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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 24 / 07 / 2019

Brussels, 24 July 2019

COLLEGE MEETING: Commission proposes a governance framework for the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness

Building on the vision set out in the Five Presidents' Report of June 2015, the Commission's Communication on the Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union of 12 June 2019 and the guidance by the Euro Summit of 21 June 2019, the European Commission today proposes a governance framework for the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness. The instrument will help euro area Member States and other participating Member States to enhance the resilience of their economies and of the euro area through support to targeted reforms and investment. Vice-PresidentValdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "Strengthening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union has been a centrepiece of my work under this Commission. Today we are making sure that all elements are on the table for a successful and timely agreement on the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness by the EU co-legislators. Supporting coherent reforms and investment packages will help increase competitiveness, strengthen resilience and enhance convergence, ultimately leading to a more prosperous and stronger Europe.” Günther H. Oettinger,Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, said: "The EU budget will in future provide financial support to combined structural reforms and investments proposed by euro area Member States. This will enhance the effectiveness of EU spending and it will support convergence and competitiveness in the euro area. Our proposal today puts in place the governance for this new instrument. This represents a significant innovation for the euro area." A press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57587)

 

COLLEGE MEETING: Fight against money laundering and terrorist financing: Commission assesses risks and calls for better implementation of the rules

The European Commission has today adopted a Communication and four reports that will support European and national authorities in better addressing money laundering and terrorist financing risks. The Juncker Commission put strong EU rules in place with the fourth and the fifth Anti-Money laundering directives and reinforced the supervisory role of the European Banking Authority. The reports stress the need for their full implementation while underlining that a number of structural shortcomings in the implementation of the Union's anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing rules still need to be addressed. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President, said: "We must close off all opportunities for criminals and terrorists to abuse our financial system and threaten the security of Europeans. There are some very concrete improvements which can be made quickly at operational level. The Commission will continue to support Member States in this, whilst also reflecting on how to address the remaining structural challenges." Valdis Dombrovskis,Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "A credible framework for preventing and fighting money laundering and terrorist financing is essential to maintain the integrity of the European financial system. Yet, today's analysis gives more proof that our strong AML rules have not been equally applied in all banks and all EU countries. This problem has to be addressed and solved sooner rather than later." Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "We have stringent anti-money laundering rules at EU level, but we need all Member States to implement these rules on the ground. We don't want to see any weak link in the EU that criminals could exploit. The recent scandals have shown that Member States should treat this as a matter of urgency.” The Communication and the four reports analyse the shortcomings in current anti-money laundering supervision and cooperation and identify ways to address them. Those findings will serve as a basis for future policy choices on how to further strengthen the EU anti-money laundering framework. See the press release and the Q&A. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659; Guillaume Mercier – Tel.: +32 229 80564)

 

COLLEGE MEETING: General Data Protection Regulation shows results, but work needs to continue

Just over one year after the entry into application of the General Data Protection Regulation, the European Commission has published today a report looking at the impact of the EU data protection rules, and how implementation can be improved further. The report concludes that most Member States have set up the necessary legal framework, and that the new system strengthening the enforcement of the data protection rules is falling into place. Businesses are developing a compliance culture, while citizens are becoming more aware of their rights. At the same time, convergence towards high data protection standards is progressing at international level. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, said: “The European Union strives to stay at the forefront of the protection of personal rights in the digital transformation while seizing the many opportunities it offers for jobs and innovation. Data is becoming an invaluable element for a booming digital economy and is playing an increasingly vital role in developing innovative systems and machine learning. It is essential for us to shape the global field for the development of the technological revolution and for its proper use in full respect of individual rights.” Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality added: “The General Data Protection Regulation is bearing fruit. It equips Europeans with strong tools to address the challenges of digitalisation and puts them in control of their personal data. It gives businesses opportunities to make the most of the digital revolution, while ensuring people's trust in it. Beyond Europe, it opens up possibilities for digital diplomacy to promote data flows based on high standards between countries that share EU values. But work needs to continue for the new data protection regime to become fully operational and effective.” The Commission's communication also sets out concrete steps to further strengthen these rules and their application. A full press release is available online. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel. +32 2 296 70 83; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

