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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 28 / 11 / 2016

Brussels, 28 November 2016

Creating a Stronger Financial System: New EU rules for the recovery and resolution of Central Counterparties

The European Commission has today proposed new rules to ensure thatsystemic market infrastructures in the financial system, known as Central Counterparties (CCPs), can be dealt with effectively when things go wrong. A CCP acts as the intermediary to both sides of a transaction in a financial instrument, including bonds, equities, derivatives andcommodities (such as agricultural products, oil and natural gas). They are critical in helping to reduce risks and interconnections through the financial system. They help financial firms and end users such as corporates manage their business risks. The scale and importance of CCPs in Europe and globally has nearly doubled since the post-crisis G20 commitment to clear standardised over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives through CCPs. A large proportion of the EUR 500 trillion of derivatives contracts that are outstanding globally are cleared by 17 CCPs across Europe. There are already high regulatory standards in place for EU CCPs, set out in the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). However, no EU wide rules are in place for the unlikely scenario where CCPs face severe distress or failure and therefore need to be recovered or resolved in an orderly manner. Today's proposal aims to put into place a recovery and resolution framework to CCPs which are systemically important for the financial system. This will ensure that the critical functions of CCPs are preserved while maintaining financial stability and helping to avoid the costs associated with the restructuring and the resolution of failing CCPs from falling on taxpayers. For more information, see our press release, Q&A, factsheet and video. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)


Plan d'investissement pour l'Europe : 75 million d'euros pour des bâtiments économes en énergie en Finlande

La Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) a accepté de prêter 75 millions d'euros à VVO pour soutenir la construction de «bâtiments à consommation d'énergie quasi-nulle» (bâtiment ZEB, near zero energy building en anglais) en Finlande. Le prêt sera alloué dans le cadre du Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques (FEIS), qui est au cœur du Plan d'investissement pour l'Europe. Le programme d'investissement consistera en la construction de plusieurs nouveaux immeubles résidentiels « ZEB », soit environ 1 800 logements, à Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo et Tampere. La construction de nouveaux bâtiments à consommation d'énergie quasi-nulle contribuera de manière importante à la réalisation de l'objectif de réduction de la consommation d'énergie et d'émissions de CO2 en Europe. Le Vice-président de la Commission européenne Jyrki Katainen, chargé de l'emploi, de la croissance, de l'investissement et de la compétitivité, a déclaré : «Améliorer l'efficacité énergétique des bâtiments nécessite un soutien financier, le Plan d'investissement pour l'Europe doit jouer un rôle clé. Soutenir le financement de maisons à consommation d'énergie quasi-nulle est une excellente utilisation de la garantie de l'UE et je me réjouis à l'idée de recevoir d'autres projets favorisant la transition vers une économie à faible intensité de carbone». (Pour plus d'information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhan Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)


€435 million returned to European farmers from the Common Agricultural Policy budget

European farmers eligible for direct payments will receive as from 1 December 2016 an additional €435 million amounting to the unused crisis reserve. Since the 2013 CAP reform, a relevant amount is deducted every year from farmers' direct payments in order to create a yearly agricultural crisis reserve. It can be mobilised, where the annual budget is not sufficient to finance the needs for market support measures such as public intervention and private storage and exceptional measures in crisis situations. If not used by the end of the year, this reserve goes back to farmers.  The Commission provided since September 2015 over €1 billion extra in financial support to the agriculture sector facing particularly difficult market situations. However, it was decided by the Commission and co-legislators to finance this support without touching the crisis reserve so as not to affect the direct payments received by farmers. The additional measures taken such as the extension of existing market measures and the distribution of national envelopes were financed from existing budgetary availabilities in 2016, while the latest solidarity package from July 2016 for the dairy and other livestock sectors will be funded from the 2017 budget. Speaking today, Commissioner Phil Hogan said: "2016 has been a difficult year for many farmers and a number of market sectors in particular. I am pleased that the Commission has been able to respond with a series of additional measures – without having to trigger this last resort, the agricultural crisis reserve. This means that we have been able to react without reducing EU income support to the farming sector." Since its introduction within the 2013 reform, the crisis reserve has not been used. The deduction only applies to direct payment amounts above €2000 and did not yet apply in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania in budget year 2016 because the Direct Payments amounts were still not fully phased in in these Member States. For more information see here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


Illegal logging: EU and Indonesia issue first ever license for verified legal timber trade

On 28 November, in the margins of the first EU-Indonesia Joint Committee, the first ever license for legal timber products (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade - FLEGT) will be issued at a ceremony in Brussels, by the High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi and European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. The first shipment of Indonesian certified woods departed to Europe on 15 November 2016, making Indonesia the very first tropical country reaching timber products licensing under FLEGT. All timber products exported from Indonesia to the EU must be accompanied by a valid licence attesting to their legality. Commissioner Vella said: "Today we celebrate a turning point in the global fight to end illegal logging. By tackling illegality at both the supply and demand sides of the trade we have closed the EU market to illegal timber from one of the world's biggest producers. The implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement will boost confidence in the legality of Indonesian timber exports to the EU. It will contribute to a better protection of Indonesian tropical forests, the third largest in the world". FLEGT is the EU's response to the problem of illegal logging.The EU buys 11%, by value, of timber products and paper exported from Indonesia. Indonesia supplies 33% of the EU's tropical timber imports by value. A press release, a Q&A and a Factsheet on EU-Indonesia relations are available. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185)


