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Daily News

16 / 02 / 2017

 

CETA marks the beginning of a new era in the EU-Canada relationship

The European Parliament voted, with 408 votes in favour, for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, concluding the ratification process of this deal at the EU level. Welcoming the outcome of the vote held in Strasbourg, President Jean-Claude Juncker said:  "Today's vote by the European Parliament is an important milestone in the democratic process of ratification of the agreement reached with Canada, and it also allows for its provisional entry into force. This trade deal has been subject to an in-depth parliamentary scrutiny which reflects the increased interest of citizens in trade policy. The intense exchanges on CETA throughout this process are testimony to the democratic nature of European decision making". Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: "This vote is the start of a new era in EU-Canada relations - together we are sending a strong signal today. By building bridges rather than walls, we can face the challenges that confront our societies together. In these uncertain times, with rising protectionism around the world, CETA underlines our strong commitment to sustainable trade. Once the Canadian parliament has ratified this agreement, the next step is to put it provisionally in place, which I hope can be done swiftly and effectively. Citizens and companies on both sides of the Atlantic should start reaping these benefits very soon." A press release and a fact sheet are available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)

 

EIB signs EUR 50 million Juncker Plan loan with Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and Guaguas for new bus rapid transit infrastructure

The EIB has signed a EUR 50 million loan to finance a new, high-capacity bus network in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. This agreement was made possible by the support of the Juncker Fund, the central pillar of the European Commission's Juncker Plan. In addition to the construction of a new 11.7 kilometre high-capacity bus route, the project will finance the acquisition of 17 new eco-friendly hybrid or electro energy buses, the construction of three new bus stations and a traffic control centre. More than 1,000 jobs are set to be created during the construction phase of the project before it becomes operational in 2021. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said:  "Cleaner, more efficient urban transport networks improve the vibrancy of cities and the quality of life of their residents. Today's agreement provides another example of how the Investment Plan is making a valuable contribution towards creating a more energy efficient future for Europe. I am also delighted that more than 1,000 jobs will be supported during the construction phase of this major infrastructure project." A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151) 

 

Juncker Plan: SEK 900 million for local infrastructure upgrades in Nordic countries

The EIB has completed a SEK 900 million agreement to support investment in local infrastructure in the Nordic countries through the “Infranode” investment platform. This agreement was made possible by the support of the Juncker Fund, the central pillar of the European Commission's Juncker Plan. Infranode has extensive experience in engaging in long-term partnerships with public sector bodies that have significant investment needs, but limited capital resources. In the past, their investments have focused on urban development and environmental improvement projects. Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, said: "The Investment Plan plays an important role, and contributes to investments in infrastructure all over Europe. This agreement allows the Nordic countries to benefit even more from this. Europe needs investments – they boost growth and create jobs." A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

 

Emissions Trading System: European parliament vote marks major step towards reaching agreement

The European Parliament yesterday adopted its position in support of the Commission proposal for the revision of the Emissions Trading System Directive for the period after 2021. The vote concludes a year of intensive deliberations and paves the way for negotiations with the Council. Heads of State and governments agreed in 2014 that the Emissions Trading System is the EU's flagship climate policy to deliver the required emission reductions in a cost efficient manner, while protecting vulnerable sectors in EU industry and supporting the clean energy transition where most needed. Welcoming the vote, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "Yesterday's landmark vote provides a clear outcome after more than a year of discussions in Parliament, and it demonstrates the European Union's commitment to turning the Paris Agreement into reality through concrete action on the ground. Now the revision of the EU Emission Trading System is on the Council's table and we hope they can swiftly reach an agreement to kick-start negotiations so that we can agree on it before the end of the year."Building on the Commission proposal from July 2015, Parliament voted in favour of changes to strengthen the Market Stability Reserve to more quickly reduce the current oversupply of allowances on the carbon market. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

EU supporting Rule of Law and Rural Development in the Kyrgyz Republic with €23 million

Today, the European Commission signed new support to the Kyrgyz Republic. The focus of this support is to strengthen the rule of law (€13 million), as well as rural development (€10 million) in the country. This contribution forms part of the overall support to the Kyrgyz Republic amounting to €184 million for the period 2014-2020. The signature of two financing agreements by Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, Neven Mimica, took place in the context of the high-level visit to Brussels of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Almazbek Atambaev, who also met with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini (see a press release here), as well as the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. This is a clear sign of the European Union's continuous support to the Kyrgyz Republic, to the country's ongoing reform efforts and to maintaining progress in the rule of law, which is a pre-condition for sustainable and inclusive growth. For more information on EU-Kyrgyz Republic relations, see the factsheet and visit the website of the EU Delegation. (For more information: Carlos Martín Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: + 32 229-65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

La politique de Cohésion investit dans la mobilité durable, rapide et sûre en Pologne

Le fonds de Cohésion va financer d'importants travaux de remise à niveau sur la ligne de chemin de fer reliant Varsovie à Kiev, en Ukraine, en passant par la ville polonaise de Lublin. "Ces travaux renforceront la sécurité des voyageurs sur toute la ligne et réduiront les temps de trajet. Je m'attends également à que cet investissement ait un impact positif et tangible sur le développement économique et la croissance des régions traversées par cette ligne, notamment la région de Lublin," a déclaré la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu. 750,5 millions d'euros aideront à construire ou rénover 15 viaducs et tunnels et à augmenter la capacité de la ligne sur 150 km entre les villes d'Otwock et de Lublin, à l'Est de la Pologne, avec la construction de voies additionnelles. Un système de signalisation moderne sera mis en place, tandis que les passages à niveaux dangereux seront supprimés. Une fois l'entièreté de la ligne Lublin-Varsovie rénovée grâce au soutien de la politique de Cohésion, le temps de trajet entre les deux villes sera réduit de 45 mn. Le projet vise également à décongestionner les abords de Varsovie en encourageant les citadins à délaisser leurs voitures au profit d'un système moderne et rapide de transport public, pour une meilleure qualité de vie dans l'agglomération. Plus d'informations sur les Fonds structurels et d'investissement européens en Pologne sont disponibles ici et sur la plateforme Open Data. (Pour plus d'informations: Jakub Adamowicz - Tél.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr - Tél.: +32 229 56169)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Skytec UMC by Skytec and Sharp

