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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 15 / 12 / 2015

Brussels, 15 December 2015

President Juncker addresses the European Parliament Plenary on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union

Today European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, set out practical steps to strengthen the democratic legitimacy of the euro, when he addressed the European Parliament on the future of Economic and Monetary Union. "The euro is a political project," said President Juncker, "and that means it requires political supervision and democratic accountability." President Juncker underlined the European Parliament's growing role in economic and financial governance, not least the economic dialogues that the Parliament regularly organises with Member States, the Commission, the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank. One of the Parliament's next tasks is to examine the Commission's recent proposal for a European Deposit Insurance Scheme: "What could be more urgent than protecting the savings of our citizens and reinforcing their trust in the banking system?" asked President Juncker. The President concluded with a number of proposals to strengthen cooperation between Commission and Parliament, including the idea that Commission would seek Parliament's views on the Annual Growth Survey before publishing it. President Juncker's speech can be found here. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)


Commission adopts new rules to help EU tax authorities exchange information

The Commission has today adopted new rules to make it easier for EU Member States’ tax authorities to exchange financial information so that they can ensure full tax transparency and cooperation. The detailed rules mean that the practical arrangements are now in place for the entry into application of the amended Directive on Administrative Cooperation from 1 January 2016. From that date, information will be exchanged between Member States tax administrations on all relevant financial income including interest, dividends and other similar types of income. Information on account balances, sale proceeds from financial assets and income from certain insurance products is also part of the scope. The agreed rules are consistent with the OECD global standard of exchange, meaning that EU tax authorities will be able to use one single format for exchanging information both within and outside the Union. Member States have also committed to a proposal by the Commission to further improve the rules in 2019 by adding more information fields and to consider any other necessary adjustments. The OECD also recently agreed to improve its own exchange schema in 2019 in line with the EU's approach. Commission services will continue to work closely with Member States on the application of the Directive and with the OECD on the timely implementation of these improvements. In the interest of maintaining a single global standard, any further need to enhance the schema for information fields will be discussed at an early stage with the OECD. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick Mc Cullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)


Cross-border cooperation: Commission adopts seven new programmes

Today the Commission adopted seven new cross-border cooperation programmes, worth over €740 million from the European Regional Development Fund and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance. The seven programmes are Italy-Switzerland, Italy-Greece, Italy-Slovenia, Italy-Croatia, Lithuania-Poland, "Greater Region", involving France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany and Hungary-Serbia. EU investments under these seven programmes focus on the following priorities, with funding adjusted to the border regions' specific needs: increasing the innovation capacities of local small businesses, preserving natural and cultural resources to develop sustainable tourism activities, improving cross-border connectivity and labour mobility, promoting enhanced cooperation between public institutions and civil organisations and encouraging the joint management of natural risks. "Our Interreg programmes are tangible examples of how the EU is working to help citizens address common challenges and tap into shared potential, while promoting solidarity beyond regional borders," Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said. The descriptions of the 2014-2020 programmes are available on Commissioner Crețu's webpage and on the Inforegio website. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)


Concentrations: La Commission autorise l'acquisition du contrôle en commun du Groupe Vivalto Santé par CDC International Capital, Mubadala et Vivalto Bel

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement de l’UE sur les concentrations, le projet de concentration par lequel les entreprises CDC International Capital de France, Mubadala Developement Company PJSC des Emirats Arabes Unis et Vivalto Bel de Belgique acquièrent le contrôle en commun du Groupe Vivalto Santé de France. CDC International Capital est une filiale de la Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations dédiée aux investissements directs en partenariat avec des fonds souverains et des investisseurs institutionnels internationaux. Mubadala est le fonds souverain d’Abu Dhabi, un émirat faisant partie des Émirats Arabes Unis. Vivalto Bel est un holding patrimoniale qui réalise des investissements notamment dans le secteur de la santé. Le Groupe Vivalto Santé est un opérateur d’établissements de santé privés en France. La Commission a conclu que le projet n'était pas susceptible de poser des problèmes de concurrence, parce que l'entité fusionnée occuperait une position de marché limitée. En outre, la Commission a constaté que l'entité fusionnée n'aurait pas la capacité de limiter l'accès des concurrents de Vivalto Santé à des actifs immobiliers à usage d’établissements de santé, ni de limiter l'accès d'autres sociétés détenant et gérant des actifs immobiliers à une clientèle d'hôpitaux. L'affaire a été analysée dans le cadre de la procédure normale de la Commission. Plus d'informations sont disponibles sur le site internet de la Commission consacré à la concurrence, dans le registre public des affaires de concurrence, au numéro M.7833. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


