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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 20 / 03 / 2019

Brussels, 20 March 2019

COLLEGE MEETING: A Europe that Protects: 15 out of 22 Security Union legislative initiatives agreed so far

The Commission is today reporting on progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union. Taking stock of the developments since the beginning of this year, the report notes that a large number of priority files have been agreed – 15 out of 22 Security Union legislative initiatives presented by the Commission. However, some of the key proposals, such as terrorist content online and the European Border and Coast Guard, still require urgent action if they are to be closed before the European Parliament elections in May 2019. On this final stretch before the elections, it is also of utmost importance to redouble efforts to fight disinformation and boost electoral and digital resilience. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The developments in the last few days have shown once again that the terrorist threat is multifaceted, global and not abating. We have made tangible progress towards building a genuine and effective Security Union, with stronger rules on firearms, on criminalisation of the preparation and acts of terrorism, and a new framework of interoperability for all our information systems. But we cannot stop here. I urge the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly agree on rules to take down terrorist content online, so we can better protect our citizens both from exposure to odious terrorist content, but also from the overnight radicalisation risk of susceptible individuals." Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: "We have strengthened our resilience against terrorism and cyber threats. But the threats remain, and continue to evolve. And we need to keep working. The terrible attack in Christchurch underlines again the need to close down terrorist content online. And we have two months to reinforce the security around our European Parliament elections, working with Member States, civil society and, crucially, the social media platforms." The full press release and a factsheet are available online. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)   

 

Antitrust: Commission fines Google €1.49 billion for abusive practices in online advertising

The European Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google's rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites. Google's provision of online search advertising intermediation services to the most commercially important publishers took place via agreements that were individually negotiated. The Commission has reviewed hundreds of such agreements in the course of its investigation and found that: (i) Google included exclusivity clauses in its contracts. This meant that publishers were prohibited from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages. (ii) Google gradually replaced these exclusivity clauses with so-called “Premium Placement” clauses, which meant that third-party websites had to take a minimum number of search ads from Google, and put them on the most visible part of the page. (iii) Google also included clauses requiring publishers to seek written approval from Google before making changes to the way in which any rival adverts were displayed. Today's decision concludes thatGoogle is dominant in the market for online search advertising intermediation in the EEA since at least 2006. The Commission finds that Google has abused this market dominance by preventing rivals from competing in the online search advertising intermediation market. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts. Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate - and consumers the benefits of competition.” The full press release is available online. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Budget de l'UE pour 2021-2027: la Commission se félicite de l'accord provisoire sur « Horizon Europe »

Ce matin, les institutions européennes sont parvenues à un accord politique partiel, sous réserve de l'approbation formelle du Parlement européen et du Conseil, sur « Horizon Europe », le futur programme de recherche et d'innovation de l'UE. Investir dans la recherche et l'innovation, c'est investir dans l'avenir de l'Europe, dans la connaissance et dans de nouvelles solutions permettant de maintenir le mode de vie des Européens et d'améliorer leur quotidien. C'est la raison pour laquelle la Commission Juncker a fixé un nouveau niveau d'ambition pour approfondir la capacité d'innovation de l'Europe, assurer une prospérité durable et préserver notre compétitivité mondiale. « Horizon Europe », proposé par la Commission européenne en juin 2018 dans le cadre du budget à long terme de l'UE pour la période 2021-2027, est le programme de recherche et d'innovation le plus ambitieux jamais entrepris et il maintiendra l'UE à la pointe de la recherche et de l'innovation mondiales. Carlos Moedas, commissaire européen en charge de la recherche, de la science et de l'innovation, a déclaré à ce propos: « Je me félicite de cet accord, qui soutient résolument le nouveau Conseil européen de l'innovation et nos agendas de recherche axés sur les missions. Nous sommes désormais sur la bonne voie pour lancer, en 2021, le programme européen de recherche et d'innovation le plus ambitieux jamais mis en œuvre, et qui préfigure une économie européenne forte, durable et compétitive et bénéficiant à toutes les régions d'Europe. » « Horizon Europe » s'appuiera sur les réalisations et les succès du programme actuel de recherche et d'innovation, Horizon 2020, et comportera aussi des nouveautés, dont le Conseil européen de l'innovation, qui est déjà dans sa phase pilote.Un communiqué de presse est disponible en lignedans toutes les langues officielles de l'UE. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56282; Mirna Talko – Tél.: +32 229 87278; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tél.: +32 229 55040)

