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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 21 / 06 / 2018

Brussels, 21 June 2018

President Juncker on two-day trip to Dublin, Ireland

President Juncker is in Dublin today, Thursday 21 June and tomorrow, Friday 22 June 2018. This morning, he met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Irish Government to discuss Brexit and other issues currently on the European agenda, ahead of the European Council on 28-29 June. A joint press conference following this meeting took place (available on EbS+). President Juncker will subsequently address the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas (Parliament). Later in the afternoon, President Juncker will be awarded with an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Ireland and will attend an official dinner in Dublin Castle. On Friday morning, President Juncker will be received by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland. He will be accompanied by Commissioner Phil Hogan and Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator for Article 50 Negotiations. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 460792834)


Migration: Commission presents note ahead of the June European Council [updated on 21/06/2018 at 14:40]

The Commission is today presenting a note ahead of the European Council. The note provides an overview of the work over the past 3 years on the European Agenda on Migration proposed by the Juncker Commission in May 2015, which has guided the advances in European migration policy that were needed to respond to the substantial challenges faced. The note also looks forward and points to areas Leaders meeting next week at the European Council can focus on to take the very necessary debate on migration forward. The Commission believes there are several areas where the EU and its Member States can make significant progress – areas in which we are far more united than we are divided, and where coordinated European action can make a world of difference. Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "Migration is again making headline news. I feel encouraged by this because it means there is growing political will to act and agree on a number of important issues that will define our future migration policy. We have already come a long way from where we were just three years ago. Leaders should now commit to finding agreement on all components of a strengthened Common European Asylum System before the end of the year. I am convinced it is possible. It is a moment of responsibility in order to uphold and safeguard Schengen." The press conference is available on EbS. (For more information:  Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 2 296 74 56; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko –Tel.: +32 229 63444)


TRADE: EU and New Zealand launch negotiations

Today,Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and New Zealand's Minister for Trade David Parker officially launched talks for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement. The negotiations will aim at removing barriers to trade in goods and services, as well as developing trade rules to make trade easier and more sustainable. In the capital of New Zealand, Wellington, Commissioner Malmström said: "Today is an important milestone in EU-New Zealand relations. Together, we can conclude a win-win agreement that offers benefits to business and citizens alike. Trade agreements are about economic opportunities but they are also about strengthening ties with our close allies. In New Zealand, we know that we have a partner who stands up for the same vital values as us. This agreement is an excellent opportunity to set ambitious common rules and shape globalisation, making trade easier while safeguarding sustainable development. We can lead by example." New Zealand is one of the world's fastest-growing developed economies. The EU is New Zealand's third biggest trade partner. The agreement could increase trade in goods by almost 50%. The first formal round of talks will take place in Brussels from 16 to 20 July. Today's announcement follows start of negotiations with Australia earlier this week. For more information see the press release, videos and photos from the Commissioner's visit to New Zealand, including from the press conference with Minister Parker, factsheet, exporters' stories, and a dedicated website. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)


Strengthening the fight against crime and terrorism: Commission welcomes agreement on the confiscation of assets across borders

Yesterday, the provisional political agreement reached by the European Parliament and Council on the Commission's proposal for an EU regulation on the freezing and confiscation of assets across borders was confirmed by Member States. The proposal was adopted as part of the Action Plan to strengthen the fight against terrorist financing and contributes to completing the Security Union. Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “I welcome the political agreement on new rules to facilitate confiscation of assets across borders. At the moment, 99% of criminal proceeds remain in the hands of criminals and terrorists. The current EU legislation on mutual recognition of orders to confiscate or freeze assets across borders is outdated and prone to loopholes. Member States must cooperate better and much faster. Our new set of rules will directly apply in Member States, with standard documents, clear deadlines and better communication between national authorities." The new regulation will set a deadline of 48 hours to recognise and execute freezing orders. It will widen the scope of current rules on cross-border recognition: criminals can be deprived of criminal assets, even when the assets belong to their relatives. Finally, in cases of cross-border execution of confiscation orders, the victim's right to compensation will have priority over States' claims. Following this political agreement, the text of the Directive will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


