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Daily News – 31.07.2017

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 31 / 07 / 2017

Brussels, 31 July 2017

Statement by the Spokesperson on the Election to a Constituent Assembly in Venezuela

A spokesperson's statement on the Election to a Constituent Assembly in Venezuela was issued today: "The events of the past 24 hours have reinforced the European Union's preoccupation for the fate of democracy in Venezuela. The European Union deeply regrets the violence and unrest during yesterday's election. It expresses condolences and its sympathy to the families and friends of all those killed. All sides must refrain from violence. The European Union condemns the excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces. The Government of Venezuela has a responsibility to ensure respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and the right to peacefully demonstrate. Venezuela has democratically elected and legitimate institutions whose role is to work together and to find a negotiated solution to the current crisis. A Constituent Assembly, elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances cannot be part of the solution. It has increased division and will further de-legitimise Venezuela's democratically elected institutions. The President and the government have a special responsibility to restore the spirit of the constitution and to re-establish the trust lost by their attempt to set up divisive parallel institutions. The fate of democracy in Venezuela is a legitimate concern to all countries in the region, and to Venezuela's partners across the world. In support of ongoing regional mediation efforts, the European Union will continue to seek urgent relief for the people of Venezuela and promote a political solution to the crisis." Read the statement here. It is available in Spanish here. (For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela- Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Commission proposes to review all permits of large combustion plants in order to tackle pollution

Today the Commission takes action to tackle pollution from large combustion plants, such as power stations and district heating plants, which are responsible for about one-third of all air pollutants from industry. Large combustion plants – with a total thermal input of more than 50 megawatt, irrespective of the type of fuel used – are the biggest sectoral emitters in the EU. Therefore more cost-effective and technically feasible reductions of emissions are required. The adoption today of an implementing act by the Commission brings into effect "Best Available Technique" (BAT) conclusions for large combustion plants. These are techniques that are environmentally performing, economically viable and technically proven and developed through a transparent and thorough process over several years with EU Member States, industry and environmental NGOs. For all affected installations (around 3 500 in the EU) the Commission proposes that a review of their permits must happen within four years, so that by mid-2021 stricter EU-wide standards for all large combustion plants will be met. To tackle pollution from large combustion plants is in line with this Commission's Energy Union priorities to steer the on-going energy transition towards a low emission economy. Clean energy transition is a priority for the Commission and the ''Clean Energy for all Europeans" package presented last November aims at providing a stable regulatory framework to deliver on the transformation of the energy system, which will be crucial for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. More information here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Iris Petsa – Tel.: + 32 229 93321)

 

New EU school scheme to promote healthy eating habits

The new EU scheme for distribution of milk, fruit and vegetables at schools comes into force as of 1 August, ahead of the new school year. Aimed at promoting healthy eating habits among children, the scheme will also include dedicated educational programmes on nutrition. Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "The scheme will benefit millions of European schoolchildren and will provide support to thousands of farmers in every Member State. I am happy to be involved in an initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle and I am convinced that this scheme has a valuable part to play."The new scheme merges and optimises the existing projects that last year reached already over 20 million children. All 28 Member States indicated they will take part in the initiative in 2017/2018. They are free to decide how exactly the programme will work in schools on their territory, and to top up the €250 million of EU funding with dedicated national funds. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: + 32 229 87624)

 

Commission seeks views on amicable resolution of disputes between investors and public authorities in the Single Market

The Commission today launches a consultation on ways to facilitate investments made in another EU country. The objective of this consultation is to investigate whether EU rules could be useful in the context of preventing and resolving disputes amicably between investors and public authorities within the Single Market. Amicable resolution of investment disputes, such as through mediation, could help find consensual solutions to problems where they arise. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, said: “The Single Market already contains clear safeguards for setting up businesses or buying companies in other EU countries. But for a well-functioning Single Market the adequate and amicable prevention and resolution of disputes could be a useful supplement to existing rules. This is why the Commission is exploring whether rules for the amicable resolution of investment disputes should be set up in order to save time and money both for EU investors and national authorities.” This initiative follows the new priorities set out in the Capital Markets Union Mid-term Review of June 2017. Interested parties are also asked to identify areas where better clarity about EU investors' rights is needed in order to feed into the upcoming Commission guidance. The consultation questionnaires are available here and will be open until 3rd November 2017. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

