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Daily News – 16.04.2014

EXME 14 / 16.04


16 / 04 / 14

"Latest events in Ukraine and Russia's actions are serious challenge to Europe based on freedoms, rights and sovereignty of states."

Speaking at the European Parliament plenary session Commissioner Füle delivered the speech on Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership countries and in particular destabilisation of eastern Ukraine. Commissioner Füle said: "The latest developments in Ukraine show that the notion of Europe whole and free, based on the shared commitment to human rights and freedoms, democracy, and the rule of law, as well as freedom and sovereignty of all the European states, their right to choose their own destiny, and their freedom of association, - is being challenged in an extremely serious and dangerous way."

Infringements decisions: Commission acts for full and proper implementation of European legislation

The Commission has decided today to refer to the EU Court of Justice 4 Member States. Financial penalties will be requested against Belgium and Finland. The other referrals concern Austria and Poland. The Commission will also send 31 reasoned opinions to 21 countries: AT, BE, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EL, ES, FI, FR, HU, IE, IT, LU, LV, MT, NL, PL, RO, SE and SI. With a total of 135 decisions, the Commission aims at ensuring proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

A summary of the main decisions can be found in the MEMO/14/293 . On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12 .

Other news

President Barroso on the 100 years of the First World War

Speaking today at the European Parliament's plenary debate on the lessons to learn from the 100 years of the First World War, President Barroso defended that peace and stability in Europe should not be taken for granted.  

He said: "If at all, as a result from the events in Ukraine, there is a new lesson to be drawn then it is the one that we must never - I repeat: never - take peace and stability in Europe for granted. We need to defend Europe to defend peace and stability in Europe. Now that some of our old demons are reawakening, we should not forget that those who defend ultra-nationalism and xenophobia are also attacking the European Union and the values which we hold dear. (…) There is always one thing in common among nationalists: they hate the European Union. They think the European Union is their enemy. And indeed it is. The European Union is made against the aggressive nature of ultra-nationalism."

Watch the video of the debate online.

Commission launches Milk Market Observatory

A new European Milk Market Observatory is being launched today by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş. In light of the end of the milk quota regime on 31 March 2015, the Observatory will strengthen the Commission’s capacity to monitor the dairy market and help the sector adapt to the new environment, after some 30 years under a quota regime. The Observatory is aimed at increasing transparency and providing the most accurate market data, so that actors of the milk supply chain can take well-informed business decisions and the Commission can make well-informed policy decisions. Starting from its launch this afternoon (4pm), the European Milk Market Observatory will provide a single web interface with a wealth of raw data for stakeholders in the milk sector. Moreover, it will follow and analyse past and present trends in EU and world dairy markets, production, balance between supply and demand, productions cots, markets perspectives etc.

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into public support measures in favour of Latvian Reverta (formerly Parex) and Citadele banka

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the additional state support measures granted by Latvia to AS Parex banka (rebranded "Reverta") and AS Citadele banka in the context of their restructuring were in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission also has doubts that the implementation of the approved restructuring plan respects the commitments given by Latvia, aimed at restoring the banks' viability and at limiting distortions of competition. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

March 2014: Euro area annual inflation down to 0.5%, EU down to 0.6%

Euro area annual inflation was 0.5% in March 2014, down from 0.7% in February. A year earlier the rate was 1.7%. Monthly inflation was 0.9% in March 2014. European Union annual inflation was 0.6% in March 2014, down from 0.8% in February. A year earlier the rate was 1.9%. Monthly inflation was 0.7% in March 2014. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Second estimate for the fourth quarter of 2013: EU28 current account surplus 39.4 bn euro, 44.3 bn euro surplus for trade in services

The EU28 seasonally adjusted external current account recorded a surplus of 39.4 billion euro (1.2% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from a surplus of 34.4 bn (1.1% of GDP) in the third quarter of 2013 and from a surplus of 24.1 bn (0.7% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a second estimate released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Implementing Technical Standards on supervisory reporting by banks and investment firms

The European Commission today adopted an Implementing Technical Standard (ITS) on prudential reporting by banks and investment firms to their supervisors. Adoption of this ITS on supervisory reporting implements an essential component of the single rulebook for banks and investment firms. The ITS gives EU-wide legal effect to the detailed draft technical standard prepared by the European Banking Authority (EBA) regarding the form and content of the reporting templates needed by European bank supervisors. This ITS is of immense practical relevance as it fully harmonises the supervisory reporting on own funds, financial information, large exposures, leverage and liquidity by all approximately 8 000 European banks and investment firms. Supervisors use this information to monitor banks’ compliance with the prudential requirements laid down in the capital requirements legislation ( MEMO/13/690). The ITS contains approximately a hundred data templates with more than ten thousand possible data points to be reported mainly with a quarterly frequency. The reporting package includes also instructions and data point models. The common prudential data gathered will also underpin the macro-prudential monitoring of the EU banking system at an aggregate level. For the text of the ITS and further information:

Four positive votes in European Parliament for a digital Europe

@NeelieKroesEU today welcomed overwhelming European Parliament support for: Cheaper and easier to install broadband (could make it 30% cheaper for companies to roll-out networks, cut planning delays, and reduce roadwork delays caused when new networks are installed.); Roll-out of the "eCall" emergency system in all new cars in all Member States; A major new research partnership in Electronics and a major new research partnership for Active and Assisted Living . Neelie Kroes said: "Today's measures are another step towards delivering better internet and better digital innovations for use by Europeans in their daily lives."

Commission adopts change to senior management

The College has decided to transfer Mr Olivier GUERSENT to the post of Deputy Director-General in charge of Directorates F, G and H in the Internal Market and Services Directorate-General. Mr Guersent is currently Head of Cabinet for Commissioner Barnier. He was recently appointed Deputy Director-General 'Mergers' in the Competition Directorate-General, at a date to be determined. But it was decided to transfer him to the Internal Market post in the interests of the service, following the appointment of the incumbent, Ms Nadia Maria CALVIÑO SANTAMARIA, to the function of Director-General in the Budget Directorate-General. The exact date of this transfer will be determined later.

Truly European political parties to become a reality

The creation of truly European political parties is set to come a step closer today, as the European Parliament approves a Commission proposal to increase the visibility, recognition, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of European political parties. The vote follows 18 months of intense negotiations, and means European political parties and their affiliated foundations will finally get European-level legal status. This will remove the most important obstacles they face when operating in and across Member States. In return, parties will have to meet high standards on internal governance, accountability, transparency, and respect for the values on which the Union is founded. Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: "The new statute for European political parties is an important step towards consolidating European democracy. Its adoption today will give a positive signal to the voters a few weeks before the European elections." All aspects of party funding will be subject to a comprehensive set of rules, including strict reporting and control requirements. A regime of administrative sanctions will be introduced in case of infringements. There will be no impact on the overall amounts made available under the EU budget, but the rules governing such funding will be streamlined and adapted to their specific situation and needs. European political parties would have to publish the names of donors contributing more than €3,000/year, while the annual limit on individual donations would rise from €12,000 to €18,000.

Fees for evaluating safety of medicines: Parliament votes in favour of new rules

Today, the European Parliament gave its green light to a legal proposal relating to the safety of medicines for human use in the EU. The proposed Regulation on fees payable to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to carry out pharmacovigilance activities complements existing EU legislation for medicines safety. Pharmacovigilance is the process and science of monitoring the safety of medicines once they enter the market, and taking action to reduce their risks and increase their benefits. Pharmacovigilance is a key public health function. EU-wide assessments of the safety of medicines involve experts appointed by the Member States to EMA’s scientific committees and may lead to restrictions in use or even withdrawal of the medicine. The Regulation lays down the level and structure of the fees that are necessary in light of new pharmacovigilance tasks being assigned to the European Medicines Agency, including new EU-level procedures for the review of medicines’ safety. The fees in question are based on cost estimations of the related activities and are to be charged to marketing authorisation holders. See also MEMO/14/314 . For more information on pharmacovigilance: . Follow us on Twitter: @EU_Health

What Commissioners said

A faster, simpler and more efficient response for Europe's disaster-stricken regions

This Wednesday, the European Parliament is expected to approve a simpler and better system to rebuild and recover regions affected by natural disaster. At a press conference in Strasbourg, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, highlighted the changes to the EU Solidarity Fund, already informally agreed with EU ministers, as a "streamlined and simplified system that benefits all Europe". "These changes mean a longer aid application deadline, a faster response time, advance payments up to 10% where the application is likely to be approved, and clearer criteria for “regional” disasters allowing the Commission to assess applications more quickly" Commissioner Hahn added. Since 2002 the EUSF has aided 23 countries and paid out more than €3.5 billion, with the lead recipients being Italy, Germany, France, Austria, the UK and the Czech Republic. "It is an instrument of true solidarity which is open to all" stated Commissioner Hahn, expressing confidence in the EP's approval. In this context he thanked MEP Danuta Hübner, chair of the REGI committee and MEP Rosa Estarás Ferragut, Rapporteur for the European Solidarity Fund, for the constructive co-operation.