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Daily News

28 / 03 / 2017

 

Sécurité routière: les résultats encourageants de 2016 appellent à poursuivre les efforts pour sauver des vies sur les routes européennes

Les statistiques de la sécurité routière pour 2016 publiées ce jour par la Commission montrent une diminution de 2 % du nombre de décès enregistrés l'an dernier dans l'ensemble de l'UE. 25 500 personnes ont perdu la vie sur les routes de l'UE en 2016, soit 600 de moins qu'en 2015. À cela s'ajoutent 135 000 blessés graves, selon les estimations de la Commission. Après deux années de stagnation, l'année 2016 marque le retour d'une tendance à la baisse rassurante. Le nombre de tués sur les routes a régressé de 19 % au cours des six dernières années. Ce rythme est certes encourageant, mais peut-être insuffisant pour permettre à l'UE d'atteindre l'objectif qu'elle s'est fixé de réduire de moitié le nombre de tués sur les routes entre 2010 et 2020. Davantage d'efforts sont nécessaires de la part de tous les acteurs et notamment des autorités nationales et locales, qui mènent la plupart des actions au quotidien, telles que la sensibilisation et le contrôle de l'application des règles. Mme Violeta Bulc, commissaire européenne chargée des transports, a déclaré à ce propos: «Les statistiques présentées ce jour constituent une amélioration et un élément positif pour aller de l'avant. Mais ce ne sont pas les chiffres qui m'inquiètent le plus — ce sont les personnes qui perdent la vie, et les familles qu'elles laissent derrière elles. Pour la seule journée d'aujourd'hui, nous devrons déplorer 70 nouvelles victimes sur les routes européennes et cinq fois autant de blessés graves! J'invite toutes les parties prenantes à redoubler d'efforts afin de nous permettre d'atteindre l'objectif consistant à réduire de moitié le nombre de décès sur les routes entre 2010 et 2020». Plus d'informations sont disponibles dans un communiqué de presse dans toutes les langues UEainsi que dans un MEMO en FR, DE et EN. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Alexis Perier – Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

Juncker Plan: EUR 280 million to upgrade 14 regional airports in Greece

The Juncker Plan has backed a EUR 280 million European Investment Bank (EIB) loan agreement to help finance upgrades to 14 regional airports in Greece. 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 EIB loan will be used for the financing of immediate development works at the 14 airports, including the refurbishment and modernisation of terminals, and the improvement of safety and airfield infrastructure. The 14 airports are located in: Aktion, Chania (Crete), Kavala, Kefalonia, Kerkyra (Corfu), Kos, Mitilini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki and Zakynthos. These airports served a total of about 25.2 million passengers in 2016. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “Modern infrastructure will play a crucial role in supporting Greece's economic recovery. This requires sustained investment to ensure that it achieves its full potential to create jobs and spur growth. This agreement, with the support of the Commission, succeeds in mobilising private investment to finance upgrades to growth-enabling infrastructure that will support, for example, tourism and mobility. This is a prime example of the type of investments the European Commission is committed to support, as they bring growth and development." The Juncker Plan is already expected to trigger over EUR 3 billion in investments in Greece and a total of EUR 178 billion across Europe. A full press release is available here. For more information on the Juncker Plan in Greece, see here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

First ever counter-extremism guide for young people by young people, developed by the EU co-funded flagship initiative "Extremely Together!

Empowering youth is an essential element in countering violent extremism and preventing marginalisation and radicalisation. Today, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, together with Mr Kofi Annan presented an EU co-funded flagship initiative, against violent extremism. This initiative, called "Extremely Together", unites ten of the world's leading young counter-extremism experts, to tackle and prevent the rise of violent extremism within their communities and across borders and cultures. It aims to start a global movement of young people mobilising against violent extremism. Commissioner Mimica said: "Violent extremism is a sad reality that we all have to face within our societies today. For too long too many young people have been victims or even instruments of terrorism. "Extremely Together" is about turning the tables and empowering young people to become agents of peace, tolerance and hope. The EU has stepped up its funding for projects aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism, and we are working closely with NGOs, local municipalities, youth organisations and other partners. We need to continue our research into the drivers behind radicalisation and provide alternative pathways in partnership with our youth." The main deliverable of this initiative is a guide, developed for young people by young people, which will direct the work of "Extremely Together" in the future, aiming to inspire other young people to follow in their footsteps. The guide can be found online here. The event takes place at the SQUARE Meeting Centre, Coudenberg 3, 1000 Brussels (10:00-17:00). Live-streaming will be available through the Facebook channel of the "Extremely Together" Initiative. (For more information: Carlos Martín Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: + 32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: + 32 229 92256)

 

Wind and ocean energy status reports: the EU makes considerable progress in the renewable energy market

The European Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), has published two studies providing an overview of wind and ocean energy market as well as technology trends, showcasing considerable progress made in the EU over the past few years. First, the Ocean Energy Status Report - 2016 Edition looks closely at tidal stream and wave energy technologies, which progressed significantly in 2016, culminating in the creation of the very first ocean energy farms. Second, the Wind Energy Status Report - 2016 Edition shows that global wind energy capacity more than doubled to 430 GW in 2015 from 5 years earlier. Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for the Energy Union, said: "These studies show that we remain on the right track in our goal to provide clean energy for all Europeans. This also affirms that the energy transition to renewables is no longer a mere vision but a tangible reality where Europe is in the lead." Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the JRC, said: "Europe remains a global leader in renewable technologies. This helps our economy grow, creates jobs, spurs innovation and, most importantly, protects our environment. Retaining our position will depend on our ability to produce and manage innovative energy technologies for the smart economy of the 21st century. I am confident that these two JRC reports will help policy-makers across Europe achieve this goal." The Ocean Energy Status Report emphasises that fast progress was possible in part due to the increased support to overcome technological and financial barriers for deployment across the European energy system. The EU is the global leader in the development of ocean energy technologies, hosting 52% of all tidal stream and 60% of all wave energy developers in the world. Further details can be found here. The Wind Energy Status Report shows that all of the EU's wind energy capacity (about 140 GW or a third of the global total) is connected to the grid, making Europe the global leader in supplying wind energy. The EU also leads the world in offshore capacity, accounting for about 90% of all newly completed projects in the world, with the UK, Germany and Denmark in the lead. Read more here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

