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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 26 / 11 / 2015

Brussels, 26 November 2015

Commission due to present 2016 European Semester package

Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Thyssen and Commissioner Moscovici will come to the press room today at 14:00 CET to launch the 2016 European Semester that focuses on strengthening the recovery and fostering convergence. They will present the 2016 Annual Growth Survey, Alert Mechanism Report, Draft Joint Employment Report and other related documents. The event can also be followed live on EbS. A press pack will be available outside the press room and online at the beginning of the press conference. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 460 75 21 97)


The European Commission's Vice-President Georgieva welcomes the adoption of EU Budget 2016 by European Parliament and the Council

European Commission Vice-President in charge of Budget and Human Resources, Kristalina Georgieva, welcomed the approval of the EU budget by the Council and the positive vote by the European Parliament. Following the agreement on the EU budget reached in the early hours of 14 November 2015, the Council adopted its official position on 24 November, by unanimity,  and the Parliament supported the agreement with a strong majority of 516 votes in favour on 25 November. To welcome the approval, Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva said: "This year we have a budget that is agile, that focuses on priorities very clearly and that is oriented towards impact.It is a budget of solidarity and a budget of unity. I hope that the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council will continue our co-operation in the same spirit to ensure the most effective and efficient management of the Union's budget in 2016. We all know there will be new challenges to face in 2016." The vote in Parliament is the final stage of the budgetary cycle which starts with the proposal by the Commission in the spring of every year. More about the Commission strategy to make sure every euro from the EU budget is well-spent, EU Budget focused on results, is available here in all EU languages. To follow the debate in Plenary preceding the positive vote, please click here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)


Investment Plan for Europe: €40 million for SMEs in Belgium

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Flemish investment group PMV have signed a COSME agreement in Belgium, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The agreement will allow PMV to provide €40 million of loans to over 700 SMEs in Belgium over the next two years. Speaking at the signing event, European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, responsible for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "I am very pleased that we are signing the first EFSI agreement with partners in Flanders today. More than 700 SMEs will be able to access €40 million in funding through new loans. The Investment Plan for Europe has been designed to create new jobs and boost innovation. Today this commitment turns into reality in Flanders." (For more information see press release, full speech by Commissioner Thyssen or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)


EU signs programme worth €3.6 billion with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States

Today, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and the President of the Committee of Ambassadors of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states, Mrs. Mpeo Mahase-Moiloa, signed off on €3.6 billion to finance the intra-ACP programme, under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) (the EU's financial instrument for ACP countries). The money will provide support in the areas of human and social development, environment and climate change, private sector development and peace and security across African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. At the signing ceremony, Commissioner Mimica said: “Today's signature lays down the priorities for our joint work until 2020. The 11th EDF intra-ACP programme amounts to €3.6 billon, a 25 % increase compared to the 10th EDF. It reflects our common vision of the dynamics at stake at national and regional levels. More than a third of these resources will be devoted to human and social development." A press release is available here.(For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb - Tel.: +32 229 92256)


EU announces new support for Mozambique

Under the National Indicative programmeme for Mozambique, today European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica on behalf of the European Union, with Ms. Nyeleti Brooke Mondlane, Mozambique's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, signed an agreement which will provide €734 million to Mozambique. Commissioner Neven Mimica said: "There have been significant and positive political and economic developments in Mozambique over the last decades since the end of the civil war in 1992. It is important to build on this progress whilstmaking the best use of Mozambique's impressive economic potential, notably in the sectors of gas, mining, hydro-energy and agriculture. Mozambique could also benefit enormously from its strategic position in Southern Africa. The key issue today is therefore how to make economic growth inclusive and sustainable, while maintaining political stability." A press release is available here. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb - Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Commission adopts Solvency II equivalence decisions for Bermuda and Japan

The European Commission has today adopted two equivalence decisions under Solvency II, the EU's new prudential regulatory regime for the insurance sector, which harmonises the insurance regulatory framework across the EU. These two decisions concern Bermuda and Japan and take the form of a delegated act. They will provide more legal certainty for EU insurers operating in a third country as well as for third country insurance and reinsurance companies operating in the EU. Depending on the scope of the decision, EU insurers can use local rules to report on their operations in third countries. Third country insurers and reinsurers operating in the EU are also exempt from some aspects of group supervision and their reinsurance activities will be treated equally to those of EU reinsurers. For more information, see here (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: + 32 229 56 194; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229-87183)


