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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 17 / 06 / 2019

Brussels, 17 June 2019

Barriers to trade: EU continues opening up export markets for European firms

The European Commission's report released today confirms the continuous rise in barriers encountered by European companies in foreign markets. Thanks to the EU's firm response, 123 such barriers have been eliminated since the beginning of the current Commission mandate, allowing for more than €6 billion extra exports in 2018. Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: "In the complex context we have today with a growing number of trade tensions and protectionist measures, the EU must keep defending the interests of its companies in the global markets. Making sure that the existing rules are respected is of utmost importance. Thanks to our successful interventions, 123 barriers hindering EU exports opportunities have been removed since I took office in late 2014. Working on specific problems reported by our companies we manage to deliver economic benefits equivalent in value to those brought by the EU's trade agreements. Those efforts certainly must continue.” The latest edition of the Trade and Investment Barriers Report identifies 45 new trade barriers put in place in countries outside the EU in 2018, bringing the total number to a record high of 425 measures in 59 different countries. Intervening in close collaboration with EU Member States and businesses under the EU's enhanced Market Access Strategy, the Commission has eliminated last year as much as 35 trade barriers, among others in China, Japan, India and Russia. For more information, see the press release, the report and examples of a successful EU intervention available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 52 383)


2019 Innovation Scoreboards: The innovation performance of the EU and its regions is increasing

The European Commission's 2019 European Innovation Scoreboard and Regional Innovation Scoreboard published today show that the EU's innovation performance has been improving for four years in a row. For the first time ever, Europe's innovation outperforms that of the United States. However, the EU continues to lose some ground to Japan and South Korea, and China is catching up fast. Europe needs to deepen its innovation capability to compete on global markets and maintain and improve the European way of life, as called for by the European Council as recently as June 2018 and March 2019. That is why the Juncker Commission has set a new level of ambition for the EU and its Member States and regions, and proposed Horizon Europe, the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever. This will keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation. The Scoreboards published today complement the Commission's recent country-specific recommendations (CSRs) in the framework of the European Semester, which highlight the role of research and innovation and include recommendations to enhance productivity growth and competitiveness. A press release in all EU languages and Q&As are available online. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Victoria Von Hammerstein-Gesmold – Tel.: +32 229 55040)


The European Commission increases support for the EU's beekeeping sector

The European Commission will provide €120 million to the EU's beekeeping sector over the next three years to support its essential role in agriculture and the environment. This represents an increase of €12 million compared to the support provided for the period from 2017 to 2019. This amount, doubled by national contributions from Member States, will apply to national apiculture programmes starting on 1 August 2019 and running until 31 July 2022. These programmes are designed by Member States in cooperation with the sector at national level with the aim to improve the conditions for the apiculture sector and the marketing of their products. Measures include for example education to beekeepers, support to start a beekeeping business, fighting against parasites damaging hives, and research or measures on improving honey quality. In 2018, the EU had over 17.5 million hives divided over 600,000 beekeepers. Beekeeping is practiced in all EU Member States and the European Union is the world's second largest honey producer. Honeybee colonies are essential for agriculture and environment, ensuring plant reproduction by pollination, while beekeeping participates to the development of rural areas. More information on the EU's support to the sector is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)


L'UE investit plus de 34,5 millions d'euros dans l'internet très haut débit en Martinique

