Central African Republic: EU releases €26.5 million to respond to the regional humanitarian crisis

The funding comes as some 2.5 million, half the country’s population, are in need of assistance, with the crisis triggering an influx of refugees into neighbouring countries.
“The EU is committed to support vulnerable families in the Central African Re…

Read More

EU releases €138 million in humanitarian and development funding for Africa's Lake Chad region

The humanitarian crisis in the Africa’s Lake Chad basin, affecting parts of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, continues to worsen due to prolonged violence, insecurity and environmental degradation. To help the most vulnerable communities, the Commiss…

Read More

EU increases humanitarian aid budget for education of children in emergencies

The European Commission has announced today it will further increase the part of humanitarian funding dedicated to getting children into education in crisis zones around the world. In 2018, 8% of the EU’s humanitarian budget will go to education in emergencies, which is far above the global average of less than 3%.

“The EU is a global leader in supporting education in emergencies. Concretely this means giving children in some of the most difficult situations in the world an opportunity for the future. As I have travelled to many crises zones, from refugee camps to areas devastated by natural disasters, it is always clear that education is much more than a human right or a basic need. It is safety, dignity and a shield against radicalisation. By supporting education we are making the biggest investment we can in the future of the most vulnerable. We are investing in peace.” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides during a High Level Education Event, organised in the margins of the UN General Assembly 2017 in New York.

The EU’s contribution in 2018 of over €86 million will support access to formal and non-formal education, including life skills and vocational training, recreational activities and psychosocial support for girls and boys in crisis areas around the world. Several EU projects will be focussed on girls; giving them access to education and helping them learn life and vocational skills. Children will also benefit from the provision of school materials and the creation of new learning spaces. Teachers and parents will also be supported and benefit from training.

Commissioner Stylianides has made education in emergencies a priority since the beginning of his mandate, continuing to increase the EU’s financial support to education projects for children affected by crises every year since he took office. EU support allocated to education in emergencies went from 1% of its humanitarian budget in 2015 to 6% in 2017 and will eventually go to 8% in 2018. This aid has reached 4 million children and teachers in 50 countries between 2012-2016.

The EU’s humanitarian aid will be channelled through non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies and International Organisations to reach the most vulnerable.

Background

Today, some 75 million children living in crisis-affected countries and forced displacement lack access to quality education.

By the end of 2016, nearly 4 million boys and girls in 50 countries around the world have benefitted from these in Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen.

EU-funded educational activities are tailored to take into account the different needs of children based on their age, gender and other specific circumstances.

In March 2017, the EU launched its largest ever humanitarian programme for education in emergencies. This €34 million Conditional Cash Transfer Programme will enable some 230, 000 refugee children to attend school in Turkey.

For more information

Factsheet on Education in Emergencies

The European Commission’s European civil protection and humanitarian aid

Read More

More EU aid as humanitarian needs in Lake Chad region grow

The European Commission has announced additional assistance for the Lake Chad region in 2017 as humanitarian needs grow.

The European Commission has already allocated €55 million of humanitarian support to populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa in 2017 and is now planning to mobilise additional funding to the amount of €50 million to step up its support to a total of €105 million.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management ChristosStylianides made the announcement today during an international conference in Oslo, Norway aimed at addressing the pressing humanitarian situation in the region.

“With the crisis in the Lake Chad region growing at an extremely alarming rate, the EU is stepping up its response. Today I announced the EU will allocate €105 million in humanitarian aid for the crisis. These funds will help meet the life-saving needs of the affected populations and scale up our response. The conditions for delivering assistance remain particularly difficult. It is essential to ensure quick and safe access to people who need lifesaving assistance.” said Commissioner Stylianides.

The funding would help meet the increasing humanitarian needs, notably in the following five areas of food, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and protection.

The European Union has been one of the largest aid donors to the crisis in region. Since January 2016, €177 million has been provided in humanitarian aid and a further €159 million in development assistance from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has recently been allocated to support 15 projects.

Background

The conflict between security forces and the armed group Boko Haram is having devastating humanitarian consequences in the Lake Chad basin. The crisis is heavily affecting populations in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Over 2.3 million people have been displaced within or out of their country.

Food insecurity has reached crisis levels in some parts of the region, and malnutrition rates are well beyond emergency levels defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Nigeria’s northeast region alone, some 4.6 million people are in need of emergency food assistance. Access to basic services is severely limited and the risk of epidemics due to the lack of water, sanitation, shelter and health services also remains extremely high.

High levels of insecurity across the area continue to seriously hamper humanitarian access.  The consequence of which is the difficulty of delivering aid, in particular to northeast Nigeria, the extreme north of Cameroon and the Diffa region in Niger.

Read More

EU proposes €105 million in humanitarian assistance for Lake Chad region

The European Commission plans to mobilise a total of €105 million in humanitarian support to populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa in 2017.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides made the announcement today during an international conference in Oslo, Norway aimed at addressing the pressing humanitarian situation in the region.

“With the crisis in the Lake Chad region growing at an extremely alarming rate, the EU is stepping up its response. Today I announced the EU’s allocation of €105 million in humanitarian aid for the crisis. These funds will help meet the life-saving needs of the affected populations and scale up our response. The conditions for delivering assistance remain particularly difficult. It is essential to ensure quick and safe access to people who need lifesaving assistance.” saidCommissioner Stylianides.

The funding would help meet the increasing humanitarian needs, notably in the areas of food, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and protection.

The European Union has been one of the largest aid donors to the crisis in region. Since January 2016 €177 million has now been provided in humanitarian aid and a further €159 million in development assistance from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has recently been allocated to support 15 projects.

Background

The €105 million announced today consists of an initial allocation of €55 million for 2017 and a further amount of €50 million now proposed of humanitarian support to populations in the Lake Chad region.

The conflict between security forces and the armed group Boko Haram is having devastating humanitarian consequences in the Lake Chad basin. The crisis is heavily affecting populations in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Over 2.3 million people have been displaced within or out of their country.

Food insecurity has reached crisis levels in some parts of the region, and malnutrition rates are well beyond emergency levels. Only in Nigeria’s Northeast some 4.6 million people are in need of emergency food assistance. Access to basic services is severely limited and the risk of epidemics due to the lack of water, sanitation, shelter and health services also remains extremely high.

High levels of insecurity across the area continue to seriously hamper humanitarian access and is making the delivery of aid extremely difficult, in particular in Northeast Nigeria, the Extreme North of Cameroon and the Diffa region in Niger

For more information:

Chad factsheet

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/chad_en.pdf

Cameroon factsheet

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/cameroon_en.pdf

Niger factsheet

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/niger_en.pdf

Nigeria factsheet

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/nigeria_en.pdf

Read More

Africa's Lake Chad region receives €40 million boost in humanitarian aid

The European Commission has released €40 million in additional humanitarian aid to support the populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa. The new funding brings the overall EU humanitarian aid package for the region to over €116 million since the beginning of 2016.