La Commission approuve une nouvelle indication géographique protégée française

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'enregistrement d'une nouvelle indication géographique protégées (IGP) française. La nouvelle appellation couvre un même produit parfois appelé saucisse et parfois saucisson. Il s'agit du "saucisson de Lacaune / saucisse de Lacaune", fabriqué dans les monts de Lacaune situés dans le département du Tarn. Ce produit a un arôme et un goût typés de viande séchée affinée avec une note poivrée assez marquée dû à l'assaisonnement de sel, poivre et muscade. Depuis 2012, 13 «Saucisson de Lacaune»/«Saucisse de Lacaune» ont été primés au concours général agricole de Paris. Cette nouvelle appellation va rejoindre plus de 1300 produits déjà protégés, dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR. Pour plus d'informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (Pour plus d'information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 2 29 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52 509)


Have your say on measures related to the end of roaming charges in the EU

Today the Commission launches a public consultation to gather views on technical measures related to the end of roaming charges in the EU. The EU has recently agreed that as of mid-June 2017, Europeans will pay the same price to use their mobile devices when travelling in the EU as they do at home (see press announcementand fact sheet). For this important change to happen, the Commission has to take technical measures, such as a review of wholesale markets (i.e. the prices that operators charge each other for the use of their networks) and defining a 'fair-use safeguard'. The aim of this safeguard is to avoid abusive practices (such as 'permanent roaming') that could have a negative impact on domestic prices, and ultimately on consumers. The Commission will be consulting the public on these measures until 18 February 2016. These measures were planned in the EU Regulation fixing the end of roaming charges for June 2017. The new rules to end roaming charges and to enshrine net neutrality in EU law – published today in the Official Journal of the EU – will be completed by an ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules in 2016. Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish is a key objective of the Commission's plan for a Digital Single Market. More information can be found here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


State aid: Commission approves financing of Polish Post's universal service obligation via a compensation fund

The European Commission has found the compensation granted by Poland to Polish Post for delivering universal postal services from 2013 to 2015 to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission approved the measure because the compensation paid to Polish Post is limited to the additional costs it faces to fulfil its public service mission (so-called "universal service obligation"). Moreover, the design of the mechanism to finance the compensation does not lead to a significant distortion of competition in the Polish postal market. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "This is the first time the Commission has approved the use of a compensation fund mechanism to finance the provision of a universal postal service and I welcome that the Polish system approved today will benefit its postal customers in line with EU state aid rules." A press release is available here. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Eurostat: Farm structure survey 2013

While area used for agriculture remained stable, over 1 out of 4 farms disappeared between 2003 and 2013 in the EU, according to information published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the European Union (EU), there were 10.8 million farms in 2013 working 174.6 million hectares of land (the utilised agricultural area). Between 2003 and 2013, slightly more than 4 million holdings disappeared in the EU, while the total area used for agriculture remained almost stable. This means increasing agricultural concentration, with the average area per holding growing by 38%, from 11.7 hectares in 2003 to 16.1 hectares in 2013. For more information, a Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Justyna Milanowska – Tel.: +32 229 94246)




Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič on Energy Union Tour to Estonia

Vice-President for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, visits Estonia on 27 November as part of his Energy Union Tour. During his visit, the Vice-President will participate in a series of ministerial meetings and meetings with the parliamentary committees. In addition, the Vice-President will also be present at the VI Annual Energy Conference. Vice-President Šefčovič will meet the Minister of the Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Kristen Michal, and the members of European Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Estonia. The Vice-President will also meet with the Minister for Environment, Marko Pomerants, and key business leaders, including energy producers, network operators and think-tanks. Vice-President Šefčovič said: “Following last week’s State of the Energy Union, I am glad to visit Tallinn and focus at the particular benefits that Estonia will see from the Energy Union. My discussions will cover the progress made in the country’s energy infrastructure and the next steps in its regional integration. Yet, I would also like to explore the potential of Europe’s most digital-friendly nation in our energy transition. Follow the Energy Union Tour on the Vice President's blog, as well as on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Find more information on the Commission’s website of the Energy Union. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


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