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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 01 / 04 / 2019

Brussels, 1 April 2019

Digital Single Market: almost half of travellers have enjoyed their online subscriptions

Today marks the one-year anniversary since Europeans can travel across the EU with their online subscription to films, sports events, e-books, video games or music services, thanks to the regulation on portability of online content services. A new Eurobarometer survey shows that one year after the new rules entered into force 49% of people who have travelled in the EU have used the possibility to access their online subscriptions while travelling. Altogether, 52% of Europeans are aware that it is possible to access paid subscriptions for online content services when staying temporarily in another EU country. In general, 55% of the respondents, who paid for online content, consider it as a good value for money. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: “For a year now Europeans can travel with their online content all across Europe – another success of the Digital Single Market. Together with the effective abolition of roaming charges and the new rules against unjustified geoblocking, the Digital Single Market is breaking down digital barriers for the benefit of consumers and businesses. We are very pleased to see that Europeans actively use their new digital rights." For more information see here. The full survey is available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou – Tel.: +32 229 83583; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)

 

Financial markets: European Commission adopts equivalence decision for derivatives trading venues in Singapore

The European Commission has today recognised a number of Singaporean trading venues authorised by the Monetary Authorities of Singapore (MAS) as eligible for compliance with the EU trading obligation for derivatives. Today's decision follows the agreement between the Commission and the MAS on a common approach regarding certain derivatives trading platforms, set out in a joint EU-MAS announcement on 20 February 2019. A derivative is a financial contract linked to the fluctuation in the price of the underlying asset or basket of assets to which it refers. The EU Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) sets out that certain liquid derivatives have to be traded on trading venues, to make this trading safer and more transparent. This decision will allow EU investment banks to operate as swap dealers in Asia in compliance with the EU trading obligation and in line with the G20 reforms for standardised derivatives. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: “Our equivalence decision today confirms how global cooperation can bring tangible benefits to EU market participants trading interest rate and credit default derivatives on Singapore's trading platforms, and engaging with local counterparts in Asia, while Singaporean firms will be able to use EU platforms. This will facilitate trade and economic exchanges between the EU and Singapore. I want to thank Deputy Prime Minister Shanmugaratnam and his team for working with us towards this mutually beneficial outcome". In tandem, MAS has today adopted regulations to exempt certain Multilateral Trading Facilities and Organised Trading Facilities in the EU from the requirements under Singapore rules. This will in turn allow Singapore counterparties to engage with EU counterparties on EU trading venues in compliance with Singapore's derivative trading obligations. More information here. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

Commission supports Latvia in developing its capital market

The European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are providing technical expertise to Latvia via the Structural Reform Support Programme to develop regional capital markets between the Baltic States. A report presented today recommends developing a single index classification for the Baltic States as a way to raise further the profile of the region as an investment destination. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “Today's report shows that by connectingtheir capital markets and developing them together, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will unleash their full potential for more investment and economic growth. This cooperation sends a clear message to global investors that the Baltics are open for investment. Local and regional capital markets are the foundation of the EU Capital Markets Union. The Commission will continue to strongly support cross-border initiatives such as these in the Baltic region”. The report also outlines key actions to further promote the development of capital markets in the region: further integrating the Baltic capital market across political, regulatory, institutional as well as professional dimensions, encouraging Latvian state owned enterprises and private entities to tap the capital market for funding and establishing a pan-Baltic fund to enhance access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). For more information, see the press release. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp– Tel.: +32 229 56151)

 

EU and China step up their cooperation on environment, water and circular economy

