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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 15 / 02 / 2019

Brussels, 15 February 2019

European Commission adopts 2018 General Report on the Activities of the European Union

The European Commission today adopted the 2018 edition of the General Report. This fulfils its legal obligation under Article 249(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to publish an annual report on the activities of the European Union. The report shows how the EU is delivering on its commitments to Europeans. In 2018, after nearly 6 years of continuous growth, 239 million Europeans were at work – more than ever before. 12.4 million jobs have now been created since 2014, with unemployment dropping to 6.8% and youth unemployment back to 2008 levels. The Juncker Investment Plan for Europe has mobilised over €370 billion in investment across Europe. The General Report also highlights that the Digital Single Market Strategy is well on its way with agreement reached over the past year on 23 of the Commission's 30 proposals. This includes new initiatives such as supercomputing, e-health, disinformation, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and blockchain. In addition, new rules now provide stronger and more consistent personal data protection for people, businesses and administrations. The EU continued to lead the fight against climate change, playing an instrumental role at the UN Climate Conference in Katowice in December to make the Paris Agreement operational. The Commission backed its action by proposing a Clean Planet for all setting a long-term vision for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. In 2018, the EU signed a trade deal with Japan and reached a new agreement on trade with Mexico. 600,000 jobs in Europe are tied to exports to Japan, and 400,000 jobs rely on exports to Mexico. On migration, following the peak in arrivals to the EU in 2015, flows went back to below pre-crisis levels. The Commission also presented new proposals to further strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard. The General Report is prepared in all official languages of the EU. It will be available from 13 March as a fully illustrated book and in an interactive online version. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265)


€251 million more for Erasmus+ in 2019

The European Commission has today adopted the revised Erasmus+ Annual Work Programme for 2019, allocating an additional €251 million to the already planned €3 billion budget for the year, which will be invested in learning mobility and a number of priority projects. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “I am very pleased that the Erasmus+ programme 2019 will be able to offer more people a learning experience abroad and in particular double the funds for European Universities. We will also increase funding for the new Centres of Vocational Excellence and be able to reinforce our focus on social inclusion projects.” The revised work programme 2019 will also benefit innovative and cross-disciplinary projects such as digital learning and the teaching of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) as well as international activities in the field of higher education. Recognising the importance of investing in young people, the additional funding was agreed between the Council of the EU and the European Parliament in the context of their decision on the overall 2019 EU budget. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184) 


Rohingya Crisis: EU releases €24 million for Bangladesh

The European Commission has released an additional €24 million in humanitarian aid for vulnerable Rohingya refugees and host communities living in Cox's Bazar district, in Bangladesh. Part of the funding will also cover disaster preparedness initiatives in the country. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: "The humanitarian community and the government of Bangladesh have responded with true solidarity to the plight of the Rohingya refugees. Our collective efforts have saved countless lives since the crisis began over a year ago. Yet we cannot stop now as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya rely on humanitarian aid to survive. This is why we are stepping up our EU support. We will stand by those most in need for as long as it takes."Out of the funding announced today, €19 million will be targeted at Rohingya and host communities to provide protection, emergency health assistance, nutrition, water and sanitation, education and food security. A further €5 million will be used to support communities' preparedness against hazards and to strengthen local authorities' capacities to prepare for and manage natural disasters. Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.:+32 229 69140)


L'UE mobilise 45 millions d'euros en faveur des petites exploitations agricoles en Afrique rurale

Le commissaire pour la coopération internationale et le développement, Neven Mimica, est aujourd'hui à Rome pour le lancement du nouveau Fonds Agri-Business Capital (ABC), qui contribuera à réaliser les objectifs de l'Alliance Afrique-Europe pour un investissement et des emplois durables. S'exprimant lors du lancement du fonds, organisé par le Fonds international de développement agricole (FIDA), le commissaire Mimica a déclaré: « L'UE s'engage à stimuler les investissements dans les entreprises agricoles, à renforcer les moyens de subsistance et à créer des emplois durables dans les zones rurales, en particulier dans les communautés qui sont traditionnellement mal desservies. Le fonds ABC nous permettra de faire cela, et c'est pourquoi il bénéficie de notre soutien plein et entier. » L'UE a mis 45 millions d'euros à disposition du fonds. En outre, le gouvernement du Luxembourg et l'Alliance pour une révolution verte en Afrique, une organisation non gouvernementale internationale, contribuent respectivement au fonds à hauteur de 5 millions d'euros et de 5 millions de dollars. Le fonds est mis en place par le FIDA. Pour plus de détails, le communiqué de presse complet est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tél.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tél.: +32 229 92256)


