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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 10 / 10 / 2018

Brussels, 10 October 2018

COLLEGE MEETING: A Europe that Protects - Commission calls for decisive action on security priorities

Today, the European Commission is reporting on the progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union, calling on the European Parliament and the Council to finalise their work on priority security initiatives as a matter of urgency. To maintain the positive momentum set by the EU Leaders at the informal meeting in Salzburg today's report outlines the security initiatives that will be decisive for the completion of the Security Union before the upcoming European Parliament elections in May 2019. In this way, the report is a contribution to the discussions on internal security during the European Council on 18-19 October. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The security of our citizens is and should remain a priority for the EU every single day. Strengthening our external borders, improving information exchange, and protecting our citizens online as well as on the ground - there is no time to waste in building a genuine and effective Security Union in Europe." Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: "From chemical weapons being used on our streets to state-sponsored cyberattacks, Europe is under threat like never before, and Europeans are looking to us to act. Now is the time to ramp up our efforts to finish our work on the Security Union. On terrorism, cyber and cyber-enabled threats, where the online and the real world collide, and on tackling organised crime we are stronger when we act together. Time is short: the EU institutions and our Member States need to take responsibility for driving delivery and implementation of this vital work." More information is available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


European Commission welcomes new high-level group on EU-Africa relations

European Commission Vice-President Ansip and Commissioners Mimica, Hogan, Stylianides and Vella participate today in the launch of a high-level group of personalities convened by Friends of Europe, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the ONE campaign. The high-level group includes current and former heads of international organisations and foundations, former presidents and prime ministers of African countries along with renowned experts. Bound by their commitment to ensure the success of Europe-Africa relations, participants will exchange views on this occasion about the challenge of youth unemployment in Africa. The Commission is one of the key drivers of EU-Africa relations and has recently launched a new Africa-Europe alliance aimed at boosting investment and creating jobs. The Commission welcomes this new initiative, which will further enrich the efforts to promote and seize opportunities across both continents. The inaugural meeting was hosted by Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development. More information on the High-level group as well as the Africa-EU Partnership is available online. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


EU satellite mapping activated to help US authorities with Hurricane Michael 

The EU's Copernicus emergency satellite mapping service has been activated on the request of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the US authorities face Hurricane Michael. Maps will be provided for Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: "Our Emergency Response Coordination Centre is monitoring the situation 24/7. We are helping our American friends face yet another threatening hurricane. Our thoughts are with all the people who are in the path of this powerful storm. The EU stands ready to provide further assistance”. This is the second time this year Copernicus has been activated for hurricanes in the US. Photos of the Emergency Centre are available, as well as a video of the EU's Copernicus programme and a factsheet on the EU's emergency centre. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


L'Union européenne et les pays partenaires orientaux renforcent leur coopération en matière d'environnement, d'économie circulaire et d'action pour le climat

La deuxième réunion ministérielle officielle du partenariat oriental sur l'environnement et le changement climatique s'est déroulée hier à Luxembourg, organisée par la Commission européenne et la présidence autrichienne du Conseil de l'Union européenne. La Commission européenne était représentée par Karmenu Vella, commissaire européen chargé de l'environnement, de la pêche et des affaires maritimes et par Miguel Arias Cañete, commissaire européen chargé de l'action pour le climat et de l'énergie. L'UE et les pays du partenariat oriental (Arménie, Azerbaïdjan, Biélorussie, Géorgie, République de Moldavie et Ukraine) ont reconnu les progrès accomplis depuis la première réunion ministérielle de 2016, notamment en ce qui concerne la ratification de l'Accord de Paris et les modifications politiques et législatives en matière d'eau, d'économie verte, de gestion durable des forêts et d'évaluations environnementales. Les ministres ont réaffirmé la nécessité de maintenir les actions en faveur de l'environnement et du climat parmi les priorités politiques et économiques. Une aide supplémentaire de l'UE d'un montant de près de 30 millions d'euros sera disponible pour les pays du partenariat oriental par le biais des nouveaux programmes financés par l'UE, «EU4Environment» et «EU4Climate». Le commissaire Vella a déclaré: "Notre coopération dans le domaine de l'environnement avec les pays du partenariat oriental est plus forte que jamais. Nous avons été témoins de nombreuses actions mises en œuvre ainsi que de progrès dans la législation environnementale. Des travaux supplémentaires sur la mise en œuvre d'une nouvelle législation, sur l'intégration des principes environnementaux et des principes d'une l'économie circulaire dans d'autres domaines politiques sont toujours nécessaires, et je suis convaincu que l'aide de l'UE dans ce domaine contribuera à l'obtention de résultats tangibles. " Plus d'informations sont disponibles ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Daniela Stoycheva - Tel.: +32 229 53664; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


