05 Jun 2018


Brussels, Brussels Daily


President Jean-Claude Juncker at the Brussels Economic Forum

This morning, President Juncker delivered the 7th annual Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa Lecture at the Brussels Economic Forum, entitled: “Protection, prosperity, progress: A stronger euro for a stronger Europe”. Following the 20th anniversary of the European Central Bank, President Juncker referred to the 340 million Europeans who use the euro every day, the fact that the euro area will soon represent 85% of the overall gross domestic product of the entire European Union, and that across the world, the euro is now the second most used reserve currency, with 60 countries now linking their currencies to the euro in one way or another. “We should never underestimate how far the euro has come” President Juncker said. With reference to the global financial and economic crisis, President Juncker emphasised the priority the Commission has placed on jobs and growth, launching the Investment Plan for Europe, making full use of the flexibility within the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact, supporting young people to get into work via the Youth Guarantee, and strengthening the Single Market and the digital economy. Looking ahead, President Juncker underlined that we need to make sure that our recovery benefits everyone: “Some say this is a matter for national governments or for social partners alone. I say this is a matter for everyone in Europe” he said, “this is why we made it a priority to strengthen Europe’s social dimension as much as its economic dimension”. In this regard, President Juncker welcomed the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights by all leaders and institutions last November in Gothenburg, as well as the agreement on Posted Workers. He called for further progress in the months to come on the Commission’s proposals on fair and transparent working conditions and on work-life balance, as well as on the proposal for a new European Labour Authority. Looking to the Economic and Monetary Union, the architecture of which is much more robust than ever before, he said, adding that “the job is not complete. We cannot be complacent about what remains to be done”. This includes completing the EMU, the Banking Union, ensuring that the European Stability Mechanism plays the role of a common backstop, and reaching an agreement on the next long-term EU budget. “We must never lose sight of what it is the Economic and Monetary Union stands for, and how it must continue to offer protection, prosperity and progress to all Europeans.” President Juncker concluded. The full speech is available here. 


Competition: Commission agrees framework for dialogue on competition policy issues with Mexico

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, and Chairwoman Alejandra Palacios of Mexico’s competition authority COFECE signed yesterday in Brussels a cooperation arrangement between the two competition authorities. The arrangement between the EU’s and Mexico’s competition authorities provides a framework for dialogue on competition policy issues and for sharing views, as well as non-confidential information on individual cases. In particular, the arrangement provides for: i) the exchange of information on competition laws and policies, on multilateral initiatives and advocacy efforts; ii) coordination of the enforcement activities of the two competition authorities when working on the same or related matters; iii) the possibility for one of the two competition authorities to refer a case to the other, if it involves anti-competitive practices carried out in the latter’s territory; iv) cooperation on technical matters, for instance through training or exchange of officials. The signing of this framework for a dialogue on competition policy issues reflects the ambition of enhanced cooperation on competition matters between the EU and Mexico, to the benefit of both. Commissioner Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said: “We can all benefit from working with other competition authorities to promote fair global competition. This new framework for dialogue will give further impetus to our excellent cooperation with Mexico’s competition authority. We have now formalised the basis for this cooperation and are committed to intensifying our ties, to the benefit of consumers and companies in Mexico and the EU.” A full press release is available in here


Eurostat: Volume of retail trade up by 0.1% in euro area

In April 2018 compared with March 2018, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade increased by 0.1% in the euro area (EA19) and increased by 0.4% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In March, the retail trade volume increased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU28. In April 2018 compared with April 2017 the calendar adjusted retail sales index increased by 1.7% both in the euro area and in the EU28. A press release is available here.

 Security Union: Strengthening Europol’s cooperation with third countries to fight terrorism and serious organised crime

Yesterday, the Council approved the Commission’s proposal to strengthen Europol’s cooperation with third countries and fight terrorism and other serious transnational crime more effectively – an important deliverable under the anti-terrorism package presented by the Commission in October 2017. The negotiating mandates approved by the Council will allow the Commission to start talks with eight countries on behalf of the EU – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey – on the exchange of information, including personal data, with Europol. Commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “From the very beginning, I have worked towards strengthening Europol’s role both inside and outside the EU.  Terrorists and criminals act across borders not just in Europe but globally. We need to work closely with our neighbours and key partners to strengthen our global resilience in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, and contribute to a safer and more secure world for everyone.” Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King: “I welcome the decision by the Council to strengthen Europol’s cooperation with third countries. We need to give Europol the right tools and resources to protect Europeans, including exchange of key information with our neighbours. I am pleased to see that the EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers share this view.” When concluded, the agreements will provide a legal basis for the exchange of personal data between Europol and with the competent authorities of the eight countries for the purpose of preventing and combatting terrorism and serious organised crime. The agreements will establish adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals. The Commission recommended the Council authorise the opening of negotiations for these eight agreements on 20 December 2017. For more information please see the October 2017 press release on the anti-terrorism package.


Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of LifeScan by Platinum

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of control over LifeScan, Inc. by Platinum Equity, both of the US. LifeScan, currently part of Johnson&Johnson, provides blood glucose monitoring systems for home and hospital use under the global brand OneTouch. Platinum Equity is a private investment company, active in a wide range of businesses, including information technology, telecommunications, logistics, metal services, manufacturing and distribution. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the lack of horizontal overlaps and vertical relationships 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.8887.


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of TireHub by Goodyear and Bridgestone

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of the joint venture TireHub, LLC, by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (“Goodyear”) of the US and Bridgestone Corporation of Japan (“Bridgestone”). TireHub will combine the US tyre wholesale distribution businesses of Bridgestone and Goodyear to offer wholesale, distribution and delivery services to customers for a wide range of products and an expanded network of locations across the US. Goodyear is active in the manufacture and distribution of tyres and related products as well as services worldwide. Bridgestone is active in the manufacture and sale of tyres as well as rubber products worldwide. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because TireHub will only be active in the US. 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.8906.




Commission invites applications for new European Sustainability Award

The European Commission is launching today the first ever European Sustainability Award, to recognise the efforts and creativity of European people, businesses and organisations who work towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Award will champion inspiring initiatives which provide concrete solutions for achieving the Goals. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “The EU led the way in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals, and now we must lead the way in implementing them. This award will celebrate those that help to make it happen“. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen added: “Innovation and creativity are crucial elements of making the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for Europe and the world. I am pleased that we can draw attention to some of the great projects which are making a contribution.” Applications can be submitted until 14 September 2018 here. The winners of the award will be selected by a jury of members from the Commission’s Multi-Stakeholder Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals, and will be announced at a high-level ceremony in Spring 2019 by First Vice-President Timmermans and Vice-President Katainen.


Commissioner Navracsics to welcome Kosovo to the Erasmus+ and Creative Europe programmes

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of Kosovo, Kujtim Gashi and the Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Kosovo, Shyqiri Bytyqi will today sign an Agreement on Kosovo’s participation in the Erasmus+ and Creative Europe programmes. Ahead of the ceremony taking place in Brussels, Commissioner Navracsics said: “The participation of Kosovo in the Erasmus+ and Creative Europe programmes will further strengthen our cooperation in the fields of culture, education, youth and sport. I am particularly pleased that Kosovo joins at a time when we celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage.” The Agreement will have to be ratified by the Kosovar Parliament before applicants from Kosovo are eligible to participate in the 2018 Creative Europe calls for proposals. Kosovo is joining the Culture sub-programme and the cross-sectoral strand of Creative Europe. The Agreement marks an important step in the implementation of the EU strategy for “A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans”. Last week, the Commission presented its proposals to increase the budgets for both Erasmus+ and Creative Europe for 2012-2027.


First Vice-President Timmermans to visit Denmark

On Wednesday 6 June and Thursday 7 June, Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans will be in Denmark to meet with citizens, civil society and the Danish Government and Parliament. After his arrival in Copenhagen on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Timmermans will participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue co-hosted by the Danish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and the Commission Representation in Denmark, which can be followed online here at 17.30. On Thursday morning, the First Vice-President will attend the Danish Management Society Summit (VL) at Borreby Castle, where he takes part in a panel discussion on ‘The European Economy – A Powerhouse Going Forward?‘ and will discuss the circular economy in a meeting with Danish CEOs. On Thursday afternoon, the First Vice-President returns to Copenhagen, where he will meet Prime Minister Mr Lars Lokke Rasmussen, before concluding his visit with a meeting with members of the Danish Parliament’s European Affairs Committee.



Statement by Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, on the volcanic eruption in Guatemala

“The European Union expresses its solidarity with the people and authorities of Guatemala at this difficult time. Our thoughts are with all the victims and their families and those missing as well as with the brave first responders and the emergency services working day and night to save lives and search for survivors. The EU’s emergency Copernicus satellite mapping service has been activated to help with the search and rescue operations. The EU stands by the people of Guatemala and is ready to provide further assistance.” The statement is available online.

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