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Daily News – 06.12.2017

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 06 / 12 / 2017

Brussels, 6 December 2017

Commission sets out roadmap for deepening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union

Building on the vision set out in the Five Presidents' Report of June 2015 and the Reflection Papers on the Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union and the Future of EU Finances of spring 2017, the European Commission is setting out a Roadmap for deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, including concrete steps to be taken over the next 18 months. A number of initiatives are also presented as part of this package. The overall aim is to enhance the unity, efficiency and democratic accountability of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union by 2025. Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is a means to an end: more jobs, growth, investment, social fairness and macroeconomic stability. Today's Roadmap reflects remaining challenges and sets out a way ahead. President Juncker said: "After years of crises, it's now time to take Europe's future into our own hands. Today's robust economic growth encourages us to move ahead to ensure that our Economic and Monetary Union is more united, efficient and democratic, and that it works for all of our citizens. There is no better time to fix the roof than when the sun is shining." This comes as a Flash Eurobarometer on the euro area, published today, shows that 64% of citizens in the euro area think that the euro is a good thing. This is an increase by eight percentage points compared to last year and the highest score since the surveys began in 2002. A press release, memo and factsheets are available online. (For more information: Mina Andreeva Tel.: +32 229-91382; Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615;Enda McNamara– Tel.: +32 229 64976; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

EU institutions strike a deal to modernise the EU's trade defence [Updated on 6/12/2017 at 13:21]

The Commission, the Council and the European Parliament struck a political agreement last night on a way to modernise the EU's trade defence instruments. The agreed changes will make the EU's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy procedures more adapted to the challenges of the global economy. The investigations will be shorter, more transparent and easier to use for smaller companies. In some cases they will also result in higher duties, thanks to an adaptation of the existing 'lesser duty rule'. President Juncker said: "Our actions to defend European producers and workers against unfair trading practices must be bold and efficient and today's agreement will provide us with an additional tool to do just that. We are not naïve free traders and the set of changes agreed today confirms that once again." Trade Commissioner Malmström added: "Better late than never. It took us some time to get here but today's deal means that together with the recently-agreed changes to the anti-dumping methodology, the EU's tool box of trade defence instruments is in shape to deal with global challenges." The deal culminates a process launched by the Commission in 2013 and represents a balanced outcome, taking into account the interests of EU producers, users and importers. The changes will enter into force once formally confirmed by the Council and the European Parliament. For more information, please see the press release available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

 

Humanitarian aid: New measures to better support persons with disabilities in crises

The Commission has announced new measures to better tailor EU humanitarian aid to persons with disabilities caught up in crisis situations. From now on EU funded projects will cover the needs of persons with disabilities in a more structured way. Concretely, the Commission, together with groups working with people with disabilities and humanitarian organisations, will develop standards that need to be met in all EU humanitarian projects. The Commission's humanitarian funding will, for the first time, require humanitarian partners to include people with disabilities in their projects. Organisations representing people with disabilities will also be regularly consulted in the design of Commission policies and those with disabilities will have greater input in operations on the ground. The announcement comes as Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides speaks today at the 4th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities (EPPD) event. "People with disabilities suffer disproportionately in crisis situations. Unfortunately, we have also seen all too often that persons with disabilities cannot access the most basic services offered by humanitarian organisations. Making EU humanitarian response more disability-inclusive remains our priority." said Commissioner Stylianides. In the past two years, €30 million were allocated for projects undertaken by disability-specific organisations – increasing funding by 40% since the start of Commissioner Stylianides' mandate in 2014. EU has endorsed the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016. The EU has also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which foresees the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

Fond fiduciaire d'urgence de l'Union européenne pour l'Afrique: nouveaux programmes adoptés pour renforcer la protection des migrants et lutter contre les passeurs trafiquants et passeurs d'êtres humains

