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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 12 / 06 / 2015

Brussels, 12 June 2015

President Juncker marks 30th anniversary of the Schengen Agreement

On 14 June, Europe is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Schengen Agreement. This was signed on 14 June 1985 and marked the start of the process that abolished internal border controls between Member States. To mark the occasion, President Juncker, alongside Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel and European Parliament President Martin Schulz, will deliver a speech at the ceremony taking place in the village of Schengen, Luxembourg, tomorrow 13 June at 10:30 CET. The original signatories of the Schengen Agreement were Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It was integrated into the legal framework of the EU with the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. The present-day Schengen area covers all the EU Member States – except the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia – as well as the Schengen associated countries Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Over 1.25 billion journeys within the Schengen area made every year. Apart from abolishing the controls at the internal borders, the Schengen cooperation created common rules covering checks at the external borders, harmonised the conditions of entry and the rules on visas for short stays, enhanced police cooperation and strengthened the cooperation between judicial authorities. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "On a continent where nations once shed blood to defend their territories, today borders only exist on maps. Removing borders, ensuring safety and building trust took many years after two devastating world wars. The creation of the Schengen area is one of the greatest achievements of the EU and it is irreversible." Find out more in the Schengen Brochure and videos online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020)


EU announces new funding for the Caribbean

EU High Representative / Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogherini signed a €346 million new regional funding programme with the Caribbean region until 2020. This represents more than a doubling of the funds that were available in previous years (€165 million). The programme, designed together with the Caribbean representative organisation CARIFORUM, establishes jointly agreed priorities for bi-regional cooperation. The signing took place on the occasion of the EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit and the EU-CARIFORUM High Level Event in Brussels. Vice-President Mogherini said: “The EU and the Caribbean have strong historic, economic and cultural ties, based on common values. With this new funding, we want to further strengthen our common efforts towards more inclusive and sustainable development and prosperity and will continue to stand by the side of the Caribbean people to continue to develop our excellent, mutually beneficial partnership based on respect and common values." Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said: "With the signing of the regional programme we can now mobilise resources for the implementation of our jointly defined priorities. This also illustrates not only the EU's continued commitment but also continued engagement in the region." More information can be found in the press release. (For more information: Catherine Ray - Tel.: +32 229 69921; Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


State aid: Commission finds that electricity contracts between state-owned Romanian electricity generator Hidroelectrica and certain customers did not involve state aid

Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has concluded that electricity supply contracts signed by the state-owned Romanian electricity generator Hidroelectrica with certain electricity traders and industrial customers did not involve state aid within the meaning of the EU rules. The Commission found that the contracts were either concluded on market terms or, where tariffs were below market level, that the Romanian state could not be held responsible for the tariffs granted. In particular, the analysis revealed that Hidroelectrica charged prices that were fully in line with the benchmark market price to nine customers (ArcelorMittal, Alro, Alpiq RomEnergie, Alpiq RomIndustries, EFT, Electrica, Electromagnetica, Energy Holding, Euro-Pec). The prices charged to Luxten-Lighting, Electrocarbon and Elsid were lower than the benchmark market price. However, the investigation did not establish that the decision to grant favourable conditions to these relatively minor private players can be attributed to the Romanian authorities. The Commission therefore concluded that none of the sale contracts under examination involved state aid. The non-confidential version of the decisions will be made available under the case numbers SA.33623, SA.33624, SA.33451 and SA.33581, in the State Aid Register on the DG competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of APPE by Plastipak

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of APPE by Plastipak of the USA, the winning bidder in the insolvency procedure of La Seda de Barcelona of Spain, the mother company of APPE. Both companies are mainly active in the manufacturing of plastic preforms made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resins, which are tube-shaped intermediary products ultimately molded into PET bottles. Both companies also produce PET bottles and recycle PET materials in order to produce recycled PET resin. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction will raise no competition concerns because a number of credible competitors will continue to constrain the merged entity in the markets for PET preforms, whereas its market position for PET resin and PET bottles will be limited. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7484. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


EUROSTAT: Industrial production up by 0.1% in both euro area and EU28

In April 2015 compared with March 2015, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 0.1% in both the euro area (EA19) and the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In March 2015 industrial production decreased by 0.4% and 0.1% respectively. In April 2015 compared with April 2014, industrial production increased by 0.8% in the euro area and by 1.2% in the EU28. A press release is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 22964950)




Joint Statement on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour

Marking the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility and Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said the following statement: "Child labour not only condemns children today and future generations to lives of poverty and social injustice, but is depriving the entire world of an invaluable capital of knowledge, resourcefulness and creativity. Around 168 million children aged 5-17 are in child labour and this is by no means limited to the poorest countries. Even in developed economies, the economic crisis has created an environment in which more and more children and minors give up on school. But no child should have to sacrifice their childhood and education to provide for their family or indeed to ensure their own survival." Full statement available here. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Eamonn Prendergast – Tel.: +32 229 98851)



EU Commissioner Mimica to announce new support to Vanuatu and sign development programmes during visit to the Pacific Region

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will travel to Fiji and Vanuatu from 15 – 19 June. The visit serves to maintain high level political dialogue between the EU and the Pacific Region. On the occasion Commissioner Mimica will sign the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme, National Indicative Programmes with Papua New Guinea and Fiji and will announce support for post-cyclone recovery for Vanuatu. He will also deliver a speech at the Africa Caribbean Pacific-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, and hold bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, President of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale and other government representatives. In addition, during his visit Commissioner Mimica will inaugurate the new office of the European Union Delegation for the Pacific and will visit EU funded projects. Ahead of the visit to the Pacific Region, Commissioner Mimica said: “The European Union has been and will remain a reliable partner to the Pacific. We value the strong foundations of our partnership and remain committed to contribute to the wellbeing of the citizens of the Pacific through our work as one of the region's key development partners.(For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)



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