PRESIDENT JUNCKER AND COMMISSIONER MALMSTRÖM AT THE 12TH EU-CHINA BUSINESS SUMMIT
This morning, President Juncker and Commissioner Malmström spoke at the 12th EU-China Business Summit, an event that provides an opportunity for EU and Chinese leaders to exchange views with representatives of the business community on economic relations between the European Union and China and on the challenges that remain. In his keynote speech, President Juncker said: “Our relationship is founded on a shared commitment to openness and working together as part of a rules-based international system. I am glad that we can meet here today and say this, loud and clear. It is one that recognises that together we can promote prosperity and sustainability at home and abroad. We applaud the ambition of China’s reform path. We recognise that reforms have been made and that plans have been established. But we would like to see implementation speed up – so that your policies are in line with your world vision.” In her speech, Commissioner Malmström stressed that: “Sound economic development, trade and investment also require respect for the rule of law, with independent lawyers and judges who can operate freely and independently. To conduct business — and for their daily lives — people need to be able to access free and independent information, communicate and discuss. This is a fundamental human right which also applies in the age of the internet. Limits to online freedom also affect peoples’ lives and the business climate.” The Business Summit took place in the sidelines of the 19th Summit between the European Union and the People’s Republic of China, which is currently ongoing. A signing ceremony will take place at 12:30 followed by a press conference at 12:40. A press release summarising the Summit’s deliverables will be available here this afternoon. Coverage is available live on EbS. For more information on EU-China relations, read the factsheet or consult the memo.
JUNCKER PLAN BACKS SOCIAL INVESTMENTS: EUR 10 MILLION AGREEMENT TO SUPPORT MIGRANTS IN FINLAND
The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”, has backed a European Investment Fund (EIF) agreement with Epiqus, a Finnish fund manager that specialises in social impact investments, and the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs. The agreement will see EUR 10 million to support the integration of between 2,500 and 3,700 migrants and refugees into the Finnish labour market through the provision of training and job-matching assistance. This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, participated in the signature ceremony to mark the transaction. He said: “The Investment Plan for Europe and the European Fund for Strategic Investments included in it are innovative tools to get investment moving in Europe. Today’s contract is indicative of the growing role of EFSI in promoting societal projects, in this case concerned with the integration and employment of immigrants. The project is the first of its kind in Europe, and we will follow its impact very closely as we hope it may serve as a model for others. I wish the best success to all who benefit from the education, training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities offered by the project.” The Juncker Plan is now expected to trigger over EUR 4.4 billion in investments in Finland and EUR 194 billion across Europe. As of May 2017, EUR 1.3 billion in approved EFSI financing in the social sector is expected to mobilise EUR 7.8 billion in investments. For the latest figures country-by-country, see here. A full press release is available here.
COMMISSION SUPPORT FROM GLOBALISATION FUND FOR FORMER COAL MINERS IN SPAIN
The European Commission has proposed to provide Spain with €1 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help dismissed coal miners and young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) in the Spanish region Castilla y León to find new jobs. Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: “The Globalisation Adjustment Fund provides support to workers falling victim to mass lay-offs caused by globalisation or the crisis. Today’s decision will help to prepare the former miners and young people in the region for new job opportunities. By helping workers and young people in vulnerable labour force segments to adapt to changing patterns in the labour market, the EU is showing solidarity, making sure that nobody is left behind. This is also important for businesses, as improving skills and employability of workers creates a more dynamic and competitive European economy.” Spain applied for support from the EGF following the dismissal of 339 coal workers in five coal mines in the Spanish region of Castilla y León. The measures co-financed by the EGF would aim at providing them with employment guidance and counselling; general training, re-training and vocational training; intensive job-search assistance; promotion of entrepreneurship and support for business start-up; as well as various types of incentives, contributions and allowances. The total estimated cost of the package is €1.6 million, of which the EGF would provide one million. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for approval.
MERGERS: COMMISSION CLEARS ACQUISITION OF JOINT CONTROL BY LGP AND OMERS OVER CCC
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control by Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (LGP) of the US and OMERS Group of Canada over the American company Caliber Collision Centers (CCC). CCC operates a network of automobile collision repair centres in the USA. LGP is a private equity investment firm focused on retail, consumer, healthcare, wellness, business, consumer services and distribution. OMERS is the administrator of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System Primary Pension Plan in Canada. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as CCC has no current or foreseen business activities or revenues in the European Economic Area. 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.8477.
MERGERS: COMMISSION CLEARS ACQUISITION OF JOINT CONTROL OF THE SHAWBROOK GROUP BY BC PARTNERS AND POLLEN STREET CAPITAL
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Shawbrook Group Plc by BC Partner LLP and Pollen Street Capital Ltd. All three companies are based in the UK. Shawbrook is a specialist UK lending and savings bank. BC Partners is a private equity firm focusing on the European and North American markets. Pollen Street is also a private equity firm focussed on investing in businesses in the financial services sector in Europe. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the companies’ moderate combined market shares, the very limited overlaps between the activities of the companies, as well as their limited vertical relationships in the markets for consumer lending. 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.8471.
