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Daily News – 09.11.2016

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 09 / 11 / 2016

Brussels, 9 November 2016

Letter from Presidents Juncker and Tusk to President-Elect Mr Donald J. Trump

Following the result of the US presidential election, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, have sent a congratulatory letter to President-Elect Donald J. Trump. "We extend our sincere congratulations on your election as the 45th President of the United States of America. The strategic partnership between the European Union and the United States is rooted in our shared values of freedom, human rights, democracy and a belief in the market economy. Over the years, the European Union and the United States have worked together to ensure peace and prosperity for our citizens and for people around the world," wrote Presidents Juncker and Tusk. "We should consolidate the bridges we have been building across the Atlantic. Europeans trust that America, whose democratic ideals have always been a beacon of hope around the globe, will continue to invest in its partnerships with friends and allies, to help make our citizens and the people of the world more secure and more prosperous." The full letter is available online. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524)    


Autumn 2016 Economic Forecast: Modest growth in challenging times

Economic growth in Europe is expected to continue at a moderate pace, as recent labour market gains and rising private consumption are being counterbalanced by a number of hindrances to growth and the weakening of supportive factors. In its autumn forecast released today, the European Commission expects GDP growth in the euro area at 1.7% in 2016, 1.5% in 2017 and 1.7% in 2018 (Spring forecast: 2016: 1.6%, 2017: 1.8%). GDP growth in the EU as a whole should follow a similar pattern and is forecast at 1.8% this year, 1.6% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018 (Spring forecast: 2016: 1.8%, 2017: 1.9%). Vice-President Dombrovskis said: "EU economies have proven to be resilient. We expect all Member States economies to grow next year. In the light of increased global uncertainty, it is now even more important to pursue sound and prudent macroeconomic and budgetary policies. At the same time it is vital to address inequalities in our societies, so that no-one feels left behind." Commissioner Moscovici added: "European growth will hold up in 2017 against a more challenging backdrop than in the spring. The pace of job creation, boosted by recent reforms in many countries, decreasing public deficits in the euro area, a pick-up in investment and more dynamic EU-intra trade are particularly encouraging. In these volatile and uncertain times, no effort must be spared to safeguard and strengthen this recovery – and ensure that all sections of society feel its benefits." A press release is available online. Commissioner Moscovici's remarks (including the slides) at the press conference are also available online. For further information, please consult the forecast webpage. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: + 32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: + 32 229 71607; Annikky Lamp – Tel: + 32 2 29 56151)


Commission proposes changes to the EU's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation

The Commission today proposed a new method for calculating dumping on imports from countries where there are significant market distortions, or where the state has a pervasive influence on the economy. The aim is to make sure that Europe's trade defence instruments (TDIs) are able to deal with current realities – notably overcapacities – in the international trading environment, while fully respecting the EU's international obligations in the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation. The proposal, which introduces changes to the EU's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation, follows a broad public consultation and is accompanied by an impact assessment. The impact assessment demonstrates that the new methodology would result in a broadly equivalent level of anti-dumping duties as is currently the case. As a transition measure, this new anti-dumping methodology would only apply to cases initiated once the amended rules are in force. The EU anti-subsidy legislation would also be strengthened by allowing any subsidies revealed in the course of an investigation to be investigated and included in the final duties imposed. The European Parliament and the Council will now decide on the proposal through the ordinary legislative procedure. Today's proposal should be seen in the context of the October European Council's call for an urgent and balanced agreement on the Council position on the comprehensive modernisation of all trade defence instruments by the end of 2016. Reforming the anti-dumping methodology would be an important part of the reforms needed, on top of the modernisation of all trade defence instruments which the Commission proposed back in 2013. A press release and Q&A will be available online, as well as a blogpost by Commissioner Malmström. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


