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Daily News – 24.04.2019

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 24 / 04 / 2019

Brussels, 24 April 2019

Cohesion Policy invests to improve energy security in Poland

The European Commission welcomes the signature today of a grant agreement between the Polish government and the Polskie LNG company for the extension of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Świnoujście, in north-western Poland on the Baltic Sea coast. Almost €128 million from the European Regional Development Fund is invested in extending this terminal, which is the only facility of its size in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “The extension of the Świnoujście terminal will help diversify natural gas supply sources and improve the country's energy security. This is a new example of the Energy Union in motion, supported by Cohesion Policy." The current investment comes on top of more than €250 million of Cohesion Policy funds already invested in the terminal and more than €2 billion invested in Polish energy infrastructure since 2007. The terminal expansion project is on the European list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI). Together with the ‘Baltic Pipe' project, for which a €215 million EU grant was signed just last week, the new LNG terminal in Świnoujście will open Poland's gas market to new suppliers enhancing the diversity and security of energy sources in Poland. The Baltic pipe will allow, as of 2022, the shipment of gas from the North Sea to the Polish market and further to the Baltic States and neighbouring countries. At the same time, the pipeline will enable the supply of gas from Poland, via the LNG terminal, to the Danish and Swedish markets. (For more information: Christian Spahr – Tel.: +32 229 50055; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Commission proposes tax exemption measures to facilitate common defence efforts in the context of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

The European Commission has today adopted a proposal to exempt supplies to armed forces from Value Added Tax (VAT) and excise duties when these forces are deployed outside their own Member State and take part in a European defence effort. Supplies to armed forces participating in a NATO defence effort can already benefit from such exemptions. Today's proposal should therefore ensure equal treatment of defence efforts under the NATO and the EU framework when it comes to VAT and excise duties. Under the new rules, armed forces deployed outside their own Member State would not pay VAT or excise duty to other Member States when they take part in a NATO defence effort or in a defence activity under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). By aligning the indirect tax treatment of both defence efforts, the initiative acknowledges the growing importance of the CSDP and military mobility which require supplies such as training materials, accommodation, provision of food and fuel - all in principle currently subject to VAT. The full proposal is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

 

Food Safety: Commission adopts new Regulation to cut down presence of trans fatty acids

Today, the Commission adopted a new Regulation to set a maximum limit on the use of industrially produced trans-fat in foods in the EU. The measure aims at protecting consumers' health and providing Europeans with healthier food options. Over the years, a number of scientific studies, including one from the European Food Safety Authority, have stressed that the dietary intakes of trans fat should be as low as possible in order to avoid health risks. The maximum limit set today corresponds to 2 grams of industrially produced trans fats per 100 grams of fat in the food intended for the final consumer and food intended for the supply to retail. Also, businesses must provide information on the amounts of trans fat in food supplied to other businesses if the limit of 2 grams is exceeded. This Regulation will apply as from 2 April 2021. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

La Commission européenne lance une consultation publique sur la coopération Afrique-UE dans le secteur agro-alimentaire

La Commission européenne a lancé une consultation publique sur le programme agroalimentaire et rural pour la nouvelle "Alliance Afrique-Europe pour des emplois et des investissements durables" dévoilé en mars 2019 par la Task Force pour l'Afrique rurale. La consultation vise à recueillir les réactions des personnes et organisations concernées et se concentre sur les recommandations proposées par ce groupe d'experts indépendants africains et européens pour renforcer le partenariat Afrique-Europe dans les domaines de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture. La Task Force avait entre autres conseillé que l'Afrique et l'UE développent un partenariat à trois niveaux: interpersonnel, interentreprises et intergouvernemental. Un dialogue multipartite serait ainsi institué à tous les niveaux, local tout d'abord, et permettrait un rapprochement entre les sociétés, les milieux d'affaires et les gouvernements d'Afrique et d'Europe. La consultation est ouverte jusqu'au 31 mai et ses résultats seront pris en compte lors de la troisième conférence ministérielle Union Africaine-UE sur l'agriculture, qui se tiendra à Rome le 21 juin 2019. Il s'agira de la première occasion politique pour l'UE et l'UA de débattre conjointement des recommandations prônées par la Task Force et de s'accorder sur les prochaines mesures à prendre pour le secteur agroalimentaire et rural au sein de l'alliance Afrique-Europe. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of RPC by Berry

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control of RPC Group Plc ("RPC") of the United Kingdom by Berry Global Group, Inc. ("Berry") of the US. RPC is active in the manufacture of plastic products, including packaging and non-packaging. Berry is active in the manufacture of plastic packaging, non-woven specialty materials and engineered materials. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the limited horizontal overlaps and vertical relationships between the companies' activities. 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.9311. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; ; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Eurostat: La dette publique en baisse à 85,1% du PIB dans la zone euro, en baisse à 80,0% du PIB dans l'UE28 (4ème trimestre 2018 par rapport au 3ème trimestre 2018)

