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Daily News – 17.12.2018

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 17 / 12 / 2018

Brussels, 17 December 2018

Plan Juncker: plus de 371 milliards d'euros d'investissements mobilisés pour l'Europe

Le plan Juncker devrait désormais générer 371,2 milliards d'euros d'investissements en Europe. À la suite de la réunion du conseil d'administration de la Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) la semaine dernière, les opérations approuvées jusqu'à présent dans le cadre du Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques (EFSI) – au cœur du plan Juncker – représentent un volume de financement total de 69,5 milliards d'euros dans les 28 États membres. La BEI a approuvé 511 projets d'infrastructures soutenus par l'EFSI pour un montant de 52,7 milliards d'euros, tandis que le Fonds européen d'investissement a approuvé 500 accords de financement pour les PME d'une valeur de 16,8 milliards d'euros. 856 000 petites et moyennes entreprises vont bénéficier de ces accords. Dans le cadre du plan Juncker, la Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) a signé trois nouveaux prêts en Italie, au Portugal et en Allemagne. En Italie, un prêt de 150 millions d'euros garanti par l'EFSI financera des travaux de modernisation et d'extension de l'aéroport de Venise. Au Portugal, un prêt de 25 millions d'euros permettra à Textil Manuel Gonçalves (TMG), entreprise spécialisée dans les tissus pour automobiles, d'accroître sa capacité de production et d'intégrer des procédés plus respectueux de l'environnement. En Allemagne, la BEI, avec le soutien de l'EFSI, participe désormais au fonds de capital-risque Coparion, pour soutenir les startups innovantes. Les chiffres EFSI de décembre sont disponibles ici, et les communiqués de presse sur les projets sont disponibles ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tél.: +32 229 56169)


EU regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis: new projects worth €122 million adopted for refugees and local communities in Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey

The EU Trust Fund adopted projects worth €122 million to support access to education and basic health care for refugees and vulnerable local communities in Jordan, to provide livelihood opportunities in Turkey and make available critical health care services in Iraq. In view of the continued impact of the crisis and the current 5.6 million Syrian refugees, the Trust Fund Board is confirming its commitment to continue the support to Syrian refugees and their host communities. With this new package, the overall value of EU regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis so far mobilised, reaches €1.6 billion. Currently 55 projects have been contracted. EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented: "These new projects will facilitate access to education and basic health care services for the most vulnerable people, provide livelihood opportunities and strengthen mother and child care services. The EU is committed and determined to assist the people in need and will continue to support our partner countries providing vital help to refugees." Read the full press release here. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


Employment and social developments in Europe: Record number of people in employment in the EU

The winter edition of the Commission's Employment and Social Development in Europe (ESDE) Quarterly Review published today, confirms overall positive labour market developments. Total employment hit a new record of 239.3 million people in the third quarter of 2018. The largest share of new jobs is permanent and full time jobs. In the second quarter of 2018, permanent jobs had increased by 2.7 million compared with the same quarter of the previous year. The employment rate continued rising towards the Europe 2020 target and reached 73.2 % in the second quarter of 2018. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “This report shows again very good progress on the EU labour market. Total employment has hit a record of 239 million workers. Youth unemployment continues to drop and full-time jobs are on the rise. We are approaching our goal of reaching a 75% employment rate in the European Union by 2020. While these developments are positive, we still face certain challenges. The number of hours worked is still below the peak of 2008. Economic growth has been slowing down while increasing labour and skill shortages may dampen employment creation. To achieve our objective of a more social and inclusive Europe, we must wrap up our important legislative initiatives – including on Work-Life Balance as well as on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions - as soon as possible. National reforms advocated for in the European Semester must continue. This is to ensure that the European Pillar of Social Rights and its principles become a reality for all.” The number of full-time workers increased by 2.3 million, while the number of part-time workers remained stable. EU employment increased in all sectors except agriculture compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The service sector recorded the greatest rise: 730,000 people more employed in wholesale trade alone and 1.8 million more in other services. The unemployment rate continued to decrease: in October 2018, it stood at 6.7 % in the EU and 8.1 % in the euro area, reflecting a drop by 0.7 percentage points in both cases compared to a year earlier. The full report is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: + 32 229 57857)


