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Daily News – 29.07.2016

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 29 / 07 / 2016

Brussels, 29 July 2016

Commission awards 11 million in emergency funding to Greece and Italy

The European Commission has today awarded an extra €11 million in emergency funding to Greece and Italy under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) to strengthen the reception and registration capacity in Greece and support search and rescue activities by Italy at sea. €7.3 million is awarded to the Greek Reception and Identification Service to strengthen the capacity of reception and medical services in Greece and in particular in the Aegean Islands. An extra €500,000 is awarded to improve the water supply network and sewage system connection at the Reception and Identification Centre in Samos. With this extra funding, the emergency assistance awarded for activities in Greece adds up to around €353 million since the start of 2015. This emergency funding comes on top of the €509 million already allocated to Greece under the national programmes for 2014-2020 (€294.5 million from AMIF and €214.7 million from ISF). €2.2 million is awarded to the Italian Coast Guard and will support search and rescue activities at sea. In particular, the funding will support the on-board provision of food for rescued migrants and will help finance costs for personnel operating on naval assets and in the operational coordination centres. In addition, €1 million is awarded to the Italian Navy to support the purchase of equipment and protective clothing, in order to deal safely with the medical screening of migrants after their rescue at sea. These measures bring the total emergency assistance awarded by the Commission under AMIF and ISF since 2015 to support the Italian authorities as well as international organisations operating in Italy to €24.5 million. This comes on top of the €592.6 million already allocated to Italy under the national programmes for 2014-2020 (€347.7 million from AMIF and €244.9 million from ISF). (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)

 

Trade: Commission imposes definitive anti-dumping measures on Chinese steel product*

The EU has imposed today definitive anti-dumping measures on Chinese imports of high fatigue performance reinforcement bars ("HFP rebars"), a steel product widely used for reinforcing concrete in constructions. HFP rebars are a specific type corresponding to the standard used in the UK and in Ireland, which are produced in several EU member states as well as outside the EU. The anti-dumping investigation on HFP rebars originating in China was initiated on 30 April 2015 following a complaint submitted by the EU industry and provisional measures were imposed on 29 January 2016. The definitive duties imposed today range from 18.4% to 22.5% and will be in place for five years. Under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, the EU can impose anti-dumping duties on products from third countries if an investigation demonstrates that these products enter the EU at dumped prices that cause injury to the EU industry. Currently the EU has 37 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures in place on steel products, 15 of which on Chinese steel products. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

Investment Plan for Europe: €62 million for wind and solar farms across the EU

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed an agreement with Sustainable Sàrl, a subsidiary of SUSI Partners AG, committing up to €62 million into the SUSI Renewable Energy Fund II. The agreement is guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The portfolio of SUSI’s second renewable energy fund currently comprises already 13 wind and solar farms in Germany, France, United Kingdom, Portugal and Italy, delivering a total output of approximately 170 MW of clean energy. Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy added: “In the EU we are creating initiatives and incentives to facilitate the low-carbon transition. This is an example of local engagement to transform the energy system, and it is local actions like this one that will help meet our climate and energy goals. I encourage the private sector to follow in these footsteps and seize the opportunities the Juncker Plan, the EIB and the energy transition present.” (For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)

 

Commission proposes €5.3 million from Globalisation Fund for former Microsoft workers in Finland

The European Commission has proposed to provide Finland with €5.3 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 1,441 former Microsoft workers to find new jobs. Finland applied for support from the EGF following the dismissal of 2,161 workers in Microsoft and eight of its suppliers and downstream producers. The main reason behind the workforce reductions at Microsoft is the declining market share of its phones using the Microsoft Windows operating system in comparison to the two US-designed operating systems Android and iOS used by various Asian-based manufacturers. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: "An important feature of the global software industry is that it constantly requires a new, educated workforce, as the life cycle of products and related software solutions is very short compared to the life cycle of its personnel. The competition between employees from the EU and from outside the EU is fierce". She added: "Today's decision will help to prepare the former Microsoft workers for new job opportunities. Helping these workers to manage their difficult transitions is important and the Globalisation Fund is an instrument that has proved its worth over the years." The measures co-financed by the EGF would help the 1,441 workers facing the greatest difficulties in finding new jobs by providing them with career coaching and individual guidance; employment and business services; a variety of vocational trainings; services for new entrepreneurs and start-up grants; hiring incentives; training-related allowances and contributions to removal costs. The total estimated cost of the package is €8.9 million, of which the EGF would provide €5.3 million. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for approval. (For more information:Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

