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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 01 / 08 / 2016

Brussels, 1 August 2016

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield fully operational from today [updated: 01 / 08 / 2016 at 12:38]

The decision on the EU- U.S. Privacy Shield was adopted by the European Commission on 12 July. As of today, companies are able to sign up to the Privacy Shield with the U.S. Department of Commerce who will then verify that their privacy policies comply with the high data protection standards required by the Privacy Shield. Today, the European Commission also publishes a guide for citizens explaining how individuals' data protection rights are guaranteed under the Privacy Shield and what remedies are available for individuals, if they consider their data has been misused and their data protection rights have not been respected. Věra Jourová, the EU's Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield protects the fundamental rights of Europeans and ensures legal certainty for businesses, including European companies, transferring personal data to the U.S. The Privacy Shield ensures easier redress for individuals in case of any complaints. I am therefore confident that the Privacy Shield will restore the trust of Europeans in the way their personal data are transferred across the Atlantic and processed by companies there. I encourage companies to sign up and I invite citizens to find out about their rights under the Privacy Shield in the 'citizens' guide' we are publishing today". The EU-U.S. Privacy Shields guarantee that everyone in the EU has a number of rights when their data is processed, such as the right to ask a company for further information about the data they hold about them, or to amend their records if the data are outdated or inaccurate. Also they will benefit from several accessible and affordable dispute resolution mechanisms. Ideally, the complaint will be resolved by the company itself; or free of charge Alternative Dispute resolution (ADR) solutions will be offered. Individualscan also go to their national Data Protection Authorities, who will work with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Federal Trade Commission to ensure that complaints by EU citizens are investigated and resolved. If a case is not resolved by any of the other means, as a last resort there will be an arbitration mechanism. Redress regarding possible access to personal data for national security purposes will be handled by a new Ombudspersonindependent from the US intelligence services. More information on the Privacy Shield are available in the 12 July press release and Q&A, as well as in the Official Journal. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel.: +32 229 67083; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


Investment Plan for Europe: EUR 15 million for Romanian SMEs in agriculture

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 15 million to Agricover Credit IFN in order to finance smaller projects implemented by SMEs in the agricultural sector. This is the first EIB transaction in Romania benefitting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said: "Today's announcement by the EIB to provide seed finance for agricultural SMEs in Romania is another welcome boost for investment, jobs and growth in rural areas. It should serve as a template for similar projects in the pipeline across rural Europe." The EIB has joined forces with Agricover Credit IFN,  currently the only financial institution in Romania focused exclusively on financing farmers and their projects. The EIB loan will help to address the broader issue of lack of financing for Romanian agricultural SMEs and so contribute to a better realisation of Romania’s agricultural potential. (For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: + 32 229 6151)

European Commission launches consultation on the EU macro-prudential framework

The Commission services have today launched a public consultation to gather feedback and evidence on the functioning of the EU macro-prudential framework. The goal of the macro-prudential framework is to ensure the stability of the financial system as a whole and to allow EU Member States to address specific financial stability risks. As this complex framework was developed progressively over a number of years, we want to avoid any overlaps and inconsistencies that may have arisen between the various constituent parts. That is why with this consultation we are seeking the opinions of interested and affected groups, such as members of the industry, banks, trade bodies, interested academics, as well as consumer organisations. The framework is currently made up of five separate pieces of legislation: two European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) Regulations, the Capital Requirements Directive IV (CRD IV), the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR) and the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Regulation. By addressing all five component parts in a comprehensive review, we aim to eliminate any possible inconsistencies. The consultation will include a broad range of questions on narrowing and refining the scope of existing macro-prudential instruments (such as capital buffers), making the rules more consistent with one another, as well as examining the role and organisational structure of the ESRB and its relationship with the European Central Bank.  The consultation will run from 1 August 2016 until 26 October 2016. More information can be found here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Letizia Lupini - +32 229 51958)


