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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 28 / 06 / 2016

Brussels, 28 June 2016

Président Juncker: le projet européen continue

Le Président Juncker, en présence de la totalité du Collège des commissaires, y compris Lord Hill, s'est adressé à une session plénière extraordinaire du Parlement européen consacré au résultat du référendum britannique. Il a redit regretter mais respecter le choix des électeurs britanniques. Il a rappelé que vendredi dernier, dans une déclaration commune, les quatre institutions européennes ont demandé de la clarté. Une demande qu'il a exprimé à nouveau devant le Parlement: "Je demande au gouvernement du Royaume-Uni de clarifier le plus rapidement possible la situation", a-t-il dit en ajoutant "pas aujourd'hui, pas demain matin, mais rapidement." Il a également souligné qu'il ne voudrait pas que "s'installe l'idée qu'il pourrait y avoir des négociations secrètes." Il n'y aura pas de négociations préalables, "no notification, no negotiation" a-t-il dit. Par ailleurs, le Président Juncker a insisté sur le fait qu'il "ne faudrait pas changer l'essentiel et l'essentiel c'est que l'Europe reste un projet de paix et un projet d'avenir." "Nous n'allons pas arrêter notre vol vers l'avenir", a dit le Président Juncker indiquant que la Commission continuera sur la voie qu'elle a entamé avec l'accord de ce Parlement, notamment pour qu'il y ait en Europe moins de bureaucratie "une place noble pour l'Europe sociale", un Pacte de stabilité appliqué avec sagesse, une Union de l'énergie, une Europe numérique. Au cours de son intervention, le Président Juncker a également souligné que les "Etats membres fondateurs n'ont pas plus de droit que les autres, ceux qu'on appelle les 'nouveaux Etats membres'". "Je vais jusqu'à mon dernier souffle combattre pour l'Europe unie" a-t-il dit, ajoutant "ce n'est pas l'heure de morceler de nouveau ce continent." (Pour plus d'informations: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)


Statement by Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström on EU Trade Policy

"In this unprecedented situation, let me stress that we are clear and united in our response with regard to EU trade policy, the policy area that I am responsible for. Trade makes a vital and positive contribution to the EU's economic and external policy and we will make sure that it continues to deliver real benefits to EU citizens. Our negotiations with key partners will continue. The European Union has an ambitious trade agenda and remains engaged in pursuing and concluding the different negotiating processes in which it is involved, at bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral level. I am determined to make as much progress as possible in the months to come. This is particularly true for our negotiations with the United States on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. I will travel to Washington D.C. tomorrow to meet my counterpart, in order to advance further in these negotiations. The European Commission will soon make a proposal for the ratification of our trade agreement with Canada. This is the most ambitious and progressive agreement we have concluded so far. It will set new standards for trade agreements in the 21st century. It will offer opportunities to consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs from the day it comes into force. It will help to generate growth and jobs, while fully upholding Europe's high standards in areas like food safety, environmental protection and people's rights at work. Furthermore, the agreement with Canada is the beginning of a new era for investment protection. Together with our Canadian partners we will make a clear break from the old ISDS system, through a new model that enshrines the rights of governments to regulate, and is more transparent, independent, and impartial than its predecessor. We also remain committed to advancing within the multilateral system at the WTO, following last year's agreement in Nairobi. Our trade agenda will continue to move forward, in order to make a positive contribution to the economy, and to spur growth and jobs." The statement can be found online here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly: 3 million more employed people than a year before

Today, the Commission published its summer edition of the Employment and Social Situation Quarterly review (ESSQR). The review confirmed an increase of the overall employment rate, for both the EU and the euro area – an increase representing 3 million more employed people in the EU than one year before. The overall long-term unemployment rate, at the other hand, decreased by 0.6 pp compared to a year before and stands now at 4.3% of the labour force. This is the largest reduction since the first decline in long-term unemployment observed in 2014. Finally, this season's edition also shows a continuous improvement and convergence among Member States regarding youth unemployment, which has decreased more strongly in countries most affected by the crisis. Commenting on the review, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "Today, 3 million people more in Europe have a job compared to a year ago. These positive developments show that our efforts to create jobs and fight unemployment at EU and national level are starting to pay off. However, the review also indicates that, despite the improved long-term unemployment rate, it remains a challenge to reach those furthest away from the labour market. For inactive NEETs (young people Not in Education, Employment, or Training and not actively looking for a job), for example, there has been little change both at EU and Member State level. I therefore hope that, together with the Member States, we can make work as quickly as possible of initiatives such as the Recommendation on Long-Term Unemployment and the New Skills Agenda for Europe."  The 2016 summer edition of the Employment and Social Situation Quarterly review can be found here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253;Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)


Commission calls for renewed commitment to Roma integration

Today, the Commission adopted its annual report on Roma integration. This year's assessment provides, for the first time, an overview of the measures put in place by Member States following the 2013 Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures, which required them to promote access of Roma to education, employment, healthcare and housing. First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, said: "Roma are part of our societies, and they are part of Europe. This report comes as a timely reminder for Member States to show more political determination and implement their commitments to integrate Europe's Roma communities. Member States should use to the full the relevant policy, legal and financial tools to ensure equal opportunities and Roma inclusion." Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, added: "There have been some positive developments since 2014, especially in the area of education. Member States recognise the importance of early education as a factor to help Roma children to integrate. At the same time, educational segregation persists and the Commission had to take steps to ensure that anti-discrimination legislation is enforced in education. There is still more to be done in all areas, from education to housing or employment." The Commission is supporting the implementation of the Member States' National Roma integration strategies by providing funding under the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) for 2014-2020 and calls on Member States to step up efforts to enforce anti-discrimination legislation and eliminate segregation in education and housing to prevent forced evictions. A press releaseand a factsheet are available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253, Melanie Voin - Tel.: +32 229 58659)


