Brussels Daily
15 Jan 2015


Brussels Daily

Animal Health: EU commits close to €180 million to combat animal diseases in 2015

The EU has committed close to €180 million for 2015, to support veterinary programmes that aim to eliminate animal diseases and zoonoses and further strengthen the protection of human and animal health. Given the serious impact that animal disease outbreaks can have on human health, society, the economy and trade, the allocation of EU co-financing will continue to assist national authorities to put in place precautionary measures, disease surveillance and eradication programmes, at national and European level. Overall, 139 programmes have been selected for EU funding: Bovine Tuberculosis (about €62 million); Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (about €18 million); Rabies (€25 million); Salmonellosis (about €19 million); Bovine Brucellosis (about €10 million); Classical Swine Fever (€2 million); Avian Influenza (€2.2 million). A significantly increased amount has been allocated in 2015 for Bluetongue (about €18.5 million, compared to €1.8 million last year) due to the recrudescence of the disease in 2014 in the eastern part of EU; also for the first time, about €5.7 million has been allocated for the implementation of eradication and control African Swine Fever programmes due to presence of the disease in some parts of the EU. Under the new Regulation 652/2014 on the management of the expenditure in the food safety area, the Union co-finances 50% of the programmes costs, with the possibility of higher rates (75% or 100%), taking into account the characteristic of the diseases or the situation of the concerned Member State. EU co-financing has contributed to a continuous decrease in the number of cases of diseases, such as Salmonellosis (the second most frequently reported zoonotic disease in humans) and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (a disease that affects the brain and nervous system of animals or humans). More information is available online.

Social Developments: Annual Review highlights key factors behind resilience to crisis

Countries providing high quality jobs and effective social protection as well as investment in human capital have proved to be more resilient to the economic crisis. This is one of the main findings of the 2014 Employment and Social Developments in Europe Review, which has looked back at the consequences of the recession. It also stresses the need to invest in the formation and maintenance of the right skills in Europe’s workforce to support productivity, as well as the challenge of restoring convergence among Member States. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: “Job creation is our most urgent task and the legacy of the crisis makes it more challenging. This Review finds that it is necessary to implement structural reforms as well as measures to support consumption and demand. We need further investment in people to even better educate, train and activate Europeans for the labour market. The Investment offensive of the Juncker Commission will help make a real and substantial difference in these crucial areas”. Full press release is available here.

Vice-President Katainen takes investment roadshow to Italy

European Commission Vice President JyrkiKatainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, is visiting Italy today and tomorrow, as part of a 28-country roadshow to promote the EU Investment Plan, worth more than €300 billion. The aim is to explain the new opportunities which the Investment Plans opens up for governments, investors, businesses, as well as regional authorities, trade unions and communities. Vice-President Katainen said: “After just 2 months in office, the European Commission has tabled concrete proposals for a European Fund for Strategic Investments, to mobilise at least €315 billion in private and public investment across the European Union.  My message is clear, there is a huge opportunity for Italy to get investments flowing into parts of the economy where growth and job creation is needed most, to kick start project development and get much needed risk capital to SMEs.  But to be successful, Italy must at the same time drive through the national reforms necessary to improve the investment climate. These reforms are crucial the success of our initiative, for mobilising investment and for re-launching growth.” Read the full press release here.


Commission identifies the infrastructure priorities and investment needs for the Trans-European Transport Network until 2030

The European Commission has published nine studies on the state of play and the development needs of the TEN-T core network corridors. The studies have identified infrastructure development needs which represent approximately €700 billion of financial investment until 2030. They highlight the importance of optimising the use of infrastructure along the corridors, notably through intelligent transport systems, efficient management and the promotion of future-oriented clean transport solutions. This is the first time that tens of thousands kilometres of rail, road, inland waterway connections, ports, airports and other transport terminals have been studied in such a comprehensive way and with a common methodology. Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said, “We have to step up our efforts to make sure the core network will be fully operational by 2030, to ensure smooth transport flows for passengers and goods throughout the EU. Now is the time to invest in TEN-T projects and to maximise the benefits of the Connecting Europe facility and the Commission’s €315 billion Investment Plan. After all, the Trans-European Transport Network is crucial for a Union striving for more growth, jobs and competitiveness

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into a joint venture for online music licensing between collecting societies PRSfM, STIM and GEMA

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed creation of a joint venture between three collective rights management organisations (CMOs) in the online licensing of musical works. The CMOs contributing to the joint venture are PRS for Music Limited (PRSfM) of the United Kingdom, Föreningen Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå u.p.a. (STIM) of Sweden and Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) of Germany. The Commission’s preliminary investigation indicated that the combination of the music repertoires currently controlled by each of PRSfM, STIM and GEMA could result in higher prices and worsened commercial conditions for digital service providers in the European Economic Area (EEA). This could lead, ultimately, to higher prices and less choice for European consumers of digital music. The decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 29 May 2015, to take a final decision on whether the transaction would reduce effective competition in the EEA. The full press release is available here.

Antitrust: Commission consults on draft guidelines on joint selling of olive oil, beef, veal and arable crops

The European Commission is inviting comments on new draft guidelines on the application of EU antitrust rules in the agricultural sector. After a reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), new specific rules apply to the sale of olive oil, beef and veal livestock and arable crops. In particular, the new rules allow producers to jointly commercialise these products if certain conditions are fulfilled, including that their cooperation creates significant efficiencies. The Commission’s guidelines will contribute to ensuring that the implementation of the CAP reform improves the functioning of the food supply chain and safeguards effective competition and innovation on the markets for agricultural products. Responses to the public consultation can be submitted until 5 May 2015. In light of the submissions received, the Commission will then review its proposal, with the aim of adopting final guidelines by the end of 2015. The full press release is available here.

EUROSTAT: Euro area international trade in goods surplus €20.0 bn

The first estimate for the euro area (EA18) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world in November 2014 gave a €20.0 billion surplus, compared with +€16.5 bn in November 2013. The October 2014 balance was +€23.6 bn, compared with +€16.5 bn in October 2013. In November 2014 compared with October 2014, seasonally adjusted exports increased by 0.2% while imports remained stable. These data are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat press release is available here.


President Juncker in Paris: First bilateral visit of the President to a European capital since taking the new European Commission took up office

Tomorrow, Friday 16 January, President Juncker will travel to Paris. This will be his first bilateral visit to the capital of an EU Member State since taking office in November 2014. In Paris, President Juncker will be received by President François Hollande. He will also meet with Prime Minister Manuel Valls and have lunch with Jacques Delors. Finally, President Juncker will speak at the ENA, the École nationale d’administration, on the closing of the Juncker promotion. Parts of this visit will be transmitted on EBS

EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn visits Eastern partner, Georgia

Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, will pay his first visit to Georgia on 15 and 16 January. The main objective of the visit is to support the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and to discuss the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga as well as the forthcoming review of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Following the first Association Council in November in Brussels, Commissioner Hahn will discuss with the government how the upgraded political dialogue and the new institutional framework established between the EU and Georgia can be followed up most effectively. In this context, the Commissioner and Prime Minister Garibashvili will sign a Financing Agreement for a new programme to help Georgia implement the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and promote private sector development. The agenda of the visit will comprise meetings with Prime Minister Garibashvili and members of the Government; the Speaker of the Parliament, representatives of the opposition and Civil Society. Commissioner Hahn will also deliver a key-note speech at Ilia State University of Tbilisi where he will meet with students and pay a visit to two EU-funded projects.


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