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Libyan Newswire

Daily News 22 / 06 / 2017

European Council 22-23 June: Leaders discuss migration, security, defence and economy

Today and tomorrow, EU leaders will discuss a number of priorities that figure on the European agenda, including migration, security, defence, the economy and the digital single market. They will also – at 27 – discuss and decide on the procedure and the criteria for the relocation of the two EU agencies from London (the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority). The June European Council will focus on making Europe a more secure, sustainable and prosperous place for its citizens. It will build on the Union’s forward momentum, unity and shared sense of purpose as it makes progress on a number of priorities set out in the Bratislava, Malta and Rome Declarations. The meeting will be an opportunity for the leaders to reaffirm their commitment to a strong, open and global EU that stands up for a rules-based international system and fights for fairness at home and abroad. The European Commission’s recent proposals on migration and defence will be the basis for leaders’ discussion on migration, defence and internal security. The spectre of recent attacks will sharpen the focus for the discussions on internal security and the fight against terrorism. On migration, leaders will take stock of progress since March, focusing notably on the Central Mediterranean route and the ongoing talks on the reform of the Common European Asylum System. Aspects linked to the single market, the economy, external affairs and digital Europe will also be discussed. A press conference by President Juncker and President Tusk is scheduled for 18:30 CET today and tomorrow at 12:30 CET, President Juncker will hold a joint press conference with President Donald Tusk and Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat. Both events will be webstreamed live via EbS. (For more information:Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 9138)

Migration: President Juncker at the High Level Conference in the European Parliament

Yesterday, President Juncker addressed the participants of the High Level Conference on Migration in the European Parliament. In his opening speech, the President reminded: “Our migration policy is guided by two fundamental European principles: responsibility and solidarity. That is why I made it clear during the European election campaign, together with others, that we cannot abandon a country if the well-being of its people is at stake. Where a country sits on a map of the world cannot be the sole factor in determining how much responsibility a country should bear in the refugee issue.” Recalling the European Union’s role in the protection of its external borders, President Juncker said that “more than 1,600 European border guards are currently supporting the national guards”. President Juncker also reiteratedthe importance of the principle of solidarity: “solidarity is not a one-way street […] every country must take its fair share of responsibility”, adding that “if there are some who refuse, the Commission must also honour its own responsibilities.” President Juncker also welcomed the newly-established cooperation with countries of origin and transit, notably in the form of the Partnership Framework with Africa. €200 million will be mobilised in 2017 for migration-related activities in North Africa: in Libya but also in Egypt and Tunisia, the President explained. The full speech is available here and a recording of the press conference by President Juncker, President Tajani and High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini is available on EbS. (For more information:Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

Juncker Plan: EUR 50 million for Italian SMEs

The Juncker Plan has backed a European Investment Fund (EIF) loan agreement with Valsabbina, an Italian bank, to unlock EUR 50 million for an estimated 150 small businesses. This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Italy is among the top beneficiaries under the European Fund for Strategic Investments. I am glad that today’s agreement will facilitate access to finance for more Italian companies to invest in research, innovation and job-creation. I wish the beneficiaries of this transaction every success.” As of June 2017, the Juncker Plan is now expected to trigger over EUR 33 billion in investments in Italy and EUR 209 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)

Initiative pour les PME: un nouveau coup de pouce financier pour les startups et entreprises roumaines

La Commission européenne salue les nouveaux accords signés entre le Groupe Banque Européenne d’Investissement (BEI) et deux banques en Roumanie – Bancpost et Banca Transilvania – dans le cadre du programme Initiative pour les PME. Cela s’ajoute aux trois accords signés le mois dernier avec les banques roumaines Raiffeisen Bank, Banca Comerciala Romana et ProCredit. Ces accords devraient bénéficier à près de 3 700 startups et petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) roumaines. La Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu a déclaré: “Je suis ravie de voir que les entreprises roumaines profitent pleinement du potentiel de l’Initiative pour les PME. Les entrepreneurs roumains sont talentueux et les petites entreprises roumaines sont compétitives, mais ils ont souvent besoin d’un coup de pouce supplémentaire pour développer des produits innovants, accéder à de nouveaux marchés et créer des emplois dans le pays. C’est précisément ce à quoi sert ce programme. J’espère aussi que la Roumanie servira d’exemple dans l’UE et convaincra les autres États membres d’adopter l’Initiative pour les PME”. Avec une contribution de 100 millions d’euros du Fonds européen de développement régional (FEDER), l’Initiative pour PME roumaine investit les fonds de la politique de Cohésion dans des instruments financiers qui permettront de lever près de 540 millions d’euros, afin de stimuler le développement des petites entreprises.Plus d’information est disponible dans ce communiqué de presse sur le site du Fonds Européen d’Investissement (FEI).(Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Agreement reached on better protection of consumers

