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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 13 / 05 / 2019

Brussels, 13 May 2019

Digital Single Market: Cheaper calls to other EU countries as of 15 May

As of 15 May, a new maximum price will apply for all international calls and SMS within the EU. As a result, consumers calling from their country to another EU country will pay a maximum amount of 19 cents per minute (+VAT) and 6 cents per SMS message (+VAT). Following the end of roaming charges in June 2017, these new price caps for international calls and SMS in the EU are part of the EU-wide overhaul of telecoms rules to strengthen coordination of electronic communications and enhance the role of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The new rules for international calls tackle large price discrepancies that previously existed between Member States. On average, the standard price of a fixed or mobile intra-EU call was three times higher than the standard price of a domestic call, and the standard price of an intra-EU SMS message more than twice as expensive as a domestic one. In some cases the standard price of an intra-EU call can be up to ten times higher than the standard price for domestic calls. A new Eurobarometer survey on international calls shows that four in ten respondents (42%) have contacted someone in another EU country in the past month. 26% of the respondents said they used landline, mobile phone, or SMS to reach someone in another EU country. Telecoms operators across the EU will have to notify the consumers of the new price caps. The rules will apply in all 28 EU countries as of 15 May and soon also in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The maximum price is capped only for personal usage, i.e. for private customers. Business customers are excluded from this price regulation, given that several providers have special offers particularly attractive for business customers. Further details are available in the press release and Q&A. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)

 

Plan Juncker: nouveaux prêts à l'innovation accordés par Bpifrance

Le Fonds européen d'investissement (FEI), filiale du groupe de la Banque européenne d'investissement, garantira à hauteur de 50% les nouveaux prêts accordés par Bpifrance aux sociétés innovantes et aux start-up. La garantie du FEI, dans le cadre du programme européen Innovfin pour les PME, s'élèvera à 300 millions d'euros pour un montant total de prêts qui pourra atteindre 600 millions d'euros. Cette garantie est ensuite soutenue par le Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques, EFSI, le cœur du Plan Juncker, afin de permettre au groupe de la Banque européenne d'investissement de soutenir d'autres projets – parfois plus risqués. Pierre Moscovici, commissaire européen pour les affaires économiques et financières, la fiscalité et les douanes, a déclaré : « Avec 238 000 start-ups et PME bénéficiant de financements, la France fait partie des premiers pays européens soutenus par le plan Juncker. Je me réjouis de la signature de ce quatrième accord entre le groupe BEI et Bpifrance dans le cadre du plan Juncker, portant à 2 milliards d'euros l'enveloppe disponible pour les entreprises françaises innovantes éligibles au soutien de Bpifrance. Ces nouveaux financements soutiendront la croissance et la création d'emploi dans tous les territoires français. » L'accord entre les deux institutions a été signé à l'occasion de la conférence annuelle organisée par le groupe BEI « Investir dans l'Europe de demain », ouverte par Pierre Moscovici et Nicolas Dufourcq. En avril 2019, le plan Juncker a mobilisé près de 393 milliards d'euros d'investissements supplémentaires dans toute l'UE, dont plus de 68 milliards en France. Le plan soutient actuellement 945 000 petites et moyennes entreprises en Europe. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229-56153; Siobhan Millbright – Tél.: +32 229 57361)

 

Ebola: l'UE octroie 5 millions d'euros supplémentaires d'aide humanitaire à la République démocratique du Congo

L'Union européenne accroit son soutien humanitaire de 5 millions d'euros supplémentaires alors que la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) continue de faire face à la plus grande épidémie d'Ebola jamais connue. Le nombre confirmé de victimes du virus dépasse désormais les 1 000 personnes. Avec les mesures annoncées aujourd'hui, le financement total de l'UE afin de lutter contre l'épidémie d'Ebola s'élève à 17 millions d'euros depuis 2018. Christos Stylianides, commissaire européen chargé de l'aide humanitaire et la gestion de crises et coordinateur de l'UE pour la lutte contre Ebola, a déclaré : « L'UE est déterminée à poursuivre, aussi longtemps que nécessaire, son soutien envers les partenaires et les autorités dans leur lutte contre Ebola en RDC. Depuis le déclenchement de l'épidémie l'année dernière, nous avons financé des experts et du matériel d'évacuation sanitaire, mis à disposition notre service de vol humanitaire, et aidé les pays voisins. Nous soutenons également le secteur de la santé dans le pays, et le développement de vaccins et de traitements contre le virus Ebola. L'épidémie demeure toutefois une menace sérieuse et tout doit être fait pour l'endiguer. Les travailleurs humanitaires doivent aussi être libre d'effectuer leur mission sans la menace de violences. » Le communiqué de presse complet est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'information : Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tél.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tél.: +32 229 69140)

