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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 02 / 07 / 2015

Brussels, 02 July 2015

Aviation: certifying third country operators to cut red tape and boost air safety

Today, the Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued the first single air safety authorisations to 22 third country operators, certifying their compliance with European safety standards. These authorisations will be valid throughout the EU. By November 2016, all third country operators, regardless of whether they already fly to the EU, will be required to hold such an authorisation. The objective of this new scheme is twofold: to cut red-tape by replacing today's maze of national authorisations with a single document, and to maintain the highest level of aviation safety in Europe. On the occasion, EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "The new safety authorisation scheme has a clear European added value. It will take the safety of Europeans one step further by ensuring that third country operators flying to Europe match the highest safety standards, comparable to those the EU requires from European carriers. The "one-stop-shop" approach means cutting red-tape and reducing administrative costs for airlines." A press release is available here. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 69143)

La Commission présente son évaluation de l’action engagée par la France pour corriger son déficit excessif

La Commission a adopté hier une communication présentant son analyse du rapport remis par la France sur les mesures prises en réponse à la recommandation du Conseil du 10 mars dernier. D’une manière générale, ce rapport confirme la stratégie budgétaire exposée dans le programme de stabilité et donc l’intention du gouvernement français de corriger son déficit excessif en 2017. Plus spécifiquement, le rapport précise les modalités de mise en œuvre des actions soutenant l’effort additionnel prévu par les autorités en 2015 et 2016. En particulier, le rapport revient sur les mesures d’économies prévues pour 2016 qui n’avaient pas été suffisamment détaillées dans le programme de stabilité, sans toutefois en proposer de nouvelles. A la lumière de ces observations et des informations disponibles, la Commission considère que la trajectoire de réduction du déficit public en 2015 et 2016 est en ligne avec les objectifs fixés par le Conseil en termes de déficit nominal. En revanche, l'effort budgétaire prévu reste en deçà du niveau recommandé tant pour 2015 que pour 2016. La Commission invite donc la France à renforcer sa stratégie budgétaire et à détailler davantage les économies prévues pour 2016 et 2017 afin de ramener durablement son déficit public sous les 3% du PIB dans les délais fixés par le Conseil. A ce stade, la procédure pour déficit excessif est mise en suspens, la Commission réévaluera la situation de la France au moment de l’analyse des plans budgétaires en automne. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

State aid: Commission approves €270 million in investment aid for the expansion of the Port of Calais

The European Commission has found that public funding of €270 million to build a new cross‑Channel terminal in the Port of Calais is in line with EU state aid rules. The new infrastructure furthers EU transport policy objectives without unduly distorting competition in the internal market. EU Commissioner for Competiton Margrethe Vestager, welcomed the decision: "This is a good example of how Member States can boost infrastructure investments without damaging competition in the Single Market. This French project has attracted private funding in order to complete a project which could not have been started without this cooperation. Furthermore, this is a trans-European project that will enable a better flow of cross-Channel links and stronger trade exchanges between the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe." The press release is available online in FR, EN and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

State aid: Commission approves amended restructuring plan of Austrian bank ÖVAG

The European Commission has found the amended restructuring plan of Österreichische Volksbanken AG (ÖVAG) and the Volksbanken-Verbund (Verbund) to be in line with EU state aid rules. The Austrian Volksbanken sector consists of a central institute, ÖVAG, and the Verbund, which includes over 50 primary banks and other affiliates. The Commission concluded in particular that the amendments will fundamentally restructure the Austrian Volksbanken sector in order to make it viable in the long-term without further state support. The changes became necessary after an assessment by the European Central Bank (ECB) identified a capital shortfall. This assessment was carried out in October 2014, in the context of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). The press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Irish credit union resolution scheme

The European Commission has approved the prolongation of an Irish scheme for the orderly winding-up of credit unions until 31 December 2015 under EU state aid rules. Credit unions are financial cooperatives that provide access to credit and savings facilities to their members. They are regulated by the central bank and required under Irish legislation to keep a minimum reserve as a buffer to absorb losses before they can have any impact on deposits and deposit guarantees. The objective of the scheme is to safeguard financial stability and protect the interests of depositors when a credit union is unable to meet regulatory requirements. The Commission initially approved the scheme in December 2011 and it was prolonged several times, the last time in January 2015. The prolonged measures are well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission therefore concluded that the scheme was in line with EU state aid rules, and in particular the 2013 Banking Communication. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the reference SA.42083. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren - Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Pirelli by CNRC

