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Daily News – 19.10.2018

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 19 / 10 / 2018

Brussels, 19 October 2018

Sommet de l'ASEM: ensemble pour résoudre des défis globaux

Depuis hier soir, le 12ème Sommet de l'ASEM - la réunion biennale des chefs d'Etat ou de gouvernement de 51 pays européens et asiatiques, ainsi que les institutions européennes et le secrétaire général de l'ASEAN – se déroule à Bruxelles. Ce matin, le Président de la Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, qui représente l'Union européenne aux côtés de Donald Tusk, Président du Conseil européen, la Haute représentante/Vice-présidente Federica Mogherini et le Vice-président Jyrki Katainen, est intervenu sur l'importance de la connectivité euro-asiatique durable. "Nous voudrions que notre relation, qui en fait est très dynamique, comme l'illustrent les nombreux accords de commerce et de coopération, le soit encore plus", a déclaré le Président. "C'est la raison pour laquelle nous voulons donner une nouvelle impulsion aux liens entre l'Asie et l'Europe en investissant dans une meilleure connectivité, une connectivité qui soit durable pour pouvoir contribuer à renforcer davantage notre poids global qui est déjà très significatif." Les dirigeants ont également discuté des défis globaux, tant des tendances commerciales protectionnistes ainsi que de la cybersécurité, la non-prolifération, et le changement climatique. Président Juncker a réitéré l'aspect fondamental du respect du multilatéralisme, des règles de marché et des normes internationales. "Seule l'approche multilatérale nous permet de confronter les défis globaux. Et donc je réitère le souhait qui est le nôtre d'appuyer dans tous leurs efforts les organisations multilatérales, notamment les Nations Unies et l'Organisation mondiale du commerce. Organisation mondiale du commerce qu'ensemble nous devrons réformer pour que ses règles correspondent mieux aux nouvelles donnes", a dit le Président, en ajoutant: "C'est en agissant ensemble que nous pourrons préserver notre planète […], que nous contribuerons à résoudre les conflits, éradiquer la pauvreté, réduire les inégalités […], et que nous pourrons mieux gérer les flux migratoires et développer un commerce libre et équitable." Le discours du Président Juncker est disponible en ligne. Le Sommet s'achève cet après-midi par une conférence de presse, diffusée en direct sur EbS. Le Sommet de l'ASEM sera suivi par le Sommet de l'Union européenne et la République de Corée, puis par une réunion des dirigeants de l'Union européenne et de l'ASEAN. (Pour plus d'informations: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel: +32 229 89359)

 

Commission launches online tool to measure how well Europe and Asia are connected

Today, as a deliverable of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Brussels, the European Commission has presented the ASEM Sustainable Connectivity Portal – an online tool offering a wealth of data on the political, economic and social relationship between the two continents. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre (JRC), said: “Connectivity inside Europe and inside Asia is currently five times stronger than connectivity between Europe and Asia. The potential for us to enhance these links is therefore substantial. The ASEM Sustainable Connectivity Portal, developed by the Commission's Joint Research Centre, can play a crucial role in helping policymakers, businesses, investors and researchers to identify gaps in cooperation, and crucially, help to generate ideas on how to address them.” The ASEM Sustainable Connectivity Portal, together with an accompanying report, offers insights into the state of connectivity between 30 European countries, 19 Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand (together representing the ASEM countries). According to a complementary study, links among ASEM countries are stronger than those with the rest of the world, but still far from reaching their full potential. A full press release and a factsheet are available online. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

 

Plan Juncker: 760 millions d'euros pour des entreprises italiennes et françaises innovantes

Le Fonds européen d'investissement (FEI) a signé deux nouveaux accords avec des banques d'Italie et de France, pour un montant total de 760 millions d'euros de financement à destination des petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) innovantes dans les deux pays. Les deux accords bénéficient du soutien du Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques (EFSI), au cœur du Plan d'Investissement pour l'Europe, le Plan Juncker, ainsi que d'InnovFin, le programme européen qui soutient l'innovation dans les PME. Un premier accord signé en France avec le Groupe BPCE, réseaux des Banques Populaires et Caisses d'Epargne, bénéficie d'une enveloppe de 700 millions d'euros, afin de soutenir des projets de compétitivité et d'innovation dans près de 3000 PME françaises sur une période de deux ans. Le deuxième accord, d'un montant de 60 millions d'euros et signé avec la banque Cassa di Risparmio di Bolzano – Südtiroler Sparkasse (CRB), permettra à 75 PME italiennes de bénéficier d'un meilleur accès au financement. En Octobre 2018, le Plan Juncker a déjà mobilisé plus de 344 milliards d'euros en Europe, dont près de 57 milliards en France et plus de 50 milliards en Italie, les deux premiers pays bénéficiaires de l'EFSI en valeur absolue. (Des communiqués de sont disponibles ici. Pour plus d'informations: Christian Spahr – Tél.: +32 229 50055; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Clean energy: EU supports floating wind farm in Portugal with €60 million loan

