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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 10 / 10 / 2019

Brussels, 10 October 2019

President Juncker on the brutal attacks in Halle

Following the attacks in Halle, Germany, yesterday, President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “I am shocked by the news of the brutal attacks in Halle – on this day [yesterday], Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and with the Jewish community in Germany and throughout Europe, which in recent years has repeatedly become the target of anti-Semitic attacks. Growing antisemitism is a call for all Europeans to stand together. On this day we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community.(For more information: Mina Andreeva - Tel.: +32 229 91382)

 

Procédures d'infraction du mois d'octobre: la Commission prend des mesures en vue d'une mise en œuvre complète, correcte et en temps utile du droit de l'Union dans l'intérêt des citoyens et des entreprises

Pour aider les citoyens et les entreprises à tirer pleinement profit du marché intérieur, la Commission européenne noue un dialogue permanent avec les États membres qui ne respectent pas le droit européen et, au besoin, ouvre des procédures d'infraction à leur égard. Les décisions prises aujourd'hui, dans le cadre des décisions régulières d'infraction, comprennent 74 lettres de mise en demeure, 36 avis motivés et deux renvois à la Cour de justice de l'UE. Elle clôt également 120 dossiers en cours lorsque l'État membre concerné, en coopération avec la Commission, a résolu le problème et assuré le respect du droit de l'Union et que, dès lors, une saisine de la Cour de justice de l'Union européenne n'est pas nécessaire. Un résumé des principales décisions et les références des communiqués de presse correspondants figurent ici. Les aspects essentiels des procédures d'infraction de l'UE sont énoncés ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Natasha Bertaud - Tél.: +32 229 67456; Maya Angelova - Tél.: +32 229 62763)

 

EU approves €30 million disbursement in Macro-Financial Assistance to the Republic of Moldova

The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has today approved the disbursement of €30 million in Macro-Financial Assistance to the Republic of Moldova. This is the first of three planned disbursements under the Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme to Moldova that was adopted in September 2017. The programme, worth up to €100 million, is designed to assist Moldova in covering its external financing needs while implementing a wide-ranging and ambitious structural reform agenda. The Commission services and the European External Action Service will continue to monitor closely and assess the fulfilment of the specific policy commitments and the political preconditions ahead of the second and third instalments of this MFA programme. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: "This disbursement is an expression of support for the implementation of key reforms to improve democratic standards and protect the rule of law in Moldova. The European Commission stands ready to continue working closely with the Moldovan authorities to help deliver on a wide-ranging and ambitious set of economic and structural reforms necessary to secure jobs, growth and investment for the benefit of the people of Moldova." A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229-56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

Mozambique: l'UE consacre plus de 10 millions d'euros à l'aide humanitaire

La Commission européenne mobilise une aide humanitaire supplémentaire de 10 millions d'euros pour les nombreuses victimes des cyclones tropicaux sans précédent qui ont frappé le Mozambique en 2019. Christos Stylianides, commissaire chargé de l'aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises, a déclaré : « Les cyclones tropicaux Idai et Kenneth ont entraîné des dégâts encore ressentis par les plus vulnérables au Mozambique. L'UE renforce son soutien humanitaire pour fournir une aide alimentaire d'urgence et des soins de santé. Nous renforcerons également notre soutien aux communautés pour qu'elles soient mieux préparées aux futures catastrophes naturelles. Nous sommes résolus à soutenir le Mozambique aussi longtemps qu'il le faudra. » Ce nouveau paquet d'aide humanitaire augmentera les fonds alloués pour l'aide alimentaire d'urgence et nutritionnelle, les soins de santé et la préparation aux catastrophes. Cela s'ajoute aux 11 millions d'euros déjà fournis en 2019 au lendemain des cyclones tropicaux, ainsi que pour les mesures de préparation. Plus d'informations sont disponibles dans le communiqué de presse complet. (Pour plus d'informations: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tél.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tél.: +32 229 69140)

 

Eurogroup: Agreement reached on the key elements of the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness

Yesterday, the Eurogroup in inclusive format agreed on the term sheet for the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness (BICC) for the euro area, defining its critical elements. The instrument, based on the Commission's proposal for a Reform Support Programme, will help euro area, and other participating Member States, enhance the resilience of their economies through support for targeted reforms and investment. The financial size of the instrument will be decided in the context of the next Multiannual Financial Framework, the EU's long-term budget for the 2021-2027 period. On financing, Ministers also agreed to continue work onthe need, modalities and content, as well as the size of an Intergovernmental Agreement; discussions on this will continue in the Eurogroup Working Group. The remarks by Commissioner Moscovici at the Eurogroup press conference are available online. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp– Tel.: +32 229 56151; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

Trade: Commission continues to level the playing field for EU steel producers

Today, the European Commission imposed anti-dumping duties on steel road wheels from China. These provisional duties ranging from 50.3% to 66.4% will be in place for a period of 6 months pending the final outcomes of the investigation. The EU market in this case was worth an estimated €800 million in 2018, with EU industry directly employing 3,600 people, mostly in Germany, France, Spain, Czechia, Italy, Romania and Poland. Also today, the Commission initiated an investigation on imports of hot-rolled stainless steel sheets and coils from China and Indonesia. An anti-dumping investigation on the same products from Indonesia, and Taiwan is already under way since August. The EU hot-rolled stainless steel sheets and coils market was worth an estimated €2.4 billion in 2018. Imports account for around €866 million, of which €458 million from China, €98 million from Taiwan and €76 million from Indonesia. The investigation aims to find out whether they may constitute an unfair competition for EU companies located in Belgium, Finland, France, Italy and Spain that directly employ some 2,300 people. The EU has over 50 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy trade defence measures in place on iron and steel products. Safeguard measures on various steel products, adjusted as from October 2019, remain in place to prevent serious injury for the EU steel industry caused by increased imports and trade diversion. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel. : +32 229 56185 ; Kinga Malinowska - Tel. : +32 229 51383)

 

Sécurité des réseaux 5G: les États membres de l'UE terminent leur évaluation des risques coordonnée

Hier, les États membres, avec le soutien de la Commission européenne et de l'Agence européenne pour la cybersécurité, ont publié un rapport de haut niveau sur l'évaluation coordonnée des risques liés aux réseaux 5G. Ceci marque l'achèvement d'une nouvelle étape majeure de la Recommandation de la Commission pour une approche européenne commune en matière de sécurité des réseaux 5G. Julian King, commissaire chargé de l'Union pour la sécurité, et Mariya Gabriel, membre de la Commission chargée de l'économie et de la société numériques, ont déclaré: « Nous nous félicitons vivement de l'achèvement de l'évaluation coordonnée des risques des réseaux 5G par les États membres de l'UE, avec le soutien de la Commission européenne et de l'Agence européenne pour la cybersécurité. Le processus et le rapport contribueront non seulement à renforcer la cybersécurité des citoyens et des entreprises au sein de nos réseaux 5G, mais ils constitueront également un pas en avant important dans la confiance que les États membres accordent à la résolution de ces problèmes pour rester résilients dans un climat géopolitique en mutation. La sécurité des réseaux 5G est et restera une priorité absolue dans les années à venir, car ils constitueront le futur pilier de nos sociétés et de nos économies, reliant des milliards d'objets et de systèmes, y compris dans des secteurs critiques tels que l'énergie, les transports, le secteur bancaire, le transport et la santé, ainsi que les systèmes de contrôle industriels portant des informations sensibles et les systèmes de sécurité associés. Une fois l'évaluation des risques terminée, la prochaine étape consistera à produire d'ici la fin de l'année une boîte à outils de réponses possibles pour gérer et atténuer ces risques. Cette approche commune de tous les États membres sous-tendra le déploiement sécurisé des réseaux 5G dans l'Union européenne. » Le rapport est basé sur les évaluations des risques nationales que tous les États membres ont soumises à la Commission plus tôt cette année. Il identifie les principales cybermenaces et leurs principaux acteurs, les ressources les plus sensibles, les principales vulnérabilités et un certain nombre de risques stratégiques. Passant à la troisième phase de la recommandation, les États membres vont maintenant faire avancer les travaux sur un ensemble de mesures possibles de réduction des risques (« boîte à outils ») pour atténuer les risques de cybersécurité identifiés aux niveaux national et européen, conjointement avec la Commission et l'Agence européenne pour la cybersécurité. La boîte à outils devrait être prête pour le 31 décembre 2019. Avec un chiffre d'affaires mondial estimé à 225 milliards d'euros pour la 5G en 2025, la 5G est un atout essentiel pour la compétitivité de l'Europe sur le marché mondial et la cybersécurité est essentielle pour garantir la souveraineté technologique de l'UE. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. Pour plus d'informations sur les actions de l'UE en matière de cybersécurité, consultez ces questions et réponses mises à jour. L'évaluation des risques est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations : Nathalie Vandystadt – Tél.: +32 229 67083; Marietta Grammenou – Tél.: +32 229 83583; Inga Höglund - Tél.: +32 229 50698)