Last evening, the European Parliament and Council reached a political agreement on the Commission’s proposal to improve the EU-wide cooperation mechanism for consumer protection. These new rules will introduce a quick and more efficient cross-border cooperation mechanism between the national enforcers. They will have faster tools to react in a joint action when illegal practices are reported by consumers in at least two thirds of the EU countries. “Strengthened cross-border enforcement is crucial in the digital age where harmful practices can be replicated easily in many countries with just one click,” said Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. “Enforcement authorities will gain modern tools to protect consumers online, such as the power to remove online shopping scams, as well as in any case of EU-wide infringement of consumer rights.” For the first time in the case of widespread illegal commercial practices, authorities will be able to accept commitments from traders that they will provide remedies to the consumers affected. Further work on compensation will be carried out as part of the EU consumer legislation review. Another change is the creation of a new EU-wide market alert system to detect new threats more rapidly. It will include evidence sent by consumer and trade associations. This is a significant step towards a fairer and more efficient enforcement of consumer laws across the EU. Today’s agreement is another concrete deliverable of the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy. This legislation is part of the Commission’s efforts to update consumer rules.Today’s agreement will now need to be formally endorsed by the European Parliament, Council and Commission. The Member States will then have up to 24 months to make sure their consumer authorities are ready to meet the new standards. Further details are available in the factsheet(For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

EU announces €85 million as Uganda faces world’s fastest growing refugee crisis

Uganda is now facing the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, due to a continuous and unprecedented influx of people fleeing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan among others. The country is now hosting over 1.27 million refugees and asylum seekers. “To help Uganda deal with this unprecedented situation and support the most vulnerable refugees, the European Commission has today announced €85 million in humanitarian aid and longer term development assistance. Many refugees have fled conflict in South Sudan, seeking sanctuary from violence, hatred and hunger. Uganda’s example of helping vulnerable people cope with displacement is an example for the whole region and the world. However, no country can deal with such a high number of refugees on its own. The EU funding announced today will help our humanitarian partners working in Uganda bring some relief to those who have lost everything”, said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The announcement comes as Commissioner Stylianides is attending the Uganda Solidarity Summit on refugees taking place in Kampala on 22 and 23 June, on behalf of the European Commission. Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

La Commission enregistre une nouvelle spécialité traditionnelle de Bulgarie

La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d’inscription du «Пастърма говежда» (Pastarma govezhda) dans le registre des Spécialités Traditionnelles Garanties (STG). Le «pastarma govezhda» est une spécialité de viande crue séchée avec une saveur et une odeur de viande de bœuf maturée. La méthode de production traditionnelle, caractérisée par le processus de séchage, a rendu ce type de produit unique pour la Bulgarie. Il s’agit du 5ème produit bulgare à être enregistré comme Spécialité Traditionnelle Garantie. Cette nouvelle appellation va rejoindre plus de 1400 produits déjà protégés dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données DOOR. 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)


Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Huber Silica by Evonik, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation Evonik’s acquisition of Huber Silica. Evonik and Huber Silica are both manufacturers of speciality chemicals, including precipitated silica, a chemical used in tyres, toothpaste, defoamers, paints and coatings. The Commission’s investigation concluded that the transaction, as notified, raised competition concerns in the markets for: (i) precipitated silica for toothpaste and for defoamer applications; and (ii) hydrophobic precipitated silica, which is used in several products including defoamers, paints, coatings, food and feed additives. To address the competition concerns, Evonik and Huber Silica offered to divest several of their activities related to these markets. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed merger, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou  Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of DONG E&P by INEOS

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over DONG E&P of Denmark, by INEOS of the UK. DONG E&P is engaged in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons. INEOS is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products, with some activities in the upstream oil and gas sector. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given that the companies’ activities overlap to a limited extent and that a number of alternative suppliers would remain in the market after the merger. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8473. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou  Tel.: +32 229 13740)



