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Daily News

24 / 02 / 2017


L'Europe aujourd'hui et demain: discours du Président Juncker

Le Président Juncker a prononcé un discours hier à l'Institut d'études européennes de l'Université catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve intitulé 'l'Europe aujourd'hui et demain'. Le constat que le Président Juncker tire de l'histoire de l'intégration européenne est que "l'Europe n'est pas une évidence. L'Europe fut et l'Europe restera un choix." En parlant du futur de l'Europe, le Président Juncker a affirmé que l'heure n'est pas à la redivision mais au rassemblement. Le président a cité plusieurs scénarios qui pourraient caractériser ce rassemblement et a plaidé à ce qu'une réponse soit apportée à la question de savoir s'il ne faudrait pas que ceux en Europe qui veulent avancer plus rapidement puissent le faire. Le discours complet est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)


WTO confirms Russian pork ban is illegal

The WTO's Appellate Body confirmed that Russia's import ban from 2014 on live pigs, pork and other pig products from the EU violates international trade rules. The ruling concerns a ban imposed by Russia because of the outbreak of African Swine Fever in areas in the EU close to the border with Belarus. In August 2016, a WTO panel acknowledged that the Russian measures are not based on the relevant international standards and violate WTO rules. The ruling confirms this finding, thereby sending another strong signal to Russia and all WTO Members on their obligation to respect international standards and, in particular, the principle of regionalisation, which would allow trade from individual areas of a country which are recognised as pest or disease-free, independent of the health status in the rest of the country. The EU has one of the world's most efficient animal health and food safety systems, including high detection levels and stringent risk management rules. EU products from disease-free areas are safe, and there is no need for any country to maintain unjustified import restrictions. The EU calls on Russia to withdraw its unjustified measures and allow EU companies to resume normal business with their Russian partners. More information is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)


EU proposes €105 million in humanitarian assistance for Africa's Lake Chad region

The European Commission plans to mobilise a total of €105 million in humanitarian support to populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa in 2017. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides made the announcement today during an international conference in Oslo, Norway aimed at addressing the pressing humanitarian situation in the region. "With the crisis in the Lake Chad region growing at an extremely alarming rate, the EU is stepping up its response. Today I announced the EU's allocation of €105 million in humanitarian aid for the crisis. These funds will help meet the life-saving needs of the affected populations and scale up our response. The conditions for delivering assistance remain particularly difficult. It is essential to ensure quick and safe access to people who need lifesaving assistance." saidCommissioner Stylianides.Read the full press release here. (For more information: Carlos Martín Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: + 32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)


New Commission app for tracking invasive alien animals and plants in the EU

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has developed an online application that will help citizens identify and share information about 37 Invasive Alien Speciesin Europe. 'Invasive Alien Species Europe', which contains detailed information about and photos of those animals and plants, makes it possible for citizens to use their phones' navigation system and cameras to capture images of them. By sending the exact location of a sighting and a photo via the app, users contribute to crowdsourcing the maps showing where invasive aliens species occur, and help to build the European Alien Species Information Network. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the JRC, said: “The beauty of this app is that it turns its users into citizen-scientists, helping to monitor invasive alien species that threaten biodiversity in the EU. The information collected will enrich existing insights into invasive alien species. In this way we also foster citizens' awareness of the problems caused by invasive alien species in Europe." The list for instance includes the American grey squirrel, which transfers a poxyvirus that is lethal to native red squirrels and leads to their local extinction, the raccoon, which can harbour and spread diseases affecting humans as well as farmed and wild animals, and the signal crayfish that carries the crayfish plague fungus and leads to the extinction of native crayfish. A small proportion of alien species become invasive and seriously disturb ecosystems, causing damage worth millions of euros in the EU every year. The application is free and can be downloaded for android and iOS. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein - Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Harman by Samsung

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Harman International Industries, Incorporated of the US, by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. of South Korea. Harman designs and engineers software products and solutions for automakers, consumers and enterprises worldwide. Samsung is a global electronics company active in consumer electronics, information technology and mobile communications and device solutions. The activities of the parties overlap in several product areas, such as, headphones, audio home systems, speakers and DVD recorders. Some of Samsung's memory integrated circuits (DRAMs and NANDs) are also destined for the automotive industry and used in Harman's automotive products. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the relatively low market shares and the existence of many strong competitors in the product markets concerned, including alternative suppliers of DRAMs and NANDs and alternative customers of these products. 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.8318. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)