 

Protecting the environment through criminal law: European Commission launches public consultation to evaluate EU rules

The European Commission launched today a public consultation to evaluate if the Directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law has achieved its objectives. The Directive requires EU Member States to treat certain activities that damage the environment as criminal offences, for instance trading endangered species, destroying protected habitats, producing, manufacturing or handling nuclear materials or any other radioactive substances, and excessive water, air or soil pollution. The public consultation is available online in all EU languages. It will run for 12 weeks from today onwards, and will end on 2 January. Moreover, the consultation will assess the results from all Member States for the time the Directive has been applicable, from 2011 to 2018. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel. : +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion - Tel. : +32 229 67094; Athina Reuter – Tel. : +32 229 82390)

 

Cohesion Policy: Commission announces winners of the 2019 RegioStars awards

Yesterday evening, the European Commission announced the winners of the 2019 RegioStars awards, Europe's awards for the most outstanding Cohesion Policy projects. The projects competed in five categories. For “Promoting digital transformation” (1st category) the award went to Energy Cells GR, a cross-border cooperation project between Germany, Belgium, France and Luxembourg for sustainable energy consumption and innovative renewable energy production in the Greater Region. CobBauge, from the UK, was given the award for “Connecting green, blue and grey” (2nd category), for its development of walling material using earth and fibers. The award for “Combatting inequalities and poverty” (3rd category) went to Good Support, from Poland, an online platform which connects the inhabitants of the Zachodniopomorskie region to local social services. Climate Active Neighbourhoods (CAN), a joint Belgian, French, German, Dutch and UK project, was given the award in the 4th category, “Building climate-resilient cities”. It promotes locally-led strategies to increase energy efficiency for households in deprived urban areas. For “Modernising health services” (5th category) the award went to Orsi Academy, from Belgium, a training and expertise centre in the field of new techniques in minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery. Finally, the public choice award was given to CityWalk from the Interreg ProgrammeDanube, which helps cities in the Danube Region become more walkable. (For more information: Christian Spahr - Tél .: +32 2 295 00 55, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél .: +32 229 56169)

 

Capital Markets Union: Commission launches call for members to join High Level Forum

Today, the European Commission has launched a call for expression of interest for stakeholders to join a High Level Forum (HLF) on the Capital Markets Union (CMU). This Forum will support the Commission in speeding up the work towards a Capital Markets Union in Europe. The Commission is inviting applications from high-calibre professionals with an international reputation and long-standing experience in European capital markets and financial integration. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "We've made significant progress in the past five years, but more needs to be done to achieve the CMU project's core objective: to give access to investors and businesses to more integrated European capital markets - markets that are able to fund innovation and more sustainable economic development. This access cannot depend on geographical location. We need to drive this ambition forward. This is why we're setting up the High Level Forum: to gather policymakers, industry and consumers to collect new ideas to develop our capital markets.” The CMU is a flagship project launched by the Juncker Commission to develop and integrate EU capital markets so that they help support stable, innovation-based and sustainable economic growth. The mandate of the HLF will be to prepare targeted recommendations for policies to strengthen and to speed up the works towards the CMU. The Forum will be composed of experts coming from different sectors, including civil society, academia and the business community. Work will focus on three areas: building a pan-European ecosystem for raising capital for companies, including SMEs; fostering retail investor participation and diversification of the investor base; and strengthening a pan-European financial market architecture. Interested individuals are invited to submit their application by 7 November 2019. The selection of the group's members will be carried out in subsequent weeks and the HLF will start its work on 26 November 2019. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Guillaume Mercier – Tel.: +32 229 80564)

 

