11 Jan 2018


Brussels, Brussels Daily



Commission launches public consultation on actions to halt the decline of bees and other pollinators

The Commission is today launching a public consultation on a European initiative on pollinators.Wild pollinators such as bees, butterflies and many other insects pollinate crops and wild plants, so that they can bear fruit and seed. An estimated €15 billion of annual EU agricultural output is directly attributed to pollinators. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: “Scientists have warned us of steep pollinator decline across Europe. We have a good understanding of declines for some pollinators while there are knowledge gaps for others. But it is beyond doubt that it is time to act. If we do not, we and our future generations would pay a very heavy price indeed.”  Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said:  “Pollinators are too important for our food security and farming communities – as well as for life on the planet. We cannot afford to continue losing them.” The mid-term review of the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy showed that pollination might be significantly decreasing. Almost 1 in 10 bee and butterfly species is facing extinction, according to the European Red List. To tackle the decline, the Commission is looking to develop a European initiative on pollinators and calls on scientists, farmers and businesses, environmental organisations, public authorities and citizens to contribute. The consultation will remain open until 5 April 2018 and is available here.

Commission proposes to invest EUR 1 billion in world-class European supercomputers

At a press conference this morning by Commissioners Carlos Moedas and Mariya Gabriel, the Commission announced its plan to invest jointly with the Member States in building a world-class European supercomputing infrastructure. Supercomputers are needed to process ever larger amounts of data and bring benefits to society in many areas from health care and renewable energy to car safety and cybersecurity. Today’s step is crucial for the EU’s competitiveness and independence in the data economy. Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Supercomputers are the engine to power the digital economy. It is a tough race and today the EU is lagging behind: we do not have any supercomputers in the world’s top-ten. With the EuroHPC initiative we want to give European researchers and companies world-leading supercomputer capacity by 2020 – to develop technologies such as artificial intelligence and build the future’s everyday applications in areas like health, security or engineering.” Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society added: “Supercomputers are already at the core of major advancements and innovations in many areas directly affecting the daily lives of European citizens. They can help us to develop personalised medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently. A better European supercomputing infrastructure holds great potential for job creation and is a key factor for the digitisation of industry and increasing the competitiveness of the European economy.” A press release, Q&A and factsheet are available online. The recording of the press conference is uploaded on EbS.


First meeting of Sustainable Development Multi-Stakeholder Platform

The Commission’s high level multi-stakeholder platform on the follow up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the EU met for the first time on Wednesday 10 January. The launch of this platform reflects a new approach which brings together stakeholders to support the Commission’s work. Representatives from academia, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), businesses, civil society, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions came together to support and advise the Commission in delivering the SDGs at EU level. International organisations such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN) participated as observers. Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who chairs the platform, said: “Sustainability is a European brand, and sustainable development is at the heart of the European Commission’s agenda. We need to work from the grassroots up and use the knowledge and skills of a wide range of stakeholders to reshape our economies and societies. The multi-stakeholder platform is an opportunity for experts to come together and learn from each other. I am looking forward to working closely together to develop the vision and the tools we need to succeed in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals.” Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, added: “The circular economy and sustainable finance are examples of an innovative and European way to ensure that our investments not only create economic growth but at that they do so while bringing new benefits to our planet and our citizens. The experience that the platform members bring will help us deliver real results in this crucial work.” More information is available in this press release.


EUROSTAT: November 2017 compared with October 2017 – Industrial production up by 1.0% in euro area – Up by 0.9% in EU28

In November 2017 compared with October 2017, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 1.0% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.9% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In October 2017, industrial production rose by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28.   Full text available here


EUROSTAT: EU28 current account surplus €69.4 bn and €46.5 bn surplus for trade in services during the third quarter of 2017

The EU28 seasonally adjusted current account of the balance of payments recorded a surplus of €69.4 billion (1.8% of GDP) in the third quarter of 2017, up from a surplus of €47.5 billion (1.2% of GDP) in the second quarter of 2017 and from a surplus of €44.8 billion (1.2% of GDP) in the third quarter of 2016, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the third quarter of 2017 compared with the second quarter of 2017, based on seasonally adjusted data, the surplus of the goods account increased (+€43.1 bn compared to +€34.1 bn), as did the surplus of the services account (+€46.5 bn compared to +€40.1 bn). The deficit of the primary income account turned into a surplus (+€2.0 bn compared to -€2.6 bn). The deficit of the secondary income account decreased (-€22.1 bn compared to -€24.2 bn), as did the deficit of the capital account (-€6.4 bn compared to -€13.4 bn). A Eurostat press release is available here.


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