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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 16 / 11 / 2015

Brussels, 16 November 2015

Attentats de Paris: l'Union européenne est solidaire

Suite aux attentats tragiques qui ont frappé Paris vendredi, le Président de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, a immédiatement réagi en envoyant une lettre adressée au Président de la République française Francois Hollande pour exprimer sa solidarité avec la France. Il y a écrit: "Je suis atterré et révolté de voir que la France est en ce moment même frappée par le terrorisme le plus odieux." Les 28 Chefs d'Etats ou de Gouvernement et les Présidents des institutions européennes ont publié dimanche une déclaration conjointe soulignant que "tout ce qui peut être fait au niveau européen pour assurer la sécurité de la France sera fait." Lors d'une conférence de presse donnée à l'occasion du Sommet du G20 dimanche à Antalya (Turquie), le Président Juncker a mis en garde contre tout amalgame entre les attentats terroristes et la crise des réfugiées, en déclarant: "Il faut voir que ceux qui ont organisé ces attentats et que ceux qui les ont perpétrés sont exactement ceux que les réfugiés fuient et non pas l'inverse." Le Commissaire chargé de la Migration et des Affaires intérieures, Dimitris Avramopoulos, s'est rendu dimanche à Paris où il a rencontré le Ministre français de l'Intérieur Bernard Cazeneuve et le Vice-Premier Ministre et Ministre de la Sécurité intérieure Luxembourgeois Etienne Schneider, représentant la Présidence du Conseil de l’Union européenne. En vue du Conseil Justice et Affaires Intérieures extraordinaire qui aura lieu ce vendredi à Bruxelles, ils ont souligné l’urgence d'une prise de décisions rapides et opérationnelles et d'une mise en œuvre suivant un calendrier resserré. La Commission déploie déjà tous ses efforts pour préparer ce Conseil. Depuis samedi soir, le siège de la Commission européenne, le bâtiment Berlaymont, est éclairé avec le drapeau français et les drapeaux européens sont en berne pour marquer notre solidarité avec le peuple et les autorités françaises. Une minute de silence sera observée par le Président Juncker depuis la Turquie, dans les 28 Etats membres de l'UE, ainsi que dans tous les bâtiments de la Commission, y compris sa salle de presse, à 12:00 CET aujourd'hui. (Pour plus d'informations: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

 

President Juncker at the G20 Summit in Antalya: state of play

Yesterday, ahead of the G20 Summit taking place on 15-16 November in Antalya, Turkey, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk held a joint press conference, during which they condemned the brutal Paris attacks. In this context, President Juncker called for a global response to the refugee crisis and warned leaders gathered in Antalya that the Paris attacks should not deter countries from protecting and relocating refugees on their territories. He furthermore stressed the importance of implementing tax reforms and agreeing to a legally-binding climate deal in Paris in December. A transcript of the press conference can be found here. Yesterday, leaders discussed development and climate change, the global economy, investment and employment strategies, as well as the fight against terrorism and the refugee crisis. In the margins of the Summit, President Juncker had bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Together with President Tusk, he also held talks with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, following which both sides welcomed the finalisation of the negotiations of the EU-Australia Framework Agreement, and agreed to launch negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement. The full statement following the EU-Australia talks can be found here. Today, discussions at the G20 Summit will be focusing on financial regulation, international tax and anti-corruption policies, trade, energy and the preparation of next year's Chinese G20 presidency. The Leaders' Conclusions will be made available online once adopted. Finally, Presidents Juncker and Tusk will hold a bilateral meeting with President Erdogan at 15:30 CET (16:30 local time) during which the refugees crisis will figure high on the agenda. All press material related to the G20 Summit can be found here. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

EU budget deal strengthens response to refugee crisis

An agreement was reached on the 2016 EU budget under extraordinary circumstances as the world witnessed the terrible attacks in Paris. The EU institutions have taken their responsibility by concluding a deal well ahead of the deadline, with the European Commission - Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva in the lead – playing an honest broker role. Before finalising the agreement in the early hours of Saturday, negotiators observed a minute of silence for the victims of the attacks. The 2016 EU budget is set at €155 billion in commitments and €144 billion in payment credits. The agreement strengthens the EU response to the refugee crisis and boosts investment in competitiveness, jobs and growth. The budget will support the recovery of the European economy and help improve lives in Europe and beyond. For more information, please refer to the full press release. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

