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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 23 / 09 / 2015

Brussels, 23 September 2015

European Commission welcomes Council Decision to relocate 120,000 people in clear need of international protection

Yesterday, European Home Affairs Ministers took an historic decision to relocate 120,000 refugees from Greece, Italy and other Member States directly affected by the refugee crisis, less than two weeks after the Commission came forward with its proposal. The Commission welcomed this decision in a statement. At the press conference following the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said "This decision is an important and essential building block in what is a much larger approach that we will have to take. Today´s decision will not solve the crisis but without it we would not have been in the possibility to take the next steps." Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said "Together with 40,000 from last week's Council decision, we are now able to relocate a total of 160,000 refugees from Member States that are under pressure. This is an historic moment for migration policy at European level." A video of the press conference is available on EbS. A comprehensive fact sheet on how the relocation mechanism will be implemented is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

European Commission adopts 40 infringement decisions to make European Asylum System work

The European Commission adopted today 40 infringement decisions against several Member States for failing to fully implement legislation making up the Common European Asylum System. Following up on the second implementation package of the European Agenda on Migration, the European Commission is stepping up its efforts to ensure the full application of EU law in the area of migration and asylum. The pieces of legislation concerned focus on fairer, quicker and better quality asylum decisions (the Asylum Procedures Directive); ensuring that there are humane physical reception conditions (such as housing) for asylum seekers across the EU (the Reception Conditions Directive); and clarifying the grounds for granting international protection (the Qualification Directive). European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "Solidarity and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. EU leaders in an extraordinary European Council in April called for the rapid and full transposition and effective implementation of the Common European Asylum System to ensure common European standards under existing legislation." Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "In Europe everyone must uphold the commonly agreed standards, in the way we receive asylum seekers. All participating Member States, must process their asylum applications according to the common criteria and standards, which are used by national authorities to determine whether someone is entitled to international protection." Full details of the infringement decisions adopted today can be found in this Commission Press Release. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

Managing the Refugee Crisis: Commission sets out Priority Actions to be taken in next six months

The College of Commissioners today set out a set of priority actions to be taken within the next six months. President Juncker will present these to European Heads of State and Government tonight at an informal Summit. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "The decision to relocate 160,000 people from the most affected Member States is a historic first and a genuine, laudable expression of European solidarity. It cannot be the end of the story, however. It is time for further, bold, determined and concerted action by the European Union, by its institutions and by all its Member States." The Communication outlines immediate operational measures, budgetary support, the implementation of EU law, as well as mid-term objectives as part of the comprehensive approach of the European Agenda on Migration. A press release is available here. Full document of the Communication is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

President Juncker: "Provide us with the funds to combat this crisis"

In a keynote speech at the high-level conference "EU Budget Focused on Results" President Juncker said "we need now, first and foremost, to use the budget to solve the refugee crisis", calling on Member States to help. "If you really want to help these people, you have to put your money where your mouth is. Provide us with the funds needed to combat this crisis".  In a direct address to Member States who were meeting at the same time in an extraordinary meeting of European Home Affairs Ministers to discuss Commission proposals for the relocation of refugees, President Juncker said "closing borders is not the solution. If you have survived bombs and warfare, and crossed the Mediterranean in a rubber boat, a fence won't stop you". Underlining the need to show solidarity, President Juncker said "it is an easy word to pronounce, but it is an empty word if it is not followed up by action." His full speech from the high-level conference is available online. The Commission's statement from the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council is available here. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 496 583826; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

€135 million from the European Regional Development Fund for smart growth in the Balearic Islands

The European Commission adopted yesterday the 2014-2020 Operational Programme for the Balearic Islands, worth around €270 million, with nearly €135 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund. The investments will pave the way for smart and sustainable growth in the region. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: "I am particularly proud of the programme we adopted yesterday; it will boost the competitiveness of the regional economy by creating jobs in high value-added sectors and by supporting the internationalisation of local small businesses." In line with the Balearic Islands' Smart Specialisation Strategy, resources will support the low carbon economy by promoting energy efficiency and by increasing the use of renewable energies in enterprises and public infrastructures. They will also enhance the research and innovation capacities of local SMEs. In the 2014-2020 programming period, Spain will benefit from €28.6 billion in Cohesion Policy funding. More information on Cohesion Policy and Spain and Regional Policy is available online. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

The Commission approves two new Protected Geographical Indication and one Protected Designation of Origin

The Commission has approved the addition of three new products to the register of Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs) and Protected Designation of Origin (PDOs). These are, for Croatia, ‘Baranjski kulen’ (PGI), a fermented sausage produced in the region of Baranja and made from pressed pork meat, seasoned with ground paprika, garlic and pepper; for Spain, 'Melón de Torre Pacheco-Murcia' (PGI), a sweet melon grown in Murcia; and for Italy, 'Patata novella di Galatina' (PDO), a potato planted and harvested in the province of Lecce, an area known for its red and sandy soil. These denominations will be added to the list of more than 1,290 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)

Mergers: Commission clears Zambian agricultural mechanisation joint venture between Barloworld and BayWa

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Barloworld Handling Limited of the United Kingdom and BayWa Aktiengesellschaft of Germany.  Barloworld Handling belongs to the South African Barloword group which produces earthmoving, power systems, materials handling and agricultural equipment, automotive and logistics services. BayWa is a German group active in agriculture, building materials and energy. The joint venture will distribute agricultural machinery and parts and provide related services in Zambia at first, and may become active in other Sub-Saharan areas. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the joint venture will have no or negligible activities within the European Economic Area (EEA). 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.7719. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears joint venture between Amcor and Sidel

