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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 08 / 07 / 2019

Brussels, 8 July 2019

21st EU-Ukraine Summit kicks off in Kyiv

The 21st bilateral summit between the European Union and Ukraine takes place in Kyiv this afternoon, with Ukraine's progress in its reform path, supported by the European Union, high on the agenda. The summit will be the first since the new President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, took office on 20 May, and follows his visit to Brussels – his first trip as President - on 4-5 June. The European Union will be represented at the summit by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, will also participate. Leaders are expected to discuss the next steps in the implementation of the Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. They will also discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the implementation of the Minsk agreement, the consequences of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and regional and foreign policy issues. The European Union, together with the European Financial Institutions, has already mobilised €15 billion in support of Ukraine's reform process since 2014. Further tangible support is expected to be announced at the summit, including in relation to decentralisation, fighting corruption, the energy sector, further empowering civil society, mine action and psychosocial support, and support to the local economy and communities in the Sea of Azov region. Presidents Juncker, Tusk and Zelenskyy will hold a joint press conference, foreseen for 16:15 local time, and will be broadcasted live on EbS. For more information on the summit, visit the website, and for more information on EU-Ukraine relations, consult the dedicated factsheet.


Second Connecting Europe Facility Telecom call: €25 million to boost cross-border digital infrastructure

The European Commission launched the second Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Telecom call of 2019, with €25 million available to help European public administrations and businesses connect to pan-European digital platforms and ensure that the services provided are interoperable across borders. The call focuses on six areas: cybersecurity (€10 million), eHealth (€5 million), eProcurement (€1 million), European e-Justice (€3 million), public Open Data (€5 million), and the new European Platform on Digital Skills (€1 million). Applicants are invited to submit projects aimed at improving the daily life of citizens, businesses and public administrations as well as contributing to the accomplishment of the Digital Single Market. The call will close on 14 November 2019, and potential applicants seeking to know more are encouraged to take part in a Virtual Info Day on 10 July. The CEF programme supports physical and digital infrastructures in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy; more information on CEF Telecom projects can be found here. In the EU's budgetary period for 2014-2020, CEF Telecom has a budget of approximately €1 billion, of which €870 million has been earmarked for the deployment of digital solutions paving the way to the digitalisation and cross-border interoperability of public services across the EU.(For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou- Tel.: +32 229 83583)


Le plan Juncker en Suède: la BEI soutient les moteurs hors-bord Cimco à faibles émissions

La Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) a signé un accord de prêt d'une valeur de 14 millions d'euros avec la société suédoise Cimco Marine AB, afin de cofinancer ses investissements en innovation et en croissance dans les années à venir. La société est responsable du développement de «OXE-Diesel», une nouvelle génération de moteurs hors-bord diesel pour bateaux, conçus pour remplacer les moteurs à essence à 2 et 4 temps actuels. En remplaçant ces moteurs très polluants, le dioxyde de carbone est réduit de plus de 35%, le monoxyde de carbone de plus de 99% et les hydrocarbures et les oxydes d'azote de plus de 68%. Le financement est soutenu par le Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques (EFSI), au cœur du plan Juncker. Le commissaire Arias Cañete, responsable de l'action pour le climat et de l'énergie, a déclaré: «L'UE est déterminée à tenir ses engagements en matière de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre et nous travaillons avec les États membres sur leurs plans pour devenir neutres en carbone d'ici 2050. Le projet de moteur hors-bord de Cimco réduira considérablement les émissions, tout en permettant aux garde-côtes et à la police de sauvetage de poursuivre leurs actions en mer. »Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. En juin 2019, le plan Juncker avait mobilisé près de 410 milliards d'euros d'investissements supplémentaires, dont 12,8 milliards d'euros en Suède. Le plan soutient actuellement 952 000 petites et moyennes entreprises en Europe. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)


Central Asia: the European Union matches political commitment with further concrete support

Yesterday, at the 15th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, presented a set of EU funded programmes that support all countries of the region - Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan - on environment protection, climate action, sustainable consumption and production, energy, gender equality, counter-terrorism, and education. Coming on top of over €1 billion of bilateral and regional assistance for the period 2014-2020, these programmes, worth €72 million, underpin the EU's political commitment to implement the new EU Central Asia Strategy that was adopted by EU Foreign Ministers last month, endorsing the Joint Communication on "The EU and Central Asia: New Opportunities for a Stronger Partnership". The Joint Communiqué of the Ministerial meeting is available online. During her visit to Bishkek, the High Representative also delivered the closing speech at the first ever EU-Central Asia Forum, bringing together civil society, students, business leaders, journalists and think tanks to discuss opportunities for closer engagement in the EU-Central Asia partnership. Together with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Chingiz Aidarbekov, she witnessed the initialling of the EU-Kyrgyz Republic Enhanced Cooperation and Partnership Agreement, after which she held a joint the press point. Before Bishkek, Federica Mogherini was in Turkmenistan to sign an agreement to open a fully-fledged EU Delegation in its capital Ashgabat that will complete the EU's diplomatic presence in Central Asia. For all information on the visit and on EU-Central Asia relations please consult the dedicated webpage. (For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359)


Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, 8 and 9 July 2019

Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will represent the Commission at today's Eurogroup and tomorrow's ECOFIN meetings. Ministers will discuss the budgetary situation in the euro area as a whole, with presentations by the Commission based on its Spring Semester packageand by the European Fiscal Board on its recently published report. Eurogroup ministers will also discuss the third enhanced surveillance report on Greece and will be debriefed on the main findings of the eleventh post-programme surveillance mission to Spain. Ministers will take stock of the outcome of the Commission's sectoral consultations and the latest economic analysis from the ECB regarding the international role of the euro. They will also be informed of the Commission's conclusion in the context of the spring 2019 round of fiscal surveillance for Italy. Ministers will then continue in an inclusive format to follow up on the Euro Summit of June 2019. Leaders invited the Eurogroup in inclusive format to continue working on all the elements of the package on the strengthening of the EMU, as set out in the letter of the President of the Eurogroup of 15 June 2019. Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. At the ECOFIN meeting tomorrow, the Finnish Council Presidency will present its work programme on economic and financial matters. Ministers will hold a discussion with Commissioner Oettinger on the EU's own resourcesand new sources of financing in view of the multiannual financial framework package for 2021-2027. The Council will adopt the country-specific recommendations which conclude the European Semester for 2019. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference following the meeting. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229-56153; Vanessa Mock –Tel.: +32 229 56194; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183; Guillaume Mercier +32 229 80564)


RegioStars Awards 2019: votez dès demain pour les meilleurs projets de la politique de cohésion de l'année

Dès le 9 juillet, le public est invité à choisir parmi les 24 finalistes de RegioStars sélectionnés par le jury. Les RegioStars 2019 récompenseront les projets les plus originaux et les plus innovants de la politique de cohésion dans cinq catégories: 1) promotion de la transformation numérique; 2) donner aux espaces verts et aux rivières leur place dans la ville 3) lutter contre les inégalités et la pauvreté; 4) la construction de villes résilientes au changement climatique et 5) la modernisation des services de santé. Marianne Thyssen, commissaire chargée de l'emploi, des affaires sociales, des compétences et de la mobilité des travailleurs, a déclaré: "Chaque année, les prix RegioStars mettent en lumière les meilleurs projets de la politique de cohésion et montrent toute la valeur ajoutée de l'UE sur le terrain. Je suis impatiente de rencontrer les personnes à l'origine de ces projets, qui, je l'espère, en inspireront beaucoup d'autres." Les lauréats des cinq catégories seront annoncés le 9 octobre lors de la Semaine européenne des villes et des régions 2019. La commissaire Thyssen, le directeur général de la politique régionale et urbaine, Marc Lemaître, et le président d'honneur du jury de RegioStars, l'ancien député européen Lambert Van Nistelrooij, rencontreront les 24 finalistes demain. L'événement, qui aura lieu à 9 h 30 dans le bâtiment de la Commission au Berlaymont, est ouvert aux journalistes accrédités. Vous pouvez vous inscrire en écrivant à Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Spahr - Tél .: +32 2 295 00 55; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél .: +32 229 56169)


Mergers: Commission approves the acquisition of Flybe by Connect Airways, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of UK regional air carrier Flybe by Connect Airways, a consortium by Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Aviation and Cyrus. Through the consortium, the three companies will jointly control Flybe, Propius and Stobart Air following the merger. The Commission investigated the impact of the proposed transaction on the market forair transport of passengerson routes from British airports to other European airports as well as some intra-UK routes. The Commission's investigation found that the transaction, as initially notified, would have led to quasi-monopolies on two direct European routes, namely Birmingham - Amsterdam and Birmingham - Paris. The Commission also noted that entry of competitors into these routes would be difficult, considering that both Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports are very congested airports. To address the competition concerns identified by the Commission with regard to the two routes, Connect Airways offered a set of commitments. Connect Airways committed to the release of five daily slot pairs at Amsterdam Schiphol airport and three daily slot pairs at Paris Charles de Gaulleairport. Under the proposed commitments, these slots will be released to competing airlines that want to fly the Birmingham - Amsterdam and Birmingham - Paris routes. These commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission regarding Connect Airways' acquisition of Flybe. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the final commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. This decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments. The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of Worldpay by FIS