Vice-President Ansip to call for vision, speed and cooperation on 5G at the Mobile World Congress

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip participates in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February, the world's largest event for the international mobile community, gathering policymakers, industry leaders and experts (see Vice-President Ansip's blog post ahead of the event). On Tuesday at 11:00 am CET he will deliver a keynote speech asking Europe and its international partners to work together to deploy the next generation of communication networks, 5G. Common standards and spectrum coordination – both at global and European levels – are paramount for all sectors, from transport to healthcare, to fully benefit from first-class connectivity across borders. During the event, Vice-President Ansip will meet Spanish Minister of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda Álvaro Nadal, Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications Gilberto Kassab as well as the Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai. He will also meet CEOs of European telecoms companies, participates in a roundtable on connected and automated driving and contributes to the GSMA Trans-Atlantic dialogue on the future of the digital economy. Vice-President Ansip will visit a series of stands, including the Graphene experience zone which showcases the latest achievements of the EU-funded Graphene Flagship and innovation based on this revolutionary material (see Vice-President Ansip's recent blog post on the European Future and Emerging Technology Flagships). During these visits, he will have bilateral meetings with the senior management of Ericsson, Nokia and AT&T. More details on Vice-President Ansip's programme at the Mobile World Congress 2017 can be found in his agenda and in the Commission's weekly calendar. Photo and video coverage will be available on EbS, his speech will be published here and webstreamed here. Regular updates will be posted on @Ansip_EU. See also this new factsheet on the main achievements so far under the Digital Single Market strategy. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt - Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund - Tel.: +32 229 50698)


La Commission européenne présente au Salon de l'Agriculture à Paris pour célébrer l'agriculture française

Le Salon international de l'Agriculture ouvre demain ses portes à Paris pour une quinzaine de jours. Ce rendez-vous incontournable est l'occasion de prendre le pouls du secteur agricole français et européen et de célébrer ses réussites, sans occulter les défis et difficultés auxquels font face les agriculteurs français. Cette année, deux Commissaires européens visiteront le Salon de l'agriculture: Pierre Moscovici, Commissaire aux affaires économiques et financières, à la fiscalité et à l'Union douanière le lundi 27 février, et Phil Hogan, Commissaire à l'agriculture, le jeudi 2 mars. A cette occasion, les Commissaires s'entretiendront avec les représentants des éleveurs et producteurs agricoles en France. La Commission européenne sera présente tout au long de la durée du Salon avec un stand d'information pour renseigner le public sur la Politique Agricole Commune (PAC). C'est d'ailleurs au stand de la Commission que le Commissaire Hogan remettra le mercredi 1er mars les prix du Concours général agricole aux jeunes agriculteurs.A son arrivée à Paris le 1er mars, le Commissaire Hogan rencontrera le Premier ministre français, Bernard Cazeneuve, et le ministre de l'agriculture, Stéphane le Foll. La France reste le premier pays bénéficiaire de la Politique Agricole Commune. Plus d'informations sur la PAC en France sont disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56 185; Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)


Commissioner Vella travels to Indonesia for World Ocean Summit

Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for fisheries and maritime affairs, is attending the World Ocean Summit in Bali, Indonesia this week. Speaking at the session 'the ocean economy – a whale of an opportunity?' yesterday, he stressed the potential for sustainable ocean-based growth, for instance in emerging technologies like ocean energy, and laid out the EU's international ocean governance agenda. "Blue economic growth is neither automatic nor inevitable. If our oceans are in bad shape, the blue economy cannot thrive. That is why, last November, the European Union proposed 50 actions to create the conditions for a sustainable blue economy around the world. We are creating a healthy investment environment for a healthy and productive marine environment," Commissioner Vella said. On the margins of the Summit, he discussed ocean governance and the potential of the blue economy with Ms Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, Mr John Maneniaru, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources of the Solomon Islands, Mr Peter Thomson, President of the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNPGA), and business leaders. Today, in the closing session, he will also draw attention to the fourth Our Ocean Conference, a high-level international event aimed at generating commitments for concrete and measurable actions for healthy, sustainable oceans worldwide. This year's edition will be hosted by the EU in Malta on 5-6 October. For more information see here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)



The Commissioners' weekly activities


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