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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 26 / 01 / 2017

Brussels, 26 January 2017

Circular Economy: Commission delivers on its promises, offers guidance on recovery of energy from waste and works with the European Investment Bank to boost investment  

One year after adopting its Circular Economy Package, the Commission today reports on the delivery and progress of key initiatives of its 2015 Action Plan. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: "Building a circular economy for Europe is a key priority for this Commission. We have made good progress and are planning new initiatives in 2017. We are closing the loop of design, production, consumption, and waste management, thereby creating a green, circular and competitive Europe." Together with the report, the Commission will also present today the creation of a Circular Economy Finance Support Platform with the European Investment Bank (EIB) bringing together investors and innovators. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: "Building on the achievements of the Juncker Investment Plan, I am pleased that we can again work with the EIB to match investors with innovators. Our goal is to upscale investment, both public and private, in the circular economy. It very often means new business model and they may require new, innovative ways of financing. This new Platform is an excellent tool to raise awareness of the circular economy projects' immense business potential and, consequently, draw in more funding for their financing. The Circular Economy is an important element to modernise the European economy and we are on track to deliver this sustainable change." Finally, the Commission will issue guidance to Member States on converting waste to energy and also propose a targeted improvement of legislation on certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. A press release and a Q&A will be made available with the start of the press conference at 13.00 with First Vice-President Timmermans and Vice-President Katainen presenting today's package. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321; Tim McPhie - Tel.: +32 229 58602)


Erasmus fête ses 30 ans et de nouveaux chiffres indiquent un niveau record de participants au programme Erasmus+

La Commission européenne a publié aujourd'hui son rapport annuel sur Erasmus+, qui dévoile de nouveaux chiffres montrant que le programme d'éducation et de formation de l'UE (nomméErasmus+ depuis 2014) est plus populaire et ouvert que jamais. En 2015, le programme Erasmus+ a permis à 678 000 Européens d'étudier, de se former, de travailler et de faire du bénévolat à l'étranger – un nombre jamais atteint auparavant. Au cours de la même année, l'UE a investi 2,1 milliards d'euros dans plus de 19 600 projets faisant intervenir 69 000 organisations. La publication de ce rapport coïncide avec le lancement de la campagne marquant le 30e anniversaire du programme, qui sera célébré aux niveaux européen, national et local. Jyrki Katainen, Vice-président chargé de l'emploi, de la croissance, de l'investissement et de la compétitivité et ancien étudiant Erasmus à l'université de Leicester (Royaume-Uni), a déclaré à ce propos: «L'éducation est essentielle pour doter les citoyens des connaissances, des compétences, des aptitudes et des capacités leur permettant d'exploiter au mieux leur potentiel et les possibilités qui s'offrent à eux. La mobilité élargit notre horizon et nous rend plus forts. Erasmus propose les deux. En tant qu'ancien étudiant Erasmus, j'en ai fait personnellement l'expérience. J'encourage les autres étudiants et surtout les enseignants, les formateurs, les animateurs de jeunesse et les étudiants de l'enseignement et la formation professionnels à profiter également des possibilités qu'Erasmus+ a à leur offrir». Tibor Navracsics, commissaire chargé de l'éducation, de la culture, de la jeunesse et du sport, a quant à lui déclaré: «Cela fait désormais 30 ans qu'Erasmus ouvre de nouvelles perspectives aux jeunes, en leur permettant de développer des compétences essentielles, notamment sur les plans social et interculturel, et en encourageant la citoyenneté active. En établissant des liens entre les personnes et en les aidant à travailler ensemble, ce programme joue un rôle clé pour ce qui est de donner aux jeunes les moyens de bâtir une société meilleure. Aujourd'hui plus que jamais, l'Europe a besoin de cette solidarité. Je souhaite faire en sorte que le programme Erasmus+ puisse, à l'avenir, aider davantage de personnes encore, provenant d'horizons plus divers.» De plus amples informations sont disponibles dans le communiqué de presse, ainsi que dans un Q&A sur les 30 ans d'Erasmus. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Preparation of the ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings, 26-27 January 2017

Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the Commission at today's Eurogroup and tomorrow's ECOFIN meeting. Eurogroup ministers will today take stock of the progress regarding the second review of the stability support programme to Greece and discuss the draft 2017 recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area, ahead of their approval at the ECOFIN. Ministers will also discuss the Draft Budgetary Plans of Spain and Lithuania and will be debriefed on the Post Programme Surveillance missions to Ireland and Portugal. The IMF will present the Eurogroup with its main findings from its euro area Article IV interim mission. The meeting will be followed by a press conference with Commissioner Moscovici. At tomorrow's ECOFIN, the Commission will present its proposal on the VAT 'reverse charge' mechanism. If adopted, this proposal would allow Member States to temporarily derogate from the VAT system currently in force across the EU, under strict conditions. The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the Annual Growth Survey for 2017 and on the alert mechanism report. The Commission will update the Council on the state of play of current legislative proposals in the field of financial services, as well as on negotiations on post-crisis banking reform undertaken by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Ministers will exchange views on the work programme of the Maltese Presidency in the field of economic and financial affairs. Lastly, Mario Monti will present the final report of the High-Level Group on Own Resources, which he chairs. Commissioner Oettinger will attend the meeting for this point. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel: +32 229 56151; Letizia Lupini Tel: +32 229 51958, Patrick Mc Cullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)


