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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 13 / 11 / 2015

Brussels, 13 November 2015

President Juncker gives latest state of play on measures to tackle the Refugee Crisis and calls for further action

On the occasion of the informal European Council meeting in Malta yesterday (12 November), and following the Valletta Summit, President Juncker provided Heads of State and Government the latest state of play of the collective actions put in place to tackle the refugee crisis since the last European Council held on 14 October. These included updates on financial pledges, relocation and return operations, the deployment of the Civil Protection Mechanism, and the functioning of Hotspots in Greece and Italy. President Juncker said: "Today's Council gave us the opportunity to take stock of where we are at and where we are going. I am not at all satisfied with the pace of relocations at the moment. At this rate it will take until 2101 to relocate 160,000 people. I am very pleased to see the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia confirm they will send an extra 300 people in response to Frontex and EASO's call for assets." First Vice-President Timmermans also attended the meeting and debriefed leaders on the state of play of the ongoing negotiations with Turkey on his return from Ankara.For more detail, a press release, including tables, is available online, as well as President Juncker's presentation to Member States on the state of play of collective actions and on Turkey specifically. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

European Commission notified of temporary reintroduction of internal border controls by Sweden at selected harbours in the South and West and the Öresund Bridge

The European Commission yesterday received a notification from the Swedish authorities informing about their intention to temporarily reintroduce controls, as of 12 November, at its internal borders. The reintroduction was announced for the period 12 November - 21 November and will focus in particular on the selected harbours in the South and West as well as on the Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. The temporary reintroduction of border controls between Member States is an exceptional possibility explicitly foreseen in and regulated by the Schengen Borders Code, in case of a serious threat to public policy or internal security. The decision was triggered by the unexpected migratory flow which, in the assessment of the Swedish Government, constitutes a serious threat to internal order and public policy. The current situation in Sweden, prima facie, appears to be a situation covered by the rules. The Commission will closely monitor the situation and keep the European Parliament and the Council fully informed, as foreseen in the Schengen Borders Code. The situation serves to further underscore the pressing need to quickly implement the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis. The measures taken by Sweden yesterday, like those taken by Germany on 13 September, Austria on 15 September, Slovenia 17 September and Hungary on 17 October, are provisional in nature. Slovenia and Hungary discontinued the temporary border controls on 26 October and 27 October respectively. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)

First Vice-President Timmermans Delivers Keynote Speech on the refugee crisis at "Prague European Summit" Conference

Today, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans is in Prague where he delivered the keynote speech this morning at the "Prague European Summit", a conference organised by three leading Czech think tanks in cooperation with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Commission's Representation in Prague. The First Vice-President travelled to Prague yesterday evening from the Informal European Council in Malta with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. He held a bilateral meeting this morning with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir. The First Vice-President also participates today in a Plenary Meeting and Ministerial Luncheon with the Visegrad countries, Croatia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, and will also attend the Signing Ceremony of the V4 Western Balkan Fund and speak at the joint press conference. The First Vice-President's keynote speech from this morning will be available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

Commissioner Thyssen delivers speeches on social and employment dimensions of the Commission's new initiatives in Ireland

EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen delivered yesterday a speech at the 40th Anniversary of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) in Dublin, focusing on 40 years of improvement in working and living conditions in Europe and recognising dedicated expertise by the Agency. She underlined that upon her initiative, the Commission's Work Programme for next year includes the adoption of a Skills Agenda for Europe. Commissioner Thyssen said: "We plan to map the skills that Europe as a whole and specific regions will need; to support educational systems to deliver the skills that help people to get a job and progress in work, with a particular focus on vocational educational training and apprenticeships and to examine how EU tools can help to make skills more visible and comparable across countries and sectors". The full speech is available here. Today's speech of Commissioner Thyssen at the National University of Ireland provides a comprehensive vision on the labour mobility in EU. She outlined the importance of free movement, challenges related to labour mobility and Europe's vision for fair labour mobility. Commissioner Thyssen said: "Whilst seeking to promote free movement, we also want to ensure that free movement is fair for all involved: for citizens, businesses and tax payers. It is the only way we will maintain the invaluable trust and support of our citizens. With strong rules in place, we will enhance labour mobility long term and make our Union stronger for the future. We want to make sure that labour mobility is a positive choice for people, not a choice that they are forced to make." The full speech is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand  – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Justyna Milanowska – Tel.: +32 229 94246)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint-control over LRG Group by Apollo and RBH

