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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 28 / 01 / 2016

Brussels, 28 January 2016

Launch of the Anti-Tax Avoidance Package: Tackling Tax Avoidance

The Commission has today opened up a new chapter in its campaign for fair, efficient and growth-friendly taxation in the EU with new proposals to tackle corporate tax avoidance, following on from the global standards agreed by the OECD last autumn. The Anti-Tax Avoidance Package calls on Member States to take a stronger and more coordinated stance against companies that seek to avoid paying their fair share of tax and to implement international standards against base erosion and profit shifting.Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue said: "Today we are taking another step to strengthen confidence in the entire tax system, making it fairer and more efficient. People have to trust that the tax rules apply equally to all individuals and businesses. Companies must pay their fair share of taxes, where their actual economic activity is taking place. Europe can be a global leader in tackling tax avoidance." Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "Billions of tax euros are lost every year to tax avoidance – money that could be used for public services like schools and hospitals or to boost jobs and growth. Europeans and businesses that play fair end up paying higher taxes as a result. This is unacceptable and we are acting to tackle it. Today we are taking a major step towards creating a level-playing field for all our businesses, for fair and effective taxation for all Europeans." Commissioner Moscovici presented the package at a press conference today at 11:15 which can be watched on EbS. A press release, a memo and a factsheet are available online. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)


Food and feed safety: EU commits to €32.5 million to support EU Reference Laboratories in 2016 and 2017

The European Commission has awarded a total of €32.5 million, for the years 2016 and 2017, to support the 43 EU Reference Laboratories (EU-RLs) designated for food and feed safety, as well as animal health.  EU Reference Laboratories provide essential scientific and technical support, as well as advice on improved laboratory techniques, to the national laboratories in the Member States (i.e. developing analytical laboratory methods, organising know-how tests and training of Member States laboratory staff). The area of the EU Reference Laboratories' specialised activity is very broad, ranging from pesticides and GMOs to animal health issues and food products testing. The assistance they provide to Member States ensures high-quality and uniform testing and controls when applying EU food and feed legislation. The ultimate goal of this network, unique in the world, is to ensure the highest level of food safety for all European citizens. For more information, see here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


EU report shows trade policy promotes sustainability and human rights in third countries

The European Commission and the EU High Representative published today the first report, on the concrete effects of the GSP+, the EU trade policy instrument devised to encourage third countries, benefiting from privileged conditions of access to the EU market, to comply with core international standards such as human rights or environmental protection. On this occasion, the High Representative Federica Mogherini said:” Development is deeply linked not only to economic growth but also to social improvements. The 14 countries have shown political and institutional engagement, which needs to be followed up also by implementation.  We have not fully achieved all the goals yet.  Making a difference on the ground is what counts and this will be at the heart of the EU's monitoring and dialogue during the next 2-year reporting period.” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström commented: ”We have done much work over the past two years, engaging with vulnerable countries who asked for enhanced access to the EU market. All 14 countries that benefit from this arrangement have made significant efforts to improve the situation as regards human rights, labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance. However the situation is far from perfect. With this report, we have identified shortcomings which equip us with better knowledge and tools to make improvements in the years to come. We will now continue with our dialogue and cooperation to make sure that the countries continue to implement the 27 conventions.” A full press release in EN, FR, DE is available online. The 14 GSP+ beneficiary countries covered in the report are Armenia, Bolivia, Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Mongolia, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines. The highlights of progress and working priorities for each country in the report, as well as questions and answers on the report are available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Maja Kocijancic – Tel. +32 229 86570;  Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184; Adam Kaznowski – Tel. +32 229 89359)


Smart cities: Commission gives a push to electric mobility and smart mobility services

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc today opened the 2016 Transport for Smart Cities conference, which gathered 200 leading players part of a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) whose objective is to improve urban life through sustainable integrated solutions.  Commissioner Bulc attended the launch of two new initiatives bringing together cities and industry to promote the roll-out of smart electric mobility and of smart city mobility services at a large scale. Areas of application include the intelligent management of fleets of electric cars and real-time travel information. Commissioner Bulc said: "It is not 'us' and 'them' anymore – we need to work together and drive this challenge to a good destination. These initiatives will lead to smart mobility solutions to the market at scale. They will support innovation to create new jobs and fully integrate transport in the digital single market. If the fight against climate change is to be won in cities, I am convinced that Smart Cities are part of the answer". (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of parts of Volvo IT by HCL Technologies Sweden

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of certain business operations and assets belonging to Volvo IT by HCL Technologies Sweden. Both companies are headquartered in Sweden. HCL Technologies Sweden is a subsidiary of the HCL Technologies Group, a global technology and IT services provider. Volvo IT is a wholly owned subsidiary of AB Volvo, a global producer and distributor of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines.The Commission concluded that the proposed concentration would raise no competition concerns, given the companies' low combined market shares and the presence of other strong competitors in the relevant markets. 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.7845. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


Mergers: Commission clears joint venture by La Compagnie des Cartes Carburant and UNION TANK Eckstein.

