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Daily News – 26.09.2016

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 26 / 09 / 2016

Brussels, 26 September 2016

Commissioner Stylianides in Turkey to launch largest-ever EU humanitarian aid programme

Today Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides is in Ankara to launch the EU's flagship humanitarian aid programme, which is set to provide a monthly electronic cash grant to benefit 1 million refugees in Turkey. Speaking in Ankara, Commissioner Stylianides said: "I'm confident that EU humanitarian aid will make a real difference for refugees in Turkey, helping one million people. The launch of our new programme here in Turkey today is a clear example of the strong partnership of the EU and Turkey in finding together new, innovative ways to address one of the most important humanitarian challenges of our times." The Commissioner will take part in the official launch event of the €348 million Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) aid programme in Ankara alongside Executive Director of the World Food Programme Ertharin Cousin. The Commissioner is also visiting EU humanitarian projects funded under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, including a Community Centre for Syrian refugees run by the Turkish Red Crescent and a Child Protection Support Centre supported by the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers (ASAM) and UNICEF. Audiovisual coverage will be made available on EBS. A factsheet on the ESSN aid programme is available here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela - Tel.: +32 229 65332; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

United Nations General Assembly ministerial week concludes with active EU participation

On Friday, the ministerial week of the United Nations General Assembly came to an end. Throughout the week, the European Union was actively engaged in a large number of multilateral and bilateral meetings through a high-level delegation. In addition to European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioners Neven Mimica, Johannes Hahn, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Miguel Arias Cañete, Vytenis Andriukaitis and Christos Stylianides were in New York. The main focus of the meetings was managing migration in partnerships, and in this context, the EU also participated in the global Summit on large movements of refugees and migrants, which adopted the New York Declaration on refugees and migrants. The European Union stands behind the Declaration, as a balanced basis for collective, multilateral action. Also in focus was the entry into force of the historic Paris Agreement. Commissioner Arias Cañete was at the high-level ceremony on the entry into force (see also here), as well as the High Ambition Coalition press conference. He also held a speech at the Montreal Protocol event on hydrofluorocarbons and participated in the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate on Friday and in the Climate Financial Ministerial meeting on Saturday. The last days also saw numerous high-level events and meetings on the side-lines. On Friday, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini met with the President of Niger, the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Iraq, and with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. She participated at the meeting of the Middle East Quartet Principals and gave a speech at Columbia University on the EU Global Strategy. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Mimica also addressed the Partnership Group on Myanmar. Commissioner Mimica gave a speech at the launch of the global network of women, peace and security and also participated in a side event on the situation in the Central African Republic. Commissioner Stylianides participated at the event on the Lake Chad Basin Humanitarian Crises. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Esther Osorio – Tel.: + 32 229 62076)

 

EU to push for first global scheme to curb aviation CO2 emissions at the Assembly of the UN's civil aviation body

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc will lead the EU delegation at the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) which starts tomorrow in Montreal, Canada. Held until 7 October, this triennial Assembly brings together all 191 aviation authorities of the world. The main agenda item will be the reduction of carbon emissions in the aviation sector. After years of work the Assembly is set to adopt a Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM) to curb CO2 emissions in the sector. This would be the first ever globally binding deal to tackle emissions in an entire economic sector. In line with its climate policy, the European Union will be pushing for the most ambitious outcome with the aim of achieving carbon neutral growth in international aviation as of 2020. The position of the European Union can be found here. During her stay in Montreal, Commissioner Bulc will meet with a number of key delegations – such as the United States, China, India, Russia, African states, Singapore and Saudi Arabia – and invite them join the GMBM scheme from its start, set for 2021. Commissioner Bulc will convey a similar message to all delegates when addressing the Assembly during the opening ceremony on Tuesday, 27 September. Besides decarbonisation, other topics on the agenda of the Assembly include cyber threats, the overflight of conflict zones, drones and support to developing states ("capacity building"). (For more information and updates throughout the Assembly: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

Vilnius relié au réseau transeuropéen de transport grâce aux Fonds Structurels et d'Investissement Européens

La Commission a approuvé un "grand projet" lituanien, visant à achever la rocade Ouest de Vilnius. Le projet, doté d'une contribution de €84 millions du Fonds de Cohésion, comprend la construction d'une section de quatre à six voies et de six viaducs. Il permettra de relier les autoroutes A1 (E85) Vilnius-Kaunas-Klaipėda et A2 (E272) Vilnius-Panevėžys, et connectera ainsi la capitale au corridor Mer du Nord-Baltique du réseau transeuropéen de transport (RTE-T). La Commissaire à la politique régionale, Corina Creţu, a déclaré: "En reliant Vilnius au grand réseau stratégique de transport européen, ce nouveau projet permettra de développer l'activité économique de la capitale." Le projet devrait être achevé en 2017. Les Fonds Structurels et d'Investissement Européens (Fonds ESI) investissent €8.3 milliards en Lituanie en 2014-2020. Plus d'information sur ces investissements sont disponibles sur la Plateforme Open Data et ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Investment Plan deals signed in Malta and Slovakia