Le nouvel atlas mondial de la désertification montre une pression sans précédent sur les ressources naturelles de la planète

Aujourd'hui, le Joint Research Centre,le service scientifique et de la connaissance de la Commission européenne, publieune nouvelle édition de l'Atlas mondial de la désertification, offrant aux décideurs un outil pour améliorer les réponses locales aux pertes de sols et à la dégradation des sols. L'Atlas fournit la première évaluation complète et factuelle de la dégradation des terres au niveau mondial et souligne l'urgence d'adopter des mesures correctives. Tibor Navracsics, commissaire chargé de l'éducation, de la culture, de la jeunesse et des sports, responsable du Joint Research Centre, a déclaré: «Au cours des vingt dernières années, depuis la publication de la dernière édition de l'Atlas mondial de la désertification, les pressions sur les terres et les sols ont considérablement augmenté. Pour préserver notre planète pour les générations futures, nous devons de toute urgence changer la façon dont nous traitons ces précieuses ressources. Cette édition nouvelle et beaucoup plus avancée de l'Atlas donne aux décideurs du monde entier un aperçu complet et facilement accessible de la dégradation des terres, de ses causes et des remèdes potentiels pour lutter contre la désertification et restaurer les terres dégradées.» Karmenu Vella, commissaire à l'environnement, aux affaires maritimes et à la pêche, a ajouté: «L'Atlas montre une UE de plus en plus touchée par la désertification, soulignant l'importance de l'action pour la protection des sols et l'utilisation durable des terres et des eaux. C'est la meilleure approche préconisée dans la stratégie thématique des solsde l'UE, et c'est notre meilleur espoir de parvenir à une neutralité en matière de dégradation des sols conforme aux objectifs de développement durable de 2030. »  La nouvelle édition de l'Atlas publiée aujourd'hui a été créée en utilisant de nouvelles méthodes de traitement de données employées par des scientifiques de l'UE, des milliers d'ordinateurs haute performance et 1,8 pétaoctet de données satellitaires. Un communiqué de presse présentant les principales conclusions de l'Atlas est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 2 295 61 72)


2018 EU Prize for Women Innovators: Commission to award four outstanding entrepreneurs

Every year, the Commission rewards, under the EU Prize for Women Innovators, European women who successfully founded a company and brought their innovation to market. For the 2018 awards, 12 candidates from Austria, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Spain and United Kingdom have been shortlisted. This afternoon at the Women Rule Summit, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas will announce the winners of the four prizes worth €190,000 in total. 122 applications were submitted from across the EU and countries associated to Horizon 2020, the EU's funding programme for research and innovation. The aim of the EU Prize for Women Innovators is to raise public awareness of the need for more innovation and more women entrepreneurs, to recognise the success of women in innovation and create strong role models. Women are underrepresented in terms of creating innovative enterprises – only 31% of entrepreneurs in the EU are women. This represents an untapped potential for Europe, which needs to use all its human resources to their full potential in order to remain competitive and to find solutions to economic and societal challenges. The EU Prize for Women Innovators is funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme. Journalists can register to the award ceremony via email or follow it live here. More information on the prize, statistics on women entrepreneurs in Europe and gender equality in research and innovation is available online. (For more information: Lucía Caudet - Tel.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyon - Tel.: +32 229-80379; Victoria von Hammerstein - Tel.: +32 229 55040)


Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into restrictions to the free flow of gas sold by Qatar Petroleum in Europe 

