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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 13 / 12 / 2017

Brussels, 13 December 2017

Eurostat: Third quarter of 2017 compared with the second quarter of 2017 - Employment up by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28, +1.7% and +1.8% respectively compared with the third quarter of 2016

The number of persons employed increased by 0.4% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.3% in the EU28 in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the previous quarter, according to national accounts estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "Employment has never been as high as now in both the EU and the euro area. Job creation has been the top priority of this Commission and our efforts are paying off: Since the Juncker Commission took office in 2014, 9 million jobs have been created. We need to make sure that these jobs too remain quality jobs, and that workers in new forms of employment are well protected. This is why next week, we will present a proposal aimed at increasing the fairness and predictability of working conditions."In the second quarter of 2017, employment increased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28. These figures are seasonally adjusted. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment increased by 1.7% in the euro area and by 1.8% in the EU28 in the third quarter of 2017 (after +1.6% and +1.7% respectively in the second quarter of 2017). Eurostat estimates that, in the third quarter of 2017, 236.3 million men and women were employed in the EU28, of which 156.3 million were in the euro area. These are the highest levels ever recorded in both areas. These figures are seasonally adjusted. A Eurostat press release is available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)

 

Space policy: Galileo constellation continues to grow

One year after Europe's satellite navigation system Galileo started offering initial services to public authorities, businesses and citizens, four additional satellites were successfully launched into orbit yesterday, bringing the constellation to 22 satellites. The successful operation took place with a European launcher Ariane 5 from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “Galileo is improving the life of EU citizens by allowing smartphones to navigate more efficiently and accurately, and by helping emergency services reach accident sites much faster than before. With this successful launch, the Galileo constellation is reinforced and on the right track to full operational capability by 2020.” Galileo is a key component of the Commission's Space Strategy, which focuses on fostering new services, creating business opportunities, promoting Europe's leadership in space and maintaining Europe's strategic autonomy. The high-precision global satellite navigation system already supports emergency operations, provides more accurate navigation services, offers better time synchronisation for critical infrastructures and ensures secure services for public authorities. A growing number of companies and innovative start-ups are using Galileo data and enabling their devices, including thenew versions of iPhones (find out if your device is Galileo-enabled). Once the constellation is completed, it will improve in-car navigation and mobile phone signals, help road and rail transport become safer and act as a catalyst for R&D and high-tech job creation around Europe. More information on the launch (including a video) as well as a factsheet on EU space policy are available online. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040; Maud Noyon – Tel. +32 229-80379)

 

Déjà 278 milliards d'euros investis dans l'économie réelle en Europe au titre des Fonds structurels et d'investissement européens

Un nouveau rapport souligne aujourd'hui ce que les cinq fonds européens ont réalisé depuis le début de la période de financement, alors que la mise en œuvre des programmes 2014-2020 a maintenant atteint sa pleine vitesse. En octobre 2017, près de la moitié du budget 2014-2020 de fonds était engagée dans des projets concrets. À la fin de l'année 2016, près de 793 500 entreprises ont reçu un soutien des fonds, créant ainsi environ 154 000 nouveaux emplois. 7,8 millions de personnes ont déjà bénéficié d'une aide pour trouver un emploi ou développer des compétences, tandis que la biodiversité de 23,5 millions d'hectares de terres agricoles a été améliorée. Globalement, 2 millions de projets financés par l'UE avaient été sélectionnés à la fin de 2016, soit un million de plus que l'année précédente. En plus des projets financés par l'UE qui voient désormais le jour, le rapport montre que les nouveautés introduites pour la période de financement 2014-2020 ont porté leurs fruits. Elles ont notamment contribué à instaurer un meilleur environnement pour les investissements, des procédures plus simples pour les bénéficiaires des fonds et ont généré un usage accru des instruments financiers, dans la ligne des objectifs du Plan Juncker. Un communiqué de presse dans toutes les langues et une fiche d'information en anglais, français et allemand sont disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Eurostat: Octobre 2017 comparé à septembre 2017 - La production industrielle en hausse 0,2% dans la zone euro, en hausse de 0,3% dans l'UE28

En octobre 2017 par rapport à septembre 2017, la production industrielle corrigée des variations saisonnières a augmenté de 0,2% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,3% dans l'UE28, selon les estimations d'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. En septembre 2017, la production industrielle avait reculé de 0,5% dans les deux zones. En octobre 2017 par rapport à octobre 2016, la production industrielle a augmenté de 3,7% dans la zone euro et de 4,2% dans l'UE28. Un communiqué de presse Eurostat est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040; Maud Noyon – Tel. +32 229-80379)

