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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 18 / 07 / 2016

Brussels, 18 July 2016

2015 annual reports: Member States compliance with EU law improving, but more work ahead to unleash full potential of Single Market

The European Commission has reiterated its commitment to ensure the effective application of the whole range of European legislation and, in particular, the world's biggest single market of 500 million citizens. The 33rd Annual Report on Monitoring the application of EU law provides a clear picture on how the Commission monitored and enforced EU law in 2015 and the Single Market Scoreboard reveals that barriers to the free movement of persons, services, goods and capital in the EU are being eliminated in most areas. For the Annual Report, a full press release and a EU-28 fact sheet are available online, as well as 28 fact sheets by country, and an infograph on infringement procedures in 2015 in EN, FR and DE. For the Single Market Scoreboard, see the performance overview and the performance per Member State (28 EU + 3 EEA). Finally, answers on the frequently asked questions on the general EU infringement procedure are available here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Lucia Caudet - Tel.: +32 229 56182; Uldis Šalajevs – Tel.: +32 229 67560)


EU follows up on its commitment to implementation of Sustainable Development Goals at UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation & Development, Neven Mimica, will represent the EU and its Member States at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York between 18-20 July. This High-level Political Forum is the central United Nations' platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level and takes place one year after the 2030 Agenda with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted at the United Nations Summit in September 2015. The EU has continued to be a leader on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda (including the SDGs), and Commissioner Mimica's attendance will send an important signal regarding the EU's determination and commitment on this issue. Many of the 2030 Agenda's goals and targets are closely linked to EU policies, the ten priorities of the Commission and the Europe 2020 strategy. This year's Forum will provide political leadership on the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and follow-up, including through a Ministerial Declaration. It is also meant to foster progress towards the SDGs including through coherent policies that are informed by evidence, science and country experiences. In addition to providing a statement on behalf of the EU and its Member States and participating in various activities around the Forum, the Commissioner will also lead a side-event on "A renewed European development policy in response to the UN 2030 Agenda: revision of the European Consensus on Development ".  The event is part of a series of consultation events designed to inform a forthcoming Commission proposal for a new European Consensus on Development. The open public consultation on the new European Consensus on Development is open until 21 August 2016. For more information see our brochure on the Financing for Development. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Christina Wunder - Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Customs: EU, China and Hong Kong agree to expand the Smart and Secure Trade Lanes (SSTL) Pilot Project [Updated: 18/07/2016 at 12:47]

EU, China and Hong Kong Customs have given their green light to launch Phase 3 of the Smart and Secure Trade Lanes (SSTL) Pilot Project, an international pilot project to test safety and security related recommendations of the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The arrangement should increase the number of 'trade lanes' between ports and will have a substantial impact on the overall security of supply chains and trade between the Europe and Asia. Currently limited to maritime transport, Phase 3 will also extend the project to air and rail transport, while the geographic scope will be expanded to include more ports. The new arrangement means that the volume of screened trade between participating countries will increase. Advanced risk management techniques and the development of common risk rules are also being incorporated into this pilot. Participating traders will enjoy quicker customs clearance and will be better able to predict when they can expect clearance for their goods. The arrangement was signed on Friday 15 July on behalf of the Commission by Mr Stephen Quest, Director-General of DG TAXUD in the margins of the WCO Council Sessions in Brussels. (For more information:Annika Breidthardt - Tel.: +32 229 80100; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)


