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Daily News – 13.02.2019

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 13 / 02 / 2019

Brussels, 13 February 2019

European Commission adopts new list of third countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes

Today, the Commission has adopted its new list of 23 third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks. The aim of this list is to protect the EU financial system by better preventing money laundering and terrorist financing risks. As a result of the listing, banks and other entities covered by EU anti-money laundering rules will be required to apply increased checks (due diligence) on financial operations involving customers and financial institutions from these high-risk third countries to better identify any suspicious money flows. On the basis of a new methodology, which reflects the stricter criteria of the 5th anti-money laundering directive in force since July 2018, the list has been established following an in-depth analysis. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "We have established the strongest anti-money laundering standards in the world, but we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find its way to our financial system. Dirty money is the lifeblood of organised crime and terrorism. I invite the countries listed to remedy their deficiencies swiftly. The Commission stands ready to work closely with them to address these issues in our mutual interest." The Commission concluded that 23 countries have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering/counter terrorist financing regimes. This includes 12 countries listed by the Financial Action Task Force and 11 additional jurisdictions. Some of the countries listed today are already on the current EU list, which includes 16 countries. The list has been established on the basis of an analysis of 54 priority jurisdictions, which was prepared by the Commission in consultation with the Member States and made public on 13 November 2018.  A press release, a Q&A and a factsheet are available online for more information. The press conference by Commissioner Jourová will shortly be available on EbS(For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


Le Plan Juncker soutient l'innovation dans le secteur de l'éclairage en Autriche

La Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) vient d'accorder un prêt de 40 millions d'euros soutenu par le Plan d'Investissement pour l'Europe – le Plan Juncker – à la société autrichienne Zumtobel, spécialisée dans les systèmes d'éclairage. Le financement permettra à l'entreprise de développer ses activités de recherche et d'innovation pour proposer de nouveaux produits, tels que des commandes d'éclairage intelligentes et des systèmes d'éclairages de secours. Le vice-président en charge de l'emploi, de la croissance, de l'investissement et de la compétitivité Jyrki Katainen a déclaré: "Les activités de recherche et de développement du secteur privé sont essentielles au maintien de l'avance européenne dans le domaine de l'innovation. Grâce à ce nouvel accord du Plan d'Investissement, Zumtobel va renforcer sa compétitivité et poursuivre le développement de nouveaux produits dans le secteur de l'éclairage. C'est une bonne nouvelle pour l'économie autrichienne et pour l'économie européenne dans son ensemble." Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. En février 2019, le Plan Juncker devrait mobiliser près de 380 milliards d'euros supplémentaires en Europe, dont 4,4 milliards d'euros en Autriche, avec 842 000 entreprises bénéficiant d'un meilleur accès au financement. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)


Cohesion Policy: Better metro connections for citizens in Bucharest

Citizens of Bucharest will reach the northern part of their city more easily in the near future, thanks to over €517 million support from the Cohesion Fund. The EU contribution will be invested in the construction of a section of the new metro line 6 between the station “1 Mai” and the planned “Tokyo” station. It will be connected to existing metro line 4. Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: "This Cohesion Policy investment will concretely improve everyday life for 1.8 million citizens as they will benefit from better transport connections to many destinations in Bucharest." The works for metro line 6, scheduled to begin in the second half of 2019, will include six new underground metro stations and the purchase of 12 metro train sets with six coaches each. In the future, metro line 6 is expected to run to the international airport Bucharest-Otopeni. (For more information: Christian Spahr – Tel.: +32 2 295 00 55; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)


Energy Union: Commission welcomes provisional political agreement to ensure that pipelines with third countries comply with EU gas rules