REACH: Commission further limits consumers' harmful exposure to phthalates

The Commission has today adopted a decision to restrict the use of four phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP and DIBP) - substances known to have toxic effects on human reproductive health – in consumer products on the EU market. The restriction decision has been adopted by amending the EU's REACH regulation, the most advanced and comprehensive chemicals legislation in the world. The REACH regulation has already allowed the EU to significantly reduce our citizens' exposure to harmful chemicals over the last 10 years and the Commission constantly evaluates how to further enhance the protection of consumers, workers and the environment. Substances including the four phthalates can be present in plasticised materials in a wide variety of everyday products, from cables and coated fabrics to sport equipment. Consumers can be exposed to phthalates through oral or skin exposure or by breathing dust particles with such substances. Today's decision will complement the existing restriction on three phthalates in toys and other childcare articles. It will extend the existing rules to include four phthalates and cover all consumer items containing these substances. The restriction follows the scientific and technical recommendations by the European Chemicals Agency, and will come into effect as of June 2020. More information is available here. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Victoria von Hammerstein-Gesmold - Tel.: +32 229 55040)


EU companies increase research investments amidst global technological race

Companies in the European Union have increased their investment in research and development (R&D) for the eighth consecutive year, according to the new 2018 Industrial R&D Scoreboard published by the Commission today. The findings show that EU companies' 2017 R&D investments grew by 5.5% as compared to the previous year. In a telling sign of an ever more dynamic global technological race, the growth achieved by European companies is however outpaced by their US and Chinese counterparts, which have seen their R&D investment rise by 9% and 20% respectively. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "The Scoreboard is a timely reminder of Europe's strengths and weaknesses in the world of corporate R&D. EU companies are leading the global technology race in strategic industrial sectors such as automobiles, pharma or aeronautics. But we come up short in the deep-tech areas that are shaping the next wave of innovation, such as artificial intelligence or new materials. That's where the future European Innovation Council will play an important role, investing in companies with high risk and scaling-up potential that can create new markets.” Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, added: “A strong knowledge base is key in making sure our companies can compete on a global scale. The Scoreboard shows that businesses choose to base their production and research and development activities where they find highly qualified, creative, entrepreneurial people and knowledge. That is why promoting professional and university education in leading scientific fields, notably science, technology, engineering and maths, is crucial to build a competitive, resilient Europe.”In Europe, the growth in R&D investments in the last year has been driven by the automobile, health and ICT sectors. The Scoreboard also shows that the top 2,500 R&D investing global companies, among which 577 are European, have accounted for 90% of the world's business-funded R&D, amounting to €736.4 billion in 2017 and achieving an increase of 8.3% compared to the year before. Reversing the global trend of previous years, the report also clearly shows that the growth in R&D investments has been accompanied by an increase in overall profits, recovered capital expenditures and a modest increase in generated employment. More information about the 2018 Industrial R&D Scoreboard is available here. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Victoria von Hammerstein-Gesmold - Tel.: +32 229 55040)


Tax Transparency: Member States exchanged information in 2017 on nearly 9 million financial accounts with a total balance of almost €3 trillion

EU transparency rules lead to Member States compiling and sharing data from 8.7 million financial accounts with a total value of €2,900 billion in 2017, according to a report published by the European Commission today. Similarly, between 2015 and 2017 Member States shared information on over €120 million in income and capital belonging to nearly 16 million taxpayers resident in one country but receiving income from another. The report also shows that some countries have been able to use this data to increase their tax base due to a new awareness of potentially taxable foreign income and capital of their tax residents. The first rules governing the automatic exchange of tax information came into force in 2015 with Member States being obliged to inform each other of the financial account information of individuals who are tax resident in another Member State. From 2017, EU Member States also began to provide each other automatically with information on financial accounts held by private individuals and certain entities. The system was given another boost in 2017 when Member States began exchanging information on certain tax rulings and pricing arrangements with multinational companies: 18,000 such rulings have already been shared, compared with about 100 such rulings in 2015. That said, a lot of work remains to make sure information exchanged is of the highest quality possible and put to full use. In particular, Member States have to improve the way they collect and exploit the data they exchange. Work should also continue on assessing the full benefits of exchange of information. To this end, the Commission has begun work on evaluating the current toolbox to see how it can be improved. More information on the Directive for Administrative Cooperation and the full report is available here.(For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)