Trois nouveaux programmes d'un montant de 29,6 millions d'euros ont été adoptés dans le cadre du Fonds fiduciaire d'urgence de l'Union européenne pour l'Afrique. Ces programmes complètent l'action de l'UE visant à relever les défis de la migration en Méditerranée. Un ensemble de priorités pour 2018 a également été convenu. Ces nouveaux programmes intensifieront le travail en cours de l'UE pour renforcer la protection des migrants, soutenir leur réintégration durable et permettre une augmentation du nombre de retours volontairement assistés depuis la Libye. Ils contribueront également à la lutte contre les réseaux criminels dans la région. La Haute Représentante/Vice-Présidente, Federica Mogherini, a déclaré: "La semaine dernière, nous avons mis sur pied une Task Force commune UE/UA/ONU pour accélérer notre travail de protection des migrants et des réfugiés et lutter contre les réseaux criminels. Avec ces nouveaux programmes, nous renforcerons nos engagements, à sauver des vies, garantir le respect des droits de l'Homme et des standards internationaux, fournir des alternatives pour les personnes souhaitant retourner chez eux et soutenir les communautés locales. Nous avons déjà aidé plus de 14,000 personnes bloquées en Libye à retourner dans leur pays d'origine et nous apporterons notre soutien à 15,000 retours supplémentaires d'ici février 2018. Nous continuerons de travailler aux côtés de nos partenaires pour lutter contre les trafiquants et les passeurs, en les assistant dans la restauration de la paix et la sécurité dans la région." Johannes Hahn, Commissaire pour la Politique Européenne de Voisinage et les négociations de l'élargissement, a déclaré: "Les défis actuels en mer Méditerranée restent une priorité pour l'Union européenne. Le fonds fiduciaire d'urgence de l'Union Européenne en Afrique continue d'agir pour s'attaquer aux causes profondes de la migration irrégulière et pour défendre les droits des personnes risquant de tomber dans les mains des trafiquants et des passeurs. Avec nos nouveaux programmes, nous aiderons à démanteler les réseaux criminels en Afrique du Nord, soutenir les migrants souhaitant retourner dans leur pays d'origine, et faciliter l'accès des migrants à l'assistance juridique. Nous allons également promouvoir l'intégration socio-économique au Maroc et favoriser le développement socio-économique des municipalités libyennes." Le communiqué de presse complet est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Catherine Ray – Tél.: +32 229 69921, Maja Kocijančič – Tél.: +32 229 86570, Alceo Smerilli – Tél.: +32 229 64887, Esther Osorio – Tél.: +32 229 62076)

 

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Greek bank guarantee scheme

The European Commission has authorised the prolongation of the Greek guarantee scheme for credit institutions until 31 May 2018 under EU State aid rules. The liquidity situation of the Greek banks is gradually improving. Therefore, the scheme is used significantly less. In this context, the Commission has found the prolongation of the guarantee scheme to be in line with the 2013 Banking Communication, which sets out the rules on State aid to banks during the crisis. This is because the prolonged measure is targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. In line with the 2013 Banking Communication, the Commission is authorising guarantee schemes on banks' liabilities for successive periods of six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly. The scheme is available for banks with no capital shortfall. The Greek guarantee scheme was initially approved in November 2008 and has been prolonged several times since then, the last time in July 2017. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.49583.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

Aides d'Etat: la Commission autorise une mesure française d'aide à la presse écrite

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu des règles de l'UE relatives aux aides d'État, un projet de décret mis en place par la France instituant un régime d'aide aux publications nationales d'information politique et générale à faibles ressources publicitaires. Le but de l'aide est de maintenir la diversité de l'offre de presse et le pluralisme du débat démocratique. La France souhaite mettre en place ce régime d'aide jusqu'au 31 décembre 2022, avec un budget total de 24 millions d'euros. L'aide publique sera octroyée sous la forme de subventions directes aux bénéficiaires. La Commission a conclu que l'aide ne fausserait pas indûment la concurrence au sein du marché unique, dans la mesure où elle sert un intérêt commun, n'altère pas les conditions des échanges entre États membres et n'excède pas ce qui est nécessaire pour atteindre l'objectif recherché. De plus amples informations seront disponibles sous le numéro SA.47973 dans le registre des aides d'Étatfigurant sur le site web de la DG Concurrence de la Commission dès que les éventuels problèmes de confidentialité auront été résolus. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of sole control over OOIL by COSCO

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control over Orient Overseas (International) Limited (''OOIL'') of Bermuda by COSCO SHIPPING Holdings Co., Ltd. of China. OOIL is a company with activities in container liner shipping, logistics services and provision of container terminal services. COSCO, ultimately controlled by Central SASAC, the Chinese State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, is mainly active in container shipping and container terminal services. The Commission examined the impact of the proposed transaction on the markets where both OOIL and COSCO are active, mainly the deep-sea container liner shipping services market. If the markets shares of the alliances or consortia that OOIL and COSCO belong to are taken into account, the transaction would affect eight trade routes – that is both legs of the Northern Europe to North America, Northern Europe to the Far East, Mediterranean to the Middle East and Mediterranean to the Far East trade routes. In particular, the Commission found that the combined market share of COSCO and OOIL and their consortia partners would be very significanton the Northern Europe-North America trade route. However, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not give rise to competition concerns given, among other things, (a) the presence of significant competitors post-merger, (b) the fact that the companies do not appear to be close competitors and (c) COSCO's marginal position on the Northern-Europe-North America trade route. On the other trade routes where the companies' activities overlap, the transaction would not give rise to competition concerns because of the small increment brought about by the transaction and the presence of other significant competitors post-merger. The Commission also looked at the effects of the transaction on a number of related markets, in particular the market for container terminal services and freight forwarding, without finding any competition concerns. 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 under the case number M.8594. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Windplus by CGE, DGE, EDP Renewables, Trustwind and Repsol Nuevas Energias

