PRESIDENT JUNCKER’S SPEECH AT THE “SOCIAL PARTNERS AND EMPLOYERS IN DIALOGUE” EVENT IN BERLIN
President Juncker was in Berlin yesterday at the “Social partners and employers in dialogue” event hosted by the Confederation of German Employers’ Association, during which he recalled historical achievements of the EU, notably the single currency, the internal market and peace in Europe: “It is one of the great European successes that we, not the leaders of nations but the nations themselves, have managed to ensure a lasting peace in Europe“. President Juncker also spoke about the European Union’s future and its current challenges. Speaking of the Paris Climate agreement and EU’s commitment to the climate goals, he reiterated that the Paris Agreement is an international treaty with legal obligations: “It’s not just about the future of humanity in Europe; above all it’s about the future of people elsewhere. 83 countries are at risk of disappearing from the map as sea levels rise, if we are not resolute in initiating the fight against climate change”. Speaking of the potential of a digital single market in the EU, President Juncker highlighted that “The future is digital, and we must recognise that and we must move in that direction”. He also called for a more efficient defence spending in the EU: “178 weapons systems in Europe – 30 weapons systems in the USA. For a Europe of defence, we must advance something more rational”. The full speech is available here,
EU ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN GREENLAND
Today, Commissioner Neven Mimica, in charge of International Cooperation and Development, announced new support to Greenland. This support package of €31.6 million, aimed at the education sector, was signed by the Commissioner and the Premier of Greenland, Mr. Kim Kielsen, during an official visit to Nuuk. The European Union remains committed to supporting Greenland’s sustainable development, in particular by strengthening its education and vocational training. Commissioner Mimica said: “Education and vocational training are essential ingredients for the diversification of Greenland’s economy and the welfare of its people. Through this support of €31.6 million, we will help Greenland to reach concrete results in terms of a better and more highly-educated population and a better-skilled labour force.“Quality education is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as it helps to reduce inequalities and empowers people to live more healthy and sustainable lives. The EU support to Greenland is targeting the education sector, notably by supporting Greenland’s Education Programme. It is one of the most important education programmes that the EU supports beyond its borders.
ANTITRUST: COMMISSION OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO GAS EXPORT RESTRICTIONS FROM ROMANIA
The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether Romania’s gas transmission system operator Transgaz has been hindering gas exports from Romania to other EU Member States. The Commission will investigate whether Transgaz has abused a dominant market position in breach of EU rules. The Commission’s antitrust investigation will focus on indications that Transgaz has devised a strategy to restrict gas exports from Romania to other Member States. Transgaz’s behaviour, if established, could lead to higher prices and less secure supplies of natural gas by decreasing liquidity on wholesale gas markets in Romania. This behaviour could ultimately harm EU consumers and run counter to the Energy Union objectives of greater integration and increased security of supply in European energy markets. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The Commission is determined to ensure that consumers throughout the EU enjoy secure energy supplies at affordable prices. An integrated and competitive single European energy market is essential in this regard. We therefore need to investigate whether Transgaz has been abusing its dominant position by isolating the Romanian gas market and preventing its integration into the European gas network.” A full press release is available online in here
MERGERS: COMMISSION CLEARS ACQUISITION OF BAKER HUGHES BY GENERAL ELECTRIC
The European Commission has cleared unconditionally under the Merger Regulation the acquisition of Baker Hughes Incorporated by General Electric Company, both of the U.S. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not adversely affect competition in the relevant markets. In particular, the Commission investigated the following markets where the products of both companies compete: (i) onshore electrical submersible pumps used to pump fluids from the wells to the surface, (ii) offshore electrical submersible pumps, and (iii) chemicals used in the refining and petrochemicals industry. The investigation also looked at a number of markets on sensors used in drilling and wireline applications, where GE supplies Baker Hughes and its competitors. The Commission found no competition concerns in relation to other markets where both are active – such as inline inspection services and permanent downhole gauges – or in relation to other vertical relationships. The Commission thus concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise any competition concerns. A full press release is available online here
STATEMENT BY THE HIGH REPRESENTATIVE/VICE-PRESIDENT FEDERICA MOGHERINI AND COMMISSIONER JOHANNES HAHN ON THE ELECTION OF THE NEW GOVERNMENT OF THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
The High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn have issued a statement on the on the election of the new government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. “We welcome the vote for the new government led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. The European Union is ready to support the work that the new government, as well as the opposition, will do to constructively implement all parts of the Pržino agreement and the Urgent Reform Priorities We expect all parliamentary parties to put their divisions aside now and work jointly on delivering, from the outset, on a common reform agenda that would benefit the country in its entirety. This is also essential to bring the country back on its European integration path, a process that the citizens clearly want and deserve.”
