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Daily News 

04 / 05 / 2017

 

 

EU proposes enhanced partnership with Africa on peace and security, and job creation for youth

The European Commission and the High Representative / Vice-President present today a revitalised framework for joint action, to build a stronger strategic partnership between Europe and Africa for more prosperity and stability in the two continents. The Communication presents innovative proposals in a number of key areas – such as peace and security, migration, job creation or energy. This comes ahead of the Africa-EU Summit in November this year, which will put a specific focus on youth.At this occasion, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini said: "2017 is the year for a new impetus of the partnership between Europe and Africa: every obstacle we may face is a common challenge, and Africa's hope is our hope. A strong Africa matters to Europe; our friendship matters to our people. Only by joining forces and working in partnership can we provide our youth with a more hopeful and peaceful future. Today, we don't simply look at what we can do for Africa but what we can do with Africa, together". Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, added: "We propose several ideas and concrete measures on how to translate our priorities for the years to come into action, notably to foster growth and to create more jobs, especially for youth. We have a solid offer on the table and we now want to discuss it further with EU Member States and with African partners so that this offer materializes into something concrete and visible. More than ever citizens on both sides of the ocean need to see that the Africa-Europe strategic partnership is a reality which goes beyond words." Read the full press release and MEMO. (For more information: Catherine Ray - Tel.: +32 229 69921, Carlos Martín Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: + 32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140, Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Juncker Plan: EIB finances EUR 75 million upgrade to the Port of Barcelona

The Juncker Plan has backed a EUR 75 million loan agreement between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and ZAL Port to finance the construction of new logistics and warehousing facilities at the Port of Barcelona enabling it to increase its capacity, improve its efficiency and promote sustainability. The project will support some 4,000 new direct jobs and some 6,000 indirect jobs in the logistics and transport sectors. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Juncker Plan, was a crucial factor in making this loan agreement possible. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Upgrading our transport infrastructure along the Trans-European transport network requires significant and sustained investment so that it is capable of meeting future environmental and economic demands. This is where the Investment Plan for Europe can play an important role. I am delighted that, with today's agreement, the European Commission is supporting crucial upgrades to a port facility that is strategically important for the EU." As of April 2017, the Juncker Plan is expected to trigger EUR 27.8 billion in investments in Spain and EUR 183.5 billion across Europe. For the latest figures country-by-country, see here. A full press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

 

La Commission lance un prix Horizon 2020 pour un contrôle innovant de l'eau

La Commission européenne lance aujourd'hui un nouveau prix du programme européen de recherche et d'innovation Horizon 2020 visant à promouvoir de nouvelles solutions de contrôle de l'eau, le Zero Power Water MonitoringHorizon Prize. Les participants devront proposer des technologies autonomes en énergie et de détection sans fil qui permettront de contrôler en temps réel les ressources en eau. Les projets présentés devront respecter les critères d'impact positif, de fiabilité et de design innovant et présenter une solution inédite pour la réduction de la consommation d'énergie dans les systèmes de gestion intelligente de l'eau. Les gagnants – inventeurs, universités, petites et moyennes entreprises ou ONG, qui peuvent participer seul ou à plusieurs – se verront récompenser par un prix unique doté de deux millions d'euros. Ce prix cherche à encourager l'innovation, avec le concours des technologies de l'information et de la communication, entre les différents acteurs du secteur dans le cadre du marché unique numérique européen. Le règlement sur l'obtention du prix est disponible ici, et davantage d'information ici. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.:+32 2 296 70 83; Lucía Caudet – Tel.: + 32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tel.: +32 229 80379; Inga HöglundTel.: +32 229 50698)

 

Agriculture: la Commission offre la possibilité de prolonger la date limite pour les demandes de paiements directs

Pour la troisième année consécutive, la Commission a pris en compte les demandes des Etats Membres et fait preuve de flexibilité en prolongeant d'un mois la période de dépôt de dossier pour les agriculteurs ayant droit aux aides au revenu sous la Politique Agricole Commune (PAC). Les Etats Membres qui le souhaitent pourront ainsi choisir sur base volontaire de repousser la date limite du 15 mai au 15 juin. A l'occasion de cette décision, le Commissaire à l'agriculture Phil Hogan a déclaré: "Cette marge de flexibilité devrait pouvoir permettre à tous les agriculteurs de l'Union européenne de soumettre leur demande pour recevoir, comme ils en ont le droit, les aides aux revenus de la PAC En même temps, il va de soi que les Etats Membres qui décident d'utiliser cette option doivent s'assurer que toutes les règles de contrôle budgétaire soient respectées." Chaque année, les agriculteurs européens déposent leur dossier pour recevoir des aides aux revenus de la PAC, sous ce qu'on appelle le premier pilier. Les administrations nationales traitent ensuite les dossiers et procèdent, après les contrôles nécessaires, au paiement de ces aides qui sont ensuite remboursées par la Commission avec le budget européen. Plus d'informations générales sur la PAC sont disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52509)