Against the backdrop of the Commission's Energy Union Strategy to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy in Europe, our Paris Agreement commitments to fight climate change and our push for the modernisation of Europe's economy and industry, today the European Investment Bank (EIB) will grant a €60 million loan to the Portuguese company Windplus. The loan, which is supported by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, will serve to install a first-of-its-kind offshore floating wind farm. Located 20km off the coast of northern Portugal, three wind turbines that sit upon floating platforms can flexibly adjust to the wind condition and direction and thereby maximise the efficiency in energy production. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Today's deal is another example of how EU financing is helping to lower the risk of rolling out innovative energy solutions like WindFloat. We need breakthrough technologies to accelerate the clean energy transition in Europe and lead the global fight against climate change. This will ultimately improve the quality of life and create new jobs and economic growth for citizens.” The wind farm will have an installed capacity of 25 megawatt, equivalent to the energy consumed by 60.000 homes over the course of a year. A shift to clean energy is a shift to a modern and competitive economy. This was reaffirmed only two days ago when the Commission and Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy launched a €100 million investment fund for clean energy. WindPlus receives today's loan from theInnovFin programme – a financial instrument for innovative firms under the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 and the EIB group. The company will additionally benefit from €29.9 million from the EU's NER300 programme, and up to €6 million from the Government of Portugal, through the Portuguese Carbon Fund. More information will be available in a joint press release and an infographic after the signature at 2pm. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

 

Agriculture: Latest report shows income increase in the EU farming sector

The Commission published todaythe latest Farm Economics Overview report which shows that incomes in the EU farming sector grew in 2014 and 2015, which increase reverses the decline seen in 2013. Particularly strong income growth was seen in the horticultural and wine sectors and for permanent crops (mainly fruit and berry trees, bushes, vines and olive trees). This trend was however not uniform, with the dairy sector showing declining incomes during these two years, principally as a result of global over-production leading to lower prices. The latest figures highlight the wide variety of farm structures and systems within the EU and the considerable differences between sectors and Member States. Direct payments from the Common Agricultural Policy still represent a significant support to Europeans farmers, accounting on average for 30% of the farm value in the 28 EU countries in 2015, which demonstrates their value as vital income support to millions of farmers. More information on the findings of the EU Farm Economics Overview report is online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario - Tél : +32 229 56 185, Clémence Robin - Tél: +32 229 52509)

 

State aid: Commission approves €306 million in Greek public funding for the construction of southern section of E65 motorway

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Greek public support of €306 million to the concessionaire of the Central Greece Motorway project, Kentriki Odos SA, for the construction of the southern section of the Central Greece Motorway (E65). The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which allows State aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities or areas. The Commission found that the support measure is in line with EU State aid rules given that: (i) it will contribute to objectives of common EU interest and in particular to EU transport policy, as it will support the completion of the Trans-European road networkand improve transport links for Greek citizens living in the Sterea Ellada region and (ii) it is necessary and proportionate for the implementation of the project. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The construction of the southern section of the Central Greece motorwaywill improve the transport links for Greek citizens in the region, in line with EU transport policy objectives and the completion of the Trans European road network. Our decision today will allow the Greek government to support the building of this important new stretch of motorway." The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, EL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of control over Avolon by ORIX Aviation Systems and Bohai

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Avolon by ORIX Aviation Systems ("OAS"), both of Ireland and by Bohai of China. Avolon is a subsidiary of Bohai and is active in aircraft leasing services. OAS is an investor aircraft and asset manager. It belongs to ORIX Corporation, a Japanese financial services group with a diverse portfolio of financial services. Bohai is a leasing group, which belongs to HNA Group, a Chinese conglomerate encompassing core divisions of aviation, holdings, capital, tourism and logistics. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns as the companies' shares of the markets in which Avolon is active would remain limited. 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.9103. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Commission supports deepening and integrating capital markets in the Baltics

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, attended yesterday the "Pan-Baltic Capital Market" conference in London. The conference took place one year after the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to create a pan-Baltic regional capital market. The European Commission's Structural Reform Support Programme and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) support this initiative by providing expertise amongst others for the creation of a legal framework for a pan-Baltic covered bond or for further development of the regional fintech ecosystem. Vice-President Dombrovskis said: "By developing their capital markets, the Baltics can better stimulate investment and economic growth. It is a positive development that three Baltic states have teamed up to create a common and larger capital market space, regulated by coordinated rules. This will send a clear welcome message to European and global investors." The European Commission is supporting the implementation of this Memorandum through its Structural Reform Support Programmewith projects on capital markets development in all three Baltic states. In addition, the EU is working to facilitate and support investment into small and medium sized companies and strengthen local capital markets such as those in the Baltics through its Capital Markets Union initiative. Following the event, see the press release here(For more information: Christian Spahr – Tel.: +32 229 50055; Annikky Lamp– Tel.: +32 229 56151)