Gothenburg and Málaga will be European Capitals of Smart Tourism in 2020

Yesterday evening, at the 2019 European Tourism Forum in Helsinki, the Commission and the Finnish Presidency of the Council announced that Gothenburgand Málaga will be the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism. The two winners were chosen out of a total of 35 cities from 17 EU Member States, based on their performance in developing tourism sustainably by protecting the city's natural resources and cultural heritage, reducing seasonality, including the local community; ensuring accessibility to all visitors, using digital technologies to enhance the tourism experience and helping local businesses grow. Throughout 2020, Gothenburg and Málaga will be given EU-wide visibility and will be provided with support to promote smart tourism in other European cities. Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Congratulations to Gothenburg and Málaga. It is so important to promote the exchange of good practices in smart tourism.Cities should learn from one another in how to create jobs and growth in the tourism while preserving their natural resources, highlighting their heritage and improving quality of life for their inhabitants”. In addition, four cities were given a 2020 European Smart Tourism Award for their outstanding achievements in each of the competition's individual categories: accessibility (Breda, The Netherlands), sustainability (Gothenburg, Sweden), in digitalisation (Ljubljana, Slovenia), and cultural heritage & creativity (Karlsruhe, Germany). With a contribution of 10% to EU GDP, the tourism sector plays a vital role in generating jobs and growth, but still holds untapped potential – especially in the area of smart tourism. With this initiative, the Commission is promoting European tourism as a competitive and sustainable economic sector. It also aims to raise the profile of Europe as a global destination for tourism. More information is available in a news item. (For more information: Lucía Caudet - Tél.: + 32 229 56182; Sophie Dupin de Saint Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)

 

Commission launches Road Safety Exchange project with 12 Member States and announces winners of the 2019 Road Safety Awards

The European Commission and the EU Member States have committed to the target of reducing fatalities and serious injuries on the roads by 50% between 2020 and 2030. The European Commission constantly underlines this commitment and yesterday launched a unique and EU-funded road safety project bringing together twelve EU Member States to share ideas for improving road safety – “The EU Road Safety Exchange”. The three-year project aims to tackle the disparities in the road safety performance in different EU Member States. Six countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, and Romania) looking to improve their safety records will link up with relevant experts from Austria, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden to share best practices on key issues such as reducing speed, building safe infrastructure and improving enforcement, data collection, and finding new measures to address the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. The European Commission also presented the Excellence in Road Safety Awards 2019 at a ceremony held in Brussels, handed over by Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc. Six organisations were rewarded for their contribution to improving road safety. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “We must work together and share best practices to reach Vision Zero – zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 2050. The innovative and inspirational initiatives recognised in our annual awards as well as the launch of the Road Safety Exchange project show the collective commitment from Member States, local communities, stakeholders and citizens. Together, we can best tackle these challenges and further improve road safety on our way to Vision Zero.(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Stephan Meder – Tel.: +32 229 13917)

 

State aid: Commission approves market conform asset protection scheme for banks in Greece

The European Commission has found Greek plans aimed at supporting the reduction of non-performing loans of Greek banks to be free of any State aid. The asset protection scheme (known by the name of “Hercules”) is designed to assist banks in securitising and moving non-performing loans off their balance sheets. Under the scheme, an individually managed, private securitisation vehicle will buy non-performing loans from the bank and sell notes to investors. The State will provide a public guarantee for the senior, less risky notes of the securitisation vehicle. In exchange, the State will receive a remuneration at market terms. The objective is to attract a wide range of investors and to support the banks in their ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of non-performing loans on their balance sheets. The Commission's assessment showed that the State guarantees will be remunerated at market terms according to the risk taken, i.e. in a manner that would be acceptable for a private operator under market conditions.  On this basis, the Commission was able to conclude that the measure is free of State aid within the meaning of EU State aid rules. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "I welcome that with the Greek government we have a found a market conform solution to tackle the stock of non-performing loans weighing on the balance sheets of Greek banks. The scheme we approved today is another good example of how Member States can help banks clean up their balance sheets without granting aid or distorting competition." The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, EL. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

State aid: Commission approves €6 million public support to promote shift of freight transport from road to rail in the Emilia-Romagna region (Italy)