 

Juncker Plan supports innovative businesses in Poland and manufacturing company in Germany

The Investment Plan for Europe – or Juncker Plan – is backing a guarantee agreement in Poland between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Polish leasing company PKO Leasing. The agreement, also backed by the Horizon 2020 programme, is set to generate €60 million of financing for innovative entrepreneurs in Poland over the next two years. Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: “This agreement will provide Polish entrepreneurs with an additional financial boost, supporting their efforts in creating jobs, growth and innovate. In Poland, the Juncker Plan is already supporting more than 42,000 businesses and this agreement is further evidence of this success.” In Germany, the Juncker Plan is backing a €50 million EIB loan to manufacturing company Ensinger. This financing will enable Ensinger to invest further in research, development and innovation in the field of high-tech engineering plastics manufacturing. Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, said: “This is yet another example of how the EU budget – and the Juncker Plan in particular – delivers an added value for the EU citizens. With today's decision, the EU creates a fresh opportunity for research and innovation in Germany and in Europe, making sure that European companies have good chances to grow, open more jobs and expand to new markets.” Press release are available here. As of February, the Juncker Plan had already mobilised more than €380 billion in additional investment across Europe, including €16.4 billion in Poland and €35.2 billion in Germany. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Union de l'énergie: 750 millions d'euros de fonds européens mis à disposition pour des infrastructures pour des énergies propres

La Commission européenne débloque aujourd'hui un financement de 750 millions d'euros pour des projets d'infrastructure énergétique clés en Europe et présentant d'importants avantages transfrontaliers. Soutenir la construction des infrastructures nécessaires contribue aux priorités de la politique énergétique de la Commission, qui consiste à améliorer la sécurité énergétique, tout en offrant plus de choix aux consommateurs et en stimulant la croissance économique et la création d'emplois. Les interconnexions sont également essentielles au développement des sources d'énergie renouvelables et font de l'Europe le numéro un mondial des énergies renouvelables.Un réseau européen entièrement interconnecté est l'un des prérequis essentiels à la réalisation de l'objectif ultime de l'Union de l'énergie, c'est-à-dire de garantir une énergie sûre, abordable et durable pour tous les européens, qui a été l'une des priorités politiques de la Commission Juncker tout au long de son mandat. Miguel Arias Cañete, commissaire en charge de l'action pour le climat et de l'énergie, a déclaré: « Le système énergétique européen passe rapidement d'un système énergétique du siècle dernier à un système à faibles émissions de carbone, de plus en plus numérique et davantage axé sur le consommateur. La transition énergétique est bien avancée en Europe, avec un niveau record d'énergies renouvelables et une baisse rapide des coûts. Les infrastructures énergétiques européennes doivent évoluer dans le même sens et au même rythme pour soutenir pleinement cette transition énergétique vers une Europe neutre pour le climat. » Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tél.: +32 229 56186; Lynn Rietdorf – Tél.: +32 229 74959)

 

Afghanistan: EU releases €27 million in humanitarian assistance

Today, the European Commission has announced €27 million in humanitarian assistance for people in need in Afghanistan. €2 million will assist the most vulnerable families affected by devastating floods in early March which continue to affect large parts of the country. “In Afghanistan civilians continue to face the consequences of decades-long conflict and natural disasters. Our new funding will help get emergency assistance to those most in need. I call on all sides of the conflict to abide by the principles of International Humanitarian Law – civilians are not a target and access of humanitarian aid to people of need must not be hindered. These conditions are crucial for delivering our assistance. We are committed to continue our help to the people of Afghanistan as long as it takes,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The new funding will provide emergency assistance for the most vulnerable families across the country affected by the conflict and by the drought, with a particular focus on those internally displaced, and returning Afghan refugees. This includes providing food, emergency shelter, water and sanitation, protection, and medical care for the victims of war. The EU will also continue to provide education for children who have had to leave their schools. Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

