Brussels Daily
25 Oct 2018


Brussels Daily


Commission welcomes European Parliament vote on proposal to reduce the impact of single use plastic products on the environment

The Commission welcomes the important step taken by the European Parliament today to adopt its position on our initiative to tackle marine litter at its source, targeting the 10 plastic products that most often end up in the oceans, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear. Taken together, these products constitute 70% of marine litter. Europeans are greatly concerned about the impacts of plastic waste on their health and the environment. The proposal submitted by the Commission envisages different measures to apply to different product categories. Where alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. For products without straight-forward alternatives, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; design and labelling requirements; and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers. Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “Today we are one step closer to eliminating the most problematic single use plastic products in Europe. The Commission has promised to be big on big things – and plastic pollution and marine litter are among the biggest challenges of our times. That is why we invested in a legislative proposal to reduce single use plastic items and abandoned fishing gear. I warmly welcome today’s vote by the European Parliament. It sends a clear signal that Europe is ready to take decisive, coordinated action to curb plastic waste and to lead international efforts to make our oceans plastic-free. This is progress we will proudly showcase at next week’s Our Ocean conference in Indonesia. ” The proposal supported by the Parliament today is just one part of the world’s first comprehensive Plastics Strategy, adopted by the Commission earlier this year. It is part of a broader effort of turning Europe into a more sustainable, circular economy, reflected in the Circular Economy Action Plan we adopted in December 2015. In parallel to this legislative initiative, the Commission has been in dialogue with stakeholders and producers; has launched an awareness-raising campaign targeting EU citizens and is leading international efforts to reduce plastic pollution worldwide through relevant platforms and fora, including G7, G20 and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Commission’s Labour Market and Wage Developments report underlines importance of productivity to support wage growth

Today, the Commission has published the report “Labour Market and Wage Developments in Europe 2018”, confirming the sustained positive trends with record figures for employment and steady drops of the EU unemployment rate. However, total hours worked remain below the pre-crisis level. Hidden unemployment of part-time workers and discouraged workers who have given up on searching for a job remain a challenge. The analysis also shows that wages have started to grow again, although the existing labour slack, low inflation and low productivity growth prevent wages from rising even more. This is why the report recommends policies that boost productivity growth, in particular those that favour an adaptable and skilled workforce and support the adoption of innovative work practices. Welcoming the report, Marianne Thyssen, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “These findings are a further sign that the EU is on the right track towards better living and working conditions. But they also show that there can be no room for complacency. We must continue to invest in people’s skills, to make sure they are prepared for today’s labour market. In little more than a week, our third European Vocational Skills Week will kick-off, highlighting the benefits of vocational learning to develop in skills. Better skills lead to increased productivity, which ultimately will translate in higher wages.” The report also finds that wages in Central and Eastern European countries rose faster than in the rest of the European Union, pointing towards real wage convergence.


Investment Plan for Europe: come and meet the people behind EFSI projects

On 26 and 27 October on Place Rogier, Brussels, the European Investment Bank, together with the European Commission, is organising a fair dedicated to projects financed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan. Project promoters from all around Europe will showcase the products that the EFSI bring to life.From Greek olives to cutting-edge medical technologies developed in Italy and Spain, and from sustainable alternatives to plastic bags designed in the Czech Republic to home-made bread from Estonia, come see, feel and even taste the EFSI like never before and meet the people behind the projects. Vice President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “I will be very glad to open this event, which shows what the Investment Plan is about: people. It is about empowering people and giving them the means to turn their ideas – their dreams – into concrete projects that contribute to growth and job creation in Europe.Behind every EFSI project there is a story. These are stories of countless hours and efforts put into developing the products that you will see at this fair, and all these stories together have made the success of the Investment Plan.” This event is open to the public and to the press. Vice-President Katainen and EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle will open the fair at 10am on Friday, followed by a media visit. Find more information about the fair and showcased projects here. In October 2018, the Investment Plan had already mobilised over 344 billion euros in additional investment across Europe, with 793,000 small and medium businesses set to benefit from improved access to finance.





