Daily Archives: February 17, 2015

Daily News 17 / 02 / 2015

Investment Plan: Green light for SME financing before the summer
Small and medium sized businesses across Europe could benefit from the first funds from the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) before the summer, the EIB announced today. Money can be made available to SMEs by the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the EIB-Group, which will cover the risk of transactions with intermediaries providing additional finance to SMEs and small mid-caps until the main EFSI is in place, by September at the latest. Vice-President Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “This means that by the summer, cash-starved businesses across Europe will already be able to benefit from a new source of potential financing. We have said that we want to help get Europe investing again – and today we are doing exactly that.” Read the full press release online. (for more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 51536; Siobhan Bright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)
EU releases €212 million to support the Palestinian people
The European Union has released the first tranche of its 2015 financial support to the Palestinian Authority and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), totalling €212 million. This new funding will help provide vital basic services such as education, healthcare and social services to the Palestinian people. The new financial support is financed through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The ENI is the main EU financial instrument for support to Palestine for the period 2014-2020. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430; Nabila Massrali – Tel.: +2229 69218)

OTHER NEWS

EU provides €32 million in humanitarian aid to Mali
The European Union is increasing its humanitarian assistance in Mali with €32 million for this year. This new aid will help meet the increasing needs in view of renewed violence, increased displacement and malnutrition. The crisis is compounded by difficult access to the affected populations due to the worsening security situation in northern Mali. “Humanitarian aid is neutral and aid workers should be allowed safe and unhindered access to those who need help. Our first priority is to provide life-saving aid to the malnourished and the displaced, and to protect people who are caught up in conflict”, said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management who is visiting Mali. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Irina Novakova – Tel.: +32 2 295 75 17)
Additional EU aid for flood victims in Albania
The European Commission today announced over € 118 000 in EU support for the most vulnerable people affected by the recent floods in Albania. The funding comes from the Commission’s humanitarian aid budget. This EU assistance will provide around 8 000 people with food, hygiene kits and blankets as well as information on health and hygiene during floods. The funding will be channelled through the Albanian Red Cross. It comes on top of aid provided by European countries via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In a coordinated response facilitated by the European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Montenegro have sent beds, tents, kitchen sets, generators, and other material support to the affected region. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Irina Novakova – Tel.: +32 2 295 75 17)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of DBRS by TCGFS II and Warburg Pincus in financial services sector
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of DBRS Holdings Limited of Canada by TCG Financial Services II, L.P. belonging to the Carlyle Group L.P. and Warburg Pincus LLC, both of the USA. Carlyle is a global alternative asset manager. Warburg Pincus is a global private equity firm. DBRS provides credit rating opinions across a broad range of companies, governments and structured finance products on a global basis. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the companies’ moderate combined market shares on the markets concerned. 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.7505. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100)
Le Président Juncker désigne Michel Barnier en tant que conseiller spécial pour la politique de défense et de sécurité européenne
Le Président de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, a désigné ce jour Michel Barnier en tant que conseiller spécial pour la politique de défense et de sécurité européenne. Le Président Juncker a déclaré: « Lorsque la nouvelle Commission a pris ses fonctions, nous avons indiqué que nous devions construire une Europe plus forte sur les questions de sécurité et de défense. Certes, l’Europe est avant tout une «puissance douce». Mais même la plus forte des puissances douces ne peut se passer à long terme d’un minimum de capacités intégrées en matière de défense et de sécurité. Michel Barnier a une longue expérience en matière de défense et est le mieux placé pour me conseiller et pour conseiller la Haute Représentante et Vice-Présidente Federica Mogherini sur ces questions essentielles pour l’avenir de l’Europe. » Dans ses nouvelles fonctions, Michel Barnier participera notamment à l’élaboration de la contribution du Président de la Commission aux travaux du Conseil européen en matière de politique européenne de défense. Pour de plus d’informations: IP/15/4437. (for more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)
Commission appoints top researchers to the European Research Council Scientific Council
Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, welcomes the appointment of three accomplished scientists to join the European Research Council’s Scientific Council, an independent body that decides the strategy and distribution of ERC funding. The three new members, selected for a four-year term of office are Professors Tomas Jungwirth of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dame Janet Thornton of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, and Fabio Zwirner of the University of Padova. The Commission also renewed the term of office of three current members: Professors Nicholas Canny of the National University of Ireland, Galway, Timothy Hunt of Cancer Research UK, South Mimms, and Mart Saarma of the University of Helsinki. At the same time, the Scientific Council appointed Professor Saarma as well as Professor Sierd Cloetingh of the Utrecht University new Vice-Presidents of the ERC. All Members of the Scientific Council are selected by an Identification Committee. An ERC press release is available online. (for more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Bratoz – Tel.: +32 229 87278)
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Commissioner Hahn in Skopje and Pristina on 17-18 February
Commissioner Hahn will visit Skopje on 17 February 2015 and Pristina on 18 February for the first time in his capacity as Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. He will meet with government and opposition politicians, representatives of civil society, business community. Topics for discussion in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will include the current political situation, key EU-related reform priorities, EU financial assistance, as well as good neighbourly relations. The aim of this first visit to Kosovo is to meet the newly established government institutions and to reaffirm the commitment to Kosovo’s European perspective. Commissioner Hahn will underline the key priorities for EU-Kosovo relations in 2015 and that the signature and conclusion of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement will mark the beginning of a new phase in EU-Kosovo relations. (for more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430)
Women’s Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Development: High-Level Event on 2 March, Riga
Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is one of the priorities of the European Commission. The month of March is the thematic month dedicated to women and girls during the European Year for Development 2015 (EYD2015). In this context, a high level political event, organised by the Latvian Presidency of the EU Council and the European Commission, will take place on March 2 in Riga (Latvia) to discuss possible solutions for ensuring women’s equal rights, as well as economic resources for unlocking women’s potential, with a specific focus on developing countries. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, is among the key personalities who will be present at the event. More info on the event is available online. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)