Car emissions: Commission presents guidance for Member States to enforce ban on defeat devices

Today, the European Commission is publishing guidance to help Member States evaluate if car manufacturers use defeat devices or other strategies that lead to higher vehicle emissions outside of the test cycle and analyse whether they are technically justified. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "National investigations into the emissions scandal are revealing that a large number of car manufacturers use strategies that increase emissions outside of the test cycle. This is illegal unless technically justified in exceptional cases, and the burden of proof lies with the carmaker. Cheating cannot be tolerated. Today we are offering guidance to Member States on how to enforce the law better." Defeat devices are clearly banned by EU law but there is an exemption for when the need for the device is justified to protect the engine against damage or accident and to ensure the safe operation of the vehicle. The guidance will enable the Member States to take a position on the legality of the emission strategies revealed by car manufacturers during their national investigations, initiated at the Commission's request in the wake of the Volkswagen revelations. The Commission has taken important steps to improve the measurement of vehicle emissions with tests in real driving conditions, which will also reduce the possibility of cheating. And a year ago it tabled a proposal to introduce more quality and independence in vehicle testing and more European oversight – this proposal is now pending adoption by the European Parliament and Council. Read more about the Guidance here and check our FAQs on emission regulation and vehicle type-approval. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)


Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Alere by Abbott Laboratories, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Alere by Abbott, both suppliers of clinical test systems. The companies' activities are largely complementary. However, overlaps exist in particular for point of care analysers used in the testing of blood gases and cardiac markers. Moreover, the Commission found that the proposed merger would risk affecting the ability of Danaher, another supplier of IVD systems, to compete for laboratory systems running B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) tests. The Commission's decision is conditional on the divestment of Alere's Epoc and Triage tests, as well as Alere's BNP reagents business. The Commission concluded that the proposed merger, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “Doctors and patients worldwide rely on fast and accurate tests to detect and monitor medical conditions. Today's decision ensures that they will continue to benefit from choice and competitive prices in the fast developing market for small and portable test analysers." The full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Unilabs by Apax Partners

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Unilabs Holding AB of Sweden by Apax Partners LLP of the United Kingdom. Unilabs is a provider of diagnostic services, active in bio-medical testing, medical imaging, reproductive medicine and drug development in several countries in Europe. Apax is a private equity fund that invests in a range of areas such as telecommunications, healthcare and consumer goods. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of its limited impact on the market structure. 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.8338. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)  


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of certain logistic assets in Germany by NN Group, Poste Vita and CBRE

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over a portfolio of ten logistics assets located in Germany by the NN Group N.V. via its wholly owned subsidiary REI Germany Cross Docks B.V. of the Netherlands on the one hand, and by the CBRE Group Inc. of the US and Poste Vita of Italy on the other hand. The target portfolio comprises the following 10 real estate logistics assets currently leased to Deutsche Post DHL Group under long-term agreements: DHL Aachen-Würselen, DHL Hamm, DHL Essen, DHL Moers, DHL Böblingen/Holzgerlingen, DHL Kassel, DHL Brühl /Köln, DHL Freiburg, DHL Dortmund, DHL Lörrach. The NN Group is a global financial institution offering investment and insurance services. CBRE is a publicly-listed corporation on the New York Stock Exchange with real estate activities worldwide. Poste Vita is an Italian insurance company belonging to Poste Italiane which offers postal, logistics, savings, investments, payment, insurance and digital communication services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of its very limited impact on the market structure. 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.8279. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Staples' European business by The Cerberus Group

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Staples Solutions B.V. of The Netherlands by The Cerberus Group of the US. Staples Solutions sells office supplies, furniture, copy and print services and a wide range of other products to businesses and consumers in Europe. The Cerberus Group invests in real and personal property of all kinds. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because Staples Solutions and The Cerberus Group do not compete against each other in the same product and geographic market. The companies are also not active on related markets. 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.8328. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)  