 

L'Union européenne approuve le versement à la Tunisie d'une assistance macrofinancière d'un montant de €100 millions

La Commission européenne a approuvé aujourd'hui, au nom de l’Union européenne, le versement à la Tunisie de €100 millions supplémentaires sous la forme de prêts. Il s'agit de la deuxième tranche du programme d’assistance macrofinancière (AMF) de €300 millions en faveur de la Tunisie, approuvé par l’UE en mai 2014. La première tranche, également d'un montant de €100 millions, a été versée le 7 mai 2015. Le Commissaire Pierre Moscovici, a déclaré: "L'Union européenne continue de soutenir la Tunisie en ces temps difficiles. L’économie tunisienne a démontré sa résilience face à un climat économique extérieur difficile et aux répercussions des tragiques attentats terroristes. Nous nous tenons aux côtés des Tunisiens et savons qu’ils nous soutiennent aussi. La Tunisie poursuit un ambitieux programme de réformes pour parvenir à un modèle de croissance plus durable et plus inclusive. L’Union européenne reste déterminée à soutenir le pays  dans cette voie." Le programme d'assistance macrofinancière s’inscrit dans le cadre des efforts plus larges déployés par l’UE et d’autres bailleurs de fonds internationaux pour aider la Tunisie à surmonter ses difficultés économiques. La Tunisie est confrontée à la morosité de la conjoncture économique extérieure, à l’instabilité régionale et à des menaces pesant sur sa sécurité intérieure. L'AMF contribue à la réalisation du programme d’ajustement et de réformes économiques convenu entre la Tunisie et le Fonds monétaire international (FMI) (dans le cadre de l’accord de confirmation) en juin 2013. Son versement est subordonné à la mise en œuvre d’un certain nombre de mesures de politique économique prévues dans un protocole d’accord. Cette assistance vient s’ajouter à d’autres formes de soutien accordées par l’UE à la Tunisie, dont plus de €800 millions versés sous la forme de subventions depuis la révolution de 2011, ainsi que des prêts importants octroyés par la Banque européenne d’investissement. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)


Better protection for crime victims enters into force

New rules on better protection for victims of crime in the EU enter into force today. These rules will bring major changes in the way victims of crime are supported and protected in Europe. The key new rights apply to all people, regardless of their nationality, who fall victim to crime in the EU. EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová said: “Every year across the EU, an estimated 1 in 7 people fall victim to crime. From today, new rules give victims clear rights to information, protection, and access to support services in all Member States. The new rules will improve how people are treated when they suffer from crime. Victims deserve to be duly protected throughout criminal proceedings.” The Victims' Rights Directive lays down a set of binding rights for victims of crime, and clear obligations for EU Member States to ensure these rights in practice. A press release is available in all languages, as well as a memo and factsheet. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Bieńkowska outline European Defence Action Plan

Today the European Defence Agency (EDA) holds a conference in Brussels devoted to European defence capabilities and research opportunities, including speeches by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elzbieta Bieńkowska, and President Juncker's Special Adviser on European Defence and Security Policy Michel Barnier. On the margins of the conference, the Commission and the EDA will sign an agreement to dedicate an initial budget of €1.4 million to finance a number of concrete emerging technologies in defence as well as activities linked to certification for military and civil use. At the meeting of Defence Ministers on Tuesday 17 November, HRVP Mogherini and Commissioner Bieńkowska will outline the political objectives of the European Defence Action Plan announced in the Commission Work Programme for 2016, which has a strong focus on the need to increase and pool investment in defence-related research. The current security context heightens the need for Member States to work more closely together to develop cutting-edge defence technologies. Also on 17 November, Commissioner Bieńkowska will chair the second meeting of the High Level Group of Personalities, with the participation of HRVP Mogherini. The Group was set up in March 2015 to advise on how the EU can support research related to Common Security and Defence Policy. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Heli Pietila - Tel.: +32 229 64950)

 

Agricultural market information accessible to all with new online tool 

The Commission launches today a new tool to support farmers and interested parties in making informed choices: the 'agriculture dashboards'. Access to accurate information, transparency and prompt publication are key elements to take better advantage of the market possibilities and face volatility. The dashboards offer full access to all available market data through a single page. Presenting them to EU Agriculture Ministers in the Council today, Commissioner Phil Hogan said: "The EU agri-food sector is ready to meet the growing world demand. Our challenge as policymakers is to give our farmers and agri-business the tools and freedom to be all they can be." Dashboards are online for five different sectors: dairy, beef, cereals, pig meat and poultry. They are made and updated almost daily on the basis of the latest national, European and international data. Find out more about this new tool in the following factsheet. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Telecity by Equinix, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Telecity, a provider of data centre services headquartered in the United Kingdom by rival operator Equinix Inc. of the United States. The approval is conditional upon full implementation by Equinix of a number of commitments to ensure effective competition in data centre colocation markets. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "With the ever growing economic importance of 'cloud' services, it is crucial to maintain competition between data centres. The Commission is satisfied that the commitments offered by Equinix will ensure that companies continue to have a choice for hosting their data at competitive prices." A full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and NL. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7678. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


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

The European Commission has found the prolongation until 30 April 2016 of an Irish scheme aimed at restructuring credit unions to be in line with EU state aid rules on the restructuring of banks during the crisis (see also MEMO). The objective of the scheme is to underpin the stability and long-term viability of credit unions and the credit union sector at large. Restructuring involves merging weaker and stronger credit unions, providing, if necessary, a capital injection to make up any shortfall in the capital reserve requirements of the merged credit union. Stabilisation involves assisting fundamentally viable credit unions that have temporarily slipped below the regulatory reserve requirements. The scheme will have a budget of € 250 million to support mergers and a budget of € 30 million to stabilise specific credit unions that will be funded via a sector levy. In particular, the Commission found that the measure ensures that the beneficiaries become viable in the long-term through restructuring or merging with sound credit unions and that they contribute to the cost of restructuring. Moreover, the impact on competition is limited because credit unions are small and only do business with members. The Commission had first authorised the scheme in 2014 and prolonged it in 2015. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the reference SA.43423. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

State aid: Commission approves amendments to UK Green Investment

The European Commission has found amendments to the scope of activities of the UK's Green Investment Bank (GIB) to be in line with EU state aid rules.  GIB is a development bank in the UK, which was established to bridge market failures for the financing of green energy projects. The changes approved today concern a further extension of GIB's remit and a prolongation of the approval duration. Today's decision will allow GIB to invest, on market terms, in any of the sectors to which the Commission's 2014 Guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy apply. Moreover, GIB will be able to intervene on the basis of its redefined remit until 31 March 2018 at the latest, instead of the initially planned duration until October 2016. In designing GIB's extended remit, the UK committed to comply with all provisions of the Guidelines.  The Commission concluded, in particular, that GIB's objectives match the EU environmental and energy objectives recognised in the Guidelines without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. The Commission approved the setup and original funding of the GIB in October 2012 and an extension of its State funding and first widening of the remit in May 2014. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.40188. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

EUROSTAT: Annual inflation up to 0.1% in the euro area

Euro area annual inflation was 0.1% in October 2015, up from -0.1% in September. In October 2014 the rate was 0.4%. European Union annual inflation was 0.0% in October 2015, up from -0.1% in September. A year earlier the rate was 0.5%. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In October 2015, negative annual rates were observed in thirteen Member States. The lowest annual rates were registered in Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Spain. The highest annual rates were recorded in Malta, Belgium, Sweden, Austria and Portugal. Compared with September2015, annual inflation fell in four Member States, remained stable in seven and rose in sixteen. The largest upward impacts to euro area annual inflation came from vegetables, restaurants and cafés, and fruit, while fuels for transport, heating oil and gas had the biggest downward impacts. A Eurostat press release can be found here. (For more information:Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

