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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 18 / 02 / 2019

Brussels, 18 February 2019

Le Plan Juncker soutient les petites et moyennes entreprises portugaises ainsi que les secteurs de la distribution et de la chimie en France

Au Portugal, le Plan d'Investissement pour l'Europe – ou Plan Juncker – soutient deux accords entre le groupe Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) et la banque Millenium BCP. Ces accords devraient aider 1 900 petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) portugaises à bénéficier d'un meilleur accès au financement. Également soutenus par COSME et InnovFin, les programmes européens pour la compétitivité et l'innovation dans les PME, ces accords devraient générer 900 millions d'euros d'investissements supplémentaires pour les entreprises du pays. En France, le Plan Juncker soutient un prêt de 100 millions d'euros de la BEI à Fnac-Darty, l'un des principaux distributeurs français de produits électroniques. L'objectif est de financer la transformation numérique du groupe, visant à le faire rentrer dans une nouvelle ère de plateforme de services. Enfin, le Plan Juncker soutient un prêt de 180 millions d'euros de la BEI au groupe SNF, spécialisé dans la chimie pour le traitement de l'eau. Ce prêt permettra au groupe de développer ses activités de recherche et développement durant les quatre prochaines années et de construire une nouvelle usine à Gravelines, près de Dunkerque, dans le Nord de la France. Ce site devrait employer entre 160 et 180 personnes à court terme. Des communiqués de presse sont disponible ici. En février 2019, le Plan Juncker a mobilisé près de 380 milliards d'euros supplémentaires en Europe, avec 842 000 entreprises bénéficiant d'un meilleur accès au financement. Au Portugal et en France, le Plan Juncker a déjà mobilisé respectivement 8,8 milliards d'euros et près de 62 milliards d'investissements supplémentaires depuis son lancement. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229-56153; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)


Brexit preparedness: Commission intensifies “no-deal” customs preparedness outreach to EU businesses

The European Commission has today stepped up its “no-deal” outreach to EU businesses in the area of customs and indirect taxation such as VAT, given the risk that the United Kingdom may leave the EU on 30 March this year without a deal. The outreach campaign launched today is part of the Commission's ongoing efforts to prepare for the UK's exit of the European Union without a deal, in line with the European Council (Article 50) conclusions of December 2018, calling for intensified preparedness work for all scenarios. This campaign should help to inform businesses that want to continue trading with the UK after 30 March on what they need to do to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Preparing for the UK becoming a non-EU country is of paramount importance if significant disruption for EU business is to be avoided. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “With the risk of a no-deal Brexit increasing as we get closer to March 29, the European Commission and national customs authorities are working hard to be ready to introduce checks and controls on goods flowing between the EU and the UK. This is key to protecting our consumers and our internal market. A lot depends on the ability of businesses trading with the UK to get up to speed with the customs rules that will apply on day one in case of no deal. There is no time to lose and we are here to help with the information campaign." Today's launch aims to raise awareness amongst the EU's business community, especially SMEs. A range of material has today been made available to businesses, including a simple 5-step checklist, providing an overview of the steps that need to be taken. While the overall impact of a "no-deal" scenario cannot be mitigated, today's campaign should complement national efforts to inform EU businesses and help to reach out to affected businesses in the EU27 Member States. Preparatory work, supported by the Commission, is also underway in Member States to ensure that national customs infrastructure and logistics are ready to deal with a no-deal scenario. A press release in online. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 8718)


Apply now: Lorenzo Natali Media Prize for outstanding journalism in development

The European Commission's Lorenzo Natali Media Prize recognises journalists doing exceptional reporting on development topics such as poverty eradication and the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: "The vast majority of people in this world live in developing countries and we are committed to leave no one behind. We want to ensure everyone can have a safe, healthy and prosperous life. But there is still work to be done. There are different realities across the globe, and the media is here to open our eyes to them. The Lorenzo Natalia Media prize is for those journalists who awaken our conscience and encourage us to take action for a better tomorrow.” Applications are now open, from 18 February to 14 April for online, print and audio-visual work. Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Digital Single Market: the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking launches first calls for expressions of interest

The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) launched its first calls for expressions of interest to select the sites that will host its first supercomputers by the end of 2020. Two calls are now open: one for hosting entities for petascale supercomputers (with a performance level capable of executing at least 1015 operations per second, or 1 Petaflop), and one for hosting entities for precursor to exascale supercomputers (with a performance level capable of executing more than 150 Petaflops). The Joint Undertaking plans to acquire at least two of each kind of machine. A hosting entity is an existing national supercomputing centre located in a Member State that is participating in the Joint Undertaking. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said, “Deciding where Europe will host its most powerful petascale and precursor to exascale machines is only the first step in this great European initiative on high performance computing. Regardless of where users are located in Europe, these supercomputers will be used in more than 800 scientific and industrial application fields for the benefit of European citizens." The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking was established last year with the aim of equipping the EU by the end of 2020 with a world-class supercomputing infrastructure, which will support the development of leading scientific, public sector and industrial applications in many domains, including personalised medicine, bio-engineering, weather forecasting and tackling climate change, discovering new materials and medicines, oil and gas exploration, designing new planes and cars, and smart cities. In addition to the above plans, the Joint Undertaking aims to acquire by 2022/23 exascale supercomputers, capable of 1018 operations per second, with at least one based on European HPC technology. More information about supercomputing can be found here, and more details about the call are available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou –Tel.: +32 229 83583)


Commission and Member States discuss next steps to foster development and use of artificial intelligence  

