22 Jan 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 22 JANUARYBrussels Daily
EUROSTAT: Third quarter of 2014 compared with second quarter of 2014; Government debt fell to 92.1% of GDP in euro area – Down to 86.6% in EU28
At the end of the third quarter of 2014, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA18) stood at 92.1%, compared with 92.7% at the end of the second quarter of 2014. In the EU28, the ratio decreased from 87.0% to 86.6%. This decrease in the EU28 government debt to GDP ratio comes after fifteen consecutive quarters of increase. Compared with the third quarter of 2013, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area (from 91.1% to 92.1%) and the EU28 (from 85.3% to 86.6%). At the end of the third quarter of 2014, debt securities accounted for 79.3% of euro area and for 81.0% of EU28 general government debt, loans for 17.9% and 15.3% respectively and currency and deposits for 2.8% and 3.7%. Due to the involvement of EU governments in financial assistance to certain Member States, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending is also published. The share of IGL in GDP at the end of the third quarter of 2014 amounted to 2.4% in the euro area and to 1.8% in the EU28. These data are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. See press release
State aid: Commission authorises UK aid for Teesside biomass CHP plant
The European Commission has found that UK plans to support the building of the Teesside combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plant are in line with EU state aid rules. The plant will use biomass to provide electricity to the national grid and heat to local customers. The Commission concluded in particular that the project would further EU energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. The full press release is available here.
Commissioner Stylianides to visit Ukraine as EU steps up humanitarian aid
The European Union is preparing to step up its humanitarian aid to the people affected by the conflict in Ukraine, especially the displaced and those who need help to weather the severe cold which has gripped the country. Commissioner Christos Stylianides, responsible for humanitarian aid and crisis management, will be in Ukraine on January 26-27 to discuss the emergency with the authorities in Kyiv, to meet victims of the crisis in the East and to reaffirm the EU’s solidarity with the affected people. “I am very worried about the situation of the thousands of Ukrainians thrown in a real humanitarian crisis by this conflict. Winter is making their suffering even greater, and is especially harsh on the displaced, children, the elderly, the poorest. Europe has been helping the most vulnerable victims of this crisis since its early days and we will continue to do so. I will be in Kyiv and Dnepropetrovsk to make sure our assistance continues to bring relief everywhere it is needed. The Commission is preparing a joint humanitarian package with Member States – yet another sign that we stand together by the Ukrainian people and that our solidarity is tangible and collective,” Commissioner Stylianides said. Collectively, EU Member States and the European Commission have provided over €76 million in humanitarian and recovery assistance for Ukraine. On the ground, this assistance is translating into shelter for the displaced, health care for the injured and the sick, food, water, sanitation and other emergency aid. According to the UN, the conflict in Ukraine has displaced more than 600,000 people inside Ukraine and has forced close to 600,000 people to flee to neighbouring countries. See press release .
Commissioner Creţu in Slovenia to launch the Partnership Agreement, 22-23 January
On 22 and 23 January Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu will visit Slovenia to officially launch the Partnership Agreement that was adopted on 30 October 2014. The Agreement details the strategy and objectives for using European Structural and Investment Funds in the 2014-2020 budgetary period. Slovenia is eligible for €3.07 billion under the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Social Fund. Corina Creţu will meet Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar and the ministers dealing with EU funds. Her mission also includes an exchange of views with the chairmen of parliamentary committees at the Slovenian National Assembly and a visit to tourism and transport infrastructures co-financed by the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund during the 2007-2013 budgetary period. The mission will mark the first stage of the Commissioner’s tour of the Member States facing challenges in absorbing EU funds from the 2007-2013 period before the end of 2015. To help Member States make optimum and fastest use of the remaining 2007-2013 EU structural funds, one of Corina Creţu’s first acts as Commissioner was to set up a task force on implementation within the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban policy. The task force includes working groups in charge of identifying country-specific key actions in the early months of 2015. Speaking ahead of her mission to Slovenia, Corina Creţu said: “I congratulate Slovenia for delivering high quality work in preparing the 2014-2020 period and I welcome the country’s good level of progress in implementing structural funds, especially regarding the European Regional Development Fund performance. On the low implementation of Cohesion Funds’ investments, I’m confident that a sustained, opened and fruitful dialogue with the Slovenian authorities, along with the proposals of the task force, will help Slovenia make the most out of EU funds by the end of the year.”