From 1 to 3 April 2019, an EU delegation headed by EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella is visiting China to continue and deepen EU - China environmental bilateral relations. He will co-chair the 7th environmental dialogue and will initiate two new high-level dialogues on Water and Circular Economy. The Commissioner will meet several Chinese ministers to discuss shared priorities related to water and circular economy, wildlife and forest protection, the EU-China Ocean Partnership, and the fight against illegal fishing. Commissioner Vella said: “Both the EU and China are facing similar environmental challenges. Threats to biodiversity, pressures on scarce natural resources, waters and oceans as well as the threat of pollution require strong governance. Together we can better respond to these challenges and we can take the lead globally.” Circular economy is an important political priority both in the EU and in China as confirmed by the 'Memorandum of Understanding on Circular Economy Cooperation' signed in July 2018. Taking into account the experience gained with the implementation of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan and the EU Plastic Strategy leaders will discuss how to accelerate bilateral collaboration to better respond to common challenges and support a global transition to a resource-efficient and circular economic model in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Biodiversity will also be high on the agenda, looking ahead to the Biodiversity Summit in Chinanext year, where world leaders are expected to agree on a post-2020 plan to stop the rapid decline of the natural world. More information is available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Stephan Meder - Tel.: +32 229 13917)

 

WiFi4EU: new call for municipalities to apply for free Wi-Fi network in public spaces

On 4 April at 13:00 CEST the Commission will launch a new call for applications for WiFi4EU. The call, which is open to municipalities or groups of municipalities in the EU, will last one day and a half, until 5 April 2019 at 17:00 CEST. Municipalities will be able to apply for 3,400 vouchers, valued €15,000 each, which they can use to set up free Wi-Fi networks in public spaces, including town halls, public libraries, museums, public parks or squares. Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, said: “I am pleased to announce the second call of the WiFi4EU initiative, a concrete step towards better access to the internet for all European citizens. After a very successful first call, we look forward to the same level of enthusiasm this time around, with an extra 600 vouchers on offer compared to the first call.” The WiFi4EU scheme, worth €120 million in total, takes place in a series of calls, and covers all 28 EU Member States, as well as Norway and Iceland. Once municipalities have registered on the dedicated WiFi4EU Portal they will be able to apply for a voucher with just one click. The Commission is selecting beneficiaries on a first-come, first-served basis, while ensuring geographical balance. The first WiFi4EU call for applications took place in November 2018, with over 13,000 municipalities applying from all across Europe and 2,800 vouchers awarded. More information is available online, in the Questions and Answers and a factsheet. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou- Tel.: +32 229 83583)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Swords Pavilions by Great-West Lifeco and Hammerson

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Swords Pavilions of Ireland by Great-West Lifeco (“Lifeco”) of Canada and Hammerson of the UK. Swords Pavilions is a shopping centre located in Dublin's northern suburbs comprising more than 80 shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as a cinema. Lifeco is an international financial services holding company operating in Canada, the US and Europe. Hammerson is active in commercial real estate in Europe. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of its limited impact on the market structure. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.9195. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Aegean by Mercuria

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (“Aegean”) of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, by Mercuria Energy Group Limited (“Mercuria”) of Cyprus. Aegean is an international marine fuel logistics company headquartered in Greece which markets and physically supplies bunker fuels to vessels in port, at sea, on rivers and other waterways around the globe. Mercuria is a global energy and commodities trading group, headquartered in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as the companies have a limited position in the markets where their activities overlap. 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.9253. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the creation of a joint venture between Lufthansa Technik and LG Electronics

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture between Lufthansa Technik of Germany and LG Electronics of South Korea. The joint venture will be active in the design, production and supply of in-flight entertainment and cabin management systems for commercial aircraft. Lufthansa Technik provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the aerospace sector worldwide. It also develops, manufactures and supplies cabin management and in-flight entertainment systems and components for business and VIP jets.. LG Electronics is active in the production and supply of electronics, mobile communication devices and home appliances. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there are only limited overlaps and vertical links between the activities of the joint venture and its parent companies. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the case register under the case number M.9185. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Concentrations: La Commission autorise l'acquisition de ZAIC par Mirova, ADP, Bouygues, IFC, Marguerite et TAV

La Commission Européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle en commun de ZAIC-A Limited (« ZAIC »), basée au Royaume-Uni, par Mirova, basée en France et contrôlée par le groupe BPCE. ZAIC exploite et gère l'aéroport de Zagreb (Croatie) en vertu d'un contrat de concession. Mirova est une société de gestion de portefeuille se concentrant sur la gestion d'investissements. ZAIC restera également conjointement contrôlée par les sociétés Aéroports de Paris («ADP») basée en France, Bouygues Bâtiment International («Bouygues»), filiale du groupe Bouygues, aussi basée en France, International Finance Corporation («IFP» ), basée aux Etats-Unis, Marguerite Fund («Marguerite»), basée en France et TAV Airports Holding («TAV»), basée en Turquie. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence, compte tenu de son impact limité sur la structure de marché. La transaction a été examinée dans le cadre 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.9190. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of certain IBM assets by HCL

