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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 03 / 07 / 2017

Brussels, 3 July 2017

President Juncker pays tribute to Germany's former Chancellor Kohl at European Ceremony of Honour in Strasbourg

On Saturday 1 July, the first European Ceremony of Honour took place in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where leaders from all over the world gathered to pay tribute to former federal Chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl. At the start of the ceremony, President Juncker, European Council President Tusk, and European Parliament President Tajani delivered speeches, and farewell messages were given by former President of the United States Bill Clinton, former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González and Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered the closing speeches. "In Helmut Kohl, a giant of the post-war era leaves us" President Juncker said, describing Helmut Kohl as both a German and a European patriot. "Helmut Kohl was not only the architect of German unity. He contributed fundamentally — more than others — to reconciling European history and European geography" President Juncker said. From the European Parliament, the coffin was taken to Germany, where the former Chancellor was buried after a requiem mass in the cathedral of Speyer. President Juncker's full speech is available in English, French and German, as well as his statement. A video of the ceremony in Strasbourg is available on EbS, where the video "Helmut Kohl, a great European" also shown at the ceremony, is also available. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

 

Le rôle de la recherche et de l'innovation pour l'avenir de l'Europe: le groupe de haut niveau présidé par Pascal Lamy présente ses recommandations

Le Commissaire en charge de la recherche, de la science et de l'innovation Carlos Moedas reçoit aujourd'hui le rapport d'un groupe indépendant d'experts de haut niveau, conduit par Pascal Lamy, président émérite de l'Institut Jacques Delors, sur une nouvelle vision pour la recherche et l'innovation européenne. Le rapport défend la mise en place de onze propositions fortes pour que l'Europe capitalise sur l'énorme potentiel offert par sa recherche afin de transformer ses capacités d'innovation en croissance. "Je suis extrêmement reconnaissant du travail fourni par le groupe indépendant présidé par Pascal Lamy. Les recommandations avancées sont une base très solide pour notre réflexion sur les orientations du programme qui succèdera à Horizon 2020", a déclaré le commissaire Moedas en vue de la remise de ce rapport. La Commission répondra à ces recommandations dans une Communication à paraître cette année. Le groupe de douze personnalités qui présente ce rapport a été mis en place en septembre 2016 par la Commission européenne (plus d'information disponible ici). Ses orientations sont actuellement débattues par plus de 700 scientifiques, innovateurs, représentants du monde des affaires et décideurs politiques à la conférence Research & Innovation – Shaping our Future organisée par la Commission. Le Commissaire Moedas clôturera ce soir la conférence par un discours, il pourra être suivi à partir de 17h20 ici. La conférence de presse organisée aujourd'hui avec le commissaire Moedas et Pascal Lamy est diffusée en direct sur EbS. Plus d'informations sur le rapport ici et ici.(Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tél.: +32 229 80379)

 

Social security goes digital: Quicker and easier exchange of social security information throughout the EU and beyond

Today the Commission launches the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information system (EESSI), a new IT platform that will connect electronically around 15 000 social security institutions of EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The tool marks an important step forward in modernising social security coordination, as it will replace the current paper-based exchanges between social security institutions, to allow for a quicker, easier and secure exchange of social security information throughout the EU and beyond. This will make it easier to combat fraud and error, as national social security institutions will use standardised electronic documents in their own language, ensuring that the data they exchange is correct and complete. The new tool will also benefit citizens who have lived and worked in several of the participating countries, and who will see their social security benefits calculated quicker and more efficiently. Countries will have two years to connect their national systems to the central IT platform. By July 2019 full electronic exchange of social security data in a simple, speedy and secure way will be a reality across Europe. The Commission will continue supporting Member States with the deployment and maintenance of the system over the next years. More information on the new electronic exchange system can be found here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

EU and New Zealand agree a more secure and trade-friendly customs environment 

The EU and New Zealand have signed today an Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, an important step in strengthening EU-New Zealand relations. The agreement will benefit legitimate trade between the two parties by creating a more secure and trade-friendly environment as their customs authorities will exchange more information to ensure the proper application of customs legislation under the Agreement. Today's agreement will further help to prevent, investigate and combat breaches of customs legislation. New Zealand is a close partner of the EU, with total trade in goods amounting to EUR 8.1bn in 2016 and total trade in commercial services amounting to further EUR 4.3bn in 2015.  (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

 

Security Union: The EU takes next step to strengthen EU external borders management