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control of a newly created joint venture by La Compagnie des Cartes Carburant ("LCCC") of France and UNION TANK Eckstein ("UTA") of Germany. Both LCCC and UTA issue and manage fuel cards. The joint venture will design, process and operate corporate fuel, toll and parking cards in France. The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns given its limited impact on the markets structure since the combined market shares of LCCC and UTA are low and strong competitors exist. 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.7890. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


EUROSTAT - Household real income per capita up in both euro area and EU28

In the euro area, in real terms, household income per capita increased by 0.5% in the third quarter of 2015, after an increase of 0.1% in the previous quarter. Household real consumption per capita increased by 0.4% in the third quarter of 2015 and was stable in the second quarter of 2015. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)




Joint Statement by Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Jourová on the occasion of the 2016 Data Protection day

"Today, 28 January, marks the 10th European Data Protection day. Exactly one year ago, the European Commission committed to reaching an agreement on EU data protection reform. Less than a year later, in December 2015, we delivered on this promise, reaching a historic agreement with the European Parliament and Council, on rules that guarantee individuals' fundamental right to data protection and create opportunities for businesses and innovation. The new rules will give citizens stronger rights, allowing them to have better control of their data and ensuring that their privacy remains protected in the digital age.  The digital future of Europe can only be built on trust. Citizens' confidence in the online world is crucial for businesses to tap into big data's vast economic potential. With one streamlined set of rules across the European Union, we will cut red tape and ensure legal certainty, so that both citizens and companies can benefit from the Digital Single Market…Today we have solid foundations on which we can continue our work to build a Digital Single Market and to allow better and safer flows of data. These flows are essential, between EU countries, but also between the EU and its closest partners. The European Commission is currently working on a renewed and safe framework on transfers of personal data with the United States. We need an arrangement that protects fundamental rights of Europeans and ensures legal certainty for businesses." Full statement is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel.: +32 229 67083)




Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva discusses the EU budget in Slovakia

European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva is paying an official visit to Slovakia on 29 January. She is meeting with Prime Minister Mr Robert Fico, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr Peter Kažimír, and State Secretaries Mr Ivan Korčok (Foreign and EU Affairs) and Mr Radko Kuruc (Finance). She will also have a discussion with representatives of business organisations, think-tanks and NGOs. The topics Vice-President Georgieva will cover include current challenges the EU is facing and making sure the EU budget is spent in a more effective manner under the EU budget focused on results initiative (information in SK is here). Slovakia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2016, during the negotiations for the 2017 EU budget. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)


Vice-President Dombrovskis on European Semester visit to Czech Republic 28 – 29 January 2016

Vice-President Dombrovskis, responsible for Euro and Social Dialogue, is in Prague today and tomorrow to discuss economic developments in the country. The Vice-President will meet Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Andrej Babiš, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Jan Mládek, Minister of Industry and Trade, and Michaela Marksová, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. He will discuss economic, fiscal and social policies with members of the parliament and other stakeholders and deliver the keynote speech at the conference 'Euro Adoption in the Czech Republic: Benefits and Risks'.  The visit is related to the European Semester process of economic policy coordination across the EU. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)


Le Commissaire Stylianides en France pour rencontrer les acteurs de la sécurité civile

Le Commissaire européen chargé de l’aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises Christos Stylianides sera demain en France où il assistera en compagnie du Ministre de l'Intérieur Bernard Cazeneuve à la pose de la première pierre du Centre d’excellence européen pour les opérations aériennes de secours et de lutte contre les feux de forêts de la base aérienne de Nîmes Garons. Dans le cadre de cette visite, le Commissaire va également visiter des écoles et des centres de formation de la protection civile ainsi que des équipes et des capacités d’intervention de la sécurité civile française spécialisées dans le domaine de la lutte contre les feux de forêt et l'évacuation médicale aérienne. "La France est un acteur clé du mécanisme européen de protection civile. Lorsque l'Europe ou d'autres régions du monde sont victimes de catastrophes naturelles, la France apporte son aide et son expertise à travers le mécanisme européen de protection civile. Elle joue également un rôle déterminant dans le renforcement de la capacité européenne de réaction d’urgence de l’Union Européenne. La visite sera un signe fort de l'importance de mobiliser l'ensemble des capacités en vue d'une réponse européenne plus efficace face aux catastrophes ", a déclaré le Commissaire Stylianides. Les matériaux audiovisuels seront disponibles sur EbS. (Pour plus d'information:Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


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