La Commission propose de prolonger l'équivalence des bourses suisses de six mois

La Commission européenne propose de proroger de six mois sa décision reconnaissant les bourses suisses comme adéquates pour le respect de l'obligation de négociation prévue pour les actions par la directive et le règlement sur les marchés d'instruments financiers. Une fois adoptée, la mesure permettra aux entreprises et aux marchés de continuer à exercer leurs activités sans problème et sans perturbation après le 31 décembre 2018. Dans sa proposition de prolonger l'équivalence des bourses suisses, la Commission a tenu compte du résultat des négociations de l'accord-cadre institutionnel, ainsi que de la décision du Conseil fédéral de lancer une consultation sur cet accord qui se déroulera jusqu'au printemps 2019. Conformément aux règles applicables, la Commission consulte actuellement les États membres de l'UE afin que le projet de décision puisse être adopté et prendre effet avant que l'actuelle équivalence n'expire à la fin de l'année. La décision serait applicable à parti du 1er janvier et expirerait le 30 juin 2019. Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-président de la Commission chargé de la stabilité financière, des services financiers et de l'union des marchés des capitaux, a déclaré: «Grâce à cette prolongation temporaire de l'équivalence, la Suisse devrait disposer du temps nécessaire pour mener sa consultation interne sur l'accord-cadre institutionnel. La prolongation offrira également une continuité aux gestionnaires de portefeuilles et aux courtiers présents sur le marché des actions suisses. Nous voulons que les entreprises européennes puissent poursuivre leur négociation d'actions suisses à la fois dans l'UE et sur les bourses suisses. Des marchés boursiers ouverts et compétitifs sont essentiels pour une économie saine et ils permettent de fournir des sources de revenus fiables aux investisseurs finaux en actions».Le système d'équivalence prévu par la législation de l'UE dans le domaine des services financiers encourage la convergence réglementaire à l'échelle internationale et favorise les marchés concurrentiels pour certaines des actions suisses les plus négociées. Il permet aux négociants et aux courtiers européens de respecter le droit de l'UE tout en leur donnant la possibilité d'accéder aux meilleures offres pour les investisseurs de l'UE. Plus d'informations sont disponibles dans un communiqué de presse. (Pour plus d'informations: Mina Andreeva – Tél.: +32 229-91382; Johannes Bahrke – Tél.: +32 229 85615; Letizia Lupini – Tél.: +32 229 51958)


Construire un espace européen de l'éducation à l'horizon 2025: le commissaire Navracsics ouvre une session d'information sur les Universités européennes

Suite au récent lancement de la phase pilote des Universités européennes, Tibor Navracsics, membre de la Commission chargé de l'éducation, de la culture, de la jeunesse et des sports, ouvrira demain une session d'information sur cette initiative à Bruxelles. Près de 300 représentants de plus de 120 universités basées dans plus de 35 pays, d'organisations d'étudiants et d'entreprises sont attendus à la session prévue sur une demi-journée. Avant de prendre la parole, le commissaire Navracsics a déclaré: « Je suis très heureux de voir que les Universités européennes suscitent un tel intérêt. Je pense que cette initiative pourrait nous aider à transformer l'enseignement supérieur européen et à le rendre plus ouvert à la coopération transfrontalière, plus innovant et plus inclusif». En octobre 2018, la Commission a publié son appel à propositions pour le programme Erasmus +, qui comprend un projet pilote dédié aux Universités européennes, une nouvelle initiative soutenue par les dirigeants de l'Union européenne lors du Sommet social de Göteborg en novembre 2017 ainsi qu'un  élément clé de l'Espace européen de l'éducation à construire d'ici à 2025. Les demandes d'alliances débutant entre le 1er septembre et le 1er décembre de la même année doivent être soumises à l'Agence exécutive Education, Audiovisuel et Culture le 28 février 2019 au plus tard. Un deuxième appel pilote devrait suivre l'année prochaine avec le déploiement complet de l'initiative prévue dans le prochain budget à long terme de l'UE à compter de 2021. L'objectif est de créer au moins vingt Universités européennes d'ici à 2024. La presse est la bienvenue et l'événement sera également diffusé en direct via ce lien. (Pour les inscriptions presse et plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tél.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tél.: +32 229 56184)


Antitrust: Commission fines Guess €40 million for anticompetitive agreements to block cross-border sales

