Daily News 05 / 02 / 2015

2015 Winter Economic forecast: outlook improved but risks remain

For the first time since 2007, the economies of all European Union Member States are expected to grow again this year, according to the European Commission’s winter forecast. Over the course of this year, economic activity is expected to pick up moderately in the EU and in the euro area, before accelerating further in 2016. Growth this year is forecast to rise to 1.7% for the EU as a whole and to 1.3% for the euro area. In 2016, annual growth should reach 2.1% and 1.9%. These improved growth prospects across Europe are still limited by a weak investment environment and high unemployment. Further uncertainty surrounding these prospects has increased. Commenting on the updated figures, Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “Today, Europe stands at a critical juncture. The right economic conditions are in place for sustained growth and job creation. Following the difficult policy choices governments have made due to the crisis, the effects of reforms are emerging. We have to step up the reform momentum to strengthen the recovery and make sure it translates into money in people’s pockets. The Commission is delivering on its commitments on three main fronts: investment, structural reforms and fiscal responsibility. Implementation now lies with the Member States. And that is where our results will be judged.” Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said: “Europe’s economic outlook is a little brighter today than when we presented our last forecasts. The fall in oil prices and the cheaper euro are providing a welcome shot in the arm for the EU economy. Meanwhile, the Investment Plan for Europe and the ECB’s important recent decisions will help create a more supportive backdrop for reforms and smart fiscal policies. But there is still much hard work ahead to deliver the jobs that remain elusive for millions of Europeans.” Commissioner Moscovici presented the Winter economic forecast today; his intervention will be available online shortly. The press release is available here, and for further information, please consult the Winter Economic Forecast webpage. (for more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

A vision for the post-2015 development agenda

2015 is a pivotal year for global sustainable development. Today the European Commission set out its views on the efforts needed to eradicate poverty and boost sustainable development across the world. It proposes how the international community should organise its action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, and shows how the EU and its Member States could contribute. The Communication on a “Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015” has been jointly prepared by the High Representative and Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. It has been agreed with First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who holds horizontal responsibility for sustainable development. A press release and a factsheet will be available online at 12.30 today. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 22993321)


EU allocates €3 million to help flood victims in Southern Africa

The European Commission is giving €3 million in humanitarian aid for the people affected by severe flooding in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar. This will bring immediate assistance to the affected populations, such as shelter, food, clean water and health care, as well as blankets, hygiene material and mosquito nets. A crucial component of EU aid will be to help those affected recover their livelihoods and sources of income. European Commission’s funding will also contribute to preventing outbreaks of diseases in affected areas due to water stagnation. More than 1 million people have been affected, about 300 000 displaced and around 300 people killed by heavy rains and flooding throughout the region. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Irina Novakova – Tel.: +32 2 295 75 17)

Commission helps bring Europe’s best innovations to the market

Today, the European Research Council is awarding 59 grants to help some of the most outstanding researchers in Europe turn their inventions into viable products. The “Proof of Concept” grants will support the development of innovations such as a simple blood test to diagnose breast cancer, a timber wood tracking device to help prevent illegal deforestation, and artificial veins modelled on marine sponges. The grants, worth €150,000 each, will be awarded to researchers in 15 countries. The funding will allow grantees to build start-ups, establish intellectual property rights for their inventions and explore ways to test their ideas on the market. The press release is available online. (for more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel: +32 229 56182; Mirna Bratoz – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

New EU measures on import of hunting trophies to fight against illegal and unsustainable practices

New measures will come into force today on the import of hunting trophies, adopted by the European Commission to control wildlife trade and to fight against illegal and unsustainable practices. In the past, there was no systematic scrutiny by scientific authorities in the Member States to ensure that hunting trophies from species imported to the EU (such as African lion, polar bear, African elephant, Southern white rhinoceros, hippopotamus and argali sheep) were the result of sustainable hunting. The new measures address this problem by introducing a requirement for an import permit guaranteeing that the origin of the trophy is legal and sustainable. The Commission has also introduced new measures to facilitate travel for musicians using instruments that contain items derived from species protected. A press release is available online. (for more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)



Trade Commissioner Malmström on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will give a keynote speech today on TTIP at the 2nd Annual EU-US Trade Conference organised by Forum Europe, while the 8th round of TTIP negotiations is ongoing this week in Brussels. The speech will be made available online shortly. (for more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)



First meeting with representatives from the South-East Europe (SEE) region on security of gas supply: 9 February 2015 in Sofia

The first meeting of the High level Working Group on Gas Connectivity for the SEE region will take place on 9 February in Sofia. Energy Ministers from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia have been invited. The group will exchange views on the prospects of regional gas supply,as well as discuss potential infrastructure solutions. The Commission will be represented by the Vice-President for Energy Union Šefčovičand Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Arias Cañete. Vice-President Šefčovič said: “It is today more than ever important that we look for solutions to enhance cross-border gas flows and to ensure diversification of gas supply. As laid down in the political priorities of the Juncker Commission, the Energy Union will reform and reorganise Europe’s energy policy and increase stability and security of energy supply in Europe”. Commissioner Arias Cañete added: “Our meeting in Sofia will be a very good opportunity to advance regional cooperation in the energy field. We should speed up the development of strategic projects to address the security of supply challenge of the region. The Commission remains fully committed to support the region in its efforts to better integrate and diversify its gas markets”. Media note: A written statement following the meeting is foreseen, other press arrangements – to be confirmed. (for more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186, Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

Commissioner Creţu attends the 20th Conference of Presidents of the EU’s Outermost Regions in Guadeloupe

This conference will discuss joint efforts to help the nine peripheral regions (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, La Réunion, Saint-Martin, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands) improve the allocations of resources and investments towards economic and social development, with the help of more than € 6.6 billion from European Structural Funds for the 2014-2020 period. Ahead of the Conference, Commissioner Creţu said: “Through their geography, these regions encounter specific difficulties but also have unique assets. Regional policy provides the Outermost Regions with the instruments to transform their potential into real growth opportunities. I welcome the opportunity to continue working in partnership with the three Member States and the nine Outermost Regions to set those regions on the path to growth.” (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Source: General