COMPETITION: COMMISSION LAUNCHES COOPERATION PROGRAMME WITH COMPETITION AUTHORITIES IN ASIA
The European Commission is launching a €5 million programme offering technical cooperation to competition authorities in Asia. The objective is to exchange experiences and strengthen convergence in competition policy, to the benefit of citizens and businesses on both in the EU and in Asia.The cooperation programme will provide the financial and logistic platform for high-level technical exchanges between competition authorities from the European Commission, EU Members States and a number of countries in Asia, including China, India, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). The programme is due to start its activities in the third quarter of 2017 and will run for five years. It will cover all areas of competition law, including antitrust, cartels, merger review and State aid control. The programme will offer activities such as EU competition weeks held in Asian partner countries, competition summer schools in the EU, and visits to the Commission’s Directorate General for Competition and national competition authorities in the EU Member States. The programme will be funded by the Partnership Instrument, which funds projects that enable the European Union to take part in shaping global change and promote its fundamental values, and managed by the Commission.
EU-AFRICAN UNION JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT
The European Union and the African Union reaffirm their strong commitment to full implementation of the Paris agreement, and call on all partners to keep up the momentum created in 2015. Ahead of the COP23 in November they pledge to work together to finalise the Paris Agreement work programme. Climate change and renewable energy will figure on the agenda of the upcoming Africa-EU Summit in Abidjan on 29/30 November. This will be an opportunity to confirm the strong solidarity with those most vulnerable to climate change and the determination to work together to build strong and sustainable economies and societies resilient to climate change. The European Union and the African Union reaffirm their commitment to continuing to address the adverse effects of climate change on human and animal health, natural ecosystems and other social and economic impacts that threaten our developmental gains as a global community. The statement is available here.
CONFERENCE “AN ACTION PLAN FOR NATURE, PEOPLE AND THE ECONOMY”, 6 JUNE
On Monday 6 June, the Commission is co-hosting, with the Committee of the Regions and the Maltese Presidency of the Council, a conference to present the recently adopted Action Plan for nature, people and the economy. First Vice-President Timmermans, Vice-President Katainen and Commissioner Vella will open the debate and will discuss how the newly adopted Action Plan will improve the implementation of EU nature legislation on the ground. First Vice- President Timmermans said: “Europe is moving from a ‘you only live once’ society to a ‘we only have one world’ society. By investing in nature we are investing in ourselves and our children. Together with stakeholders we will improve the implementation of our EU nature legislation so we can grow our economies, secure our environment and lead by example.” European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “In order to ensure the success of the Action Plan for nature people and the economy, it is crucial to engage with all relevant stakeholders, in particular local and regional authorities. I look forward to participating in this conference, which represents an excellent opportunity to do just that.”Commissioner Vella said: “With the help of local and regional actors we have today an ambitious Action Plan to help protect our natural resources for a more resilient economy and local communities. There is definitely plenty of work ahead. After 25 years of Natura 2000, we have a very solid foundation. But we need to push on.” The Action Plan follows up the Fitness Check of the Nature Directives which showed that while the Nature Directives were fit for purpose, implementation needs to be improved, to take account of the concerns of local and regional authorities. The discussions of the conference will focus on the 15 actions outlined in the Action Plan and will emphasise the attraction for investment in nature. If EU rules are properly implemented, protected areas could yield substantial economic benefits for local communities through tourism, cleaner water, pollination or climate mitigation. The conference can be followed live here.
VICE-PRESIDENT ŠEFČOVIČ IN CHINA FOR MISSION INNOVATION AND CLEAN ENERGY MINISTERIAL MEETINGS
On 6-8 June Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will be travelling to China to co-chair the second Mission Innovation ministerial. Back-to-back with the Clean Energy Ministerial, both International fora offer a robust platform for respectively accelerating clean energy innovation and facilitating its uptake by a global market. Vice-President Šefčovič will hold a series of bilateral meetings i.a. with the Canadian Minister of Natural Resources James Gordon Carr, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and the Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang. Together with Swedish Minister for Energy Ibrahim Baylan, Vice-President Šefčovič will announce the launch of next year’s Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial meetings in Europe. Together with former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, he will speak at the high-level dialogue on the collective role that cities and local governments can play through organisations such as the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and attends public private roundtable aiming at accelerating innovation in clean energy technology through public and private collaboration. Ahead of the visit, Vice-President Šefčovič said: “The global clean energy transition is ongoing and irreversible. The EU-China Summit shows the global lead taken by both the EU and China on climate action. The Paris agreement is an unprecedented success of multilateral partnership between countries across the world. Mission Innovation and the Clean Energy Ministerial are key to reach the goals of Paris and reap the benefits of the clean energy transition. The world can count on Europe to maintain its leadership in providing a global response to climate change and accelerating the pace of clean energy innovation worldwide”. The EU joined the Mission Innovation in 2016, see more information here.
VICE-PRESIDENT DOMBROVSKIS IN RIGA
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 Riga, Latvia, on Monday. He will hold a number of meetings related to economic and financial affairs as well as deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Vice-President Dombrovskis will meet the European Affairs Committee as well as the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee of the Latvian Parliament. On Monday, following a working lunch with the Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, Vice-President Dombrovskis will meet the Association of Latvian Commercial Banksto discuss the public consultation on FinTech, as well as the board members of the non-governmental organisation Foreign Investors’ Council in Latvia (FICIL).
DAILY NEWS 02 – 06 -2017