Migration: Commission provides €24.1 million to the International Organisation for Migration to provide support, help and education for migrant children in Greece

The European Commission has awarded €24.1 million in emergency assistance under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to support Greece in responding to migratory challenges. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will receive the funding to help ensure that migrant children can be immediately placed in a protective environment and receive education. It will notably support child-adequate accommodation, medical and psychological support, interpretation and cultural mediation as well as food provision for up to 1,200 unaccompanied minors in the Greek islands and in the mainland and facilitate formal education by providing transport and school kits. In addition, the funding will help assist migrants registered for assisted voluntary return and reintegration programmes. Today's funding decision comes on top of more than €1.6 billion of funding support awarded by the Commission since 2015 to address migration challenges in Greece. Under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), Greece has now been awarded €482.2 million in emergency funding, in addition to €561 million already awarded under these funds for the Greek national programme 2014-2020. You can find a factsheet with detailed information on EU financial support to Greece here(For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)


Clean mobility for cleaner air: new Commission-owned emissions labs

Following the adoption of the new EU car type approval Regulation, the Commission is investing in two additional state-of-the-art emission testing facilities, called VELA (Vehicle Emissions Laboratories), which will be operated by the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). Clean air is a top Commission priority as recalled in the Clean Air For All Communication in May. Ensuring that car emissions are being measured accurately is one of a wide variety of measures which can be used to reach our objective. Following stakeholder consultation and official adoption at EU level, new, more accurate emissions tests became mandatory in 2017. The EU has also overhauled the car type-approval and market surveillance framework, which will be applicable from September 2020. As foreseen, the Commission is now adding two VELA laboratories to the current four to be able to carry out market checks of cars independently of Member States. The two new laboratories will be ready in February 2019 and are scheduled to start in 2020 to test cars in the laboratory (WLTP) and in real driving situation (RDE). The new type-approval rules will allow the Commission to take direct action with an EU-wide recall of non-conformant vehicles. At the moment this is the responsibility of Member States and recall rates, which the Commission publishes regularly, differ substantially across Europe. Yesterday, the Environment Council discussed the related issue of air quality problems and second-hand Diesel cars. Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella represented the Commission and underlined that "prices of second-hand diesel cars are dropping and that makes some people happy, but many others are suffering from poor air quality. We cannot allow shifting local air quality problems from West to East within the Union by exporting polluting diesel cars." A web item on the VELA testing facilities is available online. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040)


La Commission accorde des subventions à 22 villes pour des projets innovants et lance un nouvel appel à projets pour la sécurité des espaces urbains publics