Le FEDER (Fonds Européen de Développement Régional) investit plus de 34,5 millions d'euros dans le réseau très haut débit en Martinique. Cet investissement permettra de raccorder 94 000 foyers et bâtiments dans les zones isolées de l'île à l'internet très haut débit. La commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu a commenté: « Ce projet de la politique de cohésion va accompagner la croissance économique de la Martinique et développera les réseaux et usages numériques sur l'île. Cela renforcera la position stratégique de l'île à côté du continent américain et aidera les entreprises locales à rayonner à l'international. Par ailleurs, le déploiement du très haut débit permettra d'avoir des services publics plus accessibles. De nouvelles applications numériques vont pouvoir se développer dans des domaines tels que l'e-santé, la formation et le travail à distance ou les démarches administratives en ligne. » L'objectif de ce projet cofinancé par l'UE dans le cadre du Plan France Très Haut Débit est de rattacher 100% du territoire au très haut débit soit par la fibre, soit par le câble, d'ici 2023, un chiffre qui n'atteindrait que 46.9% sans l'intervention des investissements publics et l'appui des fonds européens. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Spahr - Tél.: +32 2 295 00 55; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)


Norway becomes the 21st country to join eHealth cooperation for personalised healthcare

On Friday, Norway signed the European Declaration on linking genomic databases across borders. The cooperation aims to improve understanding and prevention of disease, allowing for more personalised treatments, in particular for rare diseases, cancer and prevention of diseases. The Declaration is an agreement of cooperation between different countries aimed to provide secure and authorised cross-border access to national and regional banks of genetic and other health data, in accordance with the EU data protection rules.  Norway is the 21st signatory of the Declaration, which was originally launched on 10 April 2018 during the Digital Day. The EU Member States that have signed it are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Their representatives met recently to discuss the implementation of the declaration, the organisational structure needed for closer cooperation, including infrastructure or technical requirements and the necessary conditions to guarantee safe data circulation in line with high ethical and legal standards. The goal is to keep the EU at the global forefront of personalised medicine, at the same time as fostering scientific output and industrial competitiveness. For more information about the European digital health initiative see here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou- Tel.: +32 229 83583)


State aid: Commission to launch evaluation of EU State aid rules applicable to health and social services and rules on smaller amounts for services of general economic interest

The European Commission has today launched an evaluation of the EU State aid rules applicable to services of general economic interest in the field of health and social services, such as medical care provided by hospitals, long term-care, childcare and social housing. These services form an essential part of the welfare system of each Member State. Member States are largely free to decide how to organise these services. The Commission's role, through its State aid framework, is to ensure that public funding granted for the provision of such services does not unduly distort competition in the Internal Market. In this context, the Commission must also ensure that the applicable State aid rules remain fit for purpose. To this end, the Commission evaluation launched today will assess whether the existing rules have reached their objectives (i.e. clarification of key State aid principles, simplification and a diversified and proportionate approach to services of general economic interest) and whether they are still appropriate in light of the developments in the sector and in the jurisprudence of the EU Court of Justice. Furthermore, the Commission will also evaluate the Regulation on de minimis State aid to undertakings providing services of general economic interest, which is set to expire on 31 December 2020. Under this Regulation, public service compensation measures of up to €500,000 per company over a three-year period are exempted from the application EU State aid rules because they are considered too small to affect competition or trade between Member States. The Commission will assess the application of the Regulation, in view of a possible prolongation or amendment of the Regulation after 2020. The evaluation of both sets of rules will include a public consultation, a targeted questionnaire for Member States, as well as a study to be carried out by an expert appointed by the Commission. The evaluation does not prejudge whether the Commission will maintain or review the rules on services of general economic interest currently in place. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)


La Commission approuve une nouvelle indication géographique protégée de Lituanie

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d'inscription du « Džiugas » dans le registre des indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Produit dans le nord-ouest de la Lituanie autour de la ville de Telšia, le « Džiugas » est un fromage à pâte dure fait à partir de lait de vache pasteurisé. Ce fromage tire son nom d'une colline de la région appelée le mont Džiugas, elle-même nommée en l'honneur d'un héros samogite qui tirait sa force de ce fromage. Les fromages et d'autres produits laitiers occupent depuis longtemps une place essentielle dans l'alimentation des habitants locaux. En Lituanie, il s'agit du fromage à pâte dure le plus connu et le plus consommé. Une meule de 4 kilogrammes de fromage nécessite 60 litres de lait de vache et est produite grâce au savoir-faire unique des artisans fromagers locaux. En 2013, des maisons du « Džiugas » proposant des dégustations de fromage et des ateliers ont vu le jour à Telšiai, Vilnius et Klaipėda. Ces dégustations ont déjà attiré quelque 13 000 visiteurs. Depuis 2016, ces maisons accueillent aussi des musées du « Džiugas ». Cette nouvelle appellation va rejoindre plus de 1445 produits déjà protégés dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR. Pour plus d'informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tél: +32 2 29 56185; Clémence Robin – Tél: +32 229 52 509)


