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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 14 / 03 / 2016

Brussels, 14 March 2016

Refugee crisis: Greece receives new deliveries of material support via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism

Following a recent increase in contributions to support the country via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, Greece will receive additional deliveries of aid this week to support refugees in the country. Greece activated the Civil Protection Mechanism on 3 December, and since then 13 EU Member States and Norway have made offers of support, helping deliver over 87,000 items such as blankets, medical supplies, tents, beds and mattresses. Over the weekend, the Netherlands delivered 12 minivans and 90 generators, the UK over 1,000 tents and France four sanitary containers, 12 sheltering containers and 5,000 jerry cans. Just today, Luxembourg made an additional offer of support, including 30 generators, 750 bed mattresses, 300 chairs, 1,000 jerry cans, 5,000 pillows and 500 bunk beds. This week Austria, Germany, Spain, Lithuania, Hungary, Norway and Sweden are expected to make additional deliveries of support. Commenting on the substantial level of offers made, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said "Greece and other countries are in need of immediate material support, and the latest increase in offers through the Civil Protection Mechanism is a proof of European solidarity. I thank all the 14 countries for their support so far and I call for further offers of much needed assistance." The Civil Protection Mechanism can be activated by a Member State or a country outside the EU if it feels overwhelmed by a crisis. The European Commission then coordinates the voluntary offers made by participating states, and can co-finance the transport of relief items and experts to the country in question. In addition to Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Serbia have activated the Mechanism since June 2015. All in all, for the refugee crisis, the Civil Protection Mechanism has helped provide over 780,000 items to countries in need. Unlike the new instrument proposed by the Commission for emergency support, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM) relies on voluntary offers from participating states. The new emergency support instrument on the other hand, will allow the EU to directly finance humanitarian activities inside the EU. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Investment Plan for Europe: European Investment Fund and BPCE Group sign a €300m InnovFin deal for French SMEs

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banque Populaire have signed an InnovFin deal in Paris to provide €300 million of loans to innovative companies in France over the next 2 years via its regional network of Banques Populaires. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Pierre Moscovici, attended the signing event, and said: “Today's important agreement between the EIF and Banque Populaire is another concrete example of the impact the Investment Plan for Europe is having in France. The European Fund for Strategic Investments is already supporting several large infrastructure projects and thousands of SMEs all over the country, helping to develop renewable energies, regenerate contaminated sites for urban renewal, and improve the energy efficiency of our homes. I hope that many up-and-coming SMEs with innovative ideas will take advantage of these new loans, starting today." (For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)


EU signs visa waiver agreement with Peru

Today the EU will sign a reciprocal short-stay visa waiver agreement with Peru. The agreement will apply from 15 March 2016, allowing visa-free travel for Peruvian nationals to the EU for short stays of up to 90 days as well as for EU citizens travelling to Peru. Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, and Bert Koenders, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, representing the Council Presidency, will sign the agreement from the EU side, together with the Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ana María Sánchez Vargas de Ríos. The signing ceremony will take place in the presence of EU High Representative/Commission Vice-President Federica Mogherini and the President of Peru Ollanta Humala Tasso. Ahead of the signing ceremony, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini said: "Today's agreement delivers on our citizens' aspirations and will positively impact on their everyday life. From tomorrow Peruvian citizens will be able to travel for short stays to the EU without a visa, and vice-versa. This will simplify the lives of many people and create more opportunities for both Peru and the EU – for tourism, for investments and for our contacts. This agreement and the one signed with Colombia only a few months ago show how close we feel to Latin America. We share so much culture, so many interests and values – and today we make the friendship between our peoples even easier". Commissioner Avramopoulos said: “The agreement to be signed today will make visa-free travel to the EU a reality for the citizens of Peru who I know have been very much looking forward to this moment. I congratulate the Government of Peru for the swift and successful issuing of biometric passports for its citizens since last month. This was an important condition for the EU to approve this visa waiver. It is important that the biometric passport system is fully completed by the summer. I am confident that this agreement will promote tourism, trade and business contacts between the peoples of our two great continents.” The visa waiver will not apply to the United Kingdom and Ireland. A joint press conference by Commissioner Avramopoulos and the President of Peru Ollanta Humala Tasso will take place today at 18.00 (tbc) in the premises of the Council and will be broadcast here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud - Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst - Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert - Tel.: +32 229 80423)