COLLEGE MEETING: Commission issues guidance on the participation of third country bidders in the EU procurement market

Today's guidance is part of a package of Commission initiatives to ensure fair competition, high quality and a level playing field in public procurement markets. It is also the first deliverable of the 10 actions set out in the Communication on EU-China relations and supported by the European Council in its March 2019 conclusions. The EU has an open procurement market, the largest in the world with a value estimated at €2 trillion yearly. In increasingly global markets, public buyers in the EU need to be equipped with the right tools and knowledge to deal with bidders from countries outside of the EU. The guidance published today provides practical advice to public buyers in the Member States. It helps them identify which third country bidders have secured access to the EU procurement market. The guidance further aims to raise awareness among contracting authorities of the different instruments in the EU public procurement toolbox. This includes measures that may be taken in case of abnormally low-priced offers, as well as measures to ensure that third country bidders respect the same quality as EU bidders in areas such as security, labour and environmental standards. A press release is available here. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

RÉUNION DU COLLÈGE: La Commission européenne nomme un nouveau directeur général à la tête de son service de la coopération internationale et du développement et renforce l'encadrement supérieur dans d'autres services

La Commission européenne a décidé aujourd'hui de nommer M. Koen Doens au poste de directeur général de son service de la coopération internationale et du développement (DG DEVCO), dans la perspective du départ à la retraite de M. Stefano Manservisi le 1er octobre 2019. La Commission a également décidé de nommer trois directeurs généraux adjoints: M. Declan Costello à la tête de son service des affaires économiques et financières (DG ECFIN), M. Michael Köhler à la tête de son service de la protection civile et des opérations d'aide humanitaire européennes (DG ECHO) et M. Gallo Gueye à la tête de son service des statistiques (DG Eurostat). Le Collège a aussi accepté la démission de M. Johannes Laitenberger, actuellement directeur général de la direction générale de la concurrence (DG COMP), avec effet au 1er septembre 2019. M. Laitenberger a été nommé juge au Tribunal de l'UE pour un mandat qui débutera le 1er septembre. Le Collège salue les qualités remarquables de M. Laitenberger et lui souhaite bonne chance pour la suite.* Un communiqué de presse avec plus de détails est disponible en ligne(Pour plus d'informations: Mina Andreeva – Tél.: +32 229 91382; Andreana Stankova – Tél.: +32 2 29 57857)

 

COLLEGE MEETING: Secretariat-General: European Commission strengthens its management by appointing two Directors and setting out arrangements for deputising for the Secretary-General during the transition to the next Commission

In order to further strengthen the senior management of its Secretariat-General, today the College of Commissioners decided to appoint two Directors to posts that were currently filled on an acting basis only. Ms Jivka Petkova, a Bulgarian national, has been appointed Director for ‘Strategy, Better Regulation and Corporate Governance' as of 1 August 2019. Ms Petkova joined the Commission from the Bulgarian public administration in 2007 where she was leading Bulgaria's EU accession negotiations team in the Prime Minister's office. She was the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the first Commissioner of Bulgarian nationality, in charge of consumer affairs, Ms Meglena Kuneva, and also worked in the private office of High Representative/Vice-President Ms Catherine Ashton and in the EU's diplomatic service (EEAS). She was a Head of Unit in the Commission's Spokesperson's Service, a Principal Adviser in the Commission's communications department (DG COMM) and is currently part of the transition team of President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Mr Michael Karnitschnig, an Austrian national, has been appointed Director for ‘External Relations' as of 1 August 2019. Mr Karnitschnig joined the European Commission from the Austrian Foreign Affairs Ministry in 2000. For most of his career, he worked in the area of foreign policy and external relations. He was part of the private offices of former Commission President Barroso and the then Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Since 2014, Mr Karnitschnig has been heading the private office of Commissioner Johannes Hahn in charge of Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. In addition and following the request of the current Secretary-General of the European Commission to be relieved from his function by the end of July 2019, today the College of Commissioners has taken note of and put in place the arrangements for deputising for the Secretary-General as set out in the Rules of Procedures of the Commission. In line with Article 26 of these Rules of Procedures, Ms Ilze Juhansone – the most senior Deputy Secretary-General – will now be exercising the functions of Secretary-General ad interim. Ms Ilze Juhansone, a Latvian national, has been serving as a Deputy Secretary-General since 2015. Together with the current two deputies – Mr Pascal Leardini and Ms Céline Gauer – she will lead and steer the work of the Secretariat-General and will notably ensure continuity and a smooth transition between the end of the Juncker Commission and the beginning of the Von der Leyen Commission. (For more information: Mina Andreeva: Tel.: +32 229 91382; Andreana Stankova - Tel.: +32 229 57857)

