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Daily News – 08.04.2019

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 08 / 04 / 2019

Brussels, 8 April 2019

Brexit preparedness : EU prepared to support European farmers in possible « no-deal » scenario 

While the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the EU and the UK remains the best possible outcome, the EU is prepared for a possible “no-deal” scenario in the area of agriculture. The EU remains focused on protecting the agriculture and farming interests of EU citizens. The Common Agricultural Policy has existing tools that can be activated in the event of market disturbances and can act as safety nets, such as public intervention, private storage, crisis prevention and risk management. The European Commission has already used such measures as well as state aid in the past, for example during the 2014-16 period, to address market imbalance and to help farmers in short term cash flow difficulties. At a press conference today in Brussels, Commission for agriculture, Phil Hogan said: “Today, we are talking about a no-deal scenario, in which case what we can say with certainty is that there will be significant disruption to certain agricultural markets. Confident in that knowledge and if left unchecked, we have come to the conclusion that the European Commission has a legal obligation to intervene and we will. Early intervention has the benefit of providing not alone support to farmers, but gives confidence to the market of the Commission's commitment to the agri-food sector.  I would remind you that the Commission has considerable experience in deploying market support measures on occasions of significant market disturbance.” The Commission also published today in its Market Access Database detailed information on the rules that the UK would apply on its imports from the EU in the event of a “no-deal” scenario. It is based on information made publicly available by the United Kingdom authorities. The database contains information for 121 countries, and as of today, it also provides the same level of information for exports to the UK as for any other EU trade partners such as the US or China. Commissioner Hogan's speaking points are online. More information about agri-food trade between the EU and the UK and contingency planning in the area of agriculture can be found here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clémence Robin - Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

Intelligence artificielle: la Commission poursuit ses travaux sur les lignes directrices en matière d'éthique

S'appuyant sur les travaux du groupe d'experts indépendants nommé en juin 2018, la Commission européenne lance aujourd'hui une phase pilote visant à garantir que les lignes directrices éthiques relatives au développement et à l'utilisation de l'intelligence artificielle (IA) puissent être mises en œuvre dans la pratique. La Commission invite l'industrie, les instituts de recherche et les autorités publiques à tester la liste d'évaluation détaillée élaborée par le groupe d'experts de haut niveau, qui complète les lignes directrices. Andrus Ansip, vice-président chargé du marché unique du numérique, a déclaré: « Je me félicite des travaux menés par nos experts indépendants. La dimension éthique de l'IA n'est pas une fonctionnalité de luxe ou un ajout. Ce n'est qu'avec la confiance que notre société pourra tirer pleinement parti des technologies. L'IA éthique est une proposition gagnant-gagnant qui peut devenir un avantage concurrentiel pour l'Europe: être un leader de l'IA centrée sur l'être humain en laquelle les gens peuvent avoir confiance ». La commissaire à l'économie et à la société numériques, Mariya Gabriel, a ajouté: « Nous franchissons aujourd'hui un pas important vers une IA éthique et sûre dans l'UE. Nous disposons désormais d'une base solide fondée sur les valeurs de l'UE et faisant suite à un engagement approfondi et constructif de la part de nombreuses parties prenantes, notamment des entreprises, des universités et de la société civile. Nous allons maintenant mettre ces exigences en pratique et, dans le même temps, encourager un débat international sur l'IA centrée sur l'être humain. » Les membres du groupe d'experts sur l'IA présenteront leurs travaux en détail lors de la troisième journée du numérique à Bruxelles, le 9 avril. Au cours de la phase pilote, le groupe d'experts sur l'IA passera en revue les listes d'évaluation des principales exigences, et ce sur la base des commentaires reçus. Sur la base de cet examen, la Commission évaluera les résultats et proposera les prochaines étapes à suivre. La communication de la Commission, le communiqué de presse et les fiches techniques sont disponibles en ligne (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tél .: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tél .: +32 229 56184)

 

Le Plan Juncker aide l'entreprise agroalimentaire Maspex à se moderniser

Le Plan d'investissement pour l'Europe – le Plan Juncker – soutient un accord de la Banque Européenne d'Investissement (BEI) avec le groupe Maspex, entreprise du secteur alimentaire active en Europe centrale et orientale. Le prêt, d'un montant de 47 millions d'euros, devrait bénéficier aux sites du groupe implantés dans les régions dites « moins développées » de Roumanie, Bulgarie et Pologne. Maspex utilisera le financement pour moderniser ses outils de production et agrandir ses entrepôts. La commissaire européenne en charge de la politique régionale, Corina Crețu, a déclaré: « Avec cet accord, le Plan Juncker démontre une nouvelle fois sa capacité à renforcer la cohésion de notre Union. Avec ce prêt de 47 millions d'euros soutenant la modernisation de la production de Maspex, l'UE investit dans les régions qui ont besoin de rattraper leur retard, en les aidant à créer des emplois et à se développer. » Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. En mars 2019, le Plan Juncker avait mobilisé 390 milliards d'euros supplémentaires en Europe, dont 2,6 milliards en Roumanie, avec 929 000 entreprises bénéficiant d'un meilleur accès au financement. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229-56153; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)

