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Daily News

21 / 03 / 2017


EU and Japan make joint commitment to reach a speedy conclusion to trade negotiations

President Juncker and President Tusk are meeting today with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, with the negotiations for a bilateral trade deal featuring prominently on the agenda. In a statement given before the meeting, President Juncker said: We believe this agreement is necessary because we believe in free, fair and rules-based trade. And so we will continue to look out towards the world, rather than return to isolationism. The EU is open for fair business. Our negotiations with Japan are now in a decisive – and hopefully final – stage. Prime Minister Abe's visit will allow us to reiterate our political commitment to a highly comprehensive, ambitious and balanced deal, so that our capable negotiators make the necessary progress in the outstanding areas.  Following our discussions today, I am very confident this will pave the way for a swift agreement this year.  As we approach the final stages of the negotiating process, on the EU side we will continue to ensure a high level of transparency and engage directly with stakeholders and civil society on issues related to the negotiations. I look forward to continuing this close partnership with Prime Minister Abe at the upcoming G7 meeting in Taormina, and hopefully at the next EU-Japan summit where we can successfully conclude our negotiations. EU and Japanese negotiators will meet for a new round in Tokyo in April, and the process will intensify further thereafter. Alongside the trade agreement, the EU and Japan are also negotiating a Strategic Partnership Agreement, and leaders are expected to discuss the ongoing negotiations and press ahead for their swift conclusion. This new agreement would reflect Japan's position as a key strategic partner of the EU in Asia and, alongside the trade agreement, demonstrates the partners' joint commitment to open and rules-based trade as well as to the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Additionally, in the margins of the CeBIT digital business fair in Hanover, Germany Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Vĕra Jourová launched yesterday the dialogue on data protection and data flows with Japan, to further EU-Japan bilateral cooperation on the data economy. President Juncker's statements are available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276: Inga Höglund - Tel.: +32 229 50698)


Malmö et Bruxelles lauréates des prix européens de la mobilité durable

La Commission européenne a dévoilé hier le nom des villes lauréates de l'édition 2016 des prix de la mobilité durable. Malmö (Suède) a remporté le Prix de la SEMAINE EUROPÉENNE DE LA MOBILITÉ, tandis que Bruxelles (Belgique) a reçu le cinquième Prix du meilleur plan de mobilité urbaine durable dans le domaine du transport de marchandises. Rendre le transport urbain plus durable est une partie intégrante de la Stratégie pour une mobilité à faible taux d'émissions adoptée par la Commission en Juillet 2016, et Malmö et Bruxelles se sont illustrées par leur approche innovante. Violeta Bulc, commissaire responsable des transports, a déclaré: «J'invite les villes à nous rejoindre et à collaborer avec nous pour aider l'Europe à atteindre ses objectifs ambitieux en matière de climat. Je voudrais féliciter les finalistes de cette année, qui ont montré qu'il est déjà possible de mettre en place une mobilité urbaine plus écologique et plus intelligente. J'ai été particulièrement impressionnée par les stratégies à long terme élaborées par Malmö en faveur de modes de déplacement actifs et par Bruxelles en faveur de solutions durables pour le transport de marchandises. J'espère que beaucoup d'autres villes suivront leur exemple.» Karmenu Vella, commissaire pour l'environnement, les affaires maritimes et la pêche, a quant à lui déclaré: «Pouvoir se déplacer rapidement d'un point A à un point B est un facteur essentiel de la qualité de la vie dans nos villes, mais la qualité de l'air que l'on respire et la possibilité de jouir de rues calmes et d'un trafic fluide sont tout aussi importantes. Grâce à des solutions innovantes propres à chacune d'elles, Bruxelles et Malmö ont toutes deux montré que des progrès étaient possibles, ce dont je les félicite.» Plus de détails sur les lauréats sont disponibles ici. (Plus d'information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)


Juncker Plan: Investment Plan for Europe agreement provides EUR 93 million for transport infrastructure upgrades in Poland

