate action. The EU will also provide EUR 3 million to support Fiji’s COP23 Presidency. The UN climate conference is currently taking place from 8-18 May to prepare the ground for the next Conference of the Parties COP23, to be held on 6-17 November 2017 in Bonn. For more information consult the Commission’s website. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Commissioner Stylianides participates in Citizens’ Dialogue in Ioannina, Greece

Today, EU humanitarian aid and crisis management Commissioner Christos Stylianides will participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue in Ioannina, Greece. During the event, Commissioner Stylianides will engage in an open discussion withcitizens about the future of Europe, focusing on the challenges and priorities for Europe in the coming years. The title of the dialogue is: “What kind of Europe do we want? Forming together the path to the future” and it can be followed live on Facebook at 18:00 CET. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

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