 

EU supports Niger with development assistance of €1 billion by 2020

Overall EU development assistance to Niger will amount to €1 billion for the period 2017-2020. This was announced by Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica at the Donors' Round Table for Niger in Paris. At this occasion, Commissioner Mimica stressed: "The European Union continues to stand by Niger and to help to tackle key development and security challenges. Our contribution of €1 billion for the period of 2017-2020 will help ensure the delivery of basic social services, as well as continue addressing the pressing security challenges." This EU assistance was jointly defined with the Nigerien Government and will help to implement Niger's 2017-2021 Economic and Social Development Plan. In particular, the European Union will support good governance efforts, the reform of the country's security and justice system, as well as the fight against irregular migration and trafficking. It will also contribute to strengthening state capacities in social policies and the delivery of basic social services. A particular focus will be put on gender equality, girl's empowerment and education and demographic control. EU support will further contribute to boost job creation and economic growth as well as strengthen food security and resilience and fight against climate change, in particular by increasing access to sustainable energy. As part of the €1 billion envelope, Commissioner Mimica and the Nigerien Minister of finance, M. Massoudou Hassoumi will sign a first financing agreement of €40 million to increase the EU's support in the sector of nutrition, food security and resilience. They will also sign an agreement amounting to €64 million to build hybrid power plants in Agadez and in Gorou Banda. The action is co-financing from the French Development Agency (Agence française de développement), with EU grants worth €21 million. A press release and a MEMO are available online. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Soutien en faveur de la sécurité, de la stabilisation et du développement au Sahel: le Commissaire Mimica participe à la réunion de haut niveau sur le Sahel à Paris

Aujourd'hui, le commissaire pour la coopération internationale et le développement, Neven Mimica, participe à une réunion de haut niveau en présence des chefs d'Etat des cinq pays sahéliens et des représentants de différents pays et de la communauté internationale. A cette occasion, le Commissaire Mimica a affirmé: "Développement et sécurité sont intrinsèquement liés. Ceci est particulièrement vrai pour le Sahel. Dans ces zones particulièrement instables, le  déploiement de la force conjointe doit ainsi s'accompagner d'un retour de l'Etat et des services sociaux de base, au bénéfice de la population. L'Union européenne a déjà contribué à hauteur de €50 millions au fonctionnement de la force conjointe et nous continuerons également à appuyer la région au travers de nos actions de développement, en particulier dans ces zones fragiles". Organisée à l'initiative de la France, l'objectif de cette réunion est d'accélérer le déploiement et l'opérationnalisation de la force conjointe du G5 Sahel. La région du Sahel est caractérisée par une forte instabilité et une multiplication des zones de tensions où insécurité et défis de développement s'alimentent mutuellement. C'est la raison pour laquelle, en février 2017, les 5 pays Sahéliens (Mali, Niger, Mauritanie, Burkina Faso et Tchad) ont décidé de créer cette force militaire conjointe, qui a pour mandat la lutte contre le terrorisme, le crime organisé transfrontalier et le trafic d'êtres humains dans trois régions transfrontalières: entre la Mauritanie et le Mali, entre le Burkina Faso, le Mali et le Niger et entre le Tchad et le Niger. Les premiers résultats sont déjà visibles sur le terrain, en particulier dans le fuseau central, avec par exemple la première opération conjointe menée fin octobre. (Pour plus d'informations: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Fonds Fiduciaire pour l'Afrique: nouveaux programmes pour soutenir le Sahel et le bassin du lac Tchad

La Commission européenne adoptera aujourd'hui des nouvelles actions dans la région du Sahel et du bassin du lac Tchad. Ces actions sont adoptées au titre du Fonds Fiduciaire d'Urgence pour l'Afrique et complètent les 68 mesures approuvées depuis décembre 2015. Toutes visent à répondre à l'urgence et à la multiplicité des crises à l'œuvre en Afrique en offrant une réponse flexible, rapide et intégrée. Le Commissaire en charge de la coopération internationale et du développement, M. Neven Mimica, a déclaré: "Avec l'adoption de ces nouveaux programmes, nous renforçons encore notre soutien à la région du Sahel et du bassin du Lac Tchad, en plus de tout ce que nous faisons par ailleurs pour ces régions via nos instrument traditionnels. Les mesures approuvées aujourd'hui sont la preuve de l'approche intégrée que nous adoptons pour faire face aux situations d'instabilité et de fragilité. En effet, les programmes vont d'un soutien à Erasmus+ à la lutte contre la radicalisation des jeunes ou à la réintégration des ex-combattants de Boko Haram." Les nouvelles mesures s'attachent à promouvoir les conditions d'une migration sûre et ordonnée, à lutter contre les déplacements forcés et la traite d'êtres humains, à relever les défis de la stabilité, ainsi qu'à créer des conditions économiques propices au développement local. Un communiqué de presse et un MEMO seront disponibles vers 18h00. (Pour plus d'information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Une premier aide financière pour Saint-Martin et la Guadeloupe au titre du Fonds de Solidarité

