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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 04 / 11 / 2016

Brussels, 4 November 2016

Commission welcomes entry into force of Paris Agreement ahead of UN climate conference in Marrakesh

Today the Paris Agreement legally enters into force, only 30 days after the EU's ratification pushed it past the threshold to take effect. The historic event comes less than a year after the landmark agreement was adopted and just days ahead of the UN climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. The Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič said: "Today's entry into force of the Paris Agreement, less than a year after its adoption, shows one thing: that the entire world shares a pressing sense of urgency when it comes to fighting climate change. Inaction is not an option; slowing down is not our course of action. We are ready to seize this momentum to speed up work on the clean energy transition, in our Union and globally. We are ready to work at all levels, including the local level, to bring the benefits of this transition to our citizens." Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "This is a great day for Europe and for the planet. I am delighted that the EU's ratification has enabled the Paris Agreement to enter into force in time for our meeting in Marrakesh. We must maintain this extraordinary momentum by encouraging countries to continue ratifying the deal, and by moving full steam ahead with our preparations to put it into action across the world. Marrakesh will be about action and implementation. It's time for results."  The annual United Nations climate change conference COP22 will take place from 7 to 18 November 2016 in Marrakesh. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete. The EU expects to see progress on key elements of the Paris package, including on access to finance for developing countries and on developing and strengthening the skills and processes needed in developing countries to implement their domestic climate plans. The EU and its Member States are the biggest contributors of public climate finance to developing countries (see IP/16/3533). Together they provide around a third of public funding available for action to tackle climate change and account for almost half of the pledges in the Green Climate Fund. For more information, read the entire press release in EN, FR and DE and the fact sheet. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

Hungary: Cohesion Fund invests in the modernisation of railway infrastructure

The European Commission has approved a major project, worth €39.2 million from the Cohesion Fund, to improve the railway connection between Budapest and Békéscsaba, in southeast Hungary, along the Rhine-Danube corridor of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The modernisation work will ensure full compliance with European Train Control System (ETCS) standards. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “This project shows our commitment to promoting sustainable transport systems and smooth interregional connections. It will boost the competitiveness of the region, especially for industry and tourism." More information on the European Structural and Investment Funds in Hungary is available on the Open Data Platform and here. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Commission welcomes agreement on further EU Macro-Financial Assistance to Jordan

Today the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) endorsed, on behalf of the Council, a decision to provide Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) to Jordan of up to EUR 200 million in loans. The European Commission welcomes this important step and encourages the European Parliament and the Council to finalise adoption swiftly so that the assistance can start as soon as possible. The endorsement also includes an inter-institutional commitment to continue supporting Jordan financially in case the usual preconditions are met. Commissioner Moscovici said: “Europe is living up to its commitment to support Jordan in difficult times, which are marked by the protracted Syrian refugee crisis. We have now an agreement at EU level that paves the way for the swift adoption of the second MFA operation for Jordan and, hopefully, a quick disbursement that can support the Jordanian economy. This decision shows that we are ready to help Jordan ease its financing constraints while supporting the government's economic reform agenda for more sustainable and inclusive growth. And we will continue to stand by Jordan in these challenging times.” This follows the Commission's proposal, made in June, for a second Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) operation for Jordan of up to EUR 200 million in medium-term loans at favourable financing conditions. This proposal originates from the commitment made at the London Syria and the Region conference, at which the EU pledged EUR 2.39 billion in support of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and is part of the EU's and Jordan's commitment to further strengthening their partnership in different fields. The EU and Jordan are set to conclude at their next Association Council partnership priorities and a compact. The agreement foresees sustained dialogue and cooperation on security and the fight against terrorism, economic and trade matters, rule of law and human rights and is in synergy with the Migration Partnership approach.Already since July 2016, upon Jordan's request, the EU has softened Rules of Origin for products manufactured employing Syrian refugee labour in Jordan's Special Economic Zones. The EU has also committed to sustaining financial and technical support for the benefit of the Jordanian citizens and Syrian refugees living in Jordan. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt - Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

