EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 24 JANUARY

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EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS - 24 JANUARY
24 Jan 2020

EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 24 JANUARY

Brussels, Brussels Daily

Trade: EU and 16 WTO members agree to work together on an interim appeal arbitration arrangement

Today, in Davos, Switzerland, the EU and Ministers from 16 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have agreed to develop a multi-party interim appeal arrangement that will allow the participating WTO members to preserve a functioning and two-step dispute settlement system at the WTO in disputes among them. This initiative was launched in mid-December 2019 by the EU and a number of other WTO members following the effective paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body, due to the blockage of any new appointments since 2017. Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said: “This statement testifies to the high importance that the EU and the participating WTO members attach to retaining a two-step dispute settlement process in WTO trade matters. The multiparty appeal arbitration arrangement will guarantee that the participating WTO members continue to have access to a binding, impartial and high-quality dispute settlement system among them. Let me underline again that this remains a contingency measure needed because of the paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body. We will continue our efforts to seek a lasting solution to the Appellate Body impasse, including through necessary reforms and improvements.” More information is available online in the press release and Joint Statement. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

State aid: Estonia to recover incompatible aid from agricultural company AS Tartu Agro

The European Commission has found that agricultural company AS Tartu Agro received incompatible aid from Estonia through the rent of agricultural land at a rate below market price. Estonia must now recover this illegal aid from AS Tartu Agro. AS Tartu Agro is an Estonian private company, which produces milk, meat and cereals. In 2017, following a complaint by a competitor, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation to establish whether a land lease contract between the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs and AS Tartu Agro was in line with EU State aid rules. The Commission’s investigation revealed that the lease of land involved State aid, as the lease fee paid by AS Tartu Agro was, and still is, below the market price. On this basis, the Commission found that the lease contract gives an undue and selective advantage to AS Tartu Agro over its competitors. The Commission therefore concluded that the contract amounts to incompatible aid under EU State aid rules, and that AS Tartu Agro now has to return the illegal advantage received. The amount is estimated to be around EUR 1.2 million. The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE and ET. (For more information: Arianna Podesta – Tel. +32 229 87024; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

Commissioner Ferreira in Poland to discuss the transition towards a climate-neutral economy

On 27 and 28 January, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, will be in Poland. On Monday, the Commissioner will have a bilateral meeting with Polish Minister of Funds and Regional Policy, Malgorzata Jarosínska-Jedynak, to discuss the preparation of the 2021-2027 programming period, the ongoing negotiations on the next EU long-term budget, and the Just Transition Fund. Commissioner Ferreira will then give keynote speeches at the kick-off conference on the Just Transition Fund as well as in a session discussing the green economy. Both speeches will be made available on her website. In the afternoon, the Commissioner will participate in a panel discussion on coal regions in transition and the need for fairness in the green transition. In the margins of the Conference, Commissioner Ferreira will meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Mr Piotr Gliński. Finally, the Commissioner will also visit several projects during her stay in Poland: on Monday, she will visit the city of Bytom, which has been suffering from the consequences of coal mining activities, and on Tuesday a former coal mine which has been converted into the Silesian Museum of Katowice. During the latter project visit, the Commissioner will hold a bilateral meeting with Mr Jakub Chelstowski, Marshal of the Silesian region. (For more information: Stefan De Keersmaecker – Tel.: +32 229 84680; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)

 

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