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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 11 / 09 / 2015

Brussels, 11 September 2015

Plan d’Investissement pour l’Europe: deux nouvelles transactions EFSI de l’ordre de €145 millions pour soutenir les PME en Belgique

Le Fonds européen d’Investissement (FEI) et la Société Wallonne de Financement et de Garantie des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (SOWALFIN) ont signé deux accords afin de faciliter l’accès au financement des indépendants et PME wallonnes. Ces deux transactions bénéficient du support du Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques (FEIS) lequel se trouve au cœur du Plan d’Investissement pour l’Europe. Les accords InnovFin et COSME signés aujourd'hui vont permettre à la SOWALFIN d’émettre des garanties sur des crédits bancaires à des entreprises innovantes en Wallonie de l’ordre de €145 millions à destination d’environ 600 entreprises. Marianne Thyssen, Commissaire européenne à l’Emploi, aux Affaires Sociales, aux Compétences et à la Mobilité des travailleurs, a pris la parole à Liège : «Je suis très heureuse de signer aujourd’hui les premiers accords EFSI avec des partenaires belges grâce auxquels plus de 600 PME wallonnes pourront accéder à de nouveaux financements de l’ordre de €145 millions. Le Plan d’Investissement pour l’Europe devient une réalité sur le terrain, créant de nouveaux emplois et apportant son soutien aux entreprises innovantes.» (Pour plus d'information, voir notre communiqué de presse conjoint, et contacter Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Siobhán Bright Tel.: +32 229 57361)


One third of Galileo constellation now in orbit

Two Galileo satellites, named Alba and Oriana, were successfully sent into orbit during the night of Thursday 10 to Friday 11 September. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "We are delivering on our commitment to build the Galileo infrastructure on time and within budget. The goal of the Commission's space policy is to foster a booming and innovative internal market for space-based applications, and support the development of a robust European industry that can compete on the global stage and achieve great things." Galileo is the EU programme to develop a global satellite navigation system. It will provide more accurate positioning and timing information that can be used for products such as in-car navigation devices and mobile phones. Its services will make road and rail transport systems safer and improve our responses to emergency situations. And we are introducing a global Search and Rescue function, which will be the first in the world to integrate almost real-time localisation of distress calls. This will help to save lives and reduce rescue crews’ exposure to risk. The Commission plans to ensure the gradual provision of initial Galileo services in the coming years as the satellite constellation is completed; the full services will be available by 2020, using the full Galileo network of 30 satellites and their supporting ground stations. With 10 satellites now in orbit, we are well on track. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietilä – Tel.: +32 229 64950)


TRANSPORT: Expert group discusses rail security

Following the attempted attack in a Thalys train on 21 August, the Land Transport Security Group (LANDSEC) is meeting today in Brussels, to discuss rail security. LANDSEC is an expert group composed of representatives of the European Commission, Member States and of the rail industry. EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said "In the interest of European citizens, our objective is for travel to remain easy whilst maintaining the highest level of security and the right to free movement. Security must remain proportionate to the threat. I have therefore asked the expert group to analyse current best practices in rail security and to assess potential future action." Today's discussions will form the basis of a ministerial debate, which has been added to the agenda of October's Transport Council, at the request of Commissioner Bulc. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 69143)


European Social Fund: €3.5 billion for more jobs and better skills in England

Yesterday the European Commission adopted the Operational Programme for 2014-2020 for England, worth €6.4 billion, with €3.5 billion coming from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the rest co-financed by national funding. Investment will focus on increasing the employment rate in a socially inclusive way, improving the skills of the workforce and creating chances for young people. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen commented:"This programme will provide support to more than 2.3 million people in England, many of which struggle to succeed on the jobs market or face particular disadvantages. Helping young people enter employment, education or training is our number one priority in Europe and I am confident that initiatives under this programme will make a positive difference for many of them." (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