Aux premières heures d'Irma et de Maria, les ouragans dévastateurs qui ont frappé les Caraïbes en septembre dernier, l'Union européenne a exprimé sa solidarité en mobilisant ses instruments de réponse d'urgence et en offrant d'aider à reconstruire, dans le long terme, avec le soutien des fonds européens. Aujourd'hui la Commission a décidé d'allouer une avance de près de 5 millions d'euros aux régions ultrapériphériques de Saint-Martin et de la Guadeloupe au titre du Fonds de Solidarité de l'UE, afin de contribuera à rétablir infrastructures et services publics et à couvrir les coûts des dépenses d'urgence et de nettoyage. Le calcul de cette avance se base sur l'analyse préliminaire de la demande des autorités françaises reçue le 27 novembre. Une fois l'analyse terminée, la Commission proposera un montant final d'aide qui devra être adopté par le Parlement européen et le Conseil. La Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu a déclaré: "Avec cette première aide, l'Europe est aux côtés des habitants de Saint-Martin et de la Guadeloupe pour les aider à reconstruire et à se reconstruire. Nous nous tenons prêts à activer tous les mécanismes de soutien dans le long terme avec les fonds européens, comme le cofinancement exceptionnel de 95% en cas de catastrophe naturelle, et nous étudions actuellement comment aider Saint-Martin et Sint-Maarten à se rétablir ensemble, dans le cadre des programmes européens de coopération territoriale." Retrouvez la déclaration de la Commissaire Creţu au moment de la réception de la demande des autorités françaises d'aide au titre du Fonds de Solidarité ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Les règles de la politique agricole de l'Union européenne encore davantage simplifiées

Plusieurs modifications adoptées par le Parlement européen et le Conseil des ministres européens de l'agriculture viendront dès le 1er janvier 2018 encore simplifier davantage la politique agricole commune (PAC). La Commission européenne avait fait plusieurs propositions pour plus de simplification et plus de soutien aux agriculteurs dans le cadre du règlement appelé Omnibus, un cadre législatif visant à amender les règlements financiers de mise en œuvre du budget de l'UE ainsi que 15 actes législatifs liés à différents secteurs dont l'agriculture. Le Commissaire européen à l'agriculture, Phil Hogan a dit: "Je me réjouis de l'adoption par le Parlement européen et le Conseil des ministres de ce texte, qui ouvre la voie à la mise en œuvre d'une série de mesures de simplification importantes qui faciliteront la vie des agriculteurs et des autres bénéficiaires de la PAC. Ces mesures couvrent l'utilisation d'instruments financiers, améliorent les outils de gestion des risques et introduisent plus de flexibilité pour les Etats membres dans la définition d'un agriculteur actif. (…) L'adoption le mois dernier de la Communication de la Commission sur la PAC est une nouvelle preuve de notre engagement à poursuivre le programme visant à apporter plus de simplification, bien nécessaire,  à nos agriculteurs et à toutes les parties prenantes." Un communiqué de presse présentant les changements apportés est en ligne (bientôt dans les toutes les langues). (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52509)

 

EU, Japan and US to step up cooperation to eliminate market distorting and protectionist practices leading to global overcapacities

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, together with the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Hiroshige Seko, decided to strengthen their commitment to ensure a global level playing field and fight against unfair trading practices by other global players. In a joint statement issued following a meeting held at the margins of the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) held in Buenos Aires (Argentina), the trade leaders "agreed to enhance trilateral cooperation in the WTO and in other forums, as appropriate, to eliminate […] unfair market distorting and protectionist practices by third countries.” They shared the view that "severe excess capacity in key sectors exacerbated by government-financed and supported capacity expansion, unfair competitive conditions caused by large market-distorting subsidies and state owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, and local content requirements and preferences are serious concerns for the proper functioning of international trade, the creation of innovative technologies and the sustainable growth of the global economy." This strengthened commitment adds to the efforts deployed by the EU at global level to tackle overcapacity issues in key sectors, like steel. It follows the recent meeting of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity, held in Berlin at the end of November. The Forum - bringing together 33 economies, including the main steel producers - agreed on an ambitious package of concrete policy solutions to tackle the pressing issue of global overcapacity in the steel sector. The need to address the unfair practices leading to overcapacities – especially those existing in the steel sector – was also raised on several occasions by President Juncker at both bilateral and multilateral level, notably during the last two G20 Summits. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