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules an Italian support scheme to encourage the shift of freight traffic from road to rail in the region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy. The scheme, which has an overall budget of €6 million and will run until 2022, aims to increase the share of rail and intermodal freight transport in the region. The public support will be provided to new rail freight transport services carried out along a route of maximum 120 km within the regional territory. The aid takes the form of a subsidy to logistics companies and multimodal transport operators, with the objective of channeling part of the advantage to end customers, incentivising them to switch to rail transport. The level of support companies can receive is based on the reduction in the external costs (pollution, noise, congestion and accidents) achieved by rail transport compared to road transport. The Commission found that the scheme is beneficial for the environment and mobility, as it supports rail transport, which is less polluting than road transport, while also decreasing road congestion. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is with EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission Guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.54990 once confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of HyLife by CPF and Itochu

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of a stake in the HyLife Group (‘HyLife') of Canada by Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (‘CPF') of Thailand.  HyLife will be jointly controlled by Itochu Corporation (‘Itochu') of Japan, which already holds a share in the group. HyLife breeds and raises hogs, as well as produces and distributes pork products. CPF breeds and farms livestock, manufactures feed for livestock and aquaculture, produces meat and operates food retail outlets and restaurants. Itochu is active across a wide range of industries including textiles, machinery, metals and minerals, energy and chemicals, information technology and communications, financial and insurance, and food. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because HyLife has no actual or foreseen activities or assets 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.9405. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of HPE by Hughes and Yahsat

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of HNS Participações e Empreendimentos Ltda. (“HPE”) of Brazil by Hughes Network Systems, LLC (“Hughes”) of the US, controlled by EchoStar Corporation (“Echostar”), and Al Yah Satellite Communications PrJSC (“Yahsat”) of the United Arab Emirates, controlled by Mubadala Investment Company PJSC (“Mubadala”). HPE is active in the provision of satellite services in Brazil. Hughes is active in the provision of broadband satellite technologies and broadband internet services to home and small office customers. EchoStar is a global provider of satellite communications solutions. Yahsat is active in the provision of multipurpose satellite solutions in the areas of broadband, broadcast, government and commercial communications. Mubadala has investments in a wide range of sectors, including energy, utilities, real estate, aerospace, metals and mining, oil and gas, semiconductors and a global portfolio of financial holdings. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given that HPE is not active in 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.9394. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Prime Life Technologies JV by Toyota and Panasonic

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control of a newly created joint venture, called Prime Life Technologies JV by Toyota Motor Corporation ("Toyota") and Panasonic Corporation ("Panasonic"), both of Japan. Prime Life Technologies JV will be active in construction services, housing construction, home remodelling and/or elderly care services, mainly in Japan. Toyota is primarily active in the design, manufacture, assembly and sale of passenger vehicles, minivans, commercial vehicles and accessories globally. Panasonic is primarily active in the development, manufacture, and sale of a wide range of audio-visual and communication products, home appliances, electronic components and devices, and other products globally. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of its very limited impact on the market. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.9551. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

Commissioner Stylianides attends Bonn Agreement Ministerial Meeting and the Bonn UN Talks 2019

Today, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides travels to Bonn, Germany, to mark 50 years of the Bonn Agreement among the North Sea States and the European Union working together to help each other in combating pollution in the North Sea Area caused by shipping. The Commissioner will take part in the Ministerial meeting tomorrow, where participants intend to approve the extension of scope of application of the Bonn Agreement to the cooperation on surveillance of air pollution from ships, and invite Spain to accede to the Agreement. The Ministers will also be invited to adopt a Ministerial Declaration and the Strategic Action Plan to invigorate regional cooperation aiming to ensure that not only oil and chemical but also air pollution from marine transport is substantially reduced. In the afternoon, the Commissioner will take part in the Bonn UN Talks 2019 together with former UN Under-Secretary-General and UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane,  former German Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, State Secretary at the German Federal Foreign Office, Dr. Gunter Pleuger, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Ibrahim Thiaw  and Youth Delegate to the UN General Assembly 2017/2018, Anaick Geißel, to seek ways to promote development and peace, and dealing with the impact of climate change on national security. The Commissioner will also meet students of the Bonn-based Centre for European Integration Studies (ZEI) and discuss global humanitarian challenges and changes in the civil protection landscape. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

 

 

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

Eurostat press releases

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