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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 01 / 07 / 2015

Brussels, 01 July 2015

Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union – College of Commissioners discusses first steps

To mark Stage 1 of the Deepening of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which starts today (1 July 2015), the College of Commissioners had a first debate on the "Five Presidents' Report". The report entitled "Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union" was prepared at the request of the Euro Summit of October 2014 and the European Council of December 2014 by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, together with the President of the Euro Summit Donald Tusk, the President of the Eurogroup JeroenDijsselbloem, the President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. It was presented to EU leaders at the European Council in June. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for Euro and Social Dialogue, presented to Commissioners a first roadmap of actions to be taken immediately on the basis of existing Treaties in order to respond to the current challenges to our EMU. He said: "We need to accelerate the work on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union. The Commission will shortly come forward with specific proposals stemming from the "Five Presidents' Report". We specifically intend to accelerate completion of the Banking Union and reinforce Europe's governance framework to enhance convergence and competitiveness." The Commission will use the coming weeks and months to consult closely with Member States, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and other European institutions, and calls on all stakeholders to participate actively in shaping the completion of EMU. Full press release in EN, FR and DE and the statement by Vice-President Dombrovskis will be available online. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 51536, Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

Implementing the 2015 Work Programme: Commission to withdraw proposals blocked in Parliament and Council

As foreseen in its 2015 Work Programme, the Commission today decided to withdraw two legislative proposals - the Maternity Leave Directive and the Earth Observation Satellite Data Directive - on which the co-legislators have not been able to find a timely political agreement. They will be replaced with new initiatives in the 2016 Work Programme, aiming to meet their policy objectives in a more effective way. The Council has concluded that there is no prospect of progress on the proposed Maternity Leave Directive. It is unlikely that the proposed Earth Observation Satellite Data Directive could be adopted in a form that would meet its internal market objectives. The Commission will now formally confirm to the European Parliament and the Council its intention to proceed to withdraw these proposals. The Commission also confirmed that it will continue to work with the co-legislators for an agreement on a third proposal – for a Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products - where political discussions have advanced significantly. A press release on the three withdrawals can be found here. A press release on the withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directive, which aims to break from the current stalemate and open up the way for a fresh approach, can be found here. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

EU gives €15 million to Ukraine for humanitarian assistance

The European Union is increasing its humanitarian response to help people affected by the crisis in eastern Ukraine, with a new aid package worth €15 million announced today by European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides during his visit. "It's essential that humanitarian aid gets to all vulnerable people affected by the conflict. Humanitarian organisations need to have safe and speedy access to the conflict areas. I am very concerned about the continued fighting in Ukraine's Donbas, despite the ceasefire agreement. The impact of the violence on the civilian population is alarming", he said. The new funding brings the Commission's total humanitarian and early recovery assistance to vulnerable people hit by the conflict in Ukraine to over €62 million in addition to important bilateral assistance from a number of EU Member States. Together with the funding provided directly by Member States, the EU as a whole has directed over €223 million to those affected by the conflict since early 2014. A press release is available in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

Free movement: end of the first phase of transitional period for Croatian workers  

On 30 June the first phase of transitional arrangements for Croatian workers came to an end. By that date Member States were required to notify the Commission whether they will maintain restrictions on access of Croatian citizens to employment during the next three years or whether they already want to fully open their labour markets to them. Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain have decided to allow Croatian citizens full access to their labour markets. They will therefore fully apply the EU legislation on free movement of workers as of 1 July 2015. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen commented:"More Member States have now decided to open their labour markets for Croatian workers. This is a positive development. Labour mobility can be an opportunity both for workers and the host economies. The Commission is committed to further facilitating labour mobility in Europe, however at the same time we need to ensure that the system is fair for all, and that it is also perceived as fair by the citizens" A press release is available in EN, FR, DE and HR (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)

