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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 23 / 11 / 2016

Brussels, 23 November 2016

President Juncker proposes to tighten the Code of Conduct for Commissioners

As announced in his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Juncker has sent a letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz in which he seeks the Parliament's views on two important issues – an update of the 2010 Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission, and a proposal to tighten the Code of Conduct for Commissioners. President Juncker said: "In the future, like it is common practice in all our Member States, I want the Members of the Commission to be able to stand as candidates in European elections without having to step down from their tasks, as is currently required by the Framework Agreement. European Parliament elections are and should be a necessary rendez-vous with democracy, also for the Commission. At the same time, in the light of recent experience made with Members of the previous Commission, I feel that our Code of Conduct should be tightened in order to set the highest ethical standard possible for possible cases of conflict of interest." As announced in his State of the Union Address, President Juncker is proposing that the rule set out in the Framework Agreement forcing Commissioners to step down from their functions when they want to run in elections to the European Parliament, is abolished, with appropriate safeguards to prevent the use of Commission staff or resources for campaign purposes. Concerning the Code of Conduct of Commissioners, President Juncker is proposing that the "cooling-off" period – following a Commissioner's mandate and during which they must inform the Commission of their intention to engage in an occupation after leaving office – is extended from 18 months to two and three years, for former Commissioners and the President of the Commission, respectively. A full press release is available in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265)


EU Banking Reform: Strong banks to support growth and restore confidence

The Commission has presented today a comprehensive package of reforms to further strengthen the resilience of EU banks. This proposal builds on existing EU banking rules and aims to complete the post-crisis regulatory agenda by making sure that the regulatory framework addresses any outstanding challenges to financial stability, while ensuring that banks can continue to support the real economy. Banks have a central role in financing the economy and for promoting growth and jobs. They are a key source of funding for households and businesses. In the wake of the financial crisis, the EU pursued an ambitious reform of the financial regulatory system to bring back financial stability and market confidence. Today's proposals aim to complete this reform agenda by implementing some outstanding elements, which are essential to further reinforce banks' ability to withstand potential shocks. The proposals also fine-tune some aspects of the new regulatory framework where necessary to make it more growth-friendly and proportionate to banks' complexity, size and business profile. It also includes measures that will support SMEs and investment in infrastructure. Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "Europe needs a strong and diverse banking sector to finance the economy. We need bank lending for companies to invest, remain competitive and sell into bigger markets and for households to plan ahead. Today, we have put forward new risk reduction proposals that build on the agreed global standards while taking into account the specificities of the European banking sector." The measures proposed today are also part of Commission's ongoing work to reduce risk in the banking sector and they are in line with the conclusions of the ECOFIN Council in June. For more information (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958).


Commission publishes results of Call for Evidence on EU financial services

The Call for Evidence is a public consultation looking at the cumulative effect of the new financial sector rules put in place since the crisis. It received hundreds of responses from stakeholders, which confirmed that the overall framework is working well and supports financial stability, increased transparency and protection of investors and consumers. The results of the Call for Evidence will build on this framework to support growth and help legislation work better. The feedback received has supported some key reforms to improve access to finance for SMEs and investment projects. In response to the financial crisis, the EU undertook a complete overhaul of its rules on financial services, adopting 40 pieces of legislation since 2009. These reforms stabilised the markets, made banks better capitalised, restored trust and made the financial system in the EU stronger and more resilient. At the same time, it is important to check whether the new rules are working as intended and to have the confidence to propose changes where they are not. In its Call for Evidence, the European Commission assessed the interaction between the individual rules and their combined economic impact, and addressed unintended consequences, inconsistencies and gaps in the regulatory framework. Today's Communication is also accompanied by a separate report on the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), looking at how rules for over-the-counter derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories should be improved. For more information (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)


"Health at a Glance: Europe 2016" - Europeans live longer but extra years are not always spent in good health

Life expectancy now exceeds 80 years in most EU countries reveals "Health at a Glance: Europe 2016", a European Commission/OECD joint report, published today. However, this record-high life expectancy is not always matched by healthy life years. Around 50 million people in the EU suffer from several chronic diseases, and more than half a million people of working age die from them every year, representing an annual cost of some €115 billion for EU economies. The joint report shows that policies that aim at promoting good health and preventing diseases as well as more effective healthcare could save lives and billions of euros in the European Union. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: "The Health at a Glance report provides useful information for Member States to shape their actions on health across all policies. It shows that in the EU many people die every year from potentially avoidable diseases linked to risk factors such as smoking or obesity. It also highlights the need to continue our efforts in making sure that healthcare becomes more accessible. The report represents the flagship of the partnership between the Commission and the OECD to develop country-specific and cross-country knowledge on health and health systems, as the first step of the 'State of Health in the EU'.” A Press Release in all languages, Commissioner Andriukaitis' speech, as well as the full report, summaries, video and factsheets are available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