The European Commission today fined the clothing company Guess €39 821 000 for restricting retailersfrom online advertising and selling cross-border to consumers in other Member States ("geo-blocking"), in breach of EU competition rules. Companies in the European Economic Area are generally free to set up the distribution system that best serves them, including selective distribution systems, where the products can only be sold by pre-selected authorised sellers. However, these systems must comply with EU competition rules. In June 2017, the Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into the distribution agreements and practices of Guess to assess whether it illegally restricted retailers from selling cross-border to consumers within the EU Single Market. The Commission investigation has found that Guess' distribution agreements restricted authorised retailers from: (a) using the Guess brand names and trademarks for the purposes of online search advertising; (b) selling online without a prior specific authorisation by Guess. The company had full discretion for this authorisation, which was not based on any specified quality criteria; (c) selling to consumers located outside the authorised retailers' allocated territories; (d) cross-selling among authorised wholesalers and retailers; and (e) independently deciding on the retail price at which they sell Guess products. On this basis, the Commission concluded that Guess' illegal practices, which the company engaged in until 31 October 2017, deprived European consumers of one of the core the benefits of the European Single Market namely the possibility to shop cross-borders for more choice and a better deal. The Commission granted Guess a 50% fine reduction in return for their cooperation. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Guess' distribution agreements tried to prevent EU consumers from shopping in other Member States by blocking retailers from advertising and selling cross-border. This allowed the company to maintain artificially high retail prices, in particular in Central and Eastern European countries. As a result, we have today sanctioned Guess for this behaviour. Our case complements the geoblocking rules that entered into force on 3 December – both address the issue of sales restrictions that are at odds with the Single Market." The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Antitrust: Commission fines BEH Group €77 million for blocking access to key natural gas infrastructure in Bulgaria

The European Commission has fined Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), its gas supply subsidiary Bulgargaz and its gas infrastructure subsidiary Bulgartransgaz (the BEH group) €77 068 000 for blocking competitors' access to key gas infrastructure in Bulgaria, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The decision taken today finds that the BEH group holds dominant positions both in the gas infrastructure markets and in the gas supply markets in Bulgaria. It also finds that BEH and its subsidiaries, abused their dominant positions by foreclosing entry into the gas supply markets in Bulgaria by unduly restricting access to the infrastructure it owned and operated. Between 2010 and 2015, the BEH Group blocked the access to the following gas infrastructure: (i) the domestic Bulgarian gas transmission network, (ii) the only gas storage facility in Bulgaria and (iii) the only import pipeline bringing gas into Bulgaria, which was fully booked by BEH. Without access to this essential infrastructure, it was impossible for potential competitors to enter wholesale gas supply markets in Bulgaria. This prevented any development of competition and ensured a near monopoly for Bulgargaz. The Commission concluded that this behaviour by the BEH group is in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which prohibits the abuse of a dominant market position. As a result, the Commission decided to impose a fine on the company. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Consumers in all Member States should enjoy the benefits of an integrated and competitive single European energy market. For years, Bulgarian natural gas consumers have been denied a choice of suppliers because the BEH group refused to give access to its gas infrastructure to other wholesale gas suppliers. With today's decision, we will promote the development of an open and competitive energy market to the benefit of consumers in Bulgaria, in line with Energy Union objectives." The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, BG. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


State aid: Romania needs to recover incompatible aid from petrochemical company Oltchim

The European Commission has found that Romanian petrochemical company Oltchim, in which the Romanian State has a controlling stake of 54.8%, received around €335 million of incompatible aid from Romania, since the company's failed privatisation in September 2012. In January 2013, Oltchim was declared insolvent. In April 2016 the Commission opened an in-depth investigation to establish whether several Romanian measures in support of Oltchim were in line with EU State aid rules, specifically:  (i) the non-enforcement and further accumulation of debts owed by Oltchim to the Romanian Authority on managing State assets (AAAS) after Oltchim's failed privatisation in September 2012; (ii) debt cancellations of more than €300 million by AAAS and various State-owned enterprises; and (iii) continued supplies by the Romanian State and State-owned enterprises (CET Govora and Salrom) to Oltchim without payment, despite the company's deteriorating financial situation. The Commission found that the Romanian public support measures constitute State aid within the meaning of EU rules since no private market creditor would have agreed to write-off Oltchim's existing debts or provide further supplies to Oltchim under the same terms as AAAS and other State-owned creditors did in 2015. The Commission then assessed these measures under the 2014 Guidelines on State aid for rescue and restructuring and found that the public funding granted by Romania to Oltchim is incompatible with EU State aid rules and needs to be recovered by Romania, since no restructuring plan was notified to the Commission and there was no discernible contribution from investors to the restructuring costs of the company. To determine whether aid has been passed on to new owners in an asset sale, the Commission assesses whether there is economic continuity between the new and previous owner. In light of the terms of Oltchim's amended sales process and its outcome, the Commission has concluded that the buyers of Oltchim's assets do not benefit from past aid granted to Oltchim because they have acquired the assets on market terms. This means that the responsibility to repay the aid remains with Oltchim. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Over the years, Oltchim has benefitted from the waiver of significant amounts of public debts. Our investigation found that these measures gave the company an unfair economic advantage in breach of EU State aid rules, which Romania must now recover. At the same time, the sale of most of Oltchim's assets on market terms can ensure a sustainable future for the company's economic activities, without the need for further public support." The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, RO. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)