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Pirelli S.p.A. of Italy by the China National Tyre and Rubber Co. Ltd ('CNRC') of China, a company solely controlled by the China National Chemical Corporation. Both companies are active in the production and supply of tyres sold both, as original equipment ('OEM' tyres) and as new replacement tyres, on a number of markets (for instance tyres for cars and vans, and tyres for trucks and buses). The Commission's investigation found that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as the market share increments are modest, the two companies are not close competitors, and customers will continue to have an adequate number of alternative suppliers in all markets. The transaction was examined under the ordinary merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7643. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

EUROSTAT: Industrial producer prices stable in euro area

In May 2015, compared with April 2015, industrial producer prices remained stable in the euro area (EA19) and rose by 0.1% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In April 2015 prices fell by 0.1% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU28. In May 2015, compared with May 2014, industrial producer prices decreased by 2.0% in the euro area and by 2.6% in the EU28. A press release is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 22964950)



Frans Timmermans visits Vienna to meet with the Austrian Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and other political leaders and participate in a Citizens' Dialogue

On Thursday 2 July, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans visits Vienna for a series of meetings with the Austrian Government and with citizens and civil society. He will meet Mr Werner Faymann, Austrian Chancellor, Mr Reinhold Mitterlehner, Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Ms Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Minister of the Interior, as well as the leaders of the Austrian Parliamentary Groups. The mission will include discussions with Austrian social partners on better regulation and a roundtable with young leaders in business, media, culture and social innovation. The First Vice-President will also take part in a Citizens' Dialogue alongside Vice-Chancellor Mitterlehner, to discuss in a town hall style a range of topics including jobs and growth, democracy, migration, fundamental rights and security. The discussion can be followed live on the Citizens' Dialogue website at 17:30 CET, and questions can be submitted using the Twitter hashtag #EUdialogues. With this event, the Commission takes the number of Citizens' Dialogues organised since January 2015 to 33. Events have now taken place in 20 Member States with a total audience of over 12,000 participants at the events and many more following live online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

Vice-President Dombrovskis on European Semester visit to Luxembourg

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, is in Luxembourg today, to discuss the European Semester and the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Vice-President will meet Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, President of the Central Bank of Luxembourg Gaston Reinesch, Chairman of the Foreign and European Affairs Committee of the Parliament Marc Angel and Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee Eugène Berger as well as social partners. Vice-President Dombrovskis is travelling to Member States as part of the Commission's outreach on the European Semester of economic policy coordination. It takes place on the basis of the country-specific policy recommendations published by the Commission in May. During these visits, the Vice-President engages national authorities and social partners in a constructive discussion on the issues raised in the recommendations. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on Energy Union Tour to Portugal, 2 July 2015

Within the framework of the "Energy Union Tour", Vice-President Šefčovič will visit Lisbon on 2of July. The Vice-President will discuss with a host of national actors and stakeholders the benefits of the Energy Union for Portugal and the challenges ahead. His visit will include meetings with Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, with Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy, Jorge Moreira da Silva and a joint hearing with parliamentary committees at the National Parliament. Moreover, during his trip Maroš Šefčovič will meet industrial representatives, think tanks, civil society organisations active in the Energy Union field, students and other citizens with whom he will discuss and debate in the framework of Citizens dialogues. He will conduct this broad-based dialogue jointly with Minister Jorge Moreira da Silva. Vice-President Šefčovič said: "Portugal is on track to meet its 2020 target and has put into place a resolutely forward looking green growth agenda. It can benefit from the Energy Union through many means, first among which the already ongoing intensification of the work on interconnections of the Iberian Peninsula. And in return the Energy Union will further benefit from plugging Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula into the EU internal energy market. It's a win-win". Follow the Energy Union Tour on its dedicated web page, as well as the Vice President's Twitter and Facebook accounts. The discussion can be followed live on the Citizens' Dialogue website at 14:00 local time (15:00 CET), and questions can be submitted using the Twitter hashtag #EUdialogues. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


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