Today, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska participates in the Competitiveness Council sessions on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on European industry and progress made on the development of national AI strategies, which should be in place by mid-2019. The Council will adopt conclusions on the Coordinated Plan to boost AI, presented by the Commission in December 2018 and prepared together with the Member States. The discussion builds on the European Council meeting from 13-14 December 2018 where EU leaders agreed on the need for the Single Market to evolve so that it fully embraces the digital transformation. In Spring, the independent expert group on artificial intelligence will present ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI and their policy and investment recommendations on how to strengthen Europe's competitiveness in AI. Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, will participate in tomorrow's discussion on the next EU programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe. Press conferences can be followed on EbS. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Marietta Grammenou  – Tel.: +32 229 83583)


REACH: Commission imposes strict conditions over the use of hazardous chemicals used in automotive, aerospace and medical sectors [updated at 10.58 on 19/02/2019]

The Commission is working with Member States and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to continuously limit the risks posed by chemicals to human health and the environment in the context of the EU's REACH regulation – the most comprehensive chemicals legislation in the world. On Friday, Member States' representatives in the so-called REACH Committee agreed to the Commission's proposals to further reduce workers' exposure to two chemical substances of very high concern, following recommendations by ECHA. The decision will oblige companies that have applied to use chromium trioxide, a substance of very high concern due to its carcinogenic properties, to implement strict risk management procedures for various uses of the substance in the automotive, aerospace and other sectors. It also gives these companies a maximum of 7 years to reassess the availability of safer alternatives or substitute the substance earlier when possible. The REACH committee has also followed the Commission's proposal to, for the first time ever, reject the authorisation for continued use of sodium dichromate, an also potentially carcinogenic substance by a company using it for treatment of micro-surgical instruments. The Commission is due to adopt the above mentioned decisions in the coming weeks. More details are available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko - Tel.: +32 229 87278)


Mergers: Commission approves the acquisition of joint control of Andromeda, Nireus and Selonda by Amerra and Mubadala, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Andromeda, Nireus and Selonda, all active in aquaculture, by Amerra and Mubadala. The Commission examined the effects of the proposed transaction on competition in the following markets, where the activities of Andromeda, Nireus and Selonda overlap: (i) the production and the supply of Mediterranean farmed fish (i.e. seabream and seabass) and (ii) the production and the supply of Mediterranean seabream and seabass fry.  As regards the production and supply of Mediterranean farmed fish, the companies have been competing closely, and the proposed transaction would create the largest European producer of Mediterranean seabream and seabass with strong market positions in Greece, Italy, Portugal and in the European Economic Area (EEA) as a whole. As regards the production and supply of Mediterranean seabream and seabass fry, the Commission found that, after the proposed transaction, the companies would have strong market positions in Greece and in the EEA as a whole. As a result, the Commission was concerned that the transaction as notified could have led to higher prices for customers of Mediterranean farmed fish, as well as of seabream and seabass fry. To address the Commission's concerns, the companies offered: (i) thedivestiture of fish farms that produce 10,000 tonnes of Mediterranean fish, together with packaging facilities for this with the same capacity, and (ii) the divestiture of hatcheries that produce 50 million pieces of fry and the transfer of the know-how in research and breeding programmes of Nireus and Selonda to the purchaser. These commitments fully address the Commission's concerns. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments. The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, EL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Concentrations: La Commission autorise l'acquisition du contrôle conjoint d'un parc photovoltaïque par Engie et le groupe BPCE

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle conjoint du parc photovoltaïque Engie PV Curbans par Engie et le groupe Banque Populaire Caisse d'Epargne (“BPCE”), tous deux basés en France. Le parc photovoltaïque est situé en France et n'est contrôlé actuellement par aucune société. Engie est active dans les secteurs du gaz, de l'électricité et des services énergétiques. BPCE est un groupe actif principalement dans le secteur financier. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence en raison des chevauchements limités entre les activités des entreprises concernées au niveau de la production, de la fourniture en gros et au détail d'électricité, ainsi que du développement de parcs photovoltaïques. L'opération a été examinée en vertu de la procédure simplifiée de contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.9269. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tél.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tél.: +32 229 90526)





Transforming the power sector: New report about integrating renewable energy

The Commission hosts a launch event of a report on innovations that will transform the power sector on Tuesday 19 February in Brussels. The report "Innovation Landscape for a Renewable-Powered Future: solutions to integrate variable renewables” by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will be presented by IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin in the presence of Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete. With its "Clean Energy for All Europeans" –package the EU has already started the modernisation and transformation towards a climate neutral economy. Implementing the package will further boost innovation, and the EU can continue to show leadership and support the rest of the world by exporting innovative solutions in the fight against climate change. The Commission's vision "Clean Planet for All" aims at modernising the EU's economy making it the first major economy to become climate neutral by 2050. The vision foresees a central role for renewable energy in this transition. IRENA is the global intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a renewable energy future, and serves as a platform for international co-operation and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Lynn Rietdorf – Tel.: +32 229 74959)


Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis in Turin, Italy

On 20 February, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, will travel to Turin, Italy, to attend the 4th edition of the International Food Journalism Festival. He will deliver the keynote speech at the festival, and will present awards to the winners of the “Journalism in food safety and information to consumers” award. Ahead of his visit to Italy, Commissioner Andriukaitis said, "Food safety and food quality are areas that touch the lives of Europeans directly every day, so it is good to see them becoming more and more engaged in these topics. In the age of disinformation and fake news it is essential to have high quality journalism ensuring that the information to the public is always true and accurate. Therefore I will be glad to meet and award journalist awarded at this event." He will then travel to Madrid on 21 February, where he will meet with Ms Maria Luisa Carcedo, the Spanish Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, and Mr Luis Planas, the Spanish Minister for Agriculture. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229  91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)




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


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