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Libyan Newswire
  • Daily News 15 / 03 / 2018

    €25 million of loans for cultural and creative SMEs in the Czech Republic The European Investment Fund and Komerční banka (KB) have signed a guarantee agreement for Czech businesses supported by the new Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility …

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  • Europe – the continent of solidarity: Joint Statement on the occasion of International Migrant Day

    On the occasion of International Migrant Day on 18 December, Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, and Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, made the following statement:  

    “On International Migrant Day, we remember all those who live outside their county of birth and are on the move – either by choice or forcibly. We remember that our own continent, Europe, is built on migration. Our common history is marked by millions of people fleeing from persecution, war or dictatorship – looking only 100 years back. Today, our European Union allows people across the continent to freely travel, to study and work in other countries. This has made Europe one of the richest places in the world – in terms of culture, of economy, of opportunities and in terms of liberties. But this day is also an occasion to remember those who have left their homes, in the face of conflict, political oppression, poverty or lack of hope, and who struggle to build a new and decent life elsewhere. While for some, migration is a positive and empowering experience, too many others have to endure human rights violations, xenophobia, exploitation and unacceptable living conditions along their journeys.  

    Protecting and upholding the fundamental rights and freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their status, has always been and will always be our priority. This is at the heart of our European Agenda on Migration. We are working relentlessly, inside and outside the European Union, in close cooperation with our Member States and our international partners to save lives, provide protection, offer safe and legal pathways for migration and tackle the root causes that force people to leave their homes in first place, as well as fight the criminal networks that often take advantage of people’s despair.    

    We have a shared responsibility towards people on the move and we need to act on a global scale to support them and to uphold the safety, dignity and human rights of migrants and refugees. It requires the engagement and the consistent implementation of international agreements by all.

    Europe is committed to remaining the continent of solidarity, tolerance and openness, embracing its share of global responsibility. And for those who we have recently welcomed to Europewe want the same as we want for all Europeans, namely to prosper and flourish and contribute to a better future for our continent.  

    We strongly support the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and will continue to actively work towards the adoption of the UN Global Compacts on Migration and on Refugees at the United Nations.  


    Over the past 20 years, the European Union has put in place some of the highest common asylum standards in the world. And in the past two years, European migration policy has advanced in leaps and bounds with the European Agenda on Migration proposed by the Juncker Commission in May 2015. Progressively, a more united approach to dealing with migration is emerging, internally and externally. 

    Internally, work has been intensified on the reform of the Common European Asylum System to put in place a more effective and fair approach, based on solidarity and responsibility, alongside continuous support to the Member States most exposed and reinforced cooperation with partner countries. 

    The European Union has also stepped up its efforts to protect vulnerable groups, in particular children who are among the most exposed of migrants, including through new Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child and recommendations on the protection of children in migration.

    Externally, the EU has progressively put in place a genuine external dimension of its migration policy, complementing and reinforcing its actions within the Union. The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development recognises the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development. It also recognises that both challenges and opportunities of migration must be addressed through coherent and comprehensive responses.   

    Along the migratory routes, we are working to save people’s lives with our international partners, such as the UN agencies. We are fighting the criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and in trafficking in human beings, through our Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations on the ground and by supporting regional initiatives, such as the G5 Sahel Joint Force. We are also conducting search and rescue operations at sea, with the support of the European Border and Coast Guard and EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. These efforts help to save thousands of lives every month.   

    The EU also works on opening up safe and legal pathways through resettlement – to allow those in need of protection to come to Europe without having to risk their lives in the desert and at sea. An ambitious target for the resettlement of 50,000 persons in need of international protection was set by President Juncker in September 2017. A particular focus should be put on resettlement from North Africa and the Horn of Africa, notably Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia, whilst ensuring continued resettlement from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

    We also continue, jointly with our UN and civil society partners on the ground, to support concrete actions in Libya and along the migratory routes, to ensure the respect of human rights, improve migrants’ living conditions and assist migrants and refugees, who too often become victims of smuggling and trafficking networks. The establishment of a joint Task Force between the African Union, the United Nations and the EU, is an important step that will help to accelerate our joint work. In concrete terms, actions will aim to evacuate those in need of international protection to Europe, accelerate the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin for those stranded in Libya, as well as intensify our efforts to dismantle criminal networks.  

    For More Information 

    Joint African Union-European Union-United Nations Task Force to Address the Migrant Situation in Libya

    2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants

    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the protection of children in migration

    EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child

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  • Latest daily news

    Investment Plan now set to trigger €256.1 billion in investment after new projects approved

    Following this week’s meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Board of Directors, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is now expected to trigger €256.1 billion in investments. The deals approved under the EFSI amount to €51.1 billion in financing and are located in all 28 Member States. Around 539,600 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are expected to benefit from improved access to finance. As of December, the top five countries ranked in order of investment triggered relative to GDP are Estonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Portugal and Spain. Also this week, Members of the European Parliament voted to adopt the Regulation to extend and enhance the EFSI, the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “EFSI-backed investments approved until now will increase EU GDP by 0.7% and create nearly 700,000 jobs by 2020. Now thanks to EFSI 2.0, even more jobs will be created. The Investment Plan is proving particularly successful when it comes to SME financing, with 539,000 small businesses already set to benefit from finance to grow their companies.”(For more information see the Investment Plan website or contact Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)


    Call for innovative projects: up to €100 million of EU funds made available to cities

    Cities are invited to apply here as of today and until April 2018 to get EU funding under the 3rd “Urban Innovative Actions” call for projects. Up to €100 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will help finance creative projects in the following areas: adaptation to climate change, air quality, housing and jobs and skills for the local economy, in line with the objectives of the Urban Agenda for the EU. A series of seminars will be organised in the Member States to help applicants submit solid proposals and increase their chances of getting funding. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “The Urban Innovative Actions give cities the funding they need to turn their good ideas into ground breaking projects that can inspire other cities in Europe. This 3rd call, focused on urban climate actions, is another brick to the wall of our commitments and achievements under the Paris Agreement, just a few days after the One Planet summit in Paris.” (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)


    5 million prize for innovations that use blockchain technology for social good

    The European Commission will award 5 prizes of €1 million each to social innovations as part of the Horizon Prize on “Blockchains for Social Good”. The prizes will be awarded to innovators that use blockchain technology to bring about positive social change, including for support of fair trade, allowing transparency in production processes, decentralising data governance and enhancing privacy, enabling accountability and contributing to financial inclusion. This prize encourages the development of scalable, efficient and effective solutions using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), the ground-breaking digital technology supporting decentralised methods of consensus reaching or transactions. The official launch is taking place today in Turin, organized by the city of Turin and innovation foundation Nesta Italia. The prize is the third of six European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prizes and funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. Detailed rules of contest will be available in February 2018, and the deadline for applications is 25 June 2019 in order to allow applicants to demonstrate the viability of their ideas in practice. More information is on the prize page and the EIC pilot website. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel. +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040)

    Combatting illicit trade in tobacco products: Commission adopts EU-wide track and trace system

    Today, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis welcomed the adoption of a set of legal acts aimed at combatting illicit trade in tobacco products: “Today the EU has taken a big step forward in combatting the illicit trade in tobacco products. The new EU-wide track and trace system adopted today will ensure that tobacco products in the EU are easily traceable with a unique identifier for each product. In addition, we are also making sure that tobacco products meet specific security requirements, with at least five types of authentication elements required per packet. The track and trace system and the security requirements should be in place by 20 May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco and by 20 May 2024 for all other tobacco products (such as cigars, cigarillos and smokeless tobacco products).” Full statement and Q&A are available online. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)


    Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over CEPSA Gas by CEPSA

    The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over CEPSA Gas Comercializadora, S.A. (“CEPSA Gas”) by Compañía Española de Petróleos, S.A.U. (“CEPSA”), both of Spain. CEPSA Gas specialises in the wholesale and retail supply of natural gas to both large industrial customers and small and medium enterprises. CEPSA covers a wide range of activities from oil production and exploration activities to oil refining, and the supply of gas and fuels. It is also active in the production of petrochemicals and other oil-derivative products. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because CEPSA already had joint control over CEPSA Gas together with Total S.A. before the transaction. 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.8699. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

    Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Toshiba Memory Corporation by Bain Capital

    The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Toshiba Memory Corporation (“TMC”) of Japan, by Bain Capital Investors LLC (“Bain Capital”), of the US. TMC is a global manufacturer and supplier of NAND flash memory products and solid-state-drive memory products for use in a variety of consumer and enterprise applications. Bain Capital is an investment firm with activities in a variety of industries. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because Bain Capital’s portfolio companies and TMC are not active on the same or related markets. 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.8680.  (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

