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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 20 / 12 / 2017

Brussels, 20 December 2017

Rule of Law: European Commission acts to defend judicial independence in Poland

Despite repeated efforts, for almost two years, to engage the Polish authorities in a constructive dialogue in the context of the Rule of Law Framework, the Commission has today concluded that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland. Judicial reforms in Poland mean that the country's judiciary is now under the political control of the ruling majority. In the absence of judicial independence, serious questions are raised about the effective application of EU law, from the protection of investments to the mutual recognition of decisions in areas as diverse as child custody disputes or the execution of European Arrest Warrants. The Commission is therefore proposing to the Council to adopt a decision under Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union. The Commission has also today issued a complementary (4th) Rule of Law Recommendation, setting out clearly the steps that the Polish authorities can take to remedy the current situation. Should the Polish authorities implement the recommended actions, the Commission is ready, in close consultation with the European Parliament and the Council, to reconsider its Reasoned Proposal. Furthermore, the Commission has decided to take the next step in itsinfringement procedure against Poland for breaches of EU law by the Law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation, referring Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Whilst taking these unprecedented measures, the Commission maintains its offer for a constructive dialogue to remedy the current situation. A Press Release and Memo are available online with more detailed information. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas: +32 229 60524; Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


Brexit: European Commission recommends draft negotiating directives for next phase of the Article 50 negotiations

Following the guidelines adopted by the European Council (Art 50) on 15 December, the European Commission has today sent a Recommendation to the Council (Art 50) to begin discussions on the next phase of the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The draft negotiating directives, which supplement the negotiating directives from May 2017, set out additional details on possible transitional arrangements. These include, in particular, the following: There should be no "cherry picking": The United Kingdom will continue to participate in the Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms). The Union acquis should continue to apply in full to and in the United Kingdom as if it were a Member State. Any changes made to the acquis during this time should automatically apply to the United Kingdom. All existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The United Kingdom will be a third country as of 30 March 2019. As a result, it will no longer be represented in Union institutions, agencies, bodies and offices. The transition period needs to be clearly defined and precisely limited in time. The Commission recommends that it should not last beyond 31 December 2020. Full press release available here. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas: +32 229 60524; Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229 86500)


Capital Markets Union: more proportionate and risk-sensitive rules for stronger investment firms

Europe's capital markets will be more efficient and better supervised thanks to a revamp of rules for investment firms. The European Commission is today proposing a two-track overhaul to make life simpler for smaller investment firms, while bringing the largest, systemic ones under the same regime as European banks. Investment firms and the services they provide are vital to a well-functioning Capital Markets Union (CMU). Alongside banks, EU capital markets rely on several thousands of small and large investment firms which give advice to clients, help companies to tap capital markets, manage assets, and provide market liquidity, thereby facilitating investments across the EU. The EU needs stronger capital markets in order to promote investment, unlock new sources of financing for companies, offer households better opportunities and strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union. Under today's proposals, the vast majority of investment firms in the EU would no longer be subject to rules that were originally designed for banks. This will reduce administrative burden, boost competition and increase investment flows, all of which are priorities of the CMU, without compromising financial stability. At the same time, the largest and most systemic investment firms would be subject to the same rules and supervision as banks. You can find a press release, MEMO and factsheet online. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini - Tel.: +32 229 51958)


Visa reciprocity: political and diplomatic efforts continue to yield results

The European Commission is reporting today on progress made towards achieving full visa reciprocity with Canada and the United States, evaluating the developments over the past seven months, and also providing the Commission's assessment on the effectiveness of the reciprocity mechanism. The number of non-reciprocity cases has been vastly reduced in the last two-and-a-half years. Most recently, full visa reciprocity was achieved with Canada after it lifted visa requirements for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens as of 1 December 2017. With similar results already achieved with Australia, Brunei and Japan, this leaves the United States as the only non-EU country in the EU's visa-free list which does not grant visa-free access to citizens of all EU Member States. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The achievement of full visa reciprocity with Canada proves that our diplomatic efforts and continued engagement are bearing fruit. Together with the five concerned Member States, we will continue on this same path with the United States as well and we are determined to do everything in our power to achieve visa free travel for all EU citizens. Progress is needed immediately and we expect our US partners to work closely with us to spur progress." For more information please refer to the press release and Q&A which are available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


Visa liberalisation: Commission reports on implementation of benchmarks for Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries

The Commission is reporting today on the continuous fulfilment of the visa liberalisation benchmarks by the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) as well as the Eastern Partnership countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). The report shows that, whilst the visa liberalisation requirements for the countries concerned continue to be fulfilled, action is required in a number of specific areas to preserve their continuous and sustainable implementation. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "We are fully committed to safeguarding visa-free travel for citizens of the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries and we are working together with their governments towards this goal. But ensuring this comes with responsibilities, for both citizens and the relevant authorities. While we acknowledge the efforts of these countries to ensure that the progress made is sustained and that reforms continue to deliver concrete results, further work is needed. We expect all countries to step up their efforts to address irregular migration and fight organised crime and corruption in particular." For more information please refer to the press release and Q&A which are available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


Security Union: Strengthened cooperation between Europol and third countries to fight terrorism and serious organised crime

Today, the Commission is proposing to strengthen Europol's ability to engage with third countries to effectively fight terrorism and other serious transnational crime – an important deliverable under the anti-terrorism package presented by the Commission in October. In light of the EU's operational needs to cooperate with third countries and exchange key information, including personal data, the Commission is today recommending to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for agreements with Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. By ensuring that all data protection safeguards are in place, the agreements will establish clear rules on how personal data can be processed and transferred between Europol and the competent authorities of the eight countries for the purpose of preventing and combatting terrorism and serious organised crime. The Commission's proposal will now be discussed in the Council, which will then decide whether to authorise the opening of negotiations and entrust the negotiating mandate to the Commission. For more information please see the October press release on the anti-terrorism package and the latest Security Union progress report.  (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


EU puts in place new trade defence rules

Today the EU's new trade defence legislation,an integral part of President Juncker's agenda on A Europe that Protects, enters into force. It will change the way the EU tackles dumped and subsidised imports from countries with significant state-induced market distortions. The purpose of this new legislation is to make sure that Europe has trade defence instruments that are able to deal with current realities in the international trading, while fully respecting the EU's international obligations in the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Our unshakable and facts-based conviction that trade brings prosperity will not prevent us from defending our workers and companies with all legitimate tools when others do not play by the rules. With this new legislation and a new set of modernised tools that will be soon in place, Europe will be able to deal more effectively with the ever changing realities of the international trading environment." Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström said: "The EU is open for business. But we must also protect our industry from unfair competition from imports, particularly from countries whose economies are significantly distorted owing to state interference. The publication of country reports will help us to put the new methodology into practice. It will also give the EU industry a basis on which to make its case concerning countries where distortions exist." The Commission also published today its first country report on state-induced distortions. It concerns China and is going to be followed by reports on Russia and other countries and sectors most often targeted by EU anti-dumping measures. For more information please see the press release, a factsheet and an updated procedure guide for companies available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel.: +32 229 651383)


L'UE intensifie son assistance humanitaire aux réfugiés fuyant le Burundi

La Commission a annoncé €2 millions supplémentaires d'aide humanitaire afin d'augmenter l'assistance alimentaire pour les réfugiés burundais en Tanzanie. Ce nouveau soutien porte l'aide humanitaire totale octroyée depuis le début de la crise au Burundi en 2015 à €47,5 millions. Environ 240,000 Burundais, faisant face à des besoins humanitaires croissants et urgents, vivent actuellement dans des camps de réfugiés en Tanzanie. Mr Christos Stylianides, commissaire chargé de l'aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises, a déclaré: "L'UE demeure déterminée à soutenir les Burundais, dont beaucoup ont fui leur pays ces dernières années. Notre assistance humanitaire additionnelle permettra de pourvoir les camps de réfugiés en Tanzanie avec de nouveaux approvisionnements et à assister des milliers de personnes." Le soutien de l'UE aux réfugiés burundais dans la région se fait par le biais des partenaires humanitaires. Certains fonds sont également alloués afin de fournir un accès à l'eau potable et l'assainissement aux communautés déplacées et violemment affectées au Burundi, ainsi que d'assurer la protection les populations vulnérables. A travers ses programmes de coopération au développement au Burundi, l'UE met aussi en place des projets permettant de venir en aide directement aux personnes dans le besoin. (Pour plus d'informations: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


