13 Nov 2017


Brussels, Brussels Daily


Sustainable Finance: Commission seeks views on how best to encourage sustainable investments

The Commission is today launching a public consultation on how asset managers and institutional investors could include environmental, social and governance factors when taking decisions. This would help them allocate capital more efficiently by taking into account sustainability risks, rather than merely seeking to maximise short-term financial returns. Today’s consultation follows up on one of the eight early recommendations delivered by the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) in its interim report of July 2017. It forms part of the Commission’s efforts to mobilise private capital towards green and sustainable investments to enable the transition to a low-carbon economy and shows the EU’s strong commitment to mitigate risks posed by climate change and environmental challenges. The EU has taken the lead in building a financial system that supports sustainable growth and sustainable finance continues to be one of the Juncker’s Commission’s main priorities. The consultation further underlines the EU’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As announced in its 2018 Work Programme, the Commission will adopt an Action Plan on sustainable finance in the first quarter of 2018. The public consultation is open until 28 January 2018 and is available here.

Investment Plan backs radiology services in Germany [updated on 13/11/17 at 12:39]

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €30 million financing agreement with German medical diagnostics provider medneo to expand its radiology services. The company will use the financing to open new radiology centres and improve the efficiency of its current services, thereby reducing patient waiting time.The transaction with medneo was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Investment Plan is supporting an increasing number of projects in the medical sector. These projects – such as the one being signed today with medneo – are innovative and use cutting-edge technology to improve citizens’ access to the best available healthcare. The importance of imaging diagnostics is growing in the health care sector, so I wish medneo every success in their project.” For more information see the Investment Plan website 


Cohesion Policy invests in faster, smoother connectivity in Bulgaria

The Commission has approved an investment package worth almost €330 million from the Cohesion Fund, to finance the construction of parts of the Struma motorway; lot 3.1., between the towns of Blagoevgrad and Krupnik and lot 3.3., between the towns of Kresna and Sandanski. The motorway connects the South-West part of the country to the Greek border, on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The EU supported the construction of lots 1, 2 and 4 of the Struma Motorway under the 2007-2013 EU budget framework, with €291 million from Cohesion Policy funds.“Improving connectivity drives growth,” said Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu, “it provides a major boost to trade and tourism. It also tangibly improves the quality of everyday life for citizens. Last week President Juncker and the college of Commissioners met the Bulgarian government in preparation of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council, and connectivity infrastructure projects were a key point in our exchanges. This project shows that we are delivering for faster, smoother connectivity in Bulgaria and with its neighbours.” Still in the field of transport infrastructure, the Commission has approved the modification of the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy programme for transport infrastructure for Bulgaria, upon request from the national authorities. The programme, worth €1.6 billion from EU funds, was modified to allow better preparation of railway projects, by ensuring efficient complementarities with the Connecting Europe Facility on the line from Plovdiv to Burgas and by redirecting some funding for investments in smart systems for traffic management and safety.


Next steps against fake news: Commission sets up High-Level Expert Group and launches public consultation

The Commission launched today a public consultation on fake news and online disinformation and set up a High-Level Expert Group representing academics, online platforms, news media and civil society organisations. The work of the High-Level Expert Group as well as the results of the public consultation will contribute to the development of an EU-level strategy on how to tackle the spreading of fake news, to be presented in spring 2018.Citizens, social media platforms, news organisations (broadcasters, print media, news agencies, online media and fact-checkers), researchers and public authorities are all invited to share their views in the public consultation until mid-February. It will gather opinions on what actions could be taken at EU level to give citizens effective tools to identify reliable and verified information and adapt to the challenges of the digital age.The Commission is inviting experts to apply for the High-Level Group on fake news to advise the Commission on scoping the phenomenon, defining the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, grasping the international dimension, taking stock of the positions at stake, and formulating recommendations. As far as possible, the group should include several representatives of each field of expertise, be it academia or civil society delegate. The Commission aims at a balanced selection of the experts. The call for application is open until mid-December. The High-Level Expert Group is expected to start in January 2018 and will work over several months. Commissioner Gabriel will deliver the welcoming speech at the multi-stakeholder conference on “Fake news” today at 13:00 in the Centre Albert Borschette, Brussels, which will be available here. The event will be web-streamed here (today) and here (tomorrow). The full press release is available here.


EUROSTAT: Personal transfers in the EU – Amounts sent to non-EU countries by EU residents down at €30.3 billion in 2016 Amounts received from non-EU countries at €9.9 bn

In 2016, flows of money sent by residents of the European Union (EU) to non-EU countries, referred to as personal transfers, amounted to €30.3 billion, compared with €31.3 bn in 2015. As inflows to the EU totalled €9.9 bn in 2016, this resulted in a negative balance (-€20.4 bn) for the EU with the rest of the world. The majority of personal transfers consist of flows of money sent by migrants to their country of origin.  Full text available here


Mergers: Commission clears creation of joint-venture between JSR and UMG

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control by JSR Corporation and UMG ABS, Ltd. over Techno Polymer Co., Ltd. (TPC), all three of Japan. JSR is a chemical manufacturing company, whose core businesses are petrochemical and fine chemical products. TPC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of JSR, active in the supply of resins and alloys. UMG ABS is also active in the supply of resins and alloys. As a result of the operation TPC will be transformed into a joint venture between JSR and UMG ABS, and will comprise the business of both TPC and UMG. The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns because the joint venture has negligible actual or foreseen activities in the European Economic Area. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8586.

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