 

Festival de Cannes 2019: 20 films soutenus par MEDIA mis à l'honneur

La 72ème édition du Festival de Cannes et ses compétitions parallèles, la Quinzaine des réalisateurs et la Semaine de la Critique, présenteront une vingtaine  de films cofinancés par le programme MEDIA de soutien au cinéma européen pour un montant total de 1,5 million d'euros. Six films soutenus par MEDIA seront candidats à la prestigieuse Palme d'Or: Pain and Glory de Pedro Almodóvar (Espagne), The Traitor de Marco Bellocchio (Italie), Le Jeune Ahmed de Jean-Pierre Dardenne et Luc Dardenne (Belgique), Little Joe de Jessica Hausner (Autriche, Royaume-Uni, Allemagne), Désolé de vous avoir manqué de Ken Loach (Royaume-Uni) et The Whistlers de Corneliu Porumboiu (Roumanie, France, Allemagne). Quatorze autres films soutenus par MEDIA seront présentés dans diverses sélections du festival. En marge du festival, la Commission européenne organise le 20 mai une nouvelle édition du Forum du film européen, avec pour thème central les talents européens et le renforcement de la créativité, et la tenue d'un débat autour du Collectif “5050 pour 2020” sur la parité hommes-femmes dans le cinéma. D'autres activités sont organisées pour discuter des opportunités et des défis pour le secteur, notamment une journée « media meets tech » (le mardi 21 mai) mettant en lien des startups innovantes et des investisseurs. De plus, 10 gagnants du concours #euFilmContest sont invités à assister au festival, où ils pourront visiter le Marché du Film, rencontrer des professionnels de l'industrie du cinéma ou assister à la projection d'un film sélectionné à la Quinzaine des réalisateurs. De plus amples informations sur le programme MEDIA sont disponibles ici, ainsi qu'une liste complète des films soutenus par l'Union européenne participant au festival cette année. (Pour plus d'informations : Nathalie Vandystadt - Tél.: +32 229 67083 ; Inga Höglund - Tél.: +32 229 50698

 

Commissioner Vella opens Green Week 2019 today with a focus on implementing environmental laws

This year's edition of EU Green Week (13-17 May 2019) is opened today in Warsaw by Commissioner Karmenu Vella. It puts the spotlight on how environmental laws are applied on the ground. EU environmental laws have a huge impact on people's lives. They improve water and air quality, protect nature and prevent waste. But to make a real difference, they must be implemented in full. In April 2019, the European Commission published a set of reports on the state of implementation of environmental laws in Europe: the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR), which is also a tool to help Member States and local authorities to put into effect the EU legislation. The review summarises the achievements and challenges, and 28 country reports show where progress has been good, and where there is room for improvement. The reports include specific priority actions for each country, most of which are in areas like air and water quality, waste management and nature protection. EU Green Week 2019 will be built around the findings of the Environmental Implementation Review, and its suggestions for the future. Implementing EU environmental policy and law is not only essential for a healthy environment, but also opens up new opportunities for sustainable economic growth, innovation and jobs. Full implementation of EU environmental legislation could save the EU economy around €55 billion every year in health costs and direct costs to the environment. This edition of EU Green Week includes events across Europe, with the official opening event today, 13 May in Warsaw (Poland) and a high-level summit in Brussels from 15 to 17 May. The closing of Green Week will be hosted by Commissioner Vella place at Brussels Conference and will showcase the political conclusions from the Week. A Commission press point is scheduled on Wednesday 15 May at 6pm. Further information is available here on the programme, registration, livestream and Newsroom (also with related actions and activities). (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 2 295 61 72; Ana Crespo Parrondo – Tel.:+32 2 298 13 25)

 

Antitrust: Commission fines AB InBev €200 million for restricting cross-border sales of beer

