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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 29 / 04 / 2019

Brussels, 29 April 2019

Jeunes agriculteurs: 1 milliard d'euros pour faciliter l'accès au financement

La Commission européenne et la Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) ont lancé aujourd'hui un programme de prêts d'un milliard d'euros ciblant plus particulièrement les jeunes agriculteurs. En 2017, 27% des demandes de prêt adressées aux banques par des jeunes agriculteurs de l'UE ont été rejetées, contre 9% seulement pour les autres exploitations. Le programme de prêts d'un milliard d'euros annoncé aujourd'hui par le commissaire à l'agriculture, Phil Hogan, et le vice-président de la BEI, Andrew McDowell, vise à accroître l'accès au financement des agriculteurs de l'Union européenne, en particulier des jeunes agriculteurs. La commissaire Hogan a déclaré: « L'accès au financement est crucial et constitue trop souvent un obstacle pour les jeunes qui souhaitent rejoindre la profession. Seulement 11% des agriculteurs européens ont moins de 40 ans. Soutenir les jeunes agriculteurs est une priorité pour la Commission européenne et nos propositions pour la Politique Agricole Commune d'après 2020 reflètent cette volonté. Je suis ravi de voir cette nouvelle initiative conjointe devenir opérationnelle. » Le programme sera géré au niveau des États membres par des banques et des sociétés de crédit-bail opérant dans l'ensemble de l'UE. Les banques participantes devraient également contribuer à la hauteur du montant engagé par la BEI, ce qui porterait le montant total à deux milliards d'euros, et la priorité pour ces prêts devrait être accordée aux jeunes agriculteurs. Les prêts du programme auront entre autres des taux d'intérêt plus bas et une plus longue période de remboursement afin de remédier aux difficultés actuelles auxquelles les agriculteurs sont confrontés lorsqu'ils ont besoin d'un prêt. Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario - Tél.: + 32 229 56185; Clémence Robin - Tél.: +32 229 52509)

 

Juncker Plan supports launch of Nordic deep-tech fund Voima Ventures

The Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan – is backing the first venture capital (VC) fund in the Nordics investing purely in startups in deep tech and science: Voima Ventures. Deep tech startups are at the forefront of science-driven innovation and aim to address the biggest challenges humanity faces in areas such as medicine, transport and energy. Cornerstone investors to the new fund are the European Investment Fund (EIF) – backed by European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Juncker Plan - and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, backed by Finnish private and institutional investors.The EIF will provide up to €20 million to the fund. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness said: "The startups that Voima Ventures will invest in are making scientific breakthroughs and high-tech innovations that could change our lives. For such novel projects based in deep tech and science, financial support is crucial and this is where the EU is playing an important role. I wish Voima and its beneficiaries much success and I look forward to hearing about their future innovations." A press release is available here. As of April 2019, the Juncker Plan has mobilised almost €393 billion of additional investment, including €8.2 billion in Finland. The Plan is currently supporting 945,000 small and medium businesses across Europe. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhan Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

 

Semaine européenne de la jeunesse 2019: "La démocratie et moi"

La Semaine européenne de la jeunesse a lieu tous les deux ans. Elle célèbre et encourage les activités destinées aux jeunes par le biais d'événements organisés dans tous les pays participant au programme Erasmus+. Du 29 avril au 5 mai, la neuvième édition de la Semaine européenne de la jeunesse se déroule dans toute l'Europe, dont le thème de cette année est « La démocratie et moi ». Parallèlement aux activités qui se déroulent toute la semaine dans tous les pays participants, des événements phares à Bruxelles rassembleront des centaines de jeunes les 29 et 30 avril pour faire entendre leur voix. Dans la perspective des prochaines élections au Parlement européen du 23 au 26 mai, les débats de la Semaine européenne de la jeunesse de cette année porteront sur la manière dont les jeunes peuvent être actifs dans leurs communautés et influencer les décisions démocratiques. Tibor Navracsics, commissaire en charge de l'éducation, de la culture, de la jeunesse, des sports, a déclaré: « Je salue cette génération de jeunes Européens actifs, engagés et prêts à venir en aide aux autres. Près de 125 000 jeunes sont aujourd'hui inscrits au corps européen de solidarité, ce qui témoigne clairement de la volonté de la jeunesse à être actrice de la société. Notre dernière enquête Eurobaromètre sur les jeunes révèle que trois jeunes sur quatre déclarent avoir pratiqué l'une ou l'autre forme d'activité civique, qu'il s'agisse de voter, d'adhérer à un mouvement, de signer une pétition en ligne ou de s'engager dans le volontariat. J'en suis fier et j'encourage les jeunes à mobiliser leurs pairs pour qu'ils votent lors des prochaines élections du Parlement européen et s'expriment ainsi sur la construction de leur avenir. » Aujourd'hui, la Commission européenne a également publié les résultats de l'Eurobaromètre sur l'opinion des jeunes quant à la manière de construire une Europe plus forte et plus unie. En outre, cet après-midi, le commissaire Navracsics présentera les résultats des Altiero Spinelli Awards 2018. Le 30 avril, le Commissaire organisera un dialogue citoyen avec les jeunes, ainsi qu'un débat au Parlement européen à Bruxelles, rassemblant plus de 800 jeunes qui débattront de la participation démocratique et de l'impact du corps européen de solidarité sur les jeunes, les ONG et les communautés locales. Plus d'informations sont disponibles dans le communiqué de presse. Le programme complet de la Semaine européenne de la jeunesse est disponible ici. Les dernières statistiques sur le corps européen de solidarité sont disponibles ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tél .: +32 229 67083; Sara Soumillion - Tél .: + 32 229 67094)