State aid: Commission clears Croatian short-term export-credit insurance scheme

The European Commission has found that the Croatian short-term export-credit insurance scheme is in line with EU State aid rules, and in particular with the short-term export-credit Communication. The Commission concluded in particular that the kind of insurance cover provided by the scheme to exporters established in Croatia is temporarily unavailable in the private market. There is a lack of insurance coverage for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a small annual export turnover and for single export transactions (i.e. on a transaction-by-transaction basis as compared to insuring the entire export portfolio of a company). This is because private insurers are less interested to cover this type of transactions. In this context, the Croatian scheme allows the State to cover risks of single export transactions and risks incurred by SMEs with a small export turnover, as well as certain other short-term risks for which there is a shortage of supply in the private market. The scheme is authorised until 31 December 2024. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the reference SA.51270.(For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)


State aid: Commission prolongs Communication on short-term export-credit; authorises Member States to provide public export insurance for transactions with Greek buyers until December 2019

The Commission has approved the prolongation of theexisting short-term export-credit Communicationby two years, until the end of 2020. Export-credits enable foreign buyers of goods and/or services to defer payment. According to the Communication, in force since January 2013, transactions with EU countries (and certain non-EU countries listed in its Annex) with a maximum risk period of up to two years are marketable risks and should, in principle, not be covered by the State or State supported insurers. In other words, as private insurers offer that type of insurance, there is no need for the State to step in and offer a similar product. Separately, the Commission has also decided, on the basis of economic data and of the results of a public consultation, to consider short-term export-credit risks towards Greece temporarily “non-marketable” until the end of 2019 and amended the Communication accordingly. More specifically, the Commission concluded that the insurance cover for exports towards Greece is temporarily unavailable in the private market. This means that Member States can provide this insurance. This amendment has been prolonged several times, last in June 2018.It should be underlined that this assessment is an assessment of what credit insurers consider to be insurable transactions with private Greek importers. This means it is not linked to Greece's general economic performance and is distinct to and independent from the stability support programme which Greece successfully concluded in August 2018. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)


State aid: Commission publishes non-confidential version of decision concluding that Luxembourg did not give selective tax treatment to McDonald's

Today, the European Commission has published the non-confidential version of the final no-aid decision adopted on 19 September 2018 concluding that Luxembourg did not give selective tax treatment to McDonald's. The Commission found that the non-taxation of certain McDonald's profits in Luxembourg did not lead to illegal State aid, as it is in line with national tax laws and the Luxembourg-United States Double Taxation Treaty. The decision is available under the case number SA.38945 on the competition website. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over U-Shin by MinebeaMitsumi

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over U-Shin Ltd. by MinebeaMitsumi Inc., both of Japan. U-Shin is active in the design, production and supply of machined components and electronic devices used, inter alia, in the automotive, industrial equipment and home security industries. MinebeaMitsumi is active in machined components, electronic devices and components, and electronic products. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because of the limited vertical links between the two companies. 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.9212. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Eurostat: Excédent de 14,0 milliards d'euros du commerce international de biens de la zone euro, déficit de 7,7 milliards d'euros pour l'UE28 (octobre 2018)

Selon les premières estimations, les exportations de biens de la zone euro (ZE19) vers le reste du monde se sont établies à 209,7 milliards d'euros en octobre 2018, en hausse de 11,4% par rapport à octobre 2017 (188,3 milliards). Les importations depuis le reste du monde ont quant à elles été de 195,8 milliards d'euros, en hausse de 14,8% par rapport à octobre 2017 (170,5 milliards). En conséquence, la zone euro a enregistré en octobre 2018 un excédent de 14,0 milliards d'euros de son commerce international de biens avec le reste du monde, contre +17,8 milliards en octobre 2017. Le commerce intra-zone euro s'est établi à 175,6 milliards d'euros en octobre 2018, soit +8,7% par rapport à octobre 2017. Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tél.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tél.: +32 229 51383)