EU Reaches Landmark Agreement on Conflict Minerals Regulation

The EU Institutions have reached an agreement on the final shape of an EU Regulation on conflict minerals, which aims to stop the financing of armed groups in developing countries through the trade of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. The agreement on the Regulation, brokered by the Commission, is set to ensure sustainable sourcing for more than 95% of all EU imports of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, which will be covered by due diligence provisions as of 1 January 2021.  In the meantime, the Commission and Member States will work to make sure that the necessary structures are in place to ensure EU-wide implementation. "The rules we agreed upon are a huge step forward in our efforts to stop human rights abuses and armed conflict financed by trade in minerals. I'm convinced that it will have real impact on the ground, for the people suffering from such conflicts. I sincerely hope that the EU model will now set an example for other countries to follow," said Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. Video from the press conference and stockshots are available. Since a political understanding on the core elements of the Regulation was reached in June of this year, the Council and the European Parliament have been working together to finalise the text. The key issue was to define how and when the Regulation will apply to EU importers. Accompanying measures to provide support for importers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, will also be deployed. This will be combined with a range of development aid and foreign policy actions to ensure the effectiveness of the Regulation, and its positive impact on the ground. Formally, the Regulation will now be adopted by the Council and the European Parliament. More info here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


European Investment Fund and Erste Bank sign first agreement under EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation in Serbia to support small businesses

Yesterday, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Erste Bank Serbia have signed a new guarantee agreement aimed at supporting micro-enterprises in Serbia under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation(EaSI). This EaSI guarantee agreement with Erste Bank Serbia will cover a loan portfolio of €4.7 million for around 850 Serbian micro-borrowers, who will be able to benefit from loans on attractive terms, without having to provide additional guarantees. Commenting on the transaction, Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: The European Commission is fully committed to promoting inclusive entrepreneurship in the fight against social and financial exclusion. I therefore warmly welcome today's agreement with Erste Bank, which marks the first of its kind in Serbia under the EaSI programme. This agreement worth €4.7 million will support some 850 micro-entrepreneurs, particularly the most vulnerable ones, in starting up and developing their business. This will allow them to create jobs and inclusive growth at the grass-roots level.Erste Bank Serbia will implement the social banking programme gradually, starting with offers for start-ups and social entrepreneurs, followed in 2017 with activities targeting civil society organisations and finally, in 2018, the institution plans to develop offers for low income private individuals. More information can be found here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)


Concentrations: la Commission approuve la création d'une entreprise commune entre ArcelorMittal et CLN dans le secteur de distribution d'acier

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition de contrôle en commun de la société française Acierplus par les entreprises ArcelorMittal établie en France et CLN établie en Italie. Acierplus, qui est actuellement sous le seul contrôle d'ArcelorMittal, est une société active dans le secteur de distribution d'acier. ArcelorMittal est une société d'exploitation minière et de l'acier au niveau mondial. CLN est une société de distribution d'acier et de production de composants pour voitures et véhicules commerciaux. La Commission a conclu que l'acquisition proposée ne poserait pas de problèmes de concurrence car les chevauchements entre les activités des entreprises, ainsi que sur les marchés apparentés, sont minimes. L'opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.8191. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


Concentrations: La Commission approuve la fusion de FMC Technologies et Technip

La Commission Européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, la fusion de la société américaine FMC Technologies et de la société française Technip. FMC est un fournisseur mondial de produits et services à destination du secteur énergétique, principalement dans le segment du pétrole et du gaz. En outre, FMC est actif dans le secteur des technologies et infrastructures sous-marines et des infrastructures énergétiques. Technip est un fournisseur mondial de services d'ingénierie, d'approvisionnement, de construction et d'installation pour l'industrie énergétique, et plus particulièrement dans les secteurs pétroliers et gaziers. Technip a des activités dans les infrastructures sous-marines, les installations côtières et les plateformes offshore. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulevait pas de problème de concurrence, vu que l'entité issue de la concentration continuera à faire face à plusieurs concurrents. Par ailleurs, étant donné l'existence de sources d'approvisionnement alternatives, l'entité issue de la concentration n'aurait ni la capacité ni l'intérêt de restreindre l'accès au marché de ses concurrents ou clients. L'opération a été examinée en vertu de la procédure simplifiée de contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.8132. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


European Commission appoints new Deputy Directors-General to three of its departments

The Commission has appointed Ms Kerstin Jorna as a Deputy Director-General in its department for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), Mr Simon Mordue to the position of Deputy Director-General in its department for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), and Mr Khalil Rouhana as a Deputy Director-General in its department for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT). Ms Kerstin Jorna, a German national, will take up her new position on 16 December 2016. Mr Simon Mordue, a British national, will take up his duties on 1 December 2016. The starting date for the new assignment of Mr Khalil Rouhana, a French national, will be determined later. More details are available online, also in DE and FR. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)


Commission appoint Directors to its Research and Innovation, Taxation and Customs Union departments