    La Commission approuve deux nouvelles appellations d’origine protégées pour des vins français et slovaques

    La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d’inscription de deux dénominations de vins au registre des appellations d’origine protégées (AOP), «La Clape» et «Skalický rubín». Les cépages pour les vins d’appellation «La Clape» sont cultivés sur le territoire du même nom situé dans le département de l’Aude dans le sud de la France. Les vins blancs «La Clape» présentent une robe jaune d’intensité moyenne, et une riche palette aromatique où se conjuguent le plus souvent fleurs blanches, fruits, notes balsamiques. Les vins rouges présentent une robe brillante à l’intensité profonde, le plus souvent de couleur pourpre. Cultivé et produit dans l’Ouest de la Slovaquie, dans la ville de Skalica et autour, le «Skalický rubín» est un vin rouge avec une couleur rouge rubis intense qui donne au vin son nom. Les cépages utilisés proviennent des variétés des variétés Frankovka modrá, Svätovavrinecké et Modrý Portugal. Ces deux nouvelles appellations vont rejoindre plus de 1750 appellations de vins déjà protégées dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données e-bacchus. Pour plus d’informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (Pour plus d’information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185;Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)



    Commissioner Jourová met with the Japanese Data protection authority to advance their dialogue on the promotion of high data protection standards

    Commissioner Věra Jourová met yesterday with the Commissioner of the Personal Information Protection Commission of Japan, Haruhi Kumazawa, to advance their dialogue on data protection as a fundamental right and a central factor of consumer trust in the digital economy. After their meeting, they issued a joint press statement welcoming the work carried out over the course of the last months and agreed to meet in Brussels early 2018 to finalise the negotiations. A speech of Commissioner Jourová delivered in front of the Japanese Business Federation, Keidanren, on data protection topics is also available online.  (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)



    Commissioner Avramopoulos meets President el-Sisi in Egypt

    Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Cairo, Egypt tomorrow to meet President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi and discuss the cooperation between the European Union and Egypt. In addition, Commissioner Avramopoulos will jointly launch the EU-Egypt Migration Dialogue with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry. He will also discuss EU cooperation with Egypt on security matters with the Minister of the Interior, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Thomas Kramer – Tel.: +32 229 58602)


    Commissioner Moscovici in London on Monday, 18 December 2017 

    Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs will visit the United Kingdom Monday, 18 December, where he will participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Policy Network and deliver remarks at the London School of Economics. While in London, the Commissioner will also meet Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183; Enda McNamara – +32 229 64976)


    Commissioner Hogan launches the 2017 EU agricultural outlook conference in Brussels

    Commissioner for agriculture Phil Hogan will open on Monday morning 18 December the third edition of the EU agricultural outlook conference. Running over two days, this annual conference gathers participants from the EU institutions, governments and international organisations, stakeholders involved in the food supply chain, market experts, academics, think tanks and civil society. Discussion on day one will focus on the modernisation and simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy, led by a number of high-level panels, including one keynote speech by Commissioner for budget and human resources Günther H. Oettinger. The second day will examine the latest outlook reports covering EU dairy, meat and crop markets over the next ten years. The full programme is online. The conference will be webstreamed here for 18 December, day 1, and here for 19 December, day 2. The discussions can also be followed online with the hashtag #AgriOutlook. Following his speech, Commissioner Hogan will hold a press point at 10:00 in the Charlemagne building on Monday morning. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel:+32 229 56185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

    La Commissaire Crețu en Roumanie

    Lundi 18 et mardi 19 décembre la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu se rendra en Roumanie, où elle rencontrera le Premier ministre, Mihai Tudose, le ministre en charge des fonds européens, Marius Nica, la ministre aux affaires intérieures, Carmen Dan, le ministre en charge des transports, Felix Stroe, le ministre délégué aux affaires européennes, Victor Negrescu et le Secrétaire d’Etat à la Santé, Raed Arafat. Lors de sa visite, la Commissaire Crețu visitera des projets financés par l’Europe et participera à un Dialogue Citoyen. “De nombreux efforts ont été mis en œuvre dans l’exécution des programmes roumains de la politique de Cohésion et les progrès sont indéniables. Il faut continuer sur cette voie. Comme je le dis souvent, des investissements efficaces, dont les bénéfices sont rapidement visibles pour les citoyens, voilà le meilleur argument pour conserver une politique de Cohésion importante après 2020,” a commenté la Commissaire avant sa visite. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

