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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 03/02/2016

Brussels, 3 February 2016

Strong EU attendance at 'Supporting Syria and the Region' conference in London  

High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides will travel to London on Thursday 4 February to attend the conference 'Supporting Syria and the Region', hosted by the United Kingdom with Germany, Norway, Kuwait and United Nations. Together with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, they will represent the EU to reconfirm their solidarity with the Syrian people and neighbouring countries that have been affected by the crisis. The EU has been the leading donor in the international response to the Syria crisis, providing support for Syrians in their country and refugees in neighbouring countries. Over seventy Heads of State/Government have been invited to the event. President of the European Council Tusk and HRVP Mogherini will speak for the EU in the plenary and refer to the EU pledge. Commissioners Hahn and Stylianides will participate in the Focus Events that will provide in-depth input to the plenary. The Conference takes place in the context of increased international efforts to find a political solution to the Syria conflict. With the Syria conflict soon entering its sixth year, 18 million people are in need of assistance, 6.5 million are internally displaced in Syria and 4.6 million Syrians have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries. The London Conference takes a different approach from previous pledging conferences for the Syria crisis in Kuwait, as it also seeks to address the longer-term stabilisation of Syria and neighbouring refugee/hosting countries. A factsheet is available here. Video and photos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229-86570; Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229-90677; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229-64887)

President Juncker ahead of the February European Council

President Jean-Claude Juncker this morning addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg in a debate about the next European Council. Regarding the draft settlement on the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union, President Juncker stated: "I have always said I wanted the UK to remain a member of the EU on the basis of a fair deal. The settlement that has been proposed is fair for the United Kingdom, and fair for the other 27 Member States. It is also fair for the European Parliament." He also took the opportunity to underline the Commission's role as a facilitator in the negotiations, saying that the Commission had been fully associated to the work on the settlement. "I have worked closely with President Tusk and Prime Minister Cameron to shape the proposal presented yesterday," he added, and "therefore, the Commission supports these texts".  Regarding the refugee crisis, which the European Council will also address, President Juncker called again on Member States to respect their commitments. "The refugee crisis each day becomes a crisis of European solidarity precisely when we need more coordination, more cooperation, more Union." President Juncker underscored that the European Union and its Member States have a "joint responsibility" facing these challenges, and "it is this shared responsibility which must now be turned into action by all". Turning to Schengen, the President was unequivocal: "There is one way to save Schengen: we must apply its rules, all of them. We will save Schengen by applying Schengen." On Greece's role within Schengen, the President made it clear that it was "not a question of isolating or stigmatising the Greeks but of helping Greece to respect its obligations." Read the full text of President Juncker's remarks here. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Natasha Bertaud– Tel.: +32 229 67456)

Juvenes Translatores: Winners of the EU translation contest for schools announced today

The European Commission has today announced the winners of its annual translation contest 'Juvenes Translatores'. A total of 28 secondary school students, one from each of the European Union Member States, will be awarded a prize after competing with over 3 000 participants from across the continent. The winners will be invited to Brussels on 14 April 2016 to receive their trophies from European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva. "My congratulations to all the winners of this year's competition, who excelled against some stiff competition for the top slot in their country. Every year, Juvenes Translatores gives students a chance to test their language skills and try their hand at translation, a valuable skill in our multilingual Union," Vice-President Georgieva said. The names of the winners are in the following press release (also in FR, DE and all official EU languages). (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Binder by COFRA

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Binder of Germany by COFRA of Switzerland. COFRA is the holding company of a variety of companies in Europe, the Americas, and Asia active in the retail, real estate and investment business. Binder is a group of companies headquartered in Germany, mainly offering aluminium exterior trim parts for light vehicles such as roof rails, window shaft rails, window guide rails, roof-trim stripes, pillar panels, gas caps and cross beams. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the companies' combined market position would remain highly limited on all markets involved and they would continue to face significant competitive pressure from various strong, multinational players. 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.7901. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


EUROSTAT: December 2015 compared with November 2015 - Volume of retail trade up by 0.3% in euro area - Up by 0.1% in EU28

In December 2015 compared with November 2015, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade increased by 0.3% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.1% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In November retail trade remained stable in the euro area and rose by 0.3% in the EU28. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)


EUROSTAT: 4 February: World Cancer Day - Still 1 in 4 deaths caused by cancer in the EU - Main fatal cancer: lung cancer for men, breast cancer for women

In the European Union (EU), cancer was the cause of death for almost 1.3 million persons in 2013, responsible for just over a quarter (26%) of all deaths. Men (726 500 deaths due to cancer) were more affected than women (570 300). In addition, fatal cancer represented more than a third (37%) of all deaths for the EU population aged less than 65, while this level was below a quarter (23%) for the older population (those aged 65 years and over). A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel. +32 229 87624)




Commissioner Malmström participates in Citizens’ Dialogue in Amsterdam
Today, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström participates in a Citizen’s Dialogue in Amsterdam to engage in an open discussion on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Dutch NGOs, small and medium-sized enterprises, local politicians, and other organisations actively involved in the TTIP debate. For this dialogue, the Commissioner is joined by Kajsa Ollongren, the deputy mayor of Amsterdam. While in the Netherlands, the Commissioner also participated yesterday in an Informal Trade Council organised by the Dutch Presidency and met with members of the Dutch Parliament Committees on trade and European Affairs in The Hague. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)


International consultation confirms EU crucial role in ocean governance

EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, will announce today the results of the Commission's public consultation on international ocean governanceat the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Malta. The public consultation took place from June to October 2015, alongside a 'listening tour' with stops in Portugal, Ireland, Malta, the United States, Norway, Chile, Spain and France, among others. Findings include the need for better implementation and coordination as well as the need to fill existing legal gaps and improve ocean knowledge. Respondents confirmed that the EU has an important role to play in this regard. The EU is already spearheading the global fight against illegal fishing, pushing for a new international legal agreement under the UN to preserve marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and promoting research cooperation through the 2013 'Galway declaration', which set up an Atlantic Ocean research alliance with the US and Canada. The Commission plans to follow up the consultation with a political initiative on ocean governance in the coming months. Commissioner Vella will continue his visit to Malta by opening a Commission conference on economic advice in fisheries management tomorrow. The results of the international consultation and Commissioner Vella's speech are available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321)


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