State aid: Commission approves fourth prolongation of Polish credit union resolution scheme

The European Commission has authorised, under EU State aid rules, the fourth prolongation of the Polish credit union resolution scheme until 30 June 2016. The Commission found the prolongation of the scheme, initially approved on 18 February 2014 to be in line with its guidelines on State aid to banks during the crisis (the "2013 Banking Communication"). In particular, the prolonged measures are well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number SA.43650. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


State aid: Commission approves the prolongation of the Danish and the Finnish short term export credit schemes

The European Commission has found, in two separate decisions, that the prolongation of the Danish and the Finnish short-term export-credit schemes is in line with EU state aid rules, and in particular with the 2012 Short-term export-credit Communication. The schemes were last approved in April 2013 and March 2013, respectively. The Commission concluded in particular that the kind of insurance cover provided by the two schemes to exporting companies established in Denmark and in Finland is currently unavailable in the private market. Indeed, private insurers are supplying exporting companies with various insurance products to cover the risk of non-payment by foreign buyers. However, there is a lack of insurance coverage for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a small export turnover or for single export transactions (i.e. on a transaction-by-transaction basis as compared to insuring the entire export portfolio of a company). This is because private insurers are less interested in this type of transactions. In this context, both the Danish and Finnish schemes allow the State to cover risks of single export transactions. The Finnish scheme also enables the State to cover risks incurred by SMEs with a small export turnover. Both schemes are prolonged until 31 December 2020. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the references SA.43187 (Denmark) and SA.43208 (Finland). (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


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

The number of persons employed increased by 0.3% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.4% in the EU28 in the third quarter of 2015 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the second quarter of 2015, employment increased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28. These figures are seasonally adjusted. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment increased by 1.1% in both the euro area and the EU28 in the third quarter of 2015 (after +1.0% in both zones in the second quarter of 2015). Eurostat estimates that, in the third quarter of 2015, 229.8 million men and women were employed in the EU28, of which 151.5 million were in the euro area. These figures are seasonally adjusted. Commenting on the Eurostat figures, Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility said: "The EU labour market is showing steady signs of improvement, with employment figures gradually rising since mid-2013. However, more remains to be done. There are still 12 million people in Europe today that have been out of work for more than one year. This is why I presented a proposal in September to help them get back to work. I am glad that the Member States supported this initiative last week in the Council. And we will continue our work on this Commission's ambitious economic and social agenda, encouraging structural reforms, investment and fiscal responsibility." A Eurostat press release can be found here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Justyna Milanowska – Tel.: +32 229 94246)


EUROSTAT: Real agricultural income per worker down by 4.3% in the EU

According to first estimates, real agricultural income in the European Union (EU) has fallen by 6.0% in 2015 compared with 2014, while agricultural labour input has dropped by 1.8%. As a result, real agricultural income per worker in the EU has decreased by 4.3% in 2015. Across the EU Member States, real agricultural income per worker in 2015 is expected to have risen in thirteen Member States and fallen in fifteen compared with previous year, albeit in different proportions. This information comes from first estimates issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. They are based on data supplied by the national authorities in the EU Member States. A Eurostat press release can be found here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)




Commissioner Oettinger at UN General Assembly to address progress made in tackling digital divide

Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, is speaking today at the United Nations General Assembly dedicated to progress made towards universal access to the internet. Policy makers, representatives from the private sector, industry and civil society have been reviewing progress made over the last ten years since the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) committed to bridging the digital divide, bringing the benefits of the Information Society to all the world's population, and harnessing ICT for development of the global digital economy and society. In addition, Commissioner Oettinger will speak on a panel with Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Mitchell Baker, Chair of Mozilla Foundation, and Siyabonga Cwele, South African Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services. The panel will debate issues related to ICT for development, closing the digital divide, internet governance, human rights and security. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


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