It will help scale up operations and respond to urgent humanitarian needs in the areas of food, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and protection.

The EU is making a strong humanitarian contribution for the most vulnerable in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The humanitarian situation in this fragile region is reaching extremely worrying proportions. The difficult security situation and lack of access to certain areas severely hamper the capacity of relief organisations to assist. Today I am announcing new EU support to urgently address the increasingly pressing needs. Everything must be done so that our humanitarian partners can deliver lifesaving assistance safely and rapidly to those in dire need,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

Nigeria, which is struggling with an ongoing economic crisis in addition to hosting nearly 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) will receive €22 million, the biggest part of the assistance. Cameroon (€7 million), Niger (€6 million) and Chad (€5 million) will also benefit from the emergency aid package.

Background

The crisis in the Lake Chad has been escalating. Violence inflicted by the terrorist group Boko Haram from northern Nigeria has destabilised the entire region and caused large scale displacements of people. There is a high scarcity of food in the region and access to basic services is severely limited. The risk of epidemics due to the lack of water, sanitation, shelter and health services is extremely high.

The crisis affecting the Lake Chad basin, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger has greatly escalated over the past two years. Some 2.6 million people in the region are currently internally displaced, while 169 000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Both host and local communities are highly dependent on humanitarian assistance. The most vulnerable households are struggling to find food.

The European Commission has been providing humanitarian aid to local, host and displaced populations in the region helping to cover the most urgent needs. 

Read More

Daily News 04 / 08 / 2016

The EU imposes definitive anti-dumping duties on steel product from China and Russia

The EU today imposed definitive anti-dumping measures a steel product from China and Russia. These duties will be in place for five years and for the first time they will also be levied retroactively on imports registered during the two months that preceded the adoption of provisional measures on 12 February 2016. The product at stake is “cold rolled steel”, an industrial input for the packaging, white goods, general industry, automotive industry and the construction industry. The investigation was initiated on 14 May 2015 following a complaint submitted by the industry. The duties range from 19.7% to 22.1% for Chinese and from 18.7% to 36.1% for Russian companies.In the wake of the global steel overcapacity crisis, the Commission is applying the trade defence instruments to re-establish a level-playing field between EU and foreign producers. The EU currently has over 100 trade defence measures in place, 37 of them targeting unfair imports of steel products, 15 of which from China. 12 more investigations concerning steel products are still ongoing. The full details of the decision can be found here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

EU steps up aid for Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon as humanitarian crisis worsens

Today the European Commission has announced an additional €12.5 million in humanitarian aid to support people in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon as they face a deteriorating humanitarian crisis. €9 million will be provided to support people in Nigeria, €2 million in Cameroon and €1.5 million in Niger. The new funding comes as violence by the terrorist group Boko Haram from northern Nigeria has severely destabilised the Lake Chad region, causing the displacement of millions of people.”When travelling to the region last month, I witnessed the plight of people in the Lake Chad Basin. Millions have been displaced and the number of those struggling to find food is increasingly alarming. The situation in Nigeria is especially dramatic. As always, children are hit the hardest and we must urgently intervene to stop their suffering. This additional EU funding will focus on emergency assistance, primarily in the areas of food and nutrition, water and sanitation, and health. All efforts should be made to ensure that humanitarian organisations can safely reach those who need urgent help.”said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The EU aid announced today comes on top of the €58 million previously allocated to the Lake Chad Basin crisis, bringing overall EU humanitarian aid to over €70 million for the region in 2016. Read the full press release here (For more information: Nabila Massrali – Tel.: +32 229 69218; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

Commission publishes the first results of the “ePrivacy” public consultation

Today the European Commission has published the preliminary findings of the public consultation on the review of the ePrivacy Directive. This legislation applies to electronic communications services and needs to be adapted to the new General data protection regulation which will enable people to better control their personal data. A large number of responses came from citizens (38,5%) and more than a quarter of responses came from Germany, followed by the UK and Belgium. According to the preliminary findings, 83% of the individuals and civil society organisations who took part in the consultation agreed that there was a clear added value in having specific privacy rules for the electronic communications sector to ensure the confidentiality of electronic communications. In addition, 76% of individuals and civil society respondents believe that the scope of the rules should be broadened to cover the so-called over-the-top service providers (OTT) when they offer communications services such as VoIP or instant messaging. However, 76% of these groups also said that the ePrivacy Directive has not or has but to a limited extent achieved its objectives of ensuring full protection of privacy and confidentiality of communication. This was attributed to its scope being too limited, its rules leading to differences between Member States and too low compliance and enforcement. Industry and public authorities were more positive that the ePrivacy Directive has achieved its objectives; however 42% of industry respondents are against the scope of the rules being broadened to cover theOTT when they offer communications services such as VoIP or instant messaging. The review of the ePrivacy Directive is one of the key initiatives proposed under the EU Digital Single Market strategy. The Commission has committed to reviewing the EU’s privacy rules for electronic communications in order to reinforce trust and security in digital services, to ensure a high level of protection for people and a level playing field for all market players. The proposals are expected later this year, meanwhile the Commission will analyse the replies of the public consultation and publish its conclusions in the autumn. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

Mergers: Commission clears Vodafone/Liberty Global telecoms joint venture, subject to conditions; rejects referral request by Dutch competition authority

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint venture in the Netherlands by mobile telecom operator Vodafone and cable company Liberty Global. The decision is conditional on Vodafone divesting its consumer fixed line business in the Netherlands. Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “The telecoms market is of strategic importance for our digital society. I am pleased that we have been able to approve the creation of the joint venture between Vodafone and Liberty Global in the Netherlands. The commitments offered by Vodafone ensure that Dutch consumers will continue to enjoy competitive prices and good choice.” The Commission had concerns that the proposed transaction would have eliminated the benefits brought to the Dutch telecoms market by Vodafone’s recent entry. The divestment offered by Vodafone fully addresses these concerns, allowing the Commission to clear this telecoms merger in Phase I. In parallel, the Commission has also rejected a request to refer the assessment of the transaction to the Dutch competition authority. A full press release is available in EN, FR, DE and NL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Voith Industrial Services by Triton

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Voith Industrial Servicesof Germany by Triton Fund IV of the United Kingdom.  Voith provides a wide range of technical services in the automotive, engineering and energy-petrochemicals sectors. Triton is a private equity investment firm, dedicated to investing in European-based businesses in a variety of sectors. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of its very limited impact on the market structure. In particular, there are limited overlaps between the activities of Voith and the companies in the portfolio of Triton. 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.8081. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)

Read More

Senior UN relief official welcomes US and EU funding for emergency response in Lake Chad Basin

18 July 2016 – The top United Nations humanitarian official for Africa’s Sahel region has expressed gratitude to the United States and the European Union for their financial support for people affected by violence in countries surrounding the Lake Chad Basin region – and called for greater international support.

