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Daily News – 06.03.2015

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 06 / 03/ 2015

Brussels, 06 March 2015

EUROSTAT: Second estimate for the fourth quarter of 2014; GDP up by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28; +0.9% and +1.3% respectively compared with the fourth quarter of 2013

Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA18) and by 0.4% in the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2014, compared with the previous quarter, according to a second estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the third quarter of 2014, GDP grew by 0.2% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.9% in the euro area and by 1.3% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2014, after +0.8% and +1.2% respectively in the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter of 2014, GDP in the United States increased by 0.5% compared with the previous quarter (after +1.2% in the third quarter of 2014). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP grew by 2.4% (after +2.7% in the previous quarter). Over the whole year 2014, GDP rose by 0.9% in the euro area and by 1.3% in the EU28, compared to -0.5% and 0.0% in 2013. In the United States, GDP grew by 2.4% in 2014 and by 2.2% in 2013. A EUROSTAT press release is available online. (for more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153)

Agriculture: Commission opens Private Storage Aid for pigmeat 

The European Commission has formally adopted measures providing Aid for Private Storage measures for the EU pigmeat sector. Under this standard market support measure, the Commission pays for part of the costs of storing pigmeat for 3-5 months. Past experience has shown that this move to temporarily reduce supply on the EU market eases market pressure and thus tends to help prices pick up. The sector has been under pressure since the Russian ban on pigmeat imports from the whole EU in February 2014 linked to an outbreak of African swine fever in East Poland and the Baltic Republics. Although traders have managed to find alternative markets for most products and animal feed costs have been lower than usual, the lengthy squeeze on margins is being felt, with many producers having previously made substantial investments in order to meet new EU animal welfare rules. Having been discussed and voted on by Member State experts in the Common Market Organisations (CMO) Committee on 24 February, the measure is published in the Official Journal today and enters into force on Monday 9 March. (for more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)




First Vice-President Timmermans' Speech: Growth, Reform and Public Trust in Europe

Yesterday, 5 March, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans spoke at the annual EU Conference of the Policy Network think tank, in London, on 'Growth, Reform and Public Trust in Europe'. The First Vice-President explained the new Commission structure and philosophy, discussing better regulation, the importance of small business to the European economy, and the Commission's priorities for 2015. The First Vice-President said: "Sometimes there's a tendency in Brussels to think “I legislate therefore I am”. I want to change that, and focus on what Europe needs to do, not what would be nice to do. I want a Europe that works for the little guy (the big boys and girls can look after themselves very nicely). I want SMEs to feel the difference. To say, hey this actually works. Legislation must do what it’s intended to do, be easy to transpose and mustn’t generate any undue burden. What we need is sensible, realistic rules that do their job, no more, no less." The First Vice-President used his time in London to meet with small businesses and the trade union congress and hear their views on priorities for the EU. He also met with George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary, Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party. The full speech is available online. (for more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie Tel.: +32 229 58602)

Commissioner Marianne Thyssen's closing remarks at the High Level Conference "A New Start for Social dialogue"

Yesterday, 5 March, Commissioner Marianne Thyssen spoke at the High-Level Conference on A New Start for Social Dialogue in Brussels. Commissioner Thyssen said: "I am really convinced that there cannot be a social market economy without a well-functioning social dialogue (…) Evidence shows that countries with strong social dialogue institutions are among the EU's best performing and most competitive economies, with a better and more resilient social situation (…) We are committed to enabling the social partners to contribute to the cornerstones of the EU policy agenda. Their contribution will be necessary to properly address the key challenges of our labour markets and economies. It goes without saying that this counts especially for the area of employment, social affairs, labour mobility and skills, where I expect a strong and substantive contribution from the social partners in the months to come. Full speech is available here. (for more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.:+32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)        




High Representative/ Vice-President Mogherini to visit New York on 8 and 9 March

High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini is travelling to New York on Sunday 8 and Monday 9 March to attend events and meetings at the United Nations. She will address the UN Security Council on the briefing on "Cooperation between the UN and EU", and will participate in the opening Session of the Commission on the Status of Women and the meeting with the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. HRVP Mogherini will also meet UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon, as well as the President of the General Assembly Mr Sam Kutesa, and the Executive Director of UN Women, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Eamonn Prendergast – Tel.: +32 229 98851)

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Ministers to meet on Monday

Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, and Marianne Thyssen, the EU's Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, will represent the European Commission at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council on Monday, 9 March. Ministers will discuss priorities for action in the areas of employment and social policies in the frame of the ongoing 2015 European Semester. They are expected to adopt conclusions providing political guidance for employment and social policies following the presentation of the Commission's annual growth survey (IP/14/2235) and the joint employment report (MEMO/14/2234). The Council is also expected to adopt Council Conclusions on inclusive labour markets and on the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020 (IP/14/641). Ministers are also expected to endorse key messages of the annual report by the Social Protection Committee on the social situation in the European Union and of a report on social protection systems in the Member States. The public debates and the press conference can be followed here. (for more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.:+32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)     



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