|Juncker Plan: More than EUR 200 billion in investments set to be triggered; changes enhance accessibility of European Investment Project Portal
Following last week’s meeting of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) Board of Directors, the Juncker Plan is now expected to trigger EUR 209 billion in investments across all 28 Member States. This represents two-thirds of the original EUR 315 billion target of total investments to be mobilised by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The operations approved under the EFSI now represent a total financing volume of just under EUR 39 billion. Vice-President Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “These latest numbers clearly demonstrate that the European Fund for Strategic Investments continues to deliver an important boost to investment, jobs and growth across Europe. With EUR 209 billion in investments now set to mobilised, we have reached an important milestone of two-thirds of our original EUR 315 billion target. I look forward to continuing to work with the European Parliament and Member States to ensure swift adoption of the EFSI 2.0 proposal in order to ensure that we can guarantee the EFSI’s continued success. Given its continued success, President Juncker has made it clear that the proposal to extend and reinforce the EFSI (the so-called “EFSI 2.0”) is among the Commission’s top legislative priorities. The Juncker Plan also aims to enhance the visibility of investment projects. To this end, the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) acts as a match-making platform to connect project promoters with investors. In order to make it even easier for project promoters to highlight investment opportunities, the EIPP has now reduced the threshold for eligible projects from EUR 5 million to EUR 1 million and withdrawn the registration fee required to upload projects.
The EU Cohesion Policy invests in the industrial modernisation of the Portuguese region of Alentejo
€23.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is invested in the upgrade of the production facilities of aviation manufacturer Embraer Portugal, established in the city of Évora, in the region of Alentejo. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, is currently in Portugal. Commenting on this project, he said: “This project is an excellent demonstration of how EU-supported investments can promote economic and social cohesion across Europe. I am delighted to be present in Portugal to see first-hand the positive impact of investments which support jobs and growth where they are most needed.”This investment will boost the company’s innovation capacity, allowing it to produce metallic components for the next generation of Embraer jets, more resource efficient. 100% of the site’s production will be exported. “Each EU region has competitive assets, including low-income and low-growth regions. The EU helps them unlock their innovation potential and enter global value chains with Cohesion Policy investments and tailored support – this is smart specialisation in action,” said Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu. The project will indeed contribute to the development of an emerging aerospace cluster in the region and create 200 direct jobs in the first years of its implementation. More information on the European Structural and Investment Fund in Portugal can be found here and on the Cohesion Open Data Platform.
Innovation: Europe is on right track but significant differences still exist among Member States
The EU is catching up with Canada and the US in terms of innovation performance, while the situation within Europe presents a more mixed picture, with innovation improving in 15 out of 28 Member States last year. These are some of the findings of the 2017 annual Innovation Scoreboard, which pit Sweden, followed by Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany as the leaders in innovation in Europe. The fastest growing innovators last year were Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria and the UK. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “EU industry continues to innovate, but we are still lagging behind global innovation leaders. In times of globalisation and rapid technology changes, innovation remains essential for the prosperity of our citizens and the wider European economy. The Commission’s Start-up and Scale-up Initiative and New Skills Agenda aim to further improve an ecosystem for innovation to thrive.” Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, added: “The Scoreboard shows that still more can be done to improve research and innovation performance. That’s why we’re gearing up support to breakthrough innovators through the pilot European Innovation Council under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme.”The 2017 Scoreboard also confirms that countries that perform well overall also tend to do well in specific areas of innovation, showing that a balanced innovation system – with sufficient investments, developed human resources and a supportive research and innovation environment – is the key to perform well across all dimensions. The Scoreboard also includes a regional innovation analysis, which shows that new regional innovative hubs are also on the rise in places like Prague, Bratislava or the Basque Country. A press release and MEMO are available online.
