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Source: European Union

Brexit: Statement by the European Commission following President Jean-Claude Juncker’s phone call with Prime Minister Johnson

President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke to Prime Minister Johnson on the phone yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 2 October. The Prime Minister informed the President about the contents of the UK’s latest proposal – which includes a legal text, explanatory note and letter from Prime Minister Johnson. The Commission issued a statement following the call (see here). President Juncker welcomed the positive advances in the UK’s text but also noted that there are problematic points in the proposal, on which further work is needed by the UK. President Juncker stressed that the Withdrawal Agreement must have a legally operational solution, not arrangements to be developed and agreed during the transition period. This solution must meet all the objectives of the backstop: preventing a hard border, preserving North-South cooperation and the all-island economy, and protecting the EU’s Single Market and Ireland’s place in it. President Juncker will speak to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon and will reiterate the EU’s continued unity and solidarity behind Ireland. Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, will debrief the EU27 Ambassadors in COREPER later this afternoon. The Commission is currently analysing the UK’s text and further meetings with the UK will be scheduled shortly. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: .: +32 2 298 65 00)


President Juncker receives Special Bridge Builder Award

Last night, President Juncker received the Special Bridge Builder Award from the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, for bringing people together, forging unity in Europe and his contribution to the transatlantic relationship. Honoured to receive the award, he emphasised in his speech: “What makes the transatlantic relationship so special, is that it is first and foremost a friendship […] The American-European friendship is not about hopes and dreams. It is a necessity.” The full speech is available here. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: + 32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: + 32 229 67456)


Juncker Plan backs Croatia’s first social impact fund

Thanks to EU support, Croatian and Slovenian startups will benefit from Croatia’s first social impact fund, Feelsgood. The European Investment Fund contributed half of the capital of this €30 million-strong Fund, with its financing supported by the Juncker Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments. Feelsgood Fund will invest in Croatian and Slovenian startups from the agriculture and farming, circular economy, financial inclusion, education and healthcare sectors. European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The launch of the new Feelsgood Fund in Croatia – which is being financially backed by the European Investment Fund and the Juncker Plan – is good news. Not only are key sectors, such as the circular economy and healthcare, to receive a financial boost, but those companies will make a positive social impact.” A press release is available here. As of September 2019, the Juncker Plan has mobilised €433.2 billion of additional investment, including €1.2 billion in Croatia. The Plan is currently supporting 972,000 small and medium businesses across Europe. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhan Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361) 


La politique de cohésion investit dans une entreprise du bois en Basse-Carinthie, en Autriche

L’UE a approuvé un investissement de près de 6,5 millions d’euros pour aider l’entreprise de bois KLH Massivholz Wiesenau GmbH à construire une usine à Wolfsberg, dans la région autrichienne de Basse-Carinthie. Avec ce financement, la société introduira des nouvelles technologies et des procédés innovants dans sa production de panneaux de bois contrecollés. Cela aidera KLH Massivholz Wiesenau GmbH à produire davantage et à conquérir de nouveaux marchés, tout en optimisant l’utilisation des ressources. D’ici 2025, cet investissement devrait aider l’entreprise à embaucher 100 personnes supplémentaires. Johannes Hahn, commissaire chargé de la politique de voisinage, des négociations d’élargissement et de la politique régionale, a déclaré: « Cet investissement de la politique de cohésion donnera un coup de pouce financier à cette entreprise du bois, en l’aidant à augmenter sa production tout en réduisant son empreinte carbone. Cela dynamisera également l’économie de la Basse-Carinthie et aura un impact positif sur toute la chaîne locale d’approvisionnement, ce qui créera de nouveaux emplois dans la région. » La nouvelle usine devrait être opérationnelle d’ici l’été 2020. (Pour plus d’informations: Christian Spahr – Tél.: +32 2 295 00 55, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tél.: +32 229 56169)

EU guidance on the handling of visa applications from residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions

The European Commission and the European External Action Service have this week sent EU Member States and non-EU Schengen countries guidance on how to handle visa applications lodged by residents of the non-Government controlled areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The guidance document follows up on the European Council Conclusions of 20 June 2019 and the Member States’ requests for guidance on the identification and non-recognition of the passports issued as a consequence of the Russian presidential decree of 24 April. The guidance sent provides a set of uniform treatment criteria to help Member States’ consulates to establish the actual place of legal residence of Russian passport holders, as well as details on how to process visa applications by residents of the non-Government controlled areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions holding Russian passports.The guidance will help ensure that EU rules on Schengen visas are correctly and consistently applied in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, taking also into account that Ukrainian nationals have the possibility to acquire Ukrainian biometric passports and travel to the EU without a visa. The full press release is available online. (For more information:Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Adam Kaznowski – Tel: +32 229 89359; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Alvic by KKR and ARTA

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Grupo Alvic FR Mobiliario, S.L (“Alvic”) of Spain by KKR & Co. Inc. (“KKR”) of the US and ARTÀ CAPITAL S.G.E.I.C. S.A. (“ARTA”) of Spain. Alvic is active in the design, manufacture and distribution of panel-based furniture components for kitchen, bathroom, wardrobes and office materials. KKR provides alternative asset management services to public and private market investors, as well as capital markets solutions for the firm, its portfolio companies and its clients. ARTA is a private equity investment firm. The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns because there are no overlaps between the activities of the companies involved. 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.9533. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Formosa 2 by JERA, Macquarie and Swancor

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control over Formosa 2 International Investment Co., Ltd. (“Formosa 2”) of Taiwan by JERA Formosa 2 B.V (“JERA”) of the Netherlands, Macquarie Corporate Holdings Pty Limited (“Macquarie”) of Australia and Swancor Renewable Energy Co., Ltd. (“Swancor”) of Taiwan. Formosa 2 is active in the construction and operation of the Formosa 2 offshore windfarm located in North-West Taiwan. JERA is controlled by JERA Co., Inc., a Japanese company active in the energy supply chain. Macquarie is active in a diverse range of businesses, including investing in resources and commodities, energy, financial institutions, infrastructure and real estate. Swancor develops and operates offshore wind farms and provides engineering, procurement, permitting, asset management and operation and maintenance services to offshore wind farms in Taiwan. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns as Formosa 2 has no activity within the European Economic Area. 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.9535. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)


Concentrations: La Commission autorise l’acquisition du contrôle en commun de TAG Pipelines Sur par Brookfield et ENGIE

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l’acquisition du contrôle en commun de TAG Pipelines Sur, S. de R.L. de C.V. (“TAG Pipelines Sur”), société basée au Mexique, par Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (“Brookfield”), basée au Canada, et ENGIE, basée en France. TAG Pipelines Sur, actuellement contrôlée conjointement par BlackRock et ENGIE, est active dans le transport de gaz naturel par gazoduc au Mexique. Brookfield est un gestionnaire d’actifs mondial axé sur l’immobilier, l’énergie renouvelable, l’infrastructure et le capital d’investissement. Engie est un fournisseur de gaz, d’électricité et de services énergétiques. La Commission a conclu que la concentration envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence dans la mesure où TAG Pipelines Sur n’exerce aucune activité dans l’Espace économique européen. La transaction a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d’affaire M.9522. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél. +32 229 56182; Maria Tsoni – Tél.: +32 229 90526)


Eurostat: Le volume des ventes du commerce de détail en hausse de 0,3% dans la zone euro, hausse de 0,2% dans l’UE28 (Août 2019 comparé à juillet 2019)

En août 2019 par rapport à juillet 2019, le volume des ventes du commerce de détail corrigé des variations saisonnières a augmenté de 0,3% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,2% dans l’UE28, selon les estimations d’Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. En juillet 2019, le volume du commerce de détail a diminué de 0,5% dans la zone euro et de 0,4% dans l’UE28. En août 2019 par rapport à août 2018, l’indice corrigé des effets de calendrier des ventes de détail a augmenté de 2,1% dans la zone euro et de 2,5% dans l’UE28. Un communiqué de presse Eurostat est à votre disposition en ligne. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél. +32 229 56182; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tél.: +32 229 56169)