The Juncker Plan has backed a EUR 93 million European Investment Bank (EIB) loan agreement to finance construction of new transport infrastructure in Kraków, Poland. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Juncker Plan, was a crucial factor in making this loan agreement possible. The project consists of a 3.7 km ring road and a 1.7 km tram line. This new infrastructure will contribute to a reduction in traffic congestion and road-safety improvements in Kraków. European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Upgrading the transport infrastructure that underpins our economies to meet future needs will require sustained investment. Today's agreement demonstrates how the Investment Plan can play an important role in unlocking the investment needed to make these projects a reality." The Juncker Plan is already expected to trigger over EUR 6 billion in investments in Poland and a total of EUR 178 billion across Europe. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)


Commission launches public consultation on the way forward for European Supervisory Authorities

The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on the operation of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs). These are the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). The ESAs are a cornerstone of the reforms put in place in the wake of the financial crisis. They have played a key role in ensuring that the financial markets across the EU are well regulated, strong and stable. Since their establishment, the ESAs have contributed to the building of the Single Rulebook for financial services (banking, insurance and capital markets) and to the convergence of supervisory practices, in order to ensure a robust financial framework for the Single Market and to underpin the creation of the Banking Union. Our aim now is to identify areas where the effectiveness and efficiency of the ESAs can be strengthened and improved. More coordinated and integrated supervision will be increasingly important in future, notably to develop and integrate EU capital markets through Capital Markets Union. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The EU needs to step up its efforts to build more integrated, efficient and stable financial markets so that it is equipped to deal with new challenges. Sound and efficient financial supervision is key to this goal. In the six years following the crisis, the European Supervisory Authorities have carried out important work in developing a Single Rulebook for financial services. I want to hear from all stakeholders about how we can ensure that these Authorities have the most impact in supporting greater convergence of supervisory practices in our Member States”. A general review of the ESAs is foreseen for this year and mandated by their founding Regulations. The consultation will run until 16 May 2017.(For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini - Tel.: +32 229 51958)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of LM Wind Power Holding by General Electric Company

The European Commission has approved unconditionally under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of LM Wind Power of Denmark, by General Electric Company of the US.  The Commission concluded that the merged entity would continue to face effective competition in Europe. The Commission's investigation focused on the effect of the transaction both on the upstream market for the manufacture and supply of wind turbine blades, as well on the downstream markets for the manufacture and supply of onshore and offshore wind turbines. Based on the results of its market investigation, the Commission concluded that competitive concerns would be unlikely to arise after the transaction because GE would not be in a position to significantly affect the upstream market. In relation to the downstream markets, GE would continue to face significant competition from other major turbine manufacturers, such as Siemens, (MHI) Vestas, Nordex and Senvion. A full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and DA. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Concentrations: la Commission approuve l'acquisition de SAG par SPIE

La Commission Européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle exclusif de la société allemande SAG Vermögensverwaltung GmbH par l'entreprise française SPIE S.A. SAG est un fournisseur de services et de systèmes pour des opérateurs de réseau électrique, de gaz, d'eau et de télécommunication. SPIE est actif dans les services en ingénierie mécanique et électrique, la gestion technique d’installations et les services de technologie de l'information et de la communication. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problèmes de concurrence, compte tenu des chevauchements limités des activités des deux entreprises. La transaction a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée de contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.8377. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Hay by Sumitomo and Musashi Semitsu Industry

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control of Hay of Germany by Sumitomo and Musashi Semitsu Industry ("MSI") both of Japan. Hay manufactures precision forged and machined parts for automotive transmissions, engines and drivelines. Sumitomo is an integrated trading and investment company which is active in (i) the provision of pipes, accessories and services to companies in the energy and manufacturing industries; (ii) rolled steel and non-ferrous products; (iii) transportation and construction systems; (iv) mineral resources and energy; (v) chemicals and electronics; (vi) trade in foodstuffs, media and retail services and (vii) infrastructure. MSI produces precision components for the construction of automobiles and motorcycles. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as there are no overlaps between the companies’ activities and only very minor vertical links 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.8403. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over PKC by Motherson Sumi Systems