Eurostat: Le taux d'inflation annuel en baisse à 1,9% dans la zone euro, en baisse à 2,0% dans l'UE (Novembre 2018)

Le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro s'est établi à 1,9% en novembre 2018, contre 2,2% en octobre. Un an auparavant, il était de 1,5%. Le taux d'inflation annuel de l'Union européenne s'est établi à 2,0% en novembre 2018, contre 2,2% en octobre. Un an auparavant, il était de 1,8%. Les taux annuels les plus faibles ont été observés au Danemark (0,7%), en Irlande (0,8%) et au Portugal (0,9%). Les taux annuels les plus élevés ont quant à eux été enregistrés en Estonie, en Hongrie et en Roumanie (3,2% chacun). Par rapport à octobre 2018, l'inflation annuelle a baissé dans vingt-cinq États membres, est restée stable dans un et a augmenté dans un autre. En novembre 2018 les plus fortes contributions au taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro proviennent de l'énergie (+0,88 points de pourcentage, pp), suivis des services (+0,57 pp), de l'alimentation, alcool & tabac (+0,38 pp) et des biens industriels hors énergie (+0,11 pp). Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tél.: +32 229 64976; Annikky Lamp – Tél.: +32 229 56151)






Statement by the European Commission and the High Representative on the occasion of International Migrants Day 2018  

On the occasion of International Migrants Day on 18 December, the European Commission and the High Representative made the following statement: “The history of humankind is a history of migration. For thousands of years people have migrated from one place to another, for a variety of reasons, and continue to do so: Today, there are 258 million international migrants worldwide. On International Migrants Day, the European Union reaffirms its enduring commitment to protect migrants' human rights, to prevent perilous irregular journeys and ensure opportunities for legal and safe pathways instead. In order to do this, we are working with all our partners around the world – countries of origin, transit and destination and international organisations. Migration requires global, cooperative alliances: No country can address migration on its own - neither in Europe nor elsewhere in the world. This is the core message of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which will provide the global framework for improving migration management. It is by working together, in the spirit of shared responsibility, that we can jointly turn migration from a common challenge into a shared opportunity. The European Union's comprehensive approach on migration is built in the same vein: seeking to address the drivers of irregular migration; fighting against smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings; ensure adequate protection for those in need, better manage Europe's external borders, while enabling legal migration channels. For the benefit of all of us." The full statement is available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Esther Osorio – Tel.: +32 229 62076)






President Juncker to present progress on Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs in Vienna

On 18 December, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is attending the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe in Vienna, hostedjointly by the Austrian Presidency of the EU, notably by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, andPaul Kagame, President of Rwanda and the Chairman of the African Union for 2018. President Juncker will present the first results of the Africa–Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, just three months after its launch.The Africa-Europe Alliance aims to deepen the economic and trade relations between the two continents, in order to create sustainable jobs and growth. It focusses on four key areas, notably Strategic Investment and Job Creation, Investment in Education and Matching Skills and Jobs, Business Environment and Investment Climate, as well as Economic Integration and Trade. The President will be accompanied to the High-Level Forum by Vice-President Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel. Join the conversation under #AfricaEuropaAlliance. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Commissioner Navracsics to host Citizens' Dialogue in Brussels on the future of Europe

On Monday, 17 December, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth & Sport, Tibor Navracsics,will participate in a Citizens' Dialogue on the future of Europe. The debate will be part of a full day of workshops where citizens from various Member States will discuss their views on priorities for future EU action and listen to the views of others. The topic is the future of Europe, and results will feed into the ‘road to Sibiu' process, in the run-up to the Leaders' Summit in Sibiu, Romania, in May 2019. Monday's event in Brussels will bring together citizens from different backgrounds from nine Member States. It will be followed by eight similar workshop-style events, three in Brussels and five in smaller cities outside national capitals in Poland, Hungary, Italy, Finland and Cyprus. Ahead of this week's European Council, the European Commission published a progress report on Citizens' Dialogues and Citizens' Consultations. Monday's dialogue can be followed on EbS. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tél.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tél.: +32 229 56184)





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