STATEMENTS

 

Joint Press Statement from Commissioner Věra Jourová and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on the Second Annual EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Review

"Since the inception of the Privacy Shield program in 2016, nearly 4,000 companies have made legally enforceable commitments to comply with the Privacy Shield framework. The significant growth of the program last year highlights Privacy Shield's vital importance to transatlantic data protection and commerce. The U.S. and EU took note that since the last annual review, the President nominated, and the Senate confirmed, three new members to the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) to restore a chair and a quorum. The PCLOB also declassified its report on a presidential directive that extended certain signals intelligence privacy protections to foreign citizens. Review participants are discussing the functioning of the Privacy Shield Ombudsperson Mechanism, including President Trump's recent decision to name a senior, politically appointed State Department official as Ombudsperson. Nonetheless, both sides recognize the need for prompt progress on nominating a permanent Under Secretary. This process is well underway and the U.S. will be in close contact with the EU on this important matter. In addition, in the wake of recent privacy incidents involving the personal data of Europeans and Americans, the U.S. and EU reaffirm the need for strong privacy enforcement to protect our citizens and ensure trust in the digital economy. Among other things, the Commerce Department will revoke the certification of companies that do not comply with Privacy Shield's vigorous data protection requirements. U.S. and EU officials will continue to work closely together to ensure the framework functions as intended, including on commercial and national-security related matters. Before the end of the year, the Commission will publish a report containing its findings on the functioning of the Privacy Shield."The full statement is available online. More information on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and on the first Annual Review's report are available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Commissioner Hahn in Jordan to reconfirm EU support to economic development and reforms

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will be in Jordan on 21 and 22 October to reconfirm the EU support for country's endeavours to foster its economic development, to acknowledge Jordan's role as a pillar of stability in the region and to discuss how the EU can best partner with Jordan in its reform process. The Commissioner will also sign a new EU funded programme to enhance the rule of law and support reforms to enhance effectiveness of the justice sector and increase access to justice. Ahead of the visit, Commissioner Hahn said: "Jordan is a key partner for the EU. Our support is for the long-term, and the EU will continue to work with the Government to create opportunities, promote entrepreneurship and generate economic growth. This visit will allow me to identify how the EU can further support economic development and reforms in Jordan to strengthen the economy and attract foreign investors". He added: "I deeply respect the contribution Jordan is making in hosting so many Syrian refugees. The EU will host a 3rd Brussels conference on the future of Syria and the region in March 2019 that will re-confirm EU support to Jordan." The Commissioner will meet with King Abdallah II, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mary Kamel Kawar and Information and Communications Technology minister Mothanna Gharaibeh. He will also visit the EU-supported "Shamal Start" incubator in the Irbid governorate, which enables innovative entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into viable start-ups and businesses, thus contributing to job creation and the diversification of the Jordanian economy and. A dedicated factograph on bilateral assistance and a factsheet on EU support to Jordan's resilience in the context of the Syrian crisis are available online. Video and photos of the visit will be available on EbS.(For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.:+32 229 64887)

 

Vice-President Katainen in Japan on 22-23 October

Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen will be in Japan on 22 and 23 October. On Monday 22 October, the Vice-President will be in the city of Yokohama, where he will meet with Mr Yoshiaki Harada, Japanese Minister of the Environment, and deliver a keynote speech at the opening session of the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2018), an event bringing together policymakers, business leaders, researchers and academics to discuss how to achieve the transition towards a circular economy. In Tokyo, the Vice-President will chair the first EU-Japan High Level Economic, trade and industrial Dialogue to promote EU-Japan cooperation in these areas. On Tuesday 23 October, the Vice-President will attend the opening of the Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting, which will focus on the role of hydrogen technology in global decarbonisation efforts. The Vice-President will also meet the Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary, as well as Keidanren (a Japanese business association), and the Chairman of the Diet (the Japanese Parliament) Foreign Committee, notably to exchange on the preparation for the ratification and implementation of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed in July 2018 by President Juncker, President Tusk and Prime Minister Abe. Finally, Vice-President Katainen will hold a press conference. (For more information: Christian Spahr – Tél.: +32 229 50055; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

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

 

CALENDAR - Commissioners' weekly activities

MEX/18/6159