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of the International Business Machines Corporation (“IBM”) of the US by HCL Technologies Limited ("HCL") of India. The IBM assets consist of four IT software product portfolios of IBM concerning marketing, commerce, security and collaboration software. HCL is a global technology and IT services provider. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the companies' moderate combined market position resulting from the proposed transaction. 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.9282. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Concentrations: La Commission autorise l'acquisition du contrôle en commun de Berroute par la Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations et Reden H2

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle en commun de la société Berroute par la Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations ("CDC") et Reden H2, contrôlée par Reden Solar, toutes basées en France. Berroute était auparavant sous le contrôle exclusif de Reden H2. Berroute est active dans le développement, la construction et le financement du projet de construction et d'exploitation d'une centrale photovoltaïque située à Saucats en France. La CDC est un établissement public actif dans la gestion de fonds privés en soutien aux politiques publiques. Elle est aussi active au travers de ses filiales dans des secteurs tels que l'environnement et l'énergie, l'immobilier et les services. Reden Solar est active dans le développement, la construction et l'exploitation photovoltaïque en France. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence en raison de son impact limité sur le marché. La transaction 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.9106. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tél.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tél.: +32 229 90526)

 

Eurostat : Le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro en baisse à 1,4%

Le taux d'inflation annuel de la zone euro est estimé à 1,4% en mars 2019, contre 1,5% en février selon une estimation rapide publiée par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. S'agissant des principales composantes de l'inflation de la zone euro, l'énergie devrait connaître le taux annuel le plus élevé en mars (5,3%, comparé à 3,6% en février), suivie de l'alimentation, alcool & tabac (1,8%, comparé à 2,3% en février), des services (1,1%, comparé à 1,4% en février) et des biens industriels hors énergie (0,2%, comparé à 0,4% en février). Un communiqué de presse complet est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tél.: +32 229 56151)

 

Eurostat: Le taux de chômage à 7,8% dans la zone euro, à 6,5% dans l'UE28

Dans la zone euro (ZE19), le taux de chômage corrigé des variations saisonnières s'est établi à 7,8% en février 2019, stable par rapport à janvier 2019 et en baisse par rapport au taux de 8,5% de février 2018. Cela demeure le taux le plus faible enregistré dans la zone euro depuis octobre 2008. Dans l'UE28, le taux de chômage s'est établi à 6,5% en février 2019, stable par rapport à janvier 2019 et en baisse par rapport au taux de 7,1% de février 2018. Cela demeure le taux le plus faible enregistré dans l'UE28 depuis le début de la série mensuelle sur le chômage en janvier 2000. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. Eurostat estime qu'en février 2019, 16,012 millions d'hommes et de femmes étaient au chômage dans l'UE28, dont 12,730 millions dans la zone euro. Par rapport à janvier 2019, le nombre de chômeurs a diminué de 102 000 dans l'UE28 et de 77 000 dans la zone euro. Comparé à février 2018, le chômage a baissé de 1,469 million de personnes dans l'UE28 et de 1,169 million dans la zone euro. Un communiqué de presse complet est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand – Tél.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tél.: + 32 229 67094)

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

 

 

Vice-President Katainen in Finland for a visit at the European Chemicals Agency and for Citizens' Dialogues

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, visits Helsinki, Finland, today 1st April. He will participate in a Citizens' Dialogue on the Future of Europe and meet with the students of the European School in Helsinki to discuss the Circular Economy. He will also visit the European Chemicals Agency to discuss the reduction of intentionally added microplastics and meet the staff. The Vice-President will visit also Valio, a Finnish Dairy company, meet Juha Marttila, President of The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) and Timo Jaatinen, Director General of Finnish Forest Industries. Tomorrow, the Vice-President will bein Jyväskylä, Finland, where he will participate in a Citizens' Dialogue at the University of Jyväskylä. He will meet the President of the University as well as its management board to discuss the focus and priorities of the University. He will attend a working lunch hosted by the Regional Council of Central Finland and visit circular and bioeconomy projects. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 5616)

