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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 04 / 02 / 2016

Brussels, 4 February 2016

Winter 2016 Economic Forecast: Weathering new challenges

Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has presented the Winter 2016 Economic Forecast. The European economy is now entering its fourth year of recovery and growth continues at a moderate rate, driven mainly by consumption. At the same time, much of the world economy is grappling with major challenges and risks to European growth are therefore increasing. In the euro area, growth is projected to increase to 1.7% this year from 1.6% last year, and to climb to 1.9% in 2017. EU economic growth is forecast to remain stable at 1.9% this year and rise to 2.0% next year. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said: "Europe is continuing its recovery, with growth broadly in line with our previous forecast in autumn. We have to remain attentive. Europe's moderate growth is facing increasing headwinds, from slower growth in emerging markets such as China, to weak global trade and geopolitical tensions in Europe's neighbourhood. It is important to continue structural reforms that can help our economies grow, withstand shocks in the future, and improve job opportunities for our population." Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "The European economy is successfully weathering new challenges this winter, supported by cheap oil, the euro rate and low interest rates. Nonetheless, the weaker global environment poses a risk and means we must be doubly vigilant. There is more work to do to strengthen investment, enhance our competitiveness in a smart way and complete the job of fixing our public finances." A press release is available in all EU languages. Commissioner Moscovici's presentation (including the slides) is available online. For further information, please consult the European Economic forecast webpage. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt: + 32 229 56153; Audrey Augier + 32 229 71607)

 

Commission welcomes Member States' agreement on Refugee Facility for Turkey

The Commission welcomed yesterday the agreement by Member States on the details of the €3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey, which the Commission proposed on 24 November in the context of our cooperation with Turkey on tackling the refugee crisis. The Commission has agreed to increase the contribution from the EU budget to €1 billion, compared to the €500 million originally proposed in November. The EU will now be able to swiftly deliver substantial new financial resources to support Turkey in coping with the presence of Syrian refugees under temporary protection and host communities in Turkey.First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "I welcome the agreement by the Member States on the details of the Refugee Facility for Turkey. This is what we agreed at the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey on 29 November. The money we are putting on the table will directly benefit Syrian refugees in Turkey, helping to improve their access to education and healthcare in particular. I also welcome the measures already taken by the Turkish authorities to give Syrian refugees access to the labour market and to reduce the flows. The step taken today will help ensure better prospects for Syrians in Turkey and advance on the implementation of our Joint Action Plan. We must work together to achieve results, in particular when it comes to stemming the influx of irregular migrants."Commissioner Johannes Hahn, added: "Turkey now hosts one of the world's largest refugee communities and has committed to significantly reducing the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU. The Facility for Refugees in Turkey will go straight to the refugees, providing them with education, health and food. The improvement of living-conditions and the offering of a positive perspective will allow refugees to stay closer to their homes." The Facility will provide a joint coordination mechanism for actions financed by the EU budget and national contributions made by the Member States, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)


Investment Plan for Europe: first deal in Hungary worth €97 million to support over 1500 small businesses

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and K&H Bank have signed the first COSME agreement in Hungary to provide HUF 30 billion (around €97 million) to over 1500 small businesses in Hungary. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “Helping to boost economic growth by triggering new investment is the Commission’s top political priority. That is why I welcome today's announcement that K&H will provide fresh loans worth nearly €100 million to small businesses in Hungary with support from the EIF and the Investment Plan. I encourage Hungarian SMEs to contact K&H with their business proposals to make the most of the opportunities opened up by this new deal.” (For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)

 

Promotion des produits agricoles européens: publication des premiers appels à propositions pour 2016

