Daily News of 2014-01-15
European Commission - MEX/14/0115 15/01/2014
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EXME 14 / 15.01
15 / 01 / 14
The European Commission has adopted new guidelines setting out the conditions under which Member States can grant aid to facilitate access to finance by European SMEs and companies with a medium capitalization (the so-called "midcaps"). Certain SMEs and midcaps, in particular innovative and growth-oriented SMEs in their early development stages, have difficulties to get funding, independently of the quality of their business potential. State aid can help address this funding gap, not by replacing existing funding channels but by attracting fresh money into new ventures through well-designed financial instruments and fiscal measures. These guidelines are part of the Commission's State Aid Modernisation (SAM) strategy, which aims at fostering growth in the Single Market by encouraging more effective aid measures and focusing the Commission’s scrutiny on cases with the biggest impact on competition (see IP/12/458). The guidelines will enter into force on 1 July 2014. See also MEMO/14/14.
Today the European Commission adopted a Communication identifying 10 areas in which Member States and the EU are called to reinforce their actions to prevent all types of extremism that leads to violence, regardless of who inspires it. These recommendations are the result of two years of work in the radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), founded by the Commission in 2011, gathering 700 experts and frontline practitioners from all over Europe. "No country is spared from the scourge of violent extremism. But still far too few EU Member States are facing up to this rising threat. We need strong, preventive measures to counter extremism in all its forms. Our aim is to boost Member States efforts against radicalisation and extremist violence, and to provide a toolbox for preventive action in Europe", said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
President Barroso visits Spain, receives Carlos V award
President José Manuel Barroso will visit Spain on 16-17 January.
On Thursday 16 January, at 12:00, the President will be awarded the Carlos V European prize of the European Academy at Yuste, in the presence of the Princes of Asturias, the President of the Spanish Government, Mr Mariano Rajoy, and the Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr Pedro Passos Coelho. The ceremony takes place at the Real Monasterio de Yuste. More information can be found here. Before the award ceremony, President Barroso will hold a meeting with the President of the Junta de Extremadura, Mr José Antonio Monago, and with the members of the regional government.
On Friday 17 January, at 12:30, the President will be received by HM King Juan Carlos. Subsequently, President Barroso will hold a meeting with the President of the Spanish Government, Mr Mariano Rajoy, followed by a press conference.
Following last night's agreement in principle reached by the European Parliament and the Council at a trilogue meeting in Strasbourg, Commissioner Barnier welcomed the agreement on behalf of the Commission: "I welcome the agreement in principle reached today by the European Parliament and the Council on updated rules for markets in financial instruments (MiFID II). These new rules will improve the way capital markets function to the benefit of the real economy. They are a key step towards establishing a safer, more open and more responsible financial system and restoring investor confidence in the wake of the financial crisis. The Commission would, however, have preferred a more ambitious implementation period."
State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Greek guarantee and bond loan schemes for credit institutions
The European Commission has authorised until 30 June 2014, the extension of a support scheme for credit institutions in Greece which includes a guarantee scheme and a bond loan scheme. The schemes was initially approved in November 2008 (see IP/08/1742), and prolonged several times, the last one being in July 2013 (see MEX/13/0725). The Commission found the prolongation of the guarantee scheme and the bond loan scheme to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/13/672 and MEMO/13/886). In particular, the measures are well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that the schemes represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Greek economy and as such are compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
On the occasion of the debate on the fundamental right of free movement of people in the EU taking place today in the European Parliament at 15:00, the Commission has updated its MEMO on free movement of people. The statements of Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, and of László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, will be issued after the plenary debate
To take account of the submission of Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans by Member States, the Commission has updated its MEMO on the Youth Guarantee.
The first estimate for the euro area (EA17) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world in November 2013 gave a 17.1 billion euro surplus, compared with +12.5 bn in November 2012. The October 2013 balance was +16.8 bn, compared with +9.6 bn in October 2012. In November 2013 compared with October 2013, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 0.2% and imports by 1.3%. These data are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The first estimate for the November 2013 extra-EU281 trade balance was a 3.4 bn euro surplus, compared with -3.0 bn in November 2012. In October 2013 the balance was +4.8 bn, compared with -10.2 bn in October 2012. In November 2013 compared with October 2013, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 0.6% and imports by 1.4%.
Neelie Kroes yesterday welcomed the support of the European Parliament for the eHealth Action Plan which address barriers to the full use of digital solutions in Europe's healthcare systems. MEPs yesterday voted on a resolution in support of the plan to improve healthcare for the benefit of patients, give patients more control of their care and bring down costs.
On 16 January 2014 at 20.00 CET, Viviane Reding will debate with citizens from across Europe in an online dialogue streamed live on YouTube (watch here). Euronews will be moderating the debate, and will be inviting participants to take part based on the most interesting and challenging questions posed on social media. The debate will be preceded by a live Euronews ‘Global Conversation’ interview with Vice-President Reding, which you can watch here . To take part in this online dialogue, people can post their questions and comments on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ with the hashtags #askReding and/or #eudeb8.
The social economy is an important pillar of the European economy, representing some 10% of GDP. More than 11 million workers or 4.5% of the active EU population are employed in the social economy. One in every four new businesses set up each year is a social business, rising to one in three in France, Finland and Belgium. Social entrepreneurs aim to have an impact on society rather than only generating profits for owners and shareholders. For example, they provide jobs for disadvantaged groups, promoting their social inclusion and increasing solidarity in the economy. But they face enormous challenges and an uneven playing field.
On 16 and 17 January 2014 in Strasbourg, the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the City of Strasbourg will host a large European interactive event on social entrepreneurship and the social economy (Social Entrepreneurs: Have Your Say!). This two-day event will use a collaborative, participatory approach. Participants include social entrepreneurs, academics, policy makers, financing providers, social activists and many more. The participants themselves will drive the issues to be debated and identify the way forward for the social entrepreneurship sector. Three European Commissioners - Vice-president Antonio Tajani and Commissioners Michel Barnier and László Andor - will enter into live discussions with social entrepreneurs. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece and Henri Malosse, President of the European Economic and Social Committee will speak at the event. See also MEMO/14/11.
The winners of the 2014 European Border Breakers Awards ('the EBBA Awards'), highlighting the best new music acts in Europe which have achieved cross-border chart success, will be honoured this evening at the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival in Groningen (Netherlands). The winner of the coveted public choice award will be announced during the ceremony by host Jools Holland. The event will be broadcast live via YouTube starting at 18.00.
What Commissioners said
Autre matériel diffusé :
At the start of the Parliamentary debate in Strasburg President Barroso stressed the main priorities shared by the Commission and the Greek Presidency, and the strong determination of both to succeed. He also clarified the Commission's position on free movement of people - 'a fundamental principle of the treaties and one of the core elements that distinguish our Union' – and on the Single Resolution Mechanism – 'not just our main deliverable, but also our primary duty before the elections'.