COMMISSION APPROVES EU FINANCING OF THE PELJEŠAC BRIDGE IN CROATIA
Today the Commission is allocating €357 million of Cohesion Policy funds to build a bridge that will connect the southernmost part of the country and Dubrovnik to the rest of mainland Croatia. The construction of the Pelješac bridge, for which the EU will contribute 85% of the cost, will significantly improve the everyday life of Croatians, through reducing the travel time between Dubrovnik and Split. Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: “We are a Commission that builds bridges – literally. This project genuinely embodies our commitment to removing barriers, uniting territories and bringing people together. I know how much this bridge is awaited by the Croatian people and I am glad that the EU, with its funds, can be a part of this new chapter in the History of the country.” The project should be completed in 2022. A press point with Commissioner Creţu, Gabrijela Žalac, Croatian Minister for regional development and EU funds and Tomislav Mihotić, State Secretary at the Croatian Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructurewill take place at noon at the VIP Corner of the Berlaymont; you can follow it live on EbS.A full press release is available here.
COMMISSION REGISTERS “STOP EXTREMISM” EUROPEAN CITIZENS’ INITIATIVE
The Commission has today decided on the partial registration of a European Citizens’ Initiative entitled “Stop extremism” inviting the Commission to “propose legislation in order to prevent the adverse consequences of extremism, above all for the Internal Market”. The Commission’s decision to register the Initiative concerns only the legal admissibility of the proposal. The Commission has not analysed its substance at this stage. The Initiative will be formally registered on 12 June 2017, which will start a one-year process of the collection of signatures of support by its organisers. Should the Initiative receive one million statements of support within one year from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react within three months. A press release is available here.
EU AND UNRWA SIGN NEW LANDMARK AGREEMENT AND REAFFIRM JOINT COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT PALESTINE REFUGEES
This morning, the HR/VP Federica Mogherini, Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) sign a Joint Declaration on EU support to UNRWA for the period 2017-2020. HR/VP Mogherini said: “With its tireless work, UNRWA keeps supporting Palestine refugees, providing education, promoting socio-economic development and stability in the Middle East. The international support is key to UNRWA: the European Union will keep investing in one of the pillars of its Middle East peace policy.” Commissioner Hahn added: “The European Union is committed to support UNRWA in further reform efforts, building on the important work underway, to ensure the provision of quality core services to vulnerable Palestine refugees. The EU-UNRWA partnership will from 2017 take an increasingly visible form in support to selected schools and health clinics“. In the Joint Declaration, the European Union commits to continue assisting UNRWA in securing financial resources to enable the Agency to support Palestine refugees. The signature of the financial agreement for EU’s contribution to the 2017 UNRWA Programme Budget, which covers the Agency’s essential services in terms of education, health care and relief and social services, will also be announced. Images of the signing ceremony will be available on EbS. A joint press release will be issued here.
STARTUP EUROPE AWARDS ANNOUNCED TODAY
Startup Europe Awards will be announced today in 10 categories: Creative, Energy, Fintech, Green, Health, ICT’s, Smart Cities, Social, Tourism and Water. The event is supported and promoted by the European Commission to improve the ecosystem for startups and scaleups in Europe. The best startups from Europe will be announced after having been recognised in 14 national competitions that took place in 2016 across Europe. The ceremony will take place at the European Parliament. The awards will be handed over by Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner in charge of Research, Science and Innovation and Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, First Vice-President of the Committee of Regions. The Startup Europe Awards final will also announce the Best Public Administration for Startups, recognising the best public services supporting entrepreneurs, and the Best Media Partner, to the most committed media with the dissemination of information about entrepreneurship. Additionally, the Scale Up Europe Report will be presented during the ceremony in the afternoon. The study gives an overview on how many scaleups are in Europe, which are the top sectors among the scaleups, how much money has been raised, as well as highlight the best examples. Further details can be found here. Extracts from the award ceremony will be transmitted by EbS on Thursday.
EU NETWORK OF PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT SERVICES – THREE YEARS ON: REPORT SHOWS SUCCESS OF ENHANCED COLLABORATION
Today, the Commission published a report on the European Network of Public Employment Services (PES), set up three years ago. It shows that thanks to this Network, European Public Employment Services are working closer and more systematically together, to the benefit of jobseekers and employers across Europe. The Network allows Public Employment Services to collaborate, share good practice, participate in learning events to constantly improve and provide a better and more effective service for jobseekers across Europe. This enhanced collaboration does not only benefit the more than 27 million people registered with a public employment service in their country, but it also contributes to facilitating intra-EU mobility, through the public employment services’ participation in the EURES-network. Public employment services at local, regional and central level notably provide guidance, assistance and support services to individual workers, also to those interested in finding a job in another EU country. For instance, in 2016, about 27.000 people found a job abroad with the help of a EURES adviser. The Network also gives a common voice to European Public Employment Services to respond to emerging challenges such as the refugee crisis. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: “Public Employment Services are key players in the fight against unemployment. The PES Network allows employment services of Member States to join forces in getting people into jobs. The Commission is committed to continue its support to the excellent work of the Network, in order to drive continually improving performance by our employment services.” A particularly innovative element of this cooperation is the Benchlearning project, allowing employment services to compare their practices on the basis of indicators and learn from each other. In addition, the unique PES Knowledge Centreprovides a wealth of information on the organisation of Public Employment Services in Europe and the services they offer, and many of these outputs have a wider benefit for researchers and decision-makers in the fight against unemployment.