The European Commission has fined AB InBev €200 409 000 for breaching EU antitrust rules. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV/SA (AB InBev) is the world's biggest beer brewer. Its most popular beer brand in Belgium is Jupiler. AB InBev also sells Jupiler beer in other EU Member States, including the Netherlands and France. In the Netherlands, AB InBev sells Jupiler to retailers and wholesalers at lower prices than in Belgium due to increased competition. AB InBev pursued a deliberate strategy to restrict the possibility for supermarkets and wholesalers to buy Jupiler beer at lower prices in the Netherlands and to import it into Belgium. The overall objective of this strategy was to maintain higher prices in Belgium by limiting imports of less expensive Jupiler beer products from the Netherlands. The Commission concluded that AB InBev abused its dominant position from 9 February 2009 until 31 October 2016 in breach of EU antitrust rules and deprived European consumers of one of the core benefits of the European Single Market, namely the possibility to have more choice and get a better deal when shopping. As a result, the Commission decided to impose a fine on AB InBev. AB InBev has cooperated with the Commission beyond its legal obligation to do so, in particular by expressly acknowledging the facts and the infringement of EU competition rules and by proposing a remedy. The remedy will specifically ensure that the packaging of all existing and new products in Belgium, France and the Netherlands will include mandatory food information in both Dutch and French for the next five years. The Commission granted AB InBev a 15% fine reduction in return for this cooperation. Further information on this type of cooperation can be found on the Competition website. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: "Consumers in Belgium have been paying more for their favourite beer because of AB InBev's deliberate strategy to restrict cross border sales between the Netherlands and Belgium. Attempts by dominant companies to carve up the Single Market to maintain high prices are illegal. Therefore we have fined AB InBev €200 million for breaching our antitrust rules." The full press release is available online. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Telia Company's proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting by Telia Company under the EU Merger Regulation. As a retail TV distributor, Telia Company licenses TV channels (including ancillary rights) from TV broadcasters, such as Bonnier Broadcasting, to include them in its retail audio-visual offering. The proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting by Telia Company would create a vertically integrated player in the audio-visual industry in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. In Sweden and Finland, Bonnier Broadcasting is the owner of TV channels that are very important for TV distributors to have in the packages they offer consumers, namely its free-to-air and basic pay TV channels and premium pay TV sports channels. The Commission's initial market investigation identified the following main concerns: (i) Telia Company's competitors in TV distribution in Finland and Sweden could be shut out from accessing Bonnier Broadcasting's specific TV channelsthat are important for consumers. (ii) The merged entity could deny access to TV advertising spaceon its free-to-air and basic pay TV channels to Telia Company's competitors in the markets for retail mobile telecommunication, fixed internet and TV services. (iii) The merged entity could deny access to its streaming application to customers using competing mobile and fixed internet providers. At this stage, the Commission is in particular concerned that, following the transaction, consumers in Finland and Sweden would face reduced choice and higher prices for retail TV distribution. The Commission will now carry out an in-depth investigation into the effects of the transaction to determine whether its initial competition concerns are confirmed. On 12 April 2019, Telia Company submitted commitments to address the Commission's concerns. However, the Commission considered these commitments insufficient to clearly dismiss its serious doubts as to the transaction's compatibility with the EU Merger Regulation. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The in-depth investigation we are opening today aims to ensure that Telia's proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting will not lead to higher prices for or less choice of TV channels for consumers in Finland and Sweden.” The full press release is available online. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the creation of a joint venture by Tenaris and Severstal

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture by Tenaris S.A. of Luxembourg and PAO Severstal (“Severstal”) of the Russian Federation. The joint venture will build and operate a plant in the Russian Federation for the manufacturing and supply of certain types of tubular products for the oil and gas industry in the Russian Federation and in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Tenaris is active in the manufacturing and supply of seamless and welded tubular products and related services for the oil and gas industry. Severstal is active in mining and in the manufacturing and supply of steel products. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given that the proposed joint venture will not have any assets in or make any sales into the territory 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 registerunder the case number M.9304. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Cadent by Macquarie, China Investment Corporation, Allianz, Dalmore, and INPP

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control over the gas distribution business of National Grid ("Cadent") of the UK by Macquarie Group of Australia, China Investment Corporation ("CIC") of China, Allianz SE of Germany, Dalmore Capital Limited ("Dalmore") of the UK and International Public Partnerships Limited ("INPP") of the UK. Cadent is active in gas distribution through four out of the eight regulated gas distribution networks in the UK. Macquarie is a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and fund management services with controlling interests in companies with activities in the gas sector in the UK. CIC is an investment company, which has joint control over an oil and gas exploration and production company. Allianz is a global financial services group active in insurance and asset management. Dalmore is an independent fund management company focusing on low risk opportunities for institutional investors in the UK infrastructure sector. INPP is an infrastructure investment company. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the absence of overlaps between the companies' 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.9296. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

Commissioner Bieńkowska in Kraków for Citizens Dialogue on 15 years of Poland in the EU and the Future of Europe

