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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 22 / 02 / 2016

Brussels, 22 February 2016

Investment Plan for Europe: new guidelines on combining European Structural and Investment Funds with the EFSI

Today the Commission, in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB), is publishing guidelines to help local authorities and project promoters make full use of the opportunities of combining European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds with the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The brochure provides an overview of the possible combinations of EFSI and ESI Funds, either at project level or through a financial instrument such as an investment platform. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "The EFSI was created to be as flexible as possible and there are huge opportunities for project promoters to apply for EFSI financing as well as ESI Funds". Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu, said: "Achieving the objectives of the Investment Plan for Europe is a joint effort and all sources and actors need to be mobilised". (For more information see the press release and Q&A or Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153 or Jakub Adamowicz Tel.: +32 229-50595)

 

Lutte contre l'évasion fiscale: l’Union européenne et la Principauté de Monaco paraphent un nouvel accord en matière de transparence fiscale

Aujourd’hui, l’Union européenne et Monaco paraphent un nouvel accord pour la transparence fiscale, qui constitue une nouvelle avancée majeure dans la lutte contre l'évasion fiscale. L'accord prévoit que Monaco et les États membres de l’Union échangeront automatiquement dès 2018 les informations relatives aux comptes financiers de leurs résidents, qui seront collectées à compter du 1er janvier 2017. Pierre Moscovici, Commissaire aux affaires économiques et financières, fiscalité et douanes, estime que "cet accord représente le début d'une nouvelle ère dans les relations entre Monaco et l'Union européenne. Nous avons le même objectif, qui est de lutter contre la fraude, au bénéfice des contribuables honnêtes. Cet accord concrétise cet objectif commun, de façon efficace et équitable." L’Union européenne a signé des accords similaires l'année dernière avec la Suisse (IP/15/5043), avec Saint-Marin (IP/15/6275), le Liechtenstein (IP/15/5929) et, en 2016, avec Andorre (IP/16/288). Lors de sa visite, le Commissaire Moscovici sera reçu en audience par S.A.S. le Prince Souverain Albert II de Monaco, rencontrera S.E.  M. Serge TELLE, Ministre d’Etat, ainsi que plusieurs Membres du gouvernement monégasque, et visitera deux entreprises locales. Pour de plus amples informations, un communiqué de presse sera publié. (Pour plus d'informations: Vanessa Mock - +32 229 56194; Patrick McCullough - +32 229 87183)

 

New report highlights need to teach and promote entrepreneurship skills

A new report published today by the European Commission examines how European countries teach and promote entrepreneurship in schools. Entrepreneurship skills involve a full range of competences needed to adapt to a constantly changing economy and competitive labour market, such as an entrepreneurial mind-set, creativity, problem-solving, teamwork, languages or communication. Whereas these skills are closely linked to young people's chances of finding a job, but also their ability to realise ambitions and find their place in society, the report highlights that very few countries include entrepreneurship in schools' curricula. The Commission supports the development of entrepreneurship skills in the EU, notably through its education and training programme Erasmus+, which provides 450 000 traineeship opportunities from 2014 to 2020 that support the development of those skills. Entrepreneurship skills will also be part of a broader Skills Agenda which the Commission will present later this year to encourage the development of skills required both on today’s labour market and in the long term. On Wednesday 24 February, the Council will organise a first policy debate on the Skills Agenda between Education Ministers and both Commissioners Tibor Navracsics, responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and Marianne Thyssen, in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. The full report is available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel: +32 229 67083, Axel Fougner +32 229 13213)

 

Two EU-funded films won Silver Bears at Berlin International Film Festival

Two films supported by the Creative Europe – MEDIA programme were awarded a Silver Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), one of the world's leading film festivals. Danish actress Trine Dyrholm received the Silver Bear for Best Actress for her role in the film Kollektivet (The Commune) by Thomas Vinterberg. Polish movie United States of Love by Tomasz Wasilewski won the Silver Bear for Best Script. Independent juries also awarded other films supported by MEDIA (more information here). In total 20 EU-funded films were pre-selected for the competition. Vice-President Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, and Commissioner Oettinger, responsible for the Digital Economy and Society, and who was at the Berlinale last week (see his speech – in German and English), said: "We congratulate all the winners for such a great success. Their work contributes to our cultural diversity. We will continue to support creativity with our MEDIA programme – which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – and through our work to create a Digital Single Market. Our aim is help creators succeed in the digital era and promote the circulation of their masterpieces across Europe". EU-funded films were also successful at the British Academy Film Awards ceremony on 14 February: Amy directed by Asif Kapadia won the Best Documentary Award and Brooklyn directed by John Crowley and Paul Tsan was awarded the Outstanding British Film. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of CBA and Sella Life by HDI

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of CBA Vita S.p.A. and its wholly owned subsidiary Sella Life Limited, both of Italy, by HDI Assicurazioni S.p.A. also of Italy which is a subsidiary of the German insurance group Talanx. HDI offers insurance products to private and commercial customers in Italy. CBA supplies life insurance products in Italy to private, professional and corporate customers. Sella Life provides unit-linked insurance contracts (offering at the same time insurance and investment services) in Italy. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of its very limited impact on the market structure. 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.7939. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Norske Skog by Blackstone

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Norske Skog of Norway by Blackstone of the US. Blackstone is a global alternative asset manager and provider of financial advisory services. Norske Skog is a Norwegian-based public company active in the forest products industry with operations in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Its core activity is the production and sale of wood-based printing paper (newsprint and magazine). The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the companies' activities do not overlap. Moreover, none of the companies held by Blackstone are active in markets related to those were Norske Skog is active. 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.7934. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

STATEMENTS

 

Statement by Commissioner Jourová on the occasion of the European Day for victims of crime