Mergers: Commission clears joint venture by Koito, Elbit and BrightWay Vision

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over BrightWay Vision (“BWV”) of Israel by Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd (“Koito”) of Japan and Elbit Systems Ltd. (“Elbit”) of Israel. BWV is active in the manufacturing, research and development, and sale of enhanced vision systems for automotive applications. Koito is active in the manufacturing and supply of automotive lighting and accessories, aircraft lighting and other equipment, and ship lights/special products. Elbit develops and supplies of a broad portfolio of airborne, land and naval systems and products for defence, homeland security and commercial applications, which are installed on new platforms. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the joint venture has negligible actual and foreseen activities within the European Economic Area and the companies' combined market position resulting from the proposed transaction is moderate. 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.9363. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of citizenM by EPPL, APG and KRC

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control of citizenM Holding B.V. (“citizenM”) of the Netherlands by Euro Petunia Private Limited (“EPPL”) of Singapore together with the existing shareholders Stichting Depositary APG Strategic Real Estate Pool (“APG”) and KRC Capital B.V. (“KRC”), both of the Netherlands. citizenM is active in the development, acquisition and operation of luxury hotels worldwide. EPPL is an investment company belonging to GIC (Realty) Private Limited of Singapore, which focuses on the ownership of real estate assets on behalf of the Government of Singapore. APG is a depositary for an investment fund whose ultimate beneficial owner is Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, a Dutch pension administration organisation. KRC is a managing company for investments in leisure and hospitality. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the very limited impact brought about by the transaction on the market. 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.9365. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Eurostat: La croissance annuelle des coûts de la main-d'œuvre à 2,4% dans la zone euro (premier trimestre 2019)

Les coûts horaires de la main-d'œuvre ont augmenté de 2,4% dans la zone euro et de 2,6% dans l'UE28au premier trimestre 2019, par rapport au même trimestre de l'année précédente. Au quatrième trimestre 2018, les coûts horaires de la main-d'œuvre avaient progressé de 2,3% et 2,8% respectivement. Ces données sont publiées par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. Les deux principales composantes des coûts de la main-d'œuvre sont les salaires et traitements ainsi que les coûts non salariaux. Dans la zone euro, les coûts des salaires et traitements horaires ont augmenté de 2,5% et les coûts non salariaux de 2,2% au premier trimestre 2019, par rapport au même trimestre de l'année précédente. Dans l'UE28, les coûts des salaires et traitements horaires ont progressé de 2,7% et les coûts non salariaux de 2,1% au premier trimestre 2019. Le communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand– Tél.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tél.: + 32 229 67094)


Eurostat: Le taux d'emplois vacants à 2,3% dans la zone euro (premier trimestre 2019)

Le taux d'emplois vacants s'est établi à 2,3% dans la zone euro au premier trimestre 2019, restant stable par rapport au taux du trimestre précédent et plus élevé par rapport au taux de 2,1% relevé au premier trimestre 2018, selon les chiffres publiés par Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. Le taux d'emplois vacants dans l'UE28 s'est quant à lui établi à 2,4% au premier trimestre 2019, en hausse par rapport au taux de 2,3% du trimestre précédent et au taux de 2,2% enregistré au premier trimestre 2018. Le communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand– Tél.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tél.: + 32 229 67094)






