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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 01 / 07 / 2016

Brussels, 1 July 2016

College meets with Slovak government to launch Presidency of the Council of the EU [Updated: 01/07/2016 at 14:23]

Today, Friday 1 July,European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, offered the Slovak Government the full support of his Commission as the country launches its first-ever Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In his remarks following the meeting in Bratislava between the College of Commissioners and the Slovak Government, President Juncker said the programme of the Slovak Presidency was "in perfect harmony with the European Commission's programme". The President underlined that the Commission would forge ahead with its political priorities in all areas. He highlighted that one of the most important challenges facing the European economy was the "lack of investment", which is why the EU needed to "prolong the Investment Plan for Europe which is turning into a real success story with €107 billion of new investment already." The Slovak Presidency website is now online: The press conference is available to watch on EbS. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)


Full entry into force of the Association Agreements between the EU and Georgia and the EU and the Republic of Moldova

Today, Friday 1 July, the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia (full press release here), and the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova (full press release here) enter fully into force. Both Association Agreements create Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, thus deepening political and economic relations between the European Union and the respective Eastern Partnership countries. Substantial parts of both Agreements have been provisionally applied since 1 September 2014, bringing concrete positive results for Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and the European Union. Factsheets are available on the Association Agreement with Georgia, the Association Agreement with the Republic of Moldova, EU-Georgia and EU-Republic of Moldova relations. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic –Tel.:+32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.:+32 229 89359)


New EU rules to fight insider dealing and market manipulation in Europe's financial markets take effect

A revamped EU legal framework, applicable as of 3 July, will ensure even more efficient, transparent and trustworthy European financial markets. This new rulebook will increase investor protection and confidence by allowing deeper and more integrated financial markets, and contribute to the creation of the Capital Markets Union. These rules will strengthen the fight against market abuse across commodity and related derivative markets, explicitly ban the manipulation of benchmarks, such as EURIBOR, and reinforce the investigative and sanctioning powers of regulators. They will also create common EU definitions for market abuse offences, covering insider dealing, unlawful disclosure of information and market manipulation. Serious cases of market abuse will be criminalised across the EU under a common set of criminal sanctions. For more information, see our press release here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)


Better regulation: Commission offers new opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the law-making process

The Commission has opened up another part of the EU decision-making process for stakeholder input. In line with its commitments under the Better Regulation Agenda and the broad effort to increase transparency in the EU Institutions, as of 30 June, draft delegated and implementing acts will now be put online and open for public feedback for a period of four weeks. This new online feedback tool is part of the Commission's new, user-centred web presence. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "Transparency and consultation are at the heart of our efforts to produce better regulation for better results. Since taking office 18 months ago we have thrown open our decision-making process and consult at all stages with those who have to deal with EU rules. Stakeholders will now be able to give their views for the first time on delegated and implementing acts, before they are adopted by the Commission." More information is available in thispress release. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456, Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)


EU and China step up climate and clean energy cooperation 

In the margins of the G20 energy ministerial meeting in Beijing, where ministers adopted a communiqué recognising the key role of clean energy and energy efficiency in achieving the goals set at the Paris climate conference, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner MiguelArias Cañete announced a new emissions trading cooperation project and the agreement of a new EU-China Energy Roadmap. Commissioner Arias Cañete said: "As two of the world's major economies, largest net energy importers, and biggest energy consumers, both China and the EU share many challenges and an increased responsibility to meet our common climate goals set in Paris. With emissions trading, clean energy and technology innovation at the heart of our new EU-China energy and climate partnership, both economies get ready to make the energy systems fit for purpose and reap all the benefits of the ongoing global clean energy revolution." The new €10 million emissions trading cooperation project will build on the existing cooperation project which started in 2014 and supported the roll-out of seven pilot schemes across the country. The three-year project will start in 2017, coinciding with the launch of the nationwide carbon market in China. As well as addressing challenges related to the setting up of a national emissions trading system, the new cooperation project will also establish a regular dialogue to discuss developments on emissions trading in China and the EU. The project is a concrete action following the EU-China Joint Declaration on Climate Change in which the two sides agreed to enhance existing bilateral cooperation on carbon markets. The landmark EU-China Energy Roadmap constitutes a keystone in the overall strategic partnership between the EU and China as both transition to a low-carbon economy. The agreement lays the foundations for sharing best practices on energy regulation, demand and supply analysis, energy crisis, and nuclear safety, as well as grid design and the integration of renewable energy into the electricity grid. Moreover, the roadmap looks to foster trade and investment in energy efficiency and renewables with the knock-on effects of boosting competition and lowering costs. It also aims to work together on promoting combined heat and power systems, expand the bio-gas sector and promote smart grids. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


