12 Oct 2017


Brussels, Brussels Daily


Sales of farmland: Commission issues guidelines to Member States

The European Commission has today issued guidance to help Member States protect agricultural land from threats such as excessive price speculation and ownership concentration. EU Member States have the right to restrict sales of farmland to preserve agricultural communities and promote sustainable agriculture. But in doing so they must comply with EU law, in particular rules on free movement of capital. In 2015, the Commission launched infringement procedures against Member States that discriminate against investors from other EU countries and create disproportionate restrictions on cross-border investment. In today’s Communication, the Commission provides indications to Member States on what they can do to regulate the sale of farmland, based on case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Today’s Communication responds to a call in March by the European Parliament, which asked the Commission to set a clear and comprehensive set of criteria for land market regulations to ensure a level playing field in compliance with EU law. Full press release available online.

Dual quality food products: Commissioners Jourová and Andriukaitis at the consumer summit in Bratislava to present Commission’s work against unfair practices in the Single Market

On Friday, a summit dedicated to dual quality of food products will be held in Bratislava upon invitation of the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, with participation of the Prime Ministers from the Czech Republic, Bohuslav Sobotka, Hungary, Victor Orban, and Poland, Beata Szydło. The focus of the summit is to discuss a way forward in tackling unfair practices related to dual food quality. The Commission will be represented by Commissioners Jourová and Andriukaitis, who will present the Commission’s initiatives to tackle dual quality issues, such as the recent Guidelines on the implementation of EU consumer law in dual standards cases and the work on a methodology to improve food products testing that the Joint Research Centre (JRC) is currently developing. Ahead of the summit, Commissioner Jourová said: “My main goal for the Bratislava summit is to give what the Commission promised – to help the national authorities to deal with a problem of dual standards of food. It is time to put an end to this practice. Our single market is not a double-standards market”. Commissioner Andriukaitis said: “I am very committed to support Member States by encouraging the presence of reformulated products on their national markets, in order to reduce for example sugar or salt content in foods over time. This can be a gradual process, sometimes taking place at different speeds in different Member States, with the ultimate goal of encouraging healthier choices for consumers. Indeed, what I would like to see is our citizens taking care of their health – opting for healthier choices.” The summit will also be an opportunity to discuss other Commission actions to better tackle unfair practices such as collection of evidence and enforcement as well as the ongoing dialogue with producers and brand associations. More information on the summit can be found here and on Commission’s work on dual food, see factsheet. EbS will provide coverage of the speeches and press conference. A press conference with participation of the Commissioners will take place at 14.30.

State aid: Commission approves €7.5 million public funding to promote shift of freight from road to rail in Denmark

The European Commission has found the prolongation of a Danish scheme to encourage a shift of freight transport from road to rail to be in line with EU state aid rules. The measure will promote an environmentally friendlier transport mode, and thus further EU environmental and transport objectives, whilst maintaining competition in the Single Market. The aid takes the form of an environmental subsidy to transport operators that shift their freight transport from road to rail. The subsidy will offset rail infrastructure charges that road transport operations are not subject to. The scheme will cover the period 2018 to 2020 and has a budget of €7.5 million. The Commission concluded that the scheme is compatible with EU state aid rules, in particular the Commission Guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.48634.


EU steps up its assistance for the stabilisation of Iraq with over €60 million

The European Commission has today adopted a €60.4 million stabilisation package to support Iraq after the liberation of areas held by Da’esh, with the country still facing humanitarian, security, stabilisation and reconciliation challenges. This new funding comes in addition to EU humanitarian aid in the country and other forms of financial assistance that now total €608.4 million since the beginning of the crisis. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “At this important juncture in Iraq history, we stand at the side of the Iraqi people and authorities who have shown courage and resilience in their fight against Da’esh. Today more than ever, the EU is present to assist them in building their post-Da’esh future. We are and will continue to be active on the political, humanitarian, security and development sides to help stabilising the liberated areas. This is a pre-condition for reconciliation, for the return of the many internally displaced who are eager to come back and for the longer term stability in Iraq.”Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “The liberation of Mosul and other areas previously occupied by Da’esh is a first step towards peace. The EU has been supporting the needs of millions of Iraqis and will not stop there. They can also count on EU assistance for the further stabilisation and development efforts of their country.” The stabilisation package includes €50.4 million help to restore basic services, repair essential public infrastructure, as well as to reactivate economic activity through grants to small businesses. Thanks to more than 1,200 projects, over 2.2 million people have been able to return to their homes. A further €10 million will continue to facilitate the clearance of lands previously contaminated by explosives. You can find the full press release here.


Commission appoints Multi-stakeholder platform on the Sustainable Development Goals

Following an open selection process, the Commission has appointed 30 members to a new high-level multi-stakeholder platform to follow up on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the EU. The Platform will support and advise the European Commission on delivering the Development Goals at EU level and will provide a forum for exchange of best practice at local, regional, national and EU level. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said today: “To build a sustainable future for Europe we need to work from the grassroots up, and use the knowledge and skills of a wide range of stakeholders. I am looking forward to working closely together with the experts in this Platform to develop the vision and the tools we need to succeed in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals.” Vice-President Jyrki Katainen added: “Circular economy and sustainable finance are examples of the innovative European way to ensure growth and investment that do not harm our planet and our people, in all areas of the economy. The launch of the Platform is another milestone in this path. We need the experience that the Platform members bring to help us deliver results in this field.” More information on the Platform and its work is available in this press release.

EUROSTATE: August 2017 compared with July 2017 – Industrial production up by 1.4% in euro area – Up by 1.7% in EU28

In August 2017 compared with July 2017, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 1.4% in the euro area (EA19) and by 1.7% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In July 2017, industrial production rose by 0.3% in the euro area, while it fell by 0.3% in the EU28.   Full text available here


Joint statement by Commissioners Oettinger and Jourová on the Council’s agreement to set up the European Public Prosecutor

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger in charge of Budget and Human Resources and Commissioner Vera Jourová in charge of Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, welcome today’s Council agreement to set up the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The joint statement reads: “Establishing the European Public Prosecutor’s Office will be a real game-changer. Many cases of fraud against the EU budget are transnational. We therefore need an institution which is able not only to investigate, but also to prosecute across borders. The future prosecutor will be doing exactly that. It will make sure that criminals are brought to justice faster and that more money is recovered, to the benefit of European taxpayers.”The full statement is available online in all EU languages. You can follow the press conference on the topic on EbS.



European Commission’s participation in G20, World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C.

Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will represent the European Commission at the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Annual Meetings, taking place between 9 and 15 October in Washington D.C. Vice-President Dombrovskis will represent the Commission at the introductory plenary session of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the IMF. Commissioner Moscovici will represent the Commission at a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors. Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will also participate in a number of high-level bilateral meetings. Vice-President Dombrovskis will meet Mr Steven Mnuchin, United States Secretary of the Treasury; Mr J. Christopher Giancarlo, Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Mr Jay Clayton, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and Ms Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. Commissioner Moscovici will meet, among others, Mr Mehmet Şimşek, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey; Mr Henrique Meirelles, Minister of Finance of Brazil; and Mr William Morneau, Minister of Finance of Canada. Vice-President Dombrovskis will speak at the event “EU-U.S. Partnership for Building Strong Institutions and Resilient Economies“,organised by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and will address the global financial community at the Annual Membership Meetings of the Institute of International Finance. Commissioner Moscovici will deliver the keynote speech at an event at Georgetown University on the future of the euro area.

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