L'UE débloque des fonds supplémentaires pour la République centrafricaine

La Commission européenne a annoncé €7 millions supplémentaires d'aide humanitaire pour assister les personnes dans le besoin en République centrafricaine, qui continue de subir les conséquences d'années de conflit, de déplacement de la population et d'insécurité alimentaire généralisée. Ce montant vient s'ajouter aux €129 millions d'aide humanitaire que la Commission octroie au pays depuis décembre 2013, dont €83 millions destinés aux réfugiés centrafricains dans les pays voisins. Mr Christos Stylianides, commissaire chargé de l'aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises, a dit: "Nous sommes entièrement solidaires du peuple centrafricain. L'assistance de l'UE annoncée aujourd'hui permet de répondre aux besoins urgents en matière d'alimentation, de santé, d'eau potable et d'installations sanitaires, mais aussi de logement et de protection. Il est également essentiel que les travailleurs humanitaires puissent faire leur travail dans des conditions sécurisées et pourvoir ainsi en approvisionnements vitaux ceux qui le nécessitent." Les violents épisodes et atrocités des derniers mois ont augmenté l'étendu des déplacements des populations et les besoins humanitaires. Plus d'un million de personnes ont été contraintes de fuir jusqu'à présent, dont environ 600,000 au sein de la République centrafricaine, et tout autant dans les pays voisins. L'UE et ses Etats-Membres sont les principaux donateurs du pays et avaient rassemblé un soutien international important à la République centrafricaine lors de la conférence internationale de Bruxelles pour la République centrafricaine, en 2016. (Pour plus d'informations: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


The European Union strengthens its support to peace and political transition in Syria

As part of the second phase of the "Syria Peace Support Initiative", the European Union adopted a new €9 million programme to support peace and political transition in Syria. The initiative is part of the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), which seeks to provide financial, technical and analytical support to reach a negotiated political transition in Syria. It will, in particular, continue accompanying the mediation role of the United Nations Special Envoy. The High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: "The EU has always supported the UN-led process as the relevant framework for reaching a political solution to the Syrian conflict. This is the process on which and in which we are investing, supporting the intra-Syrian talks, the UN facilitation and the work of the Syrian opposition, civil society, especially the women of Syria. Only an inclusive political process and transition can make all Syrians -who are inside Syria or elsewhere in the region and in Europe- feel at home in their own country and to contribute to its rebirth, shaping Syria's future unity and reconciliation". Next to supporting UN-led peace talks in Geneva, the initiative has been instrumental in the consolidation of the Syrian opposition's negotiation platform and the promotion of an inclusive transition for Syria – including through support to civil society networks, women and human rights organisations. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921;  Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Lauranne Devillé – Tel.: +32 229 80833)


EU report: Azerbaijan renews engagement and dialogue

The European Union and Azerbaijan have renewed their engagement and dialogue, including through the launch of negotiations on a comprehensive new agreement to modernise and revitalise the EU-Azerbaijan partnership. Azerbaijan has also embarked on an important process to diversify its economy.The details of this process are highlighted in a Joint Report on Azerbaijan, covering a three-year period and released today by the EEAS and the Commission, ahead of the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council, which will be held in Brussels on 9 February 2018. “Since the European Union and Azerbaijan signed our last bilateral agreement - the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement – in 1996, a lot has changed. It is long overdue that the relationship we have on paper reflects the depth and strength of our partnership in reality, as well as giving us a good basis to develop our relationship further in the future", said the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy & Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini. "We are making good progress in negotiations for a new agreement. Together we will look for more opportunities for young people to meet and to travel, possibilities for businesses to grow, to protect human rights and to facilitate energy relations, bringing real benefits to our respective citizens." "We see Azerbaijan's efforts to enhance its resilience, in particular to diversify its economy, and we stand ready to support the emergence of new economic and social actors to help create a diverse, strong and inclusive society in Azerbaijan. We will continue our support for reforms in areas such as public administration and justice – which will strengthen rule of law making Azerbaijan more attractive to investors; and education - crucial for the development of the necessary skills to face the challenges of tomorrow",said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn. The joint report, a full press release and more information on EU-Azerbaijan relations (factsheet; Delegation website) are available online. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski - Tel.: +32 229 89359; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


Insurance Distribution Directive: Commission proposes to put back application date by seven months 

The European Commission has today proposed, exceptionally, to push back  the application date of the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) by seven months to 1 October 2018. The European Parliament and 16 Member States have requested such a postponement. Despite the transposition period foreseen and the fact that the date of entry into application was well known to stakeholders, it appears that some insurance distributors, especially smaller ones, are not yet fully ready for the new rules. In order to align the application dates, the Commission is also proposing to postpone the application of two IDD Delegated Regulations to 1 October. Member States are still required to transpose IDD into national law by the original date, 23 February 2018. The Insurance Distribution Directive regulates the way insurance products are sold, including across borders. It sets out the information that consumers should receive before they sign an insurance contract. It also imposes conduct of business and transparency rules on distributors. The Commission also adopted two Delegated Regulations under the IDD in September 2017. They lay out rules on product oversight and governance, on information requirements and conduct of business rules for the distribution of insurance-based investment products. The European Parliament and the Council will need to agree on the new application date in an accelerated legislative procedure. For more information please see DG FISMA's website. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini - Tel.: +32 229 51958)


