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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 04 / 12 / 2018

Brussels, 4 December 2018

Visite à la Commission de la présidence roumaine entrante, mercredi 5 décembre 2018

Demain, mercredi 5 décembre 2018, le Collège des Commissaires recevra le gouvernement roumain, en vue de la présidence roumaine du Conseil de l'Union européenne qui débutera en janvier 2019. Le président Juncker recevra la Première ministre roumaine, Mme Viorica Dăncilă à 11h45 CET, et leur réunion bilatérale sera suivie par un déjeuner de travail entre le gouvernement roumain et le Collège des Commissaires, donnant l'occasion aux participants de discuter des priorités de cette future présidence, notamment des questions financières et sociales; de la migration, la sécurité et les relations extérieures; ainsi que du marché unique numérique et de l'Union de l'énergie. Il s'agira de la première présidence roumaine du Conseil de l'UE. Elle sera en charge des négociations du cadre financier pluriannuel, du retrait du Royaume-Uni de l'UE, mais aussi du sommet de Sibiu de mai 2019 - un moment important pour l'Union des 27, six semaines après le Brexit et deux semaines avant les élections du Parlement européen. Comme le président Juncker l'a déclaré, à Strasbourg, le 23 octobre 2018: “La Roumanie, aujourd'hui et depuis longtemps même avant l'adhésion à l'Union européenne, était et est devenue un fournisseur de stabilité et non pas un consommateur de stabilité dans une région tourmentée, difficile, dramatiquement à travers son histoire éprouvée jusqu'au sang. Sans la Roumanie, l'Union européenne ne serait pas complète." Un point presse conjointparle président Juncker et la Première ministre Dăncilă clôturera la visite à 14h30 CET. Suivez le point presse en direct sur EbS, dont des photos officielles seront aussi disponibles. Le Collège des Commissaires se rendra à son tour à Bucarest en janvier 2019. (Pour plus d'informations: Margaritis Schinas – Tél.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tél.: +32 229 91382)

 

Commission calls on Leaders to pave the way for an agreement on a modern, balanced and fair EU budget for the future

Ahead of the European Council meeting on 13 and 14 December 2018, the Commission is taking stock of the encouraging progress made so far in the negotiations of the EU's next long-term budget and urging Leaders to keep up the momentum. With the European Council meeting being a crucial moment to consolidate the good progress already made and to provide direction on the key features of the future framework, the Commission today is publishing a Communication with the objective to facilitate the discussion among Leaders. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Leaders have agreed together on the Union‘s priorities. We need to ensure that those priorities are adequately funded in the next long-term budget so that they become reality. I am encouraged by the amount of progress reached so far. Based on this progress, it is now the moment for Leaders to provide the necessary political guidance which paves the way for rapid agreement on the next long-term budget." Commissioner in charge of Budget and Human Resources, Günther H. Oettinger said: "Thanks to the excellent work of the Bulgarian and Austrian Presidencies, unprecedented progress has already been made in negotiating the EU's next long-term budget. In parallel, work in the European Parliament has also moved forward. Let's keep this momentum and make further progress based on the political steer that the European Council will provide later this month." Leaders are now invited to give political guidancewith regard to the key features of the future long-term budget that Europe needs. In line with the Commission proposal from 2 May 2018, this should be a modern, balanced, flexible and fair budget that can deliver on Europe's priorities. A full press release is available online here and a factsheet is here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

 

Le Plan Juncker finance l'installation de deux parcs éoliens en mer du Nord 

La Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) vient d'accorder un prêt de 250 millions d'euros à la société SeaMade NV pour la construction de deux parcs éoliens avec 58 éoliennes le long des côtes belges. Une fois opérationnels, les parcs devraient produire un total de 487 mégawatt d'électricité verte. Ce prêt est soutenu par le Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques (EFSI) – le cœur du Plan d'investissement pour l'Europe ou "Plan Juncker". Maroš Šefčovič, vice-président chargé de l'Union de l'Énergie, a déclaré: "Cet accord conclu sous le plan Juncker est un nouvel exemple de notre détermination à investir dans les énergies de demain. Avec 15 milliards d'euros d'investissements supplémentaires mobilisés dans les secteurs de l'environnement et de l'efficacité énergétique, le Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques aide l'UE à réussir la transition vers la neutralité climatique et à réaliser notre objectif d'atteindre plus de 80% de l'électricité de l'UE produite à partir d'énergies renouvelables d'ici à 2050." Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. En novembre 2018, le Plan Juncker a déjà mobilisé 360 milliards d'euros d'investissements supplémentaires en Europe, dont plus de 8 milliards en Belgique, et a permis à 850 000 petites et moyennes entreprises de bénéficier d'un meilleur accès aux financements. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)