Message by President Jean-Claude Juncker to the Jewish community ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Ahead of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and 75 years after the Wannsee conference, President Jean-Claude Juncker conveyed the following message to the Jewish community: "As the years pass and as we become further removed from those events, the stronger is our duty to stand back and take the time to remember and reflect. Our duty becomes even more compelling as every year the survivors and direct witnesses of the Holocaust become fewer and fewer, leaving the younger generations with the responsibility to carry a message that cannot lose its strength. We will not cease to say "We remember"! (…) The European Union is a project rooted in the history of the European continent and fully shares this duty of remembrance. In these challenging times, memory is not only a reminder of the past, it is a compass for the future to not repeat the same mistakes and to not fall into the same traps like we have done so by allowing discrimination and hatred to spread." High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini underlined in her statement published ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day that: "We have a responsibility to remember: a responsibility towards the victims, towards the survivors. A responsibility towards the future generations. And a responsibility towards Europe, and all European citizens."On this occasion, First- Vice President Frans Timmermans will take part this evening in a discussion with Professor Deborah Lipstadt after attending the screening of the film "Denial", organised by the Commission in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Commission will organise, for the fourth time, a training for EU officials from all EU institutions on this topic and on fundamental rights, where Commissioner Vera Jourová will address the participants and engage in a debate with them. On 30 January, Commissioners Avramopoulos and Jourová will open an exhibition by Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris) on Auschwitz-Birkenau in the Commission's Berlaymont headquarters, followed by a debate with Holocaust survivors. This week, Commissioners participated to several events to mark this occasion: on 22 January, First Vice-President Timmermans also reflected on this topic in a speech in Maastricht (Dutch/English); on 23 January, Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp (see here) and on 24 January, Commissioner Jourová delivered a keynote speech at the Holocaust Remembrance day ceremony. In addition between 2007 and 2019, EU research programmes have supported research on Holocaust, including nearly €16 million of funding for the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) project. Read the President's full statement here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)




International Customs Day 2017

Customs officials and customs agencies in the European Union and all over the world play an integral role in maintaining border security and in keeping us safe. International Customs Day, which falls today, aims to raise awareness and appreciation for those who perform this important work. Marking the occasion, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Pierre Moscovici said: "Thousands of customs officials in the European Union work hard every day to make citizens lives' safer. They also enable Europeans to reap the benefits of the internal market. I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to them for their commitment and dedication." The World Customs Organization has dedicated 2017 to Digital Customs under the slogan "Data Analysis for Effective Border Management". To help facilitate the staggering volume of goods moving across the EU's external borders each day, the European Commission helps to put in place customs procedures that enable cost-efficient and timely handling of all imports and exports. Customs must also ensure that citizens across Europe are protected from dangerous goods imported by criminals or terrorists. The EU's Customs Union, which will celebrate its 50 years anniversary in 2018, is unique in the world. It is a foundation of the European Union and essential for the proper functioning of the Single Market. Once cleared by customs in one Member State, goods can move freely within the Union on the basis that all Member States apply the same revenue and protection rules at external borders. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)


Vice-President Ansip in Cyprus to discuss the Digital Single Market [*updated 26/01/17 at 14:43]

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Single Market, is in Cyprus today and tomorrow to meet with national authorities and stakeholders. This afternoon, he will meet with representatives of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Employers' and Industrialists' Federation, the Turkish Cypriot Chambers of Industry and Commerce, startups and research organisations. In the evening, the Vice-President will give a keynote speech entitled “The European Digital Single Market and its importance for growth and competitiveness” at a public event organised by the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus. During the second day of his visit, Vice-President Ansip will be at the House of Representatives and meet the Chairman and Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Transport, Communication and Works, Energy, Trade, Industry, Tourism as well as Foreign and European Affairs. Vice-President Ansip will also meet with Yorgos Lakkotrypis, the Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism and Marios Demetriades, Minister of Transport, Communication and Works. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Les Commissaires Andriukaitis et Crețu en visite en Lituanie

Aujourd'hui et demain, la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu est en Lituanie. Elle y rencontre le Premier Ministre Skvernelis et les membres de la Commission des affaires européennes du Seimas, le Parlement lituanien. A Vilnius, la Commissaire visitera des projets cofinancés par la politique de cohésion dans le domaine de la santé et de la recherche scientifique, à l'hôpital universitaire Santariskes et à l'Université. Enfin, la Commissaire Crețu et le Commissaire à la Santé et à la Sécurité alimentaire Vytenis Andriukaitis ouvriront ensemble une conférence sur les investissements de la politique de cohésion pour des services de soins et de santé accessibles et de qualité. "C'est ma première visite en Lituanie en tant que Commissaire; je suis ravie de venir rencontrer les acteurs nationaux pour discuter de la façon dont les investissements de l'UE seront mis à profit d'ici 2020, afin de renforcer la compétitivité des entreprises et d'améliorer la qualité de vie des lituaniens," a déclaré la Commissaire avant sa visite, "Mais je viens aussi pour discuter du futur de la politique de cohésion, après 2020, et pour ramener de bonnes idées à Bruxelles." Plus d'informations sur les Fonds Structurels et d'Investissement Européens en Lituanie sont disponible ici et sur la plateforme Open Data. (Pour plus d'informations: Jakub Adamowicz - Tél.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)


Commissioner King in the UK to discuss cybersecurity

Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King will be in the United Kingdom today and tomorrow to discuss issues relating to cybersecurity with key academic and business actors. Commissioner King will visit Oxford where he will deliver a speech, 'A Comprehensive Approach to Evolving Cyber Threats' at the ‘European Cybersecurity: Future Trends and Policy Challenges' workshop organised by the University of Oxford, Cyber Studies Programme. He will also meet with leading cyber security specialists, including Ms Sadie Creese, Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Oxford and Director of the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre. Commissioner King will also discuss different approaches to cyber-resilience with executives from Vodafone. The latest speech by Commissioner King on a global and collective response to cybersecurity threats is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


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


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