In a joint news release, partly produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the US recognised the efforts made by governments in the region, and will increase its support for UN agencies and non-governmental organizations by $27 million to a total of $112 million in the current fiscal year, while the EU will allocate €58 million in 2016 to support those most in need. The EU allocation forms part of the EU’s overall humanitarian action in the wider Sahel region, amounting to more than €200 million this year.

“I am very grateful for this funding from the United States and the European Union. Together with support from the Central Emergency Response Fund which has provided over $102 million for humanitarian aid in the Lake Chad Basin, UN agencies and their partners can scale up their work for survivors of the crisis, including displaced persons and communities hosting them, in line with our 90-day plan which we issued at the beginning of July,” the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, said in the joint news release issued late last week.

“I very much hope that other members of the international donor community will follow the US and EU’s example and support our response in order to avoid a deeper, broader and more costly crisis in the months to come,” he added.

According to OCHA, the Sahel region continues to be affected by extreme poverty, chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, climate change, and violent extremism. The particular situation in the Lake Chad Basin – which borders Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria – has been the subject of discussions at regional dialogues and at the UN Headquarters. Some 9.2 million people in the area are in need of humanitarian aid, 5.2 million face severe food insecurity and are in need of emergency food assistance, and 2.7 million have been forced to leave their homes and those hosting the displaced are sharing their already very limited resources. In addition, the local population is facing a very steep increase in the price of food.

The US and EU funding announcements follow a joint visit to Cameroon, Chad and Niger by Mr. Lanzer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, Anne Richard, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.

In the joint news release, both Ms. Richard and Mr. Stylianides also expressed concern over the violence facing refugees and displaced people in countries surrounding the Lake Chad Basin, and also called on the international donor community to increase their financial support for those affected by the violence.

The joint news release noted that the main priorities of the humanitarian response to the Lake Chad Basin are protection, food assistance, nutrition, healthcare, shelter, emergency education and water, sanitation and hygiene.

The Sahel region covers parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea and the extreme north of Ethiopia. According to OCHA, across the entire Sahel region, more than 23.5 million people face food insecurity, 5.9 million children are malnourished, and at least 4.5 million are displaced by the effects of conflicts.

Read More

Daily News 15 / 07 / 2016

Interventions du Président Jean-Claude Juncker suite aux attentats à Nice, France

Suite aux attentats de hier soir à Nice, le président de la Commission européenne Jean-Claude Juncker a déclaré: “Je suis très touché et affligé par la terrible épreuve qui vient de toucher la belle ville de Nice en ce jour de fête nationale.” Le président a également adressé une lettre au président de la République française Francois Hollande, réaffirmant l’engagement de la Commission européenne à être aux côtés de la France et des autres États membres pour lutter contre le terrorisme à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur de l’Union européenne, en écrivant “Notre détermination reste aussi ferme que notre unité.” Dans une lettre adressée au président du conseil régional de Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Christian Estrosi, il a exprimé sa plus grande solidarité envers les victimes, leurs familles et tous les Niçois et Niçoises aujourd’hui dans le deuil. Le Président Juncker et les leaders participant actuellement au Sommet Asie-Europe à Oulan-Bator ont également publié une déclaration commune sur le terrorisme international, condamnant les attentats récents en Europe, Asie et ailleurs. En outre, Le Président Juncker s’est réuni avec le Président du Conseil européen, M. Donald Tusk, ainsi que le Premier ministre du Japon, M. Shinzō Abe pour une conférence de presse pendant laquelle ils ont déclaré: “L’acte terroriste, qui fut lâche et barbare, qui a frappé la ville de Nice pendant la nuit m’a profondément choqué, attristé, affligé”. Intervenant à la session plénière de l’ASEM à Oulan-Bator ce matin le président Juncker a poursuivi: “Ce qui s’est passé à Nice est la négation de tout ce en quoi nous croyons, de tout ce qui nous réunit.” (Pour plus d’informations: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

 

Energy: EU invests €263 million in energy infrastructure

Today EU Member States agreed on the European Commission’s proposal to invest €263 million in key European energy infrastructure projects. The lion’s share of the investment will support the building of gas infrastructure in the Baltic Sea region as well as supporting the electricity sector across Europe. Nine projects were selected following a call for proposals under the EU funding support programme the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The selected priority projects aim to increase energy security, connect the isolated EU Member States to the wider European grid and contribute to the Energy Union objectives of affordable, secure and sustainable energy.The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Well-connected energy infrastructure is essential to achieving the Energy Union. This EU support will help fill existing gaps in energy infrastructure, putting us on the path to a truly connected European energy market. This is necessary to strengthen the security of energy supply and a more efficient use of the energy resources and integration of renewables into the grid.” With a total of €800 million available for grants under Connecting Europe Facility – Energy in 2016, the second 2016 call for proposals with an indicative budget of €600 million is currently ongoing and will close on 8 November. Under the Connecting Europe Facility, a total of €5.35 billion was allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period of 2014-2020. Read entire press release in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

EU steps up humanitarian aid for victims of Boko Haram in Africa’s Lake Chad region

The European Commission has today announced €58.2 million in humanitarian aid to support the populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa. The funding brings the overall EU humanitarian aid package for the Sahel region to over €203 million in 2016. “A full-scalehumanitarian crisis has been fuelled by violence in a fragile region. The EU is committed to supporting those displaced and affected by the violence of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin. Our support will target the most vulnerable in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger where more than two and a half million people have been displaced by the terror of Boko Haram alone. Our aid will help provide food, shelter, clean water, and healthcare, as well as protection to the displaced and the host communities. Everything must be done so humanitarian aid workers can deliver lifesaving assistance safely and urgently access those in need” saidCommissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides who is currently on a visit to the region. The violence inflicted by the terrorist group Boko Haram from northern Nigeria has destabilised the entire Lake Chad region, causing large scale displacements of people.A full press release is available here. A map showing the funding is available here (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

EU adopts decisions to recognise equivalence and adequacy of US auditor oversight authorities