Un meilleur accès à l'eau potable en Roumanie grâce aux fonds européens

106 500 habitants du comté d'Alba, dans la région roumaine de Transylvanie, seront désormais reliés au système de distribution d'eau potable grâce à un investissement de 86,6 millions d'euros du  Fonds de Cohésion. "Avoir accès à une eau saine ne devrait pas être un luxe. Ces projets de la politique de Cohésion incarnent parfaitement une Europe qui soucie du bien-être des citoyens et de la protection de l'environnement," a commenté la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu. Le projet cofinancé par l'UE comprend la rénovation et l'extension du système de traitement des eaux usées et de distribution d'eau potable dans 23 communes du comté. Les travaux devraient s'achever à la fin de 2021. (Pour plus d'informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)


Integration of refugees: Commission joins forces with social and economic partners

Today, the European Commission and the EU Social and Economic partners will sign a 'European Partnership for Integration', laying down key principles and commitments to support and strengthen opportunities for refugees and migrants legally residing in the EU to integrate into the European labour market.Ahead of the signing ceremony, Commissioner Avramopoulos said: "Early participation in the labour market is crucial for the successful integration of newcomers, and in particular refugees. All actors – public and private - need to do their part to successfully integrate refugees and this is why we want to join forces. Today we are committing ourselves to work together with the Social and Economic Partners to make this a model not just at European but also at national level. This is the only way to make migration a real opportunity for all, both refugees and our societies." Commissioner Thyssen added: "The best path to social integration is through the labour market. This is why it should also be the safest and the shortest. Today we are taking one more step in this direction as we unite forces with the Social and Economic Partners to tackle the challenges and to seize the opportunities of integrating refugees into the labour market. This will contribute to creating more inclusive labour markets and societies and achieving better and more sustainable outcomes for all, in line with the principles enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights." The Partnership agreement will be signed by Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, and Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility on behalf of the Commission and the leaders of the European Trade Union Confederation,  Business Europe, the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services and Services of general interest and Eurochambres. The signing ceremony will take place at approximately 13:00 today. A press releaseand the agreementwill be available online.A video recording of the signing ceremony will be available on EbS(For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094; Thomas Kramer – Tel.: +32 229 96846)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over GNDB by CPPIB Europe, Allianz Infrastructure and Gas Natural

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Gas Natural Fenosa Generación Nuclear S.L. and Holding Negocios Regulados Gas Natural S.A. (together referred as "GNDB") of Spain by CPPIB Europe, controlled by CPPIB of Canada, Allianz Infrastructure of Germany and Gas Natural of Spain. GNDB, which was previously solely controlled by Gas Natural, is active in gas distribution and transmission, retail supply of LPG and supply of gas connections in Spain. CPPIB Europe is a professional investment management organisation that invests in equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed income instruments. Allianz Infrastructure is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allianz, a global financial service company with services predominantly in the insurance and asset management business. Gas Natural is active in several regulated and deregulated gas and electricity markets in particular in Spain. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies' activities do not overlap. The case 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.8707. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)


Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition du contrôle en commun de Powerhouse France par la Société Générale et BNP Paribas

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition de Powerhouse France SAS par Sogecap S.A., appartenant au groupe français Société Générale, et par Cardif Assurance Vie S.A. et BNP Paribas Diversipierre OPCI ("Diversipierre"), tous deux détenus par le groupe français BNP Paribas. Powerhouse France SAS détient un portefeuille de propriétés résidentielles situées dans plusieurs départements français. Ces propriétés sont louées à EDF au profit d'un groupe de salariés EDF. Sogecap propose des plans d'assurance vie et de protection des produits aux réseaux de banques de détail et de banques privées de la Société Générale. Le groupe Société Générale est notamment actif dans les secteurs de la banque internationale de détail, des services financiers, des services bancaires aux entreprises et des services bancaires d'investissement. Cardif Assurance, actif dans le secteur des assurances vie, et Diversipierre, actif dans l'investissement immobilier, font parties du groupe BNP Paribas, groupe bancaire principalement actif dans la banque et les services de détail ainsi que les services bancaires aux entreprises et les services bancaires d'investissement. La Commission a conclu que l'opération envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence compte tenu de son impact limité sur la structure du marché. L'opération 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.8708. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou - Tel.: +32 229 13740)