Commission extends the application date of the PRIIPs Regulation by one year 

The Commission has today proposed an extension to the date of application of the Regulation on Key Information Documents for Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (PRIIPs). This one-year extension is being proposed exceptionally in the interest of ensuring a smooth implementation for European consumers and to ensure legal certainty for the sector. The PRIIPs Regulation is a key piece of legislation that aims to improve the quality of information provided to consumers. It introduces a standardised factsheet, known as a Key Information Document (KID), which is designed to present the main features of an investment product in a simple and accessible manner. Thanks to the KID, EU consumers will for the first time be able to easily compare the potential risks and rewards of investment products, funds and investment-linked insurance policies. After the European Parliament rejected the Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) that underpin the format and methodology used to compile the KID, both the EP and a large majority of Member States also called for a postponement in the entry into application of the Regulation. While the European Commission believes that the PRIIPs Regulation is sufficiently clear as well as directly applicable on its own, its objectives would be better served by having the RTS on Key Information Documents already in place. In particular, the RTS will be important in offering consumers the benefit of having KIDs that are more easily comparable and standardised. The delay gives issuers and distributors of PRIIPs products until 1 January 2018 to put the provisions in place. For more information, see here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)


2016 Enlargement Package: credible enlargement process key to driving transformation and anchoring stability in Southeast Europe

The European Commission adopted today its annual Enlargement Package. It assesses where the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey stand in implementing key political and economic reforms, and what needs to be done to address the remaining challenges. The Commission recommends, among other things, that Member States consider opening accession negotiations with Albania. This is, however, strictly subject to credible and tangible progress in the implementation of the judicial reform, in particular the re-evaluation of judges and prosecutors ("vetting"). Presenting the Enlargement Package, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn said: "The prospect of EU membership continues to drive transformation and anchor stability in the countries of Southeast Europe, and a credible enlargement process remains an irreplaceable tool to strengthen these countries and help them carry out political and economic reforms. Today we reiterate the EU's continued support for these efforts and call on the governments of the enlargement countries to embrace the necessary reforms more actively and truly make this their political agenda – not because the EU is asking for it, but because it is in the best interest of their citizens, and Europe as a whole." The full press release is available online. Also available online are the Memos on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. The press conference by Commissioner Hahn will be live-streamed on EBS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


Commission presents Progress Report on Relocation and Resettlement: Member States need to sustain efforts to deliver on commitments
Today the Commission adopted its latest progress report on the EU's emergency relocation and resettlement schemes, assessing actions taken since 28 September 2016. With an additional 1,157 persons resettled since the last report, Member States have continued to deliver on their commitment to provide legal channels for people in need of protection, bringing the total up to 11,852 – more than half of the agreed 22,504 under the July 2015 scheme. Regarding relocation, the overall positive trend over the past few months is confirmed with an additional 1,212 relocations taking place during the reporting period. However, despite being a short-term drop due to specific circumstances, the exceptional decrease compared to the high number of relocations in September demonstrates that further efforts are still needed from Member States to sustain the positive trend reached until now. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "After the positive trends we have seen on both relocation and resettlement following summer, now is the moment to sustain them. I welcome the work done by Member States in their collective efforts on relocation and resettlement so far. I would like to see a stable number of pledges, swift procedures and a stable number of relocations every week. More needs to be done, and swiftly, to address the increasing arrivals in Italy and the many thousands stuck in Greece. One year into the schemes, we expect Member States to step up their efforts to deliver on their commitment and to fully comply with their obligations.” A press release on the Resettlement and Relocation Report and a factsheet are available. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


La Commission approuve une nouvelle indication géographique d'Italie

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'inscription d'un produit italien, «Anguria Reggiana», dans le registre des indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit d'une pastèque à la saveur particulièrement sucrée cultivée dans plusieurs communes situées près de Parme. Les premières références à l'«Anguria Reggiana» remontent au XVIème siècle. A partir des années 1970, les habitants ont commencé à organiser des compétitions locales pour promouvoir le produit et attribuer un prix à la plus grosse pastèque et à celle ayant la teneur en sucres la plus élevée. Cette nouvelle appellation, la 288ème d'Italie, va rejoindre plus de 1370 produits déjà protégés dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR. Pour plus d'informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (Pour plus d'information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)


Investment Plan for Europe: EUR 150 million boost to sustainable maritime transport in France

