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Daily News

01 / 02 / 2017

 

Joint Statement of President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans on the fight against corruption in Romania

Today, President Juncker and First-Vice President Timmermans issued a statement on the fight against corruption in Romania: "The fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone. We are following the latest developments in Romania with great concern. The irreversibility of the progress achieved in the fight against corruption is essential for the Commission to assess whether at some point monitoring under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) could be phased out. Our CVM Report, published last week, acknowledged the track record achieved so far by prosecutors and judges in Romania in addressing high-level corruption. At the same time, it made clear that any steps which undermine this progress, or have the effect of weakening or shrinking the scope of corruption as an offence, would have an impact on any future assessments. The Commission warns against backtracking and will look thoroughly at the emergency ordinance on the Criminal Code and the Law on Pardons in this light." The statement is available in English and Romanian. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 496 583826; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Tim McPhie - Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 

State of the Energy Union: Europe's energy transition on track

In line with its commitment to report annually on the state of the Energy Union, the European Commission is publishing today its second State of the Energy Union Report. This report looks at the progress made since the publication of the first State of the Energy Union in November 2015. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energy, Europe is well on track to reach its 2020 targets. To further drive this process, the Commission today is announcing a new Energy Union tour. Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, said: "The Energy Union is about more than energy and climate; it is about accelerating the fundamental modernisation of Europe's entire economy, making it low-carbon, energy and resource efficient, in a socially fair manner. Now that a large part of the relevant legislative proposals are on the table, 2017 should be the year of implementation. This message I will bring to Member States during the new Energy Union tour, which I will launch on 3 February". Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said: "Europe is well on track to meet its 2020 climate and energy targets. Despite the current geopolitical uncertainties, Europe is forging ahead with the clean energy transition. Renewable energy is now cost-competitive and sometimes cheaper than fossil fuels, employs over one million people in Europe, and has reduced our fossil fuels imports bill by €16 billion." Read the press release and two memos (Progress Energy Efficiency and Progress Renewables) online. The Second State of the Energy Union Communication and all accompanying documents adopted today can be found here. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

Fin des frais d'itinérance: les négociateurs de l'UE s'accordent sur les prix de gros, la dernière pièce pour supprimer ces frais à partir du 15 juin 

Les représentants du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission ont trouvé, hier soir, un accord sur la réglementation du marché de l'itinérance des prix de gros - les prix que se facturent les opérateurs lorsqu'ils utilisent leurs réseaux respectifs. Les négociateurs ont convenu des plafonds suivants: 3,2 cents par minute d'appel vocal et 1 centime par SMS au 15 juin 2017, ainsi qu'une réduction progressive sur 5 ans des plafonds fixés pour les données, passant de 7,7 euros par gigabit au 15 juin 2017 à 2,5 euros par gigabit au 1er janvier 2022. Andrus Ansip, Vice-Président chargé du marché unique numérique, s'est félicité de l'accord: «C'était la dernière pièce du puzzle. A partir du 15 juin, les Européens pourront voyager dans l'Union européenne sans payer de frais d'itinérance. Je tiens à remercier chaleureusement les négociateurs du Parlement européen ainsi que ceux de la présidence maltaise et de la Commission européenne et tous ceux qui nous ont permis de franchir cette étape décisive. Les prix de gros convenus vont permettre aux personnes et aux entreprises de bénéficier d'une itinérance comme à la maison », tout en assurant le recouvrement des coûts et en maintenant la concurrence sur les marchés nationaux de l'itinérance de gros ». Grâce à l'accord de la nuit dernière sur les prix de gros et aux règles sur la politique d'équité et de durabilité adoptées par la Commission en décembre 2016, les consommateurs peuvent utiliser leurs abonnements souscrits à domicile lorsqu'ils voyagent périodiquement à l'étranger dans l'UE à partir du 15 juin 2017. Le Parlement européen et le Conseil doivent maintenant approuver officiellement l'accord. Un communiqué de presse est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel: +32 2 29 67038; Johannes Bahrke – Tel: +32 229 68615)

 

College holds an Orientation Debate on the procedures for the adoption of delegated and implementing acts

In his State of the Union Speech in September 2016, President Juncker said, "It is not right that when EU countries cannot decide among themselves whether or not to ban the use of glyphosate in herbicides, the Commission is forced by Parliament and Council to take a decision. So we will change those rules."  Today, the College of Commissioners followed up on the President's statement with an Orientation Debate on possible ways to ensure that political responsibility is taken where the applicable legislation requires. This initiative is included in the priorities of the Commission's Work Programme for 2017. In recent years the Commission has been regularly obliged to take decisions on very sensitive issues when Member States have not been able to take a position, in particular with regards to topics like GMOs or glyphosate. Since the beginning of its mandate, the Juncker Commission has taken a number of internal measures to ensure that a political debate is held at the level of the College before submitting proposals for delegated or implementing acts on sensitive subjects. To ensure that the political responsibility is also assumed by other decision-making bodies, as identified by the co-legislator, the Commission will present a proposal on 14 February to revise the Comitology Regulation. The College also discussed today a number of open comitology procedures. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602, Aikaterini Apostola – Tel. +32 229 87624)

 

Sécurité routière: La Commission propose de moderniser la formation des conducteurs routiers