EU and Indonesia launch trade talks

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Indonesian Minister of Trade Tom Lembong have today agreed to launch the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Indonesia with the aim to deepen and strengthen a key aspect of the bilateral relationship. The announcement follows today's decision by the EU Council to give the green light to the European Commission to open negotiations based on intense preparatory work in the last couple of months. Commissioner Malmström and Minister Lembong jointly declared: "The EU and Indonesia represent a huge market of 750 million consumers. These negotiations are key to unleash synergies between our economies. Our trade relationship has enormous untapped potential. The EU - the world's largest trading block - and Indonesia - the largest player in the dynamic region of South-East Asia – have lots to gain from a deeper trade and investment relation. The Agreement holds a promise of new great opportunities for businesses and people in our countries. That is why we engage today with a firm resolve to make these talks succeed." Both sides agreed to negotiate an ambitious agreement that facilitates trade and investments and covers a broad range of issues, including customs duties and other barriers to trade, services and investment, access to public procurement markets, as well as competition rules and protection of intellectual property rights. The agreement will also include a comprehensive chapter aiming to ensure that closer economic relations between the EU and Indonesia go hand in hand with environmental protection and social development. The first round of negotiations is expected to take place later in 2016. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


Commission congratulates Galway & Rijeka on becoming European Capitals of Culture in 2020

The European Commission congratulates Galway & Rijeka, located in Ireland and Croatia, which have been selected to become European Capitals of Culture in 2020. The selection has been made by an panel composed of 10 independent experts appointed by EU institutions and bodies. Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “I congratulate Galway and Rijeka on their successful bids. I am confident that Galway and Rijeka will give visitors from Europe and all over the world the opportunity to discover their cities and cultural assets, but also to appreciate the diversity of cultures in the European Union as well as our shared values. I am convinced that the title will bring Galway and Rijeka significant long-term cultural, as well as economic and social benefits, as we have seen with many previous European Capitals of Culture." European Capitals of Culture are one of the most recognised EU projects. They started in 1985 on the initiative of the then Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri. The idea is to put cities at the heart of cultural life across Europe. Through culture and art, European Capitals of Culture improve the quality of life in these cities and strengthen their sense of community. Citizens can take part in the year-long activities and play a bigger role in their city’s development and cultural expression. More background information on European Capitals of Culture is available online. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Hendrix Genetics by NPM Capital and Thijs Hendrix Beheer

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Hendrix Genetics B.V. by NPM Capital N.V. and Thijs Hendrix Beheer B.V., all three of the Netherlands. Hendrix Genetics is active in the breeding of animals. NPM is a Dutch investment company that is wholly-owned by SHV Holdings N.V.. SHV is a Dutch investment company with holdings in various sectors, including the production of animal nutrition and fish feed, and the processing and sale of poultry and pig meat. Thijs Hendrix Beheer, a holding company, is the majority shareholder of Hendrix. Hendrix Genetics’ other holdings are primarily active in recreational services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the overlaps between the companies' activities are limited and a number of other players are active in the markets and countries concerned, including in all the levels of the meat value chains at question. 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.7883. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)


Concentrations : la Commission autorise l'acquisition conjointe de I@D par IK et Five Arrows

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle en commun de l'entreprise française I@D par les entreprises IK VII Limited, établie au Royaume-Uni et appartenant au groupe IK Investment Partners, et Five Arrows Managers, établie en France et contrôlée par Rothschild & Co. I@D est une plateforme immobilière. IK et Five Arrows déploient l'essentiel de leurs activités dans la gestion de portefeuille pour le compte de tiers. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée n'était pas susceptible de poser de problème de concurrence puisqu'elle n'aura qu'un impact très limité sur la structure du marché des services 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.8100. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175) 


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over AUSS by Warburg Pincus and Wendel

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over AUSS, a newly created joint venture, by Warburg Pincus LLC ("Warburg Pincus") of the US and Wendel SE ("Wendel") of France. AUSS will comprise Universal Service of America, a portfolio company held by affiliates of Warburg Pincus, and AlliedBarton Security Services, a portfolio company held by affiliates of Wendel. The new joint venture will be active in the provision of security services and facilities management in North America. Warburg Picus is a global private equity firm. Wendel is a French investment firm. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because AUSS has no actual or foreseen activities in the European Economic Area (EEA). 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_8076. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)


EUROSTAT: Près de la moitié des élèves du deuxième cycle de l’enseignement secondaire dans l’UE sont inscrits dans une filière professionnelle