 

Latvia: improved access to high-quality healthcare services thanks to EU funds

Over €64 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is invested in modernising healthcare infrastructure in the Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital, in the Latvian capital of Riga. By purchasing highly specialised medical equipment and introducing new IT systems, this EU-funded project will improve access to high-quality medical services for almost 2 million Latvian citizens once it is completed in 2023. Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: “This is Cohesion Policy at its best: contributing in very concrete ways to improving citizens' health care and wellbeing in Europe. The EU has been investing in the Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital for several years now and I'm very happy to have adopted this new investment package.” This investment comes on top of a previous, €24 million EU investment in the hospital. The EU funding will help increase the hospital capacity by over 500 beds in a new area of more than 68,000 m2. In addition, thanks to the purchase of high tech medical equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging system and computed tomography scanner, the hospital will offer new treatment methods and technologies and new opportunities for training and scientific research for graduates and post graduates. (For more information: Christian Spahr – Tel.: +32 2 295 00 55; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

EU Space Week: 40 entrepreneurs to receive €1.6 million for Copernicus and Galileo innovations

Today in Marseille (France) over 40 entrepreneurs will be rewarded with a total of  €1.6 million for developing services, products and business ideas using data provided by Copernicus and Galileo, the two flagship EU satellite programmes. The competitions, which are financed by the Commission, the European Space Agency and the space industry, aim to foster the development of market-driven space-based applications and services in areas such as monitoring construction works, improving wild fire alerts or optimising farming. Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who is in Marseille for the European Space Week, will meet with investors and start-ups and deliver a speech on a new European space approach. The Commission continues to support a European "New Space" of innovative start-ups and encourage further user uptake of space services. Under the next EU budget (2021-2027), the Commission therefore wants to stimulate the growth of the space sector further, for example via innovation partnerships, and improve access to risk finance through the InvestEU programme. (For more information: Lucía Caudet - Tel .: +32 229 56182; Victoria Von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040)

 

EU steps up assistance for victims of the Venezuela crisis

The European Commission has allocated an additional €20 million to respond to the urgent needs of those affected by the socio-economic crisis in Venezuela.  This comes on top of €35 million in emergency relief and development assistance for people in the country and the region announced in June"I have seen first-hand the anguish and suffering of many Venezuelans, who have been forced to leave their homes by the unfolding crisis in the country. The EU remains committed to help those in need in Venezuela, as well as the host communities in neighbouring countries. Our new funding will enhance our efforts to provide health and food assistance, emergency shelter, and improved access to water and sanitation." said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. Commissioner Stylianides visited Colombia in March and travelled to the eastern border with Venezuela and the Simon Bolivar bridge, crossed by thousands of migrants on a daily basis. Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Transport Ministers agree on important improvements of working conditions for truck drivers and operators alike

Yesterday the Transport Council reached a number of important political agreements. In particular, the Transport Ministers reached a general approach on the Mobility Package I, which includes a number of important social reforms for the road sector, and is a flagship file of the Juncker Commission. Commissioner Bulc represented the Commission in these successful negotiations that lasted until early this morning. This agreement will make a real difference for both drivers and operators alike. The measures will put an end to certain unacceptable practices in the sector and will improve the working and resting conditions of drivers. The Council also reached political agreements on a number of other files such as new rules on combined transport, road safety infrastructure, a Maritime Single Window and minimum training of seafarers. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "I am very satisfied that the Council could reach a political agreement on the first mobility package. This agreement will make a real difference for both drivers and operators alike.  I'm now inviting the European Parliament to move ahead swiftly so that we can start inter-institutional negotiations without delay." More information from yesterday's Transport Council is available in our MEMO on the Council outcomes and with our team. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Stephan Meder – Tel.: +32 229 1 39 17)

 

Telecoms Council adopts partial general approach on the Digital Europe Programme and confirms new EU telecoms rules