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Worldpay, Inc. by Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (‘FIS'), both of the US. Worldpay is a global provider of merchant acquiring and related payment technology services. FIS is a global provider of financial services technology with a focus on retail and institutional banking, payments, asset and wealth management, risk and compliance, and outsourcing solutions. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given, on the one hand, the limited horizontal overlap between the companies' activities and, on the other hand, the absence of anti-competitive vertical effects resulting from the combination of the activities of FIS and Worldpay. 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.9357. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of SMM Auto Finance by Toyota Financial Services and the Mazda Motor Corporation

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of SMM Auto Finance (‘SMMAF') by Toyota Financial Services (‘TFS') and the Mazda Motor Corporation (‘MMC'), all three of Japan. SMMAF provides motor vehicle finance services to consumers for Mazda motor vehicles bought in Japan. TFS offers a range of financial services, including auto sales financing, credit cards and insurance services, globally. It is owned by the Toyota Motor Corporation. MMC is globally active in the development, manufacture and marketing of motor vehicles and related spare parts and accessories. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, as SMMAF is only active in Japan. 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.9382. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


State aid: Commission approves €70 million public support to promote shift of freight traffic from road to rail in the Netherlands

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a €70 million support scheme to encourage the shift of freight traffic from road to rail in the Netherlands. The scheme, which will run from 2019 to 2023, will be open to all railway companies operating in the Netherlands that have an access agreement with the Dutch rail infrastructure manager, ProRail. The support will take the form of compensation payments to railway companies to contribute to the cost of track access charges. The rail freight companies benefiting from the scheme are expected to pass on the benefits of the aid to their customers, i.e., freight shippers, through lower prices. The Commission found that the measure provides the right incentives for achieving a modal shift from road to rail. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is compatible with EU State aid rules, in particular Article 93 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union regarding transport coordination and the Commission's Guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings. More information will be available under the case number SA.52898 in the State aid Register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)




La Haute Représentante/Vice-présidente Federica Mogherini en visite dans la région du Sahel

Federica Mogherini commencera demain sa visite dans la région du Sahel, en Afrique. Elle participera à la réunion ministérielle annuelle UE-G5 Sahel et rencontrera plusieurs chefs d'Etat ainsi que des partenaires européens, des représentants de la société civile et des communautés locales. De plus amples détails, des points de presse pendant la mission et des photos seront disponibles sur EbS. L'UE est un partenaire clé des pays du Sahel, apportant son soutien dans trois domaines principaux: le partenariat politique par le biais de réunions régulières avec les autorités du G5 du Sahel afin de renforcer la coopération dans des domaines d'intérêt commun tels que le développement, la gestion des migrations, la gouvernance dans les zones fragiles, la sécurité renforcée, la lutte contre le terrorisme et le trafic illicite; le soutien à la sécurité et à la stabilité grâce au soutien apporté à la force conjointe du G5 pour le Sahel et aux trois missions relatives à la politique de sécurité et de défense commune: EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Mali et EUCAP Sahel Niger; et la coopération au développement, l'UE et ses États membres étant les principaux fournisseurs de coopération au développement dans la région, avec 8 milliards d'euros pour la période 2014-2020. Une fiche d'information sur les relations de l'UE avec les pays du G5 du Sahel est disponible en ligne.(Pour plus d'informations: Maja Kocijančič - Tel.:+32 229 86570 ; Daniel Puglisi - Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Commissioner Stylianides welcomes Spanish contribution to the rescEU firefighting fleet

Tomorrow, Tuesday 9 July, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides visits Madrid to welcome Spain's contribution to the rescEU initial transition fleet during a special visit at the the Torrejón air base.  The Commissioner will also meet Mr Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Minister of the Interior of Spain and Mr Luis Planas Puchades, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to mark an even closer cooperation in fighting forest fires in Europe and discuss the next steps for rescEU. Moreover, the Commissioner will visit the National Forest Fire Information Coordination Centre and the European Union Satellite Centre. Under the new rescEU programme Spain has put two firefighting airplanes at the disposal of the rescEU initial firefighting fleet. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Commissioner Navracsics in Finland to discuss links between culture and democracy

