09 Apr 2018


Brussels, Brussels Daily


EUROSTAT: Labour costs in the EU-Hourly labour costs ranged from €4.9 to €42.5 across the EU Member States in 2017-Lowest in Bulgaria and Romania, highest in Denmark and Belgium

In 2017, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €26.8 in the European Union (EU) and €30.3 in the euro area. However, this average masks significant gaps between EU Member States, with the lowest hourly labour costs recorded in Bulgaria (€4.9), Romania (€6.3), Lithuania (€8.0), Latvia (€8.1), Hungary (€9.1) and Poland (€9.4), and the highest in Denmark (€42.5), Belgium (€39.6), Luxembourg (€37.6), Sweden (€36.6) and France (€36.0). Full text available here


Digital Day 2018: EU countries to commit to doing more together on the digital front

Tomorrow the Commission will bring ministers, representatives of EU countries, industry, academia and civil society representatives together to encourage cooperation in artificial intelligence, blockchain, eHealth and innovation. Discussions will focus on how the technological developments will shape the future of Europe and building a strong Digital Single Market with increased investment and digital skills is crucial. Within a year, major progress has been made towards a Digital Single Market. The end of roaming charges and the portability of online content are now part of the lives of Europeans. Stronger rules on the protection of personal data and the first EU-wide rules on cybersecurity will become a reality in May 2018. Tomorrow, Vice-President Ansip will open the one-day conference together with Commissioner Gabriel and Bulgarian Deputy Minister for Education Ivan Dimov at 9:00 CET. At 14:00 Commissioner Gabriel will hold a press conference at the Digital Day, which you can follow live here. More information on the event is available here, as well as in the press release, and you can follow the discussions live online. More information about the Digital Single Market is available in a factsheet.

EUROSTAT: EU Member States granted citizenship to almost 1 million persons in 2016 Moroccans, Albanians and Indians were the main recipients

In 2016, around 995 000 persons acquired citizenship of a Member State of the European Union (EU), up from 841 000 in 2015 and 889 000 in 2014. Of the total number of persons obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU Member States in 2016, 12% were former citizens of another EU Member State, while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless.  More information here

EU stands ready to accelerate support to Zimbabwe during its transition process

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, is visiting Zimbabwe, where he is meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as well as visiting EU-funded projects. New EU-funded programmes worth €23 million will be launched to improve people’s access to health services and enhance their livelihoods. This visit takes place ahead of the elections in Zimbabwe due to be held by mid-2018. On the occasion, Commissioner Mimica said: “I am here to show to the Zimbabwean people and authorities that the EU stands ready to accelerate its support to their transition towards democracy and prosperity. I am also happy to launch new EU support programmes for a total amount of €23 million in the area of health and job creation. As Zimbabwe opens a new chapter in its history, we are putting our trust in the authorities to seize this unique opportunity and address the political and economic challenges in the country.” A press release and MEMO are available online

Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of BBVA’s real estate business in Spain by Cerberus

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of the real estate business of BBVA of Spain by Cerberus Capital Management of the US. The activities acquired by Cerberus from BBVA comprise the development, sale and leasing of distressed real estate assets mainly bought from debtors in Spain. BBVA is active in a range of financial and non-financial services, including banking, pension and insurance in Europe, Mexico, South America and the US. Cerberus is a private investment firm active in real and personal property investments. 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.8782.


Commissioner Bulc in London for the start of shipping climate talks

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc is today in London for the kick-off of a week of important talks within the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN-agency overseeing international shipping. The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is meeting until Friday and is expected to adopt an initial strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. The European Union and its Member States will be advocating an ambitious global emission reduction objective for the sector, which is consistent with the goals set by the Paris Agreement and with the Commission’s Communication “the Road from Paris”. The European Union is indeed fully committed to step up its climate diplomacy and collaboration with other partners in order to keep the momentum behind Paris implementation. This is the message that Commissioner Bulc will today deliver in a series of meetings with the Secretary General of the IMO, Mr Ki-Tack Lim, the Chairman of the MEPC, Mr Hideaki Saito, as well as with state parties, industry and non-governmental organisations. Beside climate change mitigation, the MEPC will alsoaddress, among other items, issues related to the energy efficiency of ships and the reduction of Sulphur content in marine fuels.

Vice President Dombrovskis in Paris for a visit to the European Semester

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, and also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, is visiting France today. He met with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Governor of the Central Bank, François Villeroy de Galhau. The Vice President will also have a discussion with the Senate members on the economic and fiscal situation of the EU and the coordination of economic policies. This visit is part of the regular dialogue with the Member States on topical economic and social issues in the context of the European Semester

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