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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 17 / 03 / 2016

Brussels, 17 March 2016

Premier accord de financement social en Europe: l'Union européenne investit €33 million dans des entreprises sociales en France

Le Fonds européen d'Investissement (FEI) et la Société financière de la NEF (la NEF) ont signé le premier accord de garantie d'Entrepreneuriat social, ayant pour but de soutenir plus de 300 entreprises sociales en France sous le Programme de l'UE pour l'emploi et l'innovation sociale (EaSI). Ce nouvel accord de garantie permet à La Nef d'offrir €33 million à plus de 300 entrepreneurs micro et sociaux qui ont souvent de la difficulté à accéder au crédit provenant de sources bancaires traditionnelles. Sous ce programme, des entrepreneurs sociaux - tels que des producteurs de commerce équitable, des agriculteurs biologiques et des micro-emprunteurs dans le secteur de l'énergie renouvelable – bénéficieront de prêts à un taux d'intérêt réduit, sans fournir de garantie. Marianne Thyssen, Commissaire à l'Emploi, aux Affaires sociales, aux Compétences et à la Mobilité des travailleurs, a commenté: "Cet accord marque un moment-clé dans le financement européen de l'entrepreneuriat social. Outre notre soutien aux micro-emprunteurs, cette garantie EaSI aidera plus de 300 entreprises sociales à prendre racine et à se développer, favorisant ainsi la création d'emplois et l'inclusion sociale." Le régime de garantie EaSI a été lancé en juin 2015 et est financé par la Commission européenne et géré par le Fonds européen d'Investissement (FEI). Plus d'informations sont disponibles ici. (Pour plus d'informations:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)


330 kilometres of new express roads in Poland to boost trans-European infrastructure

Today the European Commission has approved ten major projects worth €3.3 billion for the construction of approximately 330 km of new express roads in Poland with a contribution from the Cohesion Fund of €1.2 billion and €493 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Transport infrastructure is one of the target sectors of the Investment Plan for Europe. ESI funds are an excellent way to invest in transport, as is the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). We recently issued guidelines explaining how project promoters could combine ESI funds with the EFSI." Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, emphasised: “Today is a big day for investment in the EU and particularly in Poland.  As part of the core Trans-European Transport Networks, this EU financial support to new infrastructure will reduce bottlenecks, make life for people easier and boost business activity." Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport, added: "Transport is a strong driver of economic growth, jobs and trade. It is therefore a priority of the Commission to increase public and private investment in this sector." Four major projects located in the Lower Silesian and Lubuskie regions will get a contribution of €776.2 million from the Cohesion Fund. The European Commission will also invest €493.3 million in two major projects from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie region. Investments worth €441.3 million from the Cohesion Fund through four major projects in the regions of Podlaskie, Małopolskie, Swiętokrzyskie and Mazowieckie will also be directed towards the completion of the Via Baltica, a 970 km express road link between Warsaw and Tallinn. A press release is available online. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 69143)


President Juncker announces European Commission will recommend visa-free travel for Ukraine in April

This morning, President Juncker met with Council President Donald Tusk, and Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine. At the joint press point, President Juncker said: "The European Commission stands by Ukraine. Yesterday we decided a new humanitarian aid package worth €20 million. This is showing our ongoing support for Ukraine and for the reform process in that country, which is a very impressive one". Regarding visa liberalisation with Ukraine, President Juncker added: "We have a shared interest in making it easier for our citizens to travel to each other's countries. Ukraine, in the last days and hours, has undertaken huge reforms, mainly as far as the adoption of the e-declarations law is concerned or as far as the appointment of the members of the Anti-corruption Agency is concerned. These steps taken by Ukraine will allow us as the Commission to make a proposal for visa liberalisation in April." The full statement is available online. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)


Circular economy: New Regulation to boost the use of organic and waste-based fertilisers

Delivering on the Circular Economy Package adopted in December 2015, today the Commission is proposing a Regulation on Fertilisers which will significantly ease the access of organic and waste-based fertilisers to the EU single market. By bringing these fertilisers on a level playing field with traditional, non-organic fertilisers, the Regulation will create new market opportunities for innovative companies while at the same time reducing waste, energy consumption and environmental damage.  Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Very few of the abundant bio-waste resources are transformed into valuable fertilising products. Our farmers are using fertilisers manufactured from imported resources or from energy-intensive processes although our industry could valorise these bio-wastes in recycled nutrients. This Regulation will help us turn problems into opportunities for farmers and businesses." The Regulation sets out common rules on converting bio-waste into raw materials that can be used to manufacture fertilising products. It defines safety, quality and labelling requirements that all fertilising products need to comply with to be traded freely across the EU. A press release and MEMO are available online. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 229 64950)


