Daily News of 2014-05-07
European Commission - MEX/14/0507 07/05/2014
Other available languages: none
EXME 14 / 07.05
07 / 05 / 14
Today, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, are meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe for the twenty second summit meeting between the European Union and Japan. The Summit is the culmination of a nine-day visit of Prime Minister Abe to six EU Member States. The ongoing twin negotiations for a Strategic Partnership Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement, launched in April 2013, will be at the centre of the Summit's agenda. European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger will also be present.
The President's speaking points will be available on Rapid after the press conference at 12:00.
President Barroso visits Berlin, Florence, Poland
President Barroso is travelling to Berlin to deliver a speech at Humboldt University tomorrow 8 May on the future of Europe. From Berlin, he travels to Florence to attend the State of the Union conference which is organised by the European University Institute and which will also focus on the future of the social and political model for Europe. On 9 May the President will travel to Poland to deliver a speech at the Natolin Campus of the College of Europe on the occasion of its 20th anniversary and to mark Europe Day. The event will also commemorate the 10th anniversary of the biggest enlargement of the European Union and Poland’s accession to the EU. A bilateral meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mr Tusk is also foreseen to discuss current EU affairs, including energy issues and Ukraine. On 10th of May President Barroso will go to Cracow to meet the President of Poland Mr Komorowski. This meeting will be followed by a short press point. He also plans to attend, together with President Komorowski, the 650th jubilee celebrations of the Jagiellonian University.
Later today, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will attend the world's largest Seafood fair, the Brussels Seafood Expo Global 2014. At 3 pm, the Commissioner will host an event on the European Commission's stand to promote EU fish farming and the benefits of eating seafood produced by aquaculture. At the event, Farmed in the EU, Ms Damanaki will be joined by two top chefs; Gianfranco Vissani from Italy and Kevin MacGillivray from the United Kingdom. Following this event, Commissioner Damanaki will meet with Mr. Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson,, Icelandic Minister of Fisheries, following the country's recent announcement of its 2014 North-East Atlantic mackerel quota. See also MEMO/14/335
The EU's Finance Ministers backed measures that will reinforce the protection of the euro and other currencies through criminal law measures. New measures will include tougher sanctions for criminals and improved tools for cross-border investigation. The directive was backed by the European Parliament on 16 April 2014 and is expected to enter into force in June 2014. Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice during Vice-President Viviane Reding's electoral leave said: "These new measures will help protect one of our most valuable assets: the euro (…)Today's endorsement marks a strong resolve to protect our currency for honest businesses and citizens and sends a stark warning to criminals." Commissioner Šemeta added: "These new rules against euro-counterfeiting will boost confidence in our common currency, and help to protect honest businesses and citizens from ending up with fake money in their pockets." For more information:
Eurostat estimates that in 2013 carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased by 2.5% in the EU28, compared with the previous year, after a fall of 1.6% in 2012. CO2 emissions are a major contributor to global warming and account for around 80% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions. They are influenced by factors such as climate conditions, economic growth, size of the population, transport and industrial activities. Various EU energy efficiency initiatives aim to reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. It should also be noted that imports and exports of energy products have an impact on CO2 emissions in the country where fossil fuels are burned: for example if coal is imported this leads to an increase in emissions, while if electricity is imported, it has no direct effect on emissions in the importing country, as these would be reported in the exporting country where it is produced.
The European Commission has concluded that the financing regime of Belgium's French language public service broadcaster RTBF, in its amended form, is in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, Belgium has made several commitments to clarify RTBF's public service remit and ensure that RTBF's public financing is limited to what is necessary to fulfil its tasks as a public service broadcaster. This will ensure that RTBF does not use public money for commercial activities (where it competes with private players that receive no such subsidies). Belgium has now one year to implement the commitments.
The European Commission has found that restructuring aid granted by Ireland to Allied Irish Banks plc (AIB) and its subsidiary EBS is in line with EU state aid rules. The restructuring plan sets out the right path for AIB to return to long-term viability without further state support, while ensuring that the bank and its owners contribute to the cost of restructuring and limiting the distortions of competition created by the aid.
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules Denmark's map for granting regional development aid between 2014 and 2020. The map is based on the new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013 (see IP/13/569), which set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. The guidelines aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
The European Commission has approved France's map for granting regional development aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of the new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013 (see IP/13/569). The new guidelines set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules Malta's map for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of the Commission's new regional aid guidelines adopted in June 2013 (see IP/13/569). The new guidelines set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules Greek's map for granting regional development aid between 2014 and 2020. The map is based on the new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013 (see IP/13/569), which set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. The guidelines aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
The European Commission has found that a series of measures from the Dublin local authorities for the Waste-to-Energy project in Poolbeg, Dublin, are in line with the EU state aid rules. Since the project will be carried out on market terms, it does not involve any state aid within the meaning of the EU rules.
The European Commission has found public financing for infrastructure renovations at the two UK airports St. Mary's and Land's End to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission found that one measure does not constitute state aid whereas the other measure will further EU transport policy objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. Indeed, the two airports are important for connecting the remote archipelago of the Isles of Scilly with the British mainland, to the benefit of both residents and visitors.
The European Commission has proposed to provide Romania with €3.6 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 1,000 former workers of the steel products manufacturer SC Mechel Campia Turzii SA and the downstream producer SC Mechel Reparatii Targoviste SRL to find new jobs. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for approval. EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: "The manufacture of finished and semi-finished steel products in the EU has been seriously disrupted due to intensified competition from countries outside the EU, particularly China. Today's proposal would help to prepare some 1,000 former steelworkers from the Cluj region in Romania for new job opportunities or to set up their own businesses".