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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 12 / 02 / 2016

Brussels, 12 February 2016

La Commission propose une nouvelle assistance macrofinancière de 500 millions d'euros pour la Tunisie

La Commission européenne est prête à continuer d’aider la Tunisie à surmonter ses difficultés économiques et à retrouver le chemin d'une croissance plus durable. À la suite d'une demande de la Tunisie, la Commission a proposé aujourd'hui d'accorder au pays une assistance macrofinancière (AMF) supplémentaire de 500 millions d’euros au maximum. Cette aide prendra la forme de prêts à moyen terme à des conditions financières favorables. Pierre Moscovici, Commissaire européen pour les affaires économiques et financières, la fiscalité et les douanes, a déclaré à ce sujet: «La Commission européenne tient son engagement d'apporter un soutien accru aux efforts de réforme de la Tunisie. Il importe plus que jamais que la Tunisie demeure un exemple pour la région. Le processus de transition politique dans lequel s'est engagée la Tunisie s'est heurté à de nombreux obstacles économiques depuis 2011. En fragilisant encore davantage la balance des paiements et les finances publiques du pays, les récents attentats terroristes ont créé d’importants besoins de financement. L'assistance macrofinancière proposée aujourd'hui aidera la Tunisie à couvrir ses besoins de financement extérieur et donnera à ses citoyens davantage de marge de manœuvre pour mettre en place un modèle de croissance économique durable et profitable à tous.» L'assistance supplémentaire proposée aujourd'hui s'inscrit dans le cadre de l'action plus générale menée par l’UE pour aider la Tunisie à surmonter les graves difficultés économiques qui l'accablent depuis le début de son processus de transition politique et économique. Les attentats terroristes de l'année 2015 ont aggravé la situation du pays en frappant deux secteurs clés de l’économie, le tourisme et les transports. Cette assistance macrofinancière complète l'importante aide au développement que la Tunisie reçoit déjà de l'Union, dans le cadre de la politique européenne de voisinage, par l’intermédiaire de l’instrument européen de voisinage (IEV) et d’autres instruments financiers extérieurs de l’UE. Cette assistance se monte à plus de 1 milliard d’euros de subventions accordées au pays depuis la révolution de 2011, pour soutenir, par exemple, le développement socio-économique et la création d’emplois ainsi que le processus de transition démocratique. Un communiqué de presse présentant la proposition d’aujourd’hui est disponible en français, anglais et allemand. Des informations plus détaillées sur le partenariat et l’Union européenne font l’objet d’une fiche d’informations, que nous publions également aujourd’hui. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 22956153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

 

Commission launches new anti-dumping investigations and imposes duties on several steel products

The European Commission today opened new anti-dumping investigations to determine whether Chinese imports of three steel products have been dumped on the EU market. If this is found to be the case, the Commission will take measures to protect the European industry from damaging effects of unfair trade. In addition, the Commission decided to impose as of today provisional anti-dumping duties on another steel product imported from China and Russia, following other provisional anti-dumping measures adopted recently. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: "The steel sector currently faces a range of challenges. EU trade defence instruments cannot on their own solve all those problems, but the European Commission is acting and applying the instruments at its disposal to support and ensure a level-playing field.We cannot allow unfair competition from artificially cheap imports to threaten our industry. I am determined to use all means possible to ensure that our trading partners play by the rules. We have so far put in place trade defence measures for more than 30 different types of steel products, and we will continue to effectively address legitimate concerns of our industry." A full press release with more information on the EU’s Trade Defence Instruments is available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185, Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

 

Commission imposes duties to prevent imports of dumped and subsidised Chinese solar panel components via Taiwan and Malaysia

The European Commission extended today the existing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on imports of Chinese solar modules and cells to Taiwan and Malaysia. This decision follows an investigation, which concluded that the EU trade measures concerning solar modules and cells from China were being avoided by means of transhipment through these countries. The purpose of the extension is to ensure the effectiveness of the existing measures. The new duties will not apply to producers based in Taiwan and Malaysia and which have shown not to be involved in transhipment activities. The Commission initiated proceedings to investigate an alleged circumvention on 29 May 2015. Since the day of initiation all imports of solar modules and cells from Taiwan and Malaysia were subject to registration. Therefore, national customs authorities of EU Member States can now collect the duties retroactively for the whole period as of end of May 2015. More information is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185, Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

 

Fighting tax evasion: EU and Andorra sign new tax transparency agreement

The EU and Andorra are today due to sign a new tax transparency agreement that will make it harder for EU citizens to hide undeclared income in financial institutions in Andorra. As of 2018, Andorra and EU Member States will automatically exchange information on the financial accounts of one another's residents. Member States will receive the names, addresses, tax identification numbers and dates of birth of their residents with accounts in Andorra, as well as other financial and account balance information. This will ensure that both sides are better equipped to detect and pursue tax evaders, who will no longer be able to exploit bank secrecy to hide income and assets abroad. The agreement will be signed in the margins of today's meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council at 14:00 CET by Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Minister of Finance on behalf of the Netherlands Presidency of the Council for the EU, and by the Minister of Finance of Andorra, Jordi Cinca Mateos. Speaking ahead of the signature, Commissioner Moscovici said:"Transparency is key to ensuring that every government can collect its legitimate revenues and that every citizen and business pays their rightful share. It's one of the most important instruments we can draw on to ensure fair and effective taxation. Today, we add yet another success story to our transparency campaign, together with Andorra". A press release will be available here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)