Trade boosted by five years of EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement

EU exports to South Korea have increased by 55% since the free trade agreement (FTA) between South-Korea and the EU entered into force five years ago, according to a detailed European Commission report released today to mark the agreement's anniversary. Bilateral trade in goods between the two trading partners has been growing constantly since 2011, and reached a record level of over 90 billion euros in 2015. The EU-Korea trade deal has helped turn the EU's trade deficit with South Korea into a trade surplus, and has turned Korea into one of the EU's top ten export markets. EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström commented: “The numbers speak for themselves. The evidence of our agreement with Korea should help convince the unconvinced that Europe benefits greatly from more free trade. When our companies can export more easily, or when money saved from scrapped customs duties can be reinvested in company development, it spurs European growth. It safeguards and creates jobs. This anniversary gives us many reasons to roll up our sleeves and conclude all other pending EU trade deals that are on the table.” The agreement has opened new opportunities for many small European businesses in such diverse sectors as food and drink, pottery, packaging, sports equipment and book binding technology. In total, European companies have saved €2.8 billion in scrapped or discounted customs duties over the past five years. More information can be found in today's press release. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Polish bank guarantee scheme

The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules the fourteenth prolongation of the Polish bank guarantee scheme until 31 December 2016. The scheme provides for guarantees in favour of different types of solvent credit institutions in Poland. It was initially approved in September 2009 and prolonged several times, last time in February 2016. In February 2012, the pricing conditions of the scheme were brought in line with the requirements of the Commission's 2011 Communication on state aid to banks during the crisis. Other conditions of the original scheme remain unchanged. The Commission found the prolongation of the scheme to be in line with its guidelines on state aid to banks during the crisis because it is well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. Under the rules, the Commission is authorising guarantee schemes on banks’ liabilities for 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.45575. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


Statement by Commissioner Vella on first reading agreement on the National Emissions Ceiling Directive to reduce air pollution

On 30 June 2016 the Council and the European Parliament reached a first reading agreement on a directive to reduce emissions of air pollutants. The new National Emissions Ceiling Directive sets stricter national limits from 2020 to 2029 and from 2030 onwards. EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella welcomed the agreement: "Air pollution is the number-one environmental cause of death in the EU, leading to over 400,000 premature deaths each year. The agreement reached will cut those impacts by half over the coming years. It will also deliver direct savings to the economy from fewer lost working days and lower health-care costs and stimulate investments in new technologies and green growth. The negotiations were difficult and complex, but the institutions came together in a spirit of compromise. With this agreement, the EU has acteddecisively on an issue of crucial importance to our citizens."Full statement available here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321)


Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of Cegid by Silver Lake

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Cegid Group of France by Silver Lake Group of the United States. Cegid is a provider of finance, tax and human resource software for small and medium-sized enterprises. Silver Lake is an investment group focused on private investments in large scale companies in technology markets. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because there are only minimal overlaps between the activities of Cegid Group and the activities of Silver Lake's portfolio companies. 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.8040. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Bögel by Wilmar and AGRAVIS

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control of H. Bögel GmbH & Co. KG and H. Bögel Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH   (together "Bögel") both of Germany by the Wilmar group of Singapore and AGRAVIS group of Germany. Bögel is active in the international wholesale of animal feed ingredients including palm kernel expeller which is a by-product of palm oil extraction. Wilmar is active along the oil production value chain. AGRAVIS is active in the cooperatively organised agricultural trade and the production and sale of compound animal feed, mainly in Germany. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of the limited overlaps between the companies' activities. Moreover, a number of strong wholesale traders will continue supplying palm kernel expeller but also other non-grain feedstuff ingredients in competition with Bögel in the European Economic Area (EEA). The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7854. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)


