Brussels Daily
06 Jul 2017


Brussels Daily


EU and Japan announce agreement in principle on Economic Partnership Agreement

The EU and Japan have reached today an agreement in principle on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded by the EU (link to Joint Statement). Speaking following the 24th EU-Japan Summit held today in Brussels President Juncker said: “Together, we are sending a strong message to the world that we stand for open and fair trade. As far as we are concerned, there is no protection in protectionism. Only by working together will we be able to set global standards. This will be the message that the EU and Japan will bring together to the G20 tomorrow.” (link to speaking points (available after the press conference), press release and memo). As highlighted in the Joint Statement from the Summit, the leaders from the EU and Japan reached also today an agreement in principle on the Strategic Partnership Agreement which, once in force, will provide a framework for an even deeper and more strategic cooperation. The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will create new opportunities for European companies and jobs in many sectors. The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement is the first to include a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement, as part of a dedicated chapter on sustainable development. The Agreement sets the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection. More information about the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (link to the dedicated website with content of the agreement, infographics and factsheets. The EU and Japan leaders recognised also new opportunities to facilitate data exchanges, including through a simultaneous finding of an adequate level of protection by both sides.  [Joint Declaration].


President Juncker to attend G20 Summit in Hamburg

On Friday 7 July and Saturday 8 July, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, along with European Council President Donald Tusk, will represent the EU at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. The two Presidents sent a joint letter yesterday to EU Heads of State or Government on their priorities for the Summit, and will hold a joint press conference on Friday morning at 9:15 in the G20 press centre in Hamburg, which will be broadcast live on EbS. In the margins of the Summit, Presidents Juncker and Tusk will hold bilateral meetings on Saturday 8 July with Mr Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Prime Minister of Vietnam, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia and Mr Mauricio Macri, Prime Minister of Argentina, who takes over the rotating G20 Presidency from Germany later this year. President Juncker will also meet bilaterally with Russian President Vladimir Putin. More information about the EU’s participation in the G20 is available in this brochure.

Compliance with EU law: More progress by Member States needed in applying commonly agreed rules

Today’s 34th Annual report on monitoring the application of EU law sets outhow the Commission monitored and enforced EU rules in 2016. The online Single Market Scoreboard (edition 2017), also published today,shows that whilst most barriers to the free movement of persons, services, goods and capital are being eliminated, in some fields the situation is stalling or even worsening. It also ranks Member States’ performance in this respect. The Single Market remains Europe’s most precious asset for the millions of citizens and businesses, and the Commission is committed to ensure, by checking on the implementation of EU Single Market rules, that they benefit each day from the freedom to live, work, shop and trade in 28 Member States. For the Annual Report, a full press release and an EU-28 fact sheet are available online as well as 28 fact sheets by country. For the EU Single Market Scoreboard, see the performance overview and the performance per Member State (28 EU + 3 EEA). Finally, answers on the frequently asked questions on the general EU infringement procedure are available here.


EUROSTAT: First release for the first quarter of 2017 – Household saving rate up to 12.3% in the euro area – Household investment rate also up to 8.9% in the euro area

The household saving rate in the euro area was 12.3% in the first quarter of 2017, compared with 12.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016. The household investment rate in the euro area was 8.9% in the first quarter of 2017, compared with 8.6% in the previous quarter.  Full text available here


EUROSTAT: First release for the first quarter of 2017 – Business investment rate down to 22.2% in the euro area – Business profit share also down to 40.3% in the euro area

In the first quarter of 2017, the business investment rate was 22.2% in the euro area, compared with 23.6% in the previous quarter. The business profit share in the euro area was 40.3% in the first quarter of 2017, compared with 40.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016. Full text available here


Mergers: Commission alleges Merck, General Electric and Canon breached EU merger procedural rules

The Commission has sent three separate Statements of Objections to Merck, General Electric and Canon alleging they breached EU merger rules: General Electric and Merck / Sigma-Aldrich by providing incorrect or misleading information; Canon by implementing a merger before notification and clearance. To be able to deliver accurate decisions within very tight timelines, the EU merger control system is built on clear procedural rules that companies must fully respect. EU merger rules require that merging companies notify transactions of Union dimension prior to their implementation and do not implement them until they have been notified to and cleared by the Commission. The Commission’s merger assessment system also counts on companies providing complete and correct information. This is essential for the Commission to review mergers in a timely and effective manner. The three Statements of Objections sent today to Merck, General Electric and Canon relate to three separate cases concerning breaches of EU merger procedural rules. The current investigations are limited to the assessment of breaches of the EU merger procedural rules and will not have an impact on the Commission decisions approving the three mergers, which will remain effective. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “We need companies to work with us to ensure fast and predictable merger control, to the benefit of both companies and consumers. But we can only do our job well if we can rely on cooperation from the companies concerned – they must obtain our approval before they implement their transactions and the information they supply us must be correct and complete.” The full press release is available online in here


Promoting cross-border research and innovation in the EU: Selection of consortia to participate in staff exchanges under the  Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

80 successful consortia have been selected under the 2017 Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) call for proposals, which is part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. The RISE programme promotes cross-border and cross-sector collaboration through sharing knowledge and ideas from research to market and vice versa within Europe and beyond. With an overall budget of EUR 80 million, 811 participating organisations (including 113 SMEs and 227 organisations from third countries) involved in research and innovation activities will receive funding for 7,480 staff exchanges in all scientific domains. Researchers at doctoral level, post-doctoral fellows as well as technicians, managerial and administrative staff are involved in the exchanges. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “These research and innovation exchanges are a very powerful tool, promoting creativity and entrepreneurship and helping to turn creative ideas into innovative products, services or processes. They are instrumental in boosting the transfer of knowledge necessary to address Europe’s challenges. I am delighted to see so many business partners involved in this year’s selection, providing a boost to the EU’s innovation capacity.” Research and Innovation Staff Exchange represents a unique opportunity for individuals to expand their horizons, enlarge their networks, receive innovative research training and develop new career opportunities. By participating in Research and Innovation Staff Exchange, organisations can form partnerships with leading research and innovation organisations from across the world. Year-long celebrations are currently taking place to mark the 20th anniversary of the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Actions, a programme dedicated to boosting excellence by supporting the human resources that drive research and innovation. Further details are available here.



Vice-President Dombrovskis attends the Ukraine Reform Conference in London

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union is attending today the Ukraine Reform Conference in London, organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. During the main plenary session, Vice-President Dombrovskis spoke about Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda and the EU’s substantial and longstanding support to the country and the Ukrainian people: “EU-Ukraine partnership is stronger than ever, with visa-free travel in place, growing trade ties, and Association Agreement soon in effect […]. Ukraine has achieved a lot since 2014. Last year, Ukraine returned to economic growth and important reforms have been taken in major areas such as judiciary, banking, energy, and public administration. It shows Ukraine’s impressive commitment to reform. The EU has supported this reform process, pledging around €12.8 billion for the period up to 2020, including €3.4 billion in macro-financial assistance.” The Ukraine Reform Conference is taking place ahead of the 19th EU-Ukraine Summit of 12-13 July 2017. The Vice-President’s speech is available here and more information on EU-Ukraine relations, the EU’s Delegation in Ukraine and on Macro-Financial Assistance to Ukraine can be found online.


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