Commissioner Hahn at the Third Eastern Partnership Youth Forum

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations will represent the Commission at the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Youth Forum which is taking place in Warsaw on 22-23 June. The EaP Youth Forum will bring together over 300 youth leaders, youth workers and youth policy makers from EU Member States and the EU’s six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The Forum, organised by the European Commission and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the run up to the Eastern Partnership Summit (Brussels, November 2017), will provide a unique opportunity to discuss policies and programmes dedicated to young people. Ahead of his participation in the Forum, Johannes Hahn said: “Active, critical and responsible citizenship among young people is key in addressing the challenges we face in the European Union and our Eastern Neighbourhood. I look forward to lively discussions with young people at the Eastern Partnership Youth Forum in Warsaw! The resulting recommendations will be instrumental in shaping our youth policies: I expect youth to figure prominently among the issues to be discussed at November’s Eastern Partnership Summit“. The full press release is available online. 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 Moscovici in Spain on 22-23 June

Commissioner Moscovici is in Madrid, Spain where he will later today deliver a speech at the Nueva Economía Forum. The Spanish minister for Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Mr Luis de Guindos, will introduce the Commissioner and they will meet bilaterally in advance of the event. This afternoon, the Commissioner will also go to the Spanish Parliament to meet the Mixed Committee for the EU and the Committee for the Economy and Competitiveness. Tomorrow, Commissioner Moscovici will be in Seville, where he will meet Ms Susana Díaz, President of the Andalucía region, Ms Maria-Jesús Montero, Regional minister of Andalucía for Finance and Administration, and Mr Antonio Ramírez de Arellano, Regional minister of Andalucía for the Economy and Knowledge. The Commissioner will then visit Aerópolis, the only science and technology park in Europe exclusively devoted to the aerospace industry. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194)


La Commissaire Thyssen accompagne sa Majesté le Roi des Belges en Suisse

Aujourd’hui et demain, le 22 et 23 juin, la Commissaire pour l’Emploi, les Affaires sociales, les Compétences et la Mobilité des Travailleurs, Marianne Thyssen, accompagnera la délégation de sa Majesté le Roi des Belges à une visite officielle à la Suisse, dont le thème central sera la formation duale (“Duale Ausbildung”). La visite débutera avec l’accueil officiel par la Présidente de la Confédération helvétique, Mme Doris Leuthard. Ensuite, la délégation aura un échange de vues sur le système suisse de la formation duale avec le Secrétaire d’ Etat suisse, Mr Mauro Dell’Ambrogio. Le vendredi 23 juin, la délégation belge rendra visite à l’entreprise ABB Turbo Systems à Baden, pour en apprendre plus sur la formation duale dans la pratique. Après une introduction sur le Libs, le plus grand centre de formation industrielle de la Suisse qui travaille ensemble avec plusieurs entreprises de la région, la délégation participera à une table ronde, présidée par le Conseiller fédéral et Chef du Département fédéral des Affaires économiques, l’Education et la Recherche suisse, Mr Schneider-Ammann, pour discuter de l’innovation, de la formation des professeurs et de l’implication des entreprises dans la formation. Suivant un lunch de réseautage avec des élèves et professeurs de différents secteurs, la mission se conclura par une visite à une école professionnelle à Luzern, pour discuter de la mobilité des élèves et des contrôles de qualité. (Pour plus d’informations: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)

Commissioner Jourová on official visit to the Middle East

Commissioner Jourová will travel to Israel and Palestine from 22 to 26 June, where she will be the first European Justice Commissioner to visit. The aim of the visit is to strengthen cooperation in the fields of justice and gender equality. Today, Commissioner is in Ramallah, where she meets Palestinian authorities including Minister of Justice, Dr Ali Abu Diak and the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Haifa Al Agha. The Commissioner will then participate in a roundtable on gender equality and the fight against violence against women. She will also meet EUPOL COOPS, which is the EU Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support. On 25 and 26 June, Commissioner Jourová will exchange views with Israeli authorities including President Reuven Rivlin, Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, and Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel. The aim of the meetings is to reinforce the EU-Israel cooperation on data protection, fight against anti-Semitism and online hate speech. Commissioner will then participate in the 11th High-Level EU-Israel Seminar on Combatting Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism. Finally, she will deliver a keynote speech on “Justice, freedom and tolerance in cyberspace: building trust and addressing risks” at the 2017 Cyber Week in Tel Aviv. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

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