Today the EU ministers at the Telecoms Council adopted a partial general approach on the Digital Europe Programme. Building on the Digital Single Market strategy, launched in May 2015, and its achievements over the past years, the European Commission proposed in June 2018 to create the first ever Digital Europe Programme and invest €9.2 billion in tomorrow's digital technologies as part of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: "The Council's quick decision on the Digital Europe Programme sends a strong message towards strengthening Europe's leadership in the digital era. The Programme aims to reinforce EU digital investment in five key areas, namely high performance computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and trust, digital skills and ensuring a wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society. A timely agreement on the next long-term budget of the EU and its spending programmes will guarantee that as of January 2021our citizens and businesses will thrive in the digitalised world of tomorrow and reap the full benefits of a competitive, innovative and inclusive Digital Europe". In addition, after the European Parliament's vote in mid-November, the Councilapproved the new rules establishing the European Electronic Communications Code and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The new rules respond to the needs of today and tomorrow, creating an investment-friendly and pro-competitive framework which will lay the groundwork for the development of 5G across Europe. They will enter into force on the third day following their publication in the Official Journal of the EU and Member States will have two years to transpose the Code into national law. The BEREC Regulation will enter into force on the third day following their publication in the Official Journal (see Questions & Answers). Finally, the Council adopted a progress report on the eprivacy Regulation proposed by the Commission in January 2017 to modernise the rules of confidentially in the digital age, which urgently need to be aligned with the General Data Protection Regulation – the new world-class standard for data protection – and also to cover everyday tools such as instant messaging, voice over IP and web-based e-mail. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou- Tel.: +32 229 83583)

 

Breda wins 2019 Access City Award for making the city more accessible to citizens with disabilities

The 2019 Access City Award goes to the city of Breda, in the Netherlands, for continuously making improvements to make life easier for people with disabilities. The award was handed out this morning at the Access City Award Ceremony, taking place in Brussels. Breda is a source of inspiration for cities in Europe and beyond, which encounter similar challenges. At the award ceremony, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen said: "Too often, people with disabilities feel isolated because they cannot access public spaces or transport. In Breda, public places such as parks and stores are accessible to everyone. Digital technologies ensure that all citizens can get around using public transport. And Breda's investments pay off. Tourism is thriving thanks to the city's commitment to inclusion. In the near future, the European Accessibility Act will complement Breda's efforts by setting European accessibility standards for key products and services. Our combined efforts at local and European level are a game changer for the more than 80 million Europeans with disabilities.” To mark the European Year of Cultural Heritage, awards were also presented to cities that made outstanding efforts to make their cultural heritage accessible. When handing out the trophies, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: "Enabling everyone to discover and enjoy cultural heritage is one of the main goals of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. That is why I am delighted that this year's edition of the Access City Awards features a special prize for two cities that have made their cultural heritage sites more accessible. I congratulate Viborg in Denmark and Monteverde in Italy for the steps they have taken, and hope that many other cities will follow their example.” More information about the awards and the full list of winners is available in this press release. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

EU Commission report on Roma integration finds education among Roma improved, while segregation remains a challenge

Today, the Commission is publishing its evaluation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies for the 2011-2017 period. It shows that the EU framework has been key for the development of EU and national instruments and structures promoting Roma inclusion. Education is the area achieving the most progress, especially with an increasing participation of Roma children in early childhood education and declining early school-leaving, although segregation remains a challenge. Progress regarding health is limited and there is no improvement when it comes to the access to employment and housing, while some progress has been made in the fight against poverty. Antigypsyism and hate crime against Roma continue to be a matter of high concern. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "The EU Framework brought an unprecedented commitment from the EU and Member States to put Roma inclusion high on the agenda. While Roma now have better access to education, despite segregation in some countries, access to housing and health is still a challenge for Roma. I call on the Member States to intensify efforts to close the gap between Roma and non-Roma.” The report also includes the results of a public consultation on the future of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. An overwhelming majority of the respondents think that the situation of Roma is worse than that of non-Roma in particular regarding discrimination, employment and housing. 60 % of respondents said that national, regional and local authorities need EU-support to improve the situation of Roma. The key findings of the evaluation as well as today's Communication and the Working Staff Document can be found online here. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for continued action to eradicate trafficking in human beings

Today, the European Commission is presenting its Second Report on the progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings. Taking stock of measures taken since 2015, the report highlights the main trends in trafficking in human beings and outlines remaining challenges that the EU and Member States must address as a matter of priority. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: "Thousands of human beings are still trafficked every year in the European Union. This happens right under our watch – to women, children, to EU and non-EU citizens. Despite progress in some areas, there is an imperative need to end the culture of impunity for perpetrators and abusers. It is time for law enforcement and justice authorities across Member States to further step up cooperation and duly enforce existing legislation to catch those involved in this heinous crime, and offer effective and rightful protection to the victims”. The EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, said: "The findings of this second report are encouraging but at the same time concerning. A lot has been achieved but our ultimate goal must remain eradicating the crime, we owe this to the victims. We have a rich toolbox at EU level ready to be fully implemented and ensure that no victims remain invisible."Commissioner Avramopoulos will present the report together with Myria Vassiliadou at a meeting with national authorities and civil society taking place this afternoon, which can be followed on EbS. A full press release is available online and more information on EU action against trafficking in human beings is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Kasia Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