The Entry/Exit System (EES), a priority file identified in the Joint Declaration on legislative priorities for 2017, received the political backing of the European Parliament and the Council last week. Proposed by the Commission in April 2016, the system will register entry and exit data of non-EU nationals crossing the EU's external borders. This will allow for a better oversight of authorised short stays, detection of over-stayers and overall modernisation of EU external border management. As reiterated in the European Council Conclusions of 22-23 June 2017, the Entry-Exist System, together with the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), will contribute to enhancing external border control and internal security. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "We welcome the political support of the European Parliament and the Council. Now we need to push forward with modernising our EU border management and strengthen security for our citizens."Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "After the introduction of systematic checks on all travellers crossing EU external borders and the successful launch of the European Border and Coast Guard, this is another building block to make our external borders smarter and more secure while guaranteeing mobility." Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: "The Entry/Exit system will enhance our internal security by making the external borders stronger, thereby bringing us one step closer to achieving full interoperability of EU information systems by 2020." The discussions on the proposal will now continue between the European Parliament and the Council at technical level. The final text will then have to be formally adopted by both co-legislators. More information on the Commission's efforts towards creating a Security Union: 'A Europe that Protects' and existing EU information systems is available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 299 63444)

 

Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition d'ESSCI par EDF Energy Services

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition d'ESSCI Limited (Royaume-Uni) par EDF Energy Services Limited (France). ESSCI fournit des services techniques dans l'ingénierie mécanique et électrique, la gestion des installations techniques et l'intégration de systèmes industriels au Royaume-Uni et en Irlande. EDF Energy Services est la filiale du Groupe EDF qui est active dans la fourniture de services énergétiques au Royaume-Uni. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulevait pas de problème de concurrence car les activités des sociétés ne se chevauchent que marginalement au Royaume-Uni, et que leurs relations verticales sont limitées. L'opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée de contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.8504. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition d'une entreprise commune par BNP Paribas, CACEIS, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, S2IEM, Société Générale, Euroclear et Euronext

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition d'une entreprise commune nouvellement créée en France par BNP Paribas Securities Services, CACEIS Investor Services, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, S2IEM - Société d'Investissements en Infrastructures Européennes de Marchés, Société Générale SA (les quatre basées en France), Euroclear SA/NV (Royaume-Uni) et Euronext NV (Pays-Bas). L'entreprise commune offrira des services post-négociation, en particulier des services d'enregistrement et de règlement basés sur la technologie des registres distribués («distributed ledger technology»), pour des actions cotées et non cotées de petites et moyennes entreprises. Les sociétés mères sont des institutions financières et des investisseurs institutionnels qui fournissent une large gamme de services financiers. La Commission a conclu que l'opération ne soulevait aucun problème de concurrence car l'entreprise commune, qui générera des revenus limités, sera active sur un marché émergent, sur lequel plusieurs concurrents sont déjà présents. La transaction a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.8429. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission clears creation of joint venture by Hitachi Automotive Systems and Honda Motor Company

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture company by Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd (HIAMS) and Honda Motor Company Co., Ltd, both of Japan. HIAMS supplies automotive products and technologies. Honda manufactures automobiles, motorcycles and power products. The joint venture will be active in the production and supply of electric motors in Japan, China and the US. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the joint venture has no, or negligible, actual or foreseen activities within the EEA. 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.8485.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the creation of joint venture between Wärtsilä and CSSC

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control of a newly created joint venture by Wärtsilä of Finland and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (‘CSSC') of China. The joint venture will supply electrical and automation systems for seaborne vessels in China. Wärtsilä supplies complete life cycle power solutions for the marine and other markets. CSSC is active in various industries, including shipbuilding. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the joint venture will have no or only limited activities in the EEA. 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.8439. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Nord Anglia Education by CPPIB and BPEA

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Nord Anglia Education Inc. of Hong-Kong by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) of Canada and the current parent Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) of Singapore. Nord Anglia is a premium school operator running 45 international schools, boarding schools and private schools. CPPIB is a professional investment management organisation that invests the assets of the Canada Pension Plan. BPEA is an independent alternative asset management organisation running a pan-Asian investment programme in real estate, private equities and growth capital. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies' activities do not overlap. 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.8515.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Holiday Inn Hotel in Munich by NN Group and ATP

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of indirect joint control by NN Group of the Netherlands and Arbejdsmarkedets Tillægspension (ATP) of Denmark over a Holiday Inn hotel and its related facilities and amenities located in Munich, Germany. NN is a global financial institution offering investment and insurance services. ATP is a Danish public pension fund which administers a number of welfare and social security schemes that help to provide basic security for Danish citizens. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise 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.8505. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Greek bank guarantee scheme

