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lunedì 7 novembre 2016

DAILY NEWS



Brussels, 7 November 2016

Preparation of the ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings, 7-8 November 2016
Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the Commission at today's Eurogroup meeting. The Eurogroup will take stock of the situation in Greece in the context of the Greek stability support programme and the Commission will present the first report on the technical assistance provided to the Greek authorities through the Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS). The ministers will also be updated on the first post-programme surveillance mission to Cyprus as well as on the sixth post-programme surveillance mission to Spain, which took place earlier this autumn. As part of the Eurogroup's regular thematic discussions on jobs and growth, the ministers will follow up on the issue of national insolvency frameworks. Finally, the European Central Bank's (ECB) Supervisory Board and the Single Resolution Board (SRB) will update the Eurogroup on their work. A press conference with Commissioner Moscovici will follow the meeting. Vice-President Georgieva, Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will take part in tomorrow's ECOFIN meeting, where the ministers are expected to have a first exchange of views on the recent proposals for corporate tax reform in the EU, including the re-launched Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB). Member States are also expected to decide on the next steps in the process towards an EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, as well as the tax good governance criteria. Also on the agenda are the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and new rules to give tax authorities access to national anti-money laundering information. The Commission will update the Council on the Regulation on key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs) and the Delegated Act on Key Information Documents (KIDs). The Council will also be updated on the implementation of the Banking Union and the state of play of current legislative proposals in the field of financial services. Lastly, the European Court of Auditors will present their annual report on the implementation of the EU budget in 2015. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference concluding the meeting. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Vanessa Mock – Tel.: + 32 229 56194; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607; Patrick Mc Cullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183; Annikky Lamp – Tel: +32 229 56151)

Investment Plan for Europe: €10 million for early-stage tech start-ups in Spain thanks to new EFSI deal
The European Investment Fund has signed an agreement with Inveready, a venture debt fund based in Spain which targets early-stage innovative tech start-ups in need of financing to get their innovative ideas off the ground. The agreement is guaranteed under the Investment Plan for Europe's European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and will provide €10 million in loans to start-ups over the next two years. This is the second time the EFSI has guaranteed an EIF agreement with Inveready after an agreement worth €6.6 million in February. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “It is very encouraging that the first Inveready fund which also benefitted from EFSI backing was so successful that another fund is already being launched. Inveready targets early-stage tech SMEs which are seen as high-risk to investors. So the Investment Plan is helping to plug a gap in the market, providing access to finance to companies deemed not yet credit-worthy enough to get a regular bank loan.” (For more information see here or contact Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: 20 years of European support for researchers' mobility, training and career development
Tomorrow, the European Union will launch the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the European programme for excellent researchers, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. This programme has to date benefited 98,000 excellent researchers at all stages of their careers while encouraging transnational, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "In 1996, the programme was named after Marie Skłodowska-Curie, acknowledging that excellent science can only be achieved through international and interdisciplinary collaboration. Twenty years on, this has proven extremely successful. Not only because the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions have supported five Nobel Prize laureates and an Oscar winner. They have promoted excellence and scientific breakthroughs across the board, boosting innovation and economic growth, while enabling individuals to help tackle the big societal challenges of today and tomorrow. I am delighted that we will shortly be funding our 100,000th researcher." Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "On this very special occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, we recognise the major impact of the programme on the research landscape of Europe. Named after Madame Skłodowska-Curie, the first woman to be awarded Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry, this programme has nurtured research talent by providing professional working conditions for researchers, thereby facilitating many life-enhancing discoveries. It contributes to the excellence of European research, which is at the core of our Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme". A conference "Celebrating 20 years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie!" will be held tomorrow at the Nemo Science Museum in Amsterdam. On the same day, a photo exhibition will open in the Commission's Berlaymont building, tracing the life and legacy of Franco-Polish scientist Marie Skłodowska-Curie. The exhibition will travel across Europe until the end of the celebrations on 7 November 2017, which marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Marie Skłodowska-Curie. On 29 November 2016, the Commission will also organise a webstreamed conference looking at the achievements and the future of the programme. More information is available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184).