 

EU releases €1.5 million in immediate assistance after cyclone Kenneth hits Mozambique and Comoros

Following the extensive damage caused by tropical cyclone Kenneth in northern Mozambique and Comoros, the EU is providing initial €1.5 million to help the people affected by the heavy rainfall and destruction that the new cyclone left in its trail. Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said: “Mozambique is facing a double disaster as a second devastating cyclone hits the country in just over a month. The EU is acting fast to deliver essential supplies, especially given that Mozambique is still recovering from cyclone Idai. We express our solidarity with the people of Mozambique and of Comoros. Our thoughts are with the national first responders working at this difficult time”. The new EU funding will provide food aid, emergency shelter, water and sanitation, basic essential items, and emergency telecommunications support for those most in need, following the heavy rainfall and strong winds, causing people to be evacuated from their homes, damage to infrastructure, loss of crops, and an increased risk of flash floods. The full press release is available here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

Strengthening the Commission's oversight in a modern and robust anti-fraud system

The European Commission has today adopted its new Anti-Fraud Strategy that seeks to further improve the detection, sanctioning and prevention of fraud and will support the Commission's ongoing efforts to bring fraud against the EU budget further down. The vision behind the new Strategy is to strengthen the corporate oversight of the Commission regarding all issues related to fraud and to reinforce the anti-fraud system that is already in place. Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, said: "The European Commission has zero tolerance to fraud. Every euro from the EU budget should be well spent and should create added value for the EU citizens. Today's Strategy will help us stay focused on preventing, detecting and stopping fraud. We must always remain one step ahead of fraudsters." More information is available in the press release here. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein: Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova - Tel.: +32 229 57857)

 

Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Mastercard and Visa to cut inter-regional interchange fees

The European Commission has made commitments offered by Mastercard and Visa legally binding under EU antitrust rules. The companies will significantly reduce (on average by around 40%) their multilateral interchange fees for payments in the European Economic Area (EEA) with consumer cards issued elsewhere. The Commission outlined its competition concerns related to inter-regional MIFs in a Statement of Objections addressed to Mastercard on 9 July 2015 and a Supplementary Statement of Objections addressed to Visa on 3 August 2017. In particular, the Commission was concerned that inter-regional interchange fees (also referred to as "inter-regional MIFs") may anti-competitively increase prices for European retailers accepting payments from cards issued outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and in turn lead to higher prices for consumer goods and services in the EEA. Mastercard and Visa, each separately, offered commitments that would reduce the inter-regional MIFs by an average of 40%. The commitments, which will apply for five years and six months, cover inter-regional interchange fees applied to payments made with the Mastercard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron and V-PAY credit and debit card brands. In December 2018, the Commission consulted market participants to verify the appropriateness of the proposed commitments. In light of the Commission's analysis and the results of the market test, the Commission is satisfied that the commitments offered by Mastercard and Visa address its concerns.  The Commission is the first competition authority in the world to intervene on inter-regional MIFs. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Mastercard and Visa have committed to significantly reduce the interchange fees applied to payments made in Europe with cards issued elsewhere. The commitments, which are now binding on Visa and Mastercard, will reduce the costs borne by retailers for accepting payments with cards issued outside the EEA. This, together with our January 2019 decision on Mastercard's cross-border card payment services, will lead to lower prices for European retailers to do business, ultimately to the benefit of all consumers”. More information, including the full version of the commitments, is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case numbers AT 39398 (Visa) and AT 40049 (Mastercard). The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of control over Pondus by Swiss Life and Montagu