STATE AID: COMMISSION APPROVES €7.28 MILLION RESCUE AID TO MARCHE ANCONA AIRPORT IN ITALY
The European Commission has approved Italian plans to grant temporary rescue aid of €7.28 million to Aerdorica SpA, the operator of the regional airport “Aeroporto delle Marche” in Ancona, Italy. The Commission found that the planned measure complies with EU state aid rules, in particular the criteria set out in the Commission’s Guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring companies in difficulty, because it is limited in time and scope. The aid will consist of a repayable loan at an appropriate interest rate and will meet the airport’s liquidity needs for the next six months. In its assessment the Commission also took into consideration that many businesses in the Marche region depend on the activity of the airport and that the airport operates 24 hours a day, which is important for international civil protection operations, and in particular for interventions managed by the European Civil Protection Mechanism. Italy has committed to notify to the Commission within four months a restructuring plan for Aerdorica SpA aimed at ensuring its future viability. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the rescue aid is in line with the Guidelines. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.48050.
COMMISSIONERS OETTINGER, AVRAMOPOULOS, JOUROVÁ AND KING TO ATTEND THE JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL
Commissioners Günther H. Oettinger, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Věra Jourová and Julian King will attend the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg on 8 and 9 June. On Thursday, Justice Ministers are expected to reach a general approach on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the directive criminalising money laundering, on contract rules for digital content and on the data protection rules applicable to EU institutions. They will also discuss progress made on the new rules to better protect children in cross-border family proceedings and European rules on business insolvency. During a working lunch, the European Commission will present the results of the 2nd monitoring of the Code of Conduct fighting illegal online hate speech and discuss the following steps with the Ministers. The afternoon will be dedicated to a policy debate on e-evidence and discussions on the progress on encryption and data retention. Justice Ministers are finally expected to adopt Council Conclusions on the protection of children in migration. On Friday, Home Affairs Ministers will address the current migration situation, in particular the situation along the Central Mediterranean route and how to enhance EU return and readmission policy. They will also discuss progress made on the proposals to reform the Common European Asylum System and the proposals to strengthen the Schengen Information System (SIS). Finally, Ministers are expected to adopt a general approach on the European Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS) and Council Conclusions on improving interoperability of EU information systems. A press conference will be web streamed at the end of each day.
COMMISSIONER THYSSEN IN TURIN, ITALY
Tomorrow, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, will visit the European Training Foundation. The aim of this visit is to exchange views on the situation of vocational education and training in ETF partner countries, to discuss the Torino process and to discuss the work of the Training Foundation in supporting mobility. Commissioner Thyssen will then attend the Torino Process 2017 conference, which evolves this year around the theme ‘Changing Skills for a Changing World’. At the conference, the Commissioner will first visit the ‘Market of Ideas’, where innovative projects regarding entrepreneurship in Vocational Education and Training by young people from the ETF partner countries will be showcased, after which she will deliver a key-note speech on ‘A New Skills Agenda for Europe – An Agenda for a Changing World’, referring among others to the Commission’s New Skills Agenda for Europe presented last year. The speech will be made available here. To conclude the visit, Commissioner Thyssen will participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue on the future of the European Union and its social dimension at the University of Turin. More information and a web stream of the Citizens’ Dialogue can be found here.
COMMISSIONER HAHN ON VISIT TO SERBIA AND TO MONTENEGRO
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations will visit Serbia on 8 June and Montenegro on 9 June. In Belgrade, Commissioner will open the investment conference “Towards a better investment climate in the Western Balkans”, together with Minister of Economy Goran Knežević. Commissioner will meet with President Aleksandar Vučić as well as members of the civil society and of business associations. Commissioner Hahn will then travel to Novi Sad to visit the EU-funded Žeželj Bridge on the Danube river. In Novi Sad he will also meet with Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlović, Minister for Energy Aleksandar Antić, President of the Government of Vojvodina Igor Mirović, and Mayor of Novi Sad Milos Vučević. On Friday, Commissioner Hahn will be in Montenegro, where together with Minister of Economy Dragica Sekulić and Minister of European Affairs Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, as well as project partners CGES and KfW, he will visit the construction site of the Lastva Sub-Station of the Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor. This project, part of the Connectivity Agenda will contribute to the creation of the regional electricity market. After the visit of the site, Commissioner Hahn will meet in Podgorica with Prime Minister of Montenegro Dusko Marković and the Speaker of the Parliament Ivan Brajović. Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS.
COMMISSIONER STYLIANIDES VISITS TURKEY FROM 7 TO 9 JUNE
Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides istoday starting a visit to Turkey to visit EU humanitarian aid projects funded through the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey and meet with the Turkish authorities. Tomorrow, the Commissioner will attend the launch event of the flagship Conditional Cash Transfer for Education project and meet teachers, students and vulnerable refugee families who will benefit from the programme. The Commission finances multiple humanitarian projects to support the most vulnerable refugees in a wide range of areas, including education, health and shelter. Audiovisual footage will be made available on EbS. More information will follow tomorrow.
NEWS IN FULL
DAILY NEWS 07 – 06 -2017