Aviation Safety:European High-Level Task Force tackles conflict-zones overflight

Assembled in the aftermath of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, the European High-Level Task Force on Conflict Zones today handed its final report to Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport. This report contains recommendations to address the risks to civil aviation when flying over conflict zones. In particular, it recommends the development of a common European risk assessment of conflict zones and a quick alert mechanism to notify the aviation community, including passengers. Commissioner Bulc said, "The threat of terrorism to civil aviation is likely to remain high in the foreseeable future, which is why aviation safety and security standards are one of my top priorities. This report contains proposals to further improve the current situation that I consider essential. In particular, I welcome the improvements to the process for building common EU conflict zone risk assessments and quick alert mechanisms. Time for action is now - it is essential that concrete steps are put in place to protect EU citizens when flying." More information is available here. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)


Antitrust: Commission publishes Report on functioning of Insurance Block Exemption Regulation

The European Commission has published a report focusing on the functioning of the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation, which exempts certain types of cooperation in the insurance sector from EU antitrust rules under certain conditions.  The Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER) came into force on 1 April 2010 and will expire on 31 March 2017. Before that day the Commission will need to decide on whether to renew the Regulation in its current form, modify it or let it lapse. The IBER provides exemptions for agreements between insurers relating to (a) joint compilations, tables and studies and (b) co-insurance or co-reinsurance pools. The review of the Regulation started with a public consultation in 2014. The report and staff working document published today present the preliminary findings of this review. At this stage, the Commission's preliminary view is that it is no longer necessary to maintain sector-specific block exemptions in this field. On 26 April 2016, the Commission will organise a meeting with stakeholders, to provide an opportunity to discuss the report's findings. The full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of KraussMaffei by ChemChina

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the German machinery supplier KraussMaffei by the Chinese state-owned company ChemChina.  KraussMaffei manufactures plastics and rubber processing machinery. ChemChina is a large chemicals conglomerate, which also owns the tyre company Pirelli. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because several alternative suppliers would remain active after the merger in both the market for plastics and rubber processing machinery and the market for tyres. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7911.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


EUROSTAT: Annual inflation down to -0.2% in the euro area

Euro area annual inflation was -0.2% in February 2016, down from 0.3% in January 2016. In February 2015 the rate was -0.3%. European Union annual inflation was also -0.2% in February 2016, down from 0.3% in January. A year earlier the rate was -0.3%. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In February 2016, negative annual rates were observed in fifteen Member States. The lowest annual rates were registered in Cyprus (-2.2%) and Romania (-2.1%). The highest annual rates were recorded in Belgium (1.1%), Austria and Malta (both 1.0%). Compared with January 2016, annual inflation fell in twenty Member States, remained stable in one and rose in six. The largest upward impacts to euro area annual inflation came from restaurants and cafes (+0.13 percentage points), rents (+0.08 pp) and fruit (+0.06 pp), while fuels for transport (-0.49 pp), heating oil (-0.24 pp) and gas (-0.10 pp) had the biggest downward impacts. A Eurostat press release is available online. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)


EUROSTAT: Euro area international trade in goods surplus €6.2 bn

The first estimate for euro area (EA19) exports of goods to the rest of the world in January 2016 was €145.3 billion, a decrease of 2% compared with January 2015 (€148.0 bn). Imports from the rest of the world stood at €139.1 bn, a fall of 1% compared with January 2015 (€140.9 bn). As a result, the euro area recorded a €6.2 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in January 2016, compared with +€7.1 bn in January 2015. Intra-euro area trade remained stable at €132.5 bn in January 2016 compared with January 2015. A Eurostat press release is available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52 509)




Commissioner Oettinger in Rome, Italy, to discuss Digital Single Market initiatives

This afternoon and tomorrow Commissioner Oettinger will be in Rome, Italy, to discuss upcoming initiatives under the Digital Single Market strategy. He will notably meet Federica Guidi, Italian Minister of Economic Development, to discuss the EU action plan to help industries go digital that will be presented early April 2016. He will also have exchanges with Stefania Giannini, Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research, on EU initiatives aiming to build a European Cloud for researchers and to boost Europeans' digital skills. Other meetings will take place with Antonello Giacomelli, Italian Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Economic Development, on the review of EU telecoms rules, and with Claudio De Vincenti, Italian Undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, on opportunities offered at EU level by the Investment Plan and other instruments to develop high-speed broadband infrastructures. During his visit, Commissioner Oettinger will also meet Members of Parliament (Innovation intergroup) as well as representatives of the industry and of the startup movement "Make in Italy". Regular updates will be published on the Twitter account of the Commissioner. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


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