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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 13 / 06 / 2019

Brussels, 13 June 2019

About the new Commission Press Corner

The Press corner, which will replace RAPID, the Press Release Database, goes live today. The webpage will offer instant display of press material, quick access to the ‘Daily News' and improved advanced search features. Both RAPID and the Commission Press Corner webpages will work in parallel until November 2019. You may continue to use your current account, and you will continue to receive your current subscriptions. We do encourage you to begin using the new page as soon as possible – and update all your bookmarks – as the Commission Press Corner offers a more user-friendly, secure and efficient working environment.

 

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Budget de l'UE pour 2021-2027: la Commission invite les dirigeants des États membres à établir une feuille de route en vue d'un accord à l'automne

En prévision de la réunion du Conseil européen des 20 et 21 juin, la Commission européenne appelle les dirigeants à donner une impulsion pour faire avancer les négociations sur le prochain budget à long terme de l'Union pour la période 2021-2027, afin qu'un accord puisse être dégagé d'ici à l'automne. Un accord est en vue, mais il reste beaucoup à faire, les enjeux étant de taille. Dans une communication publiée aujourd'hui, la Commission passe en revue les progrès accomplis jusqu'à présent et recense les principales questions en suspens qui doivent encore être traitées, ouvrant ainsi la voie à la conclusion rapide d'un accord. Le temps presse et tout retard dans l'adoption du prochain budget de l'Union coûtera cher. L'absence d'accord dans les délais serait préjudiciable aux étudiants, aux agriculteurs et aux chercheurs, ainsi qu'à tout autre bénéficiaire du budget de l'Union. L'actuel budget à long terme de l'UE pour 2014-2020 avait été adopté avec six mois de retard, ce qui a eu des conséquences négatives pour de nombreux citoyens, dans nos États membres et au-delà (voir annexe). Pour éviter qu'un tel cas de figure ne se reproduise, elle appelle aujourd'hui le Conseil européen à établir une feuille de route en vue de parvenir à un accord sur le budget à long terme de l'Union à l'automne et à faire de la conduite de ces travaux une priorité. Le président de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, a déclaré: «Un travail considérable a déjà été accompli pour faire avancer la proposition de la Commission concernant le futur budget à long terme de l'Union. Je félicite le Parlement européen et les États membres au sein du Conseil pour leurs efforts intensifs et leur engagement. Le moment est venu de passer à la vitesse supérieure. L'année 2019, qui a été marquée par la plus forte participation aux élections européennes depuis 20 ans et une campagne axée comme jamais sur les questions européennes, est une année de renouveau pour notre Union. S'accorder sur notre prochain budget n'est pas une simple question d'arithmétique; il s'agit de nous doter de moyens budgétaires à la hauteur de nos ambitions et de nos priorités. L'enjeu est de taille mais, avec du courage et de la volonté politique, il est possible de dégager un accord d'ici à l'automne.» Le commissaire européen chargé du budget et des ressources humaines, Günther H. Oettinger, a quant à lui indiqué: «Grâce au bon travail accompli par trois présidences successives du Conseil, nous sommes déjà parvenus à un accord partiel sur 12 dossiers sectoriels, tandis que les négociations sur 16 autres dossiers peuvent démarrer. L'essentiel, désormais, est de dégager un accord sur le cadre global, et ce le plus rapidement possible, au nom des étudiants, des agriculteurs et des chercheurs et des nombreuses autres personnes qui comptent sur le budget de l'Union.» Plus des détails sont disponibles dans un communiqué de presse et dans une fiche d'information. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 2 295 78 57)

 

Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, 13 and 14 June 2019

Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will represent the Commission at today's Eurogroup meeting. Ministers will discuss inequality in the euro area, based on the European Commission analysis as well as a presentation by Phillipe Aghion, a French economist and Professor at the College de France and at the London School of Economics.The Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) will inform ministers of the main findings of the sixth post-programme surveillance mission to Cyprus that took place between 18 and 22 March 2019. The Eurogroup will adopt its work programme for the second half of this year. The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, will present the outcome of the IMF's Article IV consultation with the euro area. Ministers will then continue in an inclusive format to follow up on theDecember 2018 Euro Summitahead of the June 2019 Euro Summiton further strengthening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union. Since December 2018 Euro Summit, discussions have proceeded on the future Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness for the euro area, building on the Commission's proposal for a Reform Support Programme. An agreement on the main features is within reach and should be taken forward with determination. Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will also represent the Commission at tomorrow's ECOFIN meeting. The meeting will begin with a presentation from the Romanian Presidency of a progress report on the state of play of the Banking Union including the implementation of agreed risk reduction measures, measures to tackle non-performing loans in Europe and the proposed European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). In a related point, the Commission will present its recently published 4th progress report on the reduction of non-performing loans (NPLs) and further risk reduction in the Banking Union. Ministers will then be updated on the state of play and next steps in the enhanced cooperation process among ten participating Member States towards a Financial Transaction Tax. Ministers will hold a debate on the Commission's 2019 country-specific recommendations which give economic policy guidance to all EU Member States for the next 12 to 18 months. The Council is also expected to adopt a decision allowing Spain to exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP), following the Commission's recommendation. This will be followed by a debate on the Commission's ‘Clean Planet for All' Communication, a strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050. Finally, the Commission and the Presidency will report on the results of last weekend's G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors meeting in Fukuoka, Japan. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229-56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183; Guillaume Mercier +32 229 80564)