A better deal for consumers: Commission welcomes European Parliament's adoption of the revised intra-EU Cross-border Payments Regulation

The European Parliament adopted yesterday the final text of the Cross-border Payments Regulation, as agreed during the inter-institutional negotiations with the Council of the EU. The Regulation will make intra-EU payments in euro cheaper across the entire EU and will bring full transparency in currency conversion when consumers are either paying by card or sending money via their home banking platforms. Up until now, intra-EU payments in euro from non-euro area Member States could cost as high as €20 in some countries while equivalent intra-EU payments from euro area Member States are very cheap or even free. As of 15 December 2019, consumers and businesses outside the euro area will be able to fully benefit from the Single Market and from the efficient euro payments infrastructure when they send money, withdraw cash or pay abroad in euro. All payments in euro outside the euro area will be priced the same as domestic payments in the local currency. The revised Regulation also makes currency conversion charges fully transparent, setting standardised transparency requirements for card-based transactions and credit transfers. Banks, merchants or ATM operators offering a transaction in the consumer's home currency will all have to declare currency conversion charges in the same way. All EU consumers will be able to compare currency conversion charges when paying with their cards in another EU currency, allowing them to make an informed choice. This newly adopted regulation stems from the 2017 Consumer Financial Services Action Plan and was proposed by the Commission on 28 March 2018. For more information see MEMOand Factsheet. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)


EU invests €116.1 million to improve the quality of life of Europeans

The European Commission today announced an investment of €116.1 million for the latest integrated projects to be funded under the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action. The funding will support projects in Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "LIFE Integrated Projects are a perfect example of EU funds making a real difference on the ground, improving the quality of life of millions of European citizens. The new investment will help Member States to tap into resources to respond to citizens' concerns on air and water quality and halt the loss of biodiversity." Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: "The Commission proposed to build on the positive experience with climate mainstreaming and further strengthen climate action in the next EU long-term budget. This increase in ambition will strengthen climate action in key areas, such as agriculture and rural development and external action, and increase dedicated funding for climate action under the LIFE programme." A full press release and Annex are available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel: +32 229-56186; Daniela Stoycheva - Tel.: +32 229 53664; Lynn Rietdorf – Tel: +32 229-74959)


Security Union: Commission welcomes political agreement on new rules for explosive precursors

Yesterday, Member States endorsed the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission's proposal to strengthen EU rules on explosive precursors. The reinforced rules will ensure stronger safeguards and controls on the sale of dangerous chemicals that can be misused for the production of home-made explosives. Welcoming the agreement, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “In a Europe that protects, it is indispensable to restrict criminals' and terrorists' access to the means they use to hurt us. Homemade explosives, cooked from materials bought over the counter, have been used time and time again against our citizens. The new EU rules against explosives precursors will ban additional chemicals, tighten rules on online sales, and further restrict access to the general public. The agreement is yet another step in the right direction, towards a genuine and effective Security Union in Europe." Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: "Closing down the space in which terrorists operate includes depriving them of the means to harm us – and the political agreement will help tighten the controls around the kinds of home-made explosives which have been used to such deadly effect in attacks on European soil." The full press release is available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Kasia Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


La Commission européenne lance les premiers Prix européens pour l'éducation aux médias

