|Commission welcomes ambitious agreement on first ever EU legislation to monitor and report CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles
Yesterday evening, representatives from the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the Regulation for monitoring and reporting CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data from new heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), i.e. lorries, buses and coaches. This is the first ever EU legislation focusing on the CO2 emissions from these vehicles. The new rules are part of the EU’s Strategy on low-emission mobility and Communication on delivering on low-emission mobility laying out actions for a fundamental modernisation of European mobility and transport. Welcoming the political agreement, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “This agreement is proof of Europe’s firm intention to curb the growing CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. I thank the European Parliament and the Council for their work to reach this ambitious outcome. With this new robust, reliable and transparent monitoring and reporting system, we are on track for the next step: CO2 emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles to be proposed in May 2018.” Accelerating the shift to clean and sustainable mobility is essential to improve the quality of life and health of citizens and contribute to the EU’s climate objectives under the Paris Agreement. The clean mobility transition offers major opportunities for the European economy and reinforces the EU’s global leadership in clean vehicles. Monitoring and reporting CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new heavy-duty vehicles will also increase transparency enabling transport operators to make well-informed purchasing decisions and save fuel costs. It will also drive innovation amongst European manufacturers. Read full STATEMENT/18/2603.
Commodity Price Dashboard No 69 – February 2018 edition
This price dashboard provides a monthly summary of commodity price data for the most representative agricultural inputs, agricultural products and consumer food prices, at EU and world level. Although not all the products are comparable at both EU and world level, this document is intended to give an indication on the most recent price developments. More information here
Travel with your digital subscriptions: Joint statement by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU
From 1 April 2018 onwards, Europeans will be able to access the online content that they have subscribed to at home, wherever they are in the EU. Vice-President Ansip, Commissioner Gabriel, Bulgarian Minister Ivaylo Moskovski and Members of the European Parliament Pavel Svoboda and Jean-Marie Cavada said the following: “Citizens are at the core of all our digital initiatives. As of 1 April, wherever you are travelling to in the EU, you will no longer miss out on your favourite films, TV series, sports broadcasts, games or e-books, that you have digitally subscribed to at home. The rules will apply to paid-for services, but providers of free content may opt in.Providers of online content will also benefit from the new rules. They will no longer have to acquire licences for other territories where their subscribers are travelling to […] Today we have taken another concrete step towards building a true Digital Single Market and a united European digital society, accessible for all our citizens and profitable for our businesses.”The full text is available here. Watch the press statement by Commissioner Gabriel live on EbS. More details on the new rules are available in the Q&A and a factsheet, as well as a recent Facebook chat.
Young people on the labour market in 2016 – Half of unemployed young people in the EU ready to relocate for a job
50% of unemployed people aged 20-34 in the European Union (EU) are reluctant to change their place of residence for a job, 21% are ready to move for a job but only in the same country, whereas 12% would consider moving to another EU Member State. 17% would even be ready to move for a job outside EU.
Full text available here
Antitrust: Commission invites comments on TenneT’s proposed commitments to increase cross border electricity capacity with Denmark
The European Commission has invited comments on commitments by the German grid operator TenneT to increase capacity on the electricity interconnector between Western Denmark and Germany. The commitments are in response to Commission concerns that capacity restrictions may breach EU antitrust rules.Prior to the opening of the investigation and sending of a preliminary assessment on 19 March 2018, TenneT had already been in commitment discussions with the Commission. The opening of the investigation allowed TenneT to formally submit a set of commitments to address the Commission’s concerns. In particular, TenneT is proposing to ensure that the maximum capacity of the interconnector between Denmark and Germany would be made available to the market, while preserving the security of the German high-voltage electricity network. The Commission invites all stakeholders to submit their views on the commitments. Taking into account all comments received, the Commission will then take a final view on whether the commitments address its competition concerns. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Electricity interconnectors must be open to cross-border trade if we are to build a real Energy Union. To achieve this we need to ensure that energy flows freely without any capacity restrictions that may breach EU antitrust rules. In this context, we will assess whether TenneT’s proposed commitments address our competition concerns in light of the responses of interested parties.”A full press release is available here
State aid: Commission approves reductions on offshore surcharge for electro-intensive and railway companies in Germany