On the occasion of the European day for victims of crime, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová said: "Millions of Europeans who fall victim to crime every year in Europe deserve better support, and better protection. The new rules in place since last November better protect anyone who becomes a victim of crime, in their home country and abroad. They give victims clear rights to information, protection, and access to support service, and they give clear rights to victims’ family members, who are often indirect victims themselves. But better rights on paper will not automatically guarantee access to these rights in real life (…). Member States have to ensure that these rules become a reality. This means that all actors must work together at every step throughout a criminal proceeding; this includes police, prosecutors, legal professions as well as members of support services." The Victims' rights directive entered into force on 16 November 2015. Commissioner Jourová together with the Dutch Justice Minister, Ard Van der Steur, launched the European Network for Victims on Friday. This network of policymakers will work to ensure that victims are able to exercise their basic rights and that best practices are shared across the EU, such as a website in several languages dedicated to tourists or a handbook for practitioners on how to implement the Victims' rights directive. Full statement is available here. A Q&A and a factsheet are available online. (for more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

The High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini to visit Mozambique and South Africa from 24-26 February

The High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini will travel to Mozambique on 24-25 February and South Africa on 25-26 February. In Mozambique, the HR/VP will meet with President Nyusi and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Baloi, as well as representatives of the main political parties and civil society, including key economic players. The HR/VP will have the opportunity to discuss the EU's strong economic, political and development partnership with the country. In South Africa, the HR/VP will hold the European Union - South Africa Ministerial Political Dialogue in Pretoria with Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. The HR/VP will also visit Soweto and take part in a panel discussion at the WITS University in Johannesburg. Both visits will discuss the strong relations of the EU with the Southern Africa region. (For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 6992; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 6914)

 

Commissioner Avramopoulos launches Europol's new European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC)

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, will launch today Europol's new European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) in The Hague. The EMSC, as envisioned in the European Agenda on Migration in May 2015 and called for by the Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in November 2015, will proactively support EU Member States in dismantling criminal networks involved in organised migrant smuggling. The Centre will focus on areas with high levels of criminal activity, and will build a better capability across the European Union to fight people smuggling networks. Ahead of the launch, Commissioner Avramopoulos said: "The fight against migrant smuggling is a key priority for the European Union in addressing the refugee crisis. In order to step up and coordinate efforts across Member States, the European Commission announced the creation of a European Migrant Smuggling Centre within Europol in its European Agenda on Migration. The launch of this Centre will reinforce cooperation with Member States, international organisations, national stakeholders and European agencies, with a responsibility to fight migrant smuggling." The EMSC will help implement the EU's Action Plan against migrant smuggling presented in May 2015. By the end of 2016, the Commission will present proposals to improve the existing EU legal framework to tackle migrant smuggling. A press release by Europol will be available here as of 13.30 today. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)

 

Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Today and tomorrow, Vice-President Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, and Commissioner Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, are at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This morning, they opened the Commission's stand showcasing EU-funded research projects in the area of 5G mobile technology (coverage on EbS to be online this afternoon). Commissioner Oettinger is now participating in a roundtable on connected cars and will then hold a press conference with companies of the 5G public-private partnership on the role of 5G for industries such as transport, energy, health or manufacturing (more information will be published here at around 15.00 CET). This afternoon, Vice-President Ansip will give a keynote speech on "Mobile as the Foundation for Digital Identity" (to be available here at around 16.30). Tomorrow, Commissioner Oettinger will deliver a keynote speech on "5G: Creating value for industry verticals" (to be available here after 11.00) and will then sign an agreement on 5G cooperation with Brazilian Minister of Communications André Figueiredo (press release to be published at around 13.15). Both Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger will have a series of bilateral meetings with political and business leaders (full agenda of the Commission at the Mobile World Congress can be found here). (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)

 

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič brings the Energy Union to Lithuania

On 22-23 February, the Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will visit Lithuania in order to exchange information on the state of play of the Energy Union. Ahead of the visit Šefčovič said: "Through infrastructure projects such as NordBalt, LitPolLink, GIPL and the Klaipeda LNG Terminal, Lithuania has significantly improved the energy security, not only of its own citizens but of the entire Baltic region and has strengthened its integration within the EU. I am looking forward to discussing the opportunities that the Energy Union offers to Lithuanian citizens, businesses and the environment". The Vice-President will meet H.E. Dalia Grybauskaité, President of the Republic of Lithuania and Algirdas Butkevičius, Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania during his visit. In addition The Vice-President will discuss with Loreta Graužiniené, Speaker of the Seimas, and Members of the Seimas as well as with Rokas Masiulis, Lithuanian Minister for Energy. Vice-President Šefčovič will also meet with local stakeholders, representatives of public and regional authorities and visit the Klaipėda University. Follow the Energy Union Tour on the Vice President's blog, as well as on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Find more information on the Commission’s website of the Energy Union. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186)

 

La Commissaire Thyssen en visite à Paris

La Commissaire de l'Emploi, des Affaires sociales, des Compétences et  de la Mobilité des travailleurs, Marianne Thyssen, sera à Paris le mardi 23 février. La Commissaire y rencontrera le Premier Ministre français Manuel Valls ainsi que la Ministre du Travail, de l'Emploi, de la Formation professionnelle et du Dialogue social, Myriam El Khomri. Les réunions seront l'occasion de discuter du plan d'emploi présenté le mois dernier par le Président de la République française François Hollande, ainsi que de l'implémentation de la Recommandation du Conseil relative à la lutte contre le chômage de longue durée.  La Commissaire Thyssen donnera également plus de détails sur le Socle européen des Droits sociaux et la Stratégie de l'Union européenne en matière de compétences à venir. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

MEX/16/389


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