Czech Republic to benefit from state-of-the-art research facility with Cohesion Policy investments
The European Commission has approved a major project in the field of research and innovation in the Czech Republic, with almost €60 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This project, started in the 2007-2013 period, is located in Central Bohemia. It aims at equipping the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) research centre with the latest laser systems. ELI is a pan-European research project on high-tech laser technology, with facilities in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania. "ELI promotes national and European scientific research by creating a globally renowned structure, openly available for researchers from the academic world but also for the private scientific sphere and the business community. I am glad that Cohesion Policy funds are part of this European success story," said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu. First experiments in the Czech ELI facility should start in 2018. More information on the European Structural and Investment Funds in the Czech Republic is available on the Open Data Platform and here. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Ocean Energy roadmap claims 10% of EU energy needs through wave & tidal by 2050
Tomorrow the Ocean Energy Forum will release a report that charts a path to 10% of Europe's energy needs being met by tidal and wave energy. The roadmap outlines five main phases for success. These phases would be underpinned by a 250 million euro investment fund and a 70 million euro insurance fund.  Research and Development, Prototype, Demonstration, Pre-Commercial and Industrial roll out could then be delivered along the envisioned timetable. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, who will attend the Ocean Energy Conference in Brussels for the launch of the roadmap, said: "The roadmap estimates that ocean energy could meet up to 10% of the EU's power demand by 2050, equivalent to cutting 276 million tonnes of CO2 every year".  The event is part of the EU Ocean Week. On Thursday, Commissioner Vella will announce a Joint Communication prepared with High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on Ocean Governance. On Saturday (12 November) he will speak at the Oceans Action Day at COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco and outline the role of the oceans as part of the European efforts to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. "Today is about the sustainable use of the ocean, Thursday we will outline the need for rules and on Saturday in Marrakesh we talk about protection. Each element is a vital part of our strategic approach". The roadmap will be made available tomorrow at 10:00 am here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321)

Aides d'État: la Commission autorise le «Plan Très Haut Débit» français
La Commission européenne a conclu que le plan national français pour le haut débit était compatible avec les règles de l'UE en matière d'aides d'État. Ce plan prévoit des investissements à hauteur de 13 milliards d'euros. Le «Plan Très Haut Débit» vise à connecter tous les ménages et toutes les entreprises de France au très haut débit d'ici à 2022. Il  financera les projets d'infrastructure des pouvoirs locaux, principalement pour déployer les réseaux d'accès de nouvelle génération. Ces réseaux garantissent des vitesses de connexion d'au moins 30 mégaoctets par seconde (Mbps). Mme Margrethe Vestager, commissaire chargée de la politique de concurrence, a déclaré à ce propos: «Grâce à ces plans, tous les ménages et entreprises français auront accès au très haut débit d'ici à 2022. Les plans élargissent également le choix de fournisseurs. C'est une bonne nouvelle pour les citoyens et pour les petites et moyennes entreprises de France. L'accès au très haut débit est aussi une priorité essentielle de notre stratégie pour un marché unique numérique.» Un communiqué de presse est disponible en FR, EN et DE. De plus amples informations sur cette affaire seront disponible sur le site web de la direction générale de la concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre des aides d'État, sous le numéro de référence SA.37183. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren - Tel.: +32 229 94889)

