22 Sep 2017


Brussels, Brussels Daily, IFA in Brussels


EU at UN General Assembly: strong partnerships to rise together to global challenges 

A number of high-level political events marked the European Union’s agenda on Thursday at the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini announced at a side-event on Protecting cultural heritage from terrorism and mass atrocities, co-hosted by Italy and the EU, that Cultural Property Protection Experts will be appointed and deployed in the Common Security and Defence Policy Missions around the world, the first one at the new civilian mission to Iraq. On the occasion of the provisional entry into force of CETA, the HRVP met with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, expressing support for the historic agreement. Among others she also addressed a ministerial meeting on reaffirming commitment to the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda, participated in a high-level event on Somalia and held a number of bilateral meetings. Concluding the day, she participated in a dinner convened by US Secretary of State Tillerson. Commissioner Neven Mimica opened the EU side-event on Protecting the Rights of indigenous peoples in a high-level panel to mark the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples and launching the Indigenous Navigator Initiative. He further had a number of bilateral meetings, including with Chief executive Officer of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva; the UN High Representative for the least developed countries, Fekitamoeloa Katoa Utoikamanu; and with UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown. Commissioner Christos Stylianides represented the EU at with a ministerial roundtable on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, calling for improved humanitarian access to reach those in need and to step up protection to women and girls.

EU and US sign bilateral agreement on insurance and reinsurance

The EU and the US are today due to sign a landmark bilateral agreement on insurance and reinsurance. The signature marks the final step in more than 20 years of discussions and a year of formal negotiations between the European Commission and the US Department of the Treasury and Office of the Trade Representative. The agreement will boost consumer protection and cut costs and red tape for EU insurers and reinsurers active in the US. In their joint statement, the EU and the US said: “The Agreement represents a major step forward in U.S.- EU cooperation on insurance and reinsurance, conveying benefits to EU and U.S. insurers and reinsurers operating across the Atlantic, by offering them enhanced regulatory certainty, while maintaining robust consumer protections.” In line with the objectives of the Investment Plan for Europe and the Capital Markets Union, the agreement will enable reinsurers to boost their investment capacity. EU reinsurers estimate that they have about $40 billion of collateral posted in the US, which could instead be invested to create jobs and growth. The opportunity cost is estimated at around $400 million per year. The Agreement will enhance consumer protection by facilitating the exchange of information between EU and US supervisors. The Agreement also brings prudential benefits: for instance, EU insurers and reinsurers will have to prepare only one risk and solvency assessment (ORSA) in light of their specific risk profile. This assessment will also be used by US supervisors. The signature allows parts of the Agreement to become immediately applicable on a provisional basis. The European Parliament and the Council will need to approve the conclusion of the Agreement.See also MEMO

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over TSR Recycling by Remondis

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control over TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG by Remondis SE & Co. KG, both of Germany. TSR Recycling is active worldwide in the processing and supply of scrap metal. It is currently jointly controlled by Remondis and Alfa Acciai S.p.A. Remondis belongs to the Rethman Group and is active in waste disposal and recycling, predominantly in Germany, as well as in other EU Member States and Australia. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given that Remondis already held joint control over TSR Recycling prior to the transaction. Therefore, the transaction does not change the competition landscape. 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.8632.


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Ista Group by CKI and CKP

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the joint acquisition of Ista Group of Luxembourg by CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (“CKHH”) of the Cayman Islands – indirectly via CK Infrastructure Holding Limited (“CKI”) of Bermuda – and Cheung Kong Property Holding Limited (“CKP”) of China. Ista Group supplies heat and water sub-metering and other related services mainly in the European Economic Area, with a focus on Germany, France and Denmark. CKHH is active in five core businesses: (i) ports and related services, (ii) retail, (iii) infrastructure, (iv) energy and (v) telecommunications. Within CKHH, CKI manages diversified investments in energy, transportation as well as water infrastructure, waste management, waste-to-energy and other infrastructure related businesses. CKP is active in property and project development, management and investment, hotel and serviced suite operation, infrastructure investments and aircraft leasing. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there are no horizontal overlaps and vertical links between the companies’ activities. 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.8610.




The EU to host the second Brussels Conference on Syria in spring of 2018 

The European Union will organise a second Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region in spring of 2018. This was announced on Thursday by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini during a high-level event on the Syria crisis, hosted by the EU in the margins of the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York and attended by close to 50 countries and partners. The 2018 Conference will come as a follow up to the 2017 Brussels Conference and will aim at keeping the international community’s attention and response to the Syrian crisis on top of the international agenda and encouraging the full implementation of commitments taken in Brussels in April 2017. This includes continued support to the UN-led process for a negotiated political solution in line with UNSCR 2254 and ensuring respective needs for Syrians inside Syria and in neighbouring countries are met.“In this way, we will launch a Brussels process that will put our convening power at the service of the Syrian people – all of them. Those that are still inside the country and those that are in the region,” said Federica Mogherini. “The international community needs to continue to address the most pressing humanitarian and resilience needs of civilians,” said Commissioner Christos Stylianides. For more information there is a press release available.


Commissioners Oettinger, Creţu and Gabriel to discuss the future of EU finances at 25 September conference in Brussels

On 25 September 2017, Commissioners Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, Corina Creţu, in charge of Regional Policy, and Mariya Gabriel, dealing with the Digital Economy and Society, will take part in the conference “The future of EU finances”. The event will gather a great variety of stakeholders – including Member States, think tanks, EU institutions – to discuss the challenges ahead for the EU budget and the ways to address them. The discussions during the conference will feed into the debate on the future multiannual financial framework (MFF), launched with the publication of the Reflection Paper on the Future of EU finances. The full agenda is available here. The event will be web streamed with interpretation into most EU languages here. EbS will also cover the event.


Be Active – Launch of the European Week of Sport in Tartu

Today and tomorrow, Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, is in Tartu, Estonia, to officially launch the third edition of the European Week of Sport. Under the motto #BeActivethis campaign encourages people across Europe to take up sport and physical activity. This evening, Commissioner Navracsics and Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, will lead a seminar on the promotion of healthy lifestyles, the main focus of this year’s Week. At 16.30 CET today, the Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle will be publishedhere. This Call, which will be signed by Commissioners Navracsics, Andriukaitis and Phil Hogan, responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development, will warn against the negative consequences of child obesity, unhealthy diets or physical inactivity. It will contain 15 commitments bringing together work in a range of fields, such as sport, food, health, innovation and research, to promote healthy lifestyles. For example, it includes a pledge to increase the funding for EU projects promoting physical activity under the Erasmus+ programme as well as to raise awareness of the benefits of healthy lifestyles. Ahead of the launch, Commissioner Navracsics said: “We need to work across policy areas if we are to succeed in encouraging people to develop healthy habits. This is why I decided that this year’s European Week of Sport should focus on this theme, and I am pleased that Commissioners Andriukaitis and Hogan are joining me in this effort. To tackle the habits that contribute to poor health, we all need to work together – the European Week of Sport is part of this.” As in previous years, the Week is for everyone, regardless of age, background or fitness level, with thousands of activities taking place in 32 participating countries – more information about the events is available here. During his visit to Tartu, Commissioner Navracsics will also hold a Citizens’ Dialogue with Mr Volli Kalm, Rector of Tartu University, focusing on ‘Youth and the future of the EU -what kind of Europe young people would like to live in’. You can find more information on what the EU is doing in the field of sport here.


Vice-President Šefčovič engages in second Energy Union Tour in Belgium

On Monday 25 September, Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will engage in the second part of the Energy Union Tour to Belgium, this time with a special focus on cities. Vice-President Šefčovič will meet Federal Minister for Energy, the Environment and Sustainable Development Marie-Christine Marghem, Mayor of Tournai and Minister-President of the French-speaking Community Rudi Demotte, Mayor of Kortrijk Vincent Van Quickenborne, and other local politicians and business representatives. In their discussions, they will focus on Belgium’s new Energy Pact, which will track Belgium’s ongoing transition to clean energy, as well as the National Energy and Climate Plan that will show how the country is meeting the Energy Union‘s goals. They will also discuss the importance of adequate investments, including at the local level. Ahead of his visit, Vice-President Šefčovič said: “I congratulate the towns of Tournai and Kortrijk for setting good examples of clean energy cooperation at a regional level. They are also both aiming to become Smart Cities that make full use of digital tools to serve their residents. In addition, they are active members of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which is demonstrating how much can be achieved at a local level in the fight against climate change. The European Commission is a major supporter of this initiative, and we are also providing funding to help cities in their clean energy transition, such as the European structural and investment funds. The contributions of Tournai and Kortrijk will be crucial in helping Belgium achieve its 2030 climate and energy targets, especially in energy efficiency”. Upcoming dates and more information on the 2017 Energy Union tour are available here. More information on the Energy Union is available here.


Commissioner Navracsics to address Global Education Industry Summit in Luxembourg

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will be in Luxembourg on Monday for the opening session of the Global Education Industry Summit. Jointly organised by the European Commission, the OECD and the Luxembourg Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, the focus of this third edition of the Summit is “Schools at the crossroads of innovation in cities and regions”. Ahead of the event, Commissioner Navracsics said: “I fully support the focus of this year’s Summit on innovation in schools and how they interact with cities, regions and the local economy. These local ecosystems and their dynamics are critical for improving our education systems further, while helping cities and regions develop and become more competitive in the race for talent.” The Global Education Industry Summit brings together ministers and high-level representatives of OECD and EU Member States, education industry leaders and school and teacher representatives. Participants will debate strategies to boost innovation and explore the opportunities it offers in teaching and learning in order to promote quality and equity of educational outcomes.

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