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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 14 / 12 / 2015

Brussels, 14 December 2015

Historic climate deal in Paris: EU shows global climate leadership

The European Union has played a key role in brokering the historic agreement in Paris, where 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The ambitious and balanced agreement, the first major multilateral deal of the 21st century, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Today the world is united in the fight against climate change. Today the world gets a lifeline, a last chance to hand over to future generations a world that is more stable, a healthier planet, fairer societies and more prosperous economies. This robust agreement will steer the world towards a global clean energy transition. This deal is also a success for the European Union. We have long been the global leader in climate action, and the Paris Agreement now reflects our ambition worldwide. I would like to thank the EU’s chief negotiator Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and his team for working day and night to make this agreement happen and for keeping the European Union the central player throughout the negotiations. I am proud of all of you.” EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete added: “This agreement is a major win for Europe. But more importantly, it is a major win for the global community. Europe has led the efforts in Paris to get an ambitious and legally binding global climate deal. We have forged alliances and others have joined. Our key objectives − on the long-term goal, the 5-yearly review cycles and transparency − are in the new agreement. The agreement also reconfirms global commitment to continued support to those in need of assistance. We succeeded. Now what has been promised must be delivered. Europe will continue to lead the global low-carbon transition we have agreed." The deal is the culmination of years of efforts by the international community to bring about a universal multilateral agreement on climate change. The EU has been building a broad coalition of developed and developing countries in favour of high ambition that shaped the successful outcome of the Paris conference. The Paris Agreement sends a clear signal to investors, businesses, and policy-makers that the global transition to clean energy is here to stay and resources have to shift away from polluting fossil fuels. The Paris climate change agreement is a bridge between today's policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century. Read all details in the press release. Listen to the first reaction by Commissioner Arias Cañete on EbS. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


European Commission and UNHCR launch scheme to provide 20,000 reception places for asylum seekers in Greece

The European Commission and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today launched a scheme to provide 20,000 additional reception places for asylum seekers and relocation candidates in Greece through subsidies for housing in the private sector. The Commission is providing €80 million from the 2016 EU budget.This declaration helps to deliver on a commitment made by Greece and the UNHCR during the Western Balkans Leaders' Meetingon 25 October 2015. Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for Budget and Human Resources, signed the declaration on behalf of the European Commission, together with Mr George Okoth-Obbo, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, and Mr Ioannis Mouzalas, Alternate Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction of Greece. Vice-President Georgieva said: "Today we stand in solidarity with Greece and with children, women and men seeking refuge in Europe. The scheme we are launching offers EU budgetary support for families, notably providing them with adequate shelter. While today's agreement is about temporary assistance, the Commission continues to use the full range of tools at our disposal to find a long-term solution to the refugee crisis in Europe." More information is available in the press release (also in FR, DE, BG and EL). The text of the joint declaration signed today is here (also in EL). Recordings of the signing ceremony and the joint press conference can be found on EbS. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)


Investment Plan for Europe: over £100 million for new Birmingham super hospital

The European Investment Bank (EIB), Europe’s long-term lending institution, has agreed to provide £108 million to support construction of the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham. This construction project is the first hospital to be supported by the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Innovative social infrastructure projects, such as this new teaching hospital in Birmingham, is one of the key objectives of the Investment Plan for Europe. I'm extremely pleased that with a small amount of backing from the EU budget, the residents of Birmingham will benefit from improved healthcare and shorter waiting times." Once open in three years’ time the brand new hospital will provide state of the art acute healthcare for 530,000 people living in Sandwell and West Birmingham. It will include one of the largest accident and emergency departments in Europe, expected to treat more than 140,000 patients a year. (For more information see press release or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361).


Maximising the contribution of the European Structural and Investment Funds to the Commission's priorities

Today, the Commission adopted a Communication on the contribution of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) to the EU's growth strategy, the Investment Plan and the Commission's priorities over the next decade. The report also includes the outcomes of the negotiations with all the Member States on Partnership Agreements and programmes and the key challenges per country. To ensure maximum transparency for the public, the Commission is also launching today a new Open Data Platform for the ESI Funds to show the progress in the implementation of ESI Funds programmes. A press release, a memo and factsheets on the contribution of the ESI Funds to seven of the Commission's priorities - Jobs, Growth and Investment, the Digital Single Market, the Energy Union and Climate-change policies, the Internal Market, the Economic and Monetary Union, Justice and Fundamental Rights and the European agenda on migration - are available online. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)


Investing in energy solidarity: Commissioner Andriukaitis inaugurates new electricity connections between Lithuania, Poland and Sweden in Vilnius