The European Investment Fund has signed new SME financing agreements with banks in Malta and Slovakia to provide low-cost loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps. The agreements benefit from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) guarantee, the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The agreement between the EIF and the APS Bank is the first EFSI deal to be signed in Malta, taking the total EU countries with EFSI financing to 27. As a result of the Investment Plan's support, APS Bank will provide EUR 12 million in low-cost loans to innovative Maltese SMEs. Meanwhile in Slovakia, the EIF signed two EFSI deals with Československá obchodná banka a.s (ČSOB) amounting to EUR 135 million for SMEs and mid-caps. Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for Energy Union, said: "Nearly 6,000 SMEs and micro-enterprises in Slovakia will be able to access new finance, guaranteed by the Juncker Investment Plan. Investment under the Plan can be combined with other sources of EU funding. The Plan is such a success that we just announced its expansion and doubling its capacity". Following the signature of the agreement with ČSOB, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič this afternoon participates in a Citizens' Dialogue in Bratislava that follows up on the State of the European Union Speech President Juncker delivered on 14 September. You can find more information on both EFSI deals here. Building on the success of the EFSI in its first year, the European Commission on 14 September 2016 proposed to extend the EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. Due to high demand, the EFSI steering board in July scaled up the SME window of the EFSI, increasing it by EUR 500 million, meaning more EFSI-backed equity and loans will reach European SMEs. (For more information contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)

 

Next round of EU-US trade talks to take place next week in New York

The 15th round of EU-US negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement will take place in New York City, from 3 to 7 October. The aim of this round is to make as much progress as possible in all areas of the talks, in particular in the regulatory cooperation and rules areas. Both EU and US chief negotiators will take a break from the talks to brief civil society, including NGOs and trade unions as well as business and consumer organisations, on the progress of negotiations. The event will take place on Wednesday, 5 October. In line with the Commission's transparency policy, a detailed progress report will be issued in all EU official languages after the round. A closing conference call by the EU and US chief negotiators will take place on Friday 7 October. Registration closes at midnight (Brussels time) on 30 September. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)

 

Seven EU-funded films awarded at the San Sebastián Film Festival

Seven films supported by the Creative Europe - MEDIA programme were awarded at the 64th edition of the San Sebastián Film Festival in Spain. The Giant (Jätten) by Johannes Nyholm won the Special Jury Prize(ex-aequo with The Winter (El Invierno) by Emiliano Torres). I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach and My Life as a Courgette (Ma vie de Courgette) by Claude Barras received the San Sebastián European Capital of Culture 2016 Audience Award, while Oscuro animal by Felipe Guerrero was awarded the Spanish Cooperation Award. Three other EU-funded films won awards in parallel competitions: The Odyssey (L’Odyssée) by Jérôme Salle, Nocturama by Bertrand Bonello and 150 milligrams (La Fille de Brest) by Emmanuelle Bercot. In total more than 20 films funded with over €2 million of EU funding were pre-selected for the competition in different sections (more details). Vice-President Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, and Commissioner Oettinger, responsible for the Digital Economy and Society, said: "Congratulations to all the winners, we are very proud that the EU supports, through its MEDIA programme, such a diverse and brilliant selection of films. We have recently modernised our European audiovisual and copyright rules to further support European creation in the digital era. We will continue our work to encourage the circulation of films across the EU and the fair remuneration of creators"(press release on the modernisation of EU copyright rules). This year the MEDIA programme celebrates its 25thanniversary. Since its creation in 1991, the MEDIA programme has invested €2.4 billion in the European audiovisual industry. Each year, around 2000 European films, television series and other projects receive MEDIA funding that supports their development and distribution (see factsheet as well as questions and answers). (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay – Tel.: +32 229 64532)

 

State aid: Germany withdraws notification to grant €4 million of regional aid to polymer processer REHAU

On 13 June 2016 the Commission opened a formal investigation into €4 million of regional aid that Germany intended to grant to REHAU AG+Co, in order to assess whether this aid was in line with EU state aid rules. The aid was aimed at modernising and extending the production capacities at REHAU's Viechtach production site. In its opening decision, the Commission expressed doubts as to whether the planned production process was sufficiently innovative to qualify as eligible for support under the Regional Aid Guidelines. The Commission also questioned whether the aid could be found compatible with the internal market and, in particular, whether the project would be carried out in any event, even without aid. Following the opening of the formal investigation, Germany decided not to grant the notified aid and withdrew its notification. The Commission took note of this step and decided to close the formal investigation, as it has become without object. Furthermore, REHAU has also proceeded with the modernisation and extension of its Viechtach production site. More information on today's decision will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.43014. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)

 

Aides d'Etat: la Commission approuve la garantie octroyée par l'Etat français à la Caisse Centrale de Réassurance pour ses activités de réassurance de catastrophes naturelles