 

COLLEGE MEETING: European Commission appoints temporary Hors Classe Adviser in the Secretariat-General and new Head of Representation in Austria

The European Commission has today decided to appoint Mr Martin Selmayr to the temporary function of Hors Classe Adviser in the Secretariat-General as of 1 August 2019 and as the new Head of its Representation in Vienna, Austria as of 1 November 2019. In his capacity as Hors Classe Adviser, Mr Selmayr will continue to advise President Jean-Claude Juncker on important strategic matters until 31 October 2019. The President and the entire College paid tribute to Mr Selmayr's outstanding qualities and achievements. They thanked him for his effective management of the Juncker Commission, first as Head of Cabinet of the President, and then as Secretary-General, his strong commitment to the Community method and his extraordinary sense of duty. More information is available in the press release here. (For more information: Mina Andreeva: Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

RÉUNION DU COLLÈGE: La Commission européenne nomme un nouveau chef de représentation en Allemagne

La Commission européenne a décidé aujourd'hui de nommer M. Jörg Wojahn au poste de chef de la représentation à Berlin. Celui-ci prendra ses fonctions le 1er septembre 2019. M. Wojahn succède à M. Richard Kühnel, que la Commission a nommé aujourd'hui au poste de directeur au sein du service chargé de la communication (DG COMM). M. Wojahn, de nationalité allemande, est actuellement chef de la représentation de la Commission en Autriche. Jouissant d'une vaste expérience dans le domaine de la communication et de la diplomatie, il a dirigé avec succès, ces quatre dernières années, la représentation de la Commission européenne à Vienne, promouvant à travers l'Autriche le rôle et les activités de l'institution et instaurant un dialogue avec les citoyens et les parties prenantes. Fort de ses 20 ans d'expérience professionnelle, il pourra mettre à profit une connaissance approfondie des relations internationales ainsi que d'excellentes compétences en matière de gestion et de communication, notamment en tant qu'ancien porte-parole de l'Office européen de lutte antifraude (OLAF) et ancien journaliste, entre autres à Bruxelles. Un communiqué de presse avec plus de détails est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Mina Andreeva – Tél.: +32 229 91382; Andreana Stankova – Tél.: +32 2 29 57857)

 

COLLEGE MEETING: European Commission appoints Directors in its departments for budget, human resources and communications and climate action Principal Adviser