 

Data Protection Regulation one year on: 73% of Europeans have heard of at least one of their rights

Today, at the occasion of a stock-taking event to mark the first year of application of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the European Commission is publishing the results of a special Eurobarometer survey on data protection. The results show that Europeans are relatively well aware of the new data protection rules, their rights and the existence of national data protection authorities, to whom they can turn for help when their rights are violated. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market said: “European citizens have become more aware of their digital rights and this is encouraging news. However, only three in ten Europeans have heard of all their new data rights. For companies, their customers' trust is hard currency and this trust starts with the customers' understanding of, and confidence in, privacy settings. Being aware is a precondition to being able to exercise your rights. Both sides can only win from clearer and simpler application of data protection rules.” Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality added: “Helping Europeans regain control over their personal data is one of our biggest priorities. But, of the 60% Europeans who read their privacy statements, only 13% read them fully. This is because the statements are too long or too difficult to understand. I once again urge all online companies to provide privacy statements that are concise, transparent and easily understandable by all users. I also encourage all Europeans to use their data protection rights and to optimise their privacy settings”. More information is available in this press release and a series of country-specific factsheets. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

Ebola: EU releases additional €3.5 million to tackle epidemic

As the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues, with the first cases emerging in neighbouring Uganda this week, the EU has announced further emergency funding of €3.5 million, of which €2.5 million is for Uganda and €1 million for South Sudan. Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis management and EU Ebola coordinator said: “We are doing all we can to save lives and stop further Ebola cases. Today, our main task is not only to help the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also assist neighbouring countries like Uganda. Here, our funding is helping with surveillance, work with local communities, and boosting local capacities for these countries to take timely and effective action. We are committed to continue our assistance to bring this outbreak to an end, for as long as it takes." The aid package will strengthen rapid detection and reaction to Ebola cases. Today's funding comes on top of the €17 million in EU funding for Ebola response since 2018 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and prevention and preparedness actions in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. The full press release and a factsheet on the EU response to Ebola are available online. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

Juncker Plan supports small businesses in the Faroe Islands and Greenland

The European Investment Fund (EIF) has signed an InnovFin guarantee agreement with BankNordik which will allow the bank to issue up to DKK 300 million (€40 million) of new loans under favourable conditions to local SMEs and small mid-caps in the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Under the deal, the EIF will cover up to 50% of potential losses incurred by BankNordik's new lending. The guarantee also translates into a better financing rate for the borrower. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Companies that are small, new, highly innovative – or indeed all three – often face difficulties in securing finance from banks. This is certainly the case in the Arctic region, where the vast majority of companies are logically smaller given the size of the overall economy. It can be particularly challenging to obtain loans in rural parts of Greenland. This is where the InnovFin programme and the EU budget guarantee are playing a vital role. Thanks to this new agreement between the European Investment Fund and BankNordik, businesses in the Faroe Islands and Greenland will see a marked improvement in their ability to access credit, with up to 300 million Danish krone now available for new loans." A full press release is available here. As of May 2019, the Juncker Plan has already mobilised nearly €400 billion of additional investment, including €4.8 billion in Denmark. The Plan is currently supporting 949,000 small and medium businesses across Europe. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

 

Boosting trust in scientific studies on food safety: the Commission welcomes Council adoption of new rules for a more transparent risk assessment process

Today, the Council adopted the new Regulation which will overhaul the transparency and accountability of the risk assessment in the area of food, as well as reinforce the role of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner in charge of Health and Food Safety, said: " This Regulation is a major step forward in the area of food and I am proud that the EU's institutions have responded in a speedy and decisive manner to the citizens' concerns over transparency on scientific studies in the food area, as expressed in the European Citizens' Initiative. The Regulation adopted today will ensure proactive public disclosure of all submitted scientific data at an early stage of the risk assessment process. On the basis of this early pro-active disclosure, EFSA will carry out public consultations. The combination of these measures will provide for maximum transparency, allow public scrutiny of the submitted scientific data, by citizens and scientists, and ensure that EFSA will have access to the widest possible range of scientific and safety information." The Regulation will be published in the Official Journal in September and will become applicable in spring 2021. More information on the new Regulation available here. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

Digital Assembly 2019: new actions on quantum, EU-Africa taskforce report and digital start-ups

Today and tomorrow, the 8th edition of the Digital Assembly is taking place in Bucharest, Romania.  The event, co-organised by the Commission and the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, will bring together representatives of EU Member States with stakeholders from industry, academia and civil society. Discussions will focus on what is needed to accelerate the digital transformation and ensure that the EU remains globally competitive. Three key initiatives will be featured: first, a joint declaration by several Member States to work together to build a quantum communication infrastructure; second, the adoption of the final report by the European Union – African Union Digital Economy Task Force with policy recommendations and concrete actions to strengthen cooperation on digital issues between the two continents; and, third, a new investment facility to scale up digital start-ups in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. For more information see this press release and you can follow the event live here. See also this video about the achievements of the Digital Single Market. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela - Tel.: +32 229 65322; Marietta Grammenou- Tel.: +32 229 83583)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of GNB Vida by Apax Partners