Commission launches public consultation on Connected and Automated Mobility

The European Commission launched yesterday a public consultation on the use of pioneer spectrum for 5G large scale testing, on cybersecurity and on a data governance framework that enables data sharing, in the context of Connected and Automated Mobility. The input will feed into a new policy Recommendation to be adopted in the next months, as announced in the recent Communication on Connected and Automated Mobility, as part of the 3rd Mobility Package. Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: ”We should use digital technologies to improve peoples’ life. Better mobility is one of the areas where improvements are certainly possible. This consultation will help us shape our policies and respond to citizens’ expectations regarding Connected and Automated Mobility.” Connected and automated vehicles generate data which can be re-used by service providers aiming to provide mobility services that will make transport safer, cleaner, cheaper and more accessible to the elderly and to people with reduced mobility. This public consultation aims to address important remaining challenges linked to the deployment of connected and automated vehicles today and is open to the general public, industry, such as car manufacturers, service providers, connectivity providers, telecom companies, public authorities and civil society organisations. The consultation runs until 5 December 2018. Find more information on the dedicated Communication on Connected and Automated Mobility to make Europe a world leader for autonomous and safe mobility systems in this factsheet.


EUROSTAT: Residence permits for non-EU citizens – First residence permits issued in the EU Member States remain above 3 million in 2017 – Main beneficiaries from Ukraine and Syria

In 2017, about 3.1 million first residence permits were issued in the European Union (EU) to non-EU citizens. The number increased almost by 4% (or 112 000) compared with 2016. Employment reasons accounted for almost one-third (32%) of all first residence permits issued in the EU in 2017, family reasons for 26%, education reasons for 17%, and other reasons, including international protection, for 24%. More information here



Commission gathers leading scientists to discuss latest on Artificial Intelligence

Today and tomorrow, the European Research Council (ERC) brings Europe’s top brains together to share latest research insights on artificial intelligence (AI). During the conference EU-funded scientists will explain and discuss their work ranging from machine learning, neural networks, ethics to data science and algorithms. The Commission recently presented a European approach to artificial intelligence with three principal goals: increase investment in research and innovation, prepare for socio-economic changes and ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework. Driven by scientists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, the application and market uptake of artificial intelligence has accelerated in the recent years in areas such as autonomous driving, social robots and automated medical diagnosis. Building on the Communication and Declaration of Cooperation from April, and further to EU leaders’ call at the European Council in June, the Commission is now developing with Member States a coordinated action plan for the development of artificial intelligence in Europe. The Commission has also set up the European AI Alliance and the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, which contribute to the implementation of the European approach to artificial intelligence. The Expert Group took up its work in June 2018 and will present a first draft of ethics guidelines by the end of the year. For more details on the conference programme see here. A Facebook live debate will happen tomorrow at 2:30 pm, which can also be followed on Twitter (@EU_Commission).





Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Delta Electronics (Thailand) by Delta Electronics

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Delta Electronics (Thailand) Public Company Ltd. (“Delta Electronics (Thailand)”) by Delta Electronics, Inc. of Taiwan. Delta Electronics (Thailand) is focused on the production of power supplies, fan and thermal management, power systems, automotive electronics and related products. Delta Electronics is primarily active as a supplier of power and thermal management solutions and is also present in, inter alia, the manufacturing and sale of industrial automation products, digital display products, telecommunication products, components for consumer electronics products, and building automation solutions. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given that there are limited horizontal overlaps and no vertical links between the activities of the companies. 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.9048.



Commissioner Stylianides in Denmark

Today Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides is in Denmark to meet Minister for Development Ulla Tørnæs to discuss EU humanitarian policy. Together they will participate in a Citizen’s Dialogue at the Aalborg University Copenhagen to discuss the role of European humanitarian aid in global crises. The Commissioner also meets various Danish humanitarian partners and private sector representatives to discuss how to promote and increase the involvement of the private sector in humanitarian assistance. During his visit to the UN city in Copenhagen, the Commissioner meets Vitaly Vanshelboim, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UNOPS, the operational arm of the UN. He will also visit the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world, run by UNICEF. The EU, together with its Member States, is the largest humanitarian donor globally and provides live saving assistance to people in zones of conflict, for example to people affected by the Syria crisis. As an innovative humanitarian actor, its partners team-up with European tech-companies to make use of the latest technologies in humanitarian aid initiatives.

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