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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 10 / 11 / 2016

Brussels, 10 November 2016

International ocean governance: EU's contribution for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans

The European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy adopted today a Joint Communication, proposing actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans. The global ocean economy is estimated at €1.3 trillion. Climate change, poverty and food security are some of the global challenges that can be effectively addressed, if oceans are better protected and sustainably managed. As a strong global actor, the European Union sets out an agenda for better ocean governance based on a cross-sectoral, rules-based international approach. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, said: "We need to use all the tools we have to shape ocean governance and make it more and more part of the European Union's external action. At the same time this is also a concrete example of how the EU Global Strategy for foreign and security policy delivers in practice". Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, noted: "The oceans offer great potential for boosting growth, jobs and innovation, while at the same time they are at the centre of some of the most pressing global challenges". Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "Oceans make up 70% of the planet. The world has come to realise that oceans need better care. Joint action is needed to keep our oceans healthy. That is why the EU is taking the lead to create a stronger system of ocean governance around the globe." Today's proposal sets out 14 sets of actions in three priority areas: Improving the international ocean governance framework; reducing human pressure on the oceans and creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy; and strengthening international ocean research and data. The press conference on the proposal can be followed live on Ebs at 12:30. A press release is available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570)


Commission gathers views on future rules to deter promoters of aggressive tax planning schemes

The European Commission has today launched a public consultation to gather feedback on the way forward for EU action on advisers and intermediaries who facilitate tax evasion and tax avoidance. Recent revelations have highlighted how certain intermediaries, such as tax advisers, helped their clients to shift profits offshore for the purposes of avoiding tax. Following the launch of the public consultation, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Union said: "Complex financial schemes and opaque corporate structures do not happen by accident: some intermediaries have developed these into an art-form. These experts offer their clients the opportunity to aggressively exploit loopholes or to shift their profits so as to reduce their tax bill. The public consultation we're launching today will help us to work out ways to deter intermediaries from designing such schemes and to give our Member States greater insight and information to enable them to put a stop to these practices." As set out in the recent Communication on further measures to enhance transparency and the fight against tax evasion and avoidance, the Commission wants to shed more light on the activities of tax advisers. We also want to reflect on how to build effective deterrents for promoters and enablers of aggressive tax planning schemes and those who use them. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick McCullough - Tel.: +32 229 87183)


EU Solidarity Fund: first disbursement of aid to the island of Madeira after the forest fires of this summer

Today the European Commission has decided to grant the island of Madeira €392,500 from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF), as an advance payment following the Portuguese request for EUSF assistance after the forest fires of August 2016. "The EU Solidarity Fund is one of our strongest expressions of solidarity in times of need. In 2014, the Fund was reformed to increase its responsiveness and allow the EU to support affected countries faster, with the introduction of a 10% advance payment upon request. My message to the people of Madeira is that the EU is ready to help, so we can start rebuilding, together," said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu. The amount of this advance was calculated on the basis of the preliminary assessment of the application received from Portugal on 21 September, which found that the financial contribution from the EUSF for Madeira was likely to amount to €3.925 million. In accordance with EUSF rules, the advance payment amounts to 10% of this sum. Once it has completed the assessment of the application, the Commission will propose a definitive amount of aid, to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council. More information on the EU Solidarity Fund is available online. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz - Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 56169)


L'UE investit pour améliorer la connectivité et la mobilité en Pologne

La Commission européenne a approuvé trois « grands projets », d'une valeur totale de 350 millions d'euros provenant du Fonds européen de développement régional (FEDER) et du Fonds de cohésion, afin d'améliorer la connectivité régionale et internationale et de fluidifier le trafic à proximité ou le long du corridor Baltique-Adriatique du Trans Réseau européen de transport (RTE-T). La Commissaire chargée de la politique régionale, Corina Creţu, a déclaré: «Je tiens à souligner l'importance des investissements de l'UE dans les réseaux clés de transport, car ils ont un impact important sur l'attractivité d'une région pour l'investissement, l'emploi et le tourisme. Ces nouveaux projets soutenus par l'UE contribueront au développement économique des régions polonaises ". Le premier projet, d'une valeur de 93,5 millions d'euros venant du Fonds de cohésion, couvre la construction d'un contournement près de la ville de Radom, dans la région de Mazowieckie, sur la route express S7. L'objectif est de réduire la congestion routière autour de la ville et d'assurer une connexion rapide aux réseaux routiers internationaux. Le deuxième projet, doté de 154 millions d'euros du Fonds de cohésion, finance des travaux d'amélioration le long de la route express S8, dans les régions de Mazowieckie et Podlaskie, afin de faciliter l'accès aux liaisons interrégionales dans le réseau routier RTE-T. Enfin, le dernier projet, d'une valeur de 103,5 millions d'euros provenant du FEDER, comprend la conception et la construction de deux contournements dans la région de Kujawsko-Pomorskie, près des villes d'Inowrocław et de Brodnica. Ils permettront de désengorger le trafic dans les centres-villes. Plus d'informations sur les Fonds structurels et d'investissement européens en Pologne sont disponibles ici et sur la plate-forme Open Data. (Pour plus d'informations: Jakub Adamowicz - Tél .: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél .: +32 229 56169)


Investment Plan for Europe: €100 million to upgrade energy networks in Italy

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting Dolomiti Energia's 2017-2020 development plan with a €100 million loan. The operation will be guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. EIB resources will cover around half of the overall cost of Dolomiti Energia's investment, which is aimed at renewing and developing gas and electricity distribution networks and strengthening and maintaining hydroelectric plants in the province of Trento in northern Italy, the main area in which Dolomiti Energia operates and employs 1,400 people.(For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)


The Commission increases the budget for promoting EU agricultural products

The Commission adopted the 2017 promotion strategy for EU agricultural products with a total budget of €133 million. This amount will co-finance several programmes, most of which will target third countries and regions, including China, the Middle East, North America, Southeast Asia and Japan. This support for promotion of EU products both in the internal market and in third countries builds on the momentum launched earlier this year by Commissioner Hogan's diplomatic offensive to find new markets and support consumption of EU products abroad.  Returning from his business mission to Vietnam and Indonesia, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said: "I welcome these new programmes, especially in the context of the recent market difficulties. I was just now travelling in Asia as part of our efforts to boost agri-food exports, and I am struck by the interest being shown by importers and consumers in this part of the world. The further expansion of our promotion programmes next year is also particularly important as this will also help to stimulate growth and jobs in the agri-food sector. EU wide, we see that an increase in exports of €1 billion supports roughly 14,000 jobs. I am particularly pleased that this includes a new initiative to boost products from sustainable agriculture." The 2017 budget represents a clear increase compared with the €111 million from this year, outlining the support provided to EU agri-food producers. A press release is available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clémence Robin - Tel.: +32 229 52509)


Concentrations: la Commission autorise, sous conditions, l'acquisition de l'activité «santé animale» de Sanofi (Merial) par Boehringer Ingelheim

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, l'acquisition de l'activité «santé animale» de Sanofi (Merial, France) par Boehringer Ingelheim (BI, Allemagne). La décision est subordonnée à la cession de plusieurs vaccins et médicaments à usage vétérinaire.L'opération envisagée conduit à la fusion de deux concurrents clés dans le secteur de la conception, de la fabrication, de la commercialisation et de la vente de produits à usage vétérinaire dans l'ensemble de l'Espace économique européen. À l'issue d'une enquête de marché approfondie, la Commission a constaté que des problèmes de concurrence se posaient dans le domaine des produits biologiques et des produits pharmaceutiques. La Commission a conclu que l'élimination d'une des parties à la concentration affecterait la concurrence sur le marché de la fourniture de ces produits en Europe, ce qui entraînerait un risque de hausse des prix et de perte de qualité des services et de l'offre. Pour remédier aux problèmes de concurrence soulevés par la Commission, les deux entreprises ont proposé de céder un certain nombre de produits commercialisés ou en cours de développement par Merial. La Commission a conclu que les engagements remédiaient aux problèmes de concurrence relevés. La décision est subordonnée au respect intégral des engagements contractés. Un communiqué de presse complet est disponible en ligne enFR, EN et DE. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


Antitrust: Commission investigates practices of Czech railway incumbent České dráhy in passenger transport

The European Commission has opened an investigation to assess whether the Czech railway incumbent České dráhy, a.s. (ČD) charged prices below costs with the aim of shutting out competition in rail passenger transport services, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The Commission has concerns that ČD may have charged prices that are so low that it could not cover the costs of the service. Such practices can hinder competitors from remaining in the market to the detriment of passengers. EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: "Competition drives prices down and service quality up. This is what we need in railway passenger transport, especially when we're serious about cutting our carbon emissions. We need to take a close look at České dráhy's business practices to make sure they do not push out competitors to the detriment of passengers." A full press release is available online in CZ, EN, FR andDE.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Norther by Diamond Offshore Wind Holdings II, Eneco Wind Belgium and Elnu

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control over Norther NV by Diamond Offshore Wind Holdings II BV of the Netherlands, Eneco Wind Belgium NV and Elnu NV (a subsidiary of Elicio NV) all of Belgium. Norther will own, operate and maintain an offshore wind farm located in the Belgian North Sea. Diamond Offshore Wind Holding is controlled by Mitsubishi Corporation, a Japanese company active at global level in various industries that currently does not have any activities in Belgium in the wind sector. Eneco Wind Belgium and Elicio are both active in the production of electricity from wind energy in Belgium. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given Norther's negligible activities in the European Economic Area. 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.8232. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


EUROSTAT: Comment l'UE se positionne-t-elle en matière d'environnement, de transport et d'énergie? - Un portrait statistique de domaines d'action clés de l'UE

