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Daily News – 21.10.2016

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 21 / 10 / 2016

Brussels, 21 October 2016

European Council discusses migration and external relations

On the first day of its Summit, the European Council welcomed progress across the comprehensive migration strategy that the Commission has put in place, and called for urgent implementation of the work that remains. Speaking about the new migration partnerships with countries of origin and transit, which the Commission proposed in June this year, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, said: "In the last four months we made substantial progress, because we were able to put into place a new working method; we have changed the terms of our dialogue with partner countries, and we have opened new avenues for managing jointly with them migration challenges. We are pursuing this important piece of work."The European Council also discussed relations with Russia, strongly condemning the attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies, notably Russia, on civilians in Aleppo. The EU is calling for a cease-fire and considering all the options if the atrocities continue.Today, on day two of the Summit, discussions will focus on trade. Intensive talks have continued with a view to securing agreement on the EU's trade deal with Canada – CETA – so that it can be formally signed at next week's EU-Canada Summit. Speaking yesterday evening, President Juncker said: "I am insisting that we need this trade arrangement with Canada – it is the best one we have ever concluded. And if we are unable to conclude a trade arrangement with Canada, I do not see how it will be possible to have trade agreements with other parts of the world. […] We were providing the Walloon government with further details, with an interpretation instrument related to the various questions which are covered by this trade agreement – but I am still hopeful that we will come to a good result in the course of tonight and tomorrow morning." (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265)


Investing in a pipeline that unites: first gas interconnector between Finland and Estonia ends energy isolation

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Estonia Taavi Rõivas and the Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipilä have today witnessed the signing of a €187 million investment in the Balticconnector – the first gas pipeline connecting Finland and Estonia. This gas interconnector will end the energy isolation of Finland which is largely dependent on a single supplier. When the gas starts flowing by 2020, this project will unite the Eastern Baltic Sea region with the rest of the EU energy market. President Juncker welcomed the investment: "Today's signature shows that the European Union delivers and unites. It is the result of close cooperation and a proof of true European solidarity. We are doing more than linking gas systems of two countries. We are bringing people and Member States in the region closer together by building a pipeline that unites European countries. As part of the Energy Union, we are building missing energy links, uniting markets, improving security of supply and ending the energy isolation of Member States." The Balticconnector pipeline will consist of three sections: 22 km Finnish onshore, 80 km offshore and 50 km Estonian onshore. It enables the transport of 7.2 million cubic metres of gas per day with flows running in both directions. Alongside the Gas Interconnector Poland–Lithuania (GIPL), it will contribute to increasing energy security and solidarity in the region. Till 2020 a total of €5.35 billion will be invested in European priority projects under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Read entire press release and the fact sheet. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


EUROSTAT: Transmission des données du déficit et de la dette pour 2015 - 2ème notification: Déficit public de la zone euro et de l'UE28 respectivement de 2,1% et 2,4% du PIB, dette publique à 90,4% et 85,0%

Le déficit ainsi que la dette publique se sont réduits en termes relatifs en 2015 par rapport à 2014, tant dans la zone euro (ZE19) que dans l'UE28. Le ratio du déficit public par rapport au PIB a baissé dans la zone euro, passant de 2,6% en 2014 à 2,1% en 2015, ainsi que dans l'UE28, de 3,0% à 2,4%. Le ratio de la dette publique par rapport au PIB a reculé dans la zone euro, passant de 92,0% à la fin de l'année 2014 à 90,4% à la fin de l'année 2015, ainsi que dans l'UE28, de 86,7% à 85,0%. Dans ce communiqué de presse, Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne, fournit les données relatives au déficit et à la dette des administrations publiques, sur la base des chiffres déclarés par les États membres dans le cadre de la deuxième notification de 2016 pour les années 2012 à 2015, dans le cadre de l'application de la procédure concernant les déficits excessifs (PDE). Cette notification est fondée sur le système des comptes nationaux SEC 2010. Ce communiqué de presse inclut également des données sur les dépenses et recettes des administrations publiques. Un communiqué de presse EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)


European Commission invests €45 million into research to combat Zika

Today, the European Commission announces that the Horizon 2020 funding programme is financing projects worth €45 million in research to combat the outbreak of the Zika virus disease and other emerging infections transmitted by mosquitoes. This investment will support research on treatments, diagnostics and vaccines, as well as better risk assessment for Zika. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "This funding will be a major boost to the international effort to stop the outbreak of the Zika virus disease and protect new-borns as well as adults. Such outbreaks appear suddenly and know no borders. This research is an example of how we can mobilise funding quickly to face major new threats, and how we can lead a major research effort on a global scale." The majority of the funding, €30 million, will go to three research consortia: ZikaPLAN (€11 million), coordinated by the Umeå University in Sweden; ZIKAction (€7 million), coordinated by thePENTA Foundation in Italy; and ZikAlliance (€12 million), coordinated by INSERM in France. An additional €5 million will support the ZIKAVAX consortium that aims to develop a safe and effective vaccine against the infection. Finally, a €10 million grant will go to the INFRAVEC2 project, coordinated by Institut Pasteur, which will provide access to facilities for research into insects that transmit infectious diseases. More background information is available online(For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Commission consults public on strengthening EU cooperation on Health Technology Assessment

