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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 09 / 07 / 2018

Brussels, 9 July 2018

EU-Ukraine Summit takes place in Brussels

The 20th Summit between the European Union and Ukraine is taking place in Brussels today, with President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, representing the European Union. President Petro Poroshenko will represent Ukraine. They will be joined by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commission Vice-Presidents Maroš Šefčovič and Valdis Dombrovskis, and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. The Summit will be an opportunity for leaders to review the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, which has been in force since 1 September and, combined with Ukraine's continued implementation of its related reform agenda, is bringing concrete benefits not only to Ukrainian, but also to EU citizens. More frequent contacts at all ages as a result of visa liberalisation; job creation and new business opportunities as a result of economic reforms and greater market opportunities; and improved public services, for example in education and health, are all examples of Ukrainian success stories, fully supported by the European Union. Beyond the reform agenda, leaders will also address foreign and security matters, including relations with Russia, the conflict in the east, the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, energy security, hybrid threats, and follow-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit of November 2018. The three Presidents will give a press conference, live on EbS, at 15:10. More information on the Summit is available on the website, and more information on EU-Ukraine relations is available in the dedicated factsheet. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel: +32 229 89359)

 

EU and NATO to sign joint declaration

Ahead of the NATO meeting of Heads of State or Government on 11 and 12 July in Brussels, where Presidents Juncker and Tusk will represent the European Union, tomorrow the EU and NATO will reaffirm their joint commitment to one another, with a joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation. The joint declaration will be signed by President Juncker, President Tusk and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. For journalists interested in attending the signature and press statements (at +/- 12:00), the meeting point will be in the Council's Europa building forum at 11:30. Please note that access will not be possible via the Residence Palace. To attend, register via email to press.centre@consilium.europa.eu before 9:30 tomorrow, Tuesday 10 July. Coverage will also be available via EbS. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524)

 

Strengthened EU rules to prevent money laundering and fight terrorism financing enter into force today

Today, the 5th Anti-Money laundering Directive has entered into force following its publication in the EU's Official Journal. Proposed by the Commission in July 2016, the new rules bring more transparency on the real owners of companies and tackle risks of terrorist financing. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "This is another important step to strengthen the EU framework to combat financial crime and terrorist financing. The 5th Anti-Money laundering directive will make the fight against money laundering more efficient. We must close all loopholes: gaps in one Member State will have an impact on all others. I urge Member States to stay true to their commitment and update their national rules as soon as possible." The new rules introduce stricter transparency requirements, including full public access to the beneficial ownership registers for companies, greater transparency in the registries of beneficial ownership of trusts, and interconnection of these registers. The key improvements also include: limiting the use of anonymous payments through pre-paid cards, including virtual currency exchange platforms under the scope of the anti-money laundering rules; widening customer verification requirements; requiring stronger checks on high-risk third countries as well as more powers for and closer cooperation between national Financial Intelligence Units. The 5th Anti-Money laundering directive also increases the cooperation and exchange of information between anti-money laundering and prudential supervisors, including with the European Central Bank. The Juncker Commission has made the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing one of its priorities.This proposal was the first initiative of the Action Plan to step up the fight against terrorist financing following the terror attacks and part of a broader drive to boost tax transparency and tackle tax abuse in the aftermath of the Panama Papers revelations. Member States will have to implement these new rules into their national legislation before 10 January 2020. In addition, in May 2018 the Commission invited the European Supervisory Authorities (European Central Bank, European Banking Authority, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, European Securities and Markets Authority) to a joint working group to improve the practical coordination of anti-money laundering supervision of financial institutions. Work in this group is now ongoing and a first exchange with Member States is planned in September. For more information see a factsheet on the main changes brought by the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. (For more information Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

Concentrations: la Commission autorise le projet d'acquisition d'Abertis par ACS et Atlantia

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, le projet d'acquisition d'Abertis par ACS (avec sa filiale Hochtief) et Atlantia. Atlantia et Abertis gèrent et exploitent des autoroutes à péage. ACS est surtout actif dans le domaine de la construction d'infrastructures, mais il exploite également des concessions d'infrastructures. Ces sociétés sont toutes trois également actives dans les services connexes à l'exploitation d'autoroutes à péage. L'enquête de la Commission a porté, en particulier, sur l'incidence de l'opération envisagée sur le marché des concessions autoroutières dans l'Espace économique européen, notamment en Italie, où les activités d'Abertis se chevauchent avec celles d'Atlantia, et en Espagne, où elles se chevauchent avec celles d'ACS. Selon les conclusions de la Commission, l'opération envisagée ne posera pas de problèmes de concurrence sur ces marchés, notamment du fait que les trois sociétés ne sont pas les concurrentes les plus proches l'une de l'autre, et en raison de la présence d'autres concurrents importants sur le marché. En outre, il s'agit de marchés hautement réglementés fonctionnant par appels d'offres. L'enquête a également porté sur les effets de l'opération sur d'autres marchés connexes à l'exploitation d'autoroutes à péage. La Commission a également conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence sur ces marchés connexes. Vous pouvez trouver le communiqué de presse en ligne. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

State aid: Commission concludes Dutch guarantee scheme involves no aid

The European Commission has found that the "Growth Facility", a Dutch scheme to facilitate investments by providing guarantees on 50% of new subordinated loans and equity, does not involve State aid within the meaning of EU rules. The objective of the scheme is to improve access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Under the Growth Facility scheme, the Dutch State guarantees 50% of new subordinated loans and equity to these companies, for up to 12 years. Loans guaranteed under the scheme can range from €2.5 million to €25 million. The Commission found that the fees paid in exchange for the guarantees give the Dutch State an appropriate remuneration level, ensuring that the scheme is self-financing, including administrative costs and the remuneration of virtual capital. This is the capital that a company operating on market terms would set aside as a precaution if it issued such a guarantee. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the Dutch guarantee scheme does not constitute State aid to the banks, nor to the borrowing companies. In March 2018, the Commission approved a similar measure, the "Extended Growth facility". More information will be available on the Commission's competitionwebsite, in the public case register, under the case number SA.48197. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Helios by Mitsui and Kansai

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Kansai Helios Coatings GmbH ("Helios") of Austria by Mitsui & Co Ltd. and Kansai Paint Co. Ltd, both of Japan. Through this transaction, Mitsui acquires joint control over Helios together with Kansai, which currently already controls Helios. Helios is a coating manufacturer focusing mainly on industrial coatings, but is also active in decorative paints and other related products. Mitsui is a trading house with global activities in the sale and distribution of commodities and other products ranging from electronics to chemicals. Kansai is a chemical company mainly active in the production and sales of decorative paints and other coatings. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given that the companies only have a few overlapping activities, in markets where neither is a significant player. 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.8973. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Mergers: Commission clears creation of joint venture by PIMCO and Echo

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture by Pacific Investment Management Company LLC ("PIMCO") of the US and Echo Investment S.A. of Poland. The newly established joint venture will provide real estate rental services. PIMCO, controlled by PIMCO and Oaktree Capital Group LLC of the US, is engaged in investment activities, including in real estate. Echo develops real estate in the office, retail and residential sectors. The Commission concluded that the proposed concentration would raise no competition concerns, because of the limited impact it would have on the market. 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.8904. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344) 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Le commissaire Moedas présente Horizon Europe à l'occasion du plus grand forum scientifique au monde

Carlos Moedas, commissaire en charge de la recherche, de la science et de l'innovation, prendra la parole aujourd'hui lors de la cérémonie d'ouverture du "EuroScience Open Forum" (ESOF2018) à Toulouse. L'événement rassemble plus de 4000 délégués de plus de 80 pays ainsi que 400 journalistes et ambassadeurs scientifiques. En amont de l'événement, le commissaire Moedas a exprimé son enthousiasme d'assister au Forum: "L'ESOF rassemble des participants de tous les horizons afin de discuter au mieux de la recherche et de l'innovation. Ce Forum est unique, parfaitement d'actualité et même nécessaire, car nous avons besoin d'une recherche et d'une innovation plus collaboratives, ouvertes et avec un plus fort impact. Notre proposition pour le prochain programme de recherche et d'innovation de l'UE, Horizon Europe, repose sur ce principe. J'attends avec impatience les discussions avec les chercheurs, les étudiants et le grand public à Toulouse." Organisée du 9 au 14 juillet sous la devise "Partager la science: vers de nouveaux horizons", cette édition de la plus grande réunion scientifique interdisciplinaire au monde se concentrera sur les défis de la science ouverte et l'innovation. Demain, le commissaire Moedas prononcera un discours à l'ouverture de la session plénière dédiée à Horizon Europe. Les sessions et les événements parallèles (voir programme) sont directement liés aux domaines prioritaires de la Commission tels que la coopération entre la science et la société, l'environnement et le climat. Plus d'informations sont disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet - Tél.: +32 229 56182, Maud Noyon - Tél.: +32 229-80379, Victoria von Hammerstein - Tél.: +32 229 55040)

 

STATEMENTS

 

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides following the deadly flooding and landslides in Japan

Many people have lost their lives, hundreds of thousands lost their livelihoods and have been displaced, with many others in further danger due to the deadly flooding and landslides in Western Japan. At this difficult time, the European Union stands in full solidarity with the people and authorities of Japan. We express our condolences to all those who lost their loved ones. Right now our thoughts are with the brave first responders, the emergency services and the volunteers who are engaged in the search and rescue operations, doing everything possible to save lives and to help people in need. The European Union stands ready to provide any assistance to our Japanese friends. The statement is available online here. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359)

 

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

MEX/18/4421


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