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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 28 / 09 / 2016

Brussels, 28 September 2016

Delivering on migration and border management: Commission reports on progress made under the European Agenda on Migration

The Commission is today reporting on the progress made on the EU's relocation and resettlement schemes and the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement. At the same time, it is outlining the steps still needed to be taken by Greece in view of a future resumption of Dublin transfers from other Member States while also reporting on the temporary border controls carried out at internal Schengen borders under the Council recommendation of 12 May 2016. European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "The implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement has continued, and the reduction in attempts to cross the Aegean and in deaths at sea has confirmed its core rationale. I also welcome the efforts of Member States to increase relocation and resettlement. However, those who can do more should do so urgently. We can only effectively manage asylum and migration in Europe, and preserve the Schengen area, if we all work together in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility." Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "All our measures on migration are interlinked. The EU-Turkey Statement has led to concrete positive results. The increased efforts made by Member States over the past months on relocation, with more than 1,200 relocations alone in September, demonstrate that relocation can be speeded up if there is political will and a sense of responsibility. The success of our common approach over the last months is essential for the success of everything else, including a gradual return to the Dublin system and a normal functioning of Schengen. Relocation has to succeed." A press release on all reports adopted today and Q&As on the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and the EU's approach for temporary internal border controls are available. More information on the European Border and Coast Guard, which will be launched on 6 October, and updated factsheets on Relocation and Resettlement, EU financial support to Greece, the Schengen rules, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey and the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement are also available. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


Facility for Refugees in Turkey: EU signs grants worth €600 million to help refugees on education and health

Today, the European Commission signed two direct grants worth €600 million to support Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey in the areas of education and health. Since March this year, the EU has mobilised more than €2 billion out of its total budget of €3 billion under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The Facility supports the implementation of both the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan and the EU-Turkey Statement and is designed to address the most critical needs of Syrian refugees and host communities living in Turkey today. A press release is available here. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


Transparency: Commission proposes mandatory Transparency Register for all EU institutions

The European Commission is today proposing a mandatory Transparency Register covering all three EU institutions – the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission - delivering on a key transparency commitment of the Juncker Commission. The Commission has already led by example in making meetings with its decision-makers conditional upon interest representatives being publicly listed in a Transparency Register. Today we are calling on the European Parliament and Council to follow suit, making the Register mandatory for any interest representatives trying to influence policy-making in Brussels.  First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "The EU institutions need to work together to win back the trust of our citizens. We must be more open in everything we do. Today's proposals for a mandatory transparency register covering the Parliament, Council and Commission are an important step in the right direction. Citizens have the right to know who tries to influence EU law-making. We propose a simple rule: no meeting with decision-makers without prior registration. Through the Register, the public will see who is lobbying, who they represent and how much they spend." For more information a Press Release and Memo are available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 2 29 67456; Tim McPhie - Tel.: +32 2 29 58602; Katarzyna Kolanko - Tel.: +32 2 29 63444)


Commission proposes to modernise and strengthen controls on exports of dual-use items

The European Commission has today proposed to strengthen controls on exports of certain goods and technologies that – in addition to legitimate civilian applications – may also be misused for severe human rights violations, terrorist acts or the development of weapons of mass destruction. "We are living in turbulent times. Preserving peace and protecting human rights are core objectives of the EU and our trade policy is essential to that aim. That's why we are proposing a set of modern rules to make sure that exports are not misused  to threaten international security or undermine human rights", said Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. A main element of today's proposal is a new "human security" dimension in export controls, to prevent human rights violations associated with certain cyber-surveillance technologies. The proposal also simplifies and harmonises the existing export control rules, in order to save time and money for EU exporters and national authorities. In this way, the proposal aims to strike a balance between ensuring a high level of security and adequate transparency, and maintaining the competitiveness of European companies and legitimate trade in dual-use items. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


'More than Education' European Citizens' Initiative re-registered by the College

Today the College has registered a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) resubmitted to it by the organisers, after an initial College approval on 7 June. The organisers chose to withdraw their registration to allow time to prepare adequately for the collection of signatures. The College has today approved this re-submission. There is no change to the substance of the ECI. The organisers will have one year, as of 6 October to collect signatures. The press release issued on the occasion of the initial registration can be found here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud - Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)


Energy Union: Commission invests in synergies between transport and energy infrastructure

Today the European Commission launched the first-ever call for proposals under the EU funding programme for infrastructure, called the Connecting Europe Facility, to support projects fostering synergies between transport and energy infrastructure. The call makes €40 million available to studies supporting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy, as well as enabling the EU to achieve its sustainable development targets through the creation of synergies between transport and energy. Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc stated: "With this Connecting Europe Facility call, we aim to bridge the gap between transport and energy. Transport in the EU depends on oil for about 94% of its energy needs. Supporting the transition to low-emission alternative energy is therefore imperative to reach the EU's decarbonisation objectives and to create a resilient energy union."Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "It is vital to develop synergies between energy and transport infrastructure to deliver more with greater efficiency. With this very first common call for proposals we will ensure smart use of EU funds when striving to meet our long-term decarbonisation objectives." Support will be granted to study projects with or without pilot deployment on a competitive basis in the form of EU co-financing of up to 60% of eligible costs, following a thorough evaluation and selection process. Applicants have until 13 December 2016 to submit their proposals. The outcome of the call will be published by April 2017. More information is available on the website of INEA, the executive agency for innovation and networks. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 69143; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