State aid: Commission approves modified regional aid map for Spain for the period 2017-2020
The European Commission has found Spain's modified map for granting state aid between 2017 and 2020 to be in line with EU state aid rules. The map defines the Spanish regions that are eligible for regional investment aid under EU state aid rules and establishes the maximum levels of aid (so-called "aid intensities") that can be granted. The 2014 Guidelines on Regional State Aid provide for the possibility of a mid-term review of the regional aid maps approved by the Commission for the period 2014-2020. This enables Member States to make some amendments to their list of assisted areas in order to take into account recent changes in the social and economic circumstances of individual regions. The modifications to the maps need to comply with the criteria set out in the Guidelines. Spain notified plans to include four regions (Castilla-La Mancha, Andalucía, Región de Murcia and Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla) as regions with maximum aid intensity. This is because the GDP per capita of these regions fell below 75% of the EU-28 average. The maximum allowed aid intensity for investment projects by large enterprises in these regions would therefore increase from 15% to 25% for Castilla-La Mancha, Andalucía and Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla and from 10% to 25% for Región de Murcia. Further, Spain notified two small modifications to areas with a lower maximum aid intensity. In particular, Spain has removed some municipalities in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands from the regional aid map, whereas some other municipalities in the same two provinces will become eligible for regional aid. The modified map will be in force from 1 January 2017 until 31 December 2020. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.46099. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of EFR by Euro Garages
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of EFR Group B.V. of the Netherlands ("EFR") by Optima Bidco ("Euro Garages") Limited of Jersey. EFR operates petrol stations, convenience stores, car washes, bakeries, restaurants and hotels in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Euro Garages operates petrol stations with ancillary services, such as convenience stores and car washes, in the United Kingdom. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because EFR and Euro Garages do not compete against each other in the same geographic 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.8220. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Emerson Network Power by Platinum Equity Group              
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Emerson Network Power by Platinum Equity Group, both of the US. Emerson Network Power provides power, thermal and infrastructure management products and related services worldwide. Platinum Equity Group specializes in the merger, acquisition and operation of companies that provide services and solutions to customers in a broad range of businesses, including information technology, telecommunications, logistics, manufacturing and distribution. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the activities of Platinum Equity Group's portfolio companies do not overlap with those of Emerson Network Power. 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.8200. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)

Concentration: la Commission donne son feu vert à l'acquisition de Den Braven par Arkema
La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, le projet d'acquisition de DBEW Holding BV ("Den Braven"), établi aux Pays-Bas, par la société française Arkema. Den Braven est un fabricant d'adhésifs, de produits d'étanchéité, de mousses de polyuréthane et d'aérosols techniques à l'échelle mondiale. Arkema est une entreprise chimique qui fournit notamment des solutions de revêtement, des spécialités industrielles et des matériaux à haute performance, en particulier des adhésifs et des produits d'étanchéité. Les activités des deux entreprises se chevauchent dans le domaine des adhésifs et des produits d'étanchéité dans un nombre limité de régions au sein de l'Espace économique européen. La Commission a conclu que le projet de concentration ne poserait pas de problèmes de concurrence, étant donné que, d'une part l'entité issue de la concentration aura une part de marché limitée sur la plupart des marchés concernés et, d'autre part d'importants concurrents resteront présents sur ces marchés après la transaction. L'opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure normale du contrôle des concentrations. Des informations plus détaillées sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires, sous le numéro d'affaire M.8152. (Pour plus d'informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella - Tel.: +32 229 86801)

EUROSTAT: Le volume des ventes du commerce de détail en baisse de 0,2% dans la zone euro et dans l'UE28
En septembre 2016 par rapport à août 2016, le volume des ventes du commerce de détail corrigé des variations saisonnières a diminué de 0,2% tant dans la zone euro (ZE19) que dans l'UE28, selon les estimations d'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. En août, le commerce de détail avait reculé de 0,2% dans la zone euro et de 0,1% dans l'UE28. En septembre 2016 par rapport à septembre 2015, l'indice des ventes de détail s'est accru de 1,1% dans la zone euro et de 2,2% dans l'UE28. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Moedas participate in the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal
Today and tomorrow, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas will be at the Web Summit, a major technology conference with more than 50,000 participants. Vice-President Ansip will participate in discussions on the data-driven economy and in a panel on the Digital Single Market. As part of his visit to Portugal, he will meet Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, Minister of Economy Manuel Caldeira Cabral and Assistant Secretary of State and of Administrative Modernisation Graça Fonseca. He will also participate in a hearing at the national Parliament to discuss the next steps towards a Digital Single Market, as the Commission has now presented almost all the initiatives foreseen in its strategy. Commissioner Moedas will speak at three panels at the Web Summit (the panel Europe's tech scene – second best?can be followed live on Facebook on 8 November from 15:50 to 16:15 CET) and he will also meet investors.  He will discuss how to create a better environment for innovative companies in the EU and in particular how to attract more venture capital. Both Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Moedas will take the opportunity of the event to have various exchanges with the many participants, meet startups and visit stands – such as the one of Startup Europe, an initiative of the Commission to support and connect startups – and discover new innovative technologies and apps. Regular updates and more information will be published via @Ansip_EU and @Moedas. Photo coverage will be available on EbS. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 460 756182; Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)