    La Commissaire Gabriel participera au Forum sur la gouvernance d’internet à Genève

    Du 18 au 19 décembre, Mariya Gabriel, commissaire à l’économie et à la société numériques, se rendra à Genève pour participer au douzième Forum sur la gouvernance d’internet (FGI). Sur le thème « Façonnez votre avenir numérique !  », le forum mettra l’accent sur les nouveaux enjeux des nouvelles technologies, notamment sur l’intelligence artificielle, la réalité virtuelle, le big data et la problématique des fausses nouvelles ou des droits de l’homme. A la veille de sa visite à Genève, la Commissaire a déclaré: Aujourd’hui plus que jamais, nous sommes confrontés à la nécessité de construire un internet ouvert. Les citoyens doivent être au centre de politiques numériques inclusives qui garantissent nos libertés et nos valeurs dans un monde numérique qui évolue de plus en plus rapidement. C’est un moment clé et l’Europe est prête à prendre ses responsabilités pour défendre sur la scène mondiale un internet ouvert et transparent, au service de la démocratie et de ses valeurs fondamentales “. Au cours de sa visite, la Commission rencontrera notamment David J. Redl, représentant de l’administration des télécommunications et de l’information aux États-Unis (NTIA), Goran Marby, Directeur-général et Président de la Société pour l’attribution des noms de domaine et des numéros sur internet (ICCAN), Houlin Zhao, Secrétaire général de l’Union internationale des télécommunications, ainsi que des représentants d’entreprises américaines et européennes. Au cours du forum, la Commissaire Gabriel donnera deux discours, l’un sur la construction d’une future gouvernance globale d’internet et l’autre sur l’impact de la numérisation sur les actions politiques, la confiance publique et la démocratie. (Pour plus d’informations : Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083 ; Julia-Henriette Bräuer – Tel.: +32 229 80707)


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


    The Commissioners’ weekly activities

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  • Daily News 14 / 12 / 2017

    Conseil Européen, 14-15 Décembre 2017

    Aujourd’hui et demain, les Chefs d’état et de gouvernement de l’Union européenne se réuniront à Bruxelles pour des discussions qui constitueront une étape importante dans la feuille de route pour une Union plus unie, plus forte et plus démocratique. Le Conseil Européen débutera aujourd’hui avec le lancement historique de la coopération structurée permanente en matière de défense. Ensuite, les chefs d’état de gouvernement tourneront leur attention vers l’éducation et la culture suivant le succès du sommet social de Göteborg en novembre. Ce soir, la politique européenne en matière de migration figurera en tête de l’ordre du jour. Aujourd’hui à 14:40 CET, le Président Juncker signera la nouvelle déclaration conjointe sur les priorités législatives de l’UE pour 2018-2019, aux côtés du président du Parlement européen, Antonio Tajani, et du Premier ministre estonien, Jüri Ratas. La déclaration énonce 31 nouvelles propositions législatives présentées par la Commission qui seront traitées en priorité par le Parlement et le Conseil pour adoption ou progrès substantiels au moment des élections du Parlement européen en 2019. La cérémonie de signature sera transmise par EbS. Vendredi, les 27 chefs d’État ou de gouvernement de l’Union Européenne se réuniront pour le sommet de la zone euro dans la matinée, un autre jalon important sur laroute vers Sibiuque le Président Juncker a exposé dans son discours sur l’État de l’Union 2017. Les dirigeants devraient également tenir une première discussion sur nos propositions visant à approfondir l’Union économique et monétaire européenne. Lors d’une session de travail dédiée, les 27 dirigeants discuteront les derniers développements dans les négociations au titre de l’article 50 avec le Royaume-Uni suite à la recommandation de la Commission européenne du 8 décembre de conclure que des progrès suffisants avaient été accomplis au cours de la première phase des négociations. Une conférence de presse est prévue pour demain, vendredi 15 décembre, vers 13:00 CET avec le Président Juncker, le Président Tusk et le Premier ministre estonien Ratas et sera transmise en direct sur Ebs. (Pour plus d’informations : Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

    President Juncker meets with the Visegrád 4 leaders and Prime Minister of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni

    Only two months after the first meeting in October, President Juncker, together with Prime Minister Gentiloni, met again with the leaders of the four Visegrád countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – ahead of today’s European Council. Together they reaffirmed their joint determination to address common challenges together.  Migration featured prominently on the agenda of the meeting, particularly the EU Trust Fund for Africa. At the October European Council, all EU Member States agreed to contribute more to fill gaps in the Fund and today the Visegrád 4 made good on that commitment, announcing a further €35 million contribution to the North Africa window of the Fund. This constitutes a clear expression of solidarity and commitment towards the EU’s external action to manage and address the root causes of migration. In his statement today, President Juncker said: “I want cooperation to be as close as possible between the Visegrád Four countries and the Commission. Today I am happy that there are results. The V4 countries did deliver on this point, which is important. This is the proof that the Visegrád Four countries are fully aligned when it comes to solidarity with Italy and with others.” The North Africa window of the Fund has already helped more than 14,000 vulnerable migrants return voluntarily from Libya to their countries of origin and this figure should reach 18,000 by the end of 2017. The Fund has also provided medical help and direct support to more than 20,000 migrants inside and outside detention centres. The Africa Trust Fund – and the Visegrád contribution to it, is one part of the collective European solution to irregular migration on our shores. Last week the Commission proposed a political roadmap to reach a comprehensive agreement by June 2018 on how to pursue a sustainable migration policy, contributing to the European Council where this evening Member States will discuss the topic. Watch President Juncker’s statement here. More information on the roadmap here.  (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)


    Commerce électronique: accord pour une livraison de colis plus abordable

    Les négociateurs européens sont parvenus hier soir à un accord provisoire pour améliorer la livraison transfrontière de colis. Le nouveau règlement est une étape essentielle pour stimuler le commerce électronique en Europe, en permettant aux consommateurs et aux entreprises, en particulier les PME, d’acheter et de vendre des produits et des services en ligne plus facilement et en toute confiance dans un marché en évolution. Le vice-président Andrus Ansip, en charge du marché unique numérique, a déclaré: «Les prix élevés des livraisons sont un problème majeur pour les consommateurs et les entreprises, en particulier les PME. Une transparence accrue et un rôle plus important accordé aux autorités réglementaires permettront de faire face à ce problème. Cette bonne nouvelle s’inscrit dans la série d’accords visant à améliorer la protection des consommateurs, à simplifier les règles de la TVA et à lutter contre le blocage géographique injustifié.» La commissaire Elżbieta Bieńkowska, chargée du marché intérieur, de l’industrie, de l’entrepreneuriat et des PME, a ajouté: «Des millions d’Européens font le choix d’acheter leurs cadeaux en ligne, mais ils se heurtent toujours à de nombreux obstacles, notamment des prix de livraison élevés et des possibilités de renvoi peu claires. Grâce à l’accord conclu aujourd’hui, nous nous rapprochons d’une solution qui aidera les consommateurs et les entreprises à tirer pleinement parti du marché unique de l’UE et du commerce électronique transfrontière.» Dorénavant, les entreprises prestataires devront communiquer les tarifs des services fréquemment utilisés par les consommateurs et les petites entreprises, que la Commission publiera sur un site web dédié. Un communiqué de presse et des questions et réponses précisent ces nouvelles dispositions. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tél.: +32 229-80379; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tél.: +32 229 55040)


    WTO ministerial conference in Buenos Aires: A missed opportunity

    The 11th biannual ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ended last night in Buenos Aires. In a statement made at the final meeting of Heads of Delegations, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “All WTO Members have to face a simple fact: we failed to achieve any of our objectives, and did not achieve any multilateral outcome. The sad reality is that we did not even agree to stop subsidising illegal fishing. Now, I hope that several WTO members, whose actions here in Buenos Aires prevented an outcome, will use the time following this Ministerial meeting for valuable self-reflection.” Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, also attending the conference, said: “From the agriculture perspective, it is very disappointing that a work programme could not be agreed post Buenos Aires. That means that important issues such as food security will not now be prioritised in the work of the WTO. This is not in the interest of farmers and rural people in the developing world, nor in the developed world for that matter. This is a lose-lose outcome for all involved – a negative-sum outcome. The WTO is not a zero sum game, it is a positive-sum game when everyone plays their part.” Many WTO members recognised the central role of the organisation to global trade and development. In this respect Commissioner Malmström said: “Luckily, we still have the WTO’s current agreements, its structures of cooperation, and its invaluable dispute settlement system. It is a global public good, and the EU attaches enormous value to it. In the coming months, we will do what is necessary to support it if it comes under further pressure. We also need to intensify efforts to find solutions to important issues in the international trading system, such as on e-commerce, working with all willing WTO members in an open, inclusive and transparent manner.” The full statement by Commissioner Malmström, as well as more comments on the outcome of the ministerial conference, are available online. In the run-up to the conference, the EU challenged its WTO partners to plan for substantive outcomes in Buenos Aires, with text proposals in six areas of work(For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)