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of control over Pondus GmbH & Co. KG (“Pondus”) of Germany by Swiss Life Holding AG (“Swiss Life”) of Switzerland and Montagu Private Equity LLP (“Montagu”) of the UK. Pondus is a real estate company that leases out a retail and office building in Berlin, Germany. Swiss Life is an insurance company.Montagu is a private equity firm. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would  raise no competition concerns as it would have a limited impact on the structure of the markets for real estate rental services and management. 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.9344. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Gdansk Port Holdings by PFR, IFM Investors and PSA

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Gdansk Port Holdings S.à.r.l. (“GPHS”) of Luxembourg by Polski Fundusz Rozwoju S.A. (“PFR”) of Poland, IFM Investors Pty Ltd (“IFM Investors”) of Australia and PSA Baltics NV  of Belgium.  GPHS is the holding company of DCT Gdańsk S.A. (Poland), which operates two deep-sea container quays located in the Port of Gdansk, Poland. PFR is the parent company of a group of financial and advisory institutions supporting companies, local governments and individuals investing in the sustainable social and economic development of Poland. IFM Investors is a global investment manager of infrastructure, listed equities, private capital and debt investments. PSA Baltics is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of PSA International Pte Ltd (Singapore), a global operator of shipping terminals. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because of the limited impact it would have on the market. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.9310. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of DirectRoute (Fermoy) by 3i, TIIC Management and Aberdeen Infrastructure

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over DirectRoute (Fermoy) Holdings Limited (“Fermoy HoldCo”) of Ireland by 3i Group plc (“3i”) of the UK, TIIC Management S.à.r.l. of Luxembourg and Aberdeen Infrastructure Partners LP Inc (“AIPLP”) of Guernsey. Fermoy HoldCo is the parent company of DirectRoute (Fermoy) Limited, which operates the M8 Rathcormac/Fermoy Bypass in Ireland pursuant to a concession contract awarded in 2004 for 30 years. 3i is an international investment company with two complementary businesses, Private Equity and Infrastructure, specialising in core investment markets in northern Europe and North America. TIIC Management is a pan-European infrastructure firm investing into mid-market infrastructure projects across Europe in both the transportation and social sectors. AIPLP is an investment portfolio consisting of Private Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) assets. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there is no horizontal overlap or vertical link between the activities of the companies in the European Economic Area. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.9271. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of DirectRoute (Limerick) by 3i, TIIC Management and Meridiam

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over DirectRoute (Limerick) Holdings Limited (“Limerick HoldCo”) of Ireland by 3i Group plc (“3i”) of the UK, TIIC Management S.à.r.l. and Meridiam Infrastructure Finance S.à.r.l. (“Meridiam”), both of Luxembourg. Limerick HoldCo is the parent company of DirectRoute (Limerick) Limited, which operates the M7 Limerick Southern Ring Road in Ireland pursuant to a concession contract awarded in 2006 for 35 years. 3i is an international investment company with two complementary businesses, Private Equity and Infrastructure, specialising in core investment markets in northern Europe and North America. TIIC Management is a pan-European infrastructure firm investing into mid-market infrastructure projects across Europe in both the transportation and social sectors. Meridiam is an internationalinvestment company, which develops, finances and manages infrastructure projects. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there is no horizontal overlap or vertical link between the activities of the companies in the European Economic Area. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.9272. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears creation of joint venture by Aberdeen and Investcorp

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture by Aberdeen Asset Management plc (“Aberdeen”) of the UK and Investcorp Investment Holdings Limited (“Investcorp”) of the Cayman Islands. The joint venture will provide investment advisory services to investment funds with respect to social and economic infrastructure projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Middle East and North Africa region and Turkey. Aberdeen and Investcorp are investment companies with a broad range of investments in different industries. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given that the joint venture will only be active outside of the European Economic Area. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.9346. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Eurostat: Le taux de chômage régional, compris entre 1,3 % et 35,1%, a baissé dans 8 régions de l'UE sur 10