Commission publishes guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine

The Commission published today Guidelines aimed to prevent the overuse and misuse of antibiotics by sharing best-practices in Member States. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) causes 25,000 deaths annually and over €1.5 billion in healthcare expenses and productivity losses in Europe alone. These latest guidelines are one of the key deliverables in the EU action plan on AMR. They provide, at a glance, Member States authorities, farmers and veterinarians with practical examples of what is being done in other EU countries to promote the prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine. Such measures can contribute to the control of AMR also in human medicine. Antimicrobials are essential in combatting infectious diseases and AMR is a serious threat both for human and animal health. Since AMR can be transferred from animals to humans and vice-versa via direct and indirect contact, a "One Health" approach based on collaboration and joined-up thinking of both human and veterinary medicine sectors is essential to tackle this issue at EU and global level. AMR remains a priority for the EU which published in November 2011 a five-year Action Plan designed to address the growing risks posed by AMR. A progress report on the 12 actions outlined in the plan was published earlier this year. AMR develops when microorganisms no longer respond to drugs they were previously sensitive to. Regular reports by the Commission’s agencies, EMA, EFSA and ECDC can be found under latest updates. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


Have your say on Internet speed and quality: the Commission launches a 360° review of telecoms rules

Today the European Commission is opening a debate on the future of Europe's telecoms rulebook with the launch of two public consultations, one on Europeans' broadband needs and the other focusing on the review of the current telecoms framework. The Commission wants to hear from all users, organisations, public bodies, and businesses across all sectors – from telecoms and ICT to agriculture, from education to automotive, from services and industry, and especially those that develop applications and services that depend on connectivity. Following the evaluation process, the Commission will present its proposal on how to address the identified challenges in telecoms and broadband. Creating the right conditions for digital products, networks and services to flourish is part of the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy presented in May. Progress has already been made: earlier this year, EU institutions agreed on strong net neutrality rules protecting the right of every European to access Internet content without discrimination and on the end roaming charges by June 2017 (a press release is available here). The two consultations are open until 7 December 2015. More details are available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel: + 32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Sitel by Acticall

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Sitel Worldwide Corporation of the US by Groupe Acticall S.A of Luxembourg. Sitel is specialised in customer care services through contact centres. It operates 108 sites located in 21 countries. Acticall is an integrated group providing customer relationship management services, notably through call centres. It operates 20 sites located in 4 countries, mainly in France. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of the companies' limited combined market position resulting from the transaction. 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.7730. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


Mergers: Commission clears Dutch biodiesel joint venture by Wilmar and Fox Petrolifera

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a Dutch joint venture company by Wilmar International Limited of Singapore and Fox Petrolifera Italiana SpA of Italy. The joint venture will produce biodiesel and its by-products from an existing Italian biodiesel plant currently operated by Fox Petrolifera. Both companies' are active in the production of biodiesel as well as crude and refined glycerin. Also, the joint venture's parent companies sell palm and seed oil, which are both used in the production of biodiesel. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the companies' combined market position would remain highly limited on all markets involved and they would continue to face significant competitive pressure from various strong, multinational 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.7704. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

EUROSTAT: EU trade in goods with South Korea in surplus for a second consecutive year

The value of European Union (EU) exports of goods to South Korea has more than doubled over the period 2004-2014, from €17.9 billion in 2004 to a peak of €43.2 billion in 2014. Imports show a more varied trend over this 10-year time period. In 2014 they amounted to €39.0 billion, up by 9% compared with 2013 but still below the peak reached in 2007 (€41.7 billion). As a result, the EU trade balance with South Korea, which had constantly been in deficit from 2004 to 2012, has turned into a surplus for the last two years and stood at +€4.1 billion in both 2013 and 2014. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)




European Commission and UK Government launch landmark innovative environmental project in Essex

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Rory Stewart and Coastal Communities Minister Mark Francois, officially opened Jubilee Marsh today, marking the completion of the first phase of the RSPB’s Wallasea Island Wild Coast project. The project in Essex is a landmark initiative, in which conservation and business sectors have united to help preserve biodiversity and assist local communities adapt to rising sea levels due to continuing climate change. Over three million tonnes of material excavated from London as part of the Crossrail project was shipped to Wallasea to create Jubilee Marsh. The project is also moving forward the science of landscape engineering by creating inter-tidal habitats on the largest scale seen so far in Europe. Commissioner Vella welcomed the initiative: "This innovative project involving the RSPB and CrossRail shows the value of applying new environmentally sound techniques. It applies a circular economy approach to build an extraordinary natural resource and adds to Europe's growing 'Natura 2000' network of protected areas. I hope that this project will inspire similar initiatives matching business and conservation elsewhere in the UK and the European Union." (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321)




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