 

Transparency in decision-making: launch of register of delegated acts

A new online register, launched on Tuesday 12 December, will make it easier to find and track EU decisions taken in the form of delegated acts. To help the public and interested parties to follow this part of the EU decision-making process, a new common online register is being launched by the three Institutions, so that anyone can easily search and find delegated acts linked to a certain topic or piece of legislation. European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "Today we are delivering again on the Commission's Better Regulation Agenda and on our joint commitment with Parliament and Council to better law-making for Europe's citizens. By launching this new online register today, we are making the EU more transparent and opening up the windows on the process for adopting technical rules to implement our policies." A press release is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 

Transparency Register: Second political meeting opens way for negotiations in the New Year

Political representatives from the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission met on Tuesday evening and agreed that negotiations on a mandatory EU Transparency Register can start in the New Year. Following the Council's approval of its negotiating mandate on 6 December, the three institutions reiterated their full commitment to increasing the transparency of the activities of interest representatives at EU level. At this second political meeting, which closed the pre-negotiation phase, they also stressed the importance of conducting the upcoming interinstitutional talks in an open and inclusive manner. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "I am pleased that the European Parliament and the Council have agreed to start formal negotiations in the New Year on our proposal for a mandatory Transparency Register. People have a right to know who is seeking to influence EU decisions. The Commission has been applying the 'not on the Register, no meetings' rule for some time and it works. A commitment is now needed from all three Institutions to make interactions with lobbyists conditional on being in the Register." A press release is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 

Investment Plan supports €10 million loan to Swedish tech company Flexenclosure

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Flexenclosure a Swedish high-tech manufacturer for the ICT industry – have signed a€10 million loan agreement to support the company's research and development activities and growth strategy. The EIB transaction with Flexenclosure was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. Mobile telephony, connected vehicles, electronic commerce, financial transactions, the Internet of Things – they are all generating ever increasing amounts of data which need to be managed closer to the people creating and consuming it. The resulting demand for reliable network access and data management is rapidly increasing across the world and Flexenclosure, a designer and manufacturer of data centres and telecom site power systems, is extremely well-positioned to build upon this new wave of economic growth. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Flexenclosure is a European company which is bringing its innovative, disruptive technology to all the corners of the earth. I am very pleased that the Investment Plan for Europe is supporting tech companies, large and small, in a wide range of sectors." (For more information see the Investment Plan website or contact Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361

 

Commission calls on industry to use the European Online Dispute Resolution platform

The Commission published today its first report on the functioning of the European Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform. This website allows consumers buying online to solve issues with traders in a fast and cheap way by using outside of court dispute resolution systems. Since its launch in February 2016, over 24 000 consumers decided to lodge a complaint and about 40% of complaints were solved outside of the platform through a direct contact between consumers and traders initiated by the platform. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "Consumers from all EU countries have filed complaints using the ODR platform over the last year. We want them to be able to solve their disputes quickly and easily when they buy online. But we need traders to use this tool more, which will allow them offer the best customer service to their clients. By using the platform, traders will show they respect consumer rights." In the EU, online traders have an obligation to put a link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform, as well as an email address on their website that can be used to handle complaints online via the platform. In a study, also published today, the Commission examined 20,000 EU online traders' websites and concluded that only 28% of these websites make the Online Dispute Resolution platform link available, out of which 85% provide an e-mail address as required by law. Too many complaints were automatically closed due to the lack of response from traders. As part of its efforts to improve traders' engagement on the Online Dispute Resolution platform, the Commission is holding today a round-table discussion with online retailers from the clothing and footwear sectors. They will discuss emerging challenges in on-line retail trade and how to provide the best customer service. The report and the study are available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

