Daily News 20 / 10 / 2016

MIL OSI – Source: European Union – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Daily News 20 / 10 / 2016

President Juncker participates in the European Council meeting in Brussels on 20 and 21 October
Today and tomorrow, President Juncker is participating in the meeting of the European Council. Heads of State or Government of the European Union will discuss the implementation of the agenda set out by President Juncker in his speech on the State of the Union, officially welcomed by Member States during the Bratislava meeting in September. The agenda will focus on migration, including the work carried out by the Commission to implement the EU-Turkey Statement, work with third countries of transit and origin on Migration Partnerships and the swift operationalisation of the European Border and Coast Guard. EU leaders will also discuss trade, including the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA), in the context of its importance for growth and jobs across the EU. Other topics are expected to include the Investment Plan for Europe, the ratification of the Paris Agreement, and external relations – in particular relations with Russia and the situation in Syria. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265)
€2.5 billion available for Erasmus+ in 2017, a 13% increase compared to 2016 and record rise since the start of the Erasmus+ programme
Today, the European Commission published its 2017 Call for Proposals for Erasmus+, the European Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sport. For 2017, funds available for the programme have increased by almost €300 million compared to 2016, also representing a record annual rise of funds since the first year of the Erasmus+ programme (2014). This will benefit Erasmus students, but also teachers, apprentices, volunteers and young people involved in sport projects, while also supporting cooperation between education institutions, youth organisations and businesses. As in 2016, priority will be given to projects promoting social inclusion. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “I am very pleased that we will have €2.5 billion in 2017 to build on our activities to reach out to a broad range of people with different interests, profiles and social backgrounds. Ahead of its 30thanniversary next year, Erasmus+ is at cruising speed and offers more opportunities for people and projects than ever before.” The increase in budget is an acknowledgement of the positive impact of the programme on the lives and personal projects of people all over Europe. As the European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted in his annual State of the European Union speech on 14 September, Erasmus+ is of major importance as it gives people the chance to move, travel, work, study and train in countries across the EU. The funds available for 2017 will also be used to implement the European Solidarity Corps announced in the same speech. From today, organisations wishing to apply for funds can start to prepare their grant applications. More background information is available online. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)
Commission puts forward commitments to reach global targets in sustainable urban development
The New Urban Agenda, adopted at the U.N. Habitat III Conference taking place this week in Quito, Ecuador, contains guidelines to make cities all over the world more inclusive, green, safe and prosperous. U.N. Habitat partners, including the EU and its Member States, presented commitments to implement the New Urban Agenda, each with a specific scope and expected achievements and deliverables. The EU’s three commitments are: 1 – Delivering the New Urban Agenda through the Urban Agenda for the EU 2 – Developing a global, harmonised definition of cities and 3 – Fostering cooperation between cities in the field of sustainable urban development. A full press release is available here. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “Our commitments are building on the EU’s experience in urban policy over the years, with programmes and projects that have delivered. It is time to extend their concept beyond the EU’s borders. It will put the EU at the forefront of the global efforts to harness the power of rapid urbanisation, and turn it into opportunities for jobs, growth and improved quality of life for all.” More information on EU urban policy is available online. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)
First microfinance deal in Belgium under EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and microStart have signed the first microfinance guarantee agreement aimed at supporting micro enterprises in Belgium under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). This new EaSI guarantee agreement with microStart covers a loan portfolio of €15 million for micro-borrowers in Belgium. microStart will launch a new loan product – mS Scale Up, targeting a large spectrum of micro-loan products for micro-entrepreneurs seeking to further develop their businesses. This new product will offer longer maturities and higher maximum loan amounts. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: “Thanks to EU funding covering a loan portfolio of €15 million, some 1300 micro-entrepreneurs in Belgium, and in particular those excluded from mainstream credit, will be able to benefit from loans on preferential terms. The funding will also allow microStart to launch a totally new product to provide even more support to microbusinesses seeking to expand. Through our EaSI programme, we remain committed to boosting employment in Europe and getting more people into jobs, with particular efforts directed towards the most vulnerable people in the labour market.” (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: + 32 229 67094)