 

Commissioner Arias Cañete to attend CESEC meeting in Bucharest to discuss enhanced energy cooperation in Central and South Eastern Europe

Today, the sixth meeting of the Central and South Eastern Europe Energy Connectivity (CESEC) high-level group will take place in Bucharest, hosted by Mr Anton, Minister of Energy of Romania. A fully interconnected energy market and enhanced regional cooperation are main pillars of the Juncker Commission Energy Union - priority and crucial to ensuring security of supply for all Europeans. Bringing together Ministers or high-level representatives from EU Member States and Energy Community Contracting Parties, the meeting will include two signing ceremonies of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)-Energy grants. Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will deliver the opening speech of the session. The CESEC regional cooperation was launched in 2015 under the Juncker Commission and it has proved successful in improving security of supply in the region. This meeting will take stock of all progress made so far and discuss priorities for the future on gas and electricity markets and infrastructure development, as well as on renewables and energy efficiency. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel: +32 229 56186; Lynn Rietdorf – Tel: +32 229 74959)

 

EU discusses global food crises with international community and civil society

On 2-3 April 2019, the European Commission hosts the high-level event on food and agriculture in times of crisis, on behalf of the Global Network against Food Crises. The European Commission will co-launch the Global Report on Food Crises 2019, together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The event will be attended by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, and Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan. Together with representatives from the international community and civil society, they will discuss concrete ways to enhance cooperation for preventing and addressing food crises. A press release will be published tomorrow at 12:00 and a press conference will be held at 12:00 at “The Square” Brussels Conference Centre in Brussels, and will be available on EbS. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Commissioner Thyssen co-chairs Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labour

On 2 and 3 April, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, will attend the fourth Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labour, taking place in Cascais, Portugal. She will co-chair the conference together with Samir Said Murad, Minister of Labour of Jordan. The Conference will be hosted by Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, José António Vieira da Silva, in the presence of Nasser Kamel, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Secretary General. This year's edition will focus on jobs, skills and opportunities for all. The UfM is an intergovernmental Euro-Mediterranean organisation which brings together the European Union countries and the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. Its aim is to enhance regional cooperation, dialogue and the implementation of projects and initiatives with tangible impact on our citizens, with an emphasis on young people and women, in order to address the three strategic objectives of the region: stability, human developmentandintegration. In the margins of the conference, Commissioner Thyssen will have bilateral meetings with the Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, José António Vieira da Silva and the Jordan Minister of Labour, Samir Murad. The Commissioner's opening and closing speeches will be published here. The Conference will be concluded by a press conference on 3 April around 13:30, which will be available on EbS. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253;Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

Commissioner Jourová participates in the 12th European Forum on the Rights of the Child

Tomorrow, Commissioner Jourová will participate in the 12th European Forum on the Rights of the Child, which will focus on three topics: involvement of youth in the EU political life, children's rights in the digital environment and the protection of children in migration. The Forum will also assess the progress achieved over the last years and see how to make more progress in the area of child protection. Ahead of the event, the Commissioner will meet with children and young people participating in the conference to exchange of views. VeraJourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "Our youth and children deserve to have their voices heard in our democracies. They are Europe's future. And defending their rights must be our priority. EU will support those objectives both politically and financially."The rights of the child are part of the EU's fundamental values. This year marks the 30th anniversary of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 10th anniversary of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights becoming legally binding. The EU provides around 10 million euros per year of funding to support the rights of the child under the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme 2014-2020. Projects benefitting from EU funding include the Barnahus centres for child victims of abuse, work on cross-border cooperation in cases of missing children, and campaigns against cyberbullying. To prepare the Forum, children from across the EU have shared their views through the Europe Kids Want Survey, and some will participate in the Forum. The programme and livestreaming of the Forum can be found here. The conference, organised by the European Commission, brings together over 260 representatives from national and local governments, international organisations, NGOs, practitioners, academics from EU Member States and neighbouring countries. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

  

 

 

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

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