AGRICULTURE: THE COMMISSION APPROVES THREE NEW GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS FROM FRANCE AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
The Commission has approved today the addition of three new products from France and the United Kingdom to the quality register of Protected Geographical Indications (PGI). To start with, the ‘Charolais de Bourgogne’ is beef meat of the Charolais breed type from animals reared ineight French departments in the wider region of Bourgogne. The region ranks among the most fertile in Europe hosting a system of extensive livestock farming. Also protected today are two beverages coming from the UK and most particularly Wales. The ‘Traditional Welsh Perry’ (in Welsh ‘Perai Cymreig Traddodiadol’) is the first pressed juice of perry pears grown in Wales. The Welsh county providing the majority of pears for ‘Traditional Welsh Perry’ is eastern Monmouthshire where perry pear trees can be as old as 300 years old. The ‘Traditional Welsh Cider’ (in Welsh ‘Seidr Cymreig Traddodiadol’) is cider made from first-pressed juice of cider apples grown as well in Wales. In 2001 the Welsh Perry and Cider Society was formed and today there are approximately 50 cider makers and 20 perry makers in Wales. These new denominations will be added to the list of over 1,395 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.
EUROPE ON THE MOVE: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON THE INITIATIVES FOR CLEAN, COMPETITIVE AND CONNECTED MOBILITY
The Commission’s proposals will contribute to the reduction of air pollutants and CO2 emissions as well as noise and congestion from transport. This will improve health and living conditions of European citizens. Road users will also benefit from expected improvements in road safety due to better social conditions of professional drivers, notably proper rest periods and better enforcement.
Finally, commuters will enjoy better connected and integrated transport modes, notably by the possibility to use interurban bus and coach services more seamlessly in conjunction with other transport modes, or by benefiting of simpler tolling arrangements when driving abroad. Read Memo here
CAPITAL MARKETS UNION: EU REACHES AGREEMENT ON REVIVING SECURITISATION MARKET
The European Commission has welcomed last night’s agreement to revive the EU’s securitisation market, in a move that will broaden investment opportunities for investors and boost lending to Europe’s households and businesses. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed on a package that sets out criteria for simple, transparent and standardised securitisation (STS). The deal is one of the cornerstones of the Capital Markets Union (CMU), the Juncker Commission’s pivotal project to build a single market for capital in the EU. The swift implementation of the securitisation package could unlock up to EUR 150 billion of additional funding to the real economy. Securitisation can allow diversification of funding sources and a broader distribution of risk by allowing banks to transfer the risk of some exposures to other institutions or long-term investors, such as insurance companies and asset managers. This allows banks to free the capital they set aside to cover for risks of those exposures, allowing them to generate new lending to households and SMEs. STS securitisations will also provide new investment opportunities for institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “This agreement marks another big step towards the creation of a Capital Markets Union. It will help build a sound and safe securitisation market in the EU, bringing real benefits to investment, jobs and growth. It will free up bank lending so that more financing can go towards supporting our companies and households.” A full press release is available online.
CAPITAL MARKETS UNION: EU AGREES TO MORE SUPPORT FOR VENTURE CAPITAL AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
Small and growing companies and social enterprises will enjoy better access to finance, thanks to EU rules agreed yesterday by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. The revamped rules are part of the Commission’s drive to stimulate venture capital investments in the EU, a core objective of its Capital Markets Union (CMU) project. The Commission proposed an overhaul of the existing European Venture Capital Funds (EuVECA) and the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEF) regulations in 2016 as part of the CMU Action Plan. The objective of these reforms is to improve access to finance for small and growing companies and social enterprises to promote jobs and growth. The rules are also linked to the Investment Plan for Europe, which provides a comprehensive strategy to tackle the lack of finance that is holding back Europe’s potential to grow. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “Today’s agreement removes another barrier to venture investment at EU level. The reforms we have agreed – expanding investment possibilities for funds, broadening the range of eligible managers, and simplifying administration, will help investor capital to reach the SMEs that need it.” Today’s agreement will open up EuVECA and EuSEF to fund managers of all sizes and it will allow a greater range of companies benefit from EuVECA investment. The EuVECA and EuSEF revamped rules offer to investors improved access to small and growing businesses as well to social ventures. The agreement also aims to make the cross-border marketing of EuVECA and EuSEF funds less costly and to simplify registration processes. The agreed text now follows ordinary legislative procedure before the final endorsements by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. A full press release is available here.