The Commission has decided to appoint two directors "Resources": Ms Priscila Fernández-Cañadas in its department for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and Ms Sabine Henzler in its department for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAUD). Ms Fernández-Cañadas, a Spanish national, joined the Commission in 1990. She spent most of her career working in the Commission's research department and has been working in the area of administration and budget management since 2001, when she also first became Head of Unit. In addition to managing the unit "New Management Modes" in DG RTD, she is currently an acting Resources Director in the same department. Ms Henzler, a German national, started working in the Commission in 1996 and joined DG TAXUD in 2000, where she worked until 2014. She has been a Head of Unit since 2008. She is currently managing the unit in charge of "Internal coordination, process optimisation and relationship management" in the Commission's department for Informatics. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)




18th EU-Ukraine Summit takes place in Brussels: successful reforms and a strong partnership on the agenda

On 24 November, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker will, alongside the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, represent the European Union at the 18th EU-Ukraine Summit. Ukraine will be represented by President Petro Poroshenko. The three presidents will be joined by European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, for the leaders' meeting preceding the Summit, while the High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini as well as Commission Vice-Presidents Maroš Šefčovič and Valdis Dombrovskis, and Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Cecilia Malmström will participate in the plenary working lunch. The Summit will provide an opportunity to reaffirm the strong partnership between the European Union and Ukraine, and to discuss progress on the Ukrainian reform agenda. The European Union has been steadfast in its commitment to supporting the comprehensive reform efforts of the Ukrainian authorities. The level and depth of this support is unprecedented in the EU's relations with a third country, as reflected in the report of the first 18 months of the Commission's Support Group for Ukraine (report here, press release here, factsheet here). Such reforms are enabling the full benefits of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (parts of which are provisionally applied since 1 November 2014), including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (in provisional application since 1 January 2016), to be felt by both EU and Ukrainian citizens. At the Summit, a number of agreements are expected to be signed in the field of energy, on anti-corruption and on cooperation with Europol, and further EU support to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. In addition, programmes to support public administration reform and the rule of law are expected to be announced. The leaders will also discuss security and conflict-related aspects, including implementation of the Minsk agreements, and the EU will reiterate its support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its non-recognition policy regarding the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, including through restrictive measures. A press conference with Presidents Juncker, Tusk and Poroshenko is scheduled for 13:40 and will be live on EbS. Following the summit, President Poroshenko and Commissioner Malmström will speak at an EU-Ukraine Business Roundtable, which will be available on EbS. For more information visit the website of the EU-Ukraine Summit and the website of the EU Delegation in Ukraine, and see the factsheet on EU-Ukraine relations. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359)


Commissioner Moscovici in London

Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Union, Pierre Moscovici is today heading to London, where he will give a keynote speech at the "Best of British" conference organised by JP Morgan this afternoon. In the margins of the conference, he will meet former UK Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair, before attending a dinner hosted by the Centre for European Reform and TheCityUK. Tomorrow, Commissioner Moscovici will take part in a Policy Network lunchtime seminar, in conversation with former European Commissioner, Mr Peter Mandelson. He will then have a bilateral meeting with Mr Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153, Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194)


Commissioner Stylianides to visit EU aid projects in Malawi

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management,Christos Stylianides, will travel to Malawi tomorrow, 24 November, for an official visit.Southern Africa is one of the region's worst affected by the ongoing El Niño phenomenon. The Commissioner will meet the President of Malawi Peter Mutharika and visit EU funded humanitarian aid projects to assess the situation on the ground."The EU stands firmly by Malawi and other countries in Southern Africa affected by the El Niño drought. In response to this state of emergency, we have provided €57 million in Southern Africa, including more than €16 million to Malawi, in humanitarian aid and disaster risk reduction since early 2016. We are committed to continue our assistance, which deals with both immediate response and longer-term recovery,"Commissioner Stylianides said. EU assistance in Malawi has helped provide assistance to the most vulnerable families for food, financing the construction of irrigation facilities and supporting sustainable livelihoods. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Commissioner Bulc outlines plans for a European drone services market

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc is today in Warsaw for the High-Level Conference “Drones as a leverage for jobs and new business opportunities”, where she will outline plans for a European drone services market. Drones offer many opportunities for the European economy. To make use of those opportunities there is a need to address challenges such as safety or privacy concerns. That is why the Commission proposed in December 2015 a European framework for drones as part of the Aviation Strategy. While this proposal is pending adoption by the European Parliament and the Council, today's Conference in Warsaw offers the occasion to discuss with industry and stakeholders the future rules and standards needed for the developments of the European drones sector. Commissioner Bulc said: "Drone technologies are a unique opportunity for the European economy to generate additional growth and prosperity: they open the door to new markets for innovative services with immense potential. I want the EU to remain on top of this, to steer and lead the global development of this technology." More information is available here, and Commissioner Bulc's full speech is available here. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)


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


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