19 Oct 2017


Brussels, Brussels Daily


President Juncker participates in the European Council (18-19 October 2017)

Today and tomorrow, EU Heads of State or Government are meeting in Brussels for the European Council which marks an important step on the Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union as put forward by President Juncker in his State of the Union address to the European Parliament on 13 September. Leaders will discuss a number of priorities, including migration, where leaders will take stock of progress made under the EU’s comprehensive strategy on migration; the Digital Single Market, following on from discussions held during the informal Summit in Tallinn last month where leaders called for the swift completion of the DSM; defence and security; external relations with a focus on Turkey and North Korea; and the future of Europe. On Friday, the 27 EU leaders will discuss the state of play concerning Article 50 negotiations with the UK. Press conferences with Presidents Juncker and Tusk, and the Prime Minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas are scheduled for Thursday (at 19:00 CET) and Friday (12:00 CET) and will be available to follow live on EbS.


Commissioner Bulc in Ireland for high-level meetings and a citizens’ dialogue

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc is today and tomorrow in Ireland to discuss the future of Europe and its transport policy. She will today address the Oireachtas parliamentary Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport and meet with Irish Minister for Transport Mr Shane Ross. This evening she will participate in a citizens’ dialogue on the future of Europe together with Irish Member of the European Parliament Mr Brian Hayes. It will be livestreamed here as of 7.30pm Brussels-time. During her visit, Commissioner Bulc will also visit the port and the airport of Dublin and meet with Irish transport stakeholders.

Finance agreements in Netherlands and Romania as Juncker Plan now set to trigger more than €240 billion

The Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan – is now expected to trigger €240.9 billion in investments. This represents just over three-quarters of the €315 billion target of total investments mobilised that was originally earmarked. Following this month’s meeting of the European Investment Bank‘s (EIB) Board of Directors, operations approved under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) have a total financing volume of €47.4 billion and are located in all 28 Member States. Around 461,000 small and medium-sized businesses are expected to benefit from improved access to finance as a result of agreements supported by the Plan. The European Commission and the EIB Group estimate that the EFSI has so far supported 300,000 jobs across the EU. By 2020 that figure should be 700,000. Two loan agreements made possible by the EFSI signed today demonstrate the quality and diversity of the investments supported by the Juncker Plan. In the Netherlands, a €100 million loan will finance the construction of a new hospital in Breda. The new hospital will provide multidisciplinary care, including 500 new single patient rooms and 20 operating theatres. It is expected to cater for around 3,000 patients and will employ some 4,500 staff. In Romania, a €7.5 million loan to Green Fiber International SA will finance a recycling and circular economy project that will create 280 jobs and process over 50,000 tonnes of waste per year. Commenting on the transaction in Romania, Commissioner Creţu, responsible for Regional Policy, said: “A circular economy means a goldmine of opportunities; for our economy, for our environment and for our citizens, as this is fertile ground for job creation. With this forward-looking EFSI project, the Investment Plan is working for Romania’s future. In addition, I welcome these three new SME initiative agreements in the country; I’m glad to see this innovative Cohesion Policy programme delivering results on the ground.” For more information about any of the projects and the latest Investment Plan results see the new Investment Plan website


Car industry: GEAR 2030 report shows the way for a competitive and sustainable future

The High Level Group “GEAR 2030” has issued its report for a globally competitive and sustainably growing automotive sector. Jointly, public and private sector representatives brought together by the European Commission recommend that the car industry invests in clean, zero emissions vehicles and connected and automated driving. Industry Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska welcomed the report: “The car industry is at a turning point. The emissions scandal has seriously damaged its reputation and credibility. Public health and the environment are at stake, societal expectations are changing and global competition is tough. This report is a good basis for a (re)start. I am pleased that it is broadly supported by both government and industry. Clearly we can achieve our goals through close collaboration.” The Commission will now reflect on the recommendations and explore policy options to address them. A number of initiatives are already in the pipeline, such as the upcoming second Mobility Package including tighter CO2 standards, and the initiative for battery development and production in Europe. The car industry plays a pivotal role in the Commission’s Industrial Policy Strategy announced by President Juncker in his State of the Union speech. A dedicated news item and the GEAR 2030 report are available online. On EU action to curb air pollution by cars, see MEMO.


Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Bard by BD, subject to conditions

The Commission has conditionally approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Bard by BD. Both companies supply medical devices. The companies’ activities are largely complementary but overlap in the markets for core needle biopsy devices and tissue markers, which are both used for the diagnosis of medical conditions such as breast cancer. The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed acquisition on the core needle biopsy devices and tissue markers. In order to address the Commission’s concerns in these markets, BD committed to divest its: i) worldwide core needle biopsy business, including manufacturing equipment, finished goods inventory, and intangible assets required to produce the core needle biopsy products, and ii) development projects related to core needle biopsy products and tissue markers.  The Commission found that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would not raise competition concerns. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The conditions we have imposed on this merger will help to ensure that millions of European patients and Member States’ healthcare systems in the EU, will continue to enjoy access at fair prices to a variety of innovative medical devices – in this case devices that are key to diagnose and treat very serious medical conditions, such as cancer.” A full press release is available in here.



Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of LV’s UK general non-life insurance business by Allianz

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of the UK general non-life insurance businesses of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (“LV”) of the UK by Allianz SE of Germany. The acquired asset includes the general non-life insurance businesses of LV such as motor, property, liability and pet insurance as well as a mutual society providing a range of life and non-life insurance products. Allianz is a global financial services provider mainly active in the field of life and non-life insurance and asset management. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because of its limited impact on the market structure. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8617.



Vice-President Katainen in Luxembourg

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, will visit Luxembourg on Friday 20 October. He will meet the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Mr. Etienne Schneider, to discuss the Future of Europe, the Investment Plan for Europe and industrial policy. He will also visit the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a bilateral meeting with EIB President Werner Hoyer and to discuss the Investment Plan with EIB senior staff. Vice-President Katainen will attend a working lunch at the European Court of Auditors with Mr. Ville Itälä, Member of the Court. Following an invitation of the Finnish Permanent Representation to the European Union, he will discuss the Future of Europe with Finns working in Luxembourg.


Security and Anti-Terrorism: Commissioners Avramopoulos and King attend G7 meeting in Ischia

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will participate tomorrow in the G7 meeting of Ministers of Interior in Ischia, Italy together with the Interior Ministers of Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States of America. They will be joined by representatives from the internet industry and discuss measures to prevent terrorist misuse of the internet  as well as the phenomenon of foreign fighters. The Secretary General of Interpol will also take part in the meeting. A press conference will take place on Friday at 13:10 CET.

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