EUROSTAT: APRIL 2017 – EURO AREA UNEMPLOYMENT AT 9.3% – EU28 AT 7.8%
The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.3% in April 2017, down from 9.4% in March 2017 and down from 10.2% in April 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since March 2009. The EU28 unemployment rate was 7.8% in April 2017, down from 7.9% in March 2017 and from 8.7% in April 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since December 2008. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Full text available here
EUROSTAT: FLASH ESTIMATE – MAY 2017 – EURO AREA ANNUAL INFLATION DOWN TO 1.4%
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 1.4% in May 2017, down from 1.9% in April 2017, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Full text available here
PARTICIPATION OF MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION AT THE BRUSSELS ECONOMIC FORUM ON 1 JUNE
Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will deliver keynote speeches at this year’s Brussels Economic Forum, the flagship annual economic event of the European Commission, which will take place on 1 June in Brussels. The Forum is an opportunity to foster discussion on current economic developments, future challenges and policy priorities. The 17th edition of the Brussels Economic Forum focuses on how to fight inequalities in a context of modest growth; the future of the EU economy at 27; and migration and its effects on the European economy and society. This year the Tommaso Padoa Schioppa lecture will be delivered by Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France. George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations, will deliver a keynote speech. Other distinguished European and international policymakers speaking at the BEF include: Alexander Stubb, MP and former Prime Minister, Foreign and Finance Minister of Finland; Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister of Finance of Italy; Johan Van Overtveldt, Minister of Finance of Belgium; Sylvie Mathérat, Chief Regulatory Officer of Deutsche Bank; Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland; and Kati Piri, MEP, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey. The conference will be live-streamed and broadcast on Europe by Satellite (EbS). Further details and the programme are available here.
VICE-PRESIDENT ŠEFČOVIČ IN DENMARK FOR ENERGY UNION TOUR
On 1 June Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will travel to Denmark for the second Energy Union Tour. Vice-President Šefčovič will meet the Danish Energy and Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt to discuss the Energy Union’s governance and national energy and climate plans. The need to further connect Danish electricity grids to the networks of neighbouring countries and ways to lower the costs of the energy transition in Europe will also be important discussion points. In a Citizens’ dialogue he will also engage in a wider debate with students and citizens about Denmark’s role in reaching the Energy Union’s goals. Ahead of the visit, Vice-President Šefčovič said: “Denmark already has a world class renewables industry. The framework put forward in the EU’s Clean Energy for All Europeans package will support Denmark in reaching its very ambitious renewable energy target: at least 50% renewables by 2030.The country is also very strong in other key areas of the low carbon economy, ranging from bio-technology to engineering services. It is important that Denmark uses its role as a front-runner in energy technology to ensure that its citizens and businesses can fully benefit from affordable and clean energy”. Upcoming dates and more information on the 2017 Energy Union tour are available here. More information on the Energy Union is available here. The Citizens’ dialogue will start at 11:00 CET and can be followed live.
