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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 22 / 11 / 2018

Brussels, 22 November 2018

RÉUNION DU COLLÈGE: La Commission présente son évaluation du Plan Juncker et du marché unique dans un monde en mutation

Le vice-président Jyrki Katainen a présenté aujourd'hui une évaluation du plan d'investissement pour l'Europe – connu comme le Plan Juncker – ainsi qu'une communication, avec la commissaire Elżbieta Bieńkowska, sur la situation dans le marché unique et un plan d'action visant à renforcer l'efficacité, la transparence et la sécurité juridique dans l'élaboration de normes harmonisées. En quatre ans d'existence, le Plan Juncker a aidé à rétablir un niveau durable d'investissement en Europe et a dépassé son objectif initial, en mobilisant 360 milliards d'euros d'investissements. Grâce au soutien du Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégiques (EFSI), 850 000 petites et moyennes entreprises bénéficient d'un accès amélioré au financement. Quant au marché unique, au fil des vingt-cinq dernières années, il a fait de l'Europe l'un des lieux les plus attirants au monde pour vivre et faire des affaires. La Commission appelle les Etats membres à renouveler leur engagement politique afin d'exploiter le potentiel du marché unique, afin d'exploiter pleinement le potentiel du marché unique à l'ère numérique et assurer la croissance durable de notre économie.Un communiqué de presse et une fiche d'information sur le Plan Juncker à l'œuvre sont disponibles en ligne. Un communiqué de presse et deux fiches d'information sur le marché unique, ainsi qu'un communiqué de presse sur la normalisation dans le marché unique sont aussi disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Christian Spahr – Tél.: +32 229 50055; Mirna Talko – Tél.: +32 229 87278; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tél.: +32 229 56169)


State of Health in the EU: more protection and prevention for longer and healthier lives

Today, the Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published the 2018 Health at a Glance: Europe report. The report presents comparative analyses of the health status of EU citizens and the performance of the health systems in the 28 Member States, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries. It unveils that the steady increase of life expectancy has slowed down and that large gaps across and within countries persist. "While the life expectancy in the EU is among the highest in the world, we shouldn't rest on our laurels. We should continue implementing policies that allow our citizens to live longer and in a better health. Many lives could be saved by increasing our efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and tackle risk factors such as tobacco or lack of physical activity.  It is unacceptable that every year in EU we are losing more than 1.2 million people prematurely when this could be avoided through better disease prevention and more effective health care interventions", said Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. The report calls for improving mental health and preventing mental illness that not only cause terrible social consequences but are also estimated to amount to more than 4% of GDP across the EU. It also calls for preventing risk factors like smoking, alcohol and obesity, reducing premature mortality, ensuring universal access to care and strengthening the resilience of health systems. The evolution of EU health systems is captured in the report in terms of their effectiveness, accessibility and resilience, using the latest available data. With the State of Health in the EU cycle, the Commission responds to a need to build up country-specific and cross-country knowledge that can inform policies at national and European level. A press release is available in all languages here. For more info, see the dedicated website. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)


Safer, more affordable energy supply in Greece thanks to Cohesion Policy

The Commission welcomes the inauguration of the upgraded liquefied natural gas terminal in Revithoussa, in the Greek region of Attica. €40 million from Cohesion Policy funds helped this important energy project get off the ground. This terminal, already in operation, provides Greece with more affordable, secure and sustainable energy. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "Thanks to this Cohesion Policy project, citizens are saving money in energy bills and Greece confirms its position as a gate for natural gas supply within a secure and interconnected European energy market.” The project was built in two stages: first the construction of a Combined Heat and Power plant and then the extension of the storage capacity of the Revithoussa terminal. The second stage included the construction of a third tank, the upgrade of marine facilities and the installation of additional technology equipment to increase the gasification. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 56169)


Juncker Plan: world-leading Greek battery manufacturer receives EFSI support to grow and innovate

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Juncker Plan, has provided its backing to a €12.5 million European Investment Bank loan to Sunlight, a Greek battery producer. Sunlight employs over 840 staff to develop, produce and recycle batteries used for a broad range of applications including industrial vehicles, off-grid renewable energy systems and smart grids and telecoms. The financing provided through this loan will help the company to invest in new equipment for its plant in Xanthi and to strengthen its research and innovation capacities to develop new products. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: "Sunlight is a Greek and European success story, exporting to over 100 countries across the world. This loan agreement will help it to take it to expand, innovate and, importantly, create new jobs. This loan, backed by the Investment Plan for Europe, is truly a demonstration of Europe's support for jobs, growth and competitiveness in Greece.” Greece currently ranks first in Europe in terms of investments mobilised by the EFSI, relative to GDP. As of November 2018, the Juncker Plan has already mobilised €360 billion of investment across Europe, including almost €11 billion in Greece alone, and supported 850,000 small and medium businesses. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke. Tel.: +32 229 58615; Enda McNamara Tel.: +32 229 64976)