Plus de 80% des 281 régions NUTS 2 (régions de base pour l'application des politiques régionales) que compte l'Union européenne ont vu leur taux de chômage des personnes âgées de 15 à 74 ans diminuer en 2018 par rapport à 2017. Environ 60% ont enregistré un recul d'au moins 0,5 point de pourcentage. Toutefois, les taux de chômage régionaux sont toujours marqués par de fortes disparités entre régions de l'UE. Les taux les plus faibles ont été enregistrés dans les deux régions de Prague (1,3%) et du Sud-Ouest (1,5%) en Tchéquie et en Moyenne-Franconie (1,8%) en Allemagne, suivies par les deux autres régions allemandes de Tübingen et du Haut-Palatinat ainsi que par la région de Cumbrie au Royaume-Uni (1,9% chacune). À l'autre extrémité de l'échelle, les taux de chômage les plus élevés ont été relevés à Mayotte (35,1%), une région ultrapériphérique française, à Ceuta (29,0%), une ville autonome espagnole, dans la région de Macédoine occidentale (27,0%) en Grèce, à Melilla (25,8%), une autre ville autonome espagnole, à La Réunion (24,3%), une autre région ultrapériphérique française et dans la région de la Grèce occidentale (24,1%). Ces données sur le chômage régional, établies sur la base de l'enquête communautaire sur les forces de travail, sont publiées par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand – Tél.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tél.: + 32 229 67094)

 

Eurostat: Le revenu réel des ménages par habitant en hausse dans la zone euro et dans l'UE28, la consommation réelle par habitant stable dans la zone euro et en hausse dans l'UE28 (quatrième trimestre 2018)

Dans la zone euro, en termes réels, le revenu des ménages par habitant a augmenté de 0,3% au quatrième trimestre 2018, après une hausse de 0,2% au trimestre précédent. La consommation réelle des ménages par habitant est restée stable au quatrième trimestre 2018, tout comme au troisième trimestre 2018. Dans l'UE28, le revenu réel des ménages par habitant a augmenté de 0,3% au quatrième trimestre 2018, après une hausse de 0,6% au trimestre précédent. La consommation réelle des ménages par habitant a progressé de 0,2% au quatrième trimestre 2018, après une hausse de 0,3% au troisième trimestre 2018. Un communiqué de presse Eurostat est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand – Tél.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tél.: + 32 229 67094)

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini in Berlin for a Western Balkans meeting

High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini is in Berlin today for a meeting with the Western Balkans' leaders as well as Slovenia and Croatia, organised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. The meeting taking place this afternoon will offer an opportunity to highlight the ongoing efforts for reconciliation, good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation, to further foster stability and prosperity across Europe. The Prespa agreement set a historic example of reconciliation, while through the ongoing EU-facilitated dialogue Belgrade and Pristina seek lasting solutions to the benefit of their people, the region and beyond. In the margins of the Western Balkans meeting, Federica Mogherini will hold a series of bilateral meetings with the leaders of the region. Photos and videos will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.:+32 229 64887)

 

EU hosts annual meeting of the international donor coordination group in support of the Palestinian economy

The European Union will host on Tuesday the annual Spring meeting of the international donor coordination group in support of the Palestinian economy, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC). The meeting is hosted by EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, and chaired by the Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide. Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will also participate. Since 1993, the AHLC has served as a key policy-level coordination mechanism for financial assistance to the Palestinian people, with a purpose of preserving the vision of a negotiated two-state solution. A press point with High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide will take place ahead of the meeting at approximately 13:45 at the VIP corner, in the Berlaymont building (media advisory is available online). Earlier in the day, senior officials will take stock of progress achieved in the past twelve months as regards the implementation of the biggest ever investment project in Gaza: the Gaza Central Desalination Plant. The available water in Gaza is among the lowest in the world and 97% is unfit for human consumption. This project meets the most urgent water needs, providing water for the two million Palestinians living in Gaza, contributing to the environmental sustainability and economic development of Gaza. Audio-visual coverage will be available on EbS. A factsheet and a video on the Gaza Central Desalination Plant are online. (For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Matteo Arisci - Tel.: +32 229 80833; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.:+32 229 64887)

 

Commissioner Stylianides speaks about global health emergencies at the Launch Event of the LSE Department of Health Policy

Tomorrow 30 April, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides will speak at the official launch event of the new Department of Health Policy of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He will present the Commission's important work in fighting Ebola, currently in the Democratic Republic of Congo and during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 as well as what the EU is doing to tackle health crises in emergencies. He will share his views together with Nobel Prize winners Sir Christopher Pissarides and Dr Denis Mukwege, and other high-profile speakers. The Commissioner will emphasise the need for a comprehensive approach in dealing with health emergencies around the globe. In 2018, EU humanitarian aid supported 178 health projects worldwide, for a total amount of almost €235 million. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

 

 

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

MEX/19/2312


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