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Amcor Group GmbH ("Amcor") of Switzerland and Sidel Participations SAS ("Sidel") of France.  Amcor is a manufacturer and supplier of rigid and flexible packaging products for the food, beverage, healthcare, home and personal care and tobacco industries. Sidel is a global provider of packaging equipment and solutions, in particular stretch blow moulding machinery for blowing PET plastic bottles and filling machines for plastic and glass bottles and cans. Sidel is controlled by the Tetra Laval Group. The joint venture will develop the "LiquiForm technology". This technology will make it possible to produce machines that combine the blowing and filling of plastic bottles (currently requiring a two-step operation). The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because Amcor and Sidel's activities' do not overlap, and because the "LiquiForm technology", when it becomes available, will be an entirely new product that currently does not compete with its parents' activities. 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.7728. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)



European Commission receives the European Court of Auditors

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the College are today receiving Mr Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira, President of the European Court of Auditors, and Members of the Court of Auditors for the regular annual meeting between the two institutions. During the event, the Members of the European Commission and of the Court of Auditors will form three discussion groups dealing with the following topics: jobs, growth and investment; climate and energy; and migration. The visit of the Court of Auditors comes before the presentation of the Court of Auditors' Annual report in November. Pictures from the visit are available on EbS. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

President Juncker appoints Catherine Day as Special Adviser for Strategic issues regarding the Multi Annual Financial Framework

Today, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker appointed Ms Catherine Day as Special Adviser for Strategic issues regarding the Multiannual Financial Framework. Ms Catherine Day, an Irish citizen,was the European Commission's Secretary-General from 2005 until her retirement on 31 August 2015, after a total of 36 years of European civil service. Between 2011 and 2013, Ms Day was actively involved in the negotiations of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. Ms Day will not be remunerated for her role. Her full CV is available online. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

Vice-President Šefčovič on Energy Union Tour to Finland

On Thursday 24 September, the Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič will travel to Helsinki, making Finland the 15th country of the Energy Union Tour. As in the previous Member States he visited, Vice-President Šefčovič will convey the benefits of the Energy Union in the national context – to the industry, consumers, and the environment. On Thursday, the Vice-President will meet with the Prime Minister of Finland, Mr Juha Sipilä, as well as with the Minister of Economic Affairs, Mr Olli Rehn and members of the Parliament of Finland. Vice-President Šefčovič continues his programme on Friday in Vaasa, where he will visit the most energy efficient school in Finland, participate in a citizens' dialogue event with Finnish MEPs and meet with local business representatives.Ahead of his visit Vice-PresidentŠefčovič said "Finnish creativity and innovation made the country a front runner when it comes to renewable energy sources. The Energy Union will help Finland capitalise on its past success and increase its security of supply". Follow the Energy Union Tour on the Vice President's blog, as well as on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

Commissioner Jourová on official visit to Ukraine

Commissioner Jourová will visit Kyiv on 23-25 September. The aim of the visit is to support the on-going judicial reform process and the fight against corruption, as mentioned by President Juncker in the State of the Union Speech. It is the first visit of a Justice Commissioner to Ukraine. Ahead of her visit, Commissioner Jourová stated: "Ukraine has launched important reforms in the judicial area over the last months. Now they have to be translated into concrete actions on the ground. I look forward to meeting Ukrainian officials but also stakeholders involved in the implementation of the reforms to prepare future initiatives to further support Ukraine in improving fight against corruption and organised crime". During her trip, Commissioner Jourová will meet political leaders including President Poroshenko, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and Minister of Justice Petrenko, different stakeholders of the justice system, including Deputy Prosecutor General Davit Sakvarelidze, as well as representatives of the Ukrainian Parliament (Rada). Commissioner Jourová will also discuss the justice reform with experts in this field, civil society and actors on the ground who follow the reform and implement EU projects. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

Have your say on standards to help achieve a Digital Single Market

The Commission launches today a public consultation on standards for the Digital Single Market. Standards are important tools for making different systems work together. They can boost innovation and reinforce the competitiveness of the European industry. With this consultation, the Commission aims to gather views on priorities for standards in key technology areas such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, 5G communications, eHealth, intelligent transport and smart cities. The contributions will serve to build an ICT Priority Standards Plan, as set out in the Digital Single Market Strategy presented by the Commission on 6 May. The public consultation is opened until 16 December. More details can be found here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 229 64950; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)

Europe experiences science up close with European Researcher's Night

Today, the Commission is marking the 10th anniversary of European Researchers' Night, an annual event celebrating science and encouraging young people to pursue careers in research. Under the slogan Science is Wonder-ful!, a special event in Brussels today offers citizens a chance to meet EU funded researchers, take part in discussions about research and visit an exhibition of exciting scientific discoveries and innovations. Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, will join the event to reward the winners of the European Science Slam, a contest for researchers who best present their work to the audience in three minutes. Ahead of the event, Commissioner Navracsics said: "I am excited that Europe is today again buzzing with science! Each year, Researchers' Night brings millions of Europeans in touch with cutting-edge researchers, showing that science is fun and drives social and economic progress. We also want to use these events to promote investment in science and hope to inspire more young people to become researchers - Europe will need an extra one million scientists by 2020." The special event in Brussels will be followed a series of Researchers' Nights in 250 European cities on Friday 25 September. These events will allow the public to discover the impact of science on their everyday lives; giving them such exiting opportunities as to follow a doctor for a night shift in Estonia or witness a thunderstorm simulation in Romania. See the Researchers' Night website here. (For more information contact Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)


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