 

Impact of digital transformation on the EU labour market: High level group recommends skilled workforce, new labour relations, and new social contract

The high level group on the impact of digital transformation on EU labour markets has today handed over its report to Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, unveiling its list of recommendations. Commissioner Thyssen welcomed the report: “The report confirms that we have taken the right path towards modernising our labour and social policies. It emphasises the importance of skills, working conditions, and social protection similar to what we have set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights. We have already made progress with the implementation of the Pillar by making the Skills Agenda reality, adopting the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive and the recommendation on Access to social protection. In the coming months we will examine the report and identify policy gaps where we could further our policy agenda. We will provide further impetus to this debate with the High-level Conference on Future of Work taking place tomorrow.” Commissioner Gabriel added: "We have to work closer together than ever before to close the digital skills gap. It will be crucial for our societies and economies to thrive in the increasingly digital world and meet new challenges, such as artificial intelligence. A big part of our efforts should also be focused on increasing women's participation in the digital sector and supporting lifelong learning projects." Among their recommendations,the experts call upon different actors on the labour market to reduce structural skill gaps, especially for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), workers at risk of automation and the low-skilled. Personal learning trajectories should allow workers to acquire relevant skills throughout their careers in order to keep up with rapidly transforming, digital labour markets. New labour relations should intensify and better organise dialogue of workers and social partners, especially in the platform economy. Social protection against unemployment, sickness and other life circumstances should be accessible independent of employment status. More information on the report can be found here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

EU Member States test their cybersecurity preparedness for fair and free 2019 EU elections 

On Friday 5 April, the European Commission and the EU Agency for cybersecurity (ENISA) with the collaboration of the European Parliament and Member States organised an exercise on the European Union's response to and crisis plans for potential cybersecurity incidents affecting the EU elections. The objective of the exercise, which took place in the European Parliament, was to test how effective EU Member States and the EU's response practices and crisis plans are and to identify ways to prevent, detect and mitigate cybersecurity incidents that may affect the upcoming EU elections.  The exercise is part of the actions being implemented by the European Union to ensure free and fair elections in May 2019.  The Member States acknowledged that it was an opportunity for them to share with each other measures taken to prepare for the elections as well as to assess ways of involving various structures and mechanisms of cooperation at European level.  For more information see this press release. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.:+32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou - Tel.:+32 229 83583)

 

Students can apply to training programme today to get first-hand experience in EU journalism

As of today, journalism students are invited to apply here to the 2019 edition of the Youth4Regions programme. They should send their best words or images on an EU-funded project to win a trip to Brussels and cover the 2019 European Week of Cities and Regions in October, Europe's main event on Cohesion policy, gathering many EU, national and local political figures and journalists from all over Europe. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “This is a unique opportunity for young journalists to gain experience and learn more about EU policies, especially Cohesion Policy. It is one of the most visible EU policies, implemented at the closest level to the citizens. I hope this training programme will inspire young journalists to write about EU-funded projects and how the EU is working to improve the citizens' everyday life, on the ground.” The winners will be able to attend training sessions with journalists, visit the EU institutions and will see their reports published on the Commission's department for Regional and urban policy (DG REGIO)'s magazine, Panorama. The programme is opened to participants from EU Member States as well as neighboring and candidate countries. 33 young people will be selected. Applications are open until 15 July 2019. (For more information: Christian Spahr - Tél .: +32 2 295 00 55; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél .: +32 229 56169)

 

Mergers: Commission fines General Electric €52 million for providing incorrect information in LM Wind takeover