New rules for improving the functioning of the EU gas market and strengthening solidarity between Member States have been provisionally agreed by negotiators from the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission. Following the announcement by President Juncker in his 2017 State of the European Union speech, the Commission proposed common rules for gas pipelines entering the European gas market, on 8 November 2017. The aim of the proposal is to improve the existing Gas Directive (2009/73/EC) and ensure that the principles of EU energy legislation (third-party access, tariff regulation, ownership unbundling and transparency) apply to all gas pipelines to and from third countries. Exceptions are only possible under strict procedures in which the Commission plays a decisive role. The agreement concluded in the night from 12th to 13th of February meets this aim. It ensures that the provisions of the Gas Directive are applied on EU territory (land and sea) and provides for effective oversight to ensure the application of EU internal market rules by the national authorities supervised by the Commission. It also enhances transparency and cooperation among competent national authorities. This is a major step towards a well-functioning, transparent and competitive EU internal gas market where all suppliers are acting under the same EU rules. Commissioner Arias Cañete welcomed the agreement: "This is a major step forward in the creation of a truly integrated internal gas market which is based on solidarity and trust with full involvement of the European Commission. Today, Europe is closing a loophole in the EU legal framework. The new rules ensure that EU law will be applied to pipelines bringing gas to Europe and that everyone interested in selling gas to Europe must respect European energy law. Together with the previously agreed rules on security of gas supply and Intergovernmental Agreements, Europe has given itself a strong set of tools to deal effectively and collectively with our external energy suppliers." The full press release is available online. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Lynn Rietdorf – Tel.: +32 229 74959)


Capital Markets Union: Commission welcomes political agreement on new rules to help consumers save for retirement

The agreement reached by the European Parliament and Member States on the proposal for a pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) will help to channel more savings to long-term investments in the EU. This is an important milestone for the Capital Markets Union. Formally backed today by EU Permanent Representatives, the new rules will provide savers with more choice when putting money aside for old age, and will allow them to adapt their retirement savings to their needs, thereby contributing to addressing the pensions' gap in the EU. Savers will also benefit from greater competition which should be reflected in the price of products. Providers will be able to sell the product anywhere in the EU under a common set of rules which will guarantee strong investor protection. Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "Thanks to the agreement on a Pan-European personal Pension Product, EU citizens will have more choice to save for their retirement, while enjoying strong consumer protection. Personal pension providers will be able to sell the PEPP across the EU with one single registration, thereby channelling savings towards long-term investments. This in turn will lead to boosting jobs and growth in the EU. We regret that the portability of the PEPP and the role of EIOPA were weakened, but this agreement is an importantfirst step towards building a true pan-European market for personal pension products. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness said: "The agreement achieved by the European Parliament and the Council on PEPP is a major milestone on the road to addressing pension gaps and demographic challenges and a major achievement in completing Capital Markets Union. It will benefit consumers and providers with a strong framework for personal pensions through a new product with strong consumer protection and enhanced cross-border competition." The June 2017 Commission proposal on PEPP, one of the key measures of the Commission's Action Plan to strengthen the Capital Markets Union, will be a voluntary scheme for saving for retirement, to be offered by a broad range of financial providers across the EU. It will complement existing public and occupational pension systems, alongside existing national private pension schemes. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)


Commission welcomes the provisional agreement on cleaner and safer heavy goods vehicles

Yesterday, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the European Commission's proposal for a directive amending Directive 96/53/EC on weights and dimensions of heavy goods vehicles. It is part of the third and final 'Europe on the Move' package that includes a set of actions to reduce CO2 emissions and to make European transport safer. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc welcomed the agreement: "The provisional agreement reached by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission within a very short time shows the importance of this file. We are reducing significantly the time before which new cabins, which are more aerodynamic, safer and more comfortable, can enter the market. Each year, these cabins will save 300-500 lives and up to 10% of emissions from long-haul trucks."The agreement concerns the implementation of special rules concerning cabs delivering improved aerodynamic performance, energy efficiency and safety performance. New types of lorries could start to circulate the roads from 1 September 2020. This will contribute to climate saving efforts and towards vision zero on road fatalities. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Daniela Stoycheva – Tel.: +32 229 53664)


EU asylum figures 2018: Number of asylum applications down to pre-crisis levels

New figures published today by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) show for a third consecutive year that asylum applications in the EU continue to decrease. In 2018, 634,700 asylum applications were recorded in EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland, a 10% decrease compared to 2017 and similar to the level of the pre-crisis year 2014. EASO's data also show that the number of pending first instance asylum cases has decreased by almost 50% when compared to its peak in autumn 2016. More information can be found in the press release issued by EASO today. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)


Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of joint control over Virgin Atlantic by Air-France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Group