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed an agreement with Société Générale in France benefitting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The project combines the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Debt Instrument and EFSI resources to provide EUR 150 million for the construction of sustainable, environmentally-friendly ships. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "The Green Shipping Guarantee Programme will boost green investments in the maritime sector. It will also improve the environmental performance of the Motorways of the Sea, one of the priorities of our transport policy. Maritime transport has to take its part in the ongoing efforts to address climate change. Ten days ago, good progress was made at the international level to tackle emissions in this sector. In the near future, ships will have to emit less sulphur.  Also, efforts to curb CO2 from shipping are being stepped up. This requires investments already now and the agreement signed today is timely." (For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)




Vice-President Šefčovič in Berlin tomorrow

Tomorrow, Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will be in Berlin where he is meeting Germany's Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss the Energy Union. Afterwards, Vice-President Šefčovič participates in an event organised by the EurActiv Institute on the "State of the Energy Union: Decisive Challenges for Germany" where he will deliver the keynote speech and participate in a panel discussion. In the afternoon, Vice-President Šefčovič will deliver another speech on the "State of Play of Energy Union – Outlook and Priorities" in the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Germany. "Energiewende and Energy Union belong together. The added value of the EU makes sure that all national efforts to increase energy efficiency, including the effort underway in Germany, fully unfold their impact for the benefit of all Europeans", said Vice-President Šefčovič ahead of the visit. More information on the Energy Union is available here. (For more information contact Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595 - Nicole Bockstaller - Tel.: +32 229 52589)


Vice-President Dombrovskis visits Hungary

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis will be in Budapest on 10-11 November to participate in a conference organised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on "Reinvigorating Growth and Investment – The EU from the Baltics to the Mediterranean." The event will be webstreamed live here. Following his intervention, the Vice-President will discuss investment and growth opportunities with the President of the EBRD, Mr Suma Chakrabarti. He will also hold a number of meetings to discuss economic and social developments in the country as part of his regular visits to Member States in the context of the European Semester. In this capacity, he will meet Prime Minister Viktor Orbán; Minister for National Economy, Mr Mihály Varga and the Governor of the National Bank of Hungary, Mr György Matolcsy. He will conclude his visit by delivering a lecture on "The Economic and Financial Outlook for the EU" at Corvinus University. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)


Commissioner Thyssen visits Finland

Tomorrow, 10 November, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, will travel to Finland where she will meet with the Finnish Minister of Justice and Employment, Mr Jari Lindström, the Minister of Education and Culture, Ms Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, as well as the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Ms Pirkko Mattila. The meetings will be an opportunity to discuss general employment and social issues, with a focus on the New Skills Agenda for Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights. During her visit, the Commissioner will also visit the EU funded European Social Fund project 'One Stop Guidance Centre for Youth' Ohjaamo. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)


Commissioner Jourová on official visit in Ireland

Tomorrow, 10 November, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, will travel to Ireland. During her two-day visit, she will meet with Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald and Minister of European Affairs, Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Dara Murphy. Furthermore, she will meet with members of the Committee on Justice and Equality of the Irish Parliament (Oireachtas), participate in a roundtable with member organisations of the National Women's Council of Ireland, and discuss consumer issues with representatives from consumer organisations. Commissioner Jourová will also visit a residential centre for separated children and unaccompanied minors. Finally, the Commissioner will meet the Irish Data Protection Commissioner and pay a visit to Facebook Headquarters, where she will participate in a meeting with senior industry representatives to discuss data protection, ways to tackle illegal online hate, the promotion of diversity in the digital economy as well as digital contracts. (For more information:Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)


European Commission appoints a new Internal Auditor

Today, the European Commission appointed Manfred Kraff as Internal Auditor and Director General of its Internal Audit Service. Mr Kraff, a German national, joined the European Commission in 1983. In 1988, he joined the European Court of Auditors. He is currently Deputy Director-General in the Commission's Budget department and, simultaneously, the Commission's Accounting Officer. This role, combined with his previous experience at the European Court of Auditors makes him very well suited for his new task of providing to the Commission independent, objective assurance and consulting services designed to add value and improve the operations of the Commission so that the institution meets its political objectives and spends the EU budget effectively and efficiently. A complete press release is available online, also in DE and FR. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)



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