 


STATEMENTS

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis welcomes the political agreement on novel food

Today, the agreement on new novel food Regulation has been finalized by EU ministers. The new rules aim to improve conditions so that businesses can more easily bring new and innovative food to the EU market, while still maintaining a high level of food safety for European consumers. It will offer European consumers the benefit of a broader choice of food and a more favourable environment for Europe's agri-food industry – the second largest employment sector in Europe – to benefit from innovation, which in turn is good for growth and jobs. Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis welcomes the political agreement on novel food:" I am delighted with the political agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the novel food proposal. This agreement brings us closer to a more effective regulatory environment that will allow businesses to bring innovative food to market, whilst ensuring the highest possible levels of food safety for European consumers." Full statement is available here and a Q&A on the new novel food Regulation here.(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel. +32 229 87624)

 


ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger participate in the 2015 European Data Forum in Luxembourg

This morning, Vice-President Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, opened the 2015 European Data Forum with Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel. Vice-President Ansip said: "Data is the basis for progress and opportunity - but our data policies today do not reflect fast-changing realities. We should now think differently". He added: "For me, one thing is clear: if free movement of data within the European Union is not a reality, then the growth potential of the digital economy in Europe is limited. This is why we included the free flow of data initiative in our strategy for the Digital Single Market." Vice-President Ansip also highlighted the need to protect privacy: "This must be respected – because trust is everything." (Vice-President Ansip's full speech is available here). Tomorrow, Commissioner Oettinger, responsible for the Digital Economy and Society, will also speak at the Forum (available via webstream here). (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)

 

Commissioner Mimica visits Vietnam

Today, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, starts a visit to Vietnam. Ahead of his visit, Commissioner Mimica said: "Vietnam has come a long way in eradicating poverty and raising the standard of living. However, many development challenges still remain. Our partnership has evolved from humanitarian aid, to development and economic cooperation, to trade and investments. Development cooperation must now be seen in this new context, where it can support the necessary social and economic reforms to accompany Vietnam in its transition towards an industrialised and more inclusive economy.” While in Vietnam, Commissioner Mimica will meet Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, the Prime Minister and Nguyen Chi Dung, the Vice-Minister of Planning and Investment. On the occasion of the celebration of EU-Vietnam's 20th year of cooperation in the health sector, Commissioner Mimica will announce the allocation of €8.4 million EU contribution to the on-going “Health professional education and training project,” in the presence of Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, Minister of Health. He will also visit an EU-funded project supporting Vietcraft (Vietnam Handicraft Exporters Association) to enhance the ability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to comply with European market access requirement. A factsheet on EU cooperation with Vietnam is available here. (For more information: Alexandre Polack Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Commissioner Jourová in Washington  for negotiations on transatlantic data transfers

Today and tomorrow Commissioner Jourová will be in Washington for negotiations on transatlantic data transfers. She will ask the American partners to take the necessary steps to establish a new, stronger framework for transatlantic data transfers. The Commissioner will meet US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Catherine A. Novelli. The Commissioner will also meet several Members of the US Congress, among them the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. She will also give a speech on data protection at the Brookings Institution. (For more information: Christian Wigand  – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


Commissioner Crețu in the Netherlands

Today Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu is in the province of North-Brabant where she participates in an event on Smart Specialisation and visits EU-funded projects. "With Smart Specialisation Strategies, the Commission is helping regions across Europe capitalize on their own competitive strengths and assets and on the talent of their people. These strategies are compasses to strategically direct EU Research & Innovation investments where they can have the greatest impact and create quality jobs in high value-added fields. Here in North-Brabant the potential of the agri-food industry is huge and our investments will help exploit it to the fullest," Commissioner Crețu said, ahead of her visit. For 2014-2020, the Netherlands has been allocated around €1.4 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding. More information on Cohesion Policy in the Netherlands and on Regional Policy is available online. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

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