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control of Skytec UMC of Cyprus, by Skytec of Cyprus and Sharp of Japan. Skytec UMC designs, manufactures and distributes TVs under its own brands and under third party brands in the European Economic Area (EEA). In 2014, Skytec UMC acquired Sharp's TV business in Europe. Skytec has limited activities beyond its ownership of Skytec UMC. Sharp is active globally in developing, manufacturing and selling a range of electronic products, including LCD TVs. The proposed transaction will result in Sharp re-acquiring joint control of the Skytec UMC TV business in Europe. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because following the sale of Sharp's TV business to Skytec UMC, Sharp no longer had activities in these markets in the EEA. 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.8263.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Lumileds by Apolllo Management

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Lumileds Holding B. V. of the Netherlands, by Apollo Management L.P. of the U.S. Lumileds is a manufacturer of conventional and light emitting diode (‘LED') lighting products worldwide. Apollo is a private equity investment fund. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because none of the companies controlled by Apollo is active in the same product market or in a product market related to the markets where Lumileds is active. 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.8351. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Kion by Weichai

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Kion Group AG, of Germany, by Weichai Power Co. Ltd., of China. Kion is a manufacturer of forklift trucks, warehouse equipment, and other industrial trucks. Weichai Power Co. Ltd. is an automotive and equipment manufacturing group which operates in three main business segments: (i) power assembly (engines, gear boxes and axles), (ii) commercial vehicles, and (iii) automobile electronics and parts. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the parties' minor overlaps resulting from the proposed transaction and the fact that the Commission had already cleared Weichai's notification of acquisition of control over Kion in 2014 (see case number M.7169). 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 case number M.8190. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Joint Statement by Commissioners Avramopoulos and King on the vote of the European Parliament on the Commission's proposals for a Directive on combatting terrorism and for reinforcing checks at the Schengen external borders

The European Parliament Plenary will today vote on the Commission's proposals for a Directive on combatting terrorism and for reinforcing checks at the Schengen external borders. A statement by Commissioners Avramopoulos and King will be available here following the votes. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 299 63444)

 

Commissaire Vella au Maroc pour renforcer la coopération dans le domaine de la pêche et la gouvernance des océans avec les pays africains

Le Commissaire Karmenu Vella, responsable de la pêche et des affaires maritimes, se rend au Maroc pour le Salon Halieutis à Agadir. S'exprimant lors de la conférence d'ouverture hier, il a souligné les liens bilatéraux importants de l'Union européenne et le Maroc sur la pêche et l'importance de la coopération internationale pour relever les défis communs de nos océans: "La variété qui se déploie à Halieutis est un signe visible de l'énorme richesse de l'océan qui nous rappelle combien nous dépendons des océans. En voyant cela, je suis convaincu de la nécessité de travailler encore plus pour protéger ces ressources pour les générations futures. L'instauration de coopérations et partenariats représente la voie à suivre: pour des océans sains, pour un secteur de la pêche en bonne santé et pour une économie «bleue» saine". La Commission a lancé une initiative sur la gouvernance internationale des océans en novembre dernier, renforçant les efforts de l'UE pour des océans sains dans le monde. Le Commissaire Vella a aussi rencontré le ministre marocain des pêches Aziz Akhannouch, ainsi que des ministres de la Côte d'Ivoire et du Gabon. Il a aussi profité de l'occasion pour les inviter à la conférence internationale Our Ocean que l'UE accueillera les 5 et 6 octobre 2017 et à la conférence ministérielle qui se tiendra à Malte le 29 mars et qui réunira des pays de la Méditerranée pour adopter une déclaration commune sur la pèche durable. L'événement s'inscrit dans le cadre de la campagne #MedFish4Ever de la Commission visant à inverser le déclin inquiétant des poissons qui menace l'industrie de la pêche en Méditerranée. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321)

 

Commissioner Navracsics represents the Commission at Education Council to discuss ways of boosting investment in youth

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics will represent the Commission at tomorrow's meeting of Education Ministers to discuss how to improve opportunities for all young people in the EU and enable them to benefit from high quality education, regardless of their background. The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the European Solidarity Corps, supporting the Commission's ambition to present a legislative proposal which would include a framework on funding, implementation, and evaluation. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "I welcome the support of Education Ministers for the European Solidarity Corps. This is very encouraging for our work on further shaping this new initiative for Europe's youth, including our upcoming proposal for a single legal framework with dedicated financial means. Meanwhile, we are working on delivering and we look forward to the first European Solidarity Corps participants starting their placements in spring." In its Communication setting up the European Solidarity Corps, the Commission committed to presenting its legal proposal during the first half of 2017. A public consultation has recently been launched to feed into this work. Since the launch of the new initiative in December last year, more than 22,000 young people have already registered. The Council is also expected to adopt conclusions on inclusion in diversity through high quality education for all. A policy debate on the contribution of education and training to social cohesion and fostering common European values will feed into discussions on the European Semester at the March European Council. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke - Tel.: +32 229 58615; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)

 

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