The European Commission has fined General Electric €52 million for providing incorrect information during the Commission's investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of GE's planned acquisition of LM Wind. The EU Merger Regulation obliges companies in a merger investigation to provide correct and non misleading information. On 11 January 2017, GE notified its proposed acquisition of LM Wind. In this notification, GE stated that it did not have any higher power output wind turbine for offshore applications in development, beyond its existing 6 megawatt turbine. However, through information collected from a third party, the Commission found that GE was simultaneously offering a 12 megawatt offshore wind turbine to potential customers. As a result on 2 February 2017, GE withdrew its notification of the acquisition of LM Wind. On 13 February 2017 GE re-notified the same transaction, this time including complete information on its future project. On 20 March 2017, the Commission approved the proposed acquisition. On 6 July 2017, the Commission addressed a Statement of Objections to GE alleging that it had breached its procedural obligations under the Merger Regulation. The Commission's investigation has confirmed that, contrary to GE's statements in its first notification in January 2017, GE had indeed been offering a higher power output offshore wind turbine to potential customers. As a result, GE's statement in the notification form that it had no higher power output wind turbines for offshore in development is incorrect. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Our merger assessment and decision-making can only be as good as the information that we obtain to support it. Accurate information is essential for the Commission to take competition decisions in full knowledge of the facts. The fine imposed today on General Electric is proof that the Commission takes breaches of the obligation for companies to provide us with correct information very seriously.” The full press release is available online. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

European Commission holds High-Level Conference on the Future of Work

Tomorrow, 9 April, the European Commission will organise a High-Level Conference on the "Future of Work: Today. Tomorrow. For All." in Brussels. The Conference is hosted by President Jean-Claude Juncker, Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen. This Conference intends to steer an open discussion on the main transformations that are changing the world of work and European societies, and on how to reap the benefits of these changes for workers, businesses, society and the economy at large. The conference will gather about 500 participants, including Ministers, representatives from EU institutions and agencies, national governments, social partners, civil society and academia. Participants will discuss various topics related to the changing world of work in six break-out sessions. Commissioner Thyssen will give an on-the-record journalist seminar at 10:45. At 12:00, President Juncker will give a keynote speech, and at 15:30 Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen will conclude the event with a press conference. Break-out sessions will be web streamed, and President Juncker's speech as well as the press conference will be streamed on EbS. More information on the Conference can be found on a dedicated web page. More information on recent developments at EU level can be found here. Journalists interested in attending the event can register by sending an email to empl-future-of-work-conference@ec.europa.eu. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

Digital Day 2019: EU countries will commit to three digital cooperation initiatives

Tomorrow at the Digital Day 2019, EU Member States are expected to sign Declarations to pool efforts and resources for accelerating digital developments in key areas that can bring tangible benefits to our economies and our societies. This year's Digital Day will bring Member States and EU institutions together with partners from industry, academia and civil society and take digital cooperation forward in three specific areas: cultural heritage, smart agriculture, and gender equality.The participating Member States will sign the Declaration of cooperation on empowering women's participation in digital at 12:00-12:30 CEST tomorrow, the Declaration of cooperation to build a smart and sustainable digital future for European agriculture and rural areas at 14:00-15:30 CEST and the Declaration of cooperation on Digitising cultural heritage at 15:50-17:20 CEST. Highlights of the Digital Day 2019 also include the presentation of the guidelines for trustworthy artificial intelligence by the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (see also today's Commission's Communication on AI), as well as a number of panel discussions, including on the progress of the Digital Single Market. Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioners Phil Hogan, Tibor Navracsics and Mariya Gabriel will hold keynote speeches at the event. Declarations launched at the Digital Day 2019 follow the successful cooperation launched in previous editions of the event, e.g. on artificial intelligence in 2018 and on supercomputing in 2017. More information can be found in the press release.The conference can be followed live here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)

 

Commissioner Avramopoulos mission to the United States

Today and tomorrow,Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be on a mission to the United States. Today, he is in Washington D.C. where he will deliver a speech on the “Global Challenges of Security and Migration” at the Atlantic Council. The speech will be broadcast live on the Atlantic Council website. In the afternoon, the Commissioner will meet Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Tomorrow, Commissioner Avramopoulos will be in New York where he will meet United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the President of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764;  Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)  

 

Commissioner Stylianides takes part in forest fire MODEX exercise in Croatia and discusses rescEU

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides is visiting today Cres Island, Croatia, to take part in one of the biggest exercises for civil protection in Europe with experts and rescue teams from Croatia and five other European countries. The objective of this MODEX exercise is to train for large scale forest fires and it takes place just before the start of the fire season. Commissioner Stylianides will also meet with the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković and the Minister of the Interior, Davor Božinović to discuss rescEU, the enhanced Union Civil Protection Mechanism and its newly established rescEU reserve. The upgraded EU Civil Protection Mechanism builds on two complementary strands of action, (1) providing a stronger collective response at European level via rescEU, and (2) stepping up disaster prevention and preparedness. At times of simultaneous disasters in Europe, the newly created rescEU reserve works as a “safety net” to the 34 participating states to the Mechanism. (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)

MEX/19/2051