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of GNB – Companhia de Seguros de Vida SA. (“GNB Vida”) of Portugal by APAX Parners LLP (“AP”) of the UK. GNB Vida is a provider of life insurance products in Portugal. AP is a limited liability partnership and the parent of a number of entities, which provide investment advisory services to private equity funds in a range of industry sectors world-wide. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as there are no horizontal or vertical links between GNB Vida and AP. 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.9378. (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 the Mapfre Group and the Santander Group

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed creation of a joint venture by Mapfre S.A. and subsidiaries (“Mapfre Group”) and Banco Santander, S.A. and subsidiaries (“Santander Group”), all of Spain. The newly created joint venture will provide certain categories of non-life insurance, mainly to commercial entities and small and medium-sized companies in Spain. Mapfre Group is active in insurance and reinsurance provision and distribution across 45 countries. Santander Group is active in retail banking, corporate banking, investment banking, asset management and treasury across Europe, the US, Latin America and Asia. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, given the limited overlaps and vertical links between the companies' activities in the relevant markets in Spain. 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.9350. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of ABC Data by ALSO

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of ABC Data Group ("ABC Data") of Poland by ALSO Holding AG ("ALSO") of Switzerland. ABC Data is active in the wholesale of computers, peripherals and software, telecommunication equipment and consumer electronics as well as the provision of related services (financing, customer support, consulting, etc). ALSO is active in the wholesale of information technology, telecommunications (“ICT”) and consumer electronics ("CE") products, solutions and services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the relatively limited increase in the merged entity's market position and the presence of several other players active in the wholesale distribution of ICT and CE products. 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.9324. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526) 

 

Eurostat: La production industrielle en baisse de 0,5% dans la zone euro, en baisse de 0,7% dans l'UE28 (avril 2019 comparé à mars 2019)

En avril 2019 par rapport à mars 2019, la production industrielle corrigée des variations saisonnières a diminué de 0,5% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,7% dans l'UE28, selon les estimations d'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. En mars 2019, la production industrielle avait diminué de 0,4% dans la zone euro et de 0,2% dans l'UE28. En avril 2019 par rapport à Avril 2018, la production industrielle a diminué de 0,4% dans la zone euro et de 0,1% dans l'UE28.Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet - Tél.: +32 229 56182; Victoria Von Hammerstein – Tél.: +32 229 55040)

 

STATEMENTS

 

European Labour Authority ready to start working in October as decision is taken on new seat

Today, just ahead of the meeting of the Council on Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumers in which Ministers are to formally adopt the Regulation establishing the European Labour Authority, Member States decided that Bratislava will host the seat of the European Labour Authority. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, welcomed the decision: “I congratulate the city of Bratislava and the government of Slovakia for being chosen to host the seat of the European Labour Authority. From the start of my mandate, I have made fair labour mobility a key priority. Free movement boosts growth, helps businesses find the skills they need and gives everyone the opportunity to make the best use of their talents – but it needs to be well managed. This requires rules that are fair, clear and effectively enforced. The European Labour Authority is the jewel in the crown of this work. It will support labour mobility and give EU Member States the tools they need to cooperate more effectively and fight abuse. The European Labour Authority regulation has been adopted in record-time and I am confident that the move of the European Labour Authority to Bratislava will be equally smooth and fast. The Authority will start operating from Brussels as of October until it moves to its host city. I look forward to seeing the Authority settle in and starting work from Bratislava as soon as possible.” The full statement is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Commissioner Crețu participates in the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers for Urban Matters in Bucharest

Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu will attend tomorrow the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers for Urban Matters in Bucharest, organised under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Highlight will be the adoption of the Bucharest Declaration, which aims to pave the way for a common framework for urban development in the EU. It will also be an opportunity to take stock of previous achievements. Corina Crețu will speak on several occasions, re-affirming the importance of multilevel governance and empowering cities to carry out their own development strategies. Ahead of the meeting, the Commissioner said: "Cities are key players when it comes to delivering on the EU's priorities. The Urban Agenda for the EU has brought about stronger cooperation among Member States, European institutions and municipalities. We are giving them a voice at the European level and help exchanging best practices for sustainable development." The meeting agenda also includes the presentation of a report on the "Future of Cities", drawn up by the Joint Research Centre of the Commission in collaboration with the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. By providing evidence on emerging urban phenomena, it gives a valuable perspective on how policies can better anticipate and address the challenges cities will face in the years to come. A joint press conference of Commissioner Crețu and Deputy Prime Minister Daniel Suciu on Friday 15:00 CET will be available on EbS. (For more information: Christian Spahr + 32 229 50055; Andreana Stankova + 32 229 57857) 

 

 

 

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

MEX/19/2992


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