Right to a fair trial: EU-wide rules guaranteeing presumption of innocence

Today, Ministers from the EU Member States have adopted new rules that will guarantee the presumption of innocence of anyone accused or suspected of a crime by the police or justice authorities. The Directive also ensures that everyone benefits from the right to be present at their trial. Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender EqualityVĕra Jourová welcomed this decision, which is based on a Commission proposal from 2013. She said "The right to a fair trial is a fundamental right and must be respected in practice everywhere in Europe. Today, there are still some disparities in the protection of the presumption of innocence across the European Union. The new common rules will guarantee that the rights of citizens involved in criminal proceedings are respected by police and judicial authorities. Before the verdict, anyone accused should be protected by the presumption of innocence. A fair trial also requires suspects to benefit from the right to remain silent and to be present at their trial. This will help build a true European Area of Justice and Fundamental Rights based on mutual trust."A press release is available online. (For more information: Natalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Mélanie Voin - Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

European Commission awards 302 top researchers in Europe with €585 million in grants

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced today the 302 winners of its 2015 Consolidator Grant competition. These excellent mid-career scientists are awarded a total of €585 million, as part of theEU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "As part of Horizon 2020, the ERC funds the work of some of the most brilliant minds in frontier research, people whose discoveries can start new industries, new markets and contribute to the welfare of the planet." With grants worth up to €2 million each, they will be able to consolidate their research teams and develop their innovative ideas.  The researchers selected in this call, will, for example, develop a new method to control insects that transmit diseases such as the Zika virus, build ultra-thin portable fuel cells, and study the underperformance of low-income area schools. They are likely to employ more than 2,100 post-docs, PhD students and other staff. An ERC press release is available online. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Axel Fougner +32 229 13213)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Walmark by Vita Central Europe

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Walmark, a.s., of the Czech Republic by Vita Central Europe B.V., of The Netherlands. Vita Central Europe already has joint control over Walmark, a manufacturer of dietary supplements, over-the-counter (“OTC”) pharmaceuticals and other related products. Vita Central Europe is part of a private equity group known as Mid Europa. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, in particular because there are no overlaps between the companies' activities. 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.7824.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Comdata by The Carlyle Group

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Comdata S.p.A. by Comet S.r.l., both of Italy. Comet is a subsidiary of The Carlyle Group of Luxembourg. Comdata provides business process outsourcing services in the field of customer relationship management. The Carlyle Group manages funds that invest inter alia in corporate private equity, real assets, global market strategies, as well as in solutions related to private equity funds. The Commission's investigation found that the transaction would raise no competition concerns because a number of strong players would remain in the market after the merger. In addition, none of the services provided by Comdata constitutes an important input for the activities of The Carlyle Group. The operation 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.7891. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Steel and other Energy-Intensive Industries: High-Level Conference on Monday 15 February

On Monday 15 February, European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska are hosting a High Level Conferencein Brussels on energy-intensive Industries. Energy-intensive industries - such as the steel, chemicals, cement, and ceramics sector - account for a quarter of CO2 emissions in the EU. Meeting emissions targets without hurting the competitiveness of these industries will require the introduction of breakthrough technologies. This requires more investment in innovation, particularly from the private sector. At EU level, there are a number of opportunities available, notably the €315 billion Investment Plan and the EU research funding programme Horizon 2020. The conference will help identify specific research and innovation investment opportunities for these industries. It will also devote a session to ensuring free and fair trade, an area where the Commission is applying all trade defence instruments at its disposal. Finally, the potential for the circular economy to cut the costs for raw materials, energy and waste disposal will be discussed. The conference will include keynotes by Emmanuel Macron, French Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, Anna Soubry, Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise of the United Kingdom, Henk Kamp, Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands and Vazil Hudak, Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic. The conference will be webstreamed. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 229 64950)

 

International Aviation: Commissioner Bulc in Singapore to strengthen ties with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries

On 14 and 15 February EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc will be in Singapore where she will attend the Aviation Leadership Summit, the Singapore Air Show and for meetings with the Transport Ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. During this visit, Commissioner Bulc will present the Aviation Strategy, adopted by the Commission in December 2015. A key objective of the Strategy is to keep Europe as a leading player in international aviation, notably through the negotiation of EU-wide comprehensive aviation agreements with key partners such as ASEAN. The aim is to improve mutual market access, provide investment opportunities and foster regulatory cooperation. This visit will be an opportunity to exchange views on what could be the first ever bloc-to-bloc aviation agreement. Building on the momentum of the multilateral deal on CO2 standards reached earlier this week, Commissioner Bulc will use her meetings to call on ASEAN nations to support global actions to decarbonise aviation. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

Eurostat: GDP up by 0.3% in both euro area and EU28

Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in both the euro area (EA19) and the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, according to a flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the third quarter of 2015, GDP grew by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 1.5% in the euro area and by 1.8% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2015, after +1.6% and +1.9% respectively in the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter of 2015, GDP in the United States increased by 0.2% compared with the previous quarter (after +0.5% in the third quarter of 2015). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP grew by 1.8% (after +2.1% in the previous quarter). Over the whole year 2015, GDP rose by 1.5% in the euro area and by 1.8% in the EU28. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

 

Eurostat: December 2015 compared with November 2015 - Industrial production down by 1.0% in both euro area and EU28

In December 2015 compared with November 2015, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 1.0% in both the euro area (EA19) and the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In November 2015 industrial production fell by 0.5% in both zones. In December 2015 compared with December 2014, industrial production decreased by 1.3% in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU28. The average industrial production for the year 2015, compared with 2014, rose by 1.4% in the euro area and by 1.7% in the EU28. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 22964950)

 

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