High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn in Turkey for the High Level Political Dialogue

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn are today in Ankara for the High Level Political Dialogue between the European Union and Turkey. With Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, now also in charge of EU Affairs, who led the Turkish delegation, they discussed issues of common interest and concern, among them key foreign policy issues as well as bilateral relations between the EU and Turkey, cooperation on migration and counter-terrorism, energy, economy, transport. At the press conference this morning HRVP Federica Mogherini said: "Turkey is a candidate country and a key strategic partner for the European Union. We salute the Turkish decision to intensify relations with the EU, which is important also for the region. I wish that honest discussions will open a new phase of cooperation. The EU wants a strong Turkey, which means a democratic country based on rule of law and fundamental freedoms. We are aware of scars left by the attempted coup, but are concerned about the detentions. We hope Selahattin Demirtaş will be released soon." Commissioner Hahn added: "Turkey is a key strategic partner for the EU and we should concentrate on areas of common interest and intensify or cooperation on energy, trade, migration, security. This will help us to exploit the full potential of our partnership. However, strong concerns remain about the arrests of journalists, human rights defenders and civil society activists. Criminal judicial proceedings must be based on the presumption of innocence. Journalists and civil society representatives must be able to do their important work." HRVP Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn will today also meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Videos and Photos of the mission will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.:+32 229 64887)


Security Union: The Commission calls on Member States to implement the new rules on combating terrorism

Today, the Commission decided to send letters of formal notice to 16 Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia) for failing to communicate the national measures taken to implement the new rules on combatting terrorism (Directive 2017/541). The law is a crucial element of the EU's fight against terrorism – criminalising and sanctioning terrorist-related offences, such as travelling abroad to commit a terrorist offence, returning to or travelling within the EU for such activities, training for terrorist purposes and the financing of terrorism. In addition, the law sets out special provisions for victims of terrorism making sure they have access to reliable information as well as professional and specialist support services, immediately after an attack and for as long as necessary. Member States had until 8 September 2018 to notify the Commission that they had brought into force the national measures necessary to comply with this Directive. The 16 Member States now have two months to fully implement the new rules in their national law. If they fail to do so, the Commission may consider addressing Reasoned Opinions. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Kasia Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)


La Commission publie un rapport sur le développement des protéines végétales dans l'UE

La Commission européenne a adopté aujourd'hui son rapport sur le développement des protéines végétales dans l'Union européenne (UE). Ce rapport dresse un état de l'offre et de la demande des protéines végétales (telles que les graines de colza et de tournesol ou les lentilles) dans l'UE et examine les manières d'accroître leur production d'une manière réfléchie sur le plan économique et dans le respect de l'environnement. M. Phil Hogan, Commissaire à l'agriculture et au développement rural, a déclaré: "Les protéines végétales sont une composante essentielle du secteur agroalimentaire européen, qui produit des denrées alimentaires et des boissons répondant aux normes qualitatives les plus élevées au monde. Cependant, en raison de facteurs divers liés au marché et au climat, la production européenne de protéagineux ne suffit pas à satisfaire une demande croissante. À cet égard, je souhaite également saluer la volonté affirmée du Parlement européen de renforcer le soutien à la production de protéines végétales en Europe. Le rapport adopté aujourd'hui sera un point de départ important pour un débat au niveau européen afin de définir le chemin à suivre de manière durable. Il s'agit d'une tâche qui ne saurait être menée à bien par la Commission seule et qui nécessitera la contribution active de tous les acteurs concernés." Le rapport présente un certain nombre d'instruments existants ou faisant partie des propositions pour la future PAC susceptibles de contribuer au développement économique et écologique des protéagineux au sein de l'UE. Un communiqué de presse dans toutes les langues est en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clémence Robin - Tel.: +32 229 52509)


New study on eGovernment shows how Europe's digital public services can do better