Two new electricity interconnections linking Lithuania to Poland and Sweden are officially inaugurated today in Vilnius in the presence of Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. The LitPol Link connects Alytus in Lithuania with Elk in Poland and the Nordbalt links up Nybro in Sweden and Klaipeda in Lithuania bringing together, for the first time, the electricity networks of the Baltic States with those of Sweden and Poland. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "In the Energy Union there is no room for energy islands. Electricity has to be able to flow freely across borders. Today we are taking a major first step forward investing in energy solidarity by increasing the security of supply for electricity consumers in the region." Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis added: “These two new electricity links mark an important milestone in integrating the Baltic States and Poland with the rest of the European electricity market. They are a concrete expression of solidarity by European Union in strengthening the links between the EU countries in the region and ending the energy isolation in the Baltics. Electricity will now be able to flow across markets more easily.” The new interconnections will increase the interconnection level of Poland and of the three Baltics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Prior to LitPol and Nordbalt, both Poland and the Baltic countries did not meet the minimum EU 10% interconnection target. LitPol is a Project of Common Interest which received over €27 million of EU support for works in Lithuania. LitPol also benefitted from the EU's structural funds for construction works carried out in Poland, a loan from the European Investment Bank of €55 million and a Nordic Investment Bank loan of €50 million. Nordbalt will help develop the electricity market in the Baltic Sea region. The project has been granted €131 million under the European Energy Programme for Recovery. For more information about this Juncker Commission priorities consult the website of the Energy Union and infrastructure policies. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


European Commission increases humanitarian aid for Yemen crisis

The European Commission is releasing an additional €15 million of emergency aid to provide life-saving assistance in Yemen. This money will bring the Commission's total humanitarian support to the country to €52 million for 2015. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues to worsen, with over half of the population suffering from food insecurity and almost 30% facing severe food shortages. The country has been classified by the United Nations as a Level 3 emergency – the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crisis. "The humanitarian catastrophe taking place in Yemen must remain at the forefront of our priorities. The ongoing conflict has caused a large number of civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure including medical facilities. We are stepping up our support to help humanitarian agencies in the country provide life-saving assistance such as health care, water and sanitation, nutrition and food security" said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. Read more in the press release here.(For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Prinovis by Bertelsmann

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Prinovis Ltd. & Co. KG and Prinovis Ltd. (together "Prinovis"), both of Germany, by Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, also of Germany. Bertelsmann is an international media company active in television, radio, book publishing, newspapers and magazines, music and communications services. Prinovis provides high-volume illustration printing and related services and is currently jointly controlled by Bertelsmann and Axel Springer SE. The companies' activities overlap in the provision of high-volume illustration services in the European Economic Area (EEA), notably in Germany. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, in particular because of the moderate combined market positions resulting from the transaction and the presence of several other competitors on 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.7826. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


Eurostat: Industrial production up by 0.6% in euro area

In October 2015 compared with September 2015, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 0.6% in theeuro area(EA19) and by 0.5% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EuropeanUnion. In September 2015 industrial production fell by 0.3% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU28. In October 2015 compared with October 2014, industrial production increased by 1.9% in the euro area and by 2.4% in the EU28. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 229 64950)


Eurostat: Almost 6 out of 10 persons employed in core tourism activities are women

In the European Union, tourism industries (economic activities related to tourism, but not necessarily relying on tourism only) employed just over 12 million persons, equivalent to 9% of total employment in the EU non-financial business economy in 2013. Among them, the three industries that rely almost entirely on tourism (accommodation, travel agencies / tour operators and air transport) employed 3.3 million persons. The analysis in this News Release focuses on these "core" tourism activities. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Justyna Milanowska – Tel.: +32 229 94246)




Joint Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn regarding the European path of Bosnia and Herzegovina

One year ago, the EU adopted a renewed approach for Bosnia and Herzegovina with the December Council Conclusions of 2014. Over the last year, Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken steady steps, with strong EU support, on its European path. In February 2015, the country's institutions and political leaders adopted a Written Commitment on Reforms and the EU path. The Reform Agenda includes ambitious socio-economic, rule of law and public administration reforms and is being implemented based on a comprehensive Joint Action Plan. In June 2015, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement entered into force, seven years after its signature. Only three days ago, we had the first Stabilisation and Association Council meeting. The EU accession path of Bosnia and Herzegovina is our joint endeavour. Twenty years since the end of the war and following the steady steps of the past year, it is important not to jeopardise all that has been achieved so far. Twenty years since the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreements, in a challenging global and regional environment, Bosnia and Herzegovina's new generation is, day by day, moving forward towards a better future on the European Union path. The full statement is available here. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 22986570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


Commissioners Malmström and Hogan issue joint call for results ahead of the 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya

This week, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan are attending the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference that will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 18 December 2015. Before leaving for Nairobi, both Commissioners call upon all other WTO members to make this conference a success. “However, as we arrive in Nairobi, the prospects remain very uncertain. We feel compelled to call upon our WTO Partners to come to the negotiating table in good faith and prepare for the final necessary stretch needed on the limited issues selected for the talks this week.” Read the full statement in here. The bilateral meetings of Commissioner Malmström and Hogan while in Nairobi are published here. Photos will be made available on EbS. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)



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