 

La Commission approuve deux nouvelles indications géographiques de France et de Suède

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'inscription de deux nouveaux produits français et suédois dans le registre des indications géographiques protégées (IGP) et des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP). Pour la France, il s'agit de la «Poularde du Périgord», une jeune poule principalement consommée lors d'occasions festives, élevée dans le Périgord, région du quart Sud-Ouest de la France centrée sur le département de la Dordogne. Pour la Suède, il s'agit de «Hånnlamb», des agneaux et moutons de race Gute élevés sur l'île de Gotland, la plus vaste de la mer Baltique. Le mouton est élevé dans des pâturages naturels moins riches que les terres cultivées. Les découvertes archéologiques montrent que l'élevage ovin est pratiqué sur les îles de Gotland depuis plus de 4 000 ans. Ces deux nouvelles appellations vont rejoindre plus de 1370 produits déjà protégés dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR. Pour plus d'informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185; Axel Fougner – Tel: +32 229 57276)

 

State aid: Commission finds Hungarian advertisement tax in breach of EU rules

The European Commission has found that Hungary's 2014 Advertisement Tax Act is in breach of EU state aid rules because its progressive tax rates grant a selective advantage to certain companies. It also unduly favours companies that did not make a profit in 2013 by allowing them to pay less tax. Hungary has not demonstrated that the progressive tax rates and the limits on the deductibility of losses to certain companies were justified by the objective pursued by the advertisement tax. When the Commission opened the in-depth investigation in March 2015, it also asked Hungary to suspend the application of the tax. Hungary suspended the tax but implemented an amended version, without notifying it to or consulting the Commission. The Commission's investigation showed that the amended advertisement tax, in force since July 2015, took steps in the right direction but did not fully address the Commission's concerns. The amended scheme allows companies to decide themselves whether to opt for a retroactive application of the amended scheme. It maintains progressive rates based on turnover over a smaller range. However, there is still no objective justification for this differential treatment. Moreover, the limitations on deduction of past losses remained unchanged. Today's decision requires Hungary to remove the unjustified discrimination between companies under the 2014 Advertisement Tax Act and/or the amended version and restore equal treatment in the market. A full press release is available online in EN, DE, FR and HU. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

EUROSTAT: Les prix à la production industrielle en hausse de 0,1% dans la zone euro – En hausse de 0,2% dans l'UE28

En septembre 2016 par rapport à août 2016, les prix à la production industrielle ont augmenté de 0,1% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,2% dans l'UE28, selon les estimations d'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. En août 2016, les prix avaient diminué de 0,2% dans les deux zones. En septembre 2016 par rapport à septembre 2015, les prix à la production industrielle ont reculé de 1,5% dans la zone euro et de 1,1% dans l'UE28. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici.(Pour plus d'informations: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

 

STATEMENTS

 

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the detention of several HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) Members, including the party's co-chairs

"The European Union is gravely concerned about the detention last night of several HDP Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on charges alleging support of terrorist activities. Among those detained are the party's co-chairs Ms Figen Yüksekdağ and Mr Selahattin Demirtaş, both democratically elected leaders and our trusted and valued interlocutors. These developments add to the concerns we expressed after the immunity of more than 130 democratically elected Members of Parliament was lifted in May this year. They compromise parliamentary democracy in Turkey and exacerbate the already very tense situation in the South East of the country, for which there can only be a political solution. The EU considers actions against PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation also by the EU, as legitimate. At the same time the EU believes that such actions must never undermine the basic principles of democracy. We expect Turkey to safeguard its parliamentary democracy, including respect for human rights and the rule of law, and we are conveying these expectations directly to the Turkish authorities. Together with the Council of Europe, the EU will continue to follow and assess the situation very closely, in constant coordination with all Member States." The statement is available online. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic - Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

 

 

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

MEX/16/3607


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