 

High participation in the public consultation on the future Common Agricultural Policy

Following the closure of the 12 week period of public consultation on "modernising and simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)" at midnight on 2 May, preliminary figures indicate that the European Commission has received in excess of 320,000 responses from all 28 Member States. An initial analysis suggests that a number of responses were submitted through various on-line platforms of interest groups. In addition, the Commission received replies from individual citizens, national, regional and local public authorities and organisations representing a wide spectrum of stakeholders. A full analysis of the responses will now be undertaken and the initial results will be presented to the stakeholder event in Brussels on 7 July. The public consultation is only one of the instruments used by the Commission to ensure a transparent, inclusive and participatory debate on the future of the CAP. This will also include a direct and continuous engagement with different stakeholders and expert groups, notably through the several civil dialogue groups (that help the Commission holding a regular dialogue on all matters relating to the CAP), but also with national governments and the European parliament. All the information gathered through this exercise will feed into the Communication on the future of the CAP that the Commission will present by the end of the year.  More information is online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52509)

 

A new agreement under the SME initiative will unlock €170 million of loans for Spanish businesses

The Commission welcomes the signature of a new agreement between the European Investment Bank Group and Ibercaja under the Spanish SME initiative programme, which should benefit around 2,000 small businesses in the regions of Aragón, Andalucía, Extremadura and Madrid. With a contribution of €800 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the SME initiative boosts the competitiveness of Spanish small businesses via innovative ways to invest Cohesion Policy funds. 35,000 Spanish small businesses and entrepreneurs have already benefitted from the programme's support since its launch in January 2015. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “Spain was the first Member State to sign up for the SME initiative and this pioneering choice paid off. €800 million of Cohesion Policy funding has been invested in this innovative programme, which already supported thousands of small businesses by giving them the funding they need to develop and create jobs, and gave a boost to the Spanish real economy." A press release is available on the European Investment Fund's website. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments from Amazon on e-books

The European Commission has adopted a decision that renders legally binding the commitments offered by Amazon on e-books. Amazon has committed that it will no longer enforce or introduce certain clauses in its distribution agreements with e-book publishers in Europe, which may have hindered innovation and competition in European e-books markets. These commitments will contribute to fair competition in the platform economy. They address the Commission's preliminary competition concerns relating to these clauses. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Today's decision will open the way for publishers and competitors to develop innovative services for e-books, increasing choice and competition to the benefit of European consumers. Amazon used certain clauses in its agreements with publishers, which may have made it more difficult for other e-book platforms to innovate and compete effectively with Amazon. We want to ensure fair competition in Europe's e-books market worth more than 1 billion euros."The commitments apply for a period of 5 years and to any e-book in any language distributed by Amazon in the European Economic Area. If Amazon were to breach the commitments, the Commission could impose a fine of up to 10% of Amazon's total annual turnover, without having to find a violation of the EU competition rules. The full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of a real estate portfolio in Finland by ELO and AP1

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control of a portfolio of ten real estate properties in Finland by Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company ("ELO") of Finland and Första AP-fonden ("AP1") of Sweden. The real estate properties are currently owned by ELO, which leases them for retail, office and parking space use. Both ELO and AP1 are pension funds. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of its very limited impact in the market. 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.8446.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of PSPIB Waiheke by CPPIB and PSPIB

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control of PSPIB Waiheke ("Waiheke") of New Zealand by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board ("CPPIB") and Public Sector Pension Investment Board ("PSPIB"), both of Canada. Waiheke is currently fully owned and controlled by PSPIB and manages a diversified portfolio of office and retail properties in New Zealand. CPPIB is an investment management organisation that invests the funds of the Canada Pension Plan. PSPIB is the investment manager of the pension plans of the Canadian Federal Public Service, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Reserve Force. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns in its jurisdiction since Waiheke is only active in New Zealand. 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.8463.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of a German cargo road haulage company by DTC and HaGe

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over the undertaking König Transportgesellschaft mbH (‘König Transportgesellschaft’) of Germany, by the German undertakings Deutsche Tiernahrung Cremer GmbH & Co. KG (‘DTC’) and HaGe Logistik GmbH (‘HaGe’). König Transportgesellschaft is a haulage company specialising in the transport of bulk cargo for agriculture. DTC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Peter Cremer Holding GmbH & Co. KG (‘Peter Cremer Holding’) of Germany and manufactures and sells compound feed for livestock and pets. HaGe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dansk Landbrugs Grovvareselskab a.m.b.a. (‘DLG’) of Denmark. It is involved in wholesale and retail of agricultural inputs, industrial goods, non-food items and commodities, in particular in Germany. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of its very limited impact on the market structure. 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.8418. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Famar by Pillarstone

