Daily News 25 / 03 / 2015

Digital Single Market Strategy: European Commission agrees areas for action
Digital technology is part of everyday life. From watching films, buying or selling online to connecting with friends – the internet is a goldmine of opportunities. But EU people and companies run into many barriers, such as geo-blocking or cross-border parcel delivery inefficiencies. This Commission has made it a priority to remove these obstacles and create a Digital Single Market. The College of Commissioners today had a first discussion on the Digital Single Market Strategy due in May. Based on the work of Vice-President Ansip and his team, the College set out three main areas on which Commission action will focus during this mandate: 1. Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services; 2. Shaping the environment for digital networks and services to flourish; 3. Creating a European Digital Economy and Society with long-term growth potential.See the press conference by Vice-President Ansip at 12.00 CET, the press release and the factsheet.Speaking points will be published after the press conference. (for more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Marie Frenay – Tel.: +32 229 64532)
Adoption of the 2014 European Neighbourhood Reports
In a set of annual reports adopted today, the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy assessed the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) with the 16 partner countries in the East and the South and made recommendations for the year ahead. 2014 saw the signing of association agreements with Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, democratic transition in Tunisia and strengthened relations with Morocco. Nevertheless, conflicts and crises, involving security and humanitarian problems, persisted in both the East and South, especially in the form of terrorist threats and attacks. Significant support was mobilised by the EU to help Lebanon and Jordan cope with the increasing effects of the Syria crisis. A technical briefing off-the-record (for accredited journalists only) is taking place at 13:00 CET in the press room of the Commission’s Berlaymont building. A press release is available online. (for more information: Maja Kocijančič– Tel.: +32 2 298 65 70; Anca Paduraru, +32 2 296 64 30)

Investing in an open and secure Europe: €1.8 billion to fund Asylum, Migration, Integration and Security
Today the European Commission has approved 22 new multiannual national programmes under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF) for the period 2014-2020, worth together approximately €1.8 billion. An additional 36 national programmes will be approved later this year. These two strands of EU funding support Member States’ efforts in the fields of asylum, migration and integration, and internal security. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Migration is one of the ten priorities of this Commission. Making migration policy work in all its aspects is essential to the overall success of our societies. We want people to thrive and we want people to be safe. But Member States cannot do this alone. That is why the European Commission has consistently given tangible support to the Member States and will continue to do so.” A press release is available online. (for more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 2 296 74 56; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 2 296 30 20)
EU pledges €160 million for Guinea-Bissau
Today, the European Union pledged €160 million for Guinea-Bissau to consolidate democracy, strengthen the rule of law, accelerate economic recovery and improve people’s lives. The announcement was made at an international conference in Brussels, a day after the lifting of Article 96 measures. The event comes at a decisive moment when Guinea-Bissau is on the path of political, institutional and economic reform after years of extreme fragility and political instability. The conference is co-chaired by Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa of the United Nations Development Programme and H.E. Mr. Domingos Simões Pereira, Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. José Mário Vaz, President of Guinea-Bissau, Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General and Head of the UN Department of Political Affairs are also taking part in the opening session. The opening session will be available on EbS. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256; Irina Novakova, +32 2 295 75 17)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Indaqua by Mota Engil and Talanx
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Indaqua Industry and water management, S.A. by Mota Engil Ambiente e Serviços, SGPS S.A., both of Portugal and Talanx AG of Germany. Talanx belongs to the HDI Group, a global insurance company. Mota Engil is active in various sectors, including engineering, construction, mining, and waste management. Indaqua provides retail water supply services in Portugal. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns as the joint venture has limited activities in the European Economic Area (EEA). 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.7503. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Vice-President Šefčovič and Commissioner Bulc meet with five Transport Ministers to further develop transport infrastructure in Central Europe
On 26 March, in Slovakia, Vice-President Šefčovič and Commissioner Bulc will meet with Transport Ministers from the Visegrád Group countries (the so-called V4: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and Austria, to discuss interconnections in Central Europe, in line with the Trans-European Transport Network. They will focus on current interconnection projects relevant to Central Europe, particularly on the progress of Rhine-Danube, Baltic-Adriatic, and Orient-East Med transport corridors. They will also discuss the possibilities of using the European Fund for Strategic Investment for regional transport initiatives. Other topics on the agenda also include regional transportation projects built with EU funding and a more effective use of funds from the Connecting Europe Facility. At the end of the meeting, the V4 Transport Ministers will sign a Memorandum of Cooperation on the development of transportation infrastructure. In addition, Austrian and Slovak representatives will sign a declaration on improving transport links between Vienna and Bratislava. (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Joshua Salsby – Tel.: +32 229 72459)
Climate action: Commissioner Arias Cañete meets mayors of EU capital and large cities ahead of Paris climate conference
Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will attend a high-level meeting on the role of cities in fighting climate change in Paris on 26 March. Together with Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister and future President of the UN climate conference in Paris in December as well as the French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal and Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, the Commissioner will join a meeting bringing together mayors of EU capital and large cities ahead of the UN climate conference in December. Commissioner Arias Cañete will give a keynote speech and attend the signing ceremony of a declaration for more sustainable urban development and greener cities, renewing mayors’ commitment to concrete and measurable actions to address climate change at city level. Cities and urban areas are home to 75% of the EU population and play an important role in limiting climate change and adapting to its impacts. The European Commission has created a framework to support cities and leverage urban climate action through initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt. During his visit, the Commissioner will also meet with the industry network Cercle de l’Industrie. You will find more information on the website of the Covenant of Mayors. (for more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186, Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)
Source: technology

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