Quelle est la quantité d'énergie produite au sein de l'Union européenne (UE) et combien en est-il importé des pays tiers? Dans quels États membres le gaz et l'électricité sont-ils les moins chers? Comment se situe le mix énergétique de mon pays par rapport à celui des autres États membres? Quelle est la part des énergies renouvelables dans la consommation énergétique et quel est le niveau d'efficacité de la consommation énergétique dans l'UE? Quelle est la part des voitures particulières à moteur diesel dans l'UE et quelle est la répartition modale du transport de voyageurs et de fret? Mon pays a-t-il moins d'accidents de la route? Comment l'UE progresse-t-elle dans la réduction de ses émissions de gaz à effet de serre? Mon pays est-il bien classé en termes de productivité des ressources? Combien de tonnes de déchets sont produites et recyclées par an et par habitant? Et qu'en est-il du développement de la biodiversité au cours des dernières années? Les réponses à ces questions et à bien d'autres se trouvent dans l'édition 2016 du livre statistique sur l'énergie, les transports et l'environnement, publié aujourd'hui par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. L'objectif de cette publication est de donner un panorama des indicateurs les plus pertinents en matière d'énergie, de transports et d'environnement. Des données sur l'Union européenne, les États membres de l'UE ainsi que sur les pays candidats et les pays de l'AELE y sont présentées. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)



President Juncker delivers the Europa-Rede in Berlin

On the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, President Juncker delivered a speech yesterday in Berlin. A symbol for overcoming divisions in Europe, the anniversary of the fall of the Wall is a historic date in European integration which President Juncker described as a day that "proved that people not only have to endure history, but that they themselves can make history". Since 2010, Presidents of the European institutions have delivered the Europa-Rede on this anniversary, as part of a project by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Stiftung Berlin Foundation. President Juncker yesterday delivered the 7th edition of the Europa-Rede, where he spoke at length about Europe's trade policy, security, defence policy and social Europe. The full speech is available online. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: + 32 2291382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 2 29 67456)




15 November: President Juncker takes part in a Citizens' Dialogue in St. Vith, Belgium

President Jean-Claude Juncker together with the Minister-President of the German-speaking Community of Belgium Oliver Paasch and Pascal Arimont MEP will take part in a Citizens' Dialogue on Tuesday, 15 November in the Eastern Belgian city of St. Vith. Hundreds of citizens will have a chance to make their voices heard and ask questions directly to President Juncker and the other participants. Since the beginning of the mandate of the Juncker Commission in November 2014, over 100 town hall events have been held in 27 Member States, bringing together Commissioners, MEPs and national and local politicians. Information on registration and live streaming of the event is available online here. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: + 32 2291382)


First Vice-President Timmermans in Finland

On Thursday 10 November and Friday 11 November, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans visits Finland to take part in a Citizens' Dialogue - his second this week - and to participate in a series of meetings and events. On Thursday, First Vice-President Timmermans meets Ms Paula Risikko, Minister of the Interior of Finland and takes part in a seminar on 'Promoting Resettlement as a Way to Address the Refugee Crisis', followed by a bilateral meeting with Mr Morgan Johansson, Minister for Migration of Sweden. He then participates in a Citizens Dialogue from 15.30 to 17.00, which can be watched online here. On Friday, First Vice-President Timmermans meets Mr Juha Sipilä, Prime Minister of Finland and Mr Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland. The visit will conclude with a meeting with the Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament to discuss President Juncker's State of the Union speech and the European Commission's 2017 Work Programme. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 2 29229 67456; Tim McPhie - Tel.: +32 2 29 58602)


Commissioner Hahn visits Kosovo

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will visit Kosovo on Friday 11 November. It is the first visit to the region by Commissioner Hahn after the adoption of the enlargement package and will focus his visit on the launch of the European Reform Agenda. During the course of his visit, the Commissioner will meet political authorities including President Hashim Thaçi, Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, Deputy Prime Minister Branimir Stojanovic, Speaker of the Parliament Kadri Veseli and Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj. The Commissioner will conclude the day with a meeting together with the Member of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek with all political party leaders to discuss the need to overcome the political crisis. Video and photos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


Commissioner Creţu visits three Spanish regions

From today until Monday, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu is in Spain to visit the regions of Aragón, the Valencian Community and Murcia. Her visit includes meetings with the President of the regions, a Citizens' Dialogue in Valencia and a conference, co-organised by the Committee of the Regions and the region of Murcia, on "Portugal and Spain: 30 years of European integration". "2016 marks the 30th anniversary of Spain's accession to what we now know as the EU. My visit will focus on what Cohesion Policy has achieved in the country for the past three decades," Commissioner Creţu said. "During 2007-2013 alone, the European Regional Development Fund has directly created 75,000 jobs in the country and helped over 2 million people get access to broadband. With the Presidents of the regions, I will discuss how to make the most out of the forward-looking Cohesion Policy programmes for 2014-2020", she added.  Commissioner Crețu will also highlight the achievements of the SME initiative in Spain and will encourage local authorities to work with the business community on joint ESI Funds-EFSI projects. More information on Cohesion Policy investments in Spain in 2014-2020 is available on the Open Data Platform and here. The main results of 2007-2013 Cohesion Policy investments in the country are available here.(For more information: Jakub Adamowicz - Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 56169)


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


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