The European Commission has authorised the prolongation of the Greek guarantee scheme for credit institutions until 30 November 2017 under EU state aid rules. The liquidity situation of the Greek banks is gradually improving, but challenges still remain. In this context, the Commission has found that the prolongation of the guarantee scheme is in line with EU state aid rules, i.e. the 2013 Banking Communication, in particular because the prolonged measure is targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission is authorising guarantee schemes on banks' liabilities for successive periods of five or six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly. The scheme is available for banks with no capital shortfall. The Greek guarantee scheme was initially approved in November 2008. The authorisation of the scheme was prolonged several times, last time in December 2016 until end June 2017. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.48400. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Eurostat: Le taux de chômage à 9,3% dans la zone euro - À 7,8% dans l'UE28

Dans la zone euro (ZE19), le taux de chômage corrigé des variations saisonnières s'est établi à 9,3% en mai 2017, stable par rapport à avril 2017 et en baisse par rapport au taux de 10,2% enregistré en mai 2016. Il s'agit toujours du taux le plus faible enregistré dans la zone euro depuis mars 2009. Dans l'UE28, le taux de chômage s'est établi à 7,8% en mai 2017, stable par rapport à avril 2017 et en baisse par rapport au taux de 8,7% de mai 2016. Cela demeure le taux le plus faible enregistré dans l'UE28 depuis décembre 2008. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. Eurostat estime qu'en mai 2017, 19,115 millions d'hommes et de femmes étaient au chômage dans l'UE28, dont 15,034 millions dans la zone euro. Par rapport à avril 2017, le nombre de chômeurs a diminué de 22 000 dans l'UE28 et de 5 000 dans la zone euro. Comparé à mai 2016, le chômage a baissé de 2,122 millions de personnes dans l'UE28 et de 1,428 million dans la zone euro. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

STATEMENTS

 

Migration to Italy: Joint declaration by Commissioner Avramopoulos and the Ministers of Interior of France, Germany and Italy

The Ministers of Interior of France, Germany and Italy and the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs met in Paris on 2 July 2017 to discuss the challenges posed by the increasing migratory flow on the Central Mediterranean route. They expressed strong solidarity with Italy, which faces rising numbers of arrivals. In order to provide increased support to Italy and contribute to stem the migratory flow, they agreed to work on a series of measures, including a code of conduct for NGO's, to be drafted and presented by Italy; enhanced support to the Libyan coast-guard; providing additional support to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) working within Libya; encouraging the examination of possible concrete options to reinforce border controls at the Southern border of Libya; reinforcing the EU strategy on returns; and making full use of and accelerating the agreed EU relocation scheme. As an immediate follow up, the College of Commissioners will tomorrow discuss and present a set of measures to ensure stepped up implementation of EU migration policy with Italy and for reducing flows along the Central Mediterranean Route. The Commission is working in concert with the Estonian presidency of the Council and the measures to be presented tomorrow should then form the basis of discussions on immediate support for Italy that will take place at the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Tallinn on Thursday. The joint declaration is available in French and English here. (Pour plus d'information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

EU-Iran Higher Education and Research Event to prepare closer cooperation

The European Commission and the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology are co-hosting a two-day science and research event in Tehran to pave the way for expanding Iran-European Union (EU) cooperation between higher education institutions, research institutes and other organisations through the EU's higher education and research and innovation programmes, Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. This initiative follows the joint statement agreed between EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohamad Javad Zarif, on 16 April 2016 on EU-Iran bilateral cooperation. The event will cover various topics in the research and innovation and higher education areas. The first day will focus on higher education in science, technology and research and opportunities available under the Horizon 2020 programme. This includes thematic workshops on different topics, as well as mobility grants for researchers such as the European Research Council grants and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The second day will be dedicated to exchanging ideas and best practices, as well as exploring opportunities for Iran-EU cooperation between higher education institutions, including under Erasmus+. This will include Capacity Building in Higher Education; International Credit Mobility; Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees, and Jean Monnet Actions. To promote cooperation between the EU and Iranian institutions, sessions have also been arranged on both days to allow university officials and academics the opportunity to network. Further details can be found here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Catherine Ray - Tel.: +32 229 69921; Inga Höglund - Tel.: +32 229 50698, Lauranne Deville - Tel.: +32 229 80833)

 

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

MEX/17/1878


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