La Commission considère la garantie octroyée par l'Etat français à la Caisse Centrale de Réassurance (CCR) pour son activité de réassurance de catastrophes naturelles en France comme étant une aide d'Etat compatible avec le marché intérieur. En effet, le système français d'indemnisation de catastrophes naturelles est proportionné. Il permet à chaque ménage et entreprise d'être assuré contre ces risques et laisse libre de toute intervention publique le marché de l'assurance, la CCR n'agissant que via une offre de réassurance proposée aux assureurs. Séparément, la Commission a aussi conclu que les projets de création d'une nouvelle filiale de la CCR pour ses activités commerciales de réassurance qui ne sont pas couvertes par la garantie publique, ainsi que sa dotation initiale en capital ne contiennent pas d'aides d'Etat. L'injection de capital additionnel est en effet réalisée dans des conditions similaires à ce qu'un opérateur privé, guidé par les critères du marché, aurait acceptées. De plus amples informations sur cette affaire seront disponible sur le site web de la direction-générale de la concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre des aides d'État, sous le numéro de référence SA.45860. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of airtechnology company Fläkt Woods by Triton

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Fläkt Woods via its French holding company, by Triton of the Channel Islands. Fläkt Woods develops, manufactures and markets air technology solutions providing indoor air comfort and fire safety for a wide range of applications, mainly for non-residential use. Triton is a private equity fund with activities in three main sectors, namely business services, industrials and consumers. Two of Triton's portfolio companies, DencoHappel and Assemblin, are active in air technology components such as air handling units. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because there are several manufacturers of air handling units that the customers may choose from in the investigated markets in the EU. In addition, the investigation showed that neither of the Parties are important suppliers or customers of products offered or purchased by the other. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8121. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)

 

EUROSTAT: Journée mondiale du tourisme: 1 nuitée sur 5 effectuées par des résidents de l’UE est du fait de touristes de 65 ans et plus

Avec plus de 1,2 milliard de nuitées effectuées au cours de leurs voyages dans le monde entier en 2014, les touristes âgés de 65 ans et plus (ci-après dénommés «touristes âgés») vivant dans l’Union européenne (UE) ont représenté 20% de l’activité touristique (en termes de nombre de nuitées de résidents de l’UE). Toutefois, leur part dans les dépenses touristiques était légèrement inférieure, s’établissant à 16%. En effet, un touriste âgé dans l’UE a dépensé en moyenne 52,60 euros par jour, soit 12,70 euros de moins que le touriste moyen. Un communiqué de presse EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Vice-President Georgieva hosts Second EU Budget Focused on Results conference

Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva will host on Tuesday the second edition of the annual high-level conference "EU Budget Focused on Results". The event will gather top speakers who will exchange views on how the EU spending can become more agile and deliver even more for the EU citizens and everybody around the world who benefits from it. Commissioners Corina Crețu and Phil Hogan will also take part in the event, along with Members of the European Parliament, of the European Court of Auditors, of international and non-governmental organisations, and national politicians. The full programme is available here. You can follow the event online via the following link. Pictures from the conference will be accessible on EbS. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

 

Commissioner Malmström participates in Citizens’ Dialogue in Budapest [Updated: 26/09/2016 at 12:30]

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will this afternoon participate in a Citizens' Dialogue in Budapest, where she will engage in open discussions with students and members of the public, as well as representatives of Hungarian civil society, non-governmental organisations and businesses. The main topic is the advantages of a more responsible trade policy for European consumers, employees and small- and medium-sized enterprises. At the Citizens' Dialogue, Commissioner Malmström will also be discussing the EU-Canada trade agreement and the ongoing negotiations for a trade agreement between the EU and the US, as well as other aspects of EU trade policy. Prior to the debate, the Commissioner will meet with Mr Péter Szijjártó, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and participate in a joint meeting with three committees from the Hungarian parliament. These meetings will be a further opportunity to discuss the topics to be raised during the Citizen's Dialogue.  For the Citizens' Dialogue, Commissioner Malmström will be joined by István Mikola, the Hungarian Minister of State for Security Policy and International Cooperation. The event will be streamed live here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)

 

European Commission appoints new Head of Representation in Ireland

Mr Gerard Kiely has been appointed as the new Head of the Commission Representation in Dublin. Mr Gerard Kiely will take up office as the new Head of the European Commission's Representation in Ireland on 1 October 2016. He joined the European civil service in 1989, specialising in International Relations on Agriculture. In the Commission, Mr Kiely started as an official dealing with the international affairs of Agriculture. In 1991, he became Spokesperson for the Agriculture Commissioners Mr Ray Mac Sharry, Mr René Steichen and Mr Franz Fischler, staying in this post until 1999. He has then served, from 2000 to 2003, as Head of the Agriculture, Food Safety, Consumer Affairs and Fisheries Section of the EU Delegation in Washington, D.C. More recently, Mr Kiely occupied a series of managerial posts in the Directorate General for Agriculture, including over the last six years as Head of the Unit for Pre-Accession Assistance. The Commission has its Representations in all 28 EU Member States as well as Regional Offices in Barcelona, Belfast, Bonn, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Marseille, Milan, Munich and Wrocław. The Representations report to the Commission's headquarters on significant developments in the Member States. A complete press release for Mr Gerard Kiely is available online, also in DE and FR. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265)

 

 

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

MEX/16/3186