Tomorrow, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will be in Helsinki to attend the Finnish Presidency Conference on “Creative Transformations – Culture for Democratic and Sustainable Europe”. Discussions will focus on the role of culture and creativity in strengthening democracy, sustainable development andvalues across European societies. The Commissioner will open the first session entitled “Opening and Orientation: Future of the European Union with Culture and Creativity” alongside Finnish Minister of Science and Culture, Annika Saarikko, and Croatian Culture Minister, Nina Obujljen-Korzinek. Most participants will be culture policy officials from national governments and international organisations like UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the OECD. Ahead of the event, Commissioner Navracsics said: “I support the Finnish Presidency's intention to focus on culture's contribution to sustainability and democracy - this is fully in line with the new European Agenda for Culture which I presented last year. Today's conference is also one of the tangible results of the Council Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022 that sets our priorities for European cooperation in culture policy-making.” The European Commission is currently working with the Council of the EU on a contribution for UNESCO analysing the links between EU actions on culture and the Sustainable Development Goals. This work will feed into UNESCO's Forum of Ministers in November. The Commission is also cooperating with the OECD on the second edition of a project that looks at how best to foster and assess creativity and critical thinking in education. Known as the CREASSESS project (Assessing creative and critical thinking skills at school), it is set to be launched during the Finnish Presidency. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Le commissaire Gabriel participe au dialogue sur les TIC avec les Balkans occidentaux

Mariya Gabriel, membre de la Commission chargée de l'économie et de la société numériques, participera demain au tout premier dialogue sur les technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) avec les Balkans occidentaux à Bruxelles, aux côtés de hauts représentants des gouvernements de l'Albanie, de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, du Kosovo, du Monténégro, de la Macédoine du Nord et de la Serbie. La réunion a pour objectif de faire le point sur les progrès accomplis et de discuter des prochaines étapes de la stratégie numérique pour les Balkans occidentaux lancée à Sofia (Bulgarie) en juin 2018. La commissaire Gabriel prononcera un discours lors de la séance d'ouverture du dialogue où elle présentera les réalisations de la stratégie numérique, qui contribue au rapprochement des pays des Balkans occidentaux avec le marché unique numérique et à la réussite de leur parcours européen. Elle soulignera également la nécessité de continuer à aider les partenaires des Balkans occidentaux à moderniser l'administration publique, à renforcer la cybersécurité, à améliorer la connectivité et les compétences numériques et à offrir de meilleures opportunités commerciales dans la région. Grâce au nouvel accord régional d'itinérance dans les Balkans occidentaux entré en vigueur le 1er juillet 2019, les citoyens et les entreprises en Albanie, en Bosnie-Herzégovine, au Kosovo, au Monténégro, en Macédoine du Nord et en Serbie paient moins cher lorsqu'ils utilisent leur téléphone portable lors de déplacements dans la région. L'accord est un premier pas vers l'introduction de "l'itinérance comme à la maison" ("roam like at home") dans la région. Des réductions supplémentaires des frais d'itinérance sont attendues à compter du 1er janvier 2020. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tél.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou - Tél.: +32 229 83583)


Commissioner Jourová on official visit to Chile and Argentina

Commissioner Jourová will be in Chile today and tomorrow, as well as in Argentina on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 July. The visit follows the conclusion of the EU-Mercosur trade agreement and will focus on improving cooperation on data flows, advocating for strong convergence of data protection regimes, advancing bilateral judicial cooperation and discussing the issues of gender equality and antisemitism, among others. In Chile, Commissioner Jourová will meet the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Hernán Larraín Fernández, the Minister of Finance, Felipe Larraín Bascuñán, the Minister of Women and Gender Equality, Isabel Plá Jarufe, as well as the ViceMinister of Trade, Rodrigo Yañez. Data protection and gender equality will be on the agenda of the meeting with Chilean Senators Felipe Harboe Bascuñán, Jaime Quintana,Adriana Muñoz and Kenneth Pugh. She will also discuss data protection with the representatives of Chilean and European trade associations and companies. Commissioner Jourová will then exchange views withthe Chilean Transparency Council. Finally, she will deliver a keynote Speech at the University of Chile on the Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Era. Then in Buenos Aires, the visit includes exchanges with theMinister of Justice and Human Rights, German Garavano, with the President of the Senate, Federico Pinedo, the Chief of Staff of the Argentinian President, in charge of, among others, data protection topics, Marcos Pena, as well as with Senators Dalmacio Mera and Laura Rodríguez Machado. Commissioner Jourová will then meet with members of the Chamber of Deputies, Karina Banfi and Ezequiel Langan.She will then commemorate with the Argentinian Jewish community, and representatives of Christian and Muslim faiths, the 1994 bombing at the Jewish Community Center.Finally, she will deliver a keynote speech on the benefits of aligning data protection standards at the Privacy in a Globalised World conference. The event is organised under the framework of the “International Digital Cooperation – Enhanced Data Protection and Data Flows”project funded under the European Commission's Partnership Instrument. (For more information: Christian Wigand + 32 229 62 253 Melanie Voin + 32 229 58659)



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


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