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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 11 / 03 / 2016

Brussels, 11 March 2016

Refugee crisis: European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides meets with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Today European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides met with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens, to reaffirm the European Commission's full partnership and solidarity with Greece in addressing the humanitarian needs of refugees stranded in the country. Commissioner Christos Stylianides said: "Solidarity is at the heart of the new instrument we are creating for emergency support within Europe. This is exactly why I visited Athens today. To reaffirm our solidarity with Greece and to consult and coordinate our future complementary actions. We all share the same goal: to tackle effectively the increasing needs of refugees hosted in Greece and to alleviate their suffering. Greece is not alone during these difficult times". Furthermore, Commissioner Stylianides commended the Greek people for their solidarity with those forced to flee wars and conflicts adding: "The generosity of the Greek people to the refugees is an example for us all". Most of the new instrument's funds will be geared towards Greece, who's financial and administrative capacities have been overstretched by the refugee crisis. Today's meeting was a timely opportunity to share a mutual understanding on the paramount importance of consulting and coordinating with Greece on the implementation of this new instrument with the UN and other humanitarian organisations. The European Commission welcomed earlier this week the agreement by Member States on its €700 million proposal for an Emergency Assistance instrument to provide faster means of support to EU countries facing major humanitarian crises, such as dealing with large numbers of refugees. Read the press release and see the EBS coverage. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Commission marks 12th European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism

On 11 March, the Commission observes the European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism. This annual commemoration was established after the Madrid Bombings in 2004. Each year since 2005 we remember on this date victims of terrorist atrocities. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner Vera Jourová and Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos have issued a Joint Statement on this day, saying: "In unity and defiance we denounce all forms of terrorism worldwide, and with respect and honour we remember the victims. We have lost too many friends, neighbours and loved ones in the past year. We have witnessed too many atrocities. On this European Day of Remembrance, we express our sympathy and support to those who grieve and bear the physical and psychological scars of terrorist acts. We also recall our commitment to support the victims and their families, to strengthen their rights, to defend their interests and to ensure their voices are heard. Terrorists want us to be afraid. They try to spread hatred and fear, to create intolerance and to turn us against each other. This mentality has no place in our societies, our lives, and our European Union. Every one of us must defeat these ideas, defend our fundamental values and rights, and protect our friendships built through diversity and multiculturalism. Communities must feel safe and nobody should feel isolated or excluded from society: this is our common responsibility." The full statement is available online. The European Commission and the Radicalisation Awareness Network Centre of Excellence are organising in Brussels today a dedicated event to mark this occasion. Commissioner Avramopoulos opened the commemoration this morning. The event brings together victims from recent and past terrorist attacks, victim associations, students, and high-level European dignitaries. Victims of the attacks in Paris, Madrid, Utøya (Norway) and Sousse (Tunisia) are present. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud– Tel.: +32 229 67456; Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921)


European Commission announces additional €10 million of support to Cuba

Today EU Commissioner for International Development, Neven Mimica, pledged new EU development funding to Cuba on a visit to the country. The funding is part of an overall €50 million in development cooperation funds for Cuba to be provided over the period 2014-2020. Commissioner Mimica said: "The €10 million of new support we are announcing today will help build the capacities of the Cuban public administration and sustainable food production. The EU will continue to strengthen its cooperation with Cuba to support the modernisation process started by the Cuban government in 2008." During the visit, Commissioner Mimica visited EU-funded projects in Cuba, including those focussing on sustainable food production and supporting the social and economic inclusion of Cuban youth. The Commissioner met with representatives of the Cuban Government, including the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Mr Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, the Minister of Economy and Planning, Mr Marino Murillo Jorge, the Minister of Energy and Mines Mr Alfredo Lopez Valdes, and the Minister of Agriculture Mr Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero.Commissioner Mimica also joined HR/VP Federica Mogherini during her official visit to the country. A press release is available here (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Commission decentralises and simplifies technical conservation measures in fisheries

Today the Commission, continuing to deliver on its commitment for Better Regulation, presented a proposal on technical conservation measures for fisheries in the European seas. These are rules on how, where and when fishermen may fish, also determining gear, catch composition and ways to deal with accidental catches. The proposal puts in place a more flexible system of governance, empowering regional actors, who know their local context best, to customize technical conservation measures in their sea basin. The proposal also condenses a number of distinct Regulations into one single text which should ease interpretation and facilitate compliance. EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: "With this proposal we ensure that our objectives for sustainable fisheries and the protection of marine habitats are reached throughout the EU. Its 'regionalised approach' simplifies the rules, in line with our better regulation agenda. It allows for fisheries management decisions to be made locally, closer to the people they affect." A press release and a Q&A are available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321)


Mergers: Commission clears partnership between EDF and CGN

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the partnership between Électricité de France ('EDF') of France and China General Nuclear Power Group ('CGN') of China in relation to the development, construction and operation of three nuclear power plants in the UK at Hinkley Point, Sizewell and Bradwell. EDF and CGN plan to build and operate two nuclear plants based on the EPR technology developed by EDF and Areva in Hinkley Point and Sizewell. The third plant, Bradwell, will use CGN's Hualong technology. The partnership will be implemented through three joint ventures respectively responsible for the development, construction and operation of the three nuclear power plants. The Commission's investigation found that competition in the wholesale supply of electricity in the UK will not be hindered by the transaction given the moderate market share of EDF, the very limited market shares of CGN in this market and the presence of other competitors. The Commission also looked at the vertical link between CGN's activities in the market for design and manufacture of nuclear islands (i.e. the heart of a nuclear plant) and the joint ventures' future activities in the generation and wholesale supply of electricity. EDF also owns sites considered suitable for building new nuclear stations. The Commission raised no concerns on these points in view of the presence of other players on these markets. As regards the other nuclear-related markets where CGN and other Chinese State-owned companies are active (such as instrumentation and control systems, nuclear construction services, etc.) and which are upstream to the joint ventures' activities, the Commission found that the parties would not have the ability to shut competitors out of these markets. The transaction only concerns the UK market and CGN and other Chinese State-owned companies are barely active in these markets in the European Economic Area (EEA) and have moderate market shares globally. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available on the competition website, in the Commission's public case register under the case number M.7850. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)



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