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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 27 / 03 / 2019

Brussels, 27 March 2019

Venezuela: EU increases emergency assistance by €50 million

As the social and economic crisis in Venezuela continues to worsen, the European Commission is allocating a further €50 million in emergency assistance to help Venezuelans most in need. Total EU assistance for the regional crisis now stands at €117.6 million since 2018. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The European Union stays at the forefront of the international mobilisation to support the Venezuelan people. We are working on strengthening international cooperation to make sure that humanitarian aid, including this new commitment, reaches the people in need inside and outside Venezuela in an impartial manner and through independent channels, without any attempt to politicise the delivery of aid”. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides added: “The EU stands by the people of Venezuela at this critical time. We are stepping up our assistance and aid operations in Venezuela and the region. Our additional support includes emergency shelter, healthcare, food assistance, nutrition services, access to safe water and sanitation, as well as children's education."The EU has been providing support both inside Venezuela and in neighbouring countries for several years, providing funding to humanitarian partner organisations helping people on the ground. Today's announcement is also part of the EU's commitment to mobilise further assistance as stated in the Montevideo Declaration of the International Contact Group. The full press release is available online. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


European Parliament confirms that the 2017 EU budget was well-managed

The European Parliament yesterday gave its final approval, known as ‘discharge', to the way in which the European Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, managed and implemented the EU budget in 2017. The positive vote follows from the European Court of Auditors' decision to give the EU annual accounts a clean bill of health for the 11th year in a row, finding them true and fair.Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of budget and human resources said, “The European Parliament has once again confirmed that the EU budget has been managed in line with the rules, generating great added value for our citizens. The EU's achievements are numerous and the discharge exercise gives us yet another opportunity to look at them. Looking ahead, the next long-term EU budget for the 2021-2027 is the next big opportunity to show that we are learning from the past. In its proposal, the Commission has put forward ideas how to make sure the EU budget generates an even greater added value for the EU citizens, while being more flexible and simpler. We are now working hand in hand with the European Parliament and the Council towards timely adoption of the various proposals, including the 37 specific spending programmes, so that beneficiaries from across the Union will be able to benefit from EU funding as of January 2021.” More information is available in the press statementhere.(For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)  


Reducing risks in the Banking Union: Commission welcomes agreement by Member States on new measures to reduce high stocks of non-performing loans

The European Commission welcomes the agreement reached among EU Member States today on new rules to develop secondary markets for sales of non-performing loans (NPLs) while maintaining a high level of borrower protection. NPLs are loans where the borrower - either a company or a physical person - is not able to repay a bank loan. As part of the Commission's effortsto deliver on the Council's Action Plan to tackle NPLs in Europe, the new measures will encourage the development of a secondary market where banks can sell their NPLs to credit servicers and investors, thereby contributing to a reduction in high stocks of NPLs in the EU, a remaining legacy risk from the financial crisis. This is essential for the financial stability of the EU and it is a crucial factor for completing the Banking Union. Today's agreement was reached by EU Permanent Representatives at their meeting this morning in Brussels. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: "Today's agreement is a further step towards reducing non-performing loans in Europe and increasing the resilience of the European banking sector. I am counting on swift progress on the discussions of our proposed rules in the European Parliament. These rules allow us to progress towards reinforcing the Economic and Monetary Union". The Directive introduces a harmonised and less restrictive regime for credit purchasers and servicers and removes undue impediments to cross-border activity, while ensuring that the same level of consumer protection is maintained when a loan is sold by a bank. While today's agreement is an important step forward, progress has been regrettably slower on complementary elements of the Directive that would increase the efficiency of enforcement regimes. Further work and discussion on these elements will be needed and should be prioritised in the next legislative cycle. But given the urgent need to foster development of a well-functioning secondary market for NPLs, the draft rules approved by Member States today should still be finalised in the current legislative cycle. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)


Programme « lait, fruits et légumes » dans les écoles : 250 millions d'euros pour soutenir des habitudes alimentaires saines

Des millions d'enfants de l'Union européenne recevront du lait, des fruits et des légumes dans le cadre du programme de l'UE à destination des écoles en 2019/2020. Ce programme a déjà concerné plus de 20 millions d'enfants au cours de l'année scolaire 2017/2018. Les allocations budgétaires nationales pour l'année scolaire 2019/2020 ont été adoptées aujourd'hui. 145 millions d'euros sont réservés pour les fruits et légumes et 105 millions d'euros pour le lait et autres produits laitiers. Outre la distribution de ces produits, le programme de l'UE à destination des écoles encourage des habitudes alimentaires saines chez les enfants et comprend des programmes pédagogiques ciblés expliquant l'importance d'une bonne nutrition ainsi que la manière dont les denrées alimentaires sont produites. Phil Hogan, Commissaire à l'agriculture, a déclaré: « Grâce au programme européen pour les écoles, nos jeunes citoyens peuvent bénéficier de produits sains, sûrs et de grande qualité produits par nos agriculteurs européens, tout en apprenant d'où ils viennent. La Commission est fière de contribuer à cet important parcours éducatif en établissant des habitudes saines dès le plus jeune âge. » La Commission a également publié aujourd'hui un rapport d'évaluation indiquant que pour l'année scolaire 2017/2018, environ 159 000 écoles ont pris part au programme. Au cours de cette période, 255 500 tonnes de fruits et légumes frais et 178 millions de litres de lait ont été distribués à des enfants européens grâce à plus de 182 millions d'euros du budget de l'UE. Un communiqué de presse est en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clémence Robin - Tel.: +32 229 52509)


