Brussels Daily
28 Jul 2017


Brussels Daily


First quarter of 2017 – Household real income per capita up in the euro area and nearly stable in the EU28 – Real consumption per capita stable in euro area and down in EU28

In the euro area, in real terms, household income per capita increased by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2017, after a decrease of 0.1% in the previous quarter. Household real consumption per capita was stable in the first quarter of 2017, after an increase of 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016.  Full text available here


E-commerce: making online shopping safer for consumers

The Commission has today issued guidelines to help national market surveillance authorities better control products sold online. In 2017, 55% of Europeans buy online (2017 Consumer Scoreboard) and get products shipped directly to their door, escaping the authorities’ traditional controls. Some of these products might be dangerous and not in line with EU product safety laws, for instance toys containing substances banned in the EU. The guidelines published today clarify: 1) that any product sold online to the EU has to comply with EU product legislation, even if the producer is based outside the EU; 2) the obligations of online marketplaces when authorities require them to remove dangerous products through the ‘notice and action procedure’, as defined in the e-commerce directive; and 3) the responsibility of all actors in the supply chain, including fulfilment service providers who receive the order, package and send the product. Full guidelines available online.

Commission consults on how to better protect victims of car accidents

The Commission launches today a public consultation on how best to protect victims of motor vehicle accidents.  In particular, the Commission intends to look into the role and functioning of motor guarantee funds, especially in cases where the insurer of the liable party becomes insolvent. Moreover, it seeks to increase the role of the insurance claims history of individuals when moving between EU Member States, which is used to calculate no-claims discounts. This initiative follows the publication of the Consumer Financial Services Action Plan in March 2017. Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, said: “The Motor Insurance Directive affects us all. Many people own a car and any EU citizen can become the victim of a motor vehicle accident. If accidents happen in the EU, no matter if in your home country or abroad, proper compensation mechanisms should be in place. The latest developments in the car and insurance markets and recent case law require that we evaluate our legislation in the field.” The EU motor insurance legislation has been evolving since 1972, continually strengthening the protection of injured parties in accidents abroad. The Motor Insurance Directive was last amended in 2009. Evidence from court cases, citizens’ complaints and enquiries suggest that Member States implement the Directive differently. The input from this consultation will help the Commission review all elements of the Directive. The consultation questionnaires, one aimed at consumers and one at professionals and interested organisations, are available here. The consultation will be open until 20 October 2017.


EU Trust Fund for Africa adopts €46 million programme to support integrated migration and border management in Libya

Following up on the Commission’s Action Plan to support Italy from 4 July, the EU Trust Fund for Africa adopted today a programme worth €46 million to reinforce the integrated migration and border management capacities of the Libyan authorities. The new actions respond to the measures proposed under the Action plan to address the migratory flows along the Central Mediterranean Route and it aims at stepping up activities in support of the Libyan Border- and Coast Guards, to enhance their capacity to effectively manage the country’s borders. The programme will be implemented by the Italian Ministry of Interior and co-financed by Italy. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “Security and stability in Libya are key for the Libyans, the region and Europe, and they come also by better managing the borders and strengthening the resilience of the population. While we keep working to a political solution to the political crisis in the country, that brings peace and reconciliation, we also continue to support the communities and the Libyan authorities, also in their capacity to address the migration flows, rescue migrants, making sure that human rights are respected, and fight against the smuggling networks. This new programme is part of our comprehensive approach: increased border management will go hand in hand with the work we are doing on the sustainable socioeconomic development of local communities, as well as protection, assisted voluntary returns and reintegration of migrants”. Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “The European Commission, through the EU Trust Fund for Africa is undertaking rapid and concrete measures to reduce migratory pressure along the Central Mediterranean Route. With this new package we have mobilised already €136 million to better manage migration in Libya and our work continues. The European Union, working hand-in-hand with its Member States will keep on supporting the Libyan authorities for the sake of the people in Libya, for the stabilisation of the country and of the region, which is part of our Neighbourhood.” A full press release is available online.


The Commission acts to ensure the financial future of the European Union Youth Orchestra


The European Commission today proposed a solid and transparent legal solution that will enable the EU to continue its financial support to the European Union Youth Orchestra. The Orchestra, which is one of the best young musicians in Europe, has been supported by the European institutions since its creation in 1976. This support is essential to the training of young musicians, Produce internationally, build their careers and develop their talents under the guidance of renowned conductors. The President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, was very moved when he heard that the Orchestra was in financial difficulties. He had announced solutions for his survival in June 2016. He said: “For 40 years the Orchestra Young people from the European Union embodies the cultural diversity of Europe and has enabled young people from different backgrounds to bring together their talents and share their passions. Try to reduce it to purely political or economic terms, forget everything we have achieved and how much culture has helped us to do so. ” Since 2016, the EU has reserved a grant for the Orchestra in the amount of € 600,000 per year. Today the Commission is proposing to the European Parliament and the Council to amend the Regulation establishing the support program for the creative and cultural sectors, Creative Europe, so that the Orchestra is recognized as an organization authorized to receive financial support without Calls for proposals that have become highly competitive.


State aid: Commission approves rescue and restructuring aid scheme for SMEs in Belgium’s Wallonia region

The European Commission has found a €20 million Belgian aid scheme aimed at facilitating the rescue and restructuring of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) in the region of Wallonia to be in line with EU State aid rules. Under the scheme, which will run until 2020, the publicly-owned “Société Wallonne de Gestion et de Participation” (“SOGEPA”) will be entitled to offer rescue and restructuring support to Walloon SMEs in financial difficulty. SOGEPA will provide support notably if a company’s default would likely to trigger social hardship in the region. For example, SMEs impacted by the recent closure of Caterpillar’s Belgian plant in Gosselies may be eligible for aid under the scheme. The Commission assessed the scheme under the Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on the rescue and restructuring of non-financial companies in difficulty and found that the aid will be transparent and limited in time and in scope. The Commission found that the support will contribute to economic cohesion and development in the region, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. The scheme also requires potential beneficiaries of restructuring aid to present a sound restructuring plan ensuring their long-term viability, and to make a significant own contribution to the restructuring costs. More information will be made available under the case number SA.47781 in the public case register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. The State Aid Weekly e-News lists new publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal.


DAILY NEWS 28 – 07 -2017

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