Eurostat: Les prix à la production industrielle en baisse de 0,5% dans la zone euro, en baisse de 0,4% dans l’UE28 (Août 2019 comparé à juillet 2019)

En août 2019 par rapport à juillet 2019, les prix à la production industrielle ont diminué de 0,5% dans la zone euro (ZE19) et de 0,4% dans l’UE28, selon les estimations d’Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. En juillet 2019, les prix avaient augmenté de 0,1% dans la zone euro et de 0,2% l’UE28. En août 2019 par rapport à août 2018, les prix à la production industrielle ont diminué de 0,8% dans la zone euro et de 0,3% dans l’UE28. Un communiqué de presse Eurostat est à votre disposition en ligne. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél. +32 229 56182; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tél.: +32 229 56169)



EU Arctic Forum: Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner Karmenu Vella and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde

Today and tomorrow, the EU Arctic Forumis taking place in Umeå, Sweden. The event, co-organised by the European Union and the Government of Sweden, is mainly discussing international cooperation, the climate-environment-ocean nexus, sustainable investments, and connectivity. The EU Arctic Forum is a unique opportunity to build on the achievements of the EU Arctic policy in recent years, to provide new momentum for a stronger global action on issues affecting the region, and to inform on the EU’s policy direction on Arctic issues post-2020. In a joint statement, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde said: “In view of the challenges facing the Arctic due to global warming, the EU is strongly committed to helping the region adapt to climate change, protecting the environment and developing its economy in a sustainable way. We are delivering on this commitment in three practical ways: by investing in research and development, by protecting local ecosystems and biodiversity, and where appropriate, by building better infrastructure to connect the region to the mainland, including broadband connection. The EU recognises the need to work closely with national, regional and local authorities in the European Arctic in this regard. The EU emphasises its commitment to facilitate Arctic stakeholder engagement in the European Arctic region. The EU is directly affected by climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, which profoundly alters living conditions in the Arctic and globally. Last week’s Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on oceans and the cryosphere has strongly reinforced the message that we need to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The EU is committed to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and becoming a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.” Read here the full joint statement and the speech from Commissioner Vella. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Ana Crespo Parrondo – Tel.: +32 229 81325)




Commissioner Oettinger travels to Spain to discuss EU’s next long-term budget

Commissioner in charge of Budget and Human Resources, Günther H. Oettinger, is travelling to Spain on 3 and 4 October for a series of high-level meetings dedicated to the EU budget for 2021-2027. In Madrid, the Commissioner will meet with Mr Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain, Ms Nadia Calviño, Minister for the Economy and Business, and Mr Marco Aguiriano, State Secretary for the European Union. The meetings are part of the ongoing efforts of the Commission to take forward the negotiations on EU’s next long-term budget, in view of an agreement in the autumn of this year. Ahead of his visit, Commissioner Oettinger said: “Ten days from now, EU leaders will have their first discussion on substance on EU’s next long-term budget. The Commission has tabled a sound initial proposal which gives a good basis for their reflection. We stand ready to provide further input into the process with the aim of reaching an agreement by the end of the year.” On 2 May 2018, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a modern, balanced and fair long-term budget to deliver on Europe’s priorities as set out by Leaders in Bratislava in 2016 and in Rome in 2017. Since then, the Commission has worked hand in hand with the rotating Presidencies of the Council, and in close collaboration with the European Parliament, to take the negotiations forward. In line with the conclusions from the European Council meeting of 20 and 21 June 2019, an agreement should be reached before the end of the year. The Commission shares the firm believe that sticking to this timeline is essential, for the hundreds of thousands of students, farmers and researchers across Europe, as well as everybody else who benefits from the EU budget. To facilitate this objective, in July Commissioner Oettinger travelled to Finland, which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. He also visited the Netherlands in August and was in Poland and Cyprus in September. More information about why a timely agreement is of key importance is available here and here. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 2 29 57857)