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over PKC Group OYJ ("PKC") of Finland by Motherson Sumi Systems Limited ("MSSL") of India. PKC and MSSL are both globally active in the manufacturing and supply of wire harnesses for the automotive industry. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given MSSL's very limited activities in the European Economic Area. The operation 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.8381. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)


The European Research Council – a European success story: Commissioner Moedas marks 10th anniversary of ERC

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas opened a conference this morning on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the European Research Council. Speaking alongside MEP Jerzy Buzek (Chair of the European Parliament's ITRE Committee), Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon (ERC President), and Pascal Lamy (Chair of the High Level Expert Group on maximising impact of EU Research and Innovation Programmes), Commissioner Moedas told the exciting stories of some of the prestigious 7000 ERC grantees, including Michael Gillon, who recently discovered the seven planets of the Trappist-1 systemand said: "In the past two years at the Commission I have had the privilege of meeting so many of the grantees and to listen to them. They are the best in the world but I think that what really amazed me and what differentiates them is not only that they are best. What differentiates them is their being contagious about their passions. They should not only be the storytellers of Science, but the storytellers of Europe". The whole speech can be found here. Commissioner Moedas will give a press conference with two successful ERC grantees, Prof. Valeria Nicolosi and Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger, around 12:30 CET. The press conference can be followed live onEbS. You can find more information on the achievements of the ERC and especially interesting facts and figures here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: + 32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278; Maud Noyon – Tel.: +32 473 865656)




First Vice-President Timmermans speech on Better Regulation

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans delivered a speech on the Commission's Better Regulation Agenda this morning, at the Regulatory Scrutiny Board's first open conference on Regulatory Scrutiny in the European Union, attended by Member State representatives, national regulatory watchdog chairs, REFIT Platform members, stakeholders and representatives of the EU institutions. Underlining the fundamental role of evidence-based policy making in the context of broader political attacks on evidence and facts, the First Vice-President told the participants: "This is about changing incentives and attitudes. This is about ensuring that the system itself has changed, and doesn't need constant policing. That is why, over the past two years we have worked hard to embed better regulation into the DNA of the European Commission, installing a priority driven, evidence-based, disciplined, transparent and above all inclusive policy process. The aim is to make sure we deliver high quality policy proposals that remove obstacles to growth and foster innovation, proposals that minimise regulatory costs while promoting social and environmental sustainability." The First Vice-President's full speech is available online here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)


Statements on World Water Day on 22 March 2017

In a Joint Statement by Vice-President Katainen, Commissioner Vella and Commissioner Hogan on World Water Day, the Commission reinforces its call for a more circular economy, promoting innovative water reuse in the EU which is good for jobs, farms and the environment. This is welcome news for the more than 1 million who work in the European water sector: "Water is essential for human health, to the natural environment and a precious resource for many sectors of the economy, where output and jobs in areas such as agriculture, navigation and energy production are often strongly water-dependent…Over the past decades, thanks to appropriate regulatory action, billions of euro of investment, and the efforts of millions of people working together, EU citizens can enjoy clean drinking and bathing waters." On the same occasion, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission Mogherini made as well a Declaration on behalf of the EU reiterating the EU's "commitment, through Agenda 2030, to achieve access and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, in particular to the most vulnerable groups. Our commitment to leaving no-one behind means that no-one should be deprived of access to clean water. The European Union has provided more than 2.2 billion euro to water and sanitation projects in more than 62 countries worldwide since 2007. The EU is determined to continue supporting people affected by natural and man-made disasters, by providing life-saving access to safe and clean water." (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Iris Petsa – Tel.: + 32 229 93321; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430)




Vice-President Katainen to deliver speech on the future of Europe at the College of Europe, Bruges

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, will deliver a speech on the future of Europe today at the College of Europe, Bruges. The speech follows the launch of the Commission's White Paper earlier this month. As usual in the Commission's Citizens' Dialogues, students and other participants will have an opportunity following the speech to ask the Vice-President questions on a wide range of issues, including the White Paper, globalisation and the European Defence Action Plan. The speech will be broadcast live from 14:00 CET. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)


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