New financing under the Investment Plan for Europe: EIB provides EUR 50 million to Aperam

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Aperam announce the signature of a financing contract of an amount of EUR 50 million for the purpose of financing a research and development programme over the period 2016-2019 as well as the upgrade of two plants located in cohesion regions (Isbergues - Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Châtelet-Hainaut).  This project was funded under the Investment Plan for Europe, of which France is one the main beneficiary countries with 35 operations launched to date by the EIB Group and for a total amount of EUR 1.7 billion, which should generate EUR 15 billion of additional investment. The signature of the contract took place at Aperam facilities in Isbergues, France in the presence of Emmanuel Macron, France’s Minister of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector and of Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the EIB. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "We created the Investment Plan to mobilise investment across Europe with the ultimate aim of creating more jobs and strengthening the economy. The Aperam project signed today is supported by the Investment Plan and it will give a boost to the local steel industry and provide employment in several regions." (For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt - Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)


State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into support for Port Authority of Naples and Italian shipyard Cantieri del Mediterraneo

The European Commission has opened an in-depth probe to verify whether direct grants of €44 million from Italy to the Port Authority of Naples were in line with EU state aid rules. The grants were used to renovate the dry-docks rented out by the Port Authority of Naples to Cantieri del Mediterraneo (CAMED), a ship building and ship repair company, on the basis of a 30-year concession. The Commission's preliminary view is that besides the Port Authority, also CAMED may have benefitted from these grants via the concession agreement. Indeed, in the absence of a tender for the use of the dry-docks, CAMED may use the refurbished facilities to provide ship repair activities for a price potentially below market rates. This may have given both companies an economic advantage over their competitors and therefore involve state aid within the meaning of the EU rules. Such aid may be found compatible with EU state aid rules if it furthers an objective of common interest, such as the provision of quality public services at affordable prices, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. However, at this stage, the Commission has doubts that the ship repair service can qualify as a Service of General Economic Interest (SGEI). The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested parties a possibility to comment on the measures being assessed. It does not prejudge in any way the outcome of the investigation. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.36112. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


State aid: Commission approves Cypriot scheme in favour of certain borrowers in difficulty

The European Commission has found a Cypriot scheme to support private households and micro companies that encounter difficulties in repaying loans to be in line with EU state aid rules. Eligible borrowers can get a grant that does not need to be reimbursed, provided that their loans are secured against their principal residence. The aim is to avoid that these borrowers lose their principal residence. The grant will be paid out through banks in Cyprus. It is restricted to a maximum amount of € 10 000 per year and borrower, for a maximum period of three consecutive years. The scheme has a budget of around € 2 million per year. With respect to private households and micro companies, the grants are either of a social character or too small to have an effect on trade. This part of the measure therefore involves no state aid. The Commission also assessed whether the measure could confer an advantage to the banks that pay the grants. The Commission found that the grant scheme increases the amount of repayment the banks receive from their non-performing loans. This provides an indirect advantage to the banks and therefore involves state aid. However, the Commission's assessment showed that the measure would not create undue distortions of competition among banks. It found that the scheme was well-targeted, limited in time and scope and that the indirect aid to the banks was limited to what is necessary to achieve its goal, namely to avoid that the borrowers lose the house in which they live. Moreover, since all mortgage lenders established in Cyprus are able to participate in the scheme, it is non-discriminatory. The Commission has, therefore, concluded that the scheme is compatible with EU rules. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.45004. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Cypriot bank guarantee scheme

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a prolongation until 31 December 2016 of the government guarantee scheme for credit institutions in Cyprus. The Commission authorised the original scheme in November 2012. Since then its prolongation has been authorised several times, the last time in January 2016. The Commission found this latest prolongation of the measure to be in line with its guidance on support measures for banks during the financial crisis (see also MEMO).The Commission concluded in particular that the prolonged measure is targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. Moreover, the Commission has verified that the prolongation does not breach the EUDirective on bank recovery and resolution. During the application of the extraordinary crisis rules for state aid to banks, the Commission is authorising guarantee schemes on banks’ liabilities for successive periods of six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.45598. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)




Commissioner Arias Cañete in China for G20 energy ministerial and bilateral cooperation

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will visit China on 29-30 June. During the visit, the Commissioner will announce a new EU-China emissions trading cooperation project in the margins of the EU-China Carbon Market Industry Leaders Forum. Emissions trading is playing an increasingly important role in China, where a nationwide carbon market will be launched in 2017. The new project will build on the existing cooperation project which started in 2014 and has supported the roll-out of seven pilot schemes across the country. Together with the Director of the Chinese National Energy Administration Nur Bekri, the Commissioner is also expected to sign the EU-China energy roadmap laying out further areas of cooperation such as policy planning and design, energy efficiency, renewables, research, technology development and innovation. The roadmap follows the strategic priorities set out in the Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council "Elements for a new strategy on China" adopted by the Commission on 22 June. On 30 June, Commissioner Arias Cañete will participate in the G20 energy ministerial meeting in Beijing. This year's energy ministerial focuses on energy technology innovation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy access and the role of the energy system in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Commission's assessment of the Paris Agreement is available here. Finally, the Commissioner will also meet with the Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak to discuss closer cooperation in the field of energy policy. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)



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