On 9 November Third High-Level Conference on Radicalisation: Joining efforts to enhance prevention work
On 9 November, the European Commission and the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Centre of Excellence are organising the 3rd RAN High-Level Conference on Radicalisation in Brussels. The event will be hosted by Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and Commissioner for the Security Union, Sir Julian King, and will bring together Ministers, policy makers and practitioners to discuss how to effectively prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism and terrorism. Discussions will focus on the issues around returning foreign terrorist fighters, children raised in a radicalised environment, as well as RAN support in designing national prevention strategies, structures and interventions. The participants will hear first-hand insights from RAN practitioners and will exchange best practices and expertise in the field. As a concrete outcome of EU-level work on anti-radicalisation, the Handbook "Developing a Local Prevent Framework & Guiding Principles" will be presented at the conference. Finally, "RAN Young", a platform empowering young people to play an active role in the prevention of radicalisation, will be launched. For more information on the RAN Centre please refer to the website. A limited number of places are available for journalists to attend selected sessions. If interested please send an email to katarzyna.kolanko@ec.europa.eu. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 2 29 67456; Tove Ernst Tel.: Tel: +32 2 29 86764; Katarzyna Kolanko - Tel.: +32 2 29 63444; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)

Commissioner Avramopoulos in Malta
Today and tomorrow Commissioner Avramopoulos will be in Valetta, Malta, where he will meet with George Vella, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Carmelo Abela, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security. The Commissioner will visit the Maltese Parliament where he will participate in a Joint Meeting of the Foreign and European Affairs Committee and the Social Affairs Committee. He will also meet with Simon Busuttil, Member of Parliament and the Leader of the Nationalist Party. In addition, Commissioner Avramopoulos will visit the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) where he will meet with Jose Carreira. The press point with Minister Abela will take place on 8 November at 12:00 noon and recorded highlights will be available on EBS. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

Commissioner Thyssen gives keynote speech at European Labour Mobility Congress, Poland
Today, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, is travelling to Kraków, Poland, where she will participate in the fourth European Labour Mobility Congress. This year's edition will be entirely devoted to the issue of posting of workers – more particularly, the Congress wants to offer a forum for dialogue between business, academics, policy-makers and administration to encourage a meaningful and fact-based debate on the posting of workers. Ahead of the Congress, Commissioner Thyssen said: "We believe that in order to promote economic and social progress, it is important to have certain minimum standards of social protection in place across the Union. Member States are free to guarantee higher levels of protection on their territory if they so wish. That too is an important principle of EU law and a matter of subsidiarity. And if Member States have such higher levels of protection in place, they should be able to uphold them, also in the Internal Market. This is not protectionism – it is a matter of safeguarding upwards instead of downwards convergence." The entire speech can be found here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

Commissioner Creţu in Sweden for the 7th forum of the EU Baltic Sea Strategy
Today Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu meets with Swedish Ministers and regional stakeholders to discuss the implementation of the Cohesion Policy and visits EU-funded projects in the city of Västerås. Tomorrow, together with the Prime Ministers of Sweden and Finland, Stefan Löfven and Juha Sipilä, Commissioner Crețu takes part in the 7th forum of the EU Macro-regional Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, where 1,000 participants will gather and discuss the future of the region and key targets for the year 2030. "For seven years now, the EU Baltic Sea Strategy, the first macro-regional strategy ever, has enabled cooperation on transnational challenges: clean and safe shipping, climate change adaptation and improved transport networks, to name a few," said Commissioner Creţu, "but more needs to be done, including renewed and constant political commitment as well as more efficient pooling of resources." A progress report on the implementation of the four existing macro-regional strategies will be presented by the end of 2016. More information on the EU Baltic Sea Strategy, on macro-regional strategies and on the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds in Sweden is available online. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)