Agriculture: The Commission approves one new geographical indication from Germany

The Commission has approved today the addition of one new product name to the register of Protected Geographical Indications (PGI). From Germany, Flönz (PGI) is a blood sausage made according to traditional methods. 'Flönz' is an important element of the annual North Rhine-Westphalia carnival celebrations, and is the main ingredient of the traditional dishes 'Kölsch Kaviar' (Cologne Caviar) and 'Himmel und Äd' (Heaven and Earth). This new denomination will be added to the list of over 1,350 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

State aid: Commission finds Italy provided incompatible aid to airlines in Sardinia

The European Commission has found that public support granted by Italy's Sardinia region gave selected airlines working at Cagliari and Olbia airports an unfair advantage, in breach of EU state aid rules, which must be repaid. The Commission found the measures involved no aid to Sardinian airports.In 2010, Sardinia adopted a scheme to develop air transport and to ensure air connections to and from the island of Sardinia all year round. The scheme provided financing to the Sardinian airports of Cagliari and Olbia, which in turn used it to provide financial compensation to selected airlines. The objective of this compensation was for these airlines to increase air traffic to Sardinian airports and carry out related marketing activities. Today’s decision follows the opening of an in-depth investigation by the Commission in January 2013, which sought to examine whether the scheme was in line with EU state aid rules. A full press release is available in EN, FR, DE and IT. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

 

State aid: Commission authorises alternative income tax regime for wholesale diamond sector in Belgium

The European Commission has found that Belgian corporate tax provisions applicable to the wholesale diamond sector were in line with EU State aid rules. In May 2015, Belgium notified to the Commission plans to introduce a specific income tax regime for diamond traders to address specific difficulties in the application of the general income tax regime to the sector. The Commission's assessment showed that the measure, as amended by the Belgian authorities in the meantime, is designed in such a way that it minimises the possibility of selective advantages to certain companies in the wholesale diamond sector. A full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and NL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

 

Concentrations : la Commission autorise l'acquisition de Foncia par Partners Group

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle de l'entreprise française Foncia Holding et de ses filiales par la société Partners Group, établie en Suisse. Foncia fournit des services immobiliers. Partners Group est une société de gestion d’investissements. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée n'était pas susceptible de poser de problème de concurrence puisqu'elle n'aura qu'un impact très limité sur la structure du marché des services immobiliers. L'opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.8115. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

 

Spring 2016 Standard Eurobarometer: Strong public support for Commission's political priorities

Today, the Commission published the Spring Standard Eurobarometer Survey 2016. It shows that Europeans see immigration and terrorism as the major challenges facing the EU at the moment and that they support the political priorities of the European Commission. The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with roughly 32 000 people in 34 countries and territories between 21 and 31 May 2016. A full press release is available online. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

EUROSTAT: June 2016 - Euro area unemployment at 10.1%, EU28 at 8.6%

The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.1% in June 2016, stable compared to May 2016 and down from 11.0% in June 2015. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since July 2011. The EU28 unemployment rate was 8.6% in June 2016, stable compared to May 2016 and down from 9.5% in June 2015. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since March 2009. Eurostat estimates that 20.986 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 16.269 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in June 2016. Compared with May 2016, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 91 000 in the EU28 and by 37 000 in the euro area. Compared with June 2015, unemployment fell by 2.114 million in the EU28 and by 1.363 million in the euro area. A full EUROSTAT press release is available online. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 61094)

 

EUROSTAT: Flash estimate - July 2016, Euro area annual inflation up to 0.2%

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.2% in July 2016, up from 0.1% in June 2016, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, food, alcohol & tobacco is expected to have the highest annual rate in July (1.4%, compared with 0.9% June), followed by services (1.2%, compared with 1.1% in June), non-energy industrial goods (0.4%, stable compared with June) and energy (-6.6%, compared with -6.4% in June). A full EUROSTAT press release is available online. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: + 32 229 71607)

 

EUROSTAT: Preliminary flash estimate for the second quarter of 2016 - GDP up by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28, +1.6% and +1.8% respectively compared with the second quarter of 2015

Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.4% in the EU28 during the second quarter of 2016, compared with the previous quarter, according to a preliminary flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the first quarter of 2016, GDP grew by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 1.6% in the euro area and by 1.8% in the EU28 in the second quarter of 2016, after +1.7% and +1.8% respectively in the previous quarter. A full EUROSTAT press release is available online. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: + 32 229 71607)

 

 

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

 

*updated on 29/07/2016 at 15:38, adding "on steel products, 15 of which on Chinese steel products."

MEX/16/2686