Stop food waste: Commission launches EU Platform dedicated to achieving Sustainable Development Goal

The Commission is publishing today the composition of the EU Platform on Food losses and Food Waste announced in the 2015 EU Action Plan for Circular Economy. The Platform brings together 70 member organisations, both from the public and private sectors, in order to maximise the contribution of all actors and support achievement of Sustainable Development Goal #12.3: to halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030, as well as to reduce food losses along the food production and supply chains. Following a call for applications for private sector organisations, the Commission has selected a total of 37 members from academia, NGOs and industry. Members were selected based on their experience in food waste prevention, capacity for stakeholder outreach and coverage of activities and interests in the food value chain. It is estimated that, every year, around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted in the EU. Dedicated to food waste prevention, the Platform will support all players in: defining actions needed all along the food value chain; promoting inter-sectorial cooperation; sharing best practice; and evaluating progress made over time. Its first gathering is scheduled for 29 November in Brussels. For more information on Food Waste see here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


Vote in the Innovation Radar Prize 2016 to shine a light on Europe's world-class innovators [updated: 02/08/2016 at 08:32]

As of Monday, the European Commission is encouraging people to vote for their favourite future digital innovatorand innovation in the 2016 Innovation Radar Prize. This year's 40 nominees come from every corner of Europe, from SMEs, university teams, spinoffs and start-ups. Their ideas could transform areas from transport logistics to water management, to the treatment of cancer patients to the management of bee populations, for instance. They are developing digital innovations in projects funded bythe EU's research, competitiveness and innovation programmes. Nominees have been identified by the European Commission's Innovation Radar, an initiative that aims to identify high potential innovations and key innovators, based on a model developed by the European Commission's DG CONNECT services and the Joint Research Centre. Voting runs for the entire month of August to identify the 16 innovators (4 from each of the 4 categories) who will pitch their ideas to an expert jury at ICT Proposers Day event in Bratislava on 26 September 2016. Like last year, the jury will select a winner for each category and an overall winner who will be featured on a special Euronews programme. Broadbit, the winner of the 2015 Innovation Radar Prizehas subsequently closed multiple business angel investment rounds to finance expansion and production of their innovative battery technology. Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for the Digital economy and society, said "With Horizon 2020 the EU is investing heavily to support digital innovators. Thousands of EU-funded research and innovation projects with a digital focus have been launched so far in this decade. Now we are about to reveal which of them are best placed to take their results to the market or have the potential to deliver the biggest impact." (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Volvofinans Bank by Volvo and Volverkinvest

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Volvofinans Bank AB, a provider of automotive financial services, by Volvo Car Corporation, a vehicles manufacturer, and AB Volverkinvest, an association of Swedish Volvo car dealers. All companies are based in Sweden. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the companies' moderate market positions resulting from the transaction. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competitionwebsite, in the public case register under the case number M.8127. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)




Joint Communiqué by HR/VP Federica Mogherini,  Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica and AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui

The European Commission and the African Union Commission have signed today an agreement on €50 million support from the EU's "African Peace Facility" to the Lake Chad Basin Commission Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in its fight against Boko Haram. Over the past months, countries of the region have made great efforts in providing a coordinated regional response by deploying the MNJTF under the authority of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. The agreement signed today will further strengthen the regional coordination of the response. The European Union support will allow for the construction and maintenance of MNJTF headquarters in Ndjamena as well as of sector Headquarters in Cameroon and Niger. It will also provide transport and communication assets to the force headquarters, allowing for effective coordination and command of military operations. These assets, including vehicles, aerial transportation and reconnaissance capacities and a command, control, communication and information system, will put the central command in a position to co-ordinate operations among troop in their respective territories and help prevent Boko Haram's ability to move across borders when fighting uncoordinated bilateral operations. For more information and the Joint Communiqué, see here. (For more information: Nabila Massrali - Tel.: +32 229 69218; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256; Daniel Puglisi - Tel.: +32 229 69140)


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