Concentrations : la Commission autorise l'acquisition d'un immeuble de bureaux situé en France par Aviva et le Groupe des Assurances du Crédit Mutuel

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle en commun d'un immeuble de bureaux situé en France, en région parisienne, par les entreprises Aviva établies au Royaume-Uni et le Groupe des Assurances du Crédit Mutuel ("Groupe CM-11") basé en France. AVIVA déploie l'essentiel de ses activités dans les domaines de l'assurance vie et l'épargne à long terme, de l'assurance dommages et de la gestion d'actifs. Le Group CM-11 est actif dans les domaines de l'assurance, de la banque de financement et de détail, des activités de marché, du capital développement et de la logistique. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée n'était pas susceptible de poser de problème de concurrence puisqu'elle n'entraînera pas d'addition de parts significative dans les marchés de la gestion d'actifs immobiliers. L'opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.8053. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175) 


EUROSTAT: Mai 2016 – Le taux de chômage à 10,1% dans la zone euro – À 8,6% dans l'UE28

Dans la zone euro (ZE19), le taux de chômage corrigé des variations saisonnières s’est établi à 10,1% en mai 2016, en baisse par rapport au taux de 10,2% enregistré en avril 2016 et à celui de 11,0% de mai 2015. Il s’agit du taux le plus faible enregistré dans la zone euro depuis juillet 2011. Dans l’UE28, le taux de chômage s’est établi à 8,6% en mai 2016, en baisse par rapport au taux de 8,7% d'avril 2016 et à celui de 9,6% de mai 2015. Il s’agit du taux le plus faible enregistré dans l'UE28 depuis mars 2009. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. Eurostat estime qu’en mai 2016, 21,084 millions d’hommes et de femmes étaient au chômage dans l’UE28, dont 16,267 millions dans la zone euro. Par rapport à avril 2016, le nombre de chômeurs a diminué de 96 000 dans l’UE28 et de 112 000 dans la zone euro. Comparé à mai 2015, le chômage a baissé de 2,166 millions de personnes dans l’UE28 et de 1,440 million dans la zone euro. Un communiqué EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)




High-level EU participation at the Western Balkans Summit in Paris, focusing on connectivity and youth [Updated: 01/07/2016 at 14:23]

On Monday, 4 July, four Members of the College will participate in the Western Balkans Summit and a number of side events. The High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, will attend the Summit event hosted by French President François Hollande, addressing the Heads of State and Government on behalf of the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. The Summit will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss developments that have a regional importance such as migration, security issues including the fight against extremism, jobs and economic growth. Youth and connectivity are two other key focus areas of the Summit and associated side events, with leaders expected to sign an Agreement on the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans as well as confirming a new set of reforms, including the establishment of a regional market for electricity, and endorsing a new package of investment projects covering railway infrastructure, renewables and energy efficiency. The European Union has pledged up to €1 billion in co-financing of investment projects until 2020, and has so far delivered one-third of this. In parallel to the Summit, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn,will join Foreign Ministers to take stock of the Enlargement process and to discuss the connectivity and youth agenda, economic development and common challenges such as radicalisation, the fight against terrorism, and migration. Commissioner Hahn will also participate at the Business Forum, which takes place in the morning. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc will address Economy Ministers to highlight some of the priority actions and reforms to be undertaken in the transport sector in order to better connect the region to the EU. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics will also participate in a side event in Paris, in the Western Balkan Youth Conference, where he will give a keynote speech focussing on the role of education, formal and non-formal, in enabling young people to find jobs and their place in society - through skills development,  Erasmus+ and further steps to support Member States in tackling violent radicalisation leading to terrorism, which were recently presented by the European Commission. Coverage of the event will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic –Tel.:+32 229 86570; Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.:+32 229 56186; Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.:+32 229 67083).


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