Daily News of 2014-09-11

EXME 14 / 11.09

DAILY NEWS

11 / 09 / 14

Call for proposals: €11.9 billion in funding to improve transport infrastructure

The European Commission has today opened the bidding for €11.9 billion of EU funding to improve European transport connections. The funding will be concentrated along the nine major transport corridors forming the core trans-European transport network. Member States have until 26 February 2015 to submit their project proposals, and the funding allocation will be announced in summer 2015.

Industrial competitiveness: Commission reports underline need for incisive action by EU and Member States

EU manufacturing possesses a number of competitive strengths that should be leveraged to promote economic growth, despite the current difficult economic environment. This is the conclusion of the two reports on industrial competitiveness released by the Commission today. However to ensure that growth does not stall, the EU and Member States urgently need to address a number of areas of concern: investment, access to finance, public administration, access to foreign markets, innovation and energy prices. See also MEMO/14/526 and MEMO/14/527 .

Other news

President Barroso in Kiev this Friday and Saturday

President Barroso will be in Kiev this week. On Friday afternoon, President Barroso meets with President Petro Poroshenko. Saturday morning, President Barroso meets with Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk. During these bilateral talks, leaders will discuss the security situation and the current cease fire, the political and economic situation in Ukraine and the EU/Ukraine relations – namely the EU support and the next steps on the agreements. The President will be accompanied by Commissioner Stefan Fule.

On Friday evening, President Barroso will speak at the dinner of the  Yalta European Strategy ‘s (YES) 11th Annual Meeting. YES is the largest social institution of public diplomacy in Eastern Europe, providing an open and equal dialogue on global issues affecting the European Union, Ukraine, Russia and other countries. President Petro Poroshenko ok Ukraine, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia and President Martin Schulz also take part in this event.

The EU has been fully engaged and is working as hard as ever to help bring about a political solution, in all its dimensions, to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. President Barroso’s visit marks an important symbol of support to Ukraine. The visit also follows an agreement on a ceasefire, reached in Minsk on 5 September within the Framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.

Commission suspends emergency measures for perishable fruit and vegetables and will come forward with a more targeted scheme

The European Commission has today suspended the emergency market measures for perishable fruit and vegetable markets (worth 125 million €) announced on August 18 in the wake of the Russian measures banning imports of certain EU agricultural products. There has been strong interest from the sectors concerned, but the scheme has to be closed due to a disproportionate surge in claims – for example where the figures submitted for some products are several times higher than the total EU average annual exports to Russia. In order to prolong the effectiveness of the emergency measures and still achieve the objective of stabilising the markets for these products in all Member States affected by the Russian embargo, the European Commission will come forward with a more targeted scheme in the near future, taking into account the experience of the past weeks. European Commission Dacian Cioloş stated: “The European Commission remains committed to support those producers who have suddenly lost an important market because of the Russian measures. I intend to present a new scheme in the coming days which is more targeted and efficient and which will continue on from this scheme.”

Antitrust: Commission welcomes Court judgment confirming that MasterCard’s payment card interchange fees are anti-competitive

The European Commission welcomes today’s judgement by the European Court of Justice in the MasterCard case (case C-382/12P). The judgment confirms that MasterCard’s inter-bank fees for cross-border payment transactions in the European Economic Area (EEA) restrict competition in the Internal Market, in breach of EU competition rules.

Employment: Commission proposes €12.7 million from Globalisation Fund for former workers of Peugeot Citroën Automobile (PSA) in France

The European Commission has proposed to provide France with €12.7 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 2,357 workers made redundant by carmaker Peugeot Citroën Automobile (PSA) to find new jobs. The redundancies mainly concern the Aulnay plant (Île-de-France), to be closed, and the Rennes plant (Brittany). EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: “As a consequence of globalisation, the European car industry is going through major structural changes. Redundancies like those in France are major shocks to regional economies and many workers in the motor industry are experiencing hardship. Today’s proposal for €12.7 million from Europe’s Globalisation Fund demonstrates EU solidarity with these workers, and would help them get new skills, find new jobs or start their own business”.

Forced labour: Commission urges EU countries to implement new ILO Protocol

The European Commission proposed to the EU’s Council of Ministers EU Member States should be authorised to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) new Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention . The Protocol, together with a complementary Recommendation, was adopted by the International Labour Conference in June ( IP/14/669). Countries ratifying the ILO Protocol agree to prevent the use of forced labour, in particular in the context of trafficking in human beings, to improve the protection of victims, and to provide access to compensation. It also enhances international cooperation in the fight against forced or compulsory labour. László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, said: “The new Protocol to the ILO Forced Labour Convention aims to step up the fight against this terrible human rights violation and adapt it to the challenges of the 21st century. I urge Member States to ratify this Protocol as soon as possible, so as to help to put an end to this inhuman exploitation of workers”.

Commissioner Hedegaard travels to India to discuss EU-India climate cooperation

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is travelling to India to discuss climate cooperation between the EU and India, the preparations for the UN Climate Summit in New York and the ongoing UN climate negotiations in the run-up to the meeting Paris next year. The Commissioner is starting her two day visit today and is meeting with Mr Ashwani Kumar, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Environment and Forests, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, CEO of TERI and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Mr Jairam Ramesh, Member of Parliament and Former Minister of Environment and Forests. On Friday, she will also meet with Mr Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Parliamentary Affairs. She will also hold a discussion with Indian think-tank and NGO representatives.

High-level coordination meeting on the Ebola epidemic (15 September)

A high-level meeting to coordinate further steps in a European wide response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa will take place next Monday, 15 September in Brussels (Charlemagne building, Room Jean Durieu). Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, and Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg, will speak during the opening session (09h00-09h30). Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, will address the closing session (13h00-13h30). Both sessions are open to the media and the video will be available on EBS. Participants will include ministers from several EU Member States, UN system Senior Coordinator for the response to Ebola Virus Disease and representatives from the World Health Organisation and the NGO Doctors Without Borders.

To register for the event, please send an e-mail to EuropeAid-E2@ec.europa.eu , indicating name, nationality and the media you represent. 

EU project hunts for natural substitutes to synthetics

The EU-funded AGROCOS project is foraging through the plant world for natural substitutes to synthetic ingredients currently used in cosmetics, and in agrochemical products such as insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. By analysing nature’s molecules to discover a new generation of natural ingredients, AGROCOS aims to pave the way for innovative products that address consumers’ concerns about the impact of synthetic ingredients on their health and the environment. It fits with the EU strategy to move to a society that relies more strongly on renewable, sustainable biological resources to satisfy the needs of both consumers and industry.

Smartaxi: an app to help taxi drivers find clients. A new rival to Uber?

Ever been stuck in a long queue outside a bar wishing that a taxi would show up? That could soon be a thing of the past! With the Smartaxi app, taxi drivers collect and pool data on the “hot spots” for pick-ups, so they know where to find you, meaning you spend less time waiting for one to arrive.  The app was created and piloted in Spain, using FiWare tools. Vice President Neelie Kroes remarked: “This app is making sense. It is better for these taxi drivers, who are really entrepreneurs now, as they get more business; it is better for the environment as they do not have to drive around looking for a customer for so long; and of course, it is better for you and me, as we get a more convenient service. This is exactly the sort of innovation we need in Europe – and a good rival for Uber!”

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