Commissioner Bulc makes strong plea for global action to tackle aviation emissions

In her opening address to the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc yesterday invited delegates to take effective action to curb CO2 emissions from international aviation. Commissioner Bulc said: "Over the next two weeks we will collectively shape the future of international aviation. There is no other way to put it: we are at an historic juncture (…). Europe welcomes the growth of travelling. At the same time aviation should contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change. Therefore Europe is inviting this Assembly to adopt a credible, robust and effective Global Market Based Measure (GMBM) to achieve Carbon Neutral Growth from 2020. Europe's intention [is] to join the scheme from the start. We also call on the States who can, to join the GMBM from the beginning, and announce it before the end of the Assembly. The EU fully supports the implementation of the scheme through concrete efforts. Europe will continue to work with all of you so that no country is left behind." Her full address is available here. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)


Union for the Mediterranean commits to fight structural unemployment

At the third Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labour today in Jordan, Ministers of UfM member countries reaffirmed their commitment to work together to address the challenges relating to employment, employability and decent work in the Mediterranean region, in particular for young people and women. The European Commission – represented by Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility – and Jordan's Labour Minister Ali AL-Ghezawi were the co-Presidents of the two-day UfM-meeting. Commissioner Thyssen stated: "In some countries on the Mediterranean shore, as much as half of the young people are out of a job. We cannot allow this. Decent jobs and good opportunities in life are among the best measures to invest in our future. Therefore, it is time to give a new impetus to our UfM cooperation. We need inclusive labour markets which provide equal chances to all: women and men, the young and the old, university graduate and school dropouts." The participating ministers consulted with representatives of social partners from both shores of the Mediterranean and underlined the importance of tripartite and bipartite social dialogue. They welcomed the plan to organise a UfM Social Dialogue Forum in 2017/2018 and a €3 million financial support provided by the EU to the regional 'Pilot project for the Promotion of Social Dialogue in the Southern Mediterranean Neighbourhood'. This project will be first implemented in Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan as priority countries and may possibly be expanded to other UfM partner countries. It is the first time that social partners from both northern and southern countries of the Mediterranean adopted a common declaration. More information can be found in this press release. (For more information:Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)


State aid: Commission approves Polish scheme to support high-efficiency co-generation of heat and power

The European Commission has found that a Polish scheme supporting high-efficiency co-generators of heat and power is state aid but complies with EU state aid rules since it furthers efficient energy production. The scheme will run until 2018 with an annual budget of over PLN 1 billion (€232 million). Poland introduced the combined heat and power (CHP) certificates support system in 2007. The beneficiaries of the scheme are producers of heat and power in high-efficiency CHP plants located in Poland. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The Polish certificates system in support of high-efficiency co-generation of heat and power will increase energy efficiency in power production. This measure will support EU energy and climate goals and is in line with our state aid rules. Europe needs increasingly efficient energy production to help us meet our environmental goals.” The full press release is available online in EN, DE, FR and PL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


State aid: Commission approves state aid to eleven Romanian regional airports

The European Commission has today adopted a decision declaring that state support granted to 11 Romanian regional airports is compatible with EU state aid rules. The Commission's investigation was opened in May 2011 and concerned public financing granted to 13 Romanian regional airports for the period from 2007 to 2009. The Commission has found that the aid granted to the 11 regional airports contributes to an objective of common interest, in terms of ensuring good connections between regions and meeting the transport needs of European citizens. The investigations showed that the state aid is proportionate to the provisions of the 2014 Commission Guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines, in particular the rules applying to operating aid granted before April 2014. The investigation into two of the 13 airports, Cluj-Napoca and Târgu Mureș, is still ongoing. Further information will be available on the Commission's website, under the case number SA.30931. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


Milk production reduction scheme fully taken up by farmers

The Milk Production Reduction Scheme, announced by the Commission to incentivise a reduction in milk production, has been almost fully subscribed (98.9 %), with applications made offering to reduce production by 1.06 million tonnes (of the 1.07 million tonnes available) in the final quarter of 2016. The notifications received by the Commission show that over 52 000 dairy farmers in 27 Member States have applied to participate in the scheme. Commissioner Hogan said the figures showed that "the scheme has proven to be both very attractive and successful. It fully meets our expectations. I am confident that this measure, allied to others included in the July and earlier packages, will contribute further to an already stabilising market situation in the European dairy market. I am particularly pleased at the level of participation among the main dairy producing Member States."  While signs of recovery are already evident, particularly in certain commodity prices, the main objective remains to see improving market sentiment translated into higher farm-gate prices to the benefit of producers. More information can be found in the news item and in the country-by-country statistics. With a budget of €150 million, the Milk Production Reduction Scheme is part of the €500 million aid package for the dairy sector presented by the Commission in July. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


EUROSTAT: Journée mondiale de la mer - La moitié des échanges de biens de l'UE empruntent la voie maritime