State aid: Commission clears Czech support scheme for renewable energy

The European Commission has approved a support scheme for installations producing renewable energy built in the Czech Republic between 2006 and 2012 under EU state aid rules. The Commission found that, in line with the applicable 2001 and 2008 Commission environmental guidelines, the support takes the form of a preferential prices (feed-in tariffs) and premiums on top of the market price (green bonuses). The measure also incorporates a review mechanism which ensures that installations are not overcompensated and aid is limited to the minimum necessary to achieve the scheme's objectives. The Czech Republic has also committed to investing around €20 million in interconnection projects. The Commission concluded that, in line with EU objectives, the measure helps the Czech Republic to achieve its 2020 renewable energy targets. The review mechanism and interconnector investments ensure that potential distortions of competition brought about by the public financing are limited. The full press release is available online in EN, DE, FR and CS. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


State aid: Commission approves the extension of the remit of the IFD, the Portuguese Development Bank

The European Commission has found the extension of the remit of the Portuguese Development Bank Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento (IFD) to be in line with EU state aid rules. In October 2014, the Commission approved the creation and capitalisation of IFD, which manages and channels European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) allocated to Portugal for the 2014-2020 financing period, as well as reimbursements from ESIF-funded programmes. Today's decision enables IFD to expand its activities to general support in favour of SMEs, in line with the criteria of the Commission's General Block Exemption Regulation, which allows public authorities to implement a broad spectrum of SME support activities without having to notify it to the Commission for prior authorisation. IFD may also implement measures approved under the Commission's Guidelines on state aid for risk financing. Finally, IFD will participate in EU financial instruments, such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), COSME, Horizon 2020 and the SME Initiative. The Commission found that IFD's activities contribute to financing SMEs that have difficulties in raising finance from the market, in line with EU objectives. The Commission therefore approved the extended remit under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, that allows Member States to grant aid to support the development of certain economic activities. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.42665 in the State Aid Register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control of Deli Home and Garden by SHV Holdings

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Deli Home and Garden by SHV Holdings, both of the Netherlands. Deli Home and Garden is a producer and supplier of home and garden building materials throughout Europe. SHV is a holding company with investments in various sectors through its subsidiary NPM Capital. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there is no overlap between the companies' activities. Moreover, SHV currently already has joint control over Deli. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8249. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)


EUROSTAT: La production agricole totale dans l'UE a reculé de 1,8% en 2015 par rapport à 2014

Les comptes économiques de l'agriculture font apparaître que la valeur totale de la production agricole dans l'Union européenne (UE) s'établissait à 411,2 milliards d'euros aux prix de base en 2015, soit une baisse de 1,8% par rapport à 2014. En 2015, l'équivalent de 60% de la valeur de la production agricole générée ont été consacrés à la consommation intermédiaire (intrants de biens et services), tandis que la valeur ajoutée brute (c'est-à-dire la valeur de la production moins la valeur de la consommation intermédiaire) a atteint 40% (164,6 milliards d'euros). Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)




12th High-Level Meeting of Religious Leaders

Tomorrow, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans will host the 12th annual high-level meeting with religious leaders from across Europe to discuss "Migration, integration and European values". Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and European Parliament Vice-President Antonio Tajani will also take part in the event. This year the participants will focus their discussions on challenges posed by populism and intolerance as well as the vital role of education and grassroots outreach in improving integration and social cohesion in Europe. The meeting will take place within the framework of the ongoing dialogue with religious, philosophical and non-confessional organisations as enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty (Art 17 TFEU). More information on the Article 17 Dialogue is available here. The press conference will take place in the Commission press room at 12:00 and will be live streamed on EBS. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


Food waste: kick-off meeting for EU platform

Tomorrow (29 November), Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, in charge of Health and Food Safety, will address members of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste (FLW) at its inauguralmeeting. Launched as part of the Circular Economy Package Action Plan, this Platform will spearhead EU efforts to fight food waste from farm to fork. Commissioner Andriukaitis said: "Rethinking our food systems might seem a daunting task, requiring significant efforts but it is our moral obligation that we have to meet with commitment, creativity and co-operation. I am certain that all Platform members share the sense of urgency that tackling food waste so clearly demands". The Platform brings together both public and private interests in order to foster cooperation amongst all key players in the food value chain and help accelerate the EU's progress towards the global Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2030. At this kick-off meeting, participants will discuss operations and share their views on key priorities of the EU platform on FLW, which aims to support all actors in defining measures needed to prevent food waste, sharing best practices and evaluating progress made over time. The meeting will be web-streamed here. A Q&A and agenda are available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


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


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