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over the joint venture Windplus S.A. of Portugal by Chiyoda Generating Europe Limited ("CGE") and Diamond Generating Europe Limited ("DGE"), both of the UK, EDP Renewables, SGPS, S.A. ("EDPR") of Portugal, Trustwind B.V. of the Netherlands, and Repsol Nuevas Energias S.A. ("Repsol NE") of Spain. Windplus will develop an offshore wind project and be active in the generation and wholesale supply of electricity in Portugal. CGE functions as the power generation business in Europe for Chiyoda Corporation, an engineering company. DGE functions as the power generation business inter alia in Europe for the Mitsubishi Corporation, a global integrated business enterprise. EDPR is active in the generation of renewable energy and is ultimately controlled by EDP, a Portuguese utility company active in the generation, distribution and supply of electricity in Portugal and Spain. Trustwind manages the wind power assets of TrustEnergy B.V., a joint venture between Engie, a global energy player, and Marubeni, an integrated trading and investment business conglomerate. Repsol NE develops a business related to renewable energy and belongs to Repsol S.A., an integrated energy company in the oil and gas industry. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the negligible actual and foreseen activities of Windplus within the European Economic Area.The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8727. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Oiltanking Odfjell Terminal Singapore by Macquarie and Oiltanking

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control over Oiltanking Odfjell Terminal Singapore Pte. Ltd. by Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Investments 2 Pte. Ltd. ("Macquarie") both of Singapore and Oiltanking GmbH of Germany. Oiltanking Odfjell Terminal Singapore owns and operates a bulk petrochemical storage facility located on Jurong Island, Singapore. Macquarie is an infrastructure fund under the management and control of the Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets division of Macquarie Group. Macquarie Group is a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and fund management services. Oiltanking is a provider of storage services for petroleum products, vegetable oils, chemicals, other liquids and gases, and dry bulk. It is ultimately controlled by Marquard & Bahls AG, which focuses on oil trading, renewable energies, dry bulk handling, carbon trading, gas supply and petroleum analysis. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as there are no activities in the European Economic Area. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8711.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition de Goldcar par Europcar

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition de Car Rentals Topco, S.L. et de ses filiales (conjointement, «Goldcar»), dont le siège est en Espagne, par Europcar Groupe S.A., basé en France. Europcar et Goldcar sont tous deux principalement actifs dans la location à court terme de véhicules mais également dans la vente de voitures d'occasion en Europe. Europcar fournit également des solutions de mobilité. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence, compte tenu du dynamisme du marché, en particulier de l'entrée et de l'expansion de nombreuses sociétés de location, et de la présence de concurrents significatifs aux niveaux national et local (aéroports et centres-villes) où les activités des deux groupes se chevauchent. L'opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure normale de contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.8569. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the creation of the joint venture Carl Zeiss Smart Optics by Carl Zeiss and Deutsche Telekom

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of the joint venture Carl Zeiss Smart Optics, Inc. of the US by Carl Zeiss AG and Deutsche Telekom AG, both of Germany. The aim of Carl Zeiss Smart Optics is to develop and commercialise a system for smart glasses. Carl Zeiss AG is a technology group in the field of optics and optoelectronics. Deutsche Telekom AG is a telecommunications and information technology provider operating in more than 50 countries worldwide. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because Carl Zeiss Smart Optics has negligible actual and foreseen activities within the EEA. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8612(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Benvic by Endowment Strategies

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Benvic entities in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain (“Benvic Europe”) by Endowment Strategies S.a.r.l. of Luxembourg. Each of the Benvic Europe entities is mainly active in the market for PVC (polyvinyl chloride) compounds, in the development, production and commercialisation of premix/dry blends, compounds and alloys. Endowment Strategies is an investment company with variable capital, controlled by Investindustrial, which in turn is an investment group focussing on acquiring control of small to medium size companies in a variety of industrial sectors.The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the absence of horizontal overlaps between the companies' activities and the moderate market positions on the limited number of vertical relationships. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8681.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Le Vice-Président Ansip présente demain à Paris les progrès réalisés vers la création du marché unique numérique