    Commission welcomes agreement by European Parliament and Council on its proposal to make people’s skills and qualifications more visible

    The European Commission welcomes the political agreement between the European Parliament and Council on the revision of the Europass Decision achieved in Strasbourg yesterday. Europass is a suite of tools and services which support the transparency of skills and qualifications across the European Union. The main aim of the revision is to make people’s skills and qualifications more visible, to not only help people into jobs, but also to better understand and anticipate labour market trends and skills needs. Following the agreement, Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: We neededto upgrade our Europass system to make it relevant for the digital age. The new Europass will be an even more effective tool to deliver for people on the ground so that they can better showcase their skills and manage their careers. With this agreement, the rollout of our European Skills Agenda is delivering and I want to thank the Estonian Presidency and the European Parliament for the excellent cooperation in achieving this result.” The political agreement has still to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council. More information on the initial Commission proposal can be found here. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)


    Commission welcomes agreement on key legislation to tackle climate change 

    The European Parliament and Council today reached a provisional agreement on a key legislative proposal for implementing the EU’s 2030 climate objectives – on accounting of emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). They form part of the EU’s policy to drive Europe’s transition to a modern and clean economy. A robust climate policy framework is a key element of the EU’s Energy Union and a successful transition to a modern and clean economy. This is a necessary shift that will require a contribution from all sectors of the economy. Incentives for climate-friendly land use and forestry ensure the continued growth and sustainable productivity of our rural communities, which provide important services and economic benefit. A sustainably managed land use sector can supply renewable energy and materials, ensuring that the EU remains a world leader in these markets. Welcoming the political agreements, Energy Union Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: “Today is yet another milestone for the European Union in its job to deliver on its Paris Agreement commitments. Today’s agreement recognising the role of land and forests in mitigating climate change puts the European Union firmly on track. Climate action must outpace climate change and we are once again setting a positive precedent that others beyond Europe can follow.” Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete added: “After long and complex negotiations, we have found an agreement to include emissions and removals from land use, land use-change and forests in our collective efforts towards the 2030 objectives and in line with our commitment under the Paris Agreement. This is yet another example of Europe’s determination to turn the Paris Agreement into a reality, through concrete policies and measures.” Read full statement here. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


    European Union takes over chairmanship of Kimberley Process on conflict diamonds

    Today the European Union has formally taken over the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process from Australia and will head the international initiative to stem the trade in conflict diamonds during 2018. On the occasion of assuming the lead role, HR/VP Federica Mogherini said “For the European Union, the Kimberley process is part of our work for sustainable development. It is part of our work for sustainable peace – to prevent new conflicts and cut the revenues of criminal and terrorist groups. It is part of our work for human rights – to make sure that diamonds produce wealth, not modern slavery. It has spread the idea that natural resources belong to communities, not militias. The main strength of the Kimberley process has always been that it looks beyond governments, to civil society and to private sector. This is our main asset as we chart the way ahead. We look forward to working closely with all stakeholders in this coming year.” More information is available here.(For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229-69140)

    Appel à candidature: l’UE offre un soutien sur mesure aux régions en transition industrielle

    La Commission invite aujourd’hui les régions en transition industrielle à manifester leur intérêt pour bénéficier d’un soutien sur mesure de l’Europe afin de bâtir des économies robustes et moderniser leurs industries. Mardi, dans le cadre du Plan d’Action dévoilé au sommet “One Planet” à Paris, la Commission a déjà annoncé que les régions Hauts-de-France (FR), Norra Mellansverige (SE), Piémont (IT), Saxe (DE) et Wallonie (BE) étaient sélectionnées pour bénéficier de cet accompagnement de l’UE, suite à un appel à candidature lancé par la Commission en septembre 2017. Face au nombre de candidatures reçues, la Commission a décidé de renouveler l’appel, avec un budget similaire de 2,5 millions d’euros. Cela permettra de fournir expertise et soutien à cinq autres régions, afin qu’elles élaborent et mettent en œuvre leurs propres stratégies de transformation économique, sur la base de leurs atouts de “spécialisation intelligente“. “Certaines régions paient le prix de la mondialisation sans avoir bénéficié jusqu’ici de ses avantages,” a commenté la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu,”L’UE, à travers la politique de Cohésion, s’engage pour que toutes les régions puissent tirer leur épingle du jeu dans une économie mondialisée. Cela implique qu’elles identifient leurs atouts compétitifs et apprennent à capitaliser dessus et c’est précisément en cela que nous pouvons aider.” L’appel vise tout particulièrement les régions “en transition” et les régions “plus développées”, les régions dites “moins développées” pouvant bénéficier d’autres formes de soutien de l’UE. Les régions peuvent envoyer leurs candidatures ici jusqu’au 19 janvier 2018. Les résultats seront connus courant février. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel .: +32 229 58615, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel .: +32 229 56169)

    Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of Banco Popular’s real estate business by Blackstone 

    The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of control over the real estate business of Banco Popular Español S.A. of Spain by The Blackstone Group L.P. of the US. Banco Popular is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Banco Santander. Its real estate business mostly comprises the Spanish portfolio of repossessed properties, non-performing loans relating to the real estate sector, and certain assets, as well as the operations of Banco Popular’s real estate management company, Aliseda. Blackstone is a global asset manager. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the limited overlap between the companies’ activities. 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.8679. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

    Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over Getec Energie companies by EQT Fund Management

    The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over the Getec Energie companies of Germany by EQT Fund Management S.à.r.l. of Luxembourg. The Getec Energie companies consist of (i) Getec Heat & Power AG; (ii) Getec Wärme & Effizienz AG; (iii) Getec Media AG; (iv) Getec shared services GmbH; and (v) Getec Contracting GmbH. They are specialised in energy contracting in Germany and the Netherlands. EQT is an investment fund that seeks to make investments in infrastructure as well as related assets and businesses in Northern Europe, Continental Europe and North America. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given that EQT already held joint control over the Getec Energie companies prior to the transaction. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competitionwebsite, in the public case registerunder the case number M.8729. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)


    Eurostat: Une entreprise de l’UE sur six a vendu sur le web en 2016

    L’année passée, 16% des entreprises situées dans l’Union européenne (UE) et employant au moins dix personnes ont reçu des commandes via un site web ou via des applications. Ces ventes web comprennent tant les ventes aux consommateurs individuels qu’aux autres entreprises. La part des entreprises de l’UE ayant réalisé des ventes web a progressé entre 2010 et 2014, passant de 12% à environ 16%, mais est depuis restée relativement stable. Parmi ces entreprises, en 2016, la quasi-totalité (97%) a vendu au sein même de son pays, tandis que moins de la moitié (44%) a effectué des ventes à des clients situés dans d’autres États membres de l’UE et plus d’un quart (28%) à des clients extra-communautaires. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici.


    Eurostat: La consommation par habitant a varié entre 53% et 132% de la moyenne de l’UE

    La consommation individuelle effective (CIE) est une mesure du bien-être matériel des ménages. En 2016, la CIE par habitant exprimée en standards de pouvoir d’achat (SPA) s’est située, parmi les États membres, entre 53% de la moyenne de l’Union européenne (UE) en Bulgarie et 132% au Luxembourg.Ces données, publiées par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne, sont basées sur des parités de pouvoir d’achat révisées, ainsi que sur les dernières données du PIB et de la population. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici.

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

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  • Activities of Secretary-General in Côte d’Ivoire, 27–30 November

    United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres left New York on Monday, 27 November to attend the fifth African Union‑European Union Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.  He arrived in Abidjan late on Tuesday, 28 November.

    On Wednesday, the Secretary‑General held bilateral meetings with the following Heads of State:  President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire; President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço of Angola; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; and President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé of Togo.

    In the morning, he attended a trilateral meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat; the President of the European Commission, Jean‑Claude Juncker; and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice‑President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini.  They agreed to put in place a joint African Union‑European Union‑United Nations task force to save and protect the lives of migrants and refugees along the routes, and in particular inside Libya, accelerating the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.

    Following a working luncheon hosted by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, the Secretary-General addressed the opening ceremony of the Summit.  He said that there was a need to change the relationship with Africa and establish a new cooperation platform that recognizes the huge potential of the continent.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18803.)

    He then met with representatives of the United Nations country team.

    The Secretary-General left Côte d’Ivoire on Wednesday night, 29 November, and arrived back in New York on Thursday afternoon, 30 November.

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