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control over Virgin Atlantic by Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Group. Today's decision concerns the proposed acquisition by Air France-KLM of a 31% joint-controlling interest in Virgin Atlantic Limited, which leads to joint control over Virgin Atlantic by Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines Inc. and Virgin Group. The Commission investigated the impact of the transaction on the market for (i) air transport of passengers (ii) cargo air transport services and (iii) maintenance, repair and overhaul services. As regards the air transport of passengers, the transaction gives rise to overlaps on direct/indirect flights (i.e. one of the companies provides a direct flight from one city to another, while the other provides a one-stop flight for the same route) and indirect/indirect flights (i.e. the companies provide one-stop flights between two cities). These relate to routes from the UK to North America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and from Continental Europe/Ireland to North America. The Commission also investigated whether the companies' combined slot holdings at airports where their portfolios overlap, would prevent competitors from entering or expanding their presence at these airports. The Commission's investigation found that none of the overlapping routes raises competition concerns despite a small number of routes with high combined market shares. As regards the cargo air transport markets, the transaction is unlikely to raise competition concerns notably because Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic are not close competitors and continue to face strong competition on the affected cargo routes. Finally, as regards maintenance, repair and overhaul services, the transaction does not raise any competition concerns because of its limited impact on these markets. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns in any of the relevant markets and cleared the case unconditionally. The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, NL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition par la Caisse des dépôts et consignations et Swiss Life d'un immeuble à construire à usage d'établissement de santé

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle en commun par la Caisse des dépôts et consignations, basée en France, et Swiss Life, basée en Suisse, d'un bien immobilier à construire à usage d'établissement de santé situé à Bracon (département du Jura, France), faisant l'objet d'un bail en l'état futur d'achèvement. La Caisse des dépôts et consignations est un établissement public réalisant des activités d'intérêt général telles que la gestion des fonds privés auxquels les pouvoirs publics souhaitent apporter une protection particulière et des activités ouvertes à la concurrence dans les secteurs de l'environnement, de l'immobilier, de l'investissement et du capital investissement. Swiss Life est un groupe offrant à la clientèle privée et aux entreprises un conseil global et des produits dans les secteurs de la prévoyance et de l'assurance-vie, par l'intermédiaire de son propre réseau d'agents, de courtiers et de banques. La Commission a conclu que l'acquisition envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence compte tenu de son impact très limité sur la structure du marché. La transaction a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.9169. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of an office building in Munich by Swiss Life and Montagu

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over an already leased office building in Munich, Germany, by Swiss Life of Switzerland and Montagu Private Equity (“Montagu”) of the UK. Swiss Life is an insurance company. Montagu is a private equity firm. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of the limited impact it would have on the market. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.9255. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Eurostat: La production industrielle en baisse de 0,9% dans la zone euro, de 0,5% dans l'UE28

En décembre 2018 par rapport à novembre 2018, la production industrielle corrigée des variations saisonnières a diminué de 0,9% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,5% dans l'UE28, selon les estimations d'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. En novembre 2018, la production industrielle avait reculé de 1,7% dans la zone euro et de 1,2% dans l'UE28. En décembre 2018 par rapport à décembre 2017, la production industrielle a diminué de 4,2% dans la zone euro et de 2,7% dans l'UE28. Par rapport à 2017, la production industrielle moyenne de l'année 2018 a progressé de 1,1% dans la zone euro et de 1,3% dans l'UE28. Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél. +32 229 56182; Victoria von Hammerstein-Gesmold – Tél.: +32 229 55040)






Commissioner Stylianides travels to Greece

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides travels to Athens today where he will deliver a speech at the Hellenic Parliament, in honour of George Papadimitriou, a leading Greek politician and active supporter of European integration. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Le commissaire Arias Cañete en France pour présenter la stratégie pour la neutralité climatique en Europe à l'horizon 2050

Le commissaire chargé de l'action climatique et de l'énergie, Miguel Arias Cañete, sera à Paris le jeudi 14 février pour prendre la parole devant les commissions des affaires européennes et du développement durable de l'Assemblée nationale française pour présenter la stratégie en faveur d'une Europe neutre pour le climat d'ici à 2050. Le commissaire rencontrera M. François de Rugy, ministre de la Transition écologique et solidaire, et Mme Brune Poirson, Secrétaire d'État auprès du ministre de la Transition écologique et solidaire. Le commissaire rencontrera ensuite Mme Laurence Tubiana, PDG de la Fondation européenne pour le climat et ancienne ambassadrice chargée des négociations sur le changement climatique pour la conférence climat de 2015 (COP21). Une rencontre avec des ONG environnementales est aussi prévue. (Pour plus d'informations: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tél.: +32 229 56186; Lynn Rietdorf – Tél.: +32 229 74959)




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