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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 15 / 04 / 2019

Brussels, 15 April 2019

Principes d'amélioration de la réglementation: au cœur du processus décisionnel de l'UE

Aujourd'hui, la Commission européenne fait le point sur les mesures introduites depuis le début du mandat de la Commission Juncker pour apporter de meilleurs résultats aux citoyens et aux entreprises de l'UE en rendant l'élaboration des politiques plus ouverte et plus transparente et en la faisant reposer davantage sur des données factuelles. Le rapport publié aujourd'hui montre que les efforts déployés pour placer l'amélioration de la réglementation au cœur du processus décisionnel ont été couronnés de succès. Il convient de consolider ce succès et de l'inscrire dans la durée pour pouvoir continuer à apporter de nouvelles améliorations. Frans Timmermans, premier vice-président, a déclaré: « Il est largement reconnu que nous montrons l'exemple, et les citoyens nous demandent de maintenir notre engagement en faveur de l'amélioration de la réglementation. Celle-ci fait désormais partie intégrante de l'ADN du processus décisionnel européen. Nous devons à présent entretenir et intensifier nos efforts, en particulier dans un monde “post-factuel” où les bases mêmes du débat démocratique et de l'autorité scientifique sont contestées. » Un communiqué de presse complet et une fiche d'informations sont disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Natasha Bertaud – Tél.: +32 229 67456; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tél.: +32 229 63444) 

 

EU-U.S. Trade: Commission welcomes Council's green light to start negotiations with the United States

The European Commission welcomes today's decision by the Council to adopt the negotiating directives for trade talks with the United States, thus continuing to deliver on the implementation of the Joint Statement agreed by Presidents Juncker and Trump in July 2018. European Union Member States gave the Commission the green light to start formal negotiations with the U.S. on two agreements, one on conformity assessment, and the other on eliminating tariffs on industrial products. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: “The European Union is delivering on what President Trump and I have agreed on 25 July 2018. We want a win-win situation on trade, beneficial for both the EU and the U.S. Notably we want to slash tariffs on industrial products as this could lead to an additional increase in EU and U.S. exports worth around €26 billion. The European Union and the United States have one of the most important economic relationships in the world. We want to further strengthen trade between us based on the positive spirit of last July.” Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: “This is a welcome decision that will help ease trade tensions. We are now ready to start formal talks for these two targeted agreements that will bring tangible benefits for people and economies on both sides of the Atlantic. I am convinced that breaking down barriers to trade between us can be win-win”. The Council's decision comes just three months after the European Commission had put forward the mandates and in line with the conclusions of the March European Council, during which EU leaders called for a "rapid implementation of all elements of the U.S.-EU Joint Statement of 25 July 2018".In line with the directives agreed by EU governments, the Commission will now further examine the potential economic, environmental and social impacts of the agreement, taking into account the commitments of the EU in international agreements, including the Paris Agreement on climate change. An economic analysis undertaken by the European Commission already indicates that an EU-U.S. agreement on eliminating tariffs on industrial goods would increase EU exports to the U.S. by 8% and U.S. exports to the EU by 9% by 2033. For more information, see the full press release available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

 

Energy Union: Commission to endorse Baltic Pipe project, a pipeline that unites creating a new gas supply corridor in the European market

This morning, a signature ceremony of the agreement for the €214.9 million Connecting Europe Facility grant for works for the Baltic Pipe project connecting Poland and Denmark with Norway took place at the European Commission headquarters in the Berlaymont building. Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, and Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, witnessed the signature together with the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz MorawieckiandPolish Minister Piotr Naimski, plenipotentiary of the Polish Government for Strategic Energy Infrastructure. The Baltic Pipe Project is a gas infrastructure project aiming at creating a new gas supply corridor in the European market. The new pipeline will allow, as of 2022, the shipment of gas from the North Sea to the Polish market and further to the Baltic States, as well as to end-users in neighbouring countries. At the same time, it will enable the supply of gas from Poland, including from Liquefied Natural Gas imports, to the Danish and Swedish markets. This new pipeline is a European Project of Common Interest (PCI) and parts of this project – analysis of economic feasibility and technical feasibility study and other preparatory studies, including geophysical and geotechnical surveys, engineering works, and pre-construction activities – are already co-financed by CEF Energy. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Lynn Rietdorf – Tel.: +32 229 74959)