Commissioner Mimica visits Argentina to promote triangular cooperation

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica is on an official visit to Buenos Aires to promote innovative multilateral partnerships for sustainable development, in particular triangular cooperation, and to discuss the EU's cooperation with Argentina. Commissioner Mimica will attend the second high-level United Nations conference on South-South cooperation – “BAPA+40”. He will also launch the dedicated programme for Argentina under the EU-UN global Spotlight Initiative, which aims to eliminate violence against women and girls, and which will focus on femicide. Combining efforts from the European Union, the United Nations and the Argentinian Government, the programme will provide support to fill the legislative and policy gaps and will help improve access to preventive and post-violence care, targeting groups most vulnerable to discrimination. The EU will be contributing an initial €5 million to the overall Spotlight investment in Argentina, which is expected to be in the order of €8 million in total. Commenting on his visit, Commissioner Mimica said: "Triangular cooperation plays an increasingly important role in global efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals by bringing in more resources and expertise. Argentina remains a key partner for us in these efforts. We have significantly stepped up our cooperation and policy dialogue over the past years and will continue to do so on a broad range of issues; from climate change, to gender equality, to sustainable investments.” Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Startup Europe Summit 2019 will kick off tomorrow

The Startup Europe Summit 2019 will start tomorrow in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) bringing together leading tech stakeholders and EU policymakers to discuss the future of an innovative Europe. As follow-up of last year signature of the JointDeclaration Reinforcing the Central and Eastern European and Western Balkans Technological Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, this year's edition will focus on unlocking the potential of evolving startup systems. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said “Startups are thriving everywhere in Europe nowadays, reminding us how important they are for the economic growth of our countries. We need to continue to be active and learn from good practices and from the challenges. This is the objective of the Summit – to discuss how to create the right conditions for start-ups to flourish in Europe and to show the potential of the Central and Eastern European region and of the Western Balkans.” During the event, Commissioner Gabriel will also present the award to the winner of the Horizon prize for zero power water monitoring. The prize worth €2 million, funded by Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme, will be awarded to the most innovative proposals for maximising energy efficiency in smart sensors used in water resources management. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation added: "There is so much untapped potential on the European startup scene and this Horizon prize is a good example of how we help our talented innovators turn big dreams into successful businesses. With such prizes and the European Innovation Council going ahead with a €2 billion pilot for disruptive and breakthrough innovators over the next couple of years, we are ready to help European entrepreneurs take it to the next level!" More information on the Startup Summit. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083 – Marietta Grammenou- Tel.: +32 229 83583)

 

European Commission presents its achievements on combatting racism, xenophobia and discrimination

Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial  Discrimination, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, will present a report giving an overview of the Commission's actions to counter racism, xenophobia and discrimination in the EU during this mandate, as well as the remaining challenges in these areas.  On this occasion, she said: “Discrimination, hate crime and speech, racist and xenophobic narratives, in particular online, are not only illegal but they polarise our societies and question our European values. We need to continue to fight these dangerous trends together, be it online or offline.” The Commission worked with Member State authorities, civil society and EU agencies to step up implementation of EU law in this field. Under the Rights Equality and Citizenship Programme, the European Commission awarded 12 million euros annually for projects across the European Union in this field.  Commission actions include amongst others the setting up of the Code of Conduct countering illegal hate speech in 2016, a Recommendation on standards for equality bodies, the nomination of the two coordinators on combating Antisemitism and Anti-Muslim hatred and the implementation of the European Framework of National Roma Integration Strategies. Today, Commissioner Jourová will address an event in the European Parliament, bringing together a wide range of MEPs, key actors and stakeholders as well as members of the High Level Group on Racism and Xenophobia and the High Level Group on Non-Discrimination. The full report on Countering racism and xenophobia in the EU is available online, as well and information on what the European Commission does to combat racism and xenophobia. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

Eurostat : Un tiers du commerce de l'UE effectué avec les États-Unis et la Chine, le commerce intra-UE domine largement

En 2018, les États-Unis (674 milliards d'euros, soit 17,1% du total du commerce de biens extra-UE, c'est-à-dire le total des exportations et des importations) et la Chine (605 milliards d'euros, soit 15,4%) sont restés les deux principaux partenaires commerciaux de l'Union européenne (UE), loin devant la Suisse (265 milliards d'euros, soit 6,7%), la Russie (254 milliards d'euros, soit 6,4%), la Turquie (153 milliards d'euros, soit 3,9%) et le Japon (135 milliards d'euros, soit 3,4%). Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tél.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tél: +32 229 51383)