The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether supply agreements between Qatar Petroleum companies exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) and European importers have hindered the free flow of gas within the European Economic Area (EEA), in breach of EU antitrust rules.  Qatar Petroleum is the largest exporter of LNG globally and to Europe, controlling several companies that produce and export LNG to Europe. The Commission will further investigate whether Qatar Petroleum's long-term agreements (typically 20 or 25 years) for the supply of LNG into the EEA contain direct and/or indirect territorial restrictions.In particular, certain clauses contained in these agreements appear to, directly or indirectly, restrict the EEA importers' freedom to sell the LNG in alternative destinations within the EEA. These clauses may unduly limit the free flow of LNG sold by Qatar Petroleum in the EEA, segmenting the EU's internal gas market. If proven, such practices may breach EU antitrust rules. The Commission will now carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. An opening by the Commission of a formal investigation does not prejudge its outcome. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Energy should flow freely within Europe, regardless of where it comes from. We have opened an investigation to look at whether there are problematic territorial restriction clauses in gas supply contracts with Qatar Petroleum. Such clauses may harm competition and prevent consumers from enjoying the benefits of an integrated European energy market."   A full press release is available in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)


Fonds fiduciaire de l'UE pour la Syrie: adoption du plus vaste ensemble de mesures d'aide d'un montant de 165 millions d'euros, pour soutenir les réfugiés et les populations locales au Liban

Hier, à l'occasion de la Journée mondiale des réfugiés, le fonds fiduciaire régional de l'UE en réponse à la crise syrienne a approuvé des nouveaux projets en faveur des réfugiés et des populations locales au Liban et en Jordanie. Les nouveaux projets au Liban s'élèvent à 165 millions d'euros et incluent la scolarisation d'enfants réfugiés et la fourniture d'une assistance sociale aux réfugiés vulnérables et aux communautés locales touchées par la crise syrienne. En outre, un projet de 2 millions d'eurospour renforcer la résilience de réfugiés palestiniens venant de Syrie qui ont trouvé refuge en Jordanie, a été adopté. Ce nouveau train de mesures d'aide porte à plus de 1,4 milliard d'euros la valeur totale des projets relevant du fonds fiduciaire. Mr Johannes Hahn, commissaire chargé de la politique européenne de voisinage et des négociations d'élargissement, a déclaré: «L'UE continue d'honorer sa promesse d'aider le Liban et la Jordanie, qui accueillent le plus grand nombre de réfugiés par habitant au monde. Les nouveaux projets renforceront considérablement la protection sociale et l'accès à l'éducation tant pour les réfugiés syriens et les réfugiés palestiniens en provenance de Syrie que pour les populations locales.» Le communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne ainsi que la fiche technique. (pour plus d'information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


EU announces €34 million in humanitarian aid to Uganda and Kenya

The Commission has released today €34 million in humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable populations in Uganda and Kenya, with a special focus on displaced populations in both countries. "Kenya and Uganda are among Africa's major hosts of refugees, with millions urgently needing assistance. The EU stands in solidarity and is committed to support the most vulnerable refugees. Our new funding will help both those already displaced and the new arrivals into Kenya and Uganda," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. Out of the funding announced today, €24 million will go to Uganda, the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, and €10 million in emergency assistance will go to Kenya to support refugees living in Dadaab and Kakuma camps, providing protection to the most vulnerable, as well as granting access to quality primary education. Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Eurostat: Une nouvelle publication numérique: L'économie européenne depuis 2000, portrait statistique

«The European economy since the start of the millennium – a statistical portrait» est une toute nouvelle publication numérique diffusée aujourd'hui par Eurostat, l'Office statistique de l'Union européenne. Elle a été conçue pour répondre aux besoins du grand public et vise à présenter, de manière facile et interactive, les statistiques sur l'économie de l'Union européenne, ses ménages, ses entreprises et ses administrations publiques de l'an 2000 à nos jours. La publication illustre une vaste palette de données statistiques. Elle contient de brèves descriptions des principaux résultats, complétées par des visualisations interactives, qui permettent de comparer les pays entre eux. Par exemple, vous pouvez tester vos connaissances sur les indicateurs macroéconomiques ou vous pouvez voir où se situe le revenu de votre ménage par rapport à d'autres dans votre pays. Un communiqué de presse Eurostat est disponible en ligne. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Hoglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)


