17 Nov 2017


Brussels, Brussels Daily

Juncker Plan exceeds €250 billion in investment and backs new deals in Slovenia, France and Ireland

Following this week’s meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Board of Directors, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is now expected to trigger more than €251.6 billion in investments. The deals approved under the EFSI amount to €49.6 billion in financing and are located in all 28 Member States. Around 528,000 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are expected to benefit from improved access to finance. As of November, the top five countries ranked in order of investment triggered relative to GDP are Estonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal and Spain. The EIB Group has also signed new agreements in Slovenia, France and Ireland. In Slovenia, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and SID Banka, the Slovene export and development bank, are launching a €100 million equity investment programme in Slovenia to support growing SMEs and mid-cap companies. Also in Slovenia, the EIB is lending €51 million to Slovenian company DARS to finance the introduction of an electronic tolling system for vehicles above 3.5t using the country’s motorway network, which will ease traffic flow. In France, the EIB is supporting an innovative renewable energy project by providing €90 million to Valeco to construct 38,000 solar panels with a total energy of 12MW covering the energy consumption of 6,000 local homes, saving 13,340 tonnes of CO2 per year. Finally, the EIF and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) are tripling their finance for Irish SMEs, with €330 million now available to around 10,000 businesses. All of these agreements benefit from the guarantee of the Investment Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “With nearly 80% of the original €315 billion investment target now reached, we are seeing the tangible benefits of the Investment Plan every day. With the climate change conference in Bonn just coming to a close, it is fitting that we celebrate the launch of an innovative project in solar energy. Under EFSI 2.0, we place even more emphasis on financing projects in line with the Paris Agreement targets to transition towards a low-carbon economy.” For more information see the Investment Plan website 


President Jean-Claude Juncker on the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth

Today, European Union leaders have solemnly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights at the Social Summit for fair jobs and growth in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Pillar was first announced by President Juncker in his 2015 State of the Union Address and presented by the Commission in April 2017. Today it was signed by President Juncker for the European Commission, President Tajani for the European Parliament and Prime Minister Ratas for the Council of the European Union.  Read Statement here

MiFID II: EU issues rules on the trading obligation for derivatives

The Commission has today issued rules to make certain types of derivatives trades safer and more transparent. A derivative is a financial contract linked to the fluctuation in the price of the underlying asset or basket of assets to which it refers (e.g. the development of interest rates). The new rules specify which derivatives should be subject to the trading obligation under the Markets in Financial Instrument Regulation (MiFIR) and follows G-20 commitments to ensure that more trading in derivatives takes place on transparent trading venues, instead of being privately negotiated over the counter. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “With these rules, EU financial market players will now have certainty on what derivatives will have to be traded on venues where greater safety, stability and transparency are assured.” Specifically, the new rules determine those derivatives that may only be traded on an EU trading venue or a non-EU trading venue covered by equivalence decisions of the Commission. EU trading venues include regulated markets, multilateral trading facilities, and organised trading facilities. The rules adopted today take the form of regulatory technical standards (RTS) and will now be sent for scrutiny to the European Parliament and the Council. Furthermore, the Commission is planning to soon adopt its equivalence decision recognising some US trading platforms, following last month’s agreement with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on a common approach regarding certain derivatives trading platforms. For more information see here 


Mergers: Commission clears the creation of a joint venture in Malaysia between Mitsui and Sime Darby

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture by Mitsui & Co., Ltd of Japan and Sime Darby Property (Sungai Kapar) Sdn Bhd of Malaysia. The joint venture will be established in Malaysia, where it will acquire and develop plots of land as a logistics and industrial park. Mitsui is a general trading company engaged in business areas such as machinery, electronics, iron, steel, coal, chemicals and energy. Sime Darby is mainly engaged in property development in Malaysia. It belongs to the Sime Darby group, a multi-national group active in plantation, industrial equipment, motors, property and logistics. The Commission found that the transaction would raise no competition concerns in the EEA as the joint venture has no actual or foreseen activities within the EEA. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8656.


High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini travels to Myanmar for the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and to Bangladesh

On Monday and Tuesday 20-21 November, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, will lead the European delegation at the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of Foreign Ministers in Nai Pyi Taw, Myanmar. On Sunday 19 November, the High Representative/Vice-President will also have a working visit to Bangladesh. The theme of this year’s Asia-Europe Meeting is “Strengthening Partnership for Peace and Sustainable Development” with a focus on security, economic, and political issues of common interest. The meeting will serve as preparation for next year’s 12th ASEM Summit (Brussels, October 2018). While in Nai Pyi Taw, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini will also hold a number of bilateral meetings. The visit will also provide an opportunity to address the situation in Northern Rakhine State. In Bangladesh, the High Representative/Vice-President will visit Rohingya refugee camps in the district of Cox’s Bazar, and meet with representatives of humanitarian organisations. In Dhaka, she will also meet the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Mrs Sheikh Hasina, to address the refugee crisis and the EU’s support to the country in this context, as well as other areas of the EU-Bangladesh partnership. For more information, a full press release is available online. Additional material is available on the ASEM website and in a factsheet on EU-Myanmar relations.


European Robotics Week 2017: show the robots’ ability to improve everyday life in Europe


European Robotics Week 2017 (ERW2017) will take place from 17 to 26 November 2017 throughout Europe. With more than 1000 events organized locally, ERW2017 will be an opportunity to exhibit different robotics projects from all over Europe and to demonstrate the growing role that robots play in a wide variety of fields, such as health, education, the environment or international cooperation. Various events such as open houses in factories, research labs, school visits by robots and discussions with experts will take place during this week. During this year, the objectives are to demonstrate how much robotic technology is able to improve our societies and to educate younger generations about the growing importance of the scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical (STEM) skills will help to get involved in the robotics and artificial intelligence sectors. In Brussels, the main event of European Robotics Week 2017 will take place from 20 to 23 November and will be organized by the Committee of the Regions. The European Robotics Research Community (led by the EU-funded SPARC Robotic Research Partnership) will explain how European citizens and businesses can benefit from these technologies. Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market, and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, in particular, have repeatedly emphasized the importance of robots for European industry and society. speeches are available here and here.


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