La Commission européenne nomme le nouveau chef de sa Représentation à Paris

Aujourd’hui, la Commission européenne nomme Isabelle Jégouzo en tant que chef de la Représentation de la Commission européenne à Paris. Elle prendra ses fonctions le 16 mars 2016, forte d'une expérience de plus de vingt ans dans le domaine juridique et des affaires européennes. Plus d'information sur la nomination de Mme Jégouzo est disponible ici (EN, DE). (Pour plus d'information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265)         


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Mecaplast by Equistone

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of control of Financière Mecaplast SAS of France, by Equistone Partners Europe SAS of France controlled by Equistone LLP of the UK.  Financière Mecaplast SAS is the holding company of a group of companies active in the manufacturing of automotive spare parts. Equistone Partners Europe performs the functions of a management company in respect to the Equistone V FPCI fund. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because none of the portfolio companies of Equistone LLP is active in the same markets where Financière Mecaplast is active. Also, none of Equistone's portfolio companies is active in any related market. 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.7906.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Global Closure Systems by RPC Group

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the Global Closure Systems group of companies ("GCS"), headquartered in France, by the UK RPC Group. RPC is active in the design and engineering of plastic products for the packaging and non-packaging sectors. GCS is a manufacturer of closures and dispensing systems for consumer products. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because the overlaps between the companies' activities resulting from the proposed transaction are limited. The operation was assessed under the simplified merger procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7928. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


EUROSTAT: January 2016 compared with December 2015 - Industrial production up by 2.1% in euro area; Up by 1.7% in EU28

In January 2016 compared with December 2015, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 2.1% in the euro area (EA19) and by 1.7% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In December 2015 industrial production fell by 0.5% in the euro area and by 0.6 in the EU28. In January 2016 compared with January 2015, industrial production increased by 2.8% in the euro area and by 2.5% in the EU28. A full Eurostat press release is available online. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 229 64950)




First Vice-President Timmermans, in Berlin, delivers a speech on Anti-Semitism, visits an emergency refugee reception centre, and holds a series of meetings

Today, 14 March, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans is on mission in Berlin for a series of engagements. This afternoon he will deliver a speech at 15.30 (CET) at the Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combatting Anti-Semitism, following the speech of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The speeches will be broadcast live on the Bundestag TV channel here. The First Vice-President will then visit an emergency refugee reception centre in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. His agenda also includes meetings with representatives of Jewish organisations at the Inter-Parliamentary Conference, and bilateral meetings with Mr Peter Altmaier, Chief of Staff of the German Chancellery and Federal Minister for Special Affairs, Mr Thomas Oppermann, leader of the SPD Group in the Bundestag and Mr Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin. He will also meet with members of the Committees for Legal Affairs and EU Affairs of the Bundestag.(For more information: Natasha Bertaud - Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie - Tel.: +32 229 58602)


Commissioner Oettinger at major digital event CeBIT in Hannover, Germany

Today and tomorrow Commissioner Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, is at one of the largest events for digital business, CeBIT, in Hannover, Germany. He will give a keynote speech at the conference on 'Driving the Digital Economy and Society in Europe'on the implementation of the strategy for a Digital Single Market. He will say: "2016 is the year in which we will deliver: in the coming months we will present a wide range of proposals to make the Digital Single Market a reality. In 2015 we focussed on planning and preparation. By the end of the year we will deliver on our promise to launch all major initiatives to make digital progress in Europe.” At CeBIT 2016 the European Commission will be also take part in a dedicated programme and exhibition on startups, showcase successful EU-funded projects and provide information on support for startups. Tomorrow Commissioner Oettinger will give a keynote speech at the Go Global Summit, an event of the startup community. More information can be found here as well as on the Twitter account and the announcements of the Commissioner. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


Commissioner Jourová on official visit to New York

Commissioner Jourová will represent the European Union at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). On this occasion, she will meet Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women, Ms Dubravka Simonovic, UN Special rapporteur on violence against women, Ms Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF deputy executive director, as well as Ms Meng Xiaosi, vice chairperson of the national working committee and head of the delegation of China to the CSW. She will further discuss gender equality and violence against women with EU Ministers, such as Ms Laurence Rossignol, French Minister for Family, Childhood and Women's rights. Commissioner Jourová will attend a ministerial meeting to discuss LGBTI issues.  The Commissioner will participate in an event organised by the European Union on "The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls: why it matters for sustainable development".  During her visit, she will also meet NGOs active on gender issues. Finally, on another topic, she will meet privacy NGOs to discuss the EU – U.S. Privacy Shield. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229-6225; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


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