Commission welcomes deal to improve consumer protection for insurance products

The European Commission has welcomed the agreement reached last night on a proposal for a revised Directive on insurance sales, known as the Insurance Distribution Directive. These new rules will improve the way insurance products are sold and will bring real benefits to consumers and retail investors. The agreement on the legal text follows negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. "This agreement is good news for European consumers," said Jonathan Hill, EU Commissioner responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. "Consumers will benefit from greater choice and information when they buy insurance products, with more accountability and competition. I would like to congratulate the Latvian Presidency of the Council for this extraordinary success on its last day in office." Under the new Directive, consumers and retail investors buying insurance products will benefit from greater transparency about the price and the costs of these products and will be able to make more informed decisions when they purchase such products. A press release is available here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: + 32 229 56194; Maud Scelo – Tel.: + 32 229 81521)

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia accedes to the Common Transit Convention

As of today, companies based in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be able to transport their goods to the European Union, EFTA countries and Turkey more quickly than before, with the same benefits being applied to companies based in the EU, EFTA and Turkey trading with the country, as border crossings were simplified. The simplified border crossings became possible due to the today accession of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to two Conventions, the one on the simplification of formalities in trade in goods and the Common Transit Convention. The accession means that companies will avoid being held for lengthy procedural examinations at border crossings. At the same time, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is joining a system based on electronic declarations and processing, which is designed to provide better management and control of the transit of goods. This electronic system was developed with the help of EU funds under the Instrument for Pre-Accession. This is an important step for trade facilitation in the region and an important achievement for an EU candidate country. For more background information, please refer to the decision related to the Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods and the decision related to the Common Transit Convention. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: + 32 22956194; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

Launch of new Structural Reforms Support Service

Today the European Commission launches its new Structural Reforms Support Service. Steered by Vice-President Dombrovskis, the Service officially starts today to provide specialised technical assistance to Member States. On their request, the Service will help Member States implement important growth-enhancing administrative and structural reforms. The Service will also help Member States absorb and use EU funds more effectively. This is an area where past technical assistance to Member States has produced good results. Its first task will be to assist Vice-President Dombrovskis in the coordination of the Commission's efforts to support the Greek people in these difficult times. Experts for the new service will be drawn from across the Commission, Member States and from international bodies. It will draw on the valuable experience of the Task Force for Greece and the Support Group for Cyprus, amongst others. It will be headed by Director-General Maarten Verwey. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

Opening the doors: new public consultation tools introduced by the Commission

On 19 May the Commission announced a number of new public consultation tools as part of its Better Regulation agenda. Today the Commission implements the first of these measures, introducing new opportunities for stakeholder comments on Commission policy documents and proposals. Firstly, the initial Roadmap or Inception Impact Assessment of any new legislation will be open for comments. This provides an opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to give input very early on in the policy development cycle, before impact assessment and the related 12-weeks public consultation are launched, allowing their views to inform the process from the very beginning. Secondly, after the Commission has adopted a legislative proposal, citizens can again submit their comments, within 8 weeks. These comments will be collected and sent to the co-legislators to inform their legislative work. All submissions will be made public. Citizens can access these new tools through the website Your voice in Europe website. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of short-sea shipping company ODPR by CMA CGM

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Oldenburg-Portugiesische Dampfschiffs-Rhederei ("OPDR") of Germany by CMA CGM of France. CMA CGM is the world's third largest container shipping company. Both OPDR and CMA CGM (through its subsidiary MacAndrews) are active in intra-European short-sea container shipping, including port-to-port as well as door-to-door activities. The Commission concluded that the proposed take-over would raise no competition concerns in light of a number of factors: firstly, the low switching costs for customers, who can also use alternative means of transport, such as road or rail; secondly, the low barriers for new or existing competitors to enter or expand their services by adding new ships or new ports of call the intra-EEA short-sea shipping market, and thirdly, the low overall size of the affected markets. The transaction was examined under the ordinary merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7523. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Reclamefolder.nl by RTL Nederland and equity fund H2

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Reclamefolder.nl B.V. by RTL Nederland Ventures B.V. and H2 Equity Partners B.V., all of the Netherlands. Reclamefolder.nl is active in the field of online classified advertising in the Netherlands. RTL is a television broadcaster, active in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia and Hungary. RTL is part of the Germany-based media group Bertelsmann. H2 is a private equity fund. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of the negligible overlap of the companies' activities in online advertising in the Netherlands or in the Dutch-speaking territories and the presence of a number of strong competitors. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7638. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Elivia by Terrena and Dawn Meats