EUROSTAT; Structure of government debt in 2016-Debt mainly held by non-residents in half of the EU Member States-Long-term initial maturities largely prevail across Member States
Significant differences can be observed across the European Union (EU) regarding the sector in which government debt is held. Among Member States for which data are available, the share of public debt held by non-residents in 2016 was highest in Cyprus (79%), followed by Latvia (72%), Austria (71%), Finland (70%) and Lithuania (69%). More information here
Integration: New Skills Profile tool to help non-EU nationals enter the labour market
On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, the European Commission is today releasing the ‘EU Skills Profile Tool for Third-Country Nationals’. It is an off – and online web editor that will make it possible for non-EU nationals to present their skills, qualifications, and experiences in a way that is well understood by employers, education and training providers and organisations working with migrants across the whole European Union. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: “In today’s world of work we need everyone to be able to fully use their skills in our labour markets. The talents of non-EU nationals cannot be wasted. Our ‘Skills Profile Tool’ will facilitate their pathway towards work. It will also allow national administrations to have a clear understanding of their skills and qualifications. This is a win-win for all.” Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “Migrants come with their own experience, talents and skills that can be real assets for our economies and societies. Successful integration is key if we want to turn migration into an opportunity for everyone involved. Our ‘Skills Profile’ will shorten the journey for newly arrived non-EU nationals to employment by making their individual skills sets visible.” The Skills Profile Tool will be a first instrument for reception centres, integration services, public employment services and other organisations offering services to non-EU nationals to make sure their skills and education are recognised, and to further guide them to training, education or employment. In addition to giving an overview of a non-EU national’s skills profile – comparable with a CV – the tool helps migration organisations to identify individuals’ specific needs for integration into the labour market. Ultimately this will simplify the process of matching jobseekers to vacancies. The Skills Profile Tool is part of one of the ten actions defined under the New Skills Agenda for Europe. Commissioners Thyssen and Avramopoulos will give a press statement to present the tool around 12:30 today, which can be followed live on EbS. More information can be found in the press release and memo online.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over RatePAY by Advent and Bain Capital
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over RatePAY GmbH of Germany by Advent International Corporation and Bain Capital Investors L.L.C., both of the US. RatePAY provides online payment services to merchants, primarily in Germany. Advent and Bain Capital are private equity investors. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies’ combined market shares remain very limited on the markets concerned. 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.8479.
Mergers: Commission clears joint venture by NIPIgaspererabotka, TechnipFMC and Linde
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by NIPIgaspererabotka JSC of the Russian Federation, TechnipFMC plc of the UK and Linde AG of Germany. The joint venture will be active in the provision of front-end engineering and design, project documentation and capital expenditures estimates, as well as engineering and services for procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of liquid natural gas plants on concrete gravity-based structures. NIPIgaspererabotka, controlled by SIBUR group, provides services for the oil and gas chain, petrochemicals and other industries on the Russian market. TechnipFMC offers services related to the oil and gas industry. Linde is active globally in industrial and medical gases, equipment, engineering and services sectors. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as the joint venture will only operate in Russia. 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.8497.
Concentrations: la Commission Européenne autorise l’acquisition de Kerneos par Imerys
La Commission Européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l’acquisition de Kerneos SA par Imerys SA, toutes deux des entreprises françaises. Kerneos est un producteur et fournisseur au niveau mondial de ciments spéciaux. Imerys est une entreprise multinationale active dans l’industrie minière et la transformation de minerais. La transaction créera un lien vertical entre les activités de Kerneos dans le domaine des ciments d’aluminate de calcium et celles d’Imerys dans le domaine des réfractaires monolithiques acides. La Commission a conclu que l’opération envisagée n’entraînerait pas de problèmes de concurrence, car (i) elle ne donnera pas à Imerys la capacité ou des incitations suffisantes à s’engager dans des stratégies de verrouillage dans les marchés de ciment d’aluminate de calcium ou de réfractaires monolithiques acides; et (ii) elle ne créera pas d’effets congloméraux dans les minerais industriels pour les produits réfractaires ou les applications de chimie du bâtiment. L’opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure normale d’examen des concentrations. Des 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.8360.
Joint Statement on World Refugee Day
On the occasion of World Refugee Day, First Vice President Timmermans, High Representative/ Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioners Hahn, Mimica, Avramopoulos and Stylianides, made the following statement: “As we mark 60 years of European unity, let us not forget that only a few generations ago many of us in Europe were refugees too. […] Today around the world more than 65 million people are forced to leave their homes due to conflicts and violence, natural disasters or the very real consequences of climate change. […] As the leading global aid donor, the EU is providing humanitarian assistance and long-term support to refugees and internally displaced people. […] The European Union has mobilised almost €10 billion to support people who have fled the war in Syria. […] Along the migratory routes, we are working with urgency to save people’s lives, fighting the smuggling networks, and conducting search and rescue operations at sea. […] Many have fled conflict and terror; others were born in displacement and know only the life of being a refugee. The most vulnerable of all are children – and the European Union provides millions of them with education, healthcare and protection. In 2016, EU Member States have granted protection to more than 700,000 asylum seekers. […] While improving the living conditions of refugees in Europe, we are working together with our Member States on establishing more legal and safe pathways in order to replace dangerous and irregular smuggling routes. More than 16,400 people in need of international protection have already been resettled to the European Union since July 2015. […] Global action by the international community is needed. Only by sharing this responsibility can we uphold the safety, dignity and human rights of refugees, and give not only a shelter but a chance for a future to those who need it most. It is a moral duty, and the best investment we can make in our own security and stability.” Please see the entire statement here.