State aid: Commission approves public support to Frankfurt-Hahn airport

The European Commission has found public support by the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate to Frankfurt-Hahn airport in Germany to be in line with EU state aid rules. The support ensures the airport can continue to serve the area's transport needs until private investment enables its return to viability. According to the Commission's 2014 Aviation Guidelines public funding is allowed to cover the operating losses of smaller regional airports until 2024 under certain conditions. One of these conditions is that a credible business plan is presented, which demonstrates the return of the airport to viability at the latest by April 2024. In its assessment, the Commission found that public funding to Frankfurt-Hahn airport will cover the operating losses whilst HNA Group makes the necessary private investment to enable the airport's return to viability, which is due in 2023. The Commission also took into account that Frankfurt-Hahn airport is located in the Rhine-Hunsrück district, economically weaker area within Germany, and is important for the local economy. According to the Rhineland-Palatinate authorities, the airport is responsible for providing around 11,000 jobs in the region. Furthermore, there are no other airports located in a radius of 100 km, or one hour's traveling time, around Frankfurt-Hahn airport. This reduces the potential negative effects of the support on competition and trade. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the operating aid is in line with EU state aid rules. A full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)  

 

State aid: Commission approves Finnish support for the construction of a multifunctional arena in Tampere

The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, Finland's plans to grant public support to the construction of a multifunctional arena in Tampere. The Commission found that the measure will promote sport and culture while preserving competition in the EU's Single Market. The arena will host sport, recreational and cultural events. It will be available to professional teams, including two local ice-hockey clubs, but also to non-professional sport users, and social and cultural events. Finland will ensure that the access to the arena is granted on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis. The pricing conditions for its use will be publicly available. The Commission found the aid to be proportional because it does not exceed the funding gap. The non-confidential version of this decision will be made available under the case number SA.47683 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)  

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of a business unit of Esso Italiana by Intervias

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of a business unit of Esso Italiana S.r.l. (“Esso Italiana fuel stations business”) by Intervias Group Ltd of the UK. The Esso Italiana fuel stations business consists of 1,176 fuel stations located in Italy. Intervias is active in the operation of fuel stations, convenience stores, car washes, bakeries, restaurants, hotel activities and car rentals in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK, via its wholly owned subsidiaries Eurogares Ltd. and European Forecourt Retail Group,. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because Intervias and the Esso Italiana fuel stations business are not active in the same Member States. 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.8563(For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)  

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Bureau Van Dijk Electronic Publishing by Moody's

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Bureau Van Dijk Electronic Publishing BV (BvD ) of the Netherlands by Moody's Corporation, of the USt. BvD provides company information and other business intelligence services. Moody's is active in credit ratings, research, tools, analysis and professional services related to financial markets. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the companies' low market shares in the areas where their activities overlap as well as in related markets. 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.8537. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)  

 

Eurostat: Estimation rapide - juillet 2017 - Le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro stable à 1,3%

Le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro est estimé à 1,3% en juillet 2017, stable par rapport à juin, selon une estimation rapide publiée par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. S'agissant des principales composantes de l'inflation de la zone euro, l'énergie devrait connaître le taux annuel le plus élevé en juillet (2,2%, comparé à 1,9% en juin), suivie des services (1,5%, comparé à 1,6% en juin), de l'alimentation, alcool & tabac (1,4%, stable comparé à juin) et des biens industriels hors énergie (0,5%, comparé à 0,4% en juin). Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici.(Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: + 32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

Eurostat: Juin 2017 - Le taux de chômage à 9,1% dans la zone euro - À 7,7% dans l'UE28

Dans la zone euro (ZE19), le taux de chômage corrigé des variations saisonnières s'est établi à 9,1% en juin 2017, en baisse par rapport au taux de 9,2% enregistré en mai 2017 et à celui de 10,1% de juin 2016. Il s'agit du taux le plus faible enregistré dans la zone euro depuis février 2009. Dans l'UE28, le taux de chômage s'est établi à 7,7% en juin 2017, stable par rapport à mai 2017 et en baisse par rapport au taux de 8,6% de juin 2016. Cela demeure le taux le plus faible enregistré dans l'UE28 depuis décembre 2008. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

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

MEX/17/2223