European Development Days 2019 to focus on fighting inequalities

Tomorrow, the 13th edition of the European Development Days (EDD), the leading global forum on development cooperation, kicks off in Brussels. The two day event will host more than 8,000 participants from 140 countries worldwide, representing 1,200 organisations from the development community, including Heads of State or Government, leading experts, key influencers and young leaders. This year's EDD theme is ‘Addressing inequalities: building a world which leaves no one behind'. It will debate successes and failures in addressing inequalities in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the SDGs. Ahead of the event, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “In these turbulent times, the EU is a force for good in this world and a reliable partner for all. We are the world's largest development donor, but this is not charity, it is investment. Investment in growth, jobs and in building a better future for young people across the globe.”Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, added: “The European Development Days are about giving a voice to the whole development community, from world leaders to NGOs, business and industry leaders. Addressing inequalities is a necessary step in making our development cooperation more efficient and more meaningful in order not to leave no one behind.President Jean-Claude Juncker will open the European Development Days, and in addition, Commissioners Neven Mimica, Christos Stylianides, Marianne Thyssen, Pierre Moscovici and Mariya Gabriel will participate in different events. Join us and get involved: #EDD19 #ThinkTwice. The full press release is available here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Energy Union: Start of the annual EU Sustainable Energy Week

The annual EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) in Brussels starts today and runs until Friday 21 June. This year's focus is on ‘Shaping Europe's energy future'. It brings together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and consumers to promote initiatives aimed at saving energy and moving towards more renewable energy in line with the Juncker Commission's Energy Union objectives for clean, secure and efficient energy for all Europeans. Further investments in clean and sustainable energy are also essential to make the European Union climate neutral by 2050 as proposed by the Commission in November 2018. The central event is the 3-day policy conference (18-20 June), with a keynote speech by EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and the annual EU Sustainable Energy Awards ceremony. Awards will be allocated in four categories - Engagement, Leadership, Innovation, Youth. This year's Awards Ceremony will also feature a special category for Eastern Partnership countries and the final award – Citizens' Award – was decided by a public vote with over 15000 EU citizens voting. The closing session of the policy conference will be wrapped up by Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič. Complementing the Policy Conference, the Networking Village provides an open forum with more than 100 unique networking opportunities – insightful presentations, exciting project pitches and interactive exhibitions – all aimed at fostering partnerships, boosting investments and developing innovative business ideas. More information on EUSEW. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Lynn Rietdorf – Tel.: +32 229 74959)


High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini travels to Washington D.C., United States

On Tuesday 18 June, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, will visit Washington D.C. to discuss a number of foreign policy issues as well as EU-U.S. bilateral relations. The High Representative will meet with officials of the U.S. administration including Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, and Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President. Photos of the meetings will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359)


Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici participate in the Brussels Economic Forum on 18 June 2019

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will take part in this year's edition of the Brussels Economic Forum, the flagship annual economic event of the European Commission, which will take place tomorrow, 18 June. The Forum will discuss key challenges for the European economy, such as the role of the EU in the new global order, how to build more inclusive societies in which the benefits of digitalisation and globalisation reach everyone and how to reconcile economic growth with social cohesion and sustainability. This year the Tommaso Padoa Schioppa lecture will be delivered by Sir Christopher Pissarides, Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics and Political Science at the London School of Economics. Other speakers include: Nadia Calviño, Minister of Economy and Business of Spain; Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund; Stefanie Stantcheva, Professor of Economics at Harvard University. The conference will be live-streamed on Europe by Satellite (EbS). The programme and registration details are available here.On the margins of the event, Vice-President Dombrovskis will address the press from 15:00 to 15:30, on the role of the financial sector in the transition to a climate-neutral economy. Vice-President Dombrovskis will take stock of three new reports of the Technical Expert Group on sustainable finance and will welcome the Commission's own new guidelines on corporate, climate-related information reporting. (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 64976)



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


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