ENERGY UNION: COPENHAGEN FORUM TO FOCUS ON INVESTMENT NEEDED IN INFRASTRUCTURE FOR CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION
On 1 June Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete will attend the third Energy Infrastructure Forum in Copenhagen. The Forum will focus on energy infrastructure’s role in the clean energy transition and discuss the best ways to finance this investment. Participants will also debate how to manage the costs of cross-border projects and examine best practice in funding and implementing infrastructure projects. The role of EU funding programmes and the public and private sectors in financing energy infrastructure will also be discussed. The Forum brings together representatives from Member States and EU Institutions as well as energy experts, investors, project promoters, Regulatory Authorities and non-governmental organisations. Ahead of the event, Commissioner Arias Cañete said: “We are making good progress in developing much needed infrastructure. Most recently, we have signed a grant agreements under the Connecting Europe Facility on the BalticConnector gas pipeline, which will connect Estonia and Finland, and a smart grid electricity project between Croatia and Slovenia. But more is required: €173 billion needs to be invested in electricity transmission systems and €78 billion in gas transmission systems by 2030. Furthermore, the synchronisation of the Baltic States electricity network into the European networks is key for the region and the EU as a whole. The Commission aims at reaching a final solution in form of a Memorandum of Understanding soon”. For more information consult the program of the Infrastructure Forum online. Europe by Satellite will transmit.
VICE-PRESIDENT KATAINEN AND COMMISSIONER CREȚU IN FINLAND FOR THE SMART REGIONS 2.0 CONFERENCE
The Smart Regions 2.0 conference, the second edition of the EU’s top conference on regional innovation and smart specialisation, is taking place in Helsinki on 1 and 2 June. Smart specialisation strategies are national and regional roadmaps for EU and public investments in research and innovation. Hundreds of stakeholders involved in the implementation of the EU’s 120 smart specialisation strategies are meeting in Helsinki to discuss best practices, network and reflect on how to maximise the potential of these regional innovation strategies in the future. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, and Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu will open the conference alongside President of the Committee of the Regions Markku Markkula and Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä. Vice-President Katainen said: “Smart specialisation offers an opportunity for regions to focus on their strengths when it comes to innovation policy, thereby boosting both research output and local prosperity. I am delighted to participate in this conference to take stock of the progress that has been made in implementing our smart specialisation strategies.” Commissioner Crețu added: “Smart specialisation boosts the competitiveness of regions by helping them identify their assets, design investment strategies and find opportunities for public-private partnerships. In a globalised economy, it is a key tool for each region to hold its own through innovation.” The Vice-President and the Commissioner will also participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue on the future of Europe and the future of Cohesion Policy and visit projects supported by the EU Structural funds and the Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”.
JOHANNES HAHN VISITS UKRAINE: FOCUS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION, DECENTRALISATION REFORMS AND EU’S ASSISTANCE TO THE EAST
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations will visit Ukraine from 1 to 2 June. The objective of the visit is to discuss EU-Ukraine relations with a special focus on the reform agenda and to pay a visit to Mariupol and Dnipro in order to get a first-hand picture of the situation and pay attention to the reinforced EU’s assistance to the East. Ahead of the mission, Commissioner Hahn said: “My programme carries a number of important messages: That reforms pay off, as one can see with visa-liberalisation and the Association Agreement. That reforms have to continue, notably in the fight against corruption, but also important socio-economic reforms such as health, pensions, land reform, and the creation of a better business environment. And last but not least my trip to the East will once again underline that the EU stands by Ukraine as a whole“. On Thursday, 1 June, Commissioner Hahn and Deputy Prime Minister Klympush Tsinsadze will inaugurate the EU’s Anti-corruption programme and will meet the leadership of Ukrainian anti-corruption institutions and non-governmental organisations active in this field. The Commissioner will meet the political representatives of the country including President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman as well as representatives of civil society organisations. On Friday, 2 June, Commissioner Hahn will take part in the Forum on the Donbass recovery and development in Mariupol and will visit an EU-financed reconstructed medical clinic and a social dormitory for internally displaced people in Mariupol together with Ms Gerashchenko, First Deputy Speaker of Verkhovna Rada, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Klimkin, Governor Zhebrivskiy and Mayor of Mariupol city Boychenko. Then, Commissioner Hahn and Deputy Prime Minister Zubko will travel to Dnipro to inaugurate an office of the Regional Centre of the Local Government Development Centre, established in the framework of the decentralisation programme “U-LEAD with Europe: Ukraine – Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development Programme”. Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS.
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DAILY NEWS 31 – 04 -2017 (2)