Demain le Vice-Président Andrus Ansip, en charge du marché unique numérique, sera à Paris pour discuter des progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre de la stratégie européenne présentée en mai 2015. Il participera à la conférence "Quel modèle européen pour la révolution numérique?" à l'Assemblée nationale, événement organisé par Sabine Thillaye, présidente de la commission des Affaires européennes de l'Assemblée nationale, en présence de François de Rugy, président de l'Assemblée nationale et Mounir Mahjoubi, secrétaire d'État auprès du Premier ministre, chargé du Numérique. Le Vice-Président Ansip rencontrera également Françoise Nyssen, ministre de la Culture. Il participera ensuite au lancement d'un prix européen pour les startups qui innovent dans le domaine de la mobilité (European Startup Prize for mobility). Les dossiers clés qui seront discutés lors de la visite incluent notamment la modernisation des règles européennes sur le droit d'auteur et l'accès aux œuvres audiovisuelles à travers l'Europe, la révision des réglementations européennes relatives aux télécommunicationset au respect de la vie privée dans les communications électroniques (ePrivacy), ainsi que la récente proposition de la Commission sur la libre circulation des données à caractère non personnel. Des informations sur le déroulement de la visite seront disponibles via @Ansip_EU.(Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tél .: +32 229 67083, Inga Höglund - Tél .: +32 229 50698) View

 

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

Tomorrow, 7 December, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, and Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová will attend the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Council taking place in Brussels. During the meeting, Ministers of Employment and Social Affairsare expected to give their final approval to the first revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive. They are also expected toreach an agreement on the European Accessibility Act, the Commission's proposal to make products and services more accessible for disabled persons. Ministers will also exchange views on the 2018 European Semester. Following a lunch debate on fostering digital transformation while safeguarding social protection, Ministers are expected to adopt a partial general approach on the Commission's proposal to create fairer rules on the coordination of social security systems within the EU. Ministers will also come to a political agreement to bring EU law in line with the revised Maritime Labour Convention, following the agreement by social partners in the maritime sector. At the meeting, progress reports on the Commission's work-life balance proposal and the Equal Treatment Directive will be discussed, and the Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on enhanced measures to reduce gender segregation in education and employment, the future of work, and community-based support and care for independent living. A press conference by Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen will follow after the meeting, around 18:00 CET, and will be broadcast here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: + 32 229 58659)

 

Protecting Europeans Online: Commissioners Avramopoulos and King to host 3rd EU Internet Forum

Today, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will host the third high-level meeting of the EU Internet Forum. Launched in December 2015 by Commissioner Avramopoulos, the Forum brings together representatives from the industry, Member States, international organisations and civil society to stop the misuse of the internet by international terrorist groups. Today's meeting will take stock of the progress made over the past year to curb terrorist content online and will contribute to the overall efforts of the Commission to tackle illegal content online. The press release from the meeting will be available later today. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

 

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

Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos, Věra Jourová and Julian King will attend the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on 7 and 8 December. On Thursday, Home Affairs Ministers will discuss EU counter-terrorism measures, including anti-radicalisation, the state of play on cooperation between Common Security and Defence Policy missions and EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies as well as the transposition and implementation of the PNR Directive. They will also discuss the progress towards achieving interoperability of EU information systems. In addition, Ministers are expected to reach a general approach on the Commission proposal to strengthen the mandate of eu-LISA Agency and will discuss the progress made on the reform of the Common European Asylum System. Over lunch, Ministers will exchange views on the latest developments in the joint efforts to strengthen the Schengen area. In the afternoon, a joint session of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers will be dedicated to the EU Internet Forum and a mid-term review of the Justice and Home Affairs strategic guidelines. Discussion will also take place on the state of play on data retention and encryption. On Friday, Justice Ministers are expected to reach a general approach on the better exchange of criminal records of non-EU nationals through the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) and on the Regulation on cross-border confiscation and freezing of criminal assets. Ministers will also discuss the state of play of the EU's accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and exchange views on a reform of the Brussels IIa Regulation on the enforcement of judgements on custody of children as well as the Directive on insolvency, restructuring and second chance. Press conferences on both days will be streamed live on EbS. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 2 298 67 64; Christian Wigand Tel.: +32 2 29 62253)

 

Commissioner Bulc in Vienna for rail conference and citizens' dialogue

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc will be in Vienna tomorrow where she will open the fourth EU rail freight days. This event brings together all major rail freight stakeholders to discuss the future of the sector. Commissioner Bulc will stress that a competitive rail sector remains essential for Europe to reach its ambitious climate objectives. Under the Juncker Plan, a €500 million loan to Austrian rail company ÖBB was announced last Friday to purchase new rolling stock and contribute to the attractiveness of rail transport. Later in the day, Commissioner Bulc will also take part in a citizens' dialogue organised at Haus der Europäischen Union in Vienna. The main topic for discussion will be the future of Europe in the context of the Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union presented by President Juncker during his State of the Union. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

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

MEX/17/5149