Commission implements 2018 Work Programme commitment to withdraw 15 pending legislative proposals
Following its announcement in the 2018 Commission Work Programme, the Commission today formally withdrew 15 pending legislative proposals, after consulting Parliament and Council. In line with the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making and the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission, the reason for each withdrawal was set out in Annex IV of the Commission Work Programme 2018. The Commission responded in May to the observations made by the Parliament. This annual exercise allows the co-legislators to focus their attention on the priority files that have a realistic chance of making progress, in line with the Joint Declarations on legislative priorities.
Eurostat: Volume of retail trade unchanged in euro area
In May 2018 compared with April 2018, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade did not change in the euro area (EA19) and increased by 0.3% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In April, the retail trade volume decreased by 0.1% in the euro area and increased by 0.3% in the EU28. In May 2018 compared with May 2017 the calendar adjusted retail sales index increased by 1.4% in the euro area and by 2.3% in the EU28. More information here
Commission and World Bank put forward solutions to make life easier for businesses in the EU
Today the Commission and the World Bank are publishing Doing Business in the European Union, a new report assessing what supports or hinders entrepreneurs in setting up and expanding businesses in 25 cities in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Slovakia. The report identifies solutions to improve local business environments and save time and costs for companies in 5 key areas: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; enforcing contracts; getting electricity; and registering property. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “This report shows how to make the life of businesses and entrepreneurs easier. The future Cohesion Policy for 2021-2027 will continue to support Member States’ efforts to make EU regions more attractive places to work and invest in.” Indeed, the Commission has been working closely with national and regional authorities, in the context of Cohesion Policy, to improve the way they invest EU funds and to set the right conditions for growth and job creation. Under the Catching up initiative, the Commission, in partnership with the World Bank, provides tailored support to a number of low-growth and low-income regions to guide structural reforms that can help EU and national investments unleash their full potential and attract more private capital. This publication is the second in a series of report on business environments in the EU; most EU Member States should be covered by these reports in the future. For more information: see the World Bank press release
Nuclear safety: Comprehensive risk and safety assessments of the Belarus nuclear power plant completed
The Peer Review Report of the EU Stress Test in Belarus has been presented today. The review has been carried out by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group. The Commission welcomes the completion of this work and looks forward to the next phase of the process and continue working on the proper implementation of the findings. Nuclear safety is paramount in the European Union, and even more so when new facilities are being built and operating on the EU borders. The Commission has continually expressed its readiness to work with and support any non EU country to undertake a comprehensive peer review process and this support has been extended to Belarus. The full Peer Review Report will be published tomorrow Wednesday. A full press release is available online.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of GlobalLogic by Partners Group and CPPIB
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over GlobalLogic Holdings Limited of the US by Partners Group AG of Switzerland and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (“CPPIB”) of Canada. GlobalLogic provides outsourced software development and related consultancy services to a variety of sectors. Partners Group is a global private markets and investment management company. CPPIB is a professional investment management organisation that invests assets transferred to it by the Canadian Pension Plan. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the limited overlap between the companies’ activities. 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.8972.
President Juncker to the European Parliament on occasion of the start of the Austrian Council presidency
Austria took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July, and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz presented the country’s programme of activities to the Plenary of the European Parliament on Tuesday, 3 July. On the occasion, President Juncker welcomed the Austrian presidency in his keynote speech, and said: “I look forward to this Austrian Presidency […] I have known Sebastian Kurz for many years and I know that he is led by European convictions. The same is true for the Austrian Federal Government. […] The government program of the Austrian Federal Government has a clear pro-European tonality.” “[…] We will have to work together a lot. The Commission’s offer is that we do this in friendship and in mutual understanding, and I am convinced that we will succeed,” President Juncker continued, as he highlighted the Commission would propose strengthening the European border and coast guard in September. He also said that he would like to see the conclusion of the reform of the Common European Asylum System by the end of the year. President Juncker also pleaded for a consistent focus of the Austrian Presidency on the advancement of the next multiannual financial framework. In this context, he said: “If we finish too late and are not ready on 1 January 2019, we lose thousands of research grants in Europe and we will not be able to support tens of thousands of students and teachers with the Erasmus program.”The debate with MEPs was followed by a joint press conference by Presidents Juncker and Tajani with Austrian Chancellor Kurz. President Juncker and the College of Commissioners will pay an official visit to Vienna at the end of this week. The keynote speech by President Juncker is available online and can be watched on EbS.