 

Dernière étape franchie pour la réforme du droit d'auteur: la Commission se félicite de l'accord au Conseil sur de nouvelles règles adaptées à l'ère numérique

Le Conseil de l'Union européenne a donné aujourd'hui son feu vert à la nouvelle directive sur le droit d'auteur, qui apportera des avantages concrets aux citoyens, aux secteurs de la création, à la presse, aux chercheurs, aux éducateurs et aux institutions en charge du patrimoine culturel. La réforme permettra d'adapter les règles du droit d'auteur au monde actuel, où les services de streaming de musique, les plateformes de vidéo à la demande, les agrégateurs d'informations et les plateformes dont le contenu est directement téléchargé par les utilisateurs sont devenus les principaux points d'accès aux œuvres créatives et aux articles de presse. Cette nouvelle directive a été proposée par la Commission en septembre 2016 et votée par le Parlement européen en mars 2019. Le président de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, a déclaré: « Avec l'accord d'aujourd'hui, nous adaptons les règles du droit d'auteur à l'ère numérique. L'Europe aura désormais des règles claires garantissant une rémunération équitable aux créateurs, des droits renforcés pour les utilisateurs et une responsabilité accrue pour les plateformes. La réforme du droit d'auteur est la pièce manquante du puzzle pour finaliser la mise en place du marché unique numérique européen cohérent et complet. » Après publication au Journal officiel de l'UE, les États membres disposeront de 24 mois pour transposer la directive dans le droit national. La cérémonie de signature officielle des nouvelles règles sur le droit d'auteur, ainsi que des nouvelles règles facilitant l'accès transfrontalier aux contenus télévisés et radiophoniques en ligne - également adoptées aujourd'hui par les États membres -, aura lieu le mercredi 17 avril au Parlement européen, à Strasbourg. Pour plus d'informations, consultez ce communiqué de presse et ces Questions et réponses. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tél.: +32 229 67083; Johannes Bahrke –Tél.: +32 229 58615; Marietta Grammenou- Tél.: +32 229 83583; Inga Höglund – Tél.: +32 2 29 50698)

 

Clean mobility: New CO2 emission standards for cars and vans adopted

The Council of Ministers today agreed on CO2 emission standards for new cars and vans in the EU for the period after 2020. In 2030, emissions from new cars will have to be 37.5% lower and emissions from new vans 31% lower, compared to 2021. Today's agreement confirms the European Parliament vote of 27 March and finalises the formal adoption of new rules that will contribute to decarbonising and modernising Europe's mobility sector. The new CO2 standards are a stepping-stone towards a climate-neutral economy in line with the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement and as part of the implementation of the Energy Union. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “The adoption of the legislation setting newCO2 emission standards for cars and vans is an important achievement. We are putting the transport sector on the right pathway towards clean mobility, helping EU industry to modernise and strengthen its competitive position in the global stage.” The endorsement by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers will be followed by the publication of the texts in the Official Journal of the Union, and the new legislation will enter into force 20 days after publication. Click for further information about the Clean Mobility Package. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Lynn Rietdorf – Tel.: +32 229 74959)

 

European Commission welcomes Council adoption of new EU rules to facilitate sales of goods and supply of digital content and digital services

Today, the Council formally adopted new contract law rules that will help consumers be confident when buying online and give businesses harmonised aftersales conditions throughout Europe. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: "This is excellent news for consumers and ecommerce in the EU. All the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place: consumers will be better protected when shopping online, allowing them to fully enjoy key achievements of the Digital Single Market such as the end of unjustified geoblocking and more transparent parcel delivery prices”. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, added: “Whether you buy online or in shops, consumers will now benefit from the same high level of protection. If something goes wrong, also when buying digital content, they will be able to obtain a price reduction or a replacement." According to the new rules, if the goods or the digital content or digital services are faulty, consumers will have clear remedies: they can request that the trader fixes the problem and, if this cannot be done, get a price reduction or a refund. The rules on conformity and remedies will be the same across the EU, allowing businesses to sell goods and supply digital content and digital services across borders without having to find out which rules apply in other EU countries. With the new rules, consumers will benefit from clear protection for the fast developing market of smart goods.  These new rules are part of the Digital Single Market Strategy. Following publication in the Official Journal, Member States will have to transpose the directives into their national law before they enter into application in two and a half years. More information on the new rules available in a statement and a factsheet. (For more information: Christian Wigand - Tél .: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin - Tél .: +32 229 58659)