Today the European Commission published a new study, the eGovernment benchmark report 2018, which demonstrates that the availability and quality of online public services have improved in the EU. Overall there has been significant progress in respect to the efficient use of public information and services online, transparency of government authorities' operations and users' control of personal data, cross-border mobility and key enablers, such as the availability of electronic identity cards and other documents. 10 EU countries (Malta, Austria, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal, Denmark) and Norway are delivering high-quality digital services with a score above 75% on important events of daily life such as moving, finding a job, starting a business or studying. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are outperforming the rest of the countries in terms of digitisation of the public administrations and adoption of online public services. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: "In a world where you can buy and sell anything at the click of a button, we need the same kind of easy-to-use government services that meet people's expectations and demands. Using its wealth of tech expertise, Europe is ideally placed to provide this – based on electronic IDs. But first, more EU countries must accept and recognise each other's national eID systems." Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel added: "Over the last years, significant progress has been achieved towards open, inclusive and collaborative public administrations across Europe but further improvements are still possible to serve all citizens better." Further efforts are notably needed in cross-border mobility and digital identification. So far only 6 EU countries have notified their eID means which enables their cross-border recognition. More information on the EU countries performance is available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.:+32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou- Tel.:+32 229 83583 ; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Mergers: Commission clears creation of joint venture by Banca Generali and Saxo Bank

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed creation of a joint venture in Italy, by Banca Generali S.p.A. also of Italy and Saxo Bank A/S of Denmark. The joint venture will provide online trading services in Italy. Banca Generali is part of Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., an Italian company active in the banking, financial and insurance sectors worldwide. Saxo Bank is part of the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd of China, and offers trading and investment services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies' combined market shares remain very limited on the markets concerned. 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.9071.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)




Commissioner Malmström lays out EU plans for a multilateral investment court

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström today outlined how the EU is leading the way towards the multilateral reform of the investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) system. “States all over the world have identified problems with the current system. The EU believes that systemic reform is how we can address these concerns, with the creation of a permanent body to resolve disputes – a multilateral investment court," said Commissioner Malmström at a High Level Event hosted by the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, and attended among others by Anna Joubin Bret, the Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and Meg Kinnear, the Secretary General of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). In her speech, Commissioner Malmström updated participants on the current state of discussions at the United Nations (UNCITRAL): over 400 delegates representing more than 90 countries gathered in Vienna three weeks ago agreed by consensus that reform of ISDS is needed. The EU has long argued that the current system is not fit for purpose and has integrated its new Investment Court System into its recent trade and investment agreements with Canada, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam. These agreements are crucial stepping stones towards multilateral reform of the investment system. A permanent multilateral investment court with an appeal mechanism and full-time adjudicators would enhance predictability and consistency, ensure correctness, eliminate the ethical concerns in the current system and effectively address the problem of excessive costs and duration. For more information on the state of play on the multilateral investment court, see the dedicated website. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)



Commissioner Stylianides  in Germany to discuss rescEU, the EU's comprehensive plan to strengthen emergency response

Today Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides travels to the German Länder of Thuringia and Saxony to meet the Ministers of Interior, Georg Maier for Thuringia and Roland Wöller for Saxony, to deepen the discussion on rescEU – the European Commission's comprehensive plan to strengthen Europe's emergency response to disasters. The Commissioner will also deliver a keynote speech at Erfurt University on “Solidarity and Responsibility in the EU and beyond” to emphasise on the EU's shared values and its responsibility to protect, defend, empower and save people's lives. On the occasion the Commissioner also meets the State Secretary for Europe and Culture of Thuringia, Babette Winter. He will also visit the Leipzig-based Innovation Centre for Computer-assisted Surgery that contributes to the development of a common electronic patient record used in field hospitals during emergencies.When disasters overburden national response capacities, the EU provides additional support via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and coordinates help for saving lives, protecting livelihoods and the environment. Current plans on rescEU are in the final phase of negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament. During his stay in Thuringia the Commissioner will also visit the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial and the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, part of the UNESCO World Heritage. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Blue economy call 2018: EU supporting jobs and growth in the maritime economy

Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella is announcing today the Blue Economy call 2018 at a dedicated info day in Brussels. After the successful editions of the Blue Growth calls in 2016 and 2017, this year the call will have an even larger budget. For this year's call, more than 18 million euros will be allocated, bringing the total budget to well over 40 million, in just three years. The focus of Blue Economy call 2018 will be on three key areas of the maritime economy: Blue Careers, Blue Labs, and grants for the blue economy. The 'Blue careers' recognise that the labour market is changing quickly and put the emphasis on entrepreneurial and social skills. As part of the 'Blue labs' multidisciplinary partnerships between young scientists and experienced mentors will be supported, which has before led to innovations such as microbes cleaning up oil spills and drones fighting marine litter. The largest in terms of budget are the grants for innovation in the maritime economy which will help companies to fund pre-commercial demonstration projects, so they can go to market and scale up much faster. The Blue economy call is a recognition that we need to continue investing to ensure healthy oceans which would become part of our economy supporting jobs and growth. The speech by Commissioner Vella is available here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Daniela Stoycheva - Tel.: +32 229 53664)


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


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