Today, the Commission launches a public consultation on the form future EU cooperation on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) might take. HTA is a multidisciplinary process to assess the added value of a given health technology – for example a medicine, medical device, diagnostic tool or surgical procedure, over and above existing ones. It is a key tool for EU countries to ensure cost-effective, accessible and sustainable health systems. Speaking today at the EC-EUnetHTA Forum in Brussels, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: "The Commission has supported voluntary cooperation on HTA for more than 20 years, we have built a solid knowledge based on methodologies and information exchange. Now it is time to take the next step: to build a permanent, sustainable mechanism for EU cooperation on HTA so that all Member States can benefit from the added value created by pooling resources, exchanging expertise and avoiding duplication in the assessment of the same product or intervention." The consultation on the Commission initiative will run until 13 January 2017, after which a consultation report will be drawn up. In parallel, the Commission has launched a number of studies to further analyse possible options for HTA and their impacts. The HTA Network and the Joint Action EUnetHTA will be closely associated to the development of the initiative. For more information on HTA see here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


New Erasmus+ loans available in the UK for Master's students

Following today's announcement by the European Investment Fund (EIF)and its UK lending partner, Future Finance, almost EUR 40 million (£30 million) worth of loans guaranteed by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Master Loan Scheme will be available in the UK. The scheme will offer loans to students from countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme wishing to take their Master's degree in the UK, as well as to students from the UK wishing to take their Master's degrees abroad. Under the scheme, students can receive up to EUR 12,000 for a one-year Master's course and up to EUR 18,000 for a two-year Master's course. The European Commission has made sure that these loans are offered at favourable terms. The Erasmus+ Master Loan Scheme was launched in 2015 by the Commission and the EIF and is already available through banks in Spain and France, with students travelling to and from over 20 Erasmus+ countries. More information will be made available online by the EIF. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Weyerhaeuser's pulp business by International Paper Company

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the pulp business of Weyerhaeuser Company by International Paper Company ("IP"), both of the US. Weyerhaeuser's pulp business comprises the major part of the Weyerhaeuser Group's Cellulose Fibers business segment. It consists in particular of five mills, located in North America, and two converting facilities, one located in the US and one in Poland, that turn fluff pulp into a specialty fiber. These mills produce fluff pulp, softwood pulp, and specialty pulp for a number of consumer applications including diapers and hygiene products. IP is a packaging and paper company that produces containerboard, corrugated boxes, pulp, consumer packaging (carton board), cups and white paper, with manufacturing operations in North America, the European Economic Area, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. The companies' activities overlap in the market for untreated fluff pulp. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the presence of strong competitors and the fact that there is an increasing capacity for the production of fluff pulp, as a reaction to an increasing demand for diapers and hygiene products in emerging markets.The operation 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.8096. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition de Transat France par TUI

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition de Transat France par le groupe allemand TUI. Transat France, appartenant au groupe canadien Transat, est le quatrième voyagiste intégré en France, opérant sous les marques Vacances Transat et Look Voyages. TUI est le premier groupe mondial de tourisme présent dans plus de 180 destinations dans le monde. TUI possède en France les marques Marmara, Nouvelles Frontières, Aventuria et Passion des îles. L'opération envisagée contribue à la consolidation du marché des voyages à forfait en France. Compte tenu de la pression concurrentielle que les autres voyagistes continueraient à exercer sur l'entité issue de la concentration, la Commission a conclu que celle-ci ne risquait pas de s'effectuer au détriment des consommateurs. L'opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure normale 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.8046. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


La Commission approuve deux nouvelles indications géographiques de France et de Croatie

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'inscription de deux nouveaux produits français et croate dans le registre des indications géographiques protégées (IGP) et des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP). Pour la Croatie, il s'agit de «Šoltansko maslinovo ulje» (AOP), une huile d'olive extra-vierge produite sur l'île de Šolta et les sept îlots appartenant à sa municipalité: Polebrnjak, Saskinja, Balkun, Kamik, Šarac, Grmej et Stipanska. Pour la France, il s'agit du «Chapon du Périgord» (IGP), une volaille qui peut être à chair jaune ou à chair blanche. Il est élevé dans le quart sud-ouest de la France, centrée sur le département de la Dordogne, et est nourri d'aliments composés uniquement de végétaux, minéraux et vitamines. Ces deux nouvelles appellations vont rejoindre plus de 1370 produits déjà protégés dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR. Pour plus d'informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (Pour plus d'information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)




20 years of European Voluntary Service

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the European Voluntary Service in Aix-la-Chapelle (Germany) today, European Commission President Juncker congratulates all young European volunteers and those who work with them: “Your actions embody something that can only come from the heart: solidarity. Through the European Voluntary Service, you are practising solidarity, something which is incredibly valuable. I am sure that you, the volunteers, but also all those who work with you, will quickly come to see how much these experiences will enrich your entire life. This form of learning, via projects open to young people of the most diverse educational backgrounds, provides completely new professional opportunities and important skills going well beyond what textbooks will offer. (…)Those who work as volunteers are living European values each and every day. Over the last 20 years, some 100 000 young people have already become ambassadors of the European idea thanks to the European Voluntary Service (…). We now wish to expand this recipe for success by setting up a European Solidarity Corps, enabling young people from across the EU to offer help where it is most urgently needed. (…) It is always also a contribution to the future, towards a better Europe.” Read the full message in DE, FR and EN. More information on the European Voluntary Service, the European Solidarity Corps and the official celebrations in Aix-la-Chapelle (Germany) on 21 October. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524, Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083, Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253.)



Commissioner Christos Stylianides to travel to Iran

Commissioner for Humanitarian aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, will travel to Tehran, Iran tomorrow on an official visit until the 24 October. "My second visit in Iran this year has three aims. Firstly, to visit EU-funded humanitarian projects for Afghan refugees in the country and see how can the EU better support Iran's efforts in this direction. Secondly, to discuss the humanitarian situation in the wider region. Thirdly, to discuss our bilateral cooperation in disaster preparedness and disaster risk management," said Commissioner Stylianides. During his visit, the Commissioner is due to meet the national authorities and visit humanitarian aid projects. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


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