Commissioner Stylianides in Bonn, Germany

Tomorrow Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides will hold a keynote speech on the European dimension of civil protection at the opening ceremony of the 14th incoming class for disaster prevention and management at the University of Bonn (Masterstudiengang Katastrophenvorsorge und Katastrophenmanagement). The event hosts future civil protection professionals and practitioners. More trained civil protection experts are needed in the future and climate change is expected to exacerbate the effects of natural disasters in Europe and the world. In March 2019, the EU strengthened all components of its disaster risk management to better protect citizens from disasters. The upgraded EU Civil Protection Mechanism established a new European reserve of capacities (the ‘rescEU reserve’) that initially includes firefighting planes and helicopters. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


Commissioner Avramopoulos visits Turkey and Greece

Today, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos is travelling to Ankara, Turkey. Together with the Interior Ministers of France, Christophe Castaner, and Germany, Horst Seehofer, Commissioner Avramopoulos will meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to discuss cooperation on migration management. Press statements ahead of the meeting will be available on EBS here. Tomorrow, the Commissioner and Ministers of Interior will travel to Greece where they will meet with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrisochoidis and Alternate Minister of Civil Protection, responsible for Migration Policy Georgios Koumoutsakos to discuss the current migratory challenges faced in the country. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Ciara Bottomley – Tel.: +32 229 69 971)


La “Code Week” familiarise des millions d’Européens à la programmation informatique

La 7ème édition de la semaine européenne du code (“EU Code Week”), une initiative locale soutenue par la Commission européenne, qui promeut les compétences et les connaissances numériques, s’ouvrira ce samedi. Du 5 au 20 octobre, la Code Week proposera des milliers d’activités, y compris des ateliers et des séminaires, qui se tiendront dans plus de 70 pays dans le monde. Dans le cadre du plan d’action en matière d’éducation numérique, l’objectif est de faire participer à la Code Week 50 % de l’ensemble des écoles en Europe et dans les Balkans occidentaux d’ici à 2020. Pour y parvenir, la Code Week a partagé des supports et des ressources pédagogiques, y compris des programmes de cours et des vidéos, ainsi que des formations destinées aux enseignants. En 2018, 2,7 millions de personnes dans plus de 70 pays ont participé à la semaine européenne du code. Tous les événements organisés cette année sont disponibles ici. De plus amples informations sur la programmation sont disponibles ici. (Pour plus d’informations : Nathalie Vandystadt — Tél. + 32 229 67 083; Johannes Bahrke — Tél.: + 32 229 58615; Inga Höglund — Tél.: + 32 229 50 698)

Commissioner Moscovici in Athens, Greece

Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, will be in Athens from 3 to 4 October 2019. He will hold a number of meetings, including with President Prokópis Pavlópoulos, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Minister of Finance Mr Christos Staikouras. He will also meet leaders of political groupings, Mr Alexis Tsipras, President of Syriza and Ms Fofi Gennimata, President of the Movement for Change. Commissioner Moscovici will also participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue with students. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

Commissioner Andriukaitis in Austria for the European Health Forum Gastein

Today and tomorrow, Commissioner Andriukaitis attends the European Health Forum Gastein in Bad Hofgastein, Austria. This year, the event that gathers health community, focuses on the theme of “A healthy dose of disruption? Transformative change for health and societal well-being”. Reacting to the topic ahead of the event Commissioner Andriukaitis said ‘In the field of health, many challenges lie ahead: demographic change, rising multimorbidity, shrinking resources Do we need a disruption to overcome these challenges? And if so, is there a clinical trial we can perform to determine the exact dose of disruption needed? I do not have a yes or no answer but if the technological innovation and visionary ideas can help us to achieve better results in health protection, prevention and cure – we should seize the opportunity and use them wisely. I am looking forward to discussing this and other topics with all the participants’. Commissioner will deliver a speech at the Plenary session and meet the Young Forum Gasteiners and NGOs. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

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

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