La Commission européenne a ouvert aujourd'hui les premiers appels à propositions pour la promotion des produits agricoles de l'Union Européenne. Il s'agit du premier appel publié depuis l'entrée en vigueur des nouvelles règles européennes de promotion le 1er décembre 2015. €111 million du budget européen sont dédiés à ces campagnes de promotion pour l'année 2016. Ce montant servira à co-financer des projets pluri-annuels destinés à aider les producteurs européens à trouver de nouveaux marchés et à promouvoir la consommation des produits agricoles européens à l'extérieur et à l'intérieur de l’Union européenne. M. Phil Hogan, commissaire européen chargé de l'agriculture et du développement rural, a aujourd'hui déclaré: «Je me réjouis de pouvoir confirmer la publication en ce jour des premiers appels à proposition pour la promotion des produits agricoles européens dans le cadre des nouvelles règles en vigueur. Je rappelle que les programmes de cette année bénéficieront de €30 million spécifiquement consacrés aux secteurs laitiers et porcins en difficulté. La production agroalimentaire européenne est sans égale sur le marché mondial. Dotés d'un budget de €111 million pour 2016 et forts d'un système de mise en œuvre simplifié, je suis confiant que ces projets pourront contribuer à stimuler nos exportations et créer ainsi des emplois et de la croissance dans les zones rurales à travers l'Union Européenne. Je m'engage par ailleurs de manière personnelle dans la promotion des produits européens à travers une série de visites dans les pays tiers. Je serai la semaine prochaine en Colombie et au Mexique accompagné d'une délégation de producteurs européens." Les propositions de projets peuvent être envoyées directement en ligne à la Commission d'ici le 28 avril 2016. Une session d'information sur les appels à proposition pour 2016 sera par ailleurs organisée par la Commission européenne le 26 février prochain. Plus d'informations sur le lancement des appels et la politique de promotion de produits agricoles UE sont disponibles ici.  (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52 509)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of mobile network operator BASE by Liberty Global, subject to conditions

Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of BASE, a Belgian mobile network operator, by Liberty Global. The approval is conditional upon the implementation of commitments to ensure effective competition in the Belgian retail mobile market. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, stated: "We have made sure that Liberty Global's merger with BASE will not reverse the trend of declining mobile prices in Belgium in recent years. To maintain healthy competition in the Belgian mobile market, Liberty Global and BASE will sell part of their customer base to a new virtual mobile operator." The agreed remedies adequately address the Commission's concerns since they ensure that a new mobile virtual network operator will enter the retail mobile market, to compensate for the loss of competition resulting from the exit of Telenet as an independent mobile virtual network operator. The full press release is available in EN, FR, DE and NL. More information on this case is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7637. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386) 

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Dundrum Assets by Hammerson and Allianz

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of several real estate assets, together "the Dundrum Assets", all located in Dublin, Ireland, by Hammerson plc of the United Kingdom and Allianz SE of Germany. The Dundrum Assets comprise the Dundrum Town Centre and the Dundrum Phase II & Village projects. Hammerson is active in real estate development and owns and manages shopping centres primarily in the United Kingdom and France. Allianz is active in the insurance sector and asset management for both private and corporate customers in more than 70 countries. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of its very limited impact on the market structure. 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.7905. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386) 

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Northgate by Goldman Sachs

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Northgate Information Solutions Limited of the UK by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. of the US. Northgate develops and provides integrated software, outsourcing and IT technology solutions and services for payroll and HR management. Goldman Sachs is active in investment banking, securities and investment management. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, in particular because of the limited overlaps between the companies' activities resulting from the transaction. 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.7926. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386) 

 

Eurostat: The EU was dependent on energy imports for slightly over half of its consumption in 2014

The energy dependency of the European Union (EU) stood in 2014 at 53.4%, meaning that the EU needed to import just over half of the energy it consumed in 2014. Energy dependency in the EU was higher in 2014 than in 1990, but slightly lower than its highest point recorded in 2008. The evolution of EU energy dependency has not been constant between 1990 and 2014, however, it has continuously stood above 50% since 2004. Energy dependency varies widely across Member States, with half of them relying mainly on imports for their energy consumption in 2014, while for the other half, energy dependency rate stood below 50%. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

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