09 Oct 2017


Brussels, Brussels Daily, IFA in Brussels


Preparation of the Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, 9-10 October 2017

Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at today’s Eurogroup and tomorrow’s ECOFIN meetings. The Eurogroup agenda includes an exchange of views on the role of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in the context of the ongoing broader debate on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union. The Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism will inform ministers of the main findings of the sixth post-programme surveillance mission to Portugal. Ministers will take stock of recent exchange rate developments ahead of the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund. There will also be a discussion on how best to finance labour tax cuts to boost jobs and growth. Commissioner Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. At tomorrow’s ECOFIN, ministers will discuss the issue of taxation of the digital economy following the Commission’s Communication on the subject in September. The Commission will present its latest proposals for far-reaching reform of the EU VAT system. The Council is also expected to formally adopt the Commission’s proposal to improve dispute resolution on taxation issues for businesses and citizens in the EU. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference following the ECOFIN.


The Future of EU Finances: new Cohesion report fuels the discussion on EU funds after 2020

Today the Commission publishes the 7th Cohesion report, taking the pulse of EU regions, drawing lessons from cohesion spending during the crisis years and setting the scene for Cohesion Policy after 2020. Analysing the current state of the EU’s economic, social and territorial cohesion, the Cohesion report brings our Union under a magnifying glass: Europe’s economy is bouncing back but disparities persist between and within our Member States. Read the Press Release and Memo and Factsheet.

Commission received submission of 4th successful European Citizens’ Initiative

The European Commission officially received on Friday 6 October the submission of the 4th successful European Citizens’ Initiative. By supporting the ‘Stop Glyphosate’ European Citizens’ Initiative, over 1 million citizens from at least 7 Member States have called on the European Commission “to propose to Member States a ban on glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use”. A total of 1,070,865 statements of support have been received from 22 Member States so far, and have been checked and validated by national authorities. The European Commission will now invite the organisers within the next 3 months to present their ideas in more depth. A public hearing will be arranged in the European Parliament to allow all stakeholders to present their views, and then the Commission will decide whether to act by proposing legislation, act in some other way to achieve the goals of the Initiative, or not act at all; all three options are possible under Article 11(4) of the Treaty of the European Union. After having listened to stakeholders, the Commission will present a Communication explaining its reasoning. The European Citizens’ Initiative is a valuable tool in the hands of citizens and allows them to contribute to shaping EU law and policy. The Commission recently presented a proposal to modify the Citizens’ Initiative Regulation, to make the tool even more accessible to citizens and to encourage its wider use.


EU approves €200 million disbursement in Macro-Financial Assistance to Tunisia

The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has today approved the disbursement of a €200 million loan to Tunisia. This disbursement marks the launch of the second Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA-II) programme to Tunisia. A total of €500 million will be disbursed in three instalments in 2017 and 2018. The second Macro-Financial Assistance programme was proposed following the terrorist attacks of 2015, which contributed to halting Tunisia’s economic recovery. This had a significant impact on the country’s balance of payments position and financing needs. The programme was agreed by the Council and the European Parliament on 6 July 2016. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “Today’s disbursement to Tunisia is proof of our strong commitment to support the successful economic recovery of one of our closest neighbours. With a renewed sense of urgency, Tunisia has reaffirmed its dedication to an effective partnership. The EU stands firmly with Tunisia in achieving prosperity for all of its people.” A full press release is available here.


EU announces additional emergency aid to help refugees in Serbia

The European Commission has announced an additional €4 million in humanitarian aid for Serbia to assist the thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers in the country. Some €80 million has now been provided to the country in EU migration related funding since 2015. The new contracts come as Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management ChristosStylianides is currently on his fourth visit to the country where he is assessing the humanitarian situation on the ground and discussing the EU’s humanitarian support for refugees with government officials, including Serbian President Mr Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister Ms Ana Brnabić. “Serbia has been a reliable partner to the European Union, and our partnership has allowed an effective response to the refugee crisis. The EU has been a leading provider of humanitarian aid to the hosting of refugees in Serbia since 2015. We have helped improve conditions in many reception centres, contributed to food provision in camps, provided education in emergencies to children and helped providing health services. The additional projects announced today will address the needs of the most vulnerable population especially during the upcoming winter season”, said Commissioner Stylianides. The new projects finance food distribution in reception centres, the protection of the most vulnerable affected populations in particular during the upcoming winter and education-related activities. Since 2015, the EU has been the largest contributor of emergency aid to Serbia. The Commission’s humanitarian aid now stands at €25 million, and has enabled the provision of emergency assistance (food, water, hygiene, essential items, health and protection) at transit and reception points, including borders and waiting areas. Read the full press release here.


Making young voices heard ahead of the African Union-European Union Summit

In the run up to the AU-EU Summit in November in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 120 young representatives from Africa and Europe will participate in the 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit on 9-11 October. These young representatives have been selected out of more than 7500 applicants, to discuss a variety of relevant issues, including: education, peace & security, climate & environment, business & job creation, political inclusion and culture. They will also develop a declaration with concrete recommendations to the Heads of State and Government, who will then gather in November for the AU-EU Summit under the overarching theme “Investing in Youth”. This preceding Youth Summit aims to ensure a meaningful and strengthened inclusion of young people in the run up to and at the Summit. A follow-up group of 36 youth selected for the AU-EU Youth Plug-In Initiative will continue the work until the AU-EU Summit in November. High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini said: “We have a responsibility to listen to young people, but also to create new pathways for them to get involved. Because we cannot find the right answers to young people’s needs without involving them. Working for them is not enough. We must work with them.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added: “Africa is the youngest continent of the world, with 60% of its population aged under 25. With “Youth” being the main focus of this year’s AU-EU summit we want to inject a youth perspective in the intercontinental dialogue. Their contributions are central, when discussing about a future that belongs to them”. More information on the 4th Africa –Europe Youth Summit online. Join the conversation through: #AUEUyouth & #UAUEjeunesse

Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections concerning access to bank account information by competing services

The European Commission can confirm that on 3 October 2017 its officials carried out unannounced inspections in a few Member States concerning online access to bank account information by competing service providers. The Commission has concerns that the companies involved and/or the associations representing them may have engaged in anti-competitive practices in breach of EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of dominant market positions (Articles 101 and 102 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anti-competitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies or their associations are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation. A statement is available online.




Commissioner Avramopoulos in Ljubljana

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Ljubljana, Slovenia, tomorrow where he will meet with Prime Minister Miro Cerar and Minister of Interior Vesna Györkös Žnidar. Discussions will focus on cooperation on migration, border management and security. A joint press conference with Minister Györkös Žnidar will take place around 11:25 CET and will be available on EbS.

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