 

Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Visa and Mastercard on inter-regional interchange fees

The European Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered separately by Visa and Mastercard to address competition concerns relating to inter-regional interchange fees for payment card transactions. When a consumer uses a debit or credit card in a shop or online, the bank of the retailer (the "acquiring bank") pays a fee called a "multilateral interchange fee" ("MIF") to the cardholder's bank (the "issuing bank"). The acquiring bank passes this fee on to the retailer who includes it, like any other cost, in the final prices to all consumers, even to those who do not use cards. Inter-regional interchange fees (also referred to as "inter-regional MIFs") are MIFs applied to payments made in the European Economic Area (EEA) with consumer debit and credit cards issued outside the EEA. The Mastercard and Visa networks set the level of MIFs (including inter-regional MIFs) applied by their licensee banks between them. The Commission is concerned that inter-regional MIFs may anti-competitively increase prices for European retailers accepting payments from cards issued outside the EEA and in turn lead to higher prices for consumer goods and services in the EEA. The Commission outlined its competition concerns related to inter-regional MIFs in a Statement of Objections addressed to Mastercard on 9 July 2015 and a Supplementary Statement of Objections addressed to Visa on 3 August 2017. To address the Commission's competition concerns, Mastercard and Visa have, each separately, decided to offer commitments that would reduce the inter-regional MIFs by at least 40%. The commitments would apply for a period of five years and six months. A trustee would be in charge of monitoring the implementation of the commitments by the two companies.  The Commission invites all stakeholders to submit their views on the commitments within one month of their publication in the EU's Official Journal. The full text of the commitments is available on the case website. A full press release is available in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the merger between Pizza Hut and Telepizza

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the merger between Pizza Hut International, LLC of the US, belonging to the YUM! Group also of the US, and Telepizza Group, S.A. of Spain. Both Pizza Hut and Telepizza operate, either directly or through master franchisees and franchisees, pizza outlets offering quick-service, dine-in and take-away/home delivery services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the number of strong competitors on the markets for informal restaurants and franchising services. 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 the case number M.9025. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Eurostat: Les prix à la production industrielle en hausse de 0,8% dans la zone euro, hausse de 0,7% dans l'UE28

En octobre 2018 par rapport à septembre 2018, les prix à la production industrielle ont augmenté de 0,8% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,7% dans l'UE28, selon les estimations d'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. En septembre 2018, les prix avaient augmenté de 0,6% dans les deux zones. En octobre 2018 par rapport à octobre 2017, les prix à la production industrielle ont augmenté de 4,9% dans la zone euro et de 5,4% dans l'UE28. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tél.: +32 229 87278)


ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Commissioner Navracsics attends UNESCO's Global Education 2030 meeting

Today, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will speak at the opening ceremony of the ministerial meeting on “Education in an interconnected world: Ensuring inclusive and equitable development”. The meeting is organised by UNESCO with the support of the Belgian government and takes place from 3–5 December in Brussels. Participants, including Ministers, NGOs and academics, will review progress towards the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. The Commissioner will speak about the efforts Europe is making to ensure inclusive and high quality education available to all, in particular by working towards building a European Education Area with Member States by 2025. The programme and working documents are available online. The event is being streamed live here(For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt — Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.:  +32 229 56184)

 

A Europe that Protects: Commissioner King to participate in the Security Research Event 2018 #SRE2018

Tomorrow, Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will participate, in Brussels, in the Security Research Event (SRE) 2018 on "Making Europe a safer place: demonstrating the impact of EU-funded security research", co-organised with the Austrian Presidency of the EU. This annual meeting will gather a wide range of security stakeholders from across Europe: researchers, industry representatives, public security providers and practitioners (fire departments, police, border guards etc.), as well as policymakers who will discuss the state of play and current challenges facing security research in Europe. In particular, the participants will focus on the results of security-related research and innovation activities, their impact on the day-to-day work of security practitioners and bridging the gap between research and the market. Since 2007 more than 400 projects worth €2.2 billion have been funded under the security research programme. A press conference with Commissioner King and the Austrian Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology Norbert Hofer will take place at 14:40 and will be available to follow on EbS. More information on the event is available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Kasia Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

 

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

MEX/18/6658


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