 

Commission announces two cooperation programmes with Jamaica, worth a total of over €20 million

Today, the European Commission announced two cooperation programmes to support Jamaica in addressing climate change and improving public governance, transparency, accountability and delivery of public services. The first programme (€16.5 million) will support Jamaica's national forest management and conservation plan for 2016-2026 as well as support the sustainable management and utilisation of Jamaica's forest resources. The second programme (€3.6 million) will assist Jamaica's government improve public governance, transparency, accountability and public service delivery in Jamaica. During his ongoing visit to Jamaica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “With today's cooperation programmes, we are supporting our Jamaican partners in two areas. First, in building up climate change resilience and protect precious forest resources as well as support biodiversity, while paying special attention to developing a low-emission and climate-resilient economy; and second in assisting the Government in building the necessary structures of a modern Integrated Financial Management System which will further improve public governance, transparency, accountability and delivery of public services." (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256; Xavier Cifre Quatresols – Tel.: +32 229 73582)

 

Aviation report: Commission calls for action to reduce delays and address capacity issues in the EU

Today the European Commission received recommendations by high-level aviation experts on the future of air traffic management in Europe. The so-called “wise persons group” was set up by the Commission to consider recent developments in European aviation, listen to the views of major air traffic management stakeholders and produce proposals on the future direction of air traffic management in Europe in line with the objectives of the EU's Aviation Strategy. In 2018, there were over 11 million flights in the European network and delays per flight doubled compared to 2017. Forecasts predict that in Europe by 2040 1.5 million flights will not be accommodated due to capacity constraints meaning that 160 million passengers would not be able to fly. Delays are due to problems such as underinvestment in some area control centres, which impact the entire network. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Due to the growth of air traffic forecasts, we can expect further delays for air passengers too. That is unacceptable. We urgently need to deploy environmentally friendly solutions that allow for more flexibility, scalability and resilience. I am inviting Member States, the European Parliament and the aviation community to consider the recommendations released today. We know what to do, now we need common and coordinated efforts to help make the European air traffic management system more efficient, flexible and sustainable in the future.” The report of the wise persons group includes ten recommendations on the future of air traffic management in Europe. Please find all suggested measures and more information here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Stephan Meder - Tel.: +32 229 13917)

 

State aid: Commission approves €5 billion Polish support for cogenerated electricity and surcharge reductions for large energy consumers; opens in-depth investigation into reductions in capacity mechanism surcharge

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules (1) a Polish scheme to support high-efficiency cogeneration and (2) reduced surcharges to finance the scheme for energy-intensive users. It also (3) opened an investigation into reduced surcharges to finance Poland's capacity mechanism. With respect to the (1) support to high-efficiency cogeneration, the scheme, with an annual budget of €500 million will support combined heat and power (“CHP”) installations connected to district heating networks in Poland. The highly efficient CHP installations benefitting from the scheme will receive support through a premiumon top of the market price. The Commission assessed the scheme under EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission's 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy and concluded that the scheme will support the production of electricity from high-efficiency cogeneration and lead to a better integration of cogenerated power into the electricity market, in line with EU environmental and climate objectives, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. The Polish cogeneration support scheme approved today is financed through a (2) surcharge levied on final electricity consumers, based on their electricity consumption. Poland has also notified to the Commission plans to lower the financial burden on certain energy-intensive users (“EIUs”), which would benefit from a reduced CHP surcharge. The Commission found that the proposed reductions in surcharges for energy-intensive users are in line with EU State aid rules. In February 2018, the Commission approved under EU State aid rules an electricity capacity mechanism in Poland.  Poland now plans to (3) introduce reductions for certain energy intensive users on a surcharge levied on electricity consumers to finance the Polish capacity mechanism. The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to further assess whether these proposed reductions are compatible with EU State aid rules. The Commission will now investigate further to determine whether its initial concerns are confirmed. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The Polish support scheme approved today will provide an important contribution to EU environmental and climate goals without unduly distorting competition. We have also approved Polish plans to preserve the competitiveness of energy-intensive companies in Poland by reducing their contributions to the financing of the electricity cogeneration support. But we still need to assess if the reductions for certain users on the surcharge that finances the Polish capacity mechanism are in line with our State aid rules.A full press release is available in EN, FR, DE and PL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

