15 May 2019
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS 14th May 2019Brussels Daily
Eastern Partnership: President Juncker opens 10th anniversary celebratory conference
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, this morning delivered the keynote speech to open the Eastern Partnership 10thAnniversary High-Level Conference.“The Eastern Partnership is fundamentally a partnership for the citizens and with the citizens; firmly focussed on what is important for them. Together we are working towards stronger economies, stronger governance, stronger connectivity and stronger societies”, said President Juncker. “We have put in place ambitious Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and citizens of these countries also benefit from visa free travel for short stays in the EU. 125,000 loans have been provided to businesses in the Eastern Partnership, of which half are in local currency, and we have contributed to the creation of over 30,000 jobs in the region. And our trade has increased with each of the six Eastern Partnership countries, which together are the EU’s 10th trading partner. I would like us to continue to focus on the content of what we believe we should do together so that our Partnership can keep its promises.” The Conference, which brings together Heads of State or Government and Foreign Ministers of the partner countries, Foreign Ministers of the European Union Member States, civil society representatives, business leaders, young people and journalists from across the 34 countries, not only celebrates the Partnership’s successes, but is providing a forum for discussions on its future strategic direction. The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, and the Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, are also participating. Live coverage of the entire conference is provided by Europe by Satellite. Factsheets on the top 10 achievements of the Eastern Partnership as well as the EU’s relations with the six Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) are available online.
Commission appoints Mauro Ferrari as next President of the European Research Council
The European Commission has today appointed Professor Mauro Ferrari as the next President of the European Research Council (ERC), responsible for funding investigator-driven frontier scientific research in Europe. Professor Ferrari will take up his new role as of 1 January 2020, when the mandate of current President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon ends. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “The ERC has a global reputation for funding excellent, curiosity-driven research. Professor Mauro Ferrari is internationally renowned for his outstanding interdisciplinary academic career. With his understanding of the societal value of science, his strong leadership and exceptional communication skills, Prof. Ferrari is the right person to take the ERC and European science to new heights. I would also like to pay tribute to President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, who has led the ERC from strength to strength.” Professor Ferrari, incoming President of the European Research Council, added: “It is an honour to have been chosen to serve as the next President of the European Research Council. I would like to thank the European Commission as well as the ERC Scientific Council for placing its confidence in me to lead this unique endeavour as we prepare the ground for the EU’s new Horizon Europe programme.” The Commission’s decision follows a competitive selection procedure led by a high-level Search Committee. Professor Ferrari has a distinguished academic career, including many years in the United States, during which he contributed to multiple fields including mathematics, engineering, medicine and biology, and helped pioneer the field of nanomedicine. More information about the appointment and the European Research Council in general can be found in a press release in all EU languages and on the ERC’s website.
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into Insurance Ireland data pooling system
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into Insurance Ireland to assess whether the conditions of access to its Insurance Link data pooling system may restrict competition, in breach of EU rules. Insurance Ireland is an association bringing together several member companies active in the insurance sector in Ireland. Insurance Ireland administers and makes available to its member companies the Insurance Link database. The member companies contribute insurance claims data to the database on an ongoing basis. The stated purpose of the system is to facilitate the detection of potentially fraudulent behaviour by insurance claimants and to ensure the accuracy of information provided by potential customers to insurance companies and/or their agents. The participation in and access to a data pool by insurance service providers may directly benefit consumers in terms of ensuring more suitable products and competitive prices. In the case of Insurance Ireland, the Commission’s investigation will assess, in particular, whether the conditions imposed on companies wishing to participate in and access the Insurance Link database may have had the effect of placing these companies at a competitive disadvantage on the Irish motor insurance market in comparison to companies already having access to the database. If proven, the practices under investigation may breach EU competition rules, which prohibit agreements between companies that prevent, restrict or distort competition within the EU’s Single Market (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). The opening of the formal investigation follows inspections carried out in July 2017 in the Irish motor insurance market. The Commission will now carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. The opening of a formal investigation does not prejudge its outcome. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Insurance is essential for all car drivers in Europe. We are investigating whether companies wishing to offer their services on the Irish motor insurance market may have been unfairly prevented from accessing a data pool managed by Insurance Ireland for its member companies. This could potentially reduce Irish drivers’ choice of motor insurance policies at competitive prices.” More information on the investigation will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number AT.40511. The full press release is available online.
For more details see European Commission Daily News.