Today, the European Commission has decided to appoint 4 Directors to its departments for budget (DG BUDG), communications (DG COMM), human resources and security (DG HR) as well as a Principal Adviser in its department for climate action (DG CLIMA). Mr Andreas Schwarz, a German national, has been appointed to the position of Director for ‘Revenue and Multiannual Financial Framework' in DG BUDG as of 1 August 2019. He joined the Commission on a permanent basis in 2003. His career has, to a large extent, evolved around the EU budget – he has been Deputy Head of the private offices of two Commissioners responsible for the EU budget – Mr Janusz Lewandowski and Ms Kristalina Georgieva – and has participated in the negotiations of two consecutive long-term budget frameworks (for 2014-2020 and for 2021-2027). Since November 2016, Mr Schwarz has been Head of the Unit ‘Multiannual Financial Framework' in DG BUDG and since July 2018, he has been heading the directorate ‘Revenue and Multiannual Financial Framework' in an acting capacity. Ms Lene Naesager, a Danish national, has been appointed to the position of Director for ‘Political Communication and Services' in DG COMM. She joined the Commission in 1994. Ms Naesager has been leading outreach and communication activities in the Commission for nearly a decade – she first became head of unit in charge of relations with the other EU institutions and agricultural NGOs in the Commission's agricultural department (DG AGRI) in 2010 and is currently leading the department's ‘External communication and promotion policy' unit. Before that, Ms Naesager served in the private offices of two Commissioners – Ms Ritt Bjerregaard and Ms Mariann Fischer Boel, in charge of environment and agriculture, respectively. The Commission has also decided to appoint Mr Richard Kühnel, an Austrian national, to the position of Director for ‘Representation and Communication in Member States' in DG COMM as of 1 September 2019. Mr Kühnel joined the European Commission in 2004, after having spent 10 years in the Austrian diplomatic service. He first worked as a member of the private office of the then Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Between 2008 and 2014, he was Head of the European Commission Representation in Austria. Since 2014, he has been Head of the European Commission Representation in Berlin, Germany. Ms Georgeta Nicolaie, a Romanian national, will become Director of the ‘Investigation and Disciplinary Office of the Commission' (IDOC) in DG HR as of 1 August 2019. Ms Nicolaie joined the European Commission in 2007, after having worked as a judge in different areas of law, as well as and in several legal organisations promoting and applying the fundamental principles of law. She first became a head of unit in the Commission in 2009 and has been in charge of the unit ‘Investigation and Disciplinary Affairs of the Commission' in DG HR since 2017. Mr Dušan Chrenek, a Slovak national, has been appointed a Principal Adviser for ‘Energy Union Governance' in DG CLIMA. He joined the European Commission in 2007 to work as a Head of Unit for enlargement in DG AGRI. Between 2012 and 2017, he served as Head of the Commission's Representation in Slovakia and currently a Senior Expert in DG AGRI. Previously, Mr Chrenek worked in the Policy Unit of the High Representative/Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and held several senior posts in the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These included Head of Cabinet of the Chief Negotiator for the Slovak accession to the EU, Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Department and Deputy Head of the Slovak Embassy in Madrid. (For more information: Mina Andreeva: Tel.: +32 229 91382; Andreana Stankova - Tel.: +32 229 57857)

 

Juncker Plan supports €55 million investment fund in Poland

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is investing in Cogito Fund I, a Polish fund set up by Cogito Capital. The fund has raised €55 million to finance late- and growth- stage software, fin-tech, and mobility companies. The EIF investment is supported by the Juncker Plan's European Fund for Strategic Investments. Cogito Fund I will predominately invest in companies in Central Europe that have the potential to expand into other European markets and the USA. Other investors in Cogito Fund I include funds managed by the Polish Development Fund as well as private professional investors. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The Juncker Plan's European Fund for Strategic Investments is playing an important role in assisting start-ups across Europe gain access to finance to innovate, grow and expand. This agreement will see even more high-potential European technology companies gain the support they need to take their next steps.” A press release is available here. As of June 2019, the Juncker Plan has mobilised nearly €410 billion of additional investment, including €18.1 billion in Poland. The Plan is currently supporting 952,000 small and medium businesses across Europe.(For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhan Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

 

La Commission lance un appel à candidatures pour des experts en cyber-sécurité

La Commission européenne a lancé hier un appel à candidatures afin de sélectionner les membres d'un nouveau groupe de certification des parties intéressées en cyber-sécurité (« Stakeholder Cybersecurity Certification Group »), créé à la suite de l'entrée en vigueur de la loi sur la cyber-sécurité le 27 juin dernier. Ce groupe sera chargé de conseiller la Commission et l'Agence de l'UE pour la cyber-sécurité (ENISA) sur les questions stratégiques relatives à la certification en cyber-sécurité et aidera à préparer le programme de travail sur les questions liées à la cyber-sécurité. L'appel est ouvert aux institutions académiques, aux organisations de consommateurs, aux organismes d'évaluation de la mise en conformité, aux organismes chargés de l'élaboration des normes, aux entreprises, aux associations professionnelles et aux autres organisations regroupant des membres possédant une expertise et une expérience dans le domaine de la cyber-sécurité. La date limite de dépôt des candidatures est fixée au 17 septembre 2019. Plus d'informations sur l'appel à candidatures, les termes de référence et le lien vers le formulaire de candidature sont disponibles en ligne. La loi sur la cyber-sécurité offre à l'Europe un cadre de certification de la cyber-sécurité des produits, processus et services qui permet de renforcer la cybersécurité des services en ligne et des dispositifs grand public. Il renforce également le mandat de l'Agence de l'UE pour la cyber-sécurité en renforçant ses responsabilités et ses ressources afin de mieux aider les États membres à faire face aux menaces et aux cyber-attaques. Plus d'informations sur le sujet sont disponibles dans ces Questions et réponses. (Pour plus d'informations: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tél.: +32 229 67083; Johannes Bahrke - Tél.: +32 229 58615; Marietta Grammenou - Tél.: +32 229 83583)