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Famar of Luxemburg, by Pillarstone of the US. Famar provides contract manufacturing services in the pharmaceutical sector. Pillarstone is an investment vehicle indirectly controlled by the investment fund KKR. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in view of the very limited horizontal overlaps between the activities of the companies as well as their limited vertical relationships. 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 the case number M.8385. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Eurostat: Selon les estimations, les émissions de CO2 dans l'UE ont un peu baissé en 2016 par rapport à 2015

Eurostat estime que les émissions de dioxyde de carbone (CO2) provenant de la combustion de combustibles fossiles ont diminué de 0,4% dans l’Union européenne (UE) en 2016 par rapport à l’année précédente. Les émissions de CO2 contribuent fortement au réchauffement de la planète et représentent environ 80% de l’ensemble des émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans l’UE. Elles sont influencées par des facteurs tels que les conditions climatiques, la croissance économique, la taille de la population, les transports et les activités industrielles. Diverses initiatives de l’UE en faveur de l’efficacité énergétique visent à réduire les émissions de CO2 et autres gaz à effet de serre. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tél.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tél.: +32 229 52589)


Eurostat: Mars 2017 comparé à février 2017 - Le volume des ventes du commerce de détail en hausse de 0,3% dans la zone euro: En baisse de 0,2% dans l'UE28

En mars 2017 par rapport à février 2017, le volume des ventes du commerce de détail corrigé des variations saisonnières a augmenté de 0,3% dans la zone euro (ZE19), tandis qu'il a reculé de 0,2% dans l’UE28, selon les estimations d'Eurostat, l’office statistique de l'Union européenne. En février, le commerce de détail avait progressé de 0,5% dans la zone euro et de 0,7% dans l'UE28. En mars 2017 par rapport à mars 2016, l’indice des ventes de détail s’est accru de 2,3% dans la zone euro et de 2,5% dans l'UE28. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: + 32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tel.: +32 229 80379; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Vice-President Šefčovič participates in Citizens' Dialogue in Slovakia

From 4-5 May, Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will take part in the Citizens dialogue "Future of European Union, smart cities and Erasmus+" in Košice, Slovakia. The discussions will specifically focus on smart cities issues as well as on the energy policy. The Vice-President will be accompanied by two Members of the European Parliament, Monika Smolková and Ivan Štefanec. Šefčovič will also meet with regional startups focusing on innovative energy and climate change projects. Later he will participate in a stakeholder’s event on smart cities and regions and take the opportunity for a field trip. He will be visiting the local transport company Košice, which provides smart solutions for citizens such as e-buses or mobile transport applications. Click here to read more about the Citizens' Dialogues. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.:+32 229 52589)

 

Commissioner Hahn visits Georgia

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will be in Tbilisi, Georgia, tomorrow 5 May,few weeks following the full entry into force of Visa Liberalisation. Commissioner Hahn will meet key political representatives of the country including President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Speaker of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze, 1st Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Tamar Chugoshvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, First Vice Prime Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze as well as representatives of parliamentary opposition parties' and of civil society. Discussions will focus on EU-Georgia relations, in particular the implementation of the Association Agreement and the preparation of the Eastern Partnership Summit.  Together with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Commissioner will sign a Financing Agreement of the Technical Cooperation Facility which will reinforce Georgia's participation in EU programmes. Ahead of the mission, Commissioner Hahn said: "Since 28 March, Georgian citizens can travel to the EU without a visa. I am looking forward to my visit to Tbilisi to congratulate Georgia once again on this achievement which is the fruit of serious reforms efforts. The European Commission has stood by Georgia during this significant reform process and will continue providing support for Georgia on its European path. We will also intensify our cooperation with Georgia as the regional frontrunner in the preparatory process ahead of this year's Eastern Partnership Summit". Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)

 

Commissioner Stylianides visits Helsinki, Finland

Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, will be in Helsinki, Finland, on 4-5 May 2017. On Thursday 4 May he will meet Ms Paula Risikko, Minister of the Interior, with whom he will discuss amongst others the Finnish EU Presidency in the second half of 2019 and the European Civil Protection Mechanism and its mid-term evaluation. The following day he will meet with Mr Kai Mykkänen, Minister responsible for Trade and Development, including humanitarian aid, with whom he will discuss humanitarian crises and policies, including the refugee crisis. Commissioner Stylianides will also meet humanitarian NGOs. Lastly, he will discuss with members of the Finnish Parliament's Grand Committee, on matters concerning his portfolio. (For more information: Carlos Marti Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

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