 

 

STATEMENTS

 

 

Code of practice against disinformation: Commission takes note of the progress made by online platforms and urges them to step up their efforts

Today the European Commission published the latest monthly reports from Google, Twitter, and Facebook, on the progress made in February towards meeting their commitments to fight disinformation. The online platforms are all signatories of the Code of Practice against disinformation and have committed to report their progress in the run up to the European Parliament elections in May 2019. The publication of the monthly reports follows a meeting yesterday afternoon between the Commission and the platforms to discuss the state of play. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová, Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King, and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said in a joint statement: "Yesterday's meeting and the reports published today show that online platforms are making progress. We had good discussions with them about how they can further improve the ongoing monthly reporting requested in the Action Plan against Disinformation. Such monthly progress is needed to ensure the transparency during the election campaign. We take note of the progress described in the February reports in a number of areas. However, further efforts are needed by all signatories in key areas." You can read the full statement here and the online platforms reports here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou- Tel.: +32 229 83583)

 


ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

Commission is hosting high-level conference on a global approach to sustainable finance

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis will host tomorrow the second high-level conference on sustainable finance with the objective to encourage a global approach towards mobilising private capital to fund the transition to a climate-neutral economy. After the successful first high-level conference on sustainable finance one year ago, tomorrow's event will be an opportunity to take sustainable finance to the next level by bringing together various countries from across the globe and initiatives on the ground. This is also part of the Capital Markets Union's (CMU) efforts to connect finance with the specific needs of the European economy thereby contributing to the EU's sustainable and carbon-neutral agenda. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis,responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "The European Union will stand by its commitments made under the Paris agreement. As part of this agenda, the EU was an early mover on sustainable finance by recognising that boosting private capital is essential for supporting the transition towards a climate-neutral and sustainable economy. By now, other countries have made substantial progress in this area. It is time for us to join forces and make sustainable finance go global". Financial markets are global and interconnected and so are the challenges to deliver on the Climate Action and Sustainable Development Goals. Tomorrow's conference will be an occasion to stimulate the dialogue between the different market players and leading jurisdictions on how to close the global annual investment gap of €6.2 trillion to limit global warming below 2 degrees. Key speakers include Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis; President Werner Hoyer of the European Investment Bank; Vice-President Cyril Muller of the World Bank; Vice-President Pierre Heilbronn of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Subhash Chandra Garg, Economic Affairs and Finance Secretary of India; Minister of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Morocco, Mohamed Benchaâboun; Minister of Finance of Finland, Petteri Orpo; the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney; the Deputy Governor of the Banque de France Sylvie Goulard; and Joachim Wuermeling, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank. The event also marks the first anniversary of the EU Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth, presented by the Commission in March 2018. The full programme is available here. The conference will be live-streamed. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

Commissioner Avramopoulos in Cyprus

Tomorrow, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Nicosia, Cyprus to take part in a Citizens' Dialogue on “Migration and Security: the challenges facing Europe”. The event will take place at the University of Cyprus, University House Building "Anastasios G. Leventis” at 10:30 (EET) and will be livestreamed on Facebook. Simultaneous interpretation in Greek, English and Turkish will be provided. Commissioner Avramopoulos will then meet with Constantinos Petrides, Minister for the Interior and Ionas Nicolaou, Minister for Justice and Public Order. Discussions will focus on migration and security cooperation. A press point will be broadcast on EbS. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)

 

Commissioner Navracsics travels to Croatia for international education conference

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will be in Zagreb, Croatia, tomorrow, where he will deliver the opening speech at an international conference on talent education titled: “The best worldwide, European and Croatian practices in working with gifted children and youth”. Ahead of the event, Commissioner Navracsics said: "All those involved in education have a role to play in nurturing the talent of each and every child, helping them discover what they are good at and find their place. This is a question of fairness, and of making sure Europe taps into its most precious resource – its people and their talents – as it tackles the big challenges facing our society." (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou- Tel.: +32 229 83583)

 

 

 

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

MEX/19/1772


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