16 Jan 2018


Brussels, Brussels Daily


State aid: 2017 Scoreboard confirms benefits of modernisation leading to quicker implementation on the ground of public support by Member States

The 2017 State Aid Scoreboard, published today by the European Commission, confirms the benefits of the Juncker Commission’s State Aid Modernisation package. The annual State Aid Scoreboard is based on expenditure reports provided by Member States and covers all existing aid measures to industries, services, agriculture and fisheries. It also includes aid granted to financial institutions in the context of the financial and economic crisis. Aid to railways and services of general economic interest is not covered by the Scoreboard. The2017 State Aid Scoreboard shows that more than 97% of new aid measures for which expenditure was reported fell under the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) and could be more quickly disbursed – an absolute increase of about 25% compared to 2013. This development is in line with the Commission’s proposal under the “Doing Less More Efficiently” scenario of the White Paper on the Future of Europe by 2025 – to focus on delivering more and faster, while doing less where it is perceived not to have an added value. The Scoreboard also shows that around 94% of total State aid spending was allocated to horizontal objectives of common interest, such as environmental protection, research, development and innovation and regional development. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition, said: “More than 97% of new aid measures are being paid out without prior authorisation from the Commission. This is confirmed in the latest State aid Scoreboard. Our modernisation of State aid rules means less red tape and faster allocation of resources. This allows us to focus on measures that have the biggest impact on competition, to be “big on big things and small on small things”, to the benefit of all European citizens.” A full press release is available in here


COLLEGE MEETING: Circular Economy: Commission presents Strategy for Plastics

The first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics was adopted today as part of the transition towards a more circular economy. It will protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation, turning a challenge into a positive agenda for the Future of Europe. Under the new plans, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics will be restricted. The Commission will also develop labels for biodegradable and compostable plastics and propose new rules on packaging to improve the recyclability of plastics used on the market and increase the demand for recycled plastic content. To stop littering at sea, measures include new rules on port reception facilities to ensure that waste generated on ships or gathered at sea is not discharged at sea but returned to land and appropriately managed there. Driving investment and innovation, the Commission will scale up its support for national authorities and businesses, with an additional €100 million for financing the development of smarter and more recyclable plastics materials. The Commission will work with partners from around the world to come up with global solutions and develop international standards. You can follow live the press conference on the presentation of the package by First Vice-President Timmermans and Vice President Katainen in Strasbourg. All elements of the Strategy are available at the following links: press release, Q&A and factsheets.


New EUROSTAT web page on the Circular Economy

A circular economy aims to maintain the value of products, materials and resources for as long as possible  by returning them into the product cycle at the end of their use, while minimising the generation of waste.

The fewer products we discard, the less materials we extract, the better for our environment.

This process starts at the very beginning of a product’s lifecycle: smart product design and production processes can help save resources, avoid inefficient waste management and create new business opportunities. More information here


Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspection in kraft paper sector

The European Commission can confirm that on 15 January 2018 its officials carried out an unannounced inspection at the premises of a company operating in the kraft paper sector. The inspection took place in one Member State and is part of the same investigation that led the Commission to carry out unannounced inspections in 2016 and 2017 in the sector of kraft paper and industrial paper sacks. The Commission has concerns that the inspected company may have violated Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits anticompetitive practices such as price fixing and customer allocation. The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authority. Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in investigations into suspected cartels. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour; nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation. A full statement is available here.


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