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over LRG Finance Limited by Redefine BDL Hotels UK Limited ("RBH"), both of the United Kingdom, and Apollo Capital Management L.P. of the US. LRG operates a portfolio of 22 hotels in the United Kingdom. Apollo invests in equity and debt issued by companies involved in various businesses throughout the world. RBH is an independent hotel management company. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of its limited impact on the market structure. Indeed, Apollo does not control any hotels in the United Kingdom and a significant number of competitors will remain active in the market. 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.7805. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Aides d’État: la Commission ouvre des enquêtes approfondies sur des projets français visant à rémunérer la capacité de production d'électricité

La Commission européenne a ouvert deux enquêtes approfondies distinctes pour évaluer si des projets français concernant un mécanisme de capacité à l'échelle nationale et un appel d'offres pour une nouvelle centrale au gaz située en Bretagne sont conformes aux règles de l'UE en matière d'aides d'État. La Commission craint que ces projets visant à rémunérer la capacité de production d'électricité puissent, dans le cas du mécanisme de capacité à l'échelle nationale, favoriser certaines entreprises par rapport à leurs concurrents et empêcher l'arrivée de nouveaux acteurs sur le marché et, dans le cas de la centrale au gaz située en Bretagne, soutenir un seul type de technologie ou une seule solution. Mme Margrethe Vestager, commissaire chargée de la politique de concurrence, a déclaré à ce propos: «La France a un intérêt légitime à garantir à sa population la sécurité de son approvisionnement énergétique et à se protéger contre les risques de coupure d'électricité. Notre rôle consiste à garantir que les mesures prises présentent un bon rapport coût-efficacité et préservent la concurrence, de sorte que les tarifs de l'électricité restent maîtrisés». Un communiqué de presse est disponible en FR, EN et DE. (Pour plus d'information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

EUROSTAT: Euro area international trade in goods surplus €20.5 billion

The first estimate for euro area (EA19) exports of goods to the rest of the world in September 2015 was €173.4 billion, an increase of 1% compared with September 2014. Imports from the rest of the world stood at €152.8 billion, a fall of 1% compared with September 2014. As a result, the euro area recorded a €20.5 billion surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in September 2015, compared with +€17.4 billion in September 2014. Intra-euro area trade rose to €148.9 billion in September 2015, up by 2% compared with September 2014. A Eurostat press release can be found here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

EUROSTAT: GDP up by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28

Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.4% in the EU28 during the third quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the second quarter of 2015, GDP grew by 0.4% in both areas. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 1.6% in the euro area and by 1.9% in the EU28 in the third quarter of 2015, after +1.5% and +1.9% respectively in the previous quarter.A Eurostat press release can be found here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)


STATEMENTS


Road Safety, a Commission priority: Statement by Commissioner Bulc

This Sunday marks the yearly World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, an initiative endorsed by the United Nations to remember all those killed or injured on the roads. On this occasion, EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc has reiterated the full commitment of the European Commission to road safety - the full statement is available here. Although the efforts of the European Union have led to a 18% decrease of fatalities since 2010, 70 people still die every day on European roads. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS


Commissioner Avramopoulos and Commissioner Jourová in Washington for EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting

Commissioners Avramopoulos and Jourová are in Washington today to participate in the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Ministerial meeting together with their US-counterparts US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. Transatlantic cooperation in the areas of data protection, ongoing and intensified efforts towards a new framework for transatlantic data transfers (see latest press release) and migration issues will be high on the agenda.  Participants will also discuss joint efforts in the field of criminal law, counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and mobility. Following these discussions, Commissioners Avramopoulos and Jourová will meet senior officials in the White House to discuss transatlantic data transfers as well as cooperation in the field of security and counter-terrorism. Commissioner Jourová will also meet consumer organisations and business representatives. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Christian Wigand  – Tel.: +32 229 62253)



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