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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 06 / 03 / 2019

Brussels, 6 March 2019

COLLEGE MEETING :The European Agenda on Migration: EU needs to sustain progress made over the past 4 years

Ahead of the March European Council, the Commission is today taking stock of progress made over the past 4 years and setting out the measures still required to address immediate and future migration challenges. Faced with the most severe refugee crisis the world has seen since the Second World War, the EU managed to bring about a step change in migration management and border protection. The EU has offered protection and support to millions, saved lives, dismantled smuggling networks and brought irregular arrivals to Europe down to the lowest level recorded in 5 years. Nevertheless, more work is needed to make the EU's migration policy truly future-proof in view of a constantly evolving geopolitical context and a steady rise in migratory pressure on a global scale. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “In very difficult circumstances, we acted together. Europe is no longer experiencing the migration crisis we lived in 2015, but structural problems remain. Continuing to work together through a comprehensive approach, in solidarity, and with a fair sharing of responsibility, is the only way forward if the EU is to be equal to the migration challenge.” High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “We are assisting thousands of stranded people, helping many to go safely back home to start an activity, saving lives, fighting traffickers. The flows have decreased, but still too many put their lives at risk and every single life not saved is one too many. That's why we will continue to cooperate with our international partners and with the countries concerned to provide protection for people most need, address the root causes of migration, dismantle the traffickers' networks, and set up pathways for safe, orderly and legal migration.” Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs inand Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Irregular arrivals are now lower than before the crisis, the European Border and Coast Guard has brought joint EU border protection to a new level and together with our partners we work on ensuring legal pathways while stepping up returns. Looking ahead, it is essential to pursue our common approach but also to complete the ongoing reform of the EU's asylum system. In addition, temporary arrangements on disembarkation should be established as a priority.” The press conference can be followed live on EbS. A full press release and the following factsheets are available online: A step-change in migration management and border security: a timeline; Facts matter: Debunking myths about migration;  Immediate measures needed; EU Actions along the Western Mediterranean Route; EU Actions along the Central Mediterranean Route. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: + 32 229 86570;  Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 58602; Xavier Cifre Quatresols – Tel.: +32 2 297 35 82)


COLLEGE MEETING: European Commission appoints Director-General to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

Today, the European Commission appointed Ms Veronica Gaffey as Chair of its Regulatory Scrutiny Board – the body that ensures the quality and relevance of all new legislative proposals. Ms Gaffey, an Irish national, joined the Commission from the Irish public administration in the year 2000. Between 2005 and 2016, she worked on a variety of management jobs in the Commission's regional policy department (DG REGIO). For most of that period, she managed the DG's evaluation unit in charge of assessing the impact of the Commission's regional policy programmes. She was an Acting Director in DG REGIO between 2010 and 2012 and a Director in the same department between 2015 and 2016. Since 2016, she is the head of the Office for the Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlements (PMO). Ms Gaffey will take up her new job on 16 March. With today's appointment, the European Commission remains well on track to achieve the target of at least 40% women on middle and senior management positions by November 2019. Women currently represent 39.6% of all managers in the Commission. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229-93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)  


Plan Juncker : Une eau potable plus saine et un meilleur système de traitement des eaux en Roumanie

Le Plan d'Investissement pour l'Europe – le Plan Juncker – soutient un prêt de la Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI) de 12 millions d'euros à la société régionale des eaux du comté d'Alba dans la région roumaine de Transylvanie. Ce financement permettra de moderniser les services de distribution et de traitement de l'eau du comté, améliorant le quotidien de quelques 332 000 habitants. Il s'agit également du premier soutien du Fonds européen pour les investissements stratégies (EFSI), le cœur du Plan Juncker, au secteur public dans le pays. Il vient compléter les investissements de la Politique de Cohésion de l'UE. La commissaire Corina Crețu, chargée de la politique régionale, a déclaré: « Une eau potable de qualité ne devrait jamais être un luxe : elle devrait être disponible partout en Europe. Cet accord conclu dans le cadre du plan Juncker montre la réelle valeur ajoutée de l'UE, qui investit dans la protection de l'environnement et dans l'amélioration de la santé et du quotidien de nos citoyens. » Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. Le Plan Juncker a déjà généré près de 380 milliards d'euros d'investissement, dont près de 2,6 milliards en Roumanie, et soutenu 842 000 entreprises dans toute l'Europe. (Pour plus d'informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229 56153; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tél.: +32 229 56169)


EU Budget for 2021-2027: European Commission welcomes provisional agreement reached on the financial programme to support justice area

Yesterday, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the 2021-2027 Justice programme proposed by the European Commission in May 2018. This new programme will support developing an integrated European justice area based on the rule of law, mutual recognition and mutual trust. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "I welcome today's agreement on this important programme. Too many people across Europe do not trust in our justice systems or complain about its quality. We want to invest where our priorities lie: supporting judges and prosecutors, promoting the use of technology and ultimately improving the trust of citizens in their justice systems and fostering trust between Member States." The Justice programme will fund activities such as the training of judges, prosecutors, the development of the use of technology in the justice system or the development of European judicial networks. A full press release is available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


EU to strengthen cooperation with Australia on private sector investment and infrastructure, climate action and gender equality

Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, Neven Mimica, arrived today in Australia for a two-day visit. On this occasion, the Commissioner said: "The EU and Australia are working closely to meet shared global responsibilities. We must fight against poverty and team up to catalyse private sector engagement for development, build up climate resilience, sustainable energy and end violence against women and girls". Commissioner Mimica will hold high-level bilateral meetings to explore closer cooperation between the European Union and Australia in the field of development in sectors such as private investment and infrastructure; climate resilience, sustainable energy and gender equality, notably the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. During his visit, the Commissioner will underline the EU's commitment to supporting the Pacific countries' climate resilience and the economic opportunities initiatives such as ElectriFi can bring to all partners in the region. The visit is a follow-up to the EU-Australia Development Dialogue that took place in Brussels in early February 2019. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Commission adopts Opinion on Latvia's updated Draft Budgetary Plan

The European Commission has today adopted its Opinion on the updated Draft Budgetary Plan of Latvia and found the updated Plan for 2019 to be broadly compliant with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.Nonetheless, the Commission invites the Latvian authorities to accelerate progress on the structural part of the fiscal recommendations addressed to them by the Council last July. Following general elections on 6 October 2018, a new government took office in Latvia on 23 January 2019 and submitted an updated Draft Budgetary Plan for 2019 on 19 February 2019. It updates the no-policy change Draft Budgetary Plan by the outgoing government from 15 October 2018. Latvia is currently subject to the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp– Tel.: +32 229 56151; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)


Sustainable Finance: Commission expert group calls for feedback on EU Green Bond Standard

The Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) set up by the Commission in July 2018 has launched a call for feedback on its preliminary recommendations for the development of an EU Green Bond Standard. Following up on the Commission's Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth, the Technical Expert Group is sharing its preliminary results on how such an EU Green Bond Standard could look like, and calling on interested stakeholders and experts for their feedback. The ultimate aim is to channel substantial financial investments into green activities by developing an EU label that would address barriers to the green bond market development. The Technical Expert Group proposes a voluntary EU Green Bond Standard building on existing market practices and designed to be compatible with them. The standard would rely on a strong verification and an accreditation structure and will be closely linked to the new EU-wide classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activities ('EU taxonomy'). Feedback from stakeholders is especially requested on key barriers to the development of the green bond market, eligible use of proceeds raised, reporting and verification requirements, as well as on possible incentives to help the European green bond market grow. The results of this exercise will feed into the work of the TEG and its final recommendations to the Commission, which will be presented in June 2019. Stakeholders are invited to comment on the TEG's interim report by responding to a targeted questionnaireby 3 April 2019. More information available here. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Natra by Investindustrial

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Natra S.A. of Spain by Investindustrial VI L.P. of the UK. Natra S.A. provides cocoa and chocolate products covering all the stages of the value chain. The Investindustrial Group is an investment fund belonging to the Investindustrial Group and invests predominantly in medium-sized companies active in industrial manufacturing, consumer, retail and leisure, and business services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of the absence of significant horizontal overlaps or vertical links between Natra S.A. and the Investindustrial Group. 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.9259. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Eurostat: Les États membres de l'UE ont octroyé la nationalité à plus de 800 000 personnes en 2017

En 2017, quelque 825 000 personnes ont acquis la nationalité d'un État membre de l'Union européenne (UE), un chiffre en baisse par rapport à 2016 (où il s'établissait à 995 000) et à 2015 (841 000). Si, parmi les personnes devenues citoyens de l'un des États membres de l'UE en 2017, 17% étaient auparavant citoyens d'un autre État membre de l'UE, la majorité était des ressortissants de pays tiers ou des apatrides. Un communiqué de presse complet est disponible en ligne. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)






Commissioners Avramopoulos, Jourová and King participate in  the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 7-8 March

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová and Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will attend the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting taking place in Brussels on 7 and 8 March. On Thursday morning, Commissioner Avramopoulos will join Home Affairs Ministers to discuss the reform of the Common European Asylum System and exchange views on cooperation with non-EU countries on migration. Ministers will also discuss the progress made in the ongoing negotiations on the Commission's proposal for a reinforced European Border and Coast Guard. Over lunch, Commissioner Avramopoulos and King will exchange views with the Ministers on progress achieved since 2014 and perspectives until 2019 in the area of home affairs. Discussions will continue in the afternoon in the presence of Commissioners Avramopoulos, Jourová and King with a debate on the EU response to terrorism followed by an update on securing free and fair elections and countering disinformation. A press conference is planned at around 17.00 CET, which will be streamed live on EbS+. On Friday, the Romanian Presidency will provide Ministers of Justice with an update on the directive on whistleblower protection, which is currently being discussed with the European Parliament in trilogues. The Justice Ministers are expected to reach a general approach on the directive on legal representatives for gathering evidence, part of the electronic evidence proposal. Justice Ministers will also discuss with Commissioner Jourová and King the opening of negotiations for EU-US agreement on the exchange of e-evidence and for the Second additional protocol to the Budapest Convention (see press release). The Commission will then update Ministers on the setting up of the European Public Prosecutor's Office. Finally, the working lunch will be dedicated to the use of Artificial Intelligence in the justice systems. A press conference will take place at 15:00 CET and streamed live on EbS+. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Christian Wigand- Tel.: +32 229 62253)




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


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