Brussels Daily
21 Jan 2015


Brussels Daily

Commission sets out EU action in “the new global context” at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Today sees the start of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos (21-24 January), under the motto “the new global context”. More than 2.500 world leaders, politicians, top business and opinion leaders and media representatives participate in this key event to exchange ideas and discuss global issues in more than 280 official sessions. The European Commission will be represented by First Vice-President Timmermans, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini, Vice-Presidents Šefčovič, Dombrovskis and Katainen, and Commissioners Oettinger, Malmström, Moscovici and Moedas. They will set out and promote the Commission’s priorities, strategies and action to boost jobs, growth and competitiveness, enhance investment, and tackle global challenges ranging from global security issues, poverty, climate change and energy matters.

College orientation debate on the European Agenda on Security

Today, the College of Commissioners held a first exchange of views on the future European Agenda on Security during its weekly meeting. The European Commission will adopt in the months to come a European Agenda on Security for 2015- 2020 which will address several aspects such as identifying policy tools to prevent and address radicalisation; stepping up the fight against terrorism financing; strengthening cooperation between Europol and other European agencies and reinforcing the fight against arms trafficking. First Vice-President Timmermans will present the outcome of the orientation debate at today’s Commission Midday Briefing, which will be live broadcast by EBS.


European Commission proposes over €1.4 million from Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help former workers from Saint-Gobain Sekurit Benelux in Belgium and Zakłady Chemiczne Zachem in Poland

The European Commission has proposed to provide Belgium with € 1.3 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help 257 former workers of Saint-Gobain Sekurit Benelux to find new jobs. The amount proposed for Poland is €115,205 to help 50 former workers of Zakłady Chemiczne Zachem and two of its suppliers and downstream producers to find new jobs. Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility commented: “Many workers in the motor industries and chemical industry are experiencing hardship and EU solidarity to help them to manage these difficult transitions is therefore important. I’m confident that today’s decision will help to make the transition to new jobs easier for 307 people and also to set up their own businesses.” (for more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)

EUROSTAT: The proportion of innovative enterprises fell below 50% in the EU in 2010-2012

In the EU28, just under half (48.9%) of enterprises of 10 employees or more reported innovation activity during the period 2010-2012. The proportion of innovative enterprises in the EU28 dropped in 2010-2012 compared with both 2006-2008 (51.5% innovative enterprises) and the peak recorded in 2008-2010 (52.8%). This pattern was observed in the majority of Member States. Eurostat press release is available here.

EUROSTAT: House prices up by 0.5% in the euro area

House prices, as measured by the House Price Index (HPI), rose by 0.5% in the euro area and by 2.3% in the EU in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the same quarter of the previous year. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Compared with the second quarter of 2014, house prices rose by 0.6% in the euro area and by 1.1% in the EU in the third quarter of 2014. Eurostat press release is available here.

Mergers: Commission clears joint acquisition of TAG’s offshore wind farm steel foundations assets by Bladt and EEW

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the assets of TAG Energy Solutions Limited (UK) by a newly created joint venture controlled by Bladt Industries A/S of Denmark and EEW Special Pipe Constructions GmbH of Germany. Both Bladt and EEW are active in the manufacturing of steel foundations for offshore wind farms. The assets acquired by the joint venture consist of a complete production facility for offshore wind farm steel foundations and are currently under administration. The Commission’s investigation found that the proposed transaction does not raise any competition concerns as the market share increments brought by the acquired assets are modest, and customers will continue to have an adequate number of alternative suppliers. The case 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.7464.



Vice-President Ansip: A safe and secure connected digital space for Europe

Speaking at a debate of the European Internet Foundation in Brussels, Vice-President Ansip set out his views on the need to strike the right balance between keeping the Internet open as a forum for freedom of expression, while also making sure it is not abused as a vehicle to fuel hatred and violence, especially in view of the recent tragic events in France. “Freedom of the media, including the internet, is a vital channel for the freedom of speech. This fundamental principle requires protection and respect: protection of the internet as a forum for free expression; respect for the law, so the internet is not exploited for hatred and incitement,” said Vice-President Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market. “Safety and security in the online world are paramount (…) Trust is a ‘must’ – on all levels:  whether we are fighting against cybercrime or extremist websites; working to prevent the misuse of consumers’ personal data; or strengthening the rights of online shoppers across the European Union. If people do not, or cannot, trust e-services, they will never use them,” he added.  There are still too many barriers and restrictions, which means that Europe is losing out on unexploited potential. “Just as an example, let me mention Europe’s rules on copyright, which need to be updated to make them fit for the digital age.” He insisted “the Digital Single Market should be a free and open space that anyone, and everyone, can access without restrictions. Individual liberties are at the heart of everything we do in the European Union.” In May, the European Commission will present a long-term strategy for the Digital Single Market for Europe to make the most of the growing potential of the internet and new technologies. Full speech



High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini in Washington, D.C.      

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogherini is in Washington, D.C. for her first official visit to the United States on behalf of the EU. Following a speech on the EU’s foreign policy priorities and the transatlantic relationship to the Brookings Institute and German Marshall Fund of the United States on 20 January, High Representative Mogherini is expected to meet on Wednesday with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Trade Representative Michael Froman and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The High Representative’s visit comes shortly after the inauguration of a new US Congress and she is also expected to meet representatives of the House and Senate. Coverage on EbS throughout Wednesday.

Commissioner Mimica launches ONE’s Young Ambassadors Programme

On 22 January, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will meet 40 young people from across the EU to launch ONE’s Young Ambassadors’ scheme in Brussels. The youths, aged from 18-32, will get chance to discuss with the Commissioner his plans for the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the European Year for Development, and how young people can get involved at grassroots’ level. A couple of selected Youth Ambassadors will share their hopes and dreams for a world without extreme poverty with the Commissioner. Almost 200 young activists from seven countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Italy, Ireland and Germany) will become Youth Ambassadors for ONE (a development advocacy and campaigning organisation) and campaign around the post-2015 process. They will help shape the new development goals, and be particularly active around key moments in 2015, like the Financing for Development Conference in July and the UN General Assembly in September. Young people are one of the key audiences for the 2015 European Year for Development, and according to last week’s Eurobarometer survey, 88% of young Europeans think it’s important to help people in developing countries.


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