Health work programme 2018: focus on the EU added value 

Today the Commission adopted the HealthWork Programme for 2018 setting out the priorities and actions to be undertaken during next year. The overall budget for 2018 is over €62 million, with 64% being allocated to grants, 24% to procurement and 12% to other actions including prizes. The Work Programme 2018 will focus on support to the European Reference Networks for rare and complex diseases; the promotion of health and prevention of non-communicable diseases; strengthening preparedness and response to serious cross-border health threats; and the implementation of EU legislation on medical devices. Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said "I welcome the adoption of the 2018 work programme of the Health Programme 2014-2020. Our budget might be relatively modest but I aim to support actions that deliver undisputed EU added value – such as connecting expertise on rare diseases and preparing a robust response in the event of a serious cross-border health threat. This can make a real difference to European citizens' health and wellbeing." With a total budget of close to € 450 million for 2014-2020, the Health Programme is the main financial instrument for policy coordination in the area of health and it supports and complements Member States' efforts towards the achievement of major priorities set by the Commission. A key specific objective is to promote health and prevent diseases – for example through a Joint Action on vaccination which will commence next year. More information, including the full 2018 WP 2018, is available online. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

New Plant Health Regulation: Commission adopts harmonised format for plant passports

Today the European Commission has adopted the harmonised format specifications of plant passports, required under the new Plant health regulation. Ahead of the adoption, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said: "I am very pleased that we have started the process of implementing the new Plant Health regulation. The introduction of a harmonised plant passport is only the first step in modernising the rules to protect EU plants, economy and agriculture.'' Starting from 14 December 2019, plant passports will be required to accompany all consignments of plants traded between professionals within the European Union territory. These labels will guarantee that the plants were grown under official supervision, in the absence of regulated pests and will ensure their traceability. The common format of plant passports will make them easier to recognise throughout the EU, while the changes will increase the transparency of the EU Plant Health Regime and significantly enhance stakeholders' awareness. More information on the new Plant Health Law and the EU Plant Health Regime is available online. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

Endocrine disruptors: Member States endorse Commission's proposal to identify criteria for plant protection products

Today, at the meeting of the Standing Committee for Plant, Animals, Food and Feed, Member States endorsed the criteria for the identification of endocrine disruptors in the context of the plant protection products legislation. The criteria take into account the views of the European Parliament expressed, on 4 October, on an earlier draft Regulation endorsed by Member States in July. The criteria endorsed today therefore do not include a specific provision for the so-called "growth regulators". Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis welcomed the vote: "I now call on Council and the European Parliament to give their green light on this text to ensure a swift implementation of the criteria in the course of 2018. Once implemented, the text will ensure that any active substance used in pesticides which is identified as an endocrine disruptor for people or animals can be assessed and withdrawn from the market."The scientific criteria for biocides already entered into force on 7 December and will become applicable on 7 June 2018. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – have launched last week a public consultation on the draft technical Guidance document to implement the criteria once they become applicable for biocides and pesticides. The public consultation is open until 31 January 2018. For more information here. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

MiFID II: Commission adopts equivalence decisions to facilitate global trading in shares

The European Commission today recognised several trading venues in Australia, Hong Kong and the United States as eligible for compliance with the trading obligation for shares set out in the new Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), which will apply as of 3 January 2018. The EU trading obligation applies to shares listed on both exchanges in the recognised countries and in the EU ("dual listings"), on condition that trading in the EU constitutes a significant percentage of the share's global trading volume. Today's decisions ensure that MiFID II investment firms can continue to access the liquidity in dual listed shares outside the EU. There is currently no evidence that shares only listed on exchanges in Australia, Hong Kong and the United States ("single listings") trade significantly in the EU. Therefore, trading in these shares can continue as previously. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: "It is important that European firms can trade shares on international markets. Access to major international trading venues will boost the EU's competitive position as a financial centre. It is an important step in building a vibrant Capital Markets Union". The European Commission is assessing the EU trading volumes of shares listed in other financial centres around the world.  These assessments should be concluded shortly and decisions will be adopted where necessary. More information is available online (For more information: Lucía Caudet - +32 229 56182; Letizia Lupini - +32 229 51958)

                                                                                                                             

State aid: Commission approves PLN 40 billion (around €9.4 billion) Polish support scheme for renewable energy

