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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 30 / 06 / 2015

Brussels, 30 June 2015

Commission welcomes agreement to end roaming charges and to guarantee an open Internet

Huge telephone bills ruining your holiday budget, an Internet connection not delivering on its promises: these experiences will be soon old memories. The European Parliament, Council and Commission today agreed to end roaming charges in June 2017 and to establish the first EU-wide net neutrality rules. Andrus Ansip, Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, welcomed the agreement: "Europeans have been calling and waiting for the end of roaming charges as well as for net neutrality rules. They have been heard. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to create a Digital Single Market. Our plans to make it happen were fully endorsed by Heads of State and Government last week, and we should move faster than ever on this." Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: "I welcome today's crucial agreement to finally end roaming charges and establish pragmatic net neutrality rules throughout the EU. Both are essential for consumers and businesses in today’s European digital economy and society. We will build on these important foundations in our forthcoming review of the EU's telecoms legislation." The measures will be completed by an ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules in 2016. This reform will include a more effective EU-level spectrum coordination. Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish is a key objective of the Commission's plan for a Digital Single Market. For more information see the press release (also in FR and DE) and the factsheet. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: + 32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


Investment Plan for Europe: Bulgaria to contribute €100 million

Bulgaria has announced that it will contribute €100 million to projects benefiting from finance by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), at the heart of the €315 billion Investment Plan for Europe. The contribution will be made through co-financing of projects approved by the Bulgarian Development Bank. Bulgaria is the 8th Member State after Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Slovakia to announce a contribution, even before the EFSI becomes operational. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "I am delighted to hear that Bulgaria has announced a contribution of €100 million to the Investment Plan. I had very good discussions with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov when I was in Sofia earlier this year about how Bulgaria could benefit from the Investment Plan and soon we will see the concrete effects of its implementation." See full press release. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhan Bright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)


Commission supports established scientists in Europe with €445 million in new research grants

Today, the EU is awarding 190 senior researchers with the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants. The grants, worth up to €2.5 million each, will enable researchers from 23 nationalities to pursue ground breaking ideas in all areas of knowledge; from pioneering new gene therapy treatments for heart arrhythmias to investigations in biodiversity in tropical and temperate forests. On this occasion, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Scientists benefitting from these ERC Advanced Grants work at the frontiers of human knowledge. They have ground-breaking ideas that may be risky to pursue, but that also reap exceptional gains. They also often spark new discoveries and tackle the biggest challenges for society. Thanks to funding for excellent science from Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme, they will be able to continue exploring these ideas." More information is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)


Commission releases €550 million for cross-border European energy networks

Today the Commission launches a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key trans-European energy infrastructure projects. Up to €550 million will be made available for projects which will contribute to develop a resilient Energy Union. Once in place, these projects will contribute to end energy isolation and to eliminate energy bottlenecks that prevent the completion of the European internal energy market. This investment money will act as a catalyst for securing additional financing from private and public investors. With a total amount of €650 million for grants foreseen in 2015, this is the second of the two calls scheduled for this year. The deadline to submit applications is 30 September 2015. A decision on the selection of proposals to be funded is expected at the end of this year. EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "Well-connected and reliable energy networks are crucial to build a resilient the Energy Union. This will help ensure secure affordable and sustainable energy for all Europeans and businesses. As a key priority for the Juncker Commission, we have to make European public money support targeted and meaningful investments." The full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 2 29 56186 and Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 2 295 25 89)


New EU logo to help patients avoid online sellers of fake medicines

From 1 July, all online pharmacies or retailers of medicines legally operating in the EU should display a new logo introduced by the Falsified Medicines Directive (2011/62/EU) to protect patients. Europeans considering buying medicines online should look out for the logo on the webpages of an online pharmacy or other online retailers. The logo has a two-step verification process to ensure maximum protection from falsified medicines, which are usually ineffective, substandard and dangerous. When clicking on the logo, online shoppers should be taken to the national regulatory authority website which lists all legally operating pharmacies and retailers of medicines in a given Member State. To see what the logo looks like, and to find out more about its use, see IP/14/712 and the webpage created for the EU logo for online sale of medicines. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


Record interventions of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed to fight health risks

The 2014 Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) Annual Report, published today, reveals that in 2014, 3157 notifications of food or feed risks were reported to the European Commission via this EU-wide alert system, representing a 25% increase compared to 2013. Of these notifications, 751 alerts concerned a serious health risk. These original notifications gave rise to 5910 follow-up notifications - a new high in the history of RASFF - marking a 15% increase. Among the most notified risks are mercury in fish, aflatoxins in nuts and Salmonella in poultry. RASFF, which originated in 1979, has in the course of 35 years greatly evolved to keep pace with a growing and increasingly complex global market and changing consumer habits. In 2014, the Commission further streamlined RASFF for greater efficiency in the aftermath of the 2011 EHEC outbreak, which originated from sprouted seeds in Germany. Consequently, the online ‘iRASFF’ platform is now used by all Member States and allows countries to interact on each other's alerts in real time. Together with the publication of the system's standard operating procedures (download here) these tools have made the system even more effective in addressing the many food and feed incidents reported. Next steps, already underway, are a review of RASFF and other systems dealing with food safety and health with a view to integrating them for better preparedness for new food safety challenges and potential crises. For more information on RASFF, the full report and the info graph, see: (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


EUROSTAT: Euro area unemployment rate at 11.1%

The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.1% in May 2015, stable compared with April 2015, and down from 11.6% in May 2014. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since March 2012. The EU28 unemployment rate was 9.6% in May 2015, also stable compared with April 2015 and down from 10.3% in May 2014. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since July 2011. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat estimates that 23.348 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 17.726 million in the euro area, were unemployed in May 2015. Compared with April 2015, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 38 000 in the EU28 and by 35 000 in the euro area. Compared with May 2014, unemployment fell by 1.575 million in the EU28 and by 939 000 in the euro area. More information can be found in the press release here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)


EUROSTAT: Euro area annual inflation down to 0.2%

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.2% in June 2015, down from 0.3% in May 2015, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, food, alcohol & tobacco is expected to have the highest annual rate in June (1.2%, stable compared with May), followed by services (1.0%, compared with 1.3% in May), non-energy industrial goods (0.4%, compared with 0.2% in May) and energy (-5.1%, compared with -4.8% in May). More information can be found in the press release here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194)



Commissioner Stylianides to visit Ukraine on 1 -2 July

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides will visit Ukraine on 1 and 2 July. The visit comes amid concerns over the humanitarian situation with an estimated 5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the country. "It's essential that humanitarian aid gets to all vulnerable populations affected by the conflict. Humanitarian organisations need to have safe and speedy access to the conflict areas", Commissioner Christos Stylianides said. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


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