Preparation of the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, 21-22 June 2018

Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings taking place today and tomorrow in Luxembourg. Today's Eurogroup meeting will assess the implementation of the prior actions under the fourth review of the stability support programme for Greece and, more broadly, discuss all of the elements needed to ensure the successful completion of the programme in August. There will be an exchange views on the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) presentation of the outcome of its Article IV consultations with the euro area. The Eurogroup will also discuss Spain's updated Draft Budgetary Plan for 2018, based on the Commission's Opinion published in May. Finally, the institutions will inform the Eurogroup of the main findings of the fourth post-programme surveillance mission to Cyprus that took place in March.The Eurogroup will then meet in an inclusive format to prepare for the Euro Summit, which will take place on 29 June 2018 to take further steps on deepening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union, including the completion of the Banking Union and the future role of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Commissioner Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. At the ECOFIN meeting tomorrow, the Council is expected to close the excessive deficit procedure for France, and to issue recommendations regarding significant budgetary deviations by Hungary and Romania. It is due to approve country-specific recommendations on Member States' economic and social policies under the 2018 European Semester. In terms of the Banking Union, Ministers will be updated on the ongoing discussions on the proposal to establish a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). The Council is also expected to adopt new tools for cooperation between EU countries in the fight against VAT fraud – a problem which leads to losses of €50 billion for national budgets of EU Member States each year. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference following the ECOFIN meeting. (For more information: Christian Spahr – Tel.: +32 460 79 80 55; Tel Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194;  Annikky Lamp– Tel.: +32 229 56151; Enda McNamara  – Tel.: +32 229 64976, Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)




Commissioner Mimica participates in International Water Conference to Tajikistan

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica is in Tajikistan today, where he participates in a high-level conference on international Decade for action on Water for Sustainable Development. Delivering a speech to the plenary session, Commissioner Mimica stressed that: "Athe global demand for energy and water could increase by up to 50% by 2030, the EU remains committed to supporting universal access to safe and clean water. Water is not only an essential resource for human health. It also underpins other efforts on human development, nutrition, economic growth and even for peaceful societies. Over the last decade, the European Union has provided more than €2.5 billion to improve water and sanitation in 62 countries around the world. Our blended finance initiatives triggered a further €4 billion in loans for 44 water and sanitation projects". The EU is also working to improve transboundary water cooperation at European and global level. Commissioner Mimica will furthermore have bilateral meetings with the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and the Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda. They will discuss the European Union's development cooperation with Tajikistan, as well as the prospects for further regional cooperation in Central Asia. Commissioner Mimica will also visit an EU-funded centre that supports children with disabilities allowing them to grow up within their families and communities, rather than being excluded into marginal institutions. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


High Representative/ Vice-President Mogherini convenes high level event on "climate, peace and security: the time for action"

On Friday 22 June 2018, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini will convene the high-level event Climate, Peace and Security: The Time for Action in Brussels. Ministers from around the world, top United Nations officials and leading experts and advocates will discuss global security and peace challenges deriving from climate change. The aim of the event is to strengthen the global political momentum and shared determination to recognise and address the issue. Through interactive discussions, the speakers will shed light on the gravest security threats posed by climate change and identify how best they can be managed. Inspired by the EU Global Strategy's integrated approach to risk and security, this high-level gathering will delve into two main themes: the responsibility to prepare in the face of climate security risks; and the necessity to move from early warning to early action. HR/VP Mogherini will open the conference at 9:30, followed by an intervention by Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete. For more information see the EEAS website. Follow the speech by HR/VP Mogherini live on EbS. Joint the conversation online with #united4climate and #climadiplo.(For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Esther Osorio – Tel.: +32 229 62076)


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


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