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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 08 / 03 / 2016

Brussels, 8 March 2016

College of Commissioners to discuss the Commission's Social Package and the 2016 European Semester Winter Package 

Following the commitment President Juncker made in his State of the Union speech on 9 September 2015, and following the first orientation debate held by the College on 27 January 2016, today Commissioner Thyssen will present the preliminary outline of the European Pillar of Social Rights to the College, as well as the details of the public consultation on the same subject which will be launched today.The College will also discuss the proposal for a targeted revision of the 1996 Posting of Workers Directive. In addition, the College will today take the next step in the European Semester cycle. Following the publication of the Country Reports at the end of February, Commissioners will discuss the economic and fiscal situation of the Member States and take decisions in the context of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP). Specifically, the College will decide on the category for each Member State covered by an in-depth review. As of this year, the Commission has streamlined the MIP from six to four categories of macroeconomic imbalances: no imbalances, imbalances, excessive imbalances, and excessive imbalances with corrective action. There will be two press conferences this afternoon in Strasbourg, at 16:30 and 17:00, by Commissioner Thyssen and Vice-President Dombrovskis respectively. You will be able to follow them both live on EbS. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

 

Joint statement on the occasion of International Women's Day

To mark International Women's Day, several European Commissioners joined their voices to call for more gender equality within the European Union. They said: "Today we celebrate women. We celebrate their role in society, at work, in our families and lives. We also remember their suffering, hardship and injustice, which for many is still a reality today. It is also true that we must promote gender equality not just today, on International Women's Day, but every day (…) It is essential that we continue our efforts to integrate equality for women and men into every one of our policies across the board, in each of our Member States and in the countries we work with. (…) The European Union relentlessly combats sexism, discrimination, gender-based violence and inequality. Recent EU legislation secures victims' rights, addresses trafficking in human beings, and promotes equal treatment. The Commission just tabled a proposal to ratify the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women; a clear signal that now is the time to step up our collective action." They also called for more gender equality across the world: "The European Union is also committed to taking forward the new 2030 United Nations Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a strong commitment to advance gender equality and empower women and girls around the world. In humanitarian emergencies, including the current refugee crises, the European Union strives to ensure that its humanitarian assistance responds to specific gender needs, in particular the vulnerabilities of migrant women. We are taking steps to empower women, to fight for their rights and their equal access to economic resources, and to address all forms of violence against women and girls, especially trafficking, female genital mutilation and early or forced marriage. Women, as key agents and drivers of sustainable development and sustainable peace, have a crucial role to play in a world so hard hit by conflict and inequality." Full statement and Q&A are available online. See here for an overview of the Commission's activities in connection with the International Women's Day. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229-6225; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

Investment Plan for Europe: the EFSI supports construction of new onshore wind farm in Sweden

The European Investment Bank (EIB), Mirova and Eolus have signed a contract to provide financing for the construction of Langmarken, an onshore wind farm located in the Värmland County in Sweden.  This is the first EIB project to be signed in Sweden under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe. Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, said: “I am happy that we now have a concrete project in Sweden that benefits from the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The project also contributes to our aims of an Energy Union - to ensure sustainable energy for Europe and its citizens. Sweden is a frontrunner in renewable energy and reduced emissions.” (For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)

 

EU Member States endorse the automatic exchange of information of multinational companies subject to UK scrutiny

The Commission has welcomed today's political agreement by Member States on the automatic exchange of tax-related financial information of multinational companies, known as country-by-country reporting (CBCR), subject to UK parliamentary scrutiny. The endorsement was reached at a meeting of Economic and Financial Affairs ministers in Brussels, less than two months after the European Commission presented its ambitious proposal. The new rules will apply to multinational companies which operate cross-border in the EU. Once implemented, all Member States will have the information they need to protect their tax bases and to effectively address companies that try to escape paying their fair share of taxes where they make their profits. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "I very much welcome today's agreement as another major step forward towards enhancing transparency on tax matters. The automatic exchange of information on country-by-country reports will provide national authorities with the necessary insight to combat aggressive tax planning structures. After the agreement reached October last year on tax rulings, this is another important signal that the EU is ready to deliver on our common goal of fair and effective taxation." A press release is available here. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

 

Aviation: EU to launch negotiations with China and Japan for new safety agreements

Three months after its adoption by the European Commission, the Aviation Strategy is starting to deliver its first results. Yesterday, EU Member States authorised the European Commission to open negotiations with China and Japan in view of concluding Bilateral Air Safety Agreements. Such agreements enhance air safety worldwide and contribute to the global competitiveness of the European aviation industry by cutting red-tape and facilitating exports. EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "In January I told the Aviation Summit that 2016 is the time for delivery of the Aviation Strategy. I am delighted that it is starting to pay off so early.  The new Bilateral Air Safety Agreements we are pursuing will offer European companies new business opportunities in China and Japan. More trade means more growth and jobs in Europe. And yet these agreements are only one pillar of the ambitious external aviation policy we put forward as part of the new Strategy." A press release is available online. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

Eurostat: GDP up by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28

Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.4% in the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, according to an estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the third quarter of 2015, GDP also grew by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 1.6% in the euro area and by 1.8% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2015, after +1.6% and +1.9% respectively in the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter of 2015, GDP in the United States increased by 0.3% compared with the previous quarter (after +0.5% in the third quarter of 2015). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP grew by 1.9% (after +2.1% in the previous quarter). Over the whole year 2015, GDP rose by 1.6% in the euro area and by 1.9% in the EU28, compared with 0.9% and 1.4% respectively in 2014. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in Lisbon

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, visits Lisbon on 8 and 9 March to participate in the inauguration of the new President of the Republic Mr Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. In the margins of the inauguration ceremonies President Juncker will meet the new President as well as the Prime Minister Mr António Costa. On 9 March, Jean-Claude Juncker will attend the solemn session of the inauguration of the President of the Republic at the Assembly of the Republic, where Commissioner Carlos Moedas is also expected. This visit takes place during the 30th anniversary of the accession of Portugal to the European Communities. This is the first official visit of Jean-Claude Juncker to Lisbon since he took office as President of the European Commission. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

 

Commissioner Mimica travels to Cuba on 10-11 March

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will visit Cuba on 10 and 11 March. Commissioner Mimica will discuss the EU's cooperation with a number of Ministers of the Cuban Government, including the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, and visit three EU-funded projects, including one aiming to support the Cuban authorities to address the social and economic inclusion of the Cuban youth. Commissioner Mimica will join High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, on her meeting with the Minister of Economy and Planning, Marino Murillo. More information on EU-Cuba cooperation can be found here.(For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

MEX/16/665


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