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Daily News – 24.04.2015

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 24 / 04 / 2015

Brussels, 24 April 2015

EU - Ukraine summit, Kyiv, 27 April

The 17th EU - Ukraine summit will take place in Kyiv, Ukraine on Monday 27 April. This will be the first Summit under the new Association Agreement signed in June of last year. The EU will be represented by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy, Johannes Hahn will also attend. Ukraine will be represented by President Petro Poroshenko. The summit will focus on the implementation of the Association Agreement and political and economic reforms in Ukraine including EU financial and other assistance; the crisis in eastern Ukraine and the application of the Minsk agreements, including the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission; regional issues and the preparations for the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Riga. The summit will start at 12.00 GMT on Monday with a tête-à-tête meeting between Presidents Tusk, Juncker and Poroshenko, followed by a working lunch at 13.00 GMT and the plenary session at 14.30 GMT. A press conference will be held at the end of the meeting. On Tuesday, President Juncker will open the Conference on international support for reform. Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis and Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner Johannes Hahn will also attend and speak at the conference. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Eamonn Prendergast – Tel.: +32 460 753293)


Additional funding to promote investment in the EU Neighbourhood

The Neighbourhood Investment Facility brings additional investments in transport, energy and environment infrastructure, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to the development of the social and private sectors in Eastern and Southern Partner Countries. The European Commission decided to contribute an additional EUR 295 million to the Facility in 2015 to enable more than EUR 3 billion in investments. "A flourishing economy across the neighbourhood is essential to reach our shared objectives of stability and prosperity. And for that, the private sector must be at the core of any successful process. A well-functioning private sector is critical to achieving strong and sustainable growth, creating the level of employment that is so much needed across the region. Our decision to provide an additional funding to the NIF will bring us closer to these shared objectives", stressed Johannes Hahn,Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations. A press release is available online. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430)

Modernisation of social protection systems: Stocktaking report on Member States progress on reforms

A report commissioned by the European Commission to the European Social Policy Network of independent experts published today shows that Member States have made progress in implementing reforms toward the modernisation of the social protection systems but there is still a lot to be done across the European Union. In 2013, the Commission adopted the Social Investment Package, which urged Member States to modernise their social protection systems with a view to emerging from the crisis stronger, more cohesive and more competitive. This means better performing active inclusion strategies and a more efficient and more effective use of social budgets. Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility welcomed the report and stated: "This report demonstrates that many Member States have started to modernise their social protection systems. They are stepping up their support for children, removing barriers for parents to pursue their professional aspirations and recognise the importance of providing adequate support to people excluded from the labour market. These reforms have clear benefits in terms of increased skill development, higher labour market participation, higher competiveness and higher economic growth. However, the report also shows that there is room for further efforts by Member States. The Commission will therefore continue its support to Member States' reforms, key to greater social cohesion and upward social convergence". A press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (for more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)


GMOs: Commission authorises 17 GMOs for food/feed uses and 2 GM carnations

The Commission is today adopting 10 new authorisations for GMOs for food/feed use, 7 renewals of existing authorisations and authorising also the importation of 2 GMO cut flowers (not for food or feed). These GMOs had gone through a full authorisation procedure, including a favourable scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The authorisation decisions do not cover cultivation. The GMOs approved today had received "no opinion" votes from the Member States in both the Standing and Appeal Committees and the Commission decided to adopt these pending decisions after having not acted on authorisations during the past months whilst a review of the decision making procedure on GMO authorisations was ongoing. All the GMOs approved today have been proved to be safe before their placing on the EU market. The GM food and feed authorisations will be added to the existing list of 58 GMOs authorised in the EU for food and feed uses (covering maize, cotton, soybean, oilseed rape, sugar beet). The authorisations are valid for 10 years, and any products produced from these GMOs will be subject to the EU's strict labelling and traceability rules. A press release is available in ENFR and DE. (for more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel. +32 229 87624)


2nd anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh

As we mark the second anniversary since the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh, which claimed 1,129 lives, progress on labour and safety issues has been made, while further improvements have to be achieved. This was highlighted by the Commission's Bangladesh Sustainability Compact report, published today. Following the Rana Plaza disaster, the Sustainability Compact was launched by the EU together with Bangladesh, the US and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in July 2013. A press release by High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioners Malmström, Thyssen, and Mimica on this crosscutting issue is available online. (for more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel by Constellation and InterContinental Hotels

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel of France, by Constellation Hotels Holding Limited S.C.A of Luxembourg ("Constellation") and by InterContinental Hotels Group of the United Kingdom ("IHG"). InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel is a four star hotel, located in Paris. Constellation invests in hotels and other real estate. IHG owns, operates and franchises hotels on a world-wide basis. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of its limited impact on the market structure. 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.7444. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)



On World Malaria Day, the Commission highlights a persistent global health threat that must not be forgotten

On the occasion of the World Malaria Day, Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety and Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation urge to continue global action to address the persistent threat of malaria. "We have the responsibility to continue tackling it head on - it is one of the deadliest diseases. In 2013 alone, over half a million people died of malaria. More than 90 percent of these deaths are in Africa, mostly children under the age of five. As the world's largest donor, the EU is strongly committed to the fight against Malaria. Over the last years, EU has directly supported public health services in over 30 countries with more than €300 million annually. The EU is also one of the top 5 funders of malaria research in the world. Since 2002, the EU has invested nearly €200 million in malaria research projects, and another €50 million since 2003 on clinical trials to develop vaccines and improve treatments for malaria. The EU must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the governments of the most affected countries. We must maximise our political, diplomatic, humanitarian and financial tools to help the millions of people living in highly endemic areas to make sure they have access to effective malaria prevention, diagnostic testing, and treatment". The statement is available online. (for more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel. +32 229 87624)



Vice-President Šefčovič on Energy Union visit in Slovakia from 23-24 April 2015

Vice-President in charge of Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič is in Bratislava for a 2 day visit in order to present the Energy Union project to the Slovak Members of the Parliament, citizens and stakeholders. He will meet the President of Slovak Parliament Peter Pellegrini and participate in a joint meeting of European Affairs Committee and Economic Committee. In addition to the Energy Union project, he will present the Commission Work Programme and European Semester. Vice-President Šefčovič will also discuss the Energy Union with energy stakeholders and address students of the City University with the speech "Energy Union – a recipe for stronger Europe". He will conclude the visit by speech to the citizens at the Slovak Technical University. The Vice-President will continue a series of dialogues on Energy Union; he said: “Our vision of Energy Union is a common project of all Member States, our citizens and businesses. Together we can ensure the necessary transition to a low carbon economy, ensure that our supply of energy is secure. Together we can also better manage the cost of energy and make it affordable for our citizens and make our economy more competitive". (for more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


Visit of Commissioner Malmström to Kuala Lumpur from 25-26 April 2015
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will travel to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) for a 2 day visit to attend the annual ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) – EU Trade Commissioner Consultations. She will discuss with the ASEAN Ministers how to strengthen EU-ASEAN trade and investment relations and exchange views on global issues, including on how to enhance the partnership between the two sides in the WTO and other multilateral fora. As part of her ASEAN programme, Commissioner Malmström will also meet members of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, composed of representatives of European Chambers of Commerce in the region and business representatives. The Commissioner will also have individual meetings with Trade Ministers of ASEAN countries, among them Indonesia and Vietnam. (for more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)



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