STATEMENT ON AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE BETWEEN COMMISSIONER VESTAGER AND ITALIAN AUTHORITIES ON MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA (MPS)
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has reached an agreement in principle with Pier Carlo Padoan, the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, on the restructuring plan of Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) to enable the precautionary recapitalisation of the bank in line with EU rules. This follows intensive and constructive contacts between the Commission, the European Central Bank in its supervisory capacity and the Italian authorities. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “This solution is a positive step forward for MPS and the Italian banking sector. It would allow Italy to inject capital into MPS as a precaution, in line with EU rules, whilst limiting the burden on Italian taxpayers. MPS will undergo deep restructuring to ensure its viability, including by cleaning its balance sheet from non-performing loans. I hope this will enable MPS to focus on lending to the Italian businesses and support the Italian economy.” Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, in charge of financial stability, said: “I am glad that together with the Italian authorities and following close cooperation with the SSM we found a way forward for MPS while respecting the Banking Union rules to safeguard financial stability and limit costs for taxpayers.” This agreement in principle is conditional on the parallel confirmation by the ECB in its supervisory capacity that MPS is solvent and meets capital requirements and on Italy obtaining a formal confirmation from private investors that they will purchase the non-performing loans portfolio. The Commission services will now engage with Italy on finalising the details of MPS’s final restructuring plan. Italy will need to notify this final restructuring plan, including the commitments by the Italian authorities on how to implement the plan. On this basis, the Commission will adopt its formal decision under EU State aid rules. The full statement is available online.
DEVELOPMENT DAYS TO BE HELD IN BRUSSELS ON 7 JUNE – PRESS ACCREDITATION STILL OPENED
The 11th edition of the European Development Days, Europe’s leading forum on Development Cooperation, will take place on 7-8 June in Brussels. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will open the conference. The two-days event will feature high-level speakers, including representatives from European and International institutions, as well as several Heads of State or Government from European Member-States and partner countries. This year, the European Development Days will focus on the theme “Investing in Development”. The conference will bring over 6,000 participants and experts from the international development community to form and exchange opinions on the future of global development. It will also feature the signing of the European Consensus on Development, a joint strategic document on the future of European development cooperation, agreed by all European institutions and all EU Member States. On this occasion, President Juncker stressed: “Europe is the smallest continent, but it is also the richest. And as the richest, we have to help others not so fortunate in the lottery of birth to catch up. Development aid is a word of the past. It is about partnership, not aid. And it is time we invested more in that partnership.” For journalists’ accreditation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
VICE-PRESIDENTDOMBROVSKIS: EUROPEAN SEMESTER VISIT TO SOFIA
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, will be in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Friday. He will hold a number of meetings related to economic and social affairs in the context of the European Semester of economic policy coordination. Vice-President Dombrovskis will meet the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Biser Petkov as well as Dimitar Radev, Governor of the Bulgarian National Bank. On Friday, the Vice-President will deliver a speech and participate at the high-level policy discussion at the “Presentation of the Country-Specific Recommendations for Bulgaria in the Framework of the European Semester 2017” organised by the Commission Representation in Sofia. The visit to Bulgaria is part of the regular dialogue with Member States on topical economic and social issues in the context of the European Semester.
COMMISSIONER KING IN HELSINKI AND STOCKHOLM
Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will be in Helsinki today and Stockholm tomorrow to discuss issues related to security; in particular the importance of strengthening EU-wide data systems and interoperability as well as cybersecurity, counter-terrorism and radicalisation. In Helsinki he will meet Ms Paula Risikko, Finnish Minister of the Interior, and Mr Jori Arvonen, Under Secretary of State for EU Affairs, at the Office of the Prime Minister to discuss the new European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. Later in the day, Commissioner King will visit the Finnish Cybercrime Centre. A press conference with Minister Risikko will take place at 16:00 today. In Stockholm, Commissioner King will meet Mr Anders Ygeman, Swedish Minister for Home Affairs, to address issues related to cybersecurity and interoperability. He will also pay a visit the Swedish Parliament and later in the day meet, amongst others, State Secretary Mr Per Olsson Fridh and Ms Anna Carlstedt, the National Coordinator against violent extremism, to discuss issues around radicalisation.
DAILY NEWS 01 – 06 -2017