Eurostat: Online peer-to-peer accommodation services used by 1 in 6 EU citizens [added on 20/12/2017 at 13:17]

According to 2017 survey results, 17% of individuals in the EU arranged accommodation (room, apartment, house, holiday cottage, etc.) via websites or apps from another private individual for private purposes in the preceding 12 months. Most of them used dedicated websites or apps, but other websites or apps (including those of social networks) have also had a share in facilitating those activities. These peer-to-peer services are part of the so called 'collaborative' or 'sharing economy'. Arranging transport services online was less common, being used by around8%of individuals in the EU. Again, this was mainly done via dedicated websites or apps. While online accommodation booking from another private individual was more common among individuals aged 25-54 (22%), arranging transport services from another private person tends to be more popular among the younger generation (14% of those aged 16-24). This information, issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, is part of the results of the survey conducted in 2017 on ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) usage in households and by individuals. A press release is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyan – Tel.: +32 229 80379)




European Commission appoints new Heads of Representation in Athens, Nicosia and Prague

The Commission has decided today to appoint three Heads of Representation. Ms Dana Kovarikova will take up her duties at the Commission's Representation in the Czech Republic, Mr Georgios Markopouliotis at the Commission's Representation in Greece as of on 1 February 2018, and Mr Ierotheos Papadopoulos at the Commission's Representation in Cyprus as of 1 April 2018. Ms Kovarikova, a Czech national, has been the Acting Head of Representation in Prague since September 2016. She joined the European Commission in 2005 and serving, among other places, in the Secretariat-General, in the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology and, since August 2014, as Head of the Political Section at the Representation in Prague. Mr Markopouliotis, a Greek national, has been Head of the Commission's Representation in Cyprus since March 2012. He will bring to his new role in-depth knowledge of the EU institutions gained over his thirty years at the European Commission, as well as a wide network of contacts with stakeholders in Greece. Mr Papadopoulos, a Greek national, has also been working in the Commission for almost 30 years and has gained extensive experience in different policy fields as well as in political communication. More details are available online, also in CZ, DE, EL, FR. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265)


Commission appoints a Deputy Director-General and three Directors

The Commission decided today to appoint Ms Rosa Aldea Busquets as Deputy Director-General in its Budget department (DG BUDG), Ms Stephanie Riso as Director for Strategy, Coordination and Communication in the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the UK under Article 50 TEU (TF50), Mr Emmanuel Crabit as Director for Fundamental rights and rule of law in its Justice and Consumers department (DG JUST), and Ms Beate Gminder as Director for Migration and security funds, financial resources and monitoring in its department for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME). Ms Aldea, a Spanish national, joined the Commission in 1992 and has worked throughout her career in the field of accounting and treasury management in the Budget department. She first became Head of Unit in 2002 being responsible for Accounting in DG BUDG. She has also been Head of Unit for Treasury Management, and is currently Director for Budget Execution as well as acting Deputy Director General there. She is also the Commission's Accounting Officer, responsible for the Budgetary Discharge procedure, and for coordinating relations with the European Court of Auditors. Ms Riso, a French national, joined the Commission in 2000. Her career focused mainly on economic and monetary affairs, including being a member of the private offices of Commissioners Joaquín Almunia and Olli Rehn. She first became Head of Unit in 2011 being responsible for Fiscal policy and surveillance in the department of Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), and was Head of Unit in charge of the Multi-annual Financial Framework in DG BUDG before Acting Principal Adviser to the Chief negotiator for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the UK, Michel Barnier, being in charge of Strategy, Coordination and Communication. Mr Crabit, a French national, joined the Commission in 1989. At the start of his career he worked in the department of Industry and since 2005 he has been working in DG JUST on fundamental rights and specifically on the rule of law policy. He is currently Head of Unit for Justice policy and rule of law in DG JUST, in addition to being Acting Director for Fundamental rights and rule of law there. Ms Gminder, a German national, joined the Commission in 1995. She was Spokesperson for Health and Consumer Protection for Commissioner David Byrne, a member of the private office of Vice-President Margot Wallström and Head of Unit in DG HOME and DG MARE. She currently works as Secretary-General of the European Ombudsman being responsible for the management of the Ombudsman's service. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740).


Commissioner Moscovici in Lisbon 

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs will visit Lisbon today, 20 December 2017. The Commissioner will participate in a number of meetings, including with Prime Minister António Costa, Minister of Finance Mário Centeno and Mr Carlos Costa, Governor of the Bank of Portugal. (For more information: Vanessa Mock - +32 229 56194; Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)


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


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