State aid: Commission approves Danish support for Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm

The European Commission has found support to be granted to the 600 MW Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm in Danish territorial waters to be in line with EU state aid rules. It will help Denmark to reduce CO2 emissions, in line with EU energy and climate goals, without unduly distorting competition. Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: "The Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm will help to cut carbon dioxide emissions while the support is carefully designed to avoid distorting competition in electricity markets. I'm glad to be able to approve state support for this project". The Commission concluded that the project's contribution to increasing the share of renewable energy produced in Denmark and reducing carbon dioxide emissions outweighs any potential distortions of competition due to the government support. A full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and DA. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren - Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Braas Monier by Standard Industries

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Braas Monier of Luxembourg by Standard Industries of the US. Braas Monier manufactures pitched roof products and certain other building products. Standard is a manufacturer of commercial and residential roofing products and other construction products worldwide. In Europe, Standard is mostly active through its subsidiary Icopal, which is primarily focussed on the manufacture and sale of flat roofing products. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies' activities are largely complementary and several alternative suppliers will remain in all markets concerned. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8273. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition du contrôle conjoint de deux parcs photovoltaïques par le Groupe BPCE

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du contrôle conjoint de La Compagnie du Soleil Investissement 4 ("LCS4") et de La Compagnie du Soleil Centre ("LCS Centre") par le groupe Banque Populaire Caisse d'Epargne ("Groupe BPCE"), tous basés en France. LCS4 et LCS Centre détiennent chacune un parc photovoltaïque et sont actuellement contrôlées conjointement par le groupe Engie et la société SOPER. Le Groupe BPCE est actif dans le secteur bancaire et d'investissement via sa filiale Natixis. La Commission considère que l'acquisition envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence au regard des activités limitées de LCS4 et LCS Centre et de l'absence de chevauchements significatifs entre les activités du groupe Engie, de la société SOPER et du Groupe BPCE au niveau de la production, de la vente en gros et de la fourniture d'électricité, ainsi que du développement de centrales photovoltaïques. L'opération 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 la référence M.8400. (Pour plus d' informations: Ricardo Cardoso  – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini travels to Amman for the 28th League of Arab States Summit

In the context of the existing cooperation between the League of Arab States and the European Union and with a view to further develop the important relationship, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini travels to Amman, where she has been invited to address the 28th League of Arab States Summit on 29 March. The Summit will be the occasion for the Arab States and for the members of the international community attending, including the HR/VP, to discuss the current challenges for the stability of the region and common efforts to address them. Today and tomorrow in the margins of the Summit the HR/VP will also have a number of bilateral contacts. Among others, she will meet with His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein of Jordan, His Excellency Mr Ayman Safadi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Jordan, His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates and His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Minister of Kuwait. All press opportunities will be available on EbS(For more information: Nabila  Massrali – Tel.: + 32 229 69218; Lauranne Devillé – Tel.: +32 229 80833)

 

Commissioner Arias Cañete in China to strengthen climate and clean energy ties

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will visit the People's Republic of China, from 29 March to 2 April. During his visit, he will hold political talks in Beijing and visit clean energy projects in Hebei province and the city of Ningbo in South Eastern China. In the capital, the Commissioner will meet with China's Special Representative on climate change Xie Zhenhua, the Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang, the Director of the National Energy Administration (NEA) Nur Bekri, and the Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Zhang Yong. Commissioner Arias Cañete's mission to China comes at a critical time in international climate policy, allowing the EU and China to show joint leadership and explore how they can reinforce their strong commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement ahead of the EU-China summit to be held in June. The implementation of the EU-China energy roadmap agreed by Commissioner Arias Cañete in June 2016, clean energy cooperation, low-emission mobility and emissions trading will be discussed during the Commissioner's visit, based on the long-standing cooperation of the two sides on the topics. Meetings with European energy companies, the EU's Chamber of Commerce in China, NGOs and think-tanks will complete the four-day mission. Ahead of the visit, Commissioner Arias Cañete said: "The EU and China are joining forces to forge ahead on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate the global transition to clean energy. Our successful cooperation on issues like emissions trading and clean technologies are bearing fruit. Now is the time to further strengthen these ties to keep the wheels turning for ambitious global climate action. In these turbulent times, shared climate leadership is needed more than ever." (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

Commissioner Malmström in Croatia to discuss the EU's progressive trade policy agenda and participate in a Citizens' Dialogue

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström is in Zagreb for a two-day visit, where she is participating today in a Citizens' Dialogue at the University of Zagreb. The dialogue will focus on the EU agenda for a progressive, fair, transparent and values-based trade policy, as set out in the EU trade and investment strategy "Trade for All". The event gives students the opportunity to debate with the Commissioner on the opportunities as well as the challenges of the current ambitious EU trade agenda and the several negotiations, in which the EU is involved, for instance with Japan or several Latin American countries. In addition to the event, Commissioner Malmström is meeting with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalić, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Davor Ivo Stier. During her visit, the Commissioner is also attending a meeting with representatives of the parliamentary committees for European Affairs, Economy, Agriculture, and Regional Development and EU Funds. The Citizens' Dialogue will be streamed live here at 12:00. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)    

 

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