Les fonds de la politique de Cohésion investissent dans le transport durable en Hongrie
La Commission a approuvé un grand projet, avec une contribution de 30 millions d’euros du Fonds de Cohésion pour améliorer la connexion ferroviaire entre Budapest et Székesfehérvár, en Hongrie centrale. Commencé dans la période 2007-2013, le projet consiste à moderniser la ligne de chemin de fer qui se situe sur le corridor Méditerranée du Réseau Transeuropéen de Transport  (RTE). “Ce projet soutenu par l’UE aura un double impact positif: sur l’environnement, en investissant dans le transport durable et en désengorgeant les routes vers la capitale, et sur l’économie, en facilitant le commerce et le tourisme,” a commenté la Commissaire à la politique régionale, Corina Crețu. Cette ligne internationale, importante tant pour le fret que le transport de passagers, relie la Hongrie à la Slovénie versla région méditerranéenne. Elle dessert également le lac Balaton et permettra de réduire le temps de voyage grâce aux travaux de modernisation qui seront engagés, ce qui sera bénéfique pour le secteur touristique dans la région. Le projet devrait être achevé à l’été 2018. Une enveloppe de 25 milliards d’euros a été allouée à la Hongrie au titre des Fonds Structurels et d’Investissement Européens (Fonds ESI) pour la période 2014-2020. Plus d’informations sur ces investissements sont disponibles en ligne sur la plateforme Open Data et ici. (Pour plus d’informations: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Romanian small businesses to benefit from new funding under the SME initiative
Today, the European Commission welcomes the signature of the funding agreement between the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and the Romanian Government, the first step in the implementation of the SME initiative in the country. The programme, worth €100 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and combined with additional resources from the EIB Group and Horizon 2020, will leverage almost €580 million of new loans for Romanian SMEs and start-ups. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Romanian SMEs are competitive and provide the vast majority of job opportunities in the country. They just need an additional boost to expand beyond their local markets and develop their research and innovation capacity. And the SME initiative will help them do just that.” Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu added:”I am proud to see Romania in the leading group of Member States implementing this Initiative and using the European Structural and Investment Funds in an innovative way. It is a concrete response to the challenges Romanian small businesses are currently facing.” (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

EUROSTAT: Almost 1 adult in 6 in the EU is considered obese
While 46.1% of those aged 18 or over living in the European Union (EU) had a normal weight in 2014, slightly more than half of the adults (51.6%) were considered as over-weight (35.7% pre-obese and 15.9% obese) and a further 2.3% as under-weight. In other words, nearly 1 in every 6 persons aged 18 or over in the EU was obese in 2014. Obesity is a serious public health problem that can be statistically measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI) of adults. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or over. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel. +32 229 87624)

EUROSTAT: EU28 current account surplus €13.5 bn
The EU28 seasonally adjusted current account of the balance of payments recorded a surplus of €13.5 bn in August 2016, compared with surpluses of €11.3 bn in July 2016 and €8.2 bn in August 2015, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. A press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)


Commissioners Avramopoulos and King in Rome for the G6 meeting of Interior Ministers
On 20 and 21 October, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King, will participate in the G6 meeting in Rome with Interior Ministers from Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom as well as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security. Representatives from Europol, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the European Border and Coast Guard, UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Interpol will also be present. Participants will discuss issues relating to migration, security and terrorism, and cybersecurity. In addition, Commissioner King will today participate in a joint hearing of the Committees of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and the Senate on the steps taken by the European Commission to strengthen the EU’s security and its fight against terrorism. The joint hearing will be streamed live here. Commissioner King will also meet with Prefetto Franco Gabrielli, Head of the Italian Police. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 229 63444)

Commissioner Oettinger at the Book Fair of Frankfurt to highlight the role of startups in the publishing industry among a week of startup events
Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger was this morning at the Frankfurt Book Fair to discuss the Commission’s recent proposals to modernise copyright and to open the final of the startup accelerator CONTENTshift, a three-month funding programme designed to boost startups active in the publishing industry. Commissioner Oettinger said: “These innovative startups show once again that Europe has a very strong and high-quality content industry with an exceptional creative potential. Several of our recent and upcoming initiatives ensure this sector and its startups make the most of digital opportunities.” The final of CONTENTshift represents one of the many events dedicated to startups this week, in the EU and beyond. For example, as part the Startup Europe comes to Universities initiative taking place this week, entrepreneurs and representatives of local governments are sharing their experience with students in 35 universities across 15 EU countries as well as Albania and Israel. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip welcomed this new initiative on his blog: “Universities are in a unique position to instil and promote a sense of entrepreneurship in students before they graduate. This will allow them to pool expertise and experience, linking up with local government, industry and business as well as with other startup networks.” The Commission will soon present its initiative to support startups and scaleups as part of its Single Market Strategyand it will also propose to adapt EU VAT rules so that they fit better for small e-commerce businesses. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay – Tel.: +32 229 64532)

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