Sur les 22 millions d’élèves du deuxième cycle de l’enseignement secondaire que comptait l’Union européenne (UE) en 2014, près de 11 millions (soit 48%) étaient inscrits dans une filière professionnelle. Dans douze États membres de l’UE, plus de la moitié des élèves du deuxième cycle de l’enseignement secondaire suivaient un programme d’enseignement professionnel. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)




Statements on the situation in Turkey

Following the attempted coup in Turkey on Friday 15 July, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU Member States present at the Asia-Europe Meeting, which took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 15-16 July, issued a statement, saying: "Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law. We call for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order. We continue to follow closely the developments and to coordinate with the 28 EU Member States." High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini also issued a joint statement with Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, stating:"We condemn the attempted coup in Turkey and reiterate our full support to the democratic institutions of the country. […] We underline the need for a swift return to Turkey's constitutional order with its checks and balances and stress the importance for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms to prevail." The full statements are available online. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)




Vice-President Dombrovskis visits the United States

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue took over responsibilities of Commissioner Hill on 16 July and his visit to the United States will be in this new capacity. He will be in Washington on 18- 19 July. During his visit, the Vice-President will open the first Joint EU-US Financial Regulatory Forum together with the US Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob J. Lew. The forum is a new platform that aims to enhance regulatory co-operation between the EU and the US on financial matters. The Vice President will also hold bilateral meetings with Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF as well as representatives of US regulators. He will also meet industry representatives and deliver a keynote speech at the Atlantic Council at 19.00hrs CET on 18 July which will be webstreamed here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Letizia Lupini - +32 229 51958)


Commissioner Moscovici visits Athens

Commissioner Moscovici is in Athens today to discuss progress made in implementing the full range of fiscal and structural measures that have been adopted by Greece. He will meet with Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister, Giorgos Stathakis, Minister of the Economy, Development and Tourism, Euclid Tsakalotos Minister of Finance, Giorgos Katrougalos, Minister of Labour and Social Security and Giorgos Houliarakis, Alternate Finance Minister. Commissioner Moscovici will also address the Standing Committee of Economic Affairs, the Standing Committee of Production and Trade and the Special Standing Committee of European Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament and exchange views with the members of the Parliament. The Commissioner's address to the Parliament, which will also be available in Greek, will be published here. Ahead of this visit, Commissioner Moscovici said: “This month marks one year from the important agreement reached last summer. With this second visit to Athens, I intend to lend my support to a rebuilding in confidence in the Greek economy and implementation of the structural reforms essential to deliver a strong and lasting recovery in Greece. Thanks to the cooperative process that the Commission has built with the Greek authorities, I am fully confident that we will meet the remaining challenges ahead of us."  Video coverage of Commissioner Moscovici's joint press conference with Finance Minister Tsakalotos will be available on EbS. In particular, his joint press conference with Finance Minister Tsakalotos, at the EC representation in Athens, will be live-streamed at 14:15 CET. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier– Tel.: +32 229 71607)


Commissioner Navracsics participates in high-level conference in Sofia to promote investment in education

Today, EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, is in Sofia to give the opening speech at a conference entitled ‘Promoting Investment in Education through EU Instruments and Funds: Opportunities for Bulgaria and Romania’. This conference brings together a number of high-level participants including Meglena Kuneva, Minister for Education and Science of Bulgaria and Christian Popa, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank for financing operations in Bulgaria and Romania. Ahead of the conference, Commissioner Navracsics said: “Investing in education means investing in Europe’s future. Given the high returns both for our economies and societies, education has the potential to attract resources from private investors as well. The Investment Plan for Europe can help make this happen.” Investment in education and training is crucial to ensure Europeans have the skills they need to find their place in the job market and society as a whole. That is why education is one of the priorities under the Investment Plan for Europe. The European Commission launched this initiative in November 2014 to remove obstacles to investment, provide visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and make smarter use of new and existing financial resources. Participants in the conference in Sofia will explore the potential of this and other instruments to attract fresh funding to the education sector. More information on education and the Investment Plan for Europe can be found here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)



Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)


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