|September 2017 – Annual inflation stable at 1.5% in the euro area – Up to 1.8% in the EU
Euro area annual inflation was 1.5% in September 2017, stable compared with August 2017. In September 2016 the rate was 0.4%. European Union annual inflation was 1.8% in September 2017, up from 1.7% in August 2017. A year earlier the rate was 0.4%. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Full text available here
Developing Europe’s Digital Platform for cultural heritage: public consultation opens
How can digital culture enrich your daily life and work? Do you share, access or use cultural heritage materials online? Today, the Commission launches a public consultation to hear the opinions from citizens and organisations with a personal or professional interest in digital culture available online. The Commission wants to know how citizens, professionals and organisations use Europeana, the European online platform for culture heritage that is visited approximately 700,000 times per month. The platform gives access to over 53 million items including image, text, sound, video and 3D material from the collections of over 3,700 libraries, archives, museums, galleries and audio-visual collections across Europe. The platform can be used by teachers, artists, data professionals in cultural institutions and creative fields but also everyone looking for information on culture. The public consultation will help to identify through an independent evaluation how Europana is currently used and how this can be improved and made more accessible for everyone.For example, the platform provides content also for re-use in the education, research or creative sectors of which many people are not yet aware. The results of the consultation will contribute to further develop Europeana’s offers and increase its visibility and use for the European culture heritage online. Europeana will also be closely associated to the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018. The public consultation will be open in all EU languages until 14 January 2018 here.
EU approves €100 million in financial assistance for Jordan
Today, the European Commission will disburse a €100 million loan to Jordan under the EU’s Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme. Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, said: “Today’s decision to disburse €100 million to Jordan under a new MFA programme demonstrates the EU’s continued support for the country in these challenging times. I look forward to continuing our work with the Jordanian authorities on their reform programme and in securing a stable, stronger economy for Jordan to the benefit of its entire population.” This disbursement marks the launch of the second Macro-Financial Assistance programme for Jordan with a total worth of €200 million, which follows a first package of €180 million approved in 2013 and fully disbursed in 2015. The disbursement of the second €100 million instalment is expected to take place during the course of 2018, depending on Jordan fulfilling agreed commitments. The aim of this assistance is to strengthen the country’s foreign exchange reserve position and to help Jordan meet its balance of payments and budgetary financing needs. The MFA programme will also support reforms in a number of areas. These include public finance management, tax and social safety net systems, education and professional training, trade policies and active labour market policies aimed at increasing employment opportunities for both Jordanian citizens and Syrian refugees living in Jordan. A press release is available here.
EU-funded physicists involved in ground-breaking astronomic discovery
For the first time ever scientists have observed a collision of two neutron stars. They used two different kinds of methodologies, gravitational waves and light. These ground-breaking results were presented yesterday by the research teams behind the discovery of gravitational waves – work which recently earned three of their leading researchers the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. 11 fellows from the EU funded project GraWIToN have participated in this observation. The project is funded with €3.7 million under theMarie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, underlined the extraordinary nature of the observation: “Today marks a new approach in astronomy. From now on researchers are able to both see and hear cosmic events to better understand them. I am proud that EU funding contributed to their pioneering revelations.” Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, emphasised that “this discovery again proves that our investment in excellent researchers leads to important scientific breakthroughs. Here, the results have the potential to revolutionise astrophysics, but the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions support research that helps us tackle the big challenges facing Europe across the board”. The discovery will further deepen our grasp of the universe demonstrating that gold and platinum are formed in large cosmic collisions. The research was conducted by the LIGO observatory in the US, the Virgo detector in Italy, and other facilities including the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The EU has supported ESO with over €14 million in the past ten years. Further information is available in a Horizon magazine article and a news item.
1 million refugees in Turkey reached by EU’s Emergency Social Safety Net
The EU funded Emergency Social Safety Net programme has now reached one million refugees living in Turkey. Launched by the European Commission in September 2016, and implemented by the World Food Programme and the Turkish Red Crescent in collaboration with the Turkish government, the flagship programme is the largest ever humanitarian aid operation funded by the European Union. Visiting Turkey today, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “Today is a milestone for the life-changing results achieved by our biggest ever aid programme; and for the EU delivering on its commitments to Turkey. We have made a difference for a staggering 1 million people already. With the commitment and work of our partners, the impact of the programme grows by the day. Turkey continues to host the largest refugee population in the world. It is our humanitarian and moral duty to help refugees that have fled war and persecution.” The €348 million programme is financed through the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. A full press release is available here.
Criminal justice: making better use of the European Arrest Warrant
The European Commission is releasing today a handbook to support judicial authorities to make better use of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to improve the fight against cross-border crime. Commissioner Jourová opened the High Level Expert meeting on the European Arrest Warrant today, where this handbook was presented. She said ahead of this event: “The European Arrest Warrant is a success story. It shortens drastically the time for criminals to be transferred from one EU country to the other. It allows these criminals to be brought to justice in the country where they committed their crime. A more efficient cooperation between justice authorities will improve safety in Europe “. Since its launch in 2004, the European Arrest Warrant has been the most used EU instrument of judicial cooperation in criminal matters, with 16,144 European Arrest Warrants issued in 2015. The European Arrest Warrant allowed for the speedy extradition of, for example, a terrorist involved in the Paris attacks caught in Brussels and a gang of armed robbers sought by Italy whose members were arrested in six different EU countries. The handbook provides a series of tips and recommendations to help judges and practitioners when they issue or execute a European Arrest Warrant. The handbook, factsheets and statistics are available online.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Pattonair by Platinum
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Pattonair Holdings Limited of the UK by Platinum Equity Group of the US. Pattonair is a global aerospace distributor, providing aircraft parts, value-adding logistics and supply chain management services. Platinum is specialised in mergers, acquisitions and operation of companies in a broad range of businesses, including information technology, telecommunications, logistics, metal services, manufacturing and distribution. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because Platinum is not engaged in any business activity related to Pattonair’s business. 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.8646.