The European Commission has found German plans to grant reductions on an offshore surcharge to electro-intensive users and railways to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure will contribute to the competitiveness of these companies without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. Following an amendment to the German Energy Act (EnWG), as of 2019 the costs of connecting offshore wind installations to the main electricity grid will be financed via an offshore surcharge (Offshore-Netzumlage), to be paid by electricity consumers. The amended German Energy Act also provides for reductions from this offshore surcharge for certain electro-intensive industrial users, as well as for railway companies. The reductions will confer an advantage to these companies, as it will lower their financial burden compared to other companies that will not benefit from them. The Commission has assessed the measure under both its Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy 2014-2020 as well as its Guidelines on State aid for railways undertaking and concluded that the German plans to grant reductions on offshore surcharges to electro-intensive users and railways are in line with EU State aid rules, because they will contribute to the competitiveness of these companies without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. A full press release is available here
State aid: Commission publishes the non-confidential version of decision to open in-depth investigation into the Netherlands’ tax treatment of Inter IKEA
Today, the Commission has published the non-confidential version of its decision, adopted on 18 December 2017, to open an in-depth investigation into the Netherlands’ tax treatment of Inter IKEA, one of the two groups operating the IKEA business. The Commission has concerns that two Dutch tax rulings may have allowed Inter IKEA to pay less tax and given them an unfair advantage over other companies, in breach of EU State aid rules. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives the Netherlands and interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. The decision is available under the case number SA.46470 on the competition website.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Sits Holding by 3i Group
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Sits Holding of the Netherlands by 3i Group Plc of the UK. Sits Holding is active in the manufacturing of personal care products for retailers and brand owners. 3i is an international investor and investment management business, specialising in core investments markets in Europe and North America. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the companies’ moderate combined market positions resulting from the proposed transaction. 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.8836.
Eurostat: La moitié des jeunes sans emploi dans l’UE prêts à s’établir ailleurs pour décrocher un emploi
Quelque 50% des chômeurs de 20 à 34 ans dans l’Union européenne (UE) hésitent à changer de lieu de résidence pour décrocher un emploi; 21% sont disposés à déménager pour les besoins d’un emploi dans le même pays et 12% sont prêts à s’établir ailleurs dans l’UE. 17% seraient même prêts à quitter l’UE pour décrocher un emploi. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici.
First Vice-President Timmermans holds roundtable with European Muslim leaders
Tomorrow, Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans will hold a roundtable discussion with ten European imams and scholars as part of the Future of Europe debate and the Commission’s engagement with Muslim communities in Europe. The imams and scholars hail from six Member States – Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Italy and The Netherlands – and represent the Sunni, Shia, Ahmadiyya and Alevi branches of Islam. Ahead of the roundtable, First Vice-President Timmermans said: “The Muslim community, in all its diversity, has an important role to play in Europe’s future. Muslims will find a loyal friend in the European Commission that will support everyone’s right to practice their faith and traditions in peace”. The European Commission holds high-level meetings with religious and non-confessional organisations (see events in June and November), as part of the regular dialogue with churches, religions, philosophical and non-confessional organisations foreseen by the Lisbon Treaty (Article 17). In September 2017, First Vice-President Timmermans hosted a seminar with Muslim university students from across the continent together with European Parliament Vice-President Mairead McGuinness. Tomorrow’s meeting is an opportunity to further deepen this much needed conversation, bringing in new voices and perspectives. More information on the Commission’s actions on combating anti-Muslim hatred and its dialogue with religions can be found here and here.
Commissioner Hahn in Jordan to promote sustainable economic development
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations is in Jordan today 27 March and tomorrow 28 March to launch the External Investment Plan with the country and support its economic development. Johannes Hahn will meet with key political authorities of the country including Deputy Prime Minister Jafar Hassan, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury. Ahead of the visit Commissioner Hahn said: “It is with great pleasure that I am travelling to Jordan. I will be focussing on how the EU can further support economic development in Jordan and in particular, how the EU can help Jordan to attract foreign investors. I will launch the External Investment Plan, which is a concrete proof EU engagement to respond to the demands of Jordanian citizens for economic growth and jobs”. He added “We deeply respect the contribution Jordan makes by hosting so many Syrian refugees. The 24 and 25 April Brussels II Conference will re-confirm the EU support to Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan.” In Jordan, Commissioner Hahn will also sign two measures supporting reform work in Jordan including trade for Development. Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS.