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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 11 / 07 / 2018

Brussels, 11 July 2018

COLLEGE MEETING: Commission supports normalisation in Greece through activation of post-programme framework

The Commission has adopted a decision to activate the enhanced surveillance framework for Greece to support the implementation of agreed reforms following the successful conclusion of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) stability support programme. Today's Commission decision to activate the enhanced surveillance framework, as provided for in Regulation (EU) No 472/2013 (part of the so-called "two-pack"), facilitates Greece's normalisation, building on the progress that has been made. It will support the completion, delivery and continued implementation of reforms agreed under the programme, in line with the commitments made by the Greek authorities. This is crucial to building market confidence and thus to strengthening Greece's economic recovery, particularly in the immediate post-programme period. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "The 20th of August will mark a new beginning for Greece. It is important for the country to continue with prudent fiscal and macroeconomic policies, as well as to complete the agreed reforms. Enhanced surveillance is there to help Greece build confidence with markets, investors and companies: they all want stability and predictability. This is the way to attract more investment and ensure sustainable growth, which will bring new jobs and lead to better living and social conditions for the Greek people." Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "Greece is now able to stand on its own two feet; that does not mean that it must stand alone. Europe will remain engaged and committed to supporting the country, and so will the European Commission. Today's decision is about just that. Enhanced surveillance is not a fourth programme: it involves no new commitments or conditions. It is a framework to support the completion and delivery of ongoing reforms. Why is that so important? Because Greece's recovery is not an event: it is a process." A press release and memo are available online. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)


COLLEGE MEETING: European Commission appoints new Head of Representation in Spain

The Commission has decided today to appoint Mr Fonseca Morillo as the new Head of the Commission's Representation in Madrid. Mr Morillo, a Spanish national, will take up office on 1 September 2018. Currently he is Deputy Director-General in the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, where he has been working since 2015, first as Director and later as Deputy Director-General. A highly experienced civil servant with over 30 years of working experience in the European Commission, including as acting Director-General and Head of a Commission Representation, Mr Fonseca Morillo brings excellent knowledge of the EU institutions and relevant management and communication skills to his new post. A press release in EN, FR, DE and ES and the CV of Mr Fonseca Morillo are available online. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)


COLLEGE MEETING: Commission appoints third female Deputy Secretary-General and a new Director-General to its Budget department 

Today, the European Commission decided to appoint Ms Céline Gauer, a French national and current Deputy Director-General of its Health and Food Safety department as new Deputy Secretary-General. She will be the third female Deputy Secretary-General, working alongside Secretary-General Martin Selmayr and the two deputies Ilze Juhansone and Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen. Ms Gauer had previously worked as Director in the Competition department. Since the Juncker Commission took office, the share of female Directors-General and Deputy Directors-General has increased from 11% to 37%. The European Commission also decided to appoint Mr Gert-Jan Koopman as Director-General of its Budget department, following the recent appointment of the previous Director-General, Ms Nadia Calviño, as Minister of Economy and Enterprise in Spain. Mr Koopman, a Dutch national, held several senior positions across the Commission and has been Deputy Director-General in the Competition department since November 2010, in charge of State aid policy. Both decisions take effect on 1 August 2018. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265)


COLLEGE MEETING: Commission appoints a Director to its Communications Networks, Content and Technology department and a Principal Adviser to its Human Resources and Security department

Today the European Commission decided to appoint Mr. Morten Fjalland to the position of Director for Resources and Support in its Communications Networks, Content and Technology department (DG CNECT). Mr. Fjalland, a Danish national, joined the Commission in 2001 and has been a Head of Unit in DG CNECT since 2011. Prior to this, he worked in the Secretariat-General and in the Health and Consumers department (DG SANTE). The Commission has also decided to appoint Mr. Norman Jardine as a Principal Adviser in its Human Resources and Security department (DG HR). Mr. Jardine, a British national, has held several positions related to human resources management. He joined the Commission in 2002 and worked as a Head of Unit, first of Learning and Development and then of Internal Communication, in DG HR. Both decisions take effect on 16 July 2018. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


President Juncker and High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini to participate in NATO Summit

President Jean-Claude Juncker and High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, together with European Council President Donald Tusk, will today and tomorrow participate in the NATO Summit in Brussels. The European Union and NATO are strategic partners, cooperating to promote peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area, as reconfirmed in the Joint Declaration on EU – NATO cooperation signed by the two Presidents and Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday. In line with the two organisations' commitment to full mutual openness, President Juncker will on Wednesday evening participate in the working dinner of Heads of State or Government. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini will in parallel participate in the Foreign Ministers' dinner. On Thursday, both will take part in the session dedicated to Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan. Both President Juncker and HR/VP Mogherini will have a number of bilateral meetings in the margins of the Summit. For more information on EU-NATO cooperation see the factsheet online. Audio-visual coverage will be available on EbS. (For more information:  Maja Kocijancic - Tel.: +32 229 86570; Esther Osorio - Tel.: +32 229 62076)


8th EU-US Energy Council and high-level EU-US bilateral meetings take place in Brussels

The eighth Energy Council between the European Union and the United States of America takes place tomorrow, Thursday 12 July, in Brussels, co-chaired by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and US Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry. The Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will be represented by Juliane Bonger-Strauß, Federal Minister within the Federal Chancellery for Women, Families and Youth. The Energy Council was established in 2009 to promote transparent, open and secure global energy markets, foster policy and regulatory cooperation on efficient and sustainable energy use, and pursue joint research and development on clean energy and energy efficiency technologies. It will provide an opportunity for the EU and the United States to jointly address energy security challenges and to look at ways to enhance their energy-related cooperation. The opening remarks of High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Secretaries Pompeo and Perry at the Council will be available on EbS. The Council will be preceded by a bilateral meeting between High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and will be followed by bilateral meetings between Vice-President Šefčovič and Energy Secretary Perry, as well as Commissioner Arias Cañete and Secretary Perry. Vice-President Šefčovič, Commissioner Arias Cañete and Energy Secretary Perry will speak to the press from the VIP corner of the Berlaymont, European Commission, at 16:00 CET. This will be broadcast live on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229  91269; Adam Kaznowski – Tel: +32 229 89359; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)   


The EU's External Investment Plan: first projects in Africa and the Neighbourhood

As part of its External Investment Plan (EIP), the EU gave its green light to a package of financial guarantee programmes worth around €800 million on 10 July. This will help to leverage an estimated €8-9 billion in public and private investment in Africa and the Neighbourhood. Yesterday's decision is a major milestone towards delivering investments in Africa and the Neighbourhood through the EIP, which is expected to leverage €44 billion of investments through an EU contribution worth €4.1 billion. The EIP aims to promote inclusive growth, job creation and sustainable development and in this way to tackle some of the root causes of irregular migration. One of the new programmes for example will benefit people who currently have difficulty borrowing money at affordable rates, such as internally displaced people, refugees or returnees. Another programme will enable over 25,000 small businesses to access mobile accounts and long-term credit, in order to support the financial inclusion driven by diasporas, migrants' families and returnees. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: "The EU's External Investment Plan has already started to bring real benefits to the people in our partner countries. These guarantee programmes for sustainable investment give now access to affordable loans to people who have been forced to flee their country and those who have recently returned home to rebuild their lives: […]. This plan is about building a new present for many people and for their countries, it is about changing lives, now and for good." Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added: "We are on the right track towards achieving our commitment under the External Investment Plan: Since its launch last September, we have mobilised €800 million in guarantees and €1.6 billion in blending, which will overall translate into over €22 billion public and private investments. […]" Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “We want to see the new EU guarantees that we have announced yesterday translate into concrete, innovative and sustainable projects on the ground […]. More prosperity in the EU's immediate neighbourhood is not only good for our European economies and businesses. It is a long-term investment in the stability and security of our partners in the neighbourhood and for Europe". The press release and a factsheet are available online. (For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.:+32 229 64887)


Feu vert pour les paiements au titre du Fonds de Solidarité pour la France, le Portugal, l'Espagne et la Grèce

La Commission a débloqué les paiements pour la France, le Portugal, l'Espagne et la Grèce, au titre du Fonds de Solidarité, suite à l'accord du Parlement européen et du Conseil sur sa proposition d'aide. L'argent devrait atteindre les Etats membres dans les prochains jours et d'ici à la fin du mois. La Commission avait proposé en février d'accorder 104 millions d'euros du Fonds de Solidarité à quatre États membres qui avaient été touchés par des catastrophes naturelles en 2017; 49 millions d'euros pour les régions françaises de Saint-Martin et de la Guadeloupe, touchées par les ouragans Irma et Maria; 50,6 millions d'euros pour le Portugal et 3,2 millions d'euros pour l'Espagne à la suite des incendies de forêt de l'été et du mois d'octobre 2017 et 1,3 million d'euros pour l'île grecque de Lesbos après le tremblement de terre de juin 2017. La Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu  a déclaré: "Ce soutien financier va couvrir certaines dépenses engagées par les Etats membres pour faire face à l'urgence et commencer à reconstruire après les sinistres. C'est une preuve concrète du soutien de l'UE à ses Etats membres dans le long terme, quand ceux-ci sont confrontés à une catastrophe naturelle." (Pour plus d'informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615 – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)


EU steps up humanitarian aid for Somalia with €89.5 million

The European Union has released €89.5 million in humanitarian assistance for Somalia and Djibouti, as millions are grappling with the consequences of prolonged extreme weather conditions. The funding comes ahead of the Somalia Partnership Forum co-hosted by the European Union taking place next week over 16-17 July. "The devastating effects of two years of drought and the recent intense flooding are taking their toll on the livelihood of millions of people in Somalia. Our aid will target the most vulnerable and provide life-saving support to those affected by climatic shocks and internal conflict.", said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. Out of today's package, €89 million will be channelled in Somalia to reach communities displaced by severe drought, focussing on the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, water supply and livestock protection, as well as health measures against epidemics. A further €500,000 is going to Djibouti to support refugees in the country by providing water, sanitation and protection to the communities living in the Ali Addeh, Hol Hol and Markazi refugee camps. The full press release is available here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Commission takes further action to improve consumer protection against toxic substances

Today the Commission took action to restrict the placing on the market of articles containing four phthalates: DEHP, DBP, BBP and DIBP. These substances are commonly present in plasticised materials and found in a wide variety of everyday products, from toys to sport equipment. Consumers can be exposed to one of these phthalates or to their combination through different sources, such as ingesting food and dust, placing articles in the mouth, breathing in air and dust indoors, and by dust and articles getting in contact with mucous membranes and skin. Phthalates are substances of high concern known for their toxic effects on reproductive health.According to the proposed restriction presented in the REACH Committee, the four phthalates may not be present in articles used by consumers or available in indoor areas in a concentration equal to or above 0.1% by weight individually or in any combination in any plasticised material. The restriction proposal takes into account the cumulative effects and combined exposure to the 4 phthalates from different articles.The REACH Committee, composed of experts from all Member States, supported the proposed measure by unanimity. The European Parliament and the Council now have 3 months to scrutinise the measure before its adoption by the Commission. The restriction will then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will apply 18 months after the entry into force to products produced both in and outside of the EU. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)


TRADE: Commission engages with stakeholders in meeting of the Advisory Group on EU Trade Agreements

The Commission will today hold the third meeting of the Advisory Group on EU Trade Agreements, a body created in September 2017 to allow the Commission to foster in-depth dialogue with civil society and gather more easily different perspectives and insights from a wide and balanced group of stakeholders. In its third meeting, the group composed of 28 organisations representing businesses, trade unions, consumers and environmental groups will discuss the implementation of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Trade Agreement (CETA) in the preparation of the CETA Joint Committee scheduled for September 2018; issues related to cross-border data flows and personal data protection in trade and investment negotiations, as well as consumer issues in trade agreements, including those related to public health. More detailsabout the meeting are available online. The report of the meeting will be published in the following days. The advisory group builds on the Commission's long-standing, active dialogue with civil societyon trade issues and other transparency mechanisms, including regular publication of EU negotiating proposals, in line with commitments made in the "Trade for All" strategy of 2015. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)


State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Polish bank guarantee scheme

The European Commission has authorised under EU State aid rules a prolongation of the Polish bank guarantee scheme until 30 November 2018. Should the need arise, the scheme would provide State guarantees for different types of solvent credit institutions in Poland. The Commission found the prolongation to be in line with its 2013 Banking Communication., because it is well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The scheme was initially approved in September 2009 and has been prolonged several times, the last time in December 2017. The Commission is authorisingguarantee schemes on banks' liabilities for successive periods of up to six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register, under the case number SA.51235. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)


State aid: Commission clears Austrian risk capital premium scheme

The European Commission has found an Austrian scheme to stimulate equity investments in innovative small companies to be in line with EU State aid rules. The scheme has a total budget of €45 million and will run for three years, honouring all grant applications entered from January 2017 to December 2019. Under the scheme, individuals, so called business angels, investing a maximum of €250 000 per year in eligible companies can receive grants of 20% of their investment. The Commission found that, in line with the 2014 Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments, the scheme will provide incentives for private investors to invest in small companies that would otherwise be unable to get the financing they need to grow. On the other hand, the potential negative effects on competition and trade of this scheme are very limited. The Commission already approved a similar risk capital scheme in Germany, the "INVEST" scheme, in December 2016. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.48840. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)


Eurostat: Un portrait statistique de l'Union européenne en comparaison avec les pays du G20: "The EU in the world – édition 2018"

La cinquième édition de la publication d'Eurostat «The EU in the world» compare l'Union européenne (UE) aux 15 pays non membres de l'UE qui font partie du Groupe des Vingt (G20), dans le domaine social, économique et environnemental. Elle passe en revue la population, les conditions de vie, la santé, l'éducation et la formation, le marché du travail, l'économie et les finances, le commerce international, l'agriculture et la pêche, l'industrie et les services, la recherche et le développement, le transport, l'environnement et l'énergie. La publication présente un ensemble équilibré d'indicateurs, accompagné de nombreuses informations transversales, s'appuyant sur un éventail de statistiques européennes et internationales. Pour de nombreux indicateurs, le total mondial est également fourni. Un communiqué de presse Eurostat est à votre disposition en ligne. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Esther Osorio – Tel.: +32 229 62076)




Commissioners Avramopoulos, Jourová and King in Innsbruck for informal Justice and Home Affairs Council

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová and Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will attend the informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Innsbruck, Austria on 12 and 13 July. On Thursday morning, Commissioner Avramopoulos will discuss with the Ministers of Interior border management and asylum. Over lunch, participants will discuss the promotion of European values, the fight against anti-Semitism and the protection of Jewish communities and institutions in Europe. A press conference with Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Kickl is scheduled to take place at around 12:45 CET and will be streamed live on EbS+. The afternoon session will be devoted to police cooperation and will focus on human smuggling and community policing. On Friday morning, Commissioner Jourová and Commissioner Kingwill join Justice Ministersto discuss electronic evidence. Justice Ministers will also address with Commissioner Jourová judicial cooperation on civil matters, before turning to mutual recognition in criminal matters. A press conference will take place at around 11:45 CET and can be followed online. An informal meeting with Eastern Partnership Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs will also take place on Friday morning to discuss the fight against corruption in security and judicial authorities. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 2 298 67 64; Christian Wigand Tel.: +32 2 29)


Le commissaire Hahn sera à Tunis le 12 juillet à la tête d'une délégation d'institutions financières de développement européennes et internationales

Le commissaire européen à la politique européenne de voisinage et aux négociations d'élargissement, Johannes Hahn, dirigera le 12 juillet en Tunisie, une délégation sans précédent de huit institutions financières de développement. Ensemble, ces partenaires viendront réaffirmer leur soutien à la Tunisie, notamment en faveur du programme de réformes socioéconomiques que le pays s'est fixé pour relancer la croissance et l'emploi. La délégation sera composée de hauts représentants de l'Agence française de développement, de la Banque africaine de développement, de la Banque européenne d'investissement, de la Banque européenne de reconstruction et de développement, de la Banque mondiale, du Fonds monétaire international, de la KFW, et de la Société financière internationale. La mission s'entretiendra avec le Président de la République, le Président du Gouvernement et plusieurs membres du gouvernement, ainsi qu'avec l'Assemblée des Représentants du Peuple et des représentants du secteur privé. Les échanges permettront d'aborder les moyens à mettre en œuvre pour poursuivre l'ambitieux programme de réformes socio-économiques fixé par le Gouvernement et qui doit se traduire par des mesures fortes de relance de l'activité économique notamment en libérant le potentiel de croissance du secteur privé, de stabilisation budgétaire et de renforcement des mécanismes de protection sociale. Les photos et vidéos de la visite seront disponibles sur EbS. (Pour plus d'information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.:+32 229 64887)




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