Cet après-midi, la Commission annoncera les villes lauréates du 3e appel à projets dans le cadre des Actions Urbaines Innovantes, dans le contexte de la Semaine européenne des villes et des régions. 92 millions d'euros du Fonds européen de développement régional financera des solutions innovantes pour résoudre des problèmes urbains tels que la qualité de l'air, le changement climatique, le logement, ainsi que des emplois et des compétences pour l'économie locale. En outre, la Commission lance aujourd'hui le 4ème appel à projets des Actions Urbaines Innovantes. Les villes disposeront de 100 millions d'euros pour financer des projets innovants visant à protéger et à réduire la vulnérabilité des espaces publics, comme annoncé dans le plan d'action de 2017 au titre de l'Agenda européen en matière de sécurité. L'appel financera également des projets numériques, environnementaux et d'intégration sociale. La commissaire chargée de la politique régionale, Corina Creţu, a déclaré: "Grâce à ces appels à projets, nous transformons les villes de l'UE en véritables laboratoires afin de tester des solutions susceptibles d'améliorer la qualité de la vie dans toutes les villes du monde. Et parce que la sécurité des espaces publics urbains est devenue une préoccupation cruciale pour les citoyens, après avoir subi de tragiques attentats terroristes ces dernières années, nous soutenons maintenant les villes dans leurs efforts pour protéger leurs habitants." Un communiqué de presse ainsi que de plus amples informations sur les projets sélectionné seront disponibles en ligne à partir de 15h00. (Pour plus d'information: Johannes Bahrke - Tél.: +32 229 58615, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)


Cohesion Policy: the EU invests in the tramway of Sofia

€46.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is invested to upgrade tramway infrastructure and services in the Bulgarian capital. EU-funded works include the reconstruction of the tramway track along "Kamenodelska" Street and "Tsar Boris III" Boulevard, a section that serves 5 tramlines including tram line 5 which transports over 50,000 people a day. The ERDF will also fund the purchase of new low-floor articulated trams and the upgrade of traffic management and passenger information systems. €34 million from the ERDF was already invested in the Sofia tramway in the previous EU budget period. “Thanks to EU funds, the inhabitants of Sofia will enjoy a modern and comfortable tramway. They will also enjoy cleaner air in the capital,” said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu, “as we hope they will trade their usual car ride for the new tram. This is how Cohesion Policy promotes clean mobility, everywhere in the EU.” The EU has also significantly invested in Sofia's metro's lines 1, 2 and 3. Overall, the EU invested €1 billion in Sofia's urban transport since 2007.  (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 56169)


Cohesion Policy: Commission announces winners of the 2018 RegioStars awards

Yesterday Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu held the annual ceremony announcing the winners of the RegioStars awards, rewarding this year's best Cohesion Policy projects. And the winners are: Category 1) Supporting smart industrial transition: Business and Shared Services Centre, a business centre in the town of Fundão, Centro region, Portugal Category 2) Transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy: TeKiDe - textile fibre recycling, a project that makes new textiles from cotton waste in Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland, as part of a bio and circular economy hub attracting investment to the region; Category 3) Better access to public services: Social Housing in the City of Ostrava, a social housing programme in the Czech Moravian-Silesian region; Category 4) Addressing the migration challenge: Labour integration & social inclusion of refugees, a special integration programme in the Spanish region of Murcia which helps migrants find their place in society; Category 5) Investing in cultural heritage: Nant Gwrtheyrn, an abandoned mining village on the north west Wales coast which has been restored to become a cultural centre. The Vista Alegre Heritage Museum in Portugal received the public choice award. Commissioner Creţu said: “RegioStars are true ambassadors of Cohesion policy. In our effort to better communicate what Europe is doing for its citizens, these projects are valuable assets and I hope they inspire many regions when they select EU-funded projects.” (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 56169)


The Commission protects Europeans from hazardous chemicals in clothing and textiles  

Over the past 10 years, the EU has significantly reduced our citizens' exposure to harmful chemicals, and the Commission constantly evaluates how to further enhance the protection of consumers, workers and the environment. Against this backdrop, the Commission today adopted new restrictions for the use of 33 substances known to cause cancer and reproductive health problems for their use in clothing, footwear and other textile articles. The new rules have been adopted by amending the REACH regulation - the most advanced and comprehensive chemical legislation in the world. The measures adopted today aim to protect the health of European citizens' by limiting their exposure to CMR chemicals (substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction), which may be particularly harmful in case of frequent contact with human skin. These new rules set maximum concentration limits for the use of CMR substances in clothing and textiles and prohibit products exceeding these limits from being placed on the EU market, regardless of their origin of production. The restrictions have been prepared on the basis of scientific and technical recommendations by the European Chemicals Agency, and following broad consultations with stakeholders. They will become applicable 24 months after publication of the regulation in the Official Journal of the EU. The Commission is also issuing an explanatory guide on the restriction, which will be available here after the publication in the Official Journal. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278 Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of B&B Italia, Flos and Louis Poulsen by Carlyle and Investindustrial

