Brussels Daily
08 Nov 2018


Brussels Daily


President Jean-Claude Juncker on official visit to Finland with members of the College

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, is currently in Helsinki, Finland on an official visit. This afternoon, he will meet bilaterally with Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, and Juha Sipilä, Prime Minister of Finland, in view of Finland’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union. At 15:30 (14:30 CET), President Juncker will hold a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sipilä which will be broadcast live on EbS+. In the margins of the EPP Congress, this morning President Juncker also met bilaterally with Petteri Orpo, Minister of Finance of Finland, as well as Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the Greek opposition. This morning President Juncker also addressed the EPP congress – his intervention is available on EbS+. Vice-Presidents Dombrovskis and Katainen, as well as Commissioners Oettinger, Hahn, Thyssen, Stylianides, Hogan, Navracsics, Moedas and Gabriel are also in Helsinki. For more information about the visits of individual Commissioners, see the weekly calendar here.


Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast: Sustained but less dynamic growth amid high uncertainty

The Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast published today shows that growth in the euro area is forecast to ease from a 10-year high of 2.4% in 2017 to 2.1% in 2018 before moderating further to 1.9% in 2019 and 1.7% in 2020. The same pattern is expected for the EU27, with growth forecast at 2.2% in 2018, 2.0% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “All EU economies are set to grow this year and next, which will bring more jobs. However, uncertainty and risks, both external and internal, are on the rise and start to take a toll on the pace of economic activity. We need to stay vigilant and work harder to reinforce the resilience of our economies. At EU level it means taking concrete decisions on further strengthening our Economic and Monetary Union. At national level, there is even a stronger case for building up fiscal buffers and reducing debt while making sure that the benefits of growth are also felt by the most vulnerable members of society.” Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: ‘“The European economy is holding up well, with growth easing gradually. We project this pattern will continue over the next two years, as unemployment continues to fall to levels not seen since before the crisis. Public debt in the euro area is set to continue declining, with the deficit remaining well below 1% of GDP. In an increasingly uncertain international environment, policymakers both in Brussels and in national capitals must work to ensure that the euro area is strong enough to deal with whatever the future might hold.” The full press release is available in all languages here. The full Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast is available here.

State aid: Commission approves eighth prolongation of Irish credit union restructuring scheme

The European Commission has found the prolongation until 30 April 2019 of an Irish scheme aimed at restructuring credit unions, to be in line with EU State aid rules, and in particular the 2013 Banking Communication. The objective of the scheme is to underpin the stability and long-term viability of credit unions and the credit union sector in Ireland at large. Restructuring involves merging credit unions with ample reserves with credit unions with a gap, providing, if necessary, a capital injection to make up any shortfall in the capital reserve requirements of the merged credit union. Stabilisation involves assisting fundamentally viable credit unions that have temporarily slipped below the regulatory reserve requirements. The Commission found that the measure ensures that the beneficiaries become viable in the long-term through restructuring or merging with sound credit unions, and that they contribute to the cost of restructuring. Moreover, the impact on competition is limited because credit unions are small and do business only with members. The Commission initially authorised the scheme in October 2014. It was subsequently prolonged seven times, the last time in April 2018. Until now, the Irish authorities have managed to restructure credit unions without granting any aid under this scheme. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the reference SA.52132.

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