La Commission Européenne a aujourd'hui proposé d'actualiser et de clarifier les règles relatives à la qualification initiale et à la formation continue des conducteurs de poids-lourds et de bus. L'objectif de cette révision est de renforcer la sécurité routière et de faciliter la mobilité des conducteurs professionnels. Les principales nouveautés incluent la modernisation de la formation, en mettant par exemple l'accent sur la protection des usagers les plus vulnérables et sur l'optimisation de la consommation d'essence, ainsi qu'une meilleure reconnaissance des qualifications obtenues dans un autre Etat Membre. Violeta Bulc, Commissaire européenne chargée des Transports, a déclaré à ce sujet: "Un nouvel élan est nécessaire si nous voulons atteindre l'objectif européen de diviser par deux le nombre de morts sur les routes d'ici à 2020. L'éducation et la formation ont un impact direct sur la sécurité routière. C'est la raison pour laquelle nous proposons aujourd'hui d'améliorer les règles de formation des conducteurs routiers." Cette réforme a lieu dans le cadre du programme REFIT, qui a pour but de veiller à ce que la législation de l'UE produise des résultats pour les citoyens et les entreprises de manière efficace, efficiente et au moindre coût. La proposition de la Commission doit maintenant être examinée par le Parlement Européen et les 28 Etats Membres de l'UE selon la procédure législative ordinaire européenne. (Pour plus d'information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

EU and Mexico agree to accelerate trade talks

The EU and Mexico will hold two additional negotiating rounds before summer as part of an accelerated negotiation schedule for a new, reformed Free Trade Agreement. The dates of the upcoming rounds (3-7 April and 26-29 June) were agreed by Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, and theMinister of Economy of Mexico, Ildefonso Guajardo. As part of this new schedule, fixed during a phone conversation, the two also agreed to meet in Mexico City between these rounds to take stock and push negotiators for further progress. In a joint statement, Commissioner Malmström and Minister of Economy Guajardo said:  "Together, we are witnessing the worrying rise of protectionism around the world. Side by side, as like-minded partners, we must now stand up for the idea of global, open cooperation. We are already well underway in our joint efforts to deepen openness to trade on both sides. Now, we will accelerate the pace of these talks in order to reap the benefits sooner." The purpose of this modernising process is to better mirror other ambitious trade deals that the EU and Mexico have negotiated lately. A full press release is available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)

 

STATEMENTS

 

Statement by Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica: Women's rights and empowerment are key for sustainable development

"The European Commission's international cooperation and development policy will continue to play a leading role in ensuring women's access to health and family planning services. Gender equality is a global priority. The European Commission supports this actively, in particular through the Gender Action Plan and EU external action. World-wide, around 225 million women are in need of modern contraception. More than 300,000 women die each year from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, 99% of them in developing countries. Ensuring women's access to health and family planning services, including education and contraception, are indispensable to prevent vulnerability and disempowerment and ultimately, to achieve sustainable development. Gender equality in this area, as well as all others, is not just a priority, not just an essential step for eradicating poverty; it is a universal human right. The EU is providing significant financial support for health and gender programmes around the world, to address the direct and underlying causes and consequences of women's discrimination. Together with our partners worldwide we will continue to speak out on this issue, to empower women, to protect their rights and ultimately the health and safety of their families." The statement is available online. (For more information: Carlos Martín Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: + 32 229-65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

European Commission appoints seven Directors and a Member of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

Today, the European Commission appointed seven Directors and an externally recruited Member of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB), four of whom are women: Ms Alexandra Panagakou as Director for Interpreters in its department for Interpretation (DG SCIC); Ms Panagakou, a Greek national, joined the Commission in 1991 as an interpreter, is currently serving as acting Director of the Directorate for Provision of Interpretation and is heading the unit for Professional Support for Interpreters; Mr Jean-David Malo as Director for Open Innovation and Open Science in its department for Research and Innovation (DG RTD); Mr Malo, a French national, joined the Commission in 2001 and is now head of unit for SMEs, Financial Instruments and State Aids at DG RTD; Mr Herald Ruijters as Director for European Mobility Network in its department for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE); Mr Ruijters, a Dutch national, works in the Commission since 1997, is currently serving as acting Director of the Directorate for Investment, Innovative & Sustainable Transport and is heading the unit for Transport Networks; Ms Dana Spinant as Director for Budget and General Affairs in its department for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO); Ms Spinant, a Romanian national, entered the Commission in 2009 and is currently head of unit for irregular migration and return policy at DG HOME; Ms Veronika Veits as Director for Fisheries Policy Mediterranean and Black Sea in its department for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE); Ms Veits, an Austrian national, joined the Commission in 1996 and is currently heading the unit in charge of WTO coordination, OECD, Export Credits and Dual Use at DG TRADE; Ms Maria Martin-Prat as Director for Services and Investment, Intellectual Property and Public Procurement in its department for Trade (DG TRADE); Ms Martin-Prat, a Spanish national, works in the Commission since 1995 and is currently heading the unit in charge of copyright at DG CNECT; Mr Thomas Gageik as Director for Digital Business Solutions in its Department for Informatics (DG DIGIT); Mr Gageik, a German national, is joining the Commission from the private sector, having worked in the area of IT services since 1988; and finally, Mr Andreas Kopp, a German national, as an externally recruited Member of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board; Mr Kopp is currently Lead Economist Transport at the World Bank and has been working in the field of economics since 1980. The first four new assignments take effect immediately, while the starting dates for last four appointments will be determined later. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

2-3 February: Commissioner Andriukaitis meets the President of the Republic of Croatia and attends Citizens' Dialogue on his first visit to Zagreb, Croatia

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, is on official visit to Zagreb (Croatia) on 2-3 February. On Thursday, Commissioner Andriukaitis will have a series of meetings, including with Mrs Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Milan Kujundžić, Minister of Health and Mr Tomislav Tolušić, Minister of Agriculture. On Friday, Commissioner Andriukaitis will hold a Citizens' Dialogue with the Croatian public at the Lauba Gallery. Citizens and media can attend the debate in person; questions can also be submitted using the Twitter hashtag #EUdialogues. The event will be livestreamed here. Registration and more on the Citizens' Dialogue here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

 

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