 

Mergers: Commission approves the creation of a joint venture between Fortress Investment Group and Air Investment Valencia

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture between Fortress Investment Group, of the US, and Air Investment Valencia, of Spain. It will combine the activities of CityJet of Ireland and of Air Nostrum of Spain. Fortress Investment Group (“Fortress”) is a global investment management firm, which manages assets on behalf of institutional clients and private investors worldwide. Air Investment Valencia, through a subsidiary, is active, among other things, as aircraft dry lessor and provider of fleet supply services to air operators. It is also active in the operation of air routes between Europe and Africa, mainly through charter flight and wet-lease services. The activities of CityJet and Air Nostrum overlap in the provision of wet-leasing services to airlines and charter flights. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, because the companies have moderate market shares, a sufficient number of competitors remains on the market and the barriers to entry are low. 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.9062. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Press Ganey Associates by Leonard Green & Partners and the Ares Management Corporation

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Press Ganey Associates (Press Ganey) by Leonard Green & Partners (LGP) and Ares Management Corporation (Ares), all of the US. Press Ganey provides patient experience measurement, performance analytics and strategic advisory solutions for health care organizations, mainly in the US. LGP is a private equity investment firm investing in companies providing services, including consumer, business and healthcare services, as well as retail, distribution and industrials. Ares is an alternative asset manager holding interests in the credit, private equity and real estate markets. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because there were no horizontal overlaps or vertical relationships between the business activities of Press Ganey and those of LGP and Ares within the European Economic Area. 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.9422(For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of SIVA and Soauto by Porsche Holding Salzburg

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control by Porsche Holding Gesellschaft m.b.H. (“Porsche Holding Salzburg”) of Austria of the whole of SIVA – Sociedade de Importação de Veículos Automóveis, S.A. (“SIVA”) and Soauto – SGPS, S.A. (“Soauto”) of Portugal. Porsche Holding Salzburg is ultimately controlled by the Volkswagen Group ("VW Group"). The VW Group and the companies to be bought are active in the wholesale and retail distribution of passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and related original equipment manufacturer spare parts of VW brands in Portugal, as well as repair services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns due to the limited overlaps between the companies' activities in Portugal and the lack of ability or incentive for the combined entity to shut downstream competitors out of the market. 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.9389(For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

A Europe that protects: Continued efforts needed on security priorities

Today the European Commission adopted its latest report on progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union. This afternoon, Commissioner King will present the report to the Members of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), which will be streamed live at 15:00 CET. Press material will also  be available here from 15:00. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423).

 

Commissioner Hahn in North Macedonia and Serbia to discuss EU reforms and accession path

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will travel to North Macedonia and Serbia on 25-26 July. In Skopje on 25 July, he will meet with President Stevo Pendarovski, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Deputy Prime Ministers Bujar Osmani and Radmila Šekerinska and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov; a press point will follow the meetings. Commissioner Hahn will also meet with political parties' leaders including Hristijan Mickoski and Ali Ahmeti.  The Commissioner will reiterate his support to North Macedonia in its ongoing reforms and will discuss the EU perspective of the country. In Belgrade on 25 and 26 July, Commissioner Hahn will meet with President Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić - a press conference will follow their meeting. The Commissioner will discuss key EU-related as well as regional cooperation. The Commissioner will also attend the award ceremony for the Youth Sports Games where he will stress the EU's commitment to Serbia's youth and regional reconciliation. Photos and videos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic, Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli, Tel.: +32 229 64887)

  

 

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

* Updated at 15:50 on 24/07/2019 to include additional information.

MEX/19/4629


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