Commission welcomes EU ambassadors' vote on InvestEU

The Commission welcomes the EU ambassadors' vote in the Counciltoday, confirming the preliminary agreement reached with the European Parliament on 20 March on InvestEU. This preliminary agreement is a crucial step towards the creation of the InvestEU programme, the proposed programme to boost private and public investment in Europe in the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027. InvestEU builds on the success of the Juncker Plan, or Investment Plan for Europe and will bring together under one roof the European Fund for Strategic Investments and 13 other EU financial instruments currently supporting investment in the EU, making the financing easier to access. Similar to the Juncker Plan, InvestEU is an EU budget guarantee. The guarantee will be €38 billion, set to mobilise at least €650 billion in total investment. The InvestEU Fund will be accompanied by the InvestEU Advisory Hub – tailored support to project promoters – and the InvestEU Portal – an easily accessible pipeline of mature projects for potential investors. InvestEU is a partnership with the European Investment Bank Group (EIB), the EU Bank, and will be open to other implementing partners as well. This preliminary agreement is still subject to formal approval by European Parliament and Council. The budgetary aspects of InvestEU are subject to the overall agreement on the next long-term EU budget, which the Commission proposed in May 2018. As of March 2019, the Juncker Plan had mobilised almost €390 billion in additional investment across Europe and supported 929,000 SMEs. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 5616)




EU to co-chair the International Contact Group on Venezuela in Quito, Ecuador

A second Ministerial Meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela (ICG) will take place on Thursday 28 March in Quito, Republic of Ecuador. The ICG aims at contributing to enable the urgent delivery of assistance in accordance with international humanitarian principles, as well as to create the conditions for a political and peaceful process to emerge, allowing Venezuelans to determine their own future, through the holding of free, transparent and credible elections, in line with the country's Constitution.The Contact Group will bring together the EU, represented by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, and eight EU Member States (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), as well as countries from Latin America (Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay). A press conference will be held after the meeting and will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Commissioner Hahn in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia on 28-29 March

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will be in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Belgrade, Serbia on 28-29 March. In Sarajevo on 28 March, Commissioner Hahn will discuss the state of play of the socio-economic reforms that the country committed to undertake to move forward on its EU path. The Commission is currently working on the Opinion on the merits of the country's application for EU membership to present to EU Member States, and advancing on the socio-economic agenda is crucial in particular as this brings direct benefits to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Commissioner will start the day meeting with representatives of civil society organisations working on environment issues and will then meet with political authorities including the Members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Minister of Finance and Treasury as well as representatives of different political parties.In Belgrade on the 28-29 March, Commissioner Hahn will reiterate the urgent need of a cross-party dialogue and of advancing on democratic governance and the rule of law for the benefit of the society and in order to move Serbia forward on its EU accession path.  In Serbia, Commissioner Hahn will be appointed as Ambassador of the Youth Sport Games. Commissioner Hahn will meet with the President, the Prime Minister as well as with opposition leaders of Serbia and will attend the opening of the Golubac Fortress alongside President Vučić and Prime Minister Brnabić. The EU has been the main contributor to the reconstruction of the fortress - one of Serbia's most impressive cultural heritage gems on the Danube.The EU values culture and is a major supporter of Serbia's cultural heritage, which also contributes to local job creation and economic growth.Photos and videos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


Commissioner Navracsics to close European Youth Conference in Bucharest

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will be in Bucharest tomorrow to take part in the closing session of the European Youth Conference, organised by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. He will be joined by Prime Minister Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă Youth Minister Constantin-Bogdan Matei, President of the European Youth Forum, Carina Autengruber, and Antje Rothemund, Head of the Youth Department at the Council of Europe. The event takes place in the context of the EU Youth Dialogue, the current 18-month cycle of which is focused on “Creating opportunities for youth”. The participants – among them around 220 young people from EU, Eastern Partnership and European Economic Area countries and senior civil servants – will discuss the future work environment for young people as well as the role of youth in the future EU. The European Youth Conference is a headline event in the area of youth during each EU presidency. This year, it will be followed by European Youth Week (29 April to 5 May) dedicated to “Democracy and me”; and a special youth event in Sibiu, Romania, on 8 May. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 2 296 70 83; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)



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