State aid: Commission approves €54 million support for a waste-to-energy highly efficient cogeneration plant in Poland

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Polish plans to support the construction of a highly efficient waste-to-energy cogeneration plant located in Olsztyn. The beneficiary of the aid is Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Energetyki Cieplnej Sp. z o.o. (“MPEC”), a municipally owned company. The project will be organised in the form of a public-private partnership between MPEC and a private partner selected by the beneficiary through a competitive procedure. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission's 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy. The Commission found that the aid will contribute to the EU's energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. In particular, cogeneration increases energy efficiency by recycling the heat from power generation for other uses (in this case, the public district heating), to the overall benefit of the environment. The new installation will also help reduce municipal waste disposal in landfills by incinerating approximately 100.000 tonnes of waste that is currently landfilled. More information will be available on the Commission competition website in the public case registerunder the case number SA.51614. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

State aid: Commission approves Irish scheme for renewable heat generation

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an Irish scheme to support the generation of heat from two renewable technologies: biomass and anaerobic digestion. The scheme is open to a wide range of heat users, namely commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating and other non-domestic heat users. Beneficiaries will receive operating aid in the form of a payment for the useful renewable heat generated over 15 years. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission's 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy. It found that the scheme is proportionate as the payments granted to beneficiaries will not lead to overcompensation. The Commission concluded that the scheme will contribute to the EU's energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the State Aid Register under the case number SA.50807. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Merges: Commission approves Nidec's acquisition of Embraco, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition by Nidec of Embraco, Whirlpool's refrigeration compressor business. Today's decision follows an in-depth review of the proposed transaction. The Commission had concerns that the transaction as notified would have reduced competition and resulted in higher prices and less choice in the markets for: (i) fixed speed refrigeration compressors for light commercial applications; (ii) variable speed refrigeration compressors for light commercial applications; (iii) variable speed refrigeration compressors for household applications. Nidec decided to address the concerns by proposing a set of commitments. In particular, Nidec offered to divest its refrigeration compressor business for both household and light commercial applications. This includes plants in Austria, Slovakia and China and removes the entire overlap between Nidec and Embraco in the markets where the Commission had identified competition concerns. Nidec also committed to make available to the purchaser of the divestment business significant funding, which is dedicated to investments in production lines in Nidec's plants in Austria and Slovakia. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns in the EEA and worldwide. The Commission's decision is conditional on full compliance with the commitments. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Most people have at least one refrigeration compressor at home, in a fridge or a freezer. They are also used in restaurants or shops, inside beverage coolers or ice cream cabinets. The conditions under which we have approved Nidec's acquisition of Embraco ensure that effective competition will continue in this sector, so that industrial customers and final consumers will not be harmed due to higher prices or less choice. We have also worked to ensure the viability of the plants to be divested by Nidec." The full press release is available online in EN, DE, FR(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over Altamira by SoftBank

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control over Altamira Asset Management S.A. (“Altamira”) of Spain by doBank, S.p.A. of Italy, a solely controlled subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”) of Japan. Altamira manages non-performing assets (including non-performing loans) and real estate assets for financial institutions, institutional investors, and ‘bad banks'. SoftBank operates across a variety of industries, including telecommunications, Internet services, Internet of things, robotics, and clean energy. Through doBank, SoftBank is also active in the outsourced management of performing and non-performing loans. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the very limited overlaps and vertical links between the parties' 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.9290. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 


ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

Commissioner Navracsics in Bucharest for discussion with EU Culture Ministers

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, travels to Bucharest, Romania, today for the Informal meeting of Culture Ministers organised by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The main discussions will take place tomorrow, 16 April. They will centre on ensuring a long-term impact of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and on financing and innovation for the cultural and creative sectors. Commissioner Navracsics will give an introductory speech at both working sessions alongside Romanian Minister of Culture and National Identity, Valer-Daniel Breaz. Proceedings will conclude with a press conference around 17:00 CET, available on EbS. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)

 

 

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

MEX/19/2152


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