Daily News 21 / 03 / 2019

EU Budget for 2021-2027: Commission welcomes preliminary agreement on InvestEU

The European Commission welcomes the preliminary agreement on InvestEU, the proposed programme to boost private and public investment in Europe in the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027. This agreement between the European Parliament, Member States and the Commission is a crucial step towards the creation of the InvestEU programme, which will bring together under one roof the European Fund for Strategic Investments and 13 other EU financial instruments currently supporting investment in the EU, making the financing easier to access. President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Europe is in much better shape than it was a few years ago. Thanks to the Investment Plan for Europe we launched in late 2014, investment is back. But we can and must do more to boost jobs and growth. This is where InvestEU comes in. Building on the success of what we’ve already achieved, we will be able to use public funding to support strategically important projects across the EU. Today’s agreement could not be more timely and means EU funds will be able to start delivering results on the ground sooner rather than later.” Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “InvestEU will be our flagship programme for a sustainable, resilient and competitive European economy. It will further boost investment in key areas like artificial intelligence, circular economy, climate action, as well as social inclusion and skills.” A press release is available here. InvestEU builds on the success of the Juncker Plan, or Investment Plan for Europe. Latest figures from the European Investment Bank, the Commission’s strategic partner on the Juncker Plan, show that by March 2019, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) had mobilised almost €390 billion of investments. Operations approved under EFSI so far represent a total financing volume of €72.5 billion in all 28 Member States. The EIB has approved 518 infrastructure projects supported by EFSI for €53.9 billion, while the European Investment Fund has approved 537 financing agreements for SMEs worth €18.6 billion. 929,000 small and medium companies will benefit from these agreements. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229-56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 58615)

rescEU: strengthened EU Civil Protection Mechanism enters into force

The European Commission’s proposal to strengthen the EU’s collective response to natural disasters, known as rescEU, has today entered into force. Numerous disasters have affected all regions of Europe in recent years, causing hundreds of casualties and billions in damage to infrastructure. To better protect citizens, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission reached agreement last December to strengthen the existing EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Concretely, the upgraded EU Civil Protection Mechanism establishes a new European reserve of capacities (the so-called rescEU reserve), including firefighting planes and helicopters, while boosting disaster prevention and preparedness measures. rescEU can also be activated in the future to respond to medical, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies. To ensure that Europe is prepared for this year’s forest fire season the new legislation will include a transition phase during which Participating States can get funding in exchange of putting their firefighting means at the disposal of the EU. On this occasion, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “With rescEU, we have put words into action. We have delivered a practical tool for citizens that can save thousands of lives in the future. rescEU means having a much stronger, pan-European civil protection system. I am very grateful to our Member States in the Council of the EU and the European Parliament for their overwhelming support over the last months. With the next forest fire season just a few months away, our EU Emergency Centre is working around the clock with Member States to make rescEU operational.” (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

Corporate Social Responsibility: Progress towards greater sustainability

Today, the European Commission published an overview of progress made on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) as well as in the area of business and Human Rights since the 2011 strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility. The overview focuses on actions pursued by the European Commission including in collaboration with the European External Action Service. Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “Sustainable business is good business. We are determined to play our role to promote this. Since the 2011 strategy, over 200 EU measures and initiatives have been implemented. This document demonstrates our continued effort for a green, sustainable and prosperous Europe. We will continue to work with companies and civil society organisations to make sure that Europe leads in this area and that businesses put sustainable conduct at the heart of their operations.” As the document shows, over the last years, the Commission has taken key actions across its policies to ensure that companies monitor and manage their impacts and make human rights, environmental and social responsibility a core part of their missions. Moreover, the collected measures have also supported Commission’s wider work under the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as detailed in the recent Reflection Paper. The document is available here. For more information on CSR, visit DG GROW’s website. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229-56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Asco by Spirit, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Asco by Spirit. Both companies are active in the aerospace equipment industry worldwide. The approval is conditional on full compliance with commitments offered by Spirit. Both companies supply aerostructures, which are components for wings, fuselage, and nacelles, for aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing. The Commission’s investigation found that the proposed merger would raise no competition concerns regarding vertical supply relationships or horizontal overlaps in the same markets. However, the Commission identified concerns in the worldwide market for the supply of slat systems in general and of slats in particular, since the proposed merger would have increased the likelihood of companies in this market being able to coordinate their behaviour. Slat systems allow the wing of an aircraft to operate at a higher “angle of attack” (i.e., the angle at which the wing meets oncoming air). They include several components such as slats, slat supports, and racks and pinions. Spirit and Asco operate at different levels of the supply chains for slat systems. Asco is a member, together with Sonaca and BMT Eurair, of a joint venture named Belairbus. Through Belairbus, the three parent companies participate in the development and production of slat systems for all the main commercial Airbus planes. Sonaca, one of Asco’s partners in Belairbus, is also a leading supplier of slats and the only competitor of Spirit in this market. Therefore, by acquiring Asco, Spirit would have also become a shareholder of Belairbus, alongside its sole competitor for slats, Sonaca. The Commission was concerned that, following the transaction, Belairbus would become a vehicle for increased transparency between the companies and would increase the likelihood of coordinated behaviour between Spirit and Sonaca, with negative effects on competition for manufacturing and supply of slats, and slats systems as a whole, to the detriment of Airbus and other aircraft manufacturers sourcing slats worldwide. To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Spirit offered to structurally modify the set-up of Belairbus to permanently eliminate its role as a commercial and technical platform for negotiations with Airbus. As a supplementary commitment, the companies have set up mechanisms to destroy any existing commercially sensitive information of Sonaca held by Asco, so this will not be transferred to Spirit after the transaction. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, NL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Colonial First State Global Asset Management group by Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Colonial First State Global Asset Management group (“CFSGAM”) of Australia by Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation (“MUTB”) of Japan. CFSGAM is the global asset management business of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It offers products across equities, fixed income and alternatives for institutional investors as well as corporate/retail investors. MUTB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. It operates globally and provides a full range of banking services. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area given the minor horizontal and vertical overlaps between the companies’ activities. 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.9254. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526)

Concentrations: la Commission approuve l’acquisition d’un entrepôt en France par SEGRO et PSPIB

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l’acquisition d’un entrepôt situé à Oignies, France, par SEGRO plc, basé au Royaume Uni, et Public Sector Pension Investment Board (“PSPIB”), basé au Canada. L’entrepôt construit en 2010 est loué à Condi Services, un des fournisseurs de services logistiques de Leroy Merlin. SEGRO est une société foncière spécialisée en immobilier industriel et en logistique qui détient, gère et développe des parcs d’activités ainsi que plates-formes dédiées à la distribution et à la logistique. PSPIB est un gestionnaire de fonds, qui investit pour des régimes de retraite canadiens, notamment dans des placements sur les marchés financiers publics, des placements privés et dans l’immobilier, les infrastructures et les ressources naturelles. La Commission a conclu que l’opération envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence compte tenu de son impact très limité sur la structure du marché. La transaction a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d’affaire M.9285. (Pour plus d’informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tél.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tél.: +32 229 90526)

Mergers: Commission approves the acquisition of joint control over a warehouse in Poland by SEGRO and PSPIB

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of a warehouse in Wroclaw, Poland, by SEGRO plc of the UK and Public Sector Pension Investment Board (“PSPIB”) of Canada. The warehouse is currently under construction, with completion scheduled for March 2019. SEGRO is the owner, asset manager and developer of modern warehousing and light industrial properties located around major conurbations and at key transportation hubs across a number of EU countries.PSPIB is a pension investment manager of various public sector pension plans in Canada. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, because of its limited impact on the market structure. 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.9286. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 229 90526) 


Le président Juncker participe à une cérémonie marquant le 25e anniversaire de l’Espace économique européen

Demain, le président de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, participera à une cérémonie commémorant le 25e anniversaire de l’Espace économique européen (EEE) qui se tiendra en lien avec la réunion du Conseil européen de cette semaine. L’EEE regroupe les 28 États membres de l’UE et la Norvège, l’Islande et le Liechtenstein, membres de l’Association européenne de libre-échange (AELE), et il constitue l’un des plus grands marchés du monde, le marché unique. Les premiers ministres islandais, liechtensteinois et norvégien ont été invités à rencontrer leurs homologues du Conseil européen à cette occasion. L’EEE offre aux consommateurs plus de choix et de meilleurs prix, ainsi que moins de barrières pour les entreprises. Il facilite aussi la coopération dans des domaines tels que la recherche et la technologie, l’éducation, la formation et la jeunesse, l’emploi, le tourisme, la culture, la protection civile, les entreprises, l’entrepreneuriat et les petites et moyennes entreprises. Grâce à l’EEE, les quelque 520 millions de citoyens des 31 pays bénéficient d’une plus grande prospérité, d’opportunités économiques, d’une protection des consommateurs et de l’environnement, ainsi que d’un plus grand rayonnement international dans le monde entier. Une fiche d’informations sur l’EEE est disponible ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Annika Breidthardt – Tél.: +32 229-56153; Enda McNamara – Tél.: +32 229 58615)

Commissioner Crețu in Romania to discuss investment priorities for the next long-term EU budget

Tomorrow, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu will be in Bucharest, Romania. In the morning, the Commissioner will participate in the presentation of the European Semester Country Report 2019 for Romania with Orlando Teodorovici, Romanian Minister of Public Finance, and Victor Micula, Romanian Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the afternoon, she will take part in a conference on “Investment priorities in Romania, 2021-2027″, to discuss potential future priorities for Cohesion Policy investments in the next long-term EU budget. This conference is part of the wider discussion that the Commission launched on 27 February on investment challenges and priorities for each Member States as part of the European Semester process of economic policy coordination (see press release here). The Commission has set out first ideas as to how EU funds, in particular Cohesion Policy funds, can help achieving investment priorities in the forthcoming budget period 2021-2027. Commissioner Crețu will therefore present the Commission’s guidance on Cohesion Policy funding in Romania for 2021-2027. “With this conference, we aim to kick-start the reflection on the future Cohesion Policy programmes, to ensure a smooth transition between the EU budget periods and help Member States target investments where they are most needed,” said Commissioner Crețu ahead of her visit. “In Romania, we particularly believe that EU funding should be focused innovation, the competitiveness of SMEs, the transition toward a low-carbon economy, strategic transport networks and social inclusion an employment measures,” Corina Crețu added. On Monday, the Commissioner will be in Cluj-Napoca to speak at the COTER (Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget) conference focusing on the role of local and regional authorities in Cohesion Policy. (For more information: Christian Spahr – Tel.: +32 2 295 00 55; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

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

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