Le transport maritime joue un rôle essentiel dans le commerce international de biens de l’Union européenne (UE). En 2015, la valeur des marchandises transportées par mer échangées entre l'UE et les pays tiers (pays non membres de l’UE) était estimée à près de 1 777 milliards d’euros, ce qui représente environ 51% du commerce de biens de l’UE. Plus précisément, ce taux était de 53% pour les importations de l’UE et de 48% pour ses exportations avec les pays tiers. Un communiqué de presse EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner – Tel.: +32 229 57276)




Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger at the European Digital Assembly in Bratislava, Slovakia

Today and tomorrow, more than 750 European researchers, investors and policy makers gather in Bratislava, Slovakia, for the Digital Assembly 2016 (#DA16eu - livestream) to discuss the creation of a Digital Single Market in the EU. The Assembly will feature key initiatives presented by the European Commission over the past weeks and months to digitise European industry, boost e-commerce, modernise EU copyright rules and encourage investments in internet connectivity.  The event, organised by the Commission in cooperation with the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU, will be opened by Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Robert Fico. Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single MarketAndrus Ansip and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger will both participate in the event tomorrow. Vice-President Ansip will give a keynote speech at 09.55 (to be published here) insisting on the importance of data moving across national borders in the EU. He will also participate in a press conference at 11.00 with Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Peter Pellegrini. Commissioner Oettinger will deliver a keynote speech expected at 14.10. More information on the Assembly, including workshops, briefings, other keynote speeches can be found here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


Science and policymaking – towards a new dialogue

Policymakers, leading world practitioners and scholars are meeting at the second International Network for Government Science Advice Conference, taking place in Brussels on 29-30 September. Jointly organised by the European Commission and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA), led by Sir Peter Gluckman, the conference will explore principles and practices of scientific advice in a variety of current and challenging policy contexts. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "High-quality and timely scientific advice is a key part of policy making. Under this Commission, we have put in place a sound independent system, the Scientific Advice Mechanism, which will contribute to the quality of EU legislation. This conference is an ideal opportunity to share best practice and core principles with the global community so we all can make science advisory processes as effective as possible." Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: “Politicians around the world are confronted with a set of complex challenges such as migration and climate change, as well as the need to find fresh ways of tackling them, for instance through transnational structures. Sound scientific advice has a critical role in helping politicians understand the issues at stake and take informed, responsible policy decisions. Evidence is crucial to identify the problem, compare options and to evaluate what works. To make the most of scientific advice, researchers and politicians need to create a new dialogue to ensure they understand each other’s needs and perspectives better.” (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Commissioner Jourová meets Albanian Justice Minister to discuss justice reform

Today Commissioner Jourová will meet the Minister of Justice of Albania, Mr Ylli Manjani. They will sign the Memorandum of Understanding on Albania’s participation in the EU Justice Programme. The Justice Programme aims at supporting projects in the area of judicial cooperation, judicial training and access to justice. Albania’s participation in the programme will accompany and support their ongoing justice reform. The Commissioner encourages Albania to pursue the ongoing justice reform, including theadoption of the remaining laws in line with European standards and to start the assessment of judges and prosecutors' backgrounds following the adoption of the vetting law. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 6225; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


Commissioner Julian King on first mission to Europol

Following the Communicationon enhanced security in a world of mobility presented at the occasion of President Juncker's state of the Union address, in which the Commission called to reinforce Europol's counter-terrorism capabilities, Commissioner Julian King will today visit Europol. Commissioner King will meet with Mr Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, to discuss the operational and resource capacities of the Agency. Commissioner King will visit Europol's Operational Centre, meet operational teams from the European Counter Terrorism Centre, the Cybercrime centre, the Migrant Smuggling Centre, as well as the Internet Referral Unit (IRU) and national liaison bureaux. Commissioner King expressed his support for a stronger role of EU Agencies, in particular Europol, in assisting national authorities in their efforts against terrorism and organised crime during his recent exchange of views with the European Parliament. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 2 29 67456; Tove Ernst Tel.: Tel: +32 2 29 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko - Tel.: +32 2 29 63444)


European Commission appoints Deputy Director-General in its Transport department and Director of PMO

Today, the European Commission appointed Ms Maja Bakran Marcich as Deputy Director-General in DG Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) as of 1 December 2016. The Commission has also decided to appoint Ms Veronica Gaffey to the position of Director of the Office for the Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements (PMO) as of 1 October 2016. Ms Bakran Marcich will then be the highest-ranking Croatian official in the Commission, bringing extensive experience to her new position. She was an Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and first Croatian Minister of European Integration (1998-1999) as well as First Secretary (1999-2005) and then coordinator of EU accession negotiations (2005-2011) in the Mission of Croatia to the EU in Brussels. In 2011, she went back to Croatia, where she was an advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration. She is currently an Advisor to the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia. Ms Veronica Gaffey, an Irish national, joined the Commission in 2000. She first became Head of Unit in 2005. From 2010 to 2012, she was Acting Director of the Policy Development Directorate in DG Regional and Urban Policy. Ms Gaffey is currently Director for Budget and General Affairs in the same department. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)


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


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