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control of B&B Italia of Italy, Flos also of Italy and Louis Poulsen of Denmark, by Carlyle of the US and Investindustrial of the UK. B&B Italia manufactures and distributes designer furniture, while both Louis Poulsen and Flos manufacture and distribute designer lighting. Carlyle is a global alternative asset manager. Investindustrial is a European group of investment, holding and financial advisory companies, which currently has sole control of B&B Italia, Flos and Louis Poulsen. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as it would not give rise to any horizontal overlaps or vertical links between Carlyle's activities and those of B&B Italia, Flos and Louis Poulsen. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under case number M.9102. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)




Statement by President Juncker following the arrest of a suspect in the investigation of journalist Victoria Marinova's murder

President Juncker welcomes the swift and intensive efforts by Prime Minister Borissov and the Bulgarian authorities who in close cooperation with law enforcement agencies from other EU Member States successfully arrested the suspected murderer of journalist Victoria Marinova. The swift reaction and joint efforts demonstrate the resolve to bring justice for such despicable acts. Our thoughts remain with Victoria Marinova's family and friends. The statement is available online in EN and BG. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)




Commissioners Avramopoulos, Jourová and King in Luxembourg for the Justice and Home Affairs Council

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová and Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will attend the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg on 11 and 12 October. On Thursday, Justice Ministers are expected to reach a general approach on the Directive on insolvency, restructuring and second chance, to adopt stronger rules criminalising money laundering (see statement), as well as adopt the new data protection regulation applicable to EU institutions. Commissioners Jourová and King will then participate in the discussion on the new electronic evidenceproposals, after which theMinisters will exchange views with the Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), Michael O'Flaherty, and adopt the 2017 conclusions on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. In the afternoon, Commissioner Jourová will update the Ministers on establishing the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), as well as on the proposals made in September to secure free and fair European elections.  Ministers will also exchange views on mutual recognition in criminal matters. The meeting will be followed by a press conference at +/- 17.00 (CET) which will be available on EbS. The keynote speeches by the Commissioners will be available on EbS. On Friday, Commissioner Avramopoulos will discuss the new Commission proposals to reinforce theEuropean Border and Coast Guard Agency, improving the effectiveness of European return policy as well as the next long-term EU budget in the areas of migration, borders and security with Home Affairs Ministers. The Ministers will also exchange views on the state of play of the ongoing reform of the common European asylum system and take stock of the migratory situation along the Mediterranean migratory routes. Commissioner Avramopoulos will participate in the press conference at +/- 17:00 on Friday which will be available on EbS. While in Luxembourg, Commissioners Avramopoulos and King will also host a High-Level Conference of the Radicalisation Awareness Network  on Thursday to address the challenges related to children returning from terrorist-held territory and the radicalisation of prisoners. The keynote speeches by the Commissioners will be available on EbS. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Christian Wigand- Tel.: +32 229 62253)


Commissioner Jourová speaks at Debt Advice Stakeholder Forum to look into how to better support consumers in repaying their debts

Today, Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality will close the first EU Debt Advice Stakeholder Forum, which focuses on how to support European consumers in paying back their debts. Personal debt levels are still high in Europe, despite the recent recovery of the European economy. This persisting problem has both serious economic and social consequences. Commissioner Jourová said: “When people have too much debt, they often cannot find a way out by themselves. Debt advice can be an answer to help European households cut the chains of debt and get back on their own feet.” As debt advice offers vary a lot across the different Member States and depending on the providers, the 2017 Consumer Financial Services Action Plan calls on the Commission to look into how to address consumer over-indebtedness linked to credit activities. The outcomes of the Forum will be instrumental in exploring further action by the Commission in areas of debt advice and households' over-indebtedness. More information can be found online about EU rights on consumer credit, about the Forum and its conclusions. (For more information Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


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


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