La Commission européenne a lancé aujourd'hui ses premiers Prix européens pour l'éducation aux médias. Les experts en éducation aux médias, écoles, universités, bibliothèques publiques, radiodiffuseurs, autres entités publiques et privées ainsi que des particuliers sont invités à soumettre leurs projets susceptibles d'avoir un impact en matière d'éducation aux médias. Le 19 mars, sept meilleurs projets seront invités à Bruxelles à concourir pour trois prix: le projet le plus innovant, le projet le plus éducatif et le projet présentant le plus grand potentiel européen. La remise des prix fera partie de la conférence de haut niveau, moment phare de la première édition de la Semaine européenne de l'éducation aux médias, qui se déroulera du 18 au 22 mars 2019. Divers événements sur le thème de l'éducation aux médias seront alors organisés à Bruxelles et dans l'ensemble de l'UE. Andrus Ansip, vice-président pour le marché unique numérique, a déclaré: "Le paysage médiatique évolue rapidement à mesure que la technologie et les modèles commerciaux évoluent et que de nouveaux acteurs entrent en scène. Il est donc vital de renforcer la capacité de notre société à maîtriser les médias modernes et à renforcer ainsi nos démocraties participatives." La commissaire chargée de l'économie et de la société numériques, Mariya Gabriel, a ajouté: "L'éducation aux médias est un facteur clé pour sensibiliser les citoyens à la désinformation, particulièrement importante dans le contexte des prochaines élections. Je me félicite de toutes les initiatives de ce type qui responsabilisent davantage les citoyens, les dotant de meilleures compétences et leur permettant de choisir en connaissance de cause." Lors de la conférence du 19 mars, des institutions européennes, des régulateurs de l'audiovisuel, des experts des médias, des journalistes, des représentants des États membres et des citoyens discuteront du rôle de l'éducation aux médias pour permettre aux citoyens de mieux appréhender l'environnement moderne de l'information, l'évolution d'un journalisme de qualité dans le monde numérique et des modes de soutien de la part des pouvoirs publics et les innovations technologiques. Plus d'informations sur les prix, la conférence du 19 mars, et les activités locales de la #EUMediaLiteracyWeek sont disponibles ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tél.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou – Tél.: +32 229 83583)


Formalités administratives : Des règles plus simples pour les citoyens vivant ou travaillant dans un autre État membre

Les nouvelles règles européennes visant à réduire les coûts et formalités auxquels font face les citoyens qui doivent présenter un document public dans un autre pays de l'UE entrent en vigueur demain. Actuellement, les citoyens qui décident de s'installer ou vivent dans un autre pays de l'Union doivent obtenir un timbre pour prouver l'authenticité de leurs documents publics (certificats de naissance, de mariage ou de décès, par exemple). Il y a environ 17 millions de citoyens européens dans cette situation. En vertu du nouveau règlement, ils n'auront plus à obtenir ce timbre ni à se plier aux formalités administratives y afférentes quand ils présenteront aux autorités d'un État membre de l'UE un document public délivré dans un autre État membre.  « C'est une bonne nouvelle pour celles et ceux qui vivent ou désirent s'installer dans un autre pays de l'Union », a déclaré Věra Jourová, commissaire européenne pour la justice, les consommateurs et l'égalité des genres. « A partir de demain, il n'y aura plus de procédures bureaucratiques longues et onéreuses pour les citoyens qui doivent présenter un document public afin de pouvoir, par exemple, se marier ou travailler dans leur pays de résidence. Cela rendra la vie quotidienne des citoyens vivant ou travaillant dans un autre pays de l'UE plus simple et moins onéreuse. » Le règlement supprime également l'obligation, pour les citoyens, de produire dans tous les cas une copie et une traduction certifiées conformes de leurs documents publics; pour éviter de devoir faire traduire leurs documents publics, les citoyens peuvent également y joindre, comme aide à la traduction, un formulaire type multilingue, dont il existe une version dans chaque langue de l'UE. Le règlement instaure également des garde-fous solides contre la fraude. Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Johnson Controls Power Solutions Business by Brookfield

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of the Power Solutions business of Johnson Controls International plc (“Johnson Controls Power Solutions business”) of Ireland by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (“Brookfield”) of Canada. Johnson Controls Power Solutions business is engaged in the business of low voltage energy storage products in motive applications. Brookfield is an asset manager with a focus on real estate, renewable power, infrastructure and private equity. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the companies are not engaged in business activities in the same product and geographic market, or in any upstream or downstream 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.9224. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Gleadell by ADM

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control of Gleadell Agriculture Limited ("Gleadell") by ADM Arkady Limited ("ADM"), both based in the UK. Gleadell is a supplier and exporter of various grain and oilseed products. ADM is part of the Archer Daniels Midland group of companies and is a processor of a number of agricultural commodities. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as ADM has already joint control over Gleadell. Moreover, Gleadell and ADM hold limited combined market shares in the few markets where their activities overlap in the European Economic Area. 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.9262. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of AHT Group by Daikin Industries