The European Commission has today adopted two decisions recognising the equivalence and adequacy of the US auditor oversight authorities. These decisions extend the current agreement, which expires on 31 July 2016, by a further six years. Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: “I welcome the extension of both decisions as it provides a strong basis for continued cooperation between the EU and the US. Both partners share the objective of promoting confidence and protecting investors. The auditor oversight authorities are committed to strengthening their cooperation further in order to achieve even greater mutual reliance in the future.” For more information on the new audit rules, see our memo. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)  

 

Mergers: Commission clears ice cream joint venture between PAI Partners and Nestlé

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of Froneri, a joint venture by PAI Partners of France and Nestlé of Switzerland. Froneri will manufacture and market ice cream products in and outside of Europe, and frozen food products in Europe. PAI Partners will contribute to Froneri its ice cream business, operating as R&R. Nestlé will contribute its ice cream business in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Philippines, Brazil and Argentina and part of its frozen food business in Europe. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because R&R and Nestlé are not close competitors in the European Economic Area ice cream markets and will continue to face competition from Unilever and several other ice cream manufacturers. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case registerunder the case number M.7946.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

 

Mergers: Commission approves the acquisition of joint control over Novy by BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, Sofindev and DHAM

The Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Novy International NV by BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity Belgium NV, Sofindev IV NV and DHAM NV, all of Belgium. Novy is the holding company controlling the Novy Group which is active in the design, manufacture and marketing of high‑end kitchen appliances. BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equityis a branch office of BNP Paribas dedicated to private equity and mezzanine financing. Sofindev is a private equity firm, investing in Belgian small and medium sized enterprises. DHAM is the holding company of the Colruyt group which is mainly active in the retail of daily consumer goods, but is also involved in other activities including foodservice, fuel retail and wholesale of daily consumer goods. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because Novy’s activities do not overlap with those of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity and Sofindev and their portfolio companies, nor with those of the Colruyt Group. 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.8094.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

 

EUROSTAT: Mai 2016 – Excédent de 24,6 mrds d’euros du commerce international de biens de la zone euro, Excédent de 6,4 mrds d’euros pour l’UE28

D’après les premières estimations pour le mois de mai 2016, les exportations de biens de la zone euro (ZE19) vers le reste du monde se sont établies à 167,4 milliards d’euros, en hausse de 2% par rapport à mai 2015 (164,3 mrds). Les importations depuis le reste du monde ont quant à elles été de 142,8 mrds d’euros, en recul de 2% par rapport à mai 2015 (146,0 mrds). En conséquence, la zone euro a enregistré en mai 2016 un excédent de 24,6 mrds d’euros de son commerce international de biens avec le reste du monde, contre +18,3 mrds en mai 2015. Le commerce intra-zone euro a augmenté à 139,4 mrds d’euros en mai 2016, soit +1% par rapport à mai 2015. Un communiqué de presse EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Axel Fougner – Tel.: +32 229 57276)

 

EUROSTAT: Le taux d’inflation annuel de la zone euro en hausse à 0,1%

Le taux d’inflation annuel de la zone euro s’est établi à 0,1% en juin 2016, contre -0,1% en mai. Un an auparavant, il était de 0,2%. Le taux d’inflation annuel de l’Union européenne s’est établi à 0,0% en juin 2016, contre -0,1% en mai. Un an auparavant, il était de 0,1%. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. Un communiqué de presse EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne.(For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)

Calendar

The Commissioners’ weekly activities

Read More

EU steps up humanitarian aid for victims of Boko Haram in Africa's Lake Chad region

The European Commission has today announced €58.2 million in humanitarian aid to support the populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa – a region heavily affected by Boko Haram violence and severe food insecurity.

“A full-scale humanitarian crisis has been fuelled by violence in a fragile region. The EU is committed to supporting those displaced and affected by the violence of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin. Our support will target the most vulnerable in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger where more than two and a half million people have been displaced by the terror of Boko Haram alone. Our aid will help provide food, shelter, clean water, and health care, as well as protection to the displaced and the host communities. Everything must be done so humanitarian aid workers can deliver life-saving assistance safely and urgently access those in need” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides who is currently on a visit to the region.

Nigeria is the country most affected by the current humanitarian crisis in the region. An estimated 2.1 million Nigerians are internally displaced, of which 800 000 people in the north-east of the country are facing severe food shortages and are in need of immediate assistance.

In Chad, one million people are now considered severely food insecure and more than 105 000 people have been internally displaced in the Lake region due to violence. Across the border in Cameroon, around 139 000 people have been displaced.

In neighbouring countries like Niger, the recent escalation of Boko Haram violence has also led to new displacements, with over 300 000 people forced from their homes in the country.

Including yesterday’s announcement of over €145 million, the overall EU humanitarian aid package for 2016 for the Sahel and the Lake Chad basin regions amounts to over €203 million. 

EU humanitarian aid package for 2016 for the Sahel and the Lake Chad basin

Background

The violence inflicted by the terrorist group Boko Haram from northern Nigeria has destabilised the entire Lake Chad region, causing large scale displacements of people. To make things worse, there is a high scarcity of food in the region and access to basic services is severely limited. In turn, this makes the local population particularly vulnerable to man-made and natural disasters. 

Read More

Latest daily news

Antitrust: Commission takes further steps in investigations alleging Google’s comparison shopping and advertising-related practices breach EU rules

The European Commission has sent two Statements of Objections to Google. The Commission has reinforced, in a supplementary Statement of Objections, its preliminary conclusion that Google has abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages. Separately, the Commission has also informed Google in a Statement of Objections of its preliminary view that the company has abused its dominant position by artificially restricting the possibility of third party websites to display search advertisements from Google’s competitors. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate. Today, we have further strengthened our case that Google has unduly favoured its own comparison shopping service in its general search result pages. It means consumers may not see the most relevant results to their search queries. We have also raised concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation. Google now has the opportunity to respond to our concerns. I will consider their arguments carefully before deciding how to take both cases forward. But if our investigations conclude that Google has broken EU antitrust rules, the Commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition on European markets.” Commissioner Vestager is presenting these decisions at 12 pm CET today, which you can follow live here. A full press release is available online in EN, FR and DE and all other EU languages. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Capital Markets Union: New Rules To Support Investment In Venture Capital And Social Enterprises

The European Commission has today proposed amendments to the European Venture Capital Funds (EuVECA) and the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEF) regulations, marking another step towards the creation of the Capital Markets Union. Today’s proposal aims to make it easier and more attractive for investors to invest in small and medium-sized innovative companies and social projects. In particular, the Commission is proposing to open up EuVECA and EuSEF funds to fund managers of all sizes, and to expand the range of companies that can benefit from venture capital funds. The Commission also aims to make the cross border marketing of EuVECA and EuSEF funds cheaper and easier by explicitly prohibiting fees levied by Member States and simplifying registration processes, in order to increase the number of managers, funds, and investments in venture capital and social enterprises. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Today we are removing another barrier to investment at EU level which is a key objective of the Investment Plan for Europe. The three main changes we are proposing to the EuVECA and EuSEF regulations today – broadening the scope of eligible managers; expanding the list of EuVECA eligible assets; and prohibiting fees imposed by competent authorities – will result in a greater number of SMEs getting access to the vital finance they need to grow their businesses.” Commissioner Jonathan Hill said: “This proposal is part of the package of measures in the CMU Action Plan to strengthen venture capital markets. This proposal will build up scale, diversity and choice for investors, venture capital and social enterprises. Other actions foreseen include the launch of a large-scale fund-of-funds, blending EU and private capital, to support investment in innovative companies across the whole EU.” Today’s proposal has been submitted to the European Parliament and the Council (Member States) for adoption under the co-decision procedure. Today at 12:30 CET, a press release and memo will be published, and a statement by Commissioner Hill can be watched on EbS. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)  

 

European Commission announces €145 million in humanitarian aid for 7 countries in Africa’s Sahel region

During a visit in Niger today, Commissioner Stylianides will announce €145 million in EU humanitarian assistance for the Sahel region in 2016 to address the basic needs of the populations, tackle malnutrition and provide food to the most vulnerable people. “Saving lives continues to be the EU’s first priority in Niger and the Sahel region. Our new humanitarian funding will provide essential nutrition and health treatment to young children and their mothers, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as training and support to health centres. The EU is working hand in hand with humanitarian organisations to help the most vulnerable”, said Commissioner Christos Stylianides, who will visit EU funded aid projects in Niger. A significant amount, totalling €29 million will be allocated to the most vulnerable in Niger. The country is facing persistent acute food insecurity, child malnutrition and the displacement of people fleeing conflicts in neighbouring Mali and Nigeria. Overall, funding will be provided to those in need in 7 countries: Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Chad and Cameroon. Read the full press release here. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

President Juncker addresses Asia-Europe Business Forum

Today 14 July in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, President Juncker addressed the 15thAsia-Europe Business Forum. Bringing together business leaders from both regions, the Forum is part of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. In his speech, President Juncker set out his commitment to work for a global economy that is fair, transparent and governed by rules. He underlined the need for strong public-private partnerships to deliver this. “The business community will play a central role,” said the President. “You are the engines of change and innovation. You have the power to bring our two great regions closer together. But with your power comes responsibility. You have a duty to act as good citizens: respecting the rules of the game, investing in people and taking care of our planet.” On 15-16 July, still in Ulaanbaatar, President Juncker will attend the 11th ASEM Summit together with EU High Representative and Commission Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, and European Council President, Donald Tusk. Government leaders from both regions will discuss a range of global and regional issues including security, terrorism, climate change, migration, economic cooperation and sustainable development. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382)

Investment Plan for Europe: new EFSI deals signed in Greece and Spain

Today two new deals have been signed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. In Athens, the European Investment Fund signed an agreement with the National Bank of Greece to provide EUR 100 million in loans to over 350 Greek SMEs. Chief Spokesperson of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas, was in Athens to attend the agreement signature on behalf of President Juncker and Vice-President Katainen. Meanwhile in Madrid, the European Investment Bank signed a contract with car manufacturer Gestamp Automoción in Spain to invest EUR 160 million in research, development and innovation. The EFSI-backed financing will allow the company, which has factories in Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland and the UK, to invest in RDI to make more environmentally-friendly cars with safer and lighter bodywork. Commenting on the Gestamp project, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “The European Union is investing in research and innovation to support growth and jobs, and to tackle today’s challenges. The project signed today by the European Investment Bank and Gestamp Automoción under the Commission’s Investment Plan is a great example of the value of our investment. The funding will make cars safer and greener, and create hundreds of jobs in Spain and elsewhere.” (For more information see here or contact Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)

Commission publishes further TTIP documents in ongoing transparency commitment

The European Commission is today publishing a record number of EU proposals from the ongoing 14th round of talks for a trade agreement with the United States, taking place in Brussels this week. As part of its drive for a more transparent trade and investment policy, the Commission is making these proposals public only days after submitting them to our negotiating partners. The nine proposals published today are intended to simplify technical regulations without lowering standards, and to set global rules of trade. Specifically, the published texts represent the EU’s negotiating position on regulatory cooperation in the sectors of cosmetics, medical devices, cars, chemicals and textiles. Also published today is a new article on climate protection as a part of the chapter on sustainable development, as well as separate chapters on energy and raw materials,market access for financial services, and on institutional cooperation within TTIP. The proposal for regulatory cooperation in the engineering sector will follow. The published texts show that the Commission is delivering on the goal established at the beginning of the year – to have almost all proposals for chapters of TTIP on the table and consolidate as many texts as possible by the summer break. Yesterday, the Commission organised a series of stakeholder events at the fringes of the negotiations, where interested stakeholders were briefed on the status of the negotiations and exchanged views with the chief EU and US negotiators. Tomorrow at 15:00 in Brussels there will be a press conference with the two chief negotiators on the 14th round of TTIP negotiations, which will also be broadcast live on Europe by Satellite. Photos of the negotiation round are also available. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Axel Fougner – Tel.: +32 229 57276)

Annual Agri-food trade report 2015: EU first exporter worldwide

The European Commission today published the Agri-food trade in 2015 report, which shows EU exports for agricultural products reached €129 billion in 2015. This means an annual increase of 5.7%, securing the EU’s position as first world agri-food exporter with a net trade surplus of €16 billion. The entire output of the European Union’s agricultural sector was valued at €410 billion in 2015. Agriculture and the food and drink industry together employ millions of people, accounting for 7.5 % of employment and 3.7 % of total value added in the EU, according to the annual report. Although some Member States and sectors still suffered from the Russian ban and from low world market prices, the overall EU agricultural trade performance was positive in 2015. EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan commented on the report: “Our trade performance continues to be a real good news story for the EU agri-food sector. Our high production standards and commitment to quality food and drink products ensure continuing global demand. In the coming months, I hope to see further export growth for Europe’s farmers and agri-food businesses, and the Commission will support them every step of the way.” A press release on the annual report and the monthly agri-food trade report for May are now available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

           

Commission adopts measures to protect against money laundering and terrorist financing from high risk third countries

Today, the European Commission has formally adopted a list of third countries having strategic deficiencies in their regimes on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Terrorist Financing (CFT). This completes the package of stronger transparency rules to tackle terrorism financing and money laundering brought forward last week. Banks will have to carry out additional checks (‘enhanced due diligence measures’) on financial flows from these 11 countries. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “Today’s list is part of our broader drive to tackle terrorism financing and money laundering. We need to cut off terrorists and other criminals from their resources. To put Europe at the forefront of the global fight against money laundering, we have proposed a common European set of stricter checks in relation to financial flows from these countries.” The Commission proposed on 5 July 2016 to harmonise the list of checks applicable to high-risk countries to prevent loopholes in Europe, where terrorists could run operations through countries with lower levels of protection. The EU will continue to engage across all relevant policy areas with the concerned countries, including through development cooperation, the ultimate goal being their compliance and removal from the list. The list of the Commission will be reviewed at least three times a year, after each Financial Action Task Force meeting assessing the latest developments. The Delegated Regulation will now be transmitted to the European Parliament and Council who have a one-month period to express objections (extendable to two months). If no objection has been expressed, it will be published in the Official Journal. The list is available online and more information on the latest Anti-Money Laundering amendments is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

EUROSTAT: Sommet Asie-Europe – les partenaires ASEM ont représenté en 2015 plus d’un tiers du commerce de biens de l’UE, déficit de l’UE de 277 milliards d’euros

En 2015, les 21 pays non-AELE participant au Sommet Asie-Europe (ci-après dénommés partenaires ASEM) comptaient ensemble pour 37% des échanges internationaux de biens de l’Union européenne (UE), avec une part des partenaires ASEM s’établissant à 29% pour les exportations de l’UE et à 46% pour ses importations. Sur la décennie 2005-2015, l’UE a constamment accusé un déficit commercial, toujours nettement supérieur à 200 milliards d’euros, avec les partenaires ASEM. En 2015, il se situait à 277 milliards d’euros, en baisse par rapport au pic de 320 milliards d’euros enregistré en 2008. Un communiqué de presse EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (Pour plus d’informations: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Axel Fougner – Tel.: +32 229 57276)

 

Quarterly Report on the Euro Area published today

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs today publishes its Quarterly Report on the Euro Area (QREA), featuring in-depth technical analyses of economic issues affecting the euro area. In this edition, staff economists look at the role of cross-border risk sharing, both through financial and labour market incomes generated across borders and through cross-border fiscal transfers, in mitigating asymmetric shocks, and compare the situation in the euro area to that of the United States. Other sections examine the mechanisms through which financial systems affect the real economy and confidence spill overs in the euro area. QREA Vol.15 No.2 will be published today at 15.00. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

Raw materials: Commission highlights need for security of supply and investment*

Today the Commission is publishing the first Raw Materials Scoreboard prepared by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), under the responsibility of Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. The Scoreboard provides a comprehensive set of indicators on both primary and secondary raw materials. It highlights the need to address the EU’s growing skills shortage, innovation needs and its import-dependency, providing valuable information for policy decisions. Speaking at a meeting of the High-Level Steering Group of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials this morning, Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: The supply and affordability of raw materials are of strategic importance for the future of the European economy and society. With the European Innovation Partnership, the raw materials community has taken important steps towards increased security of supply and a more circular economy. Today, we made the case for the need to support investment in the field of raw materials, in particular for start-ups and SMEs trying to optimise their resource use. The meeting was organised by the European Commission as part of its efforts to secure a sustainable supply of raw materials for Europe and to boost investment into the raw materials and recycling sectors. The group, which is composed of representatives of the industry, NGOs, researchers, ministers and the Commission, adopted a’Strategic Evaluation Report’ on future priorities in the area of raw materials. The group also presented a voluntary ‘Declaration of Support’ for the setting up of a European Investment Platform on Raw Materials and Recycling for start-ups, brought forward by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its innovation community, EIT Raw Materials, under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). More information regarding the ‘Strategic Evaluation Report’ and the ‘Declaration of Support’ on the websites of DG Grow and JRC. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Innovation performance compared: How innovative is your country?

Today, the Commission released the 2016 results of the European Innovation Scoreboard, the Regional Innovation Scoreboard and the Innobarometer. The main findings of the three reports are that Sweden is once again the innovation leader, Latvia has become the fastest growing innovator, and EU innovation is catching up with Japan and the US.By boosting private investment and improving the framework conditions for innovation, the EU has the potential to lead in innovation at the global stage.Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “I want Europe to be a place where innovative SMEs and start-ups flourish and scale up within the Single Market. This requires a concerted effort. At EU level, we need to simplify VAT regulation, adapt insolvency rules, make information on regulatory requirements more easily accessible and work on a clear and SME-friendly intellectual property framework. We also need to keep adapting the Single Market to ensure that innovative services such as the collaborative economy find their place.” Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, added: “Leading countries and regions are supporting innovation across a wide range of policies from investment to education, from flexible labour conditions to ensuring public administrations that value entrepreneurship and innovation. The Commission is doing its part by promoting innovation across policy areas too. Not only that, we’re also improving access to private finance through the €315 billion Investment Plan for Europe and the Capital Markets Union, as well as creating a new European Innovation Council.“Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, said: “Smart specialisation strategies help Member States and regions capitalise on their competitive assets in Research & Innovation and find opportunities for cooperation between business and academia. As such, they are compasses for innovative, long-term investments supported by ESI Funds and, when possible, other EU sources of finance. This contributes greatly to Europe’s shift towards a knowledge-based economy.” For further details on the results and the Commission’s actions to support innovation, a press release, frequently asked questions, the European Innovation Scoreboard, the Regional Innovation Scoreboard and the Innobarometer are available online. (Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

European Commission appoints new Head of Representation in Lisbon

The European Commission has appointed Ms Sofia Colares Alves as the new Head of its Representation in Portugal. She will take up office on 16 July, bringing over twenty years of European and International affairs experience to the post. Ms Alves is an experienced lawyer and works for the European Commission since 2003, specialising in competition policy. She was a member of the Cabinet of former Commission Vice-President Joaquín Almunia (from 2010 to 2013), a Head of Unit in DG Competition (from 2013 until 2015) and since May 2015 was seconded to the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) in Lisbon as Head of Cabinet advising the Board on all areas of competence of the PCA. Ms Sofia Colares Alves obtained a Law Degree from the University of Lisbon and a Master of European Legal Studies (LLM.) from the College of Europe in Bruges. A complete press release for Ms Sofia Colares Alves is available online, also in DE, FR and PT. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vice-President Dombrovskis visits Japan

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, will visit Tokyo, Japan on 14 and 15 July. During this visit, he will participate in the 16th EU-Japan Symposium, delivering the opening address on the theme of contemporary social and employment issues. He will also hold bilateral meetings with Mr Haruhiko Kuroda, Governor of the Bank of Japan; Mr Taro Aso, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister; and Mr Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister of Economic Revitalisation. Finally, he will meet representatives from the European Business Council. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Siobhan Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57367)

 

Commissioner Thyssen attends the Informal Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

Labour Ministers will hold an informal meeting on 14 and 15 July 2016 in Bratislava, under the Council Presidency of Slovakia. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen. Ministers will focus their discussions around three main topics: ageing, digitalisation, and migration. They will discuss how these three key challenges impact Member States’ labour markets and social security systems and exchange experiences and policies to turn these challenges into opportunities for Europe. In this context, Commissioner Thyssen will highlight some of the emerging issues in its consultation on the European pillar of social rights, a key initiative to make social rights in Europe fit for purpose in the 21st century. The meeting will also include a field visit to a Slovak company, which has expanded its production and innovation in times of global competition and digitalisation. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 6225)

 

Commissioner Hogan on official visit to Slovenia

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, is today on official visit in Slovenia. Together with Mr Dejan Židan, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food for Slovenia, he visited this morning an educational farm in Poljane. In the afternoon, Commissioner Hogan and the Minister will meet with representatives of the consultative Council for Agriculture. This meeting will be followed by a joint press conference, after which they will visit a cheese dairy farm in Gorenja vas. From 2014-2020, the CAP will invest around €1.8 billion in Slovenia’s farming sector and rural areas. More information about the CAP in Slovenia can be found here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

Commissioner Andriukaitis visits Montenegro

EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis is visiting Montenegro today and tomorrow (14-15 July). Commissioner Andriukaitis will meet national authorities, including the Deputy-Prime minister and the ministers in charge of Health and Agriculture, with whom he’ll mainly discuss the recent (30 June) opening of the Chapter 12 (Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy) of the negotiations of accession. The Commissioner will underline the importance of this Chapter since it deals with the safety of food products, a topic of the highest concern for EU citizens and consumers. He will detail to his interlocutors how they can learn from previous negotiations in this area. On the occasion of the visit he said: “It is of the utmost importance that Montenegro follows as closely as possible its strategy for transposition and implementation of the EU acquis for this Chapter. Montenegro has a major task ahead since this is a very demanding area, but I’ll make sure that all the expertise needed will be pooled to help this country. A step-by-step harmonisation with EU standards will allow Montenegrin products to access the EU markets“. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

 

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)

* Updated on 14/07/2016 at 14:44, adding “and its innovation community, EIT Raw Materials”

Read More

EU announces €145 million in humanitarian aid for seven countries in the Sahel

Today the European Commission has announced over €145 million in humanitarian assistance for Africa’s Sahel region in 2016 to address the basic needs of the populations, tackle malnutrition and provide food to the most vulnerable people.

Saving lives continues to be the EU’s first priority in Niger and the Sahel region. Our new humanitarian funding will provide essential nutrition and health treatment to young children and their mothers, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as training and support to health centres. The EU is working hand in hand with humanitarian organisations to help the most vulnerable“, said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who is currently in Niger visiting EU-funded aid projects.

Overall, funding will be provided to people in need in seven countries: Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Chad and Cameroon. The Sahel is one of poorest regions in the world, with 2 million children severely malnourished and more than 6 million people in need of emergency food assistance.

The amount of €29 million will be allocated to the most vulnerable individuals in Niger. The country is facing persistent acute food insecurity, child malnutrition and the displacement of people fleeing conflicts in neighbouring Mali and Nigeria

Background

The Sahel region continues to face a food and nutrition crisis. The prospects for 2016 are worrying, as surveys conducted in 2015 indicate a continuous increase in the number of children affected by severe malnutrition in many countries in the region. The situation in northern Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Mali is critical. Emergency needs in the Sahel will persist unless the root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition are addressed and the resilience of the most vulnerable is strengthened. The European Commission has supported the creation of the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) in West Africa which has set a ‘zero hunger’ goal by 2032.

Read More

Press Releases: Assistant Secretary Anne C. Richard Travels to Cameroon and Chad

Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard will travel to Cameroon (July 11-14) and Chad (July 14-17). She will highlight efforts to strengthen international cooperation to ease the desperate plight of refugees and internally displaced persons in the two countries, as well as in the broader Lake Chad Basin region.

The itinerary will focus on furthering U.S. cooperation with both countries, as well as the United Nations and the European Union on refugee and migration issues. In Cameroon, Assistant Secretary Richard will meet with various officials, together with Mr. Toby Lanzer, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel. In Chad they will travel with Mr. Christos Stylianides, the European Union’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

For more information, please contact PRMPress@state.gov.

Read More

Q&A – EU Children of Peace: EU supports education projects for children in emergencies

About the EU Children of Peace initiative

The objective of EU Children of Peace is to provide vulnerable children in emergencies with access to a safe learning environment and restore their hope for a better life.

The initiative funds educational projects for children around the world and was inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union on 12 October 2012. The European Union chose to allocate the prize money – € 930 000 – to support education projects for children affected by conflict and crisis situations, via the EU Children of Peace initiative. This figure was supplemented by € 2 million from the European Union’s humanitarian aid budget; and, since then, the European Union has been increasing the initiative’s funding every year.

Children in emergencies

Children are particularly vulnerable during and in the immediate aftermath of crises.

Conflicts and natural disasters affect children in many different ways. Apart from their lives being at risk, children may be forcibly displaced, separated from their families, recruited by armed groups or criminal gangs, sexually exploited, trafficked or used as forced labour. Children also make up a large proportion of landmine victims. Out of a total of 59 million children living in conflict affected countries and areas affected by natural disasters, 34 million cannot go to school as a result.

Thanks to the EU Children of Peace initiative, children learn and play in safe schools, receive education on life skills, as well as psychosocial support. They can participate in supervised recreational activities and receive school materials and uniforms. Teachers are supported, both financially as well as from the provision of training. Parents and community leaders can also benefit from the projects which include the renovation of schools and the setting up of new education facilities.

Global reach

In its first year, the EU Children of Peace initiative reached 28 000 children in Colombia, Ecuador, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq and Pakistan. In its second year, the scope was widened to include more than 80 000 children, with projects in additional countries including Afghanistan, Myanmar, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Ecuador, Somalia and South Sudan. In 2014, funding was allocated to projects benefitting 155 000 children in even more countries including Cameroon, Mexico, Guatemala, Niger, Sudan, Tanzania and Turkey. Now in its fourth year, the additional projects for 2015 mean that the EU Children of Peace initiative will be able to help more than 1 500 000 boys and girls in 26 countries by the end of the year.

 

New EU Children of Peace projects

This year, the European Union has decided to broaden the scope of the initiative again with €1 million of the overall funding going towards ensuring that orphaned children and other children affected by Ebola will receive education and psychosocial support to overcome the trauma.

Two humanitarian organisations have been selected to implement educational projects in West Africa:

In addition, 16 other projects will be implemented in conflict-affected areas around the world. The selected projects and beneficiary countries are:

 

Funding for educational projects

The European Commission is supporting educational projects worth around €11 million. These will be implemented by humanitarian organisations under the EU Children of Peace initiative.

The 18 selected projects will provide education to children affected by conflict or other emergency situations in 17 countries around the world.

From an initial €2 million allocated to educational projects in 2012, the EU doubled the funding for the Children of Peace initiative to €4 million in 2013. In 2014, the funding reached over €6.7 million, including the contributions of €500 000 from Luxembourg and €250 000 from Austria.

With the additional €11 million released this year, the total funding allocated under the EU Children of Peace initiativereaches €23 712 500 since the start of the initiative.

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides announced this year that he aims to increase the funding for education in emergencies in the coming years to reach 4% of the overall humanitarian aid budget of the European Union.

For more information

EU Children of Peace initiative: €1 million to assist children affected by Ebola

EU Children of Peace factsheet

Children in Emergencies factsheet

Website of the European Commission’s humanitarian aid and civil protection

Read More

Boko Haram: More EU funds to help the affected populations

In response to the growing humanitarian consequences of the Boko Haram attacks, the European Commission is providing €21 million to help the populations in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries who are affected by the violence inflicted by the militant Islamist group.

These new funds will provide immediate support, including clean water, food, shelter, health care and protection to the displaced and the host communities in the north-east Nigeria, as well as to Nigerian refugees and returnees in the neighbouring countries.

EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who is visiting Nigeria to assess the humanitarian situation, said: “More than 1.7 million people have been displaced by the terror of Boko Haram. Many of them live in precarious conditions in other parts of Nigeria or the neighbouring countries where they have fled. Meeting some of them today, I saw with my own eyes the immense needs that the conflict is causing among civilians. We are stepping up our humanitarian response to the call of those in the greatest need“.

€12.5 million of the funding will be used to tackle the humanitarian challenges in Nigeria, and €8.5 million will go to supporting refugees in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

This new aid comes on top of the relief the Commission has provided to the most vulnerable people affected by food insecurity and malnutrition throughout Nigeria and its neighbouring countries. In 2014 and 2015, the Commission has allocated more than €107 million and €123 million, respectively, to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Background

The violent conflict in North-East Nigeria, with indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population, has displaced 1.5 million people within the country and forced over 230 000 to flee to Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

The displaced people in Nigeria live in precarious conditions and are in need of basic services. In addition, the security situation often prevents humanitarian organisations from reaching those in need and deliver basic supplies.

In the neighbouring countries, the newly-arrived refugees put additional strain on the resources of the host communities which already suffer from the consequences of successive food crises and extreme poverty.

Read More

EU boosts humanitarian aid to those displaced by Boko Haram violence

The European Commission is providing €21 million to help the populations in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries that are affected by the violence inflicted by Boko Haram.

EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who is visiting Nigeria to assess the humanitarian situation, said: “More than 1.7 million people have been displaced by the terror of Boko Haram. Many of them live in precarious conditions in other parts of Nigeria or the neighbouring countries where they have fled. Meeting some of them today, I saw with my own eyes the immense needs that the conflict is causing among civilians. We are stepping up our humanitarian response to the call of those in the greatest need”.

The Commissioner also expressed his grave concern over the lack of humanitarian access to the people who need help. “There are restrictions of access in many areas, in particular along Lake Chad. All possible efforts should be made to ensure that humanitarian organisations can be there for those who need their help,” Commissioner Stylianides said.

The new EU funding will provide immediate support, including clean water, food, shelter, healthcare and protection to the displaced and the host communities in the north-east of Nigeria, as well as to Nigerian refugees in the neighbouring countries. €12.5 million of this funding will be used to tackle the humanitarian challenges in Nigeria, and €8.5 million to support the refugees in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

This new aid comes on top of relief that the Commission is providing to the most vulnerable people affected by food insecurity and malnutrition throughout Nigeria and its neighbouring countries. In 2015 and 2014, the European Commission has allocated more than €123 million and €107 million, respectively, to provide humanitarian assistance in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Commissioner Stylianides is in Nigeria to assess the humanitarian consequences of the Boko Haram terror activities. He is meeting with displaced persons and relief organisations and discussing how EU aid can be put to the best use despite the difficult circumstances. Tomorrow, the Commissioner will hold meetings with Government representatives and civil society organisations.

Background

The violent conflict in North-East Nigeria, with indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population, has displaced 1.5 million people within the country, and forced over 230 000 people to flee to neighbouring Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.

The displaced people in Nigeria live in precarious conditions and are in need of basic services. In addition, the security situation often prevents humanitarian organisations from reaching those in need to deliver basic supplies.

In the neighbouring countries, the newly arrived refugees put additional strain on the resources of the host communities which already suffer from the consequences of successive food crises and extreme poverty.

For more information

ECHO Factsheet:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/nigeria_en.pdf

Read More

EU boosts assistance for the Sahel to increase resilience

The European Commission is providing assistance worth €34 million for immediate food aid for the most vulnerable people in Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Niger and Chad. Coming at the start of the lean season in the Sahel region, this funding will help bridge the gap until the next harvest.

Millions of people in the Sahel are exposed to the risk of hunger and it is crucial that we keep helping to meet their immediate needs. This emergency aid continues in parallel with the European Union’s work with the Sahel countries and partners on strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable people to future crises,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

The assistance will be delivered through cash, vouchers or food, depending on the local market situation.

This new funding comes from the 11th European Development Fund reserve and brings the Commission’s total humanitarian aid for the Sahel region to €185 million in 2015.

Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International cooperation and Development added: “Building resilience is a major priority in EU development cooperation. We stand side by side with our Sahel partners to improve food and nutrition security and enhance resilience through our support to agriculture, health, water and education“.

Background

The Sahel crisis remains extremely complex. One in seven people in the region – more than 20 million in total – do not have enough affordable and nutritious food for healthy life. As many as 5.8 million children suffer from acute malnutrition and 4.3 million people need emergency relief.

The conflict in northern Nigeria and Mali further aggravates the situation that drove hundreds of thousands of refugees looking for shelter in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Cameroon, where host communities themselves often struggle to survive.

Another problem is drought in the second half of last year which has jeopardised harvests and is making it even harder for the poorest to buy food.

The growing humanitarian needs require both massive relief aid and measures to address the root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition and increase the resilience of the poorest people. The European Commission has been instrumental in the creation of AGIR, a global alliance to strengthen resilience in West Africa which has set itself a ‘Zero hunger’ goal by 2032.

Read More