EU Syria Trust Fund: new assistance package to support Syrian refugees and host communities crosses €1 billion mark
The EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis adopted new projects worth €275 million that will support refugees and their overstretched host communities in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, the Western Balkans, and Armenia. Projects will focus on education, health care, support of local community, social inclusion, gender equality. The newly adopted assistance package brings the current overall volume of the EU Trust Fund up to over €1 billion which was the goal set by President Juncker on 23 September 2015 at the Informal meeting of the European Council on migration and in the Communication on Managing the Refugee Crisis. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini said: “We are giving a lifeline to millions of Syrians inside the country and across the region, helping create a future for Syrian refugees and host communities. By enabling girls and boys to access quality education, we are helping to prevent a lost generation of children whose lives have been devastated by the Syrian conflict […]”. EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented: “Thanks to the EU Trust Fund, children in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are able to go to school and have access to safe spaces for non-formal education, protection and psycho-social care. […] The EU will continue to respond to the needs arising from the Syria conflict, as testified by the fact that more than €1 billion is being channelled to improve lives via this Trust Fund”. The full press release is available online as well as the dedicated factsheet.
European Sustainable Energy Week 2017 for more clean energy for all Europeans
The European Sustainable Energy Week 2017 is coming back to Brusselsfor its 12th edition, with a Policy Conference taking place from 20-22 June. The event is organised annually by the European Commission and the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to discuss clean, secure and efficient energy. Commissioner Arias Cañete opened the event this morning and discussed the latest developments regarding the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, as well as how Europe will shape a sustainable, energy-secure and climate-resilient growth. In the evening of Tuesday 20 June (18:00-19:30 CET), a ceremony will take place to reward the best European success stories in clean, secure and efficient energy in the categories of businesses, the public sector, consumers, and the new category of energy islands. A prize voted on by European citizens will also be awarded. On Thursday (9:00-10:30 CET) Vice-President in charge of Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will discuss financing energy efficiency investments. The EU Sustainable Energy Awards competition recognises projects helping to achieve EU energy goals, while hundreds of Energy Days events are also taking place across Europe throughout May and June to engage citizens and energy stakeholders. These public events involve exhibitions, workshops, educational events and more. The High Level Policy Conference opening session with Commissioner Arias Cañete takes place in the Charlemagne Building and is open to media. Please see the full agenda of the European Sustainable Energy Week on the EUSEW website. Follow on twitter via #EUSEW17.
European Fiscal Board publishes first report on euro area fiscal stance
Today, the European Fiscal Board (EFB) publishes its assessment of the prospective fiscal stance appropriate for the euro area in 2018. This report was prepared in line with the Commission decision (EU) 2015/1937 establishing an independent advisory European Fiscal Board which requires the Board to advise the Commission on the euro area fiscal stance, among other tasks. Following the Five Presidents’ Report on completing the Economic and Monetary Union, the Commission decided in October 2015 to set up the European Fiscal Board as an independent advisory body for fiscal matters. The board’s role is to evaluate the implementation of EU fiscal rules, to advise the Commission on the fiscal stance appropriate for the euro area and to cooperate with Member States’ national fiscal councils. Upon request, the board may provide ad-hoc advice on fiscal policy matters to the Commission. The European Fiscal Board consists of a Chair and four Members, and is supported by a secretariat.
Commissioner Andriukaitis visits the United States on 20-23 June
On June 20-23 EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis will be in Washington DC for meetings which will cover the cooperation between the European Union and the United States in trade and Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary related issues, antimicrobial resistance, food waste, food safety and global health challenges, among others. On the first day, Commissioner Andriukaitis will visit the World Resource Institute to present and discuss the EU actions in the field of Food Waste and the progress towards the Sustainable Development goal 12.3. He will meet with representatives of several U.S. animal welfare organizations, with U.S. consumer groups, U.S. food industry representatives and U.S. importers. On June 21, Commissioner Andriukaitis will meet the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, as well as other U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials. On June 22, he will present the EU actions in combatting antimicrobial resistance at the event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). On the same day Commissioner Andriukaitis will meet with Thomas E. Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, to discuss global health challenges and the future cooperation between the EU and the U.S. A meeting with the World Bank Group will also take place. Ahead of the visit Commissioner Andriukaitis said: “Today we are facing many challenges that cannot be tackled by countries or parts of the world alone. Antimicrobial resistance , health threats, pandemics are examples of these challenges and I am looking forward to discussing with my US counterparts how we can deal with them together as partners.”
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