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Cool International Holding GmbH ("Cool International") of Austria by Daikin Europe N.V. ("Daikin") of Belgium, which is controlled by Daikin Industries, Ltd, of Japan. Cool International manufactures, through its subsidiaries forming the AHT Group, plug-in display cases for food manufacturers and food retailers. Daikin manufactures and supplies heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. Based on the companies' estimated market shares, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns in Europe or globally, given the absence of horizontal overlaps and of only one limited vertical link between the companies' activities. 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.9246. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of joint control over Genesis Care by KKR and China Resources

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Genesis Care Pty Limited ("Genesis Care") of Australia by KKR & Co. Inc. of the US and China Resources (Holdings) Company Limited ("China Resources") of Hong Kong. Genesis Care, currently solely controlled by China Resources, is active in the provision of cancer care services in the UK, Spain and Australia, radiation therapy treatments for benign diseases in Spain and Australia, and cardiology, sleep and respiratory treatment services in Australia. KKR is a global investment firm, which offers a broad range of alternative asset management services to public and private market investors. China Resources is a diversified holding company and is ultimately supervised by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, which serves as the top level holding company for a group of companies operating a wide variety of businesses.The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition 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.9243. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Eurostat: Excédent de 17 milliards d'euros du commerce international de biens de la zone euro, excédent de 700 millions d'euros pour l'UE28

Selon les premières estimations, les exportations de biens de la zone euro (ZE19) vers le reste du monde se sont établies à 176,5 milliards d'euros en décembre 2018, en baisse de 2,5% par rapport à décembre 2017 (181,0 milliards). Les importations depuis le reste du monde ont quant à elles été de 159,5 milliards d'euros, en hausse de 1,9% par rapport à décembre 2017 (156,5 milliards). En conséquence, la zone euro a enregistré en décembre 2018 un excédent de 17,0 milliards d'euros de son commerce international de biens avec le reste du monde, contre +24,5 milliards en décembre 2017. Le commerce intra-zone euro s'est établi à 142,6 milliards d'euros en décembre 2018, soit -1,2% par rapport à décembre 2017. Un communiqué de presse complet est en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tél.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tél.: +32 229 51383)






Commissioner Oettinger on an official visit to Belarus on 17-18 February 2019

The European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther H. Oettinger will travel to Minsk, Belarus, on 17 and 18 February 2019 on an official visit to the country. In meetings with President Alexander Lukashenko, Prime Minister Sergei Rumas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Kravchenko and Minister of Finance Maksim Yermalovich, the Commissioner will discuss the current state of play and prospects for EU-Belarus cooperation, Belarus' participation in the Eastern Partnership as well as provide information about the ongoing negotiations on EU's next long-term budget, the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework. As part of the official visit, Commissioner Oettinger will also meet with representatives of civil society and participants in the MOST project. More information on EU-Belarus relations is available here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)


Citizens' Dialogue with Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner Corina Creţu in Greece [updated on 15/02/2019, 17:30]

On Sunday 17 February, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu will take part in a Citizens' Dialogue on the Future of Europe: the challenges and opportunities ahead in Olympia, Greece. The event will take place at the Amphitheatre Dimitris Vickelas at the International Olympic Academy at 13:30 CET. The Citizens' Dialogue will be livestreamed on Facebook, and can be followed in both Greek and Romanian. Earlier in the afternoon, Commissioner Avramopoulos and Commissioner Creţu will also deliver a speech at the Olympia Forum. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Christian Spahr – Tel.: +32 229 50055)


Commissioner Gabriel in the Republic of North Macedonia to promote the Digital Agenda for Western Balkans and encourage progress on digital issues

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, will travel to the Republic of North Macedonia, on Monday 18 February, to promote the Commission's enhanced support to the Western Balkan partners in the digital transformation of their economies and societies. She will discuss the implementation of the various priorities of the Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damjan Mancevski. Commissioner Gabriel will also visit the future Science and Technology Park, an important project aimed at establishing technology transfer and accelerating the growth of start-ups and businesses. The EU has financed (€175,000) a feasibility study for establishing the Science and Technology Park. She will also convey her hope to finalise the Regional Roaming Agreement that will provide a very clear signal to the citizens and businesses of the region that the Digital Agenda can deliver clear and measureable benefits. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou – Tel.: +32 229 83583)




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