À la fin du quatrième trimestre 2018, le ratio de la dette publique par rapport au PIB s'est établi à 85,1% dans la zone euro (ZE19), contre 86,4% à la fin du troisième trimestre 2018. Dans l'UE28, le ratio a diminué, passant de 81,0% à 80,0%. Par rapport au quatrième trimestre 2017, le ratio de la dette publique par rapport au PIB a baissé tant dans la zone euro (de 87,1% à 85,1%) que dans l'UE28 (de 81,7% à 80,0%). À la fin du quatrième trimestre 2018, les titres de créances représentaient 80,9% de la dette publique de la zone euro et 81,6% de celle de l'UE28, les crédits respectivement 16,0% et 14,2%, et le numéraire et dépôts 3,1% et 4,1%. En raison de l'implication des gouvernements de l'UE dans l'aide financière à certains États membres, des données trimestrielles sur les prêts intergouvernementaux sont également publiées. À la fin du quatrième trimestre 2018, la part des prêts intergouvernementaux dans le PIB s'établissait à 2,0% dans la zone euro et à 1,5% dans l'UE28. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tél.: +32 229 56151)

 

Eurostat: Déficit public désaisonnalisé de la zone euro en hausse à 1,0% du PIB, en hausse à 0,9% du PIB dans l'UE28 (4ème trimestre 2018)

Au quatrième trimestre 2018, le ratio du déficit public par rapport au PIB, corrigé des variations saisonnières, s'est établi à 1,0% dans la zone euro (ZE19), en hausse par rapport au troisième trimestre 2018 où il se situait à 0,5%. Dans l'UE28, le ratio du déficit public par rapport au PIB s'est établi à 0,9%, contre 0,5% au trimestre précédent. Ces données sont publiées par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. Au quatrième trimestre 2018, les recettes publiques totales se sont établies dans la zone euro à 46,2% du PIB, en baisse par rapport au troisième trimestre 2018 (46,3%). Les dépenses publiques totales dans la zone euro se sont quant à elles établies à 47,2% du PIB, en hausse par rapport au trimestre précédent (46,8%). Dans l'UE28, les recettes publiques totales ont représenté 45,0% du PIB au quatrième trimestre 2018, en baisse par rapport au troisième trimestre 2018 (45,1%). Les dépenses publiques totales dans l'UE28 se sont quant à elles établies à 45,9% du PIB, contre 45,6% au trimestre précédent. Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne(Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tél.: +32 229 56151)

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

Commissioner Hogan opens “Our Forests, Our Future” conference in Brussels

Commissioner for agriculture Phil Hogan will open tomorrow morning 25 April the “Our Forests, Our Future” conference which will celebrate forests for their role in combating climate change. The debates will also address the contribution of the forest sector to innovation, growth and jobs, with a specific focus on the bioeconomy. Commissioners Arias Cañete and Mimica will also deliver speeches and participate in two panel discussions during the two-day conference. The final session on Friday 26 April will focus on protecting forests and promoting sustainable forest management at global level, in line with the work on global deforestation that the European Commission is currently preparing. Forests and other wooded land cover about 40% of the EU territory, and the forest sector provides more than 3.5 million jobs in the European Union. As stated in the Cork 2.0 Declaration, forests and the forest sector can significantly contribute to delivering sustainable solutions to current and future challenges such as reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, protecting biodiversity and adapting to climate change. To conclude the event and mark the EU's commitment to a sustainable forestry sector, Commissioner Hogan, accompanied by children, will plant a tree in the Parc du Cinquantenaire. The full programme is online and the discussions can be followed online with the hashtag #EUforest. Following his opening speech, Commissioner Hogan will hold a press point at 10h30 tomorrow in the Charlemagne building. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

Commissioner Thyssen visits Lithuania

On 24 and 25 April, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, will pay a two-day visit to Lithuania. Upon arrival, the Commissioner will visit a Deaf Rehabilitation Centre, a project funded by the European Social Fund. The Centre works on providing assistance for the deaf in finding the information on employment opportunities and helping them to get the necessary skills to enter the labour market. In the evening, she will have a working dinner with the Lithuanian Minister of Social Security and Labour, Mr Linas Kukuraitis, to discuss the European Semester. On Thursday, Commissioner Thyssen will meet with H.E. Dalia Grybauskaité, President of the Republic of Lithuania. Following the meeting, the Commissioner will participate in a High-Level International Conference Towards a Digitalised World of Work, “What Future Works for All?”. She will give an introductory speech, which will be made available here. The Commissioner will also participate in the plenary session on how the use of new technologies will affect the future of work. A press conference will take place at 11:20 (local time). To conclude the visit, Commissioner Thyssen will meet with the Lithuanian Minister of Finance, Mr Vilius Šapoka, to discuss the current and future long-term EU budget. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

 

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

MEX/19/2250