The European Commission approved under EU State aid rules a Polish renewable energy scheme and a reduced levy to finance the scheme for energy-intensive users. This will further EU energy and climate goals and ensure the global competitiveness of energy-intensive users whilst preserving competition. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "We want to make progress towards clean energy for the sake of our environment but also for European economic growth. The Polish support scheme will increase the share of green energy in Poland's energy mix and help the country's transition to low carbon, environmentally sustainable energy. It will also preserve the global competitiveness of companies that are heavily dependent on energy. We approved the scheme today." The scheme, with a total budget of PLN 40 billion (around €9.4 billion), will grant State support to producers of renewable electricity by means of competitive auctions. The Commission found that the scheme will encourage the development of different renewable technologies, in line with the requirements of EU State aid rules, and will help Poland achieve its 2020 environmental and climate change objectives. The measure will boost the share of renewable electricity produced in Poland, while any distortion of competition caused by the State support is minimised. Poland has also notified to the Commission plans to lower the financial burden on undertakings in certain energy-intensive sectors, which will benefit from a reduced surcharge to finance the support scheme. The Commission has found that these reductions are in line with EU State aid rules, which allow Member States to provide reductions to undertakings in certain sectors that are particularly energy-intensive and exposed to international competition, in order to ensure their global competitiveness. A full press release is available online in EN, DE, FR, PL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of parts of Air Berlin by easyJet

The European Commission has approved unconditionally under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of certain assets of Air Berlin by easyJet. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not adversely affect competition in the EU Single Market. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Our job is to make sure that airline takeovers do not result in less competition - that would mean higher flight fares and less choice for consumers. EasyJet's plans to buy certain Air Berlin assets will not reduce competition and we have approved it today. Our decision enables easyJet to grow its presence at Berlin airports and start competing on new routes to the benefit of consumers". The Commission's investigation found that i) the increase in the slot portfolio of easyJet at congested airports, and in Berlin in particular, was unlikely to have a negative effect on passengers, and ii) easyJet will continue to face strong competition from large carriers like Lufthansa and Ryanair on routes from and to Berlin. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns in any of the relevant markets. A full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over a joint venture by Porsche Digital and Axel Springer

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over a newly established joint venture company by Porsche Digital GmbH, wholly owned by Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Aktiengesellschaft ("Porsche"), , and Axel Springer Digital Ventures GmbH ("ASDV"), wholly owned by Axel Springer SE, all of Germany. The joint venture will be active in sourcing, financing and developing start-ups ups through a joint accelerator for early stage seed investments. Porsche Digital is active in digital capital investment and serves as the venture unit and digital competence centre of the automobile manufacturer Porsche. Both companies belong to the Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft Group ("VW"). ASDV is active in digital venture capital investments and is the primary digital venture unit of the multimedia company Axel Springer. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because the envisaged joint venture will have negligible actual or foreseen activities within the territory of the European Economic Area. 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.8703. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Fishing opportunities for 2018 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea

This morning, EU ministers reached an agreement on fishing opportunities for 2018 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea following negotiations at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 11 - 12 December. The negotiations were based on the Commission's proposal for Total Allowable Catches (TAC), presented by Commissioner Karmenu Vella. This morning's agreement will bring 53 catch limits(TACs) to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels in 2018, 9 more than in 2017. In 2009, only 5 stocks had catches set at MSY.Commissioner Vella welcomed the outcome: "We are now more than half-way to the 2020 deadline to ensure that all stocks are fished sustainable. With today's agreement two-thirds of fish in the Atlantic and the North Sea will be subject to sustainable catch limits next year. I would like to pay particular tribute to our fishermen, who year by year undertake considerable efforts. Each year we move closer to our objective of sustainable fisheries and this will bring substantial long term reward."As the size of some key fish stocks is increasing, so is the profitability of the fishing sector. Today's agreement on fishing opportunities is worth over €5 billion, benefiting more than 50,000 fishermen.For the first time at EU level, it was agreed to close eel fisheries for three months during their migration period. Moreover, Member States committed to additional actions to protect the eels throughout its lifecycle and in all sea basins. These measures are crucial, both for the recovery of the stock and to safeguard the communities who depend on this fishery.For sea bass, an improved package was agreed which should allow the stock to start recovering following years of decline. The package recognises the responsibility of commercial and recreational fishermen alike. Read Commissioner Vella's press statement on the outcome of the Council here. For more details see here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Commissioner King in Bulgaria tomorrow

Tomorrow, Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will be in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he will meet Minister for the Interior Valentin Radev and Minister for Justice Tsetska Tsacheva to discuss issues relating to security, information exchange and the interoperability of information systems. Commissioner King will then participate in a joint meeting of the Bulgarian Parliament's Committees on Foreign Policy, Internal Security and Public Order, and European Affairs and Oversight of European Funds. He will also meet the Chairperson of the State Agency for National Security Dimitar Georgiev and visit the National Counterterrorism Centre. A press point with Commissioner King and Minister Radev will take place after their meeting at around 10:50 local time. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229  67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

 

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

MEX/17/5267


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