EXME 14 / 31.10
31 / 10 / 14
After seven rounds of gas negotiations, last night's talks moderated by Günther H. Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission, yielded finally a breakthrough: A 4,6 billion dollar winter package, agreed by Russia and Ukraine, secures gas for Ukraine - and ultimately also for Europe.
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission who witnessed the signing of the winter package, said: "I am delighted that I can announce a major success at the end of my mandate as President of the European Commission. With our strong support, Ukraine and Russia have today found agreement on their outstanding energy debt issues, and on an interim solution that enables supplies to continue this winter. I am glad that political responsibility, the logic of cooperation and simple economic sense have prevailed." The full speech by President Barroso is available online .
Günther H. Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission, said: "This breakthrough will not only make sure that Ukraine will have sufficient heating in the dead of the winter. It is also a contribution to the de-escalation between Russia and Ukraine."
The winter package consists of two documents:
A binding protocol, signed by the European Commission (Vice-President Oettinger), the Russian Federation (Energy Minister Alexander Novak) and Ukraine (Energy Minister Yuri Prodan)
An addendum to the existing gas supply contract, signed by Gazprom of Russia (CEO Alexey Miller) and Naftogaz of Ukraine (CEO Andriy Kobolyev)
The Triton operation will start on November 1st as scheduled
On the eve of the launch of Frontex Joint Operation 'Triton', Commissioner Malmstrom said:
"I am happy to announce that the Triton operation requested by Italy will start on November 1st as scheduled. Frontex has received sufficient offer of both equipment and border guards from the vast majority of Member States. The Agency is therefore ready to launch this tailored made operation that matches all the requests made by the Italian authorities. […]
Triton is a tool we are making available to Italian authorities upon their demand and according to their specific requests for equipment and human resources. It will not affect the Italian responsibilities in controlling its part of the EU's external borders and its obligations to guarantee search and rescue at sea according to international and EU obligations, which I am confident that Italy will continue to fulfil. In order to be successful, these efforts at sea need to be complemented by other measures. It is vital that EU states now fully implement the Common European Asylum System, and that a serious effort will be made to establish a truly European program for the resettlement of refugees." The full statement STATEMENT/14/346 and MEMO/14/609 are available.
The EU requested today consultations with Russia in respect of import duties for paper products, refrigerators and palm oil. The EU takes this first step in the dispute settlement procedure in response to the violation by Russia of its obligations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Upon joining the WTO, Russia committed to keep its import duties below the limits expressed in the accession documents. However, it has continued taxing a number of products across various sectors more heavily than agreed. This is still the case today for certain products of interest for the EU.
The European Union today requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva to rule on a dispute concerning certain Brazilian discriminatory taxes. In the EU's opinion, the Brazilian tax measures give an unfair advantage to domestic producers and go against WTO rules. By taking the case to the WTO, the EU aims to re-establish a level playing field between Brazilian and European businesses and products.
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.4% in October 2014, up from 0.3% in September, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, services is expected to have the highest annual rate in October (1.2%, compared with 1.1% in September), followed by food, alcohol & tobacco (0.5%, compared with 0.3% in September), non-energy industrial goods (-0.1%, compared with 0.2% in September) and energy (-1.8%, compared with -2.3% in September).
The euro area (EA18) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.5% in September 2014, stable compared with August 2014, but down from 12.0% in September 2013. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.1% in September 2014, also stable compared with August 2014 and down from 10.8% in September 2013. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented:
"September 2014 figures show that unemployment in Europe continues to slightly decrease, but still remains far too high: over 24.5 million jobseekers cannot find a job, including almost 5 million youngsters under 25. Europe desperately needs more aggregate demand. The €300 billion EU investment plan that the next European Commission will propose shortly will help, but we also need higher wages in countries with large current account surpluses appropriate monetary policy and lower taxation of low-paid labour. Strong employment policies such as the Youth Guarantee, hiring subsidies and investment in skills are also important to boost employment. Reform of the Economic and Monetary Union must continue in order to allow the eurozone countries to better address asymmetric shocks, notably with more counter-cyclical remedies. Finally, whichever measure helps to increase inflation from its currently very low levels is also likely to help to cut unemployment from its current unacceptable level."
The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) is planning to publish its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on 2 November 2014. It will provide an up to date view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change, since it integrates the results of assessments on the latest research carried out over the past six years. That is why it will be instrumental to the forthcoming negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 1-12 December in Peru. Numerous research projects funded under the EU's 6th and 7th Framework Programmes for Research (FP6 and FP7) were essential for the key findings of the Report. A summary of some of the EU-funded projects that fed into the Report are highlighted here.
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead
What Commissioners said
Speaking as he hands over the reins of EU Regional Policy and takes up his position in President Juncker's new Commission, EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn said:
"The fact that we have been able to adopt 27 Partnership Agreements as I end my mandate is evidence of the hard work and commitment of my services and the Member States. Backed by our reforms I am happy to say I leave a Cohesion policy that is better equipped to deal with the challenges facing Europe today - from energy dependence to unemployment and lack of competiveness. It is a policy that also is better suited to support each Member State and every region's own development plan including the structural reforms. The 27 Partnership agreements, to be followed in the next few weeks by Ireland's, reflect this. I pay tribute to the great efforts of those involved. Now we should focus all our energy in making sure we approve high quality operational programs. This is from where the individual projects will come and they should reflect these wider strategies and spell out clearly the results that should be achieved for the benefits of Europe's citizens in cities and the countryside."