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Elivia of France by QDB Holdings/Dawn Meats (‘Dawn Meats’) of Ireland and Terrena of France. Elivia is active throughout the beef value chain; from the slaughtering of live animals to the sale of fresh and processed meat, primarily in France. Dawn Meats mainly operates in the beef and lamb sectors, in the slaughtering of live animals as well as deboning and further processing of meat. Terrena is active in the production and distribution of various agricultural products, such as plants, animals and agricultural machinery. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as the companies’ combined market shares remain modest and the market share increments brought by the transaction would be limited. The operation was examined under the simplified merger procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7571. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

EUROSTAT: EU Member States granted citizenship to almost 1 million persons in 2013

In 2013, around 985 000 persons acquired citizenship of a Member State of the European Union, up by 20% (or about 163 000 persons) compared with 2012. Of the total number of persons obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU Member States in 2013, 89% were citizens of non-EU countries. The largest groups acquiring citizenship of an EU Member State in 2013 were citizens of Morocco, India, Turkey, Colombia, Albania and Ecuador. Moroccans, Indians, Turks, Colombians, Albanians and Ecuadorians represented together almost a third of the total number of persons who acquired EU citizenship in 2013. Romanians (23 000 persons) and Poles (18 000) were the two largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU Member State. More information can be found in the Eurostat press release. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: + 32 229 62253; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020)


ANNOUNCEMENTS

College to discuss the future of EU budget own resources with Mario Monti

Today President Jean-Claude Juncker and the College of Commissioners met with Mario Monti, former Italian Prime Minister and former European Commissioner. Mr Monti is here to present the ongoing work of the High-Level Group of Own Resources, which he is chairing and in which First Vice-President Timmermans, Vice-President Georgieva and Commissioner Moscovici also take part. The Group, created at the beginning of 2014, is tasked to review the current way the EU budget is financed and to make recommendations on how to improve it.  Mario Monti presented a first report in December 2014 which acknowledges the major obstacles to carry out a reform and aims to find practical solutions, in particular, by enlarging the debate to a comprehensive analysis of the problem, comprising economic, budgetary, institutional and political aspects. This report is a first step with a view to delivering recommendations by end-2016. More information on the report is available here. Background information on the High-Level Group of Own Resources is accessible here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

President Juncker appoints Dacian Cioloș as Special Adviser on Food Security

Today, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, appointed Dacian Cioloș as Special Adviser on Food Security. President Juncker said: "Food crises, pressure on natural resources, growing world population and climate change all remind us that food security is an important challenge which the EU must help address. Dacian Cioloș has vast experience in the field of food security and is the right man to advise me on this important topic." As a special adviser to the President, Mr Cioloș will be working closely with various Members of the Juncker Commission on how the EU can contribute to resolving this global challenge. For his role, Mr Cioloș will not be remunerated. Mr Cioloș served as a European Commissioner in charge of Agriculture between 2010 and 2014. In his role, he piloted the first reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to be decided with 27 and later 28 Member States and with full co-decision with the European Parliament. His full CV is available online. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič addresses climate policy at the “World Summit Climate & Territories” in Lyon

Today Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for the Energy Union, will attend the “World Summit Climate & Territories” in France in discuss climate action. The Vice-President will intervene in the closing session together with the French President François Hollande. The conference brings togethernon-state actors in the run-up to the UN climate talks COP21 in Paris in December. Vice-President Šefčovič said: "Five months ahead of the climate conference in Paris, the World Summit Climate and Territories will be a unique opportunity for local governments, NGOs, businesses, and other key non-state actors to make their voices heard and showcase what can be done for climate. This is an essential part of our joint efforts to make COP21 a global success". The event will be live streamed. More information about the conference's programme online. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

Commission appoints a Principal Legal Adviser in the Legal Service

Today the European Commission has appointed Mr Paolo Stancanelli as Principal Legal Adviser in the AIDE team (state aids and dumping) in the European Commission Legal Service. Mr Stancanelli, an Italian national, started his career in the Commission in 1994 in the Directorate for Internal Market and Financial Services. Following assignments across the Commission, he moved to the Legal Service in 2006 as a Legal Adviser, where he has been working until now. Mr Stancanelli is a graduate in law and international politics. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

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