Today, 13 May, Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs will hold a Citizens' Dialogue in Krakow. The Citizens' Dialogue will give the opportunity to look back at the 15 years since Poland joined the EU and look ahead at the perspectives for the future (see factsheet on EU support to Poland since 2004). The Dialogue will evolve around topics such as Poland's EU membership, the upcoming European elections, the EU budget for the period from 2021 to 2027 and opportunities for Polish entrepreneurs in the Single Market. Since 2004, the Polish GDP has more than doubled and unemployment is at an all-time low of 3.5%, down from 19.1% in 2004. The Single Market is one of the EU's greatest achievements. It has brought benefits to all EU countries, citizens and businesses. Since the start of the mandate, the Juncker Commission has been working to unlock the full potential of the Single Market. The Commission has presented 67 proposals directly relevant for the proper functioning of the Single Market, 20 of which remain to be agreed (see factsheet on the Single Market). That is why in November 2018 the Commission presented a fresh assessment of the situation in the Single Market calling for renewed political commitment. At the European Council in March 2019, EU leaders reiterated the importance of a strong economic base for Europe's prosperity and competitiveness, including the Single Market in all its dimensions. More information on the Citizens' Dialogue is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: + 32 229 56182; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040)

 

Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete in Berlin for international climate talks

Today and tomorrow, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will be in Berlin to participate in the 10th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, an annual gathering of over 30 ministers from around the world for discussions in support of the UN climate change negotiating process. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges humanity faces in the 21st century. After the successful adoption of the so-called Paris Rulebook last December at the COP24 in Katowice, the EU stays firmly committed to continue leading the way in global climate action, in line with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. In this context the Commission has presented a vision that can lead to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially fair transition in November 2018. This year's Petersberg Dialogue will be co-hosted by the German and Chilean governments, with Chile to hold the Presidency of the COP25 climate conference in Santiago in December this year. Discussions will focus on the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and preparations for COP25 and the Climate Action Summit to be hosted by the United Nations Secretary-General in September. Participants will also be able to exchange views on issues such as building resilience to the impacts of climate change, financing and implementation of countries' national climate action plans (nationally determined contributions, NDCs) and how countries will report on progress. In Berlin, Commissioner Arias Cañete will also hold bilateral meetings with the Chilean Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt and Chinese Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel:+32 229 56186; Lynn Rietdorf – Tel.:+32 229 74959)

 

#School4All: Evènement de haut niveau sur l'éducation en contexte d'urgence avec la participation du lauréat du prix Nobel de la paix Denis Mukwege

Demain, mardi 14 mai, la Commission européenne accueillera plus de 400 écoliers à l'occasion de l'évènement #School4All à Bozar, à Bruxelles. Ils discuteront du soutien de l'UE à l'éducation en contexte d'urgence avec le commissaire chargé de l'aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises, Christos Stylianides, le lauréat du prix Nobel de la paix Denis Mukwege et les chanteuses belges Axelle Red et Typh Barrow. L'évènement donnera le coup d'envoi dans toute l'Europe d'une campagne sur les réseaux sociaux, et il sera retransmis ici. L'éducation en contexte d'urgence est une priorité pour la Commission: au cours des quatre dernières années, plus de 6,5 millions de filles, de garçons et de professeurs dans 55 pays touchés par des crises ont bénéficié de l'aide humanitaire financée par l'UE pour un meilleur accès à une éducation et une formation de qualité. (Pour plus d'informations: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela - Tél.: 32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi - Tél.: +32 229 69140)

 

Commissioner Jourová in visit to the Netherlands to discuss protection of upcoming European elections

Tomorrow Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vĕra Jourová will be in the Hague, in the Netherlands, where she will meet Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus, Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran and State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops. “My visit and discussions with the Dutch ministers will very much focus on the upcoming European elections and the need to protect our citizens and our democracies from manipulation,” said the Commissioner, “We now have many tools at our disposal to act and coordinate with Member States, platforms and other EU institutions.”(For more information : Christian Wigand – Tél.: +32 229 62253; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)

 

Commissioner Gabriel participates in Webit.Festival Europe 2019 in Sofia

Tomorrow 14 May, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel will be in Sofia, Bulgaria, to participate in Webit.Festival, Europe's innovation and technology flagship forum. She will make an opening keynote speech about the future of Europe, in which she will insist on the need to support and protect people and businesses online and discuss European values of openness, sustainability, inclusiveness, and entrepreneurship in the context of the digital economy and society. Commissioner Gabriel will also highlight the achievements of the Digital Single Market, in particular the EU's successes in tearing down unnecessary barriers in the digital economy, reinforcing investments in blockchain technology, setting a human-centric approach to Artificial Intelligence and supporting startup ecosystems. Moreover, the Commissioner will speak about the Commission's proposal for a Digital Europe programme, which would be the first ever EU programme dedicated to boosting Europe's strategic digital capacities and deployment of technologies in key areas for the next budgetary period 2021-2027. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tél.: +32 229 67083; Johannes Bahrke – Tél.: +32 229 58615; Marietta Grammenou- Tél.: +32 229 83583)

 

 

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

MEX/19/2491


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