Today, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides opens the third meeting of the Civil Protection Directors General of the Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean, taking place in Barcelona. Working more closely in the field of civil protection with Mediterranean partners is important to prevent, prepare and respond to disasters more effectively. On this occasion, the Commissioner meets Ambassador Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, and visits the European Forest Institute. In light of the increasing numbers of natural disasters, such as forest fires, the EU recently established “rescEU” to upgrade the existing Union Civil Protection Mechanism. With rescEU, the EU will invest in developing a stronger collective response at European level as well as give more attention to prevention activities in order to better protect people facing natural and man-made disasters. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)
State aid: Commission approves over €22 million of public support to promote rail transport operability in the Netherlands
The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €22.2 million of public support to upgradetraffic management equipment on freight locomotives in the Netherlands. The scheme will contribute to making railway systems more interoperable in the EU without unduly distorting competition.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “The Dutch scheme will contribute to the deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System and to the creation of a Single European Railway Area. It will improve the competitiveness of European railways and foster the shift of freight traffic from road to rail, in line with the EU’s environmental and transport objectives, without unduly distorting competition.”
In October 2019, the Netherlands notified the Commission of their plans to support the upgrade of 99 cross-border freight locomotives with the newest European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) on-board equipment. ERTMS is a safety system that ensures the compliance by trains with speed restrictions and signalling status. This system is expected to enable the creation of a seamless European railway system, and increase the safety and competitiveness of the European rail sector.
The EU Implementing Regulation on the ERTMS European deployment plan requires that about 30% – 40% of the so-called European Core Network Corridors should be equipped with ERTMS by 2023. To meet these requirements, the Netherlands plans to deploy the latest version of ERTMS on a large share of its core national railway network, which is part of the European Core Network Corridors. Consequently, the owners of the locomotives, who invested in the retrofitting of their freight locomotives with former versions of the ERTMS on-board equipment in the past, will now need to upgrade the existing equipment to ensure interoperability with the latest version of the ERTMS and will have to face significant costs.
The public support will take the form of direct grants to the owners of the locomotives, to be used for the prototyping and serial upgrades of the equipment. The public support by the Dutch state will be complemented by grants for a total of €23.8 million financed through the Connecting Europe Facility.
The Commission’s assessment
The Commission assessed the scheme under EU State aid rules, in particular the 2008 Commission Guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings and found that:
- The Dutch scheme is beneficial for the environment and for mobility as it supports rail transport, which is less polluting than road transport, while also decreasing road congestion.
- The measure is proportionate and necessary to achieve the intended objectives, i.e. the promotion of interoperability of railway systems in the EU and supports the shift of freight transport from road to rail.
- The Dutch public funding has an “incentive effect”, as railway vehicle owners would not perform the necessary upgrade of the ERTMS equipment of their freight locomotives absent the public support.
On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules.
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible collusion by two French retailers in a purchasing alliance
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether two French groups of retailers, Casino Guichard-Perrachon (known as ‘Casino’) and Les Mousquetaires (known as ‘Intermarché’), have coordinated their conduct in the market, in breach of EU competition rules.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said “Buying alliances between retailers have become a key component of grocery supply chains. They can bring lower prices to consumers for food and personal care brands that they purchase on a daily basis. Such benefits can however disappear quickly if retailers use these alliances to collude on their sales activities. The Commission will therefore investigate if Casino and Intermarché have coordinated their activities in an anticompetitive way.”
Casino and Intermarché are two of the largest chains of groceries retail shops active in France. In November 2014, they set up a joint venture for the joint procurement alliance of their branded products, INCA.
The Commission is concerned that Casino and Intermarché went beyond the purpose of their alliance and engaged in an anticompetitive conduct. In particular, the Commission will investigate whether Casino and Intermarché coordinated their activities on the development of their shop networks and their pricing policy towards consumers.
If proven, this coordination may breach EU competition rules on anticompetitive agreements between companies (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
The Commission will now carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. The opening of a formal investigation does not prejudge its outcome.
Speech by President Juncker in the Plenary of the European Parliament at the debate on the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019
Mille grazie Signor Presidente,
Mr President of the European Council,
It was an emotional moment for me last week when I attended my last European Council together with my good friend Donald. We are today debating the 147th European Council of my political career. And it is today the 105th time that I speak to you in this Plenary, the beating heart of European democracy.
In many of these 105 debates, I had to discuss the UK’s departure from the European Union with you. In truth, it has pained me to spend so much of this mandate dealing with Brexit, when I have thought of nothing less than how this Union could do better for its citizens – a waste of time and a waste of energy.
The Commission has worked tirelessly to negotiate and renegotiate an agreement with the United Kingdom, to respect the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. We now have a new agreement, which – again – creates the legal certainty for an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
It took a huge amount of work to arrive at this point. I listened to Prime Minister Johnson in the same way as I listened to Prime Minister May. Our negotiators – mainly Michel Barnier – have once again worked around the clock. And once again, they have shown creativity and determination.
The agreement we reached with the United Kingdom’s government addresses this Parliament’s demands – all Parliaments’ demands.
I will always regret the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the Union. But at least we can look ourselves in the eye and say that we have done all in our power to make sure that this departure is orderly.
In this same spirit, we have done everything in our power to prepare the European Union for all eventualities, irrespective of what is happening on the other side of the Channel.
We need now to watch events in Westminster very closely. But it is not possible, not imaginable that this Parliament would ratify the agreement before Westminster will have ratified the agreement – first London, then Brussels and Strasbourg.
Wir haben uns, Herr Präsident, auch ausführlich mit dem Finanziellen Rahmen für die nächste 7-Jahres-Periode anlässlich des Europäischen Rates beschäftigt. Ich möchte hier noch einmal zu Protokoll geben, dass ich der Auffassung bin, dass die Zeit abläuft, die gebraucht werden wird, um zu einer Einigung im Rat und später anderswo zu kommen. Wenn wir weiter Zeit verlieren, werden wir in finanzielle Engpässe in den ersten zwei Jahren des Finanziellen Rahmens kommen.
Wichtig ist aber, dass Mitgliedstaaten und andere Akteure wissen, welcher Finanzrahmen für die nächste 7-Jahres-Periode gilt. Das brauchen junge Erasmus-Studenten, das brauchen Forscher, das brauchen viele andere und wir haben eigentlich nicht das Recht, diese wichtigen Partner für das Gelingen des Europäischen Projektes vor den Kopf zu stoßen – nur, weil wir unfähig sind, uns zu einigen.
Aber ich möchte ganz klar sagen: Das von der Kommission vorgeschlagene Haushaltsvolumen ist ein Minimum – ein Minimum! Und die Vorschläge, die jetzt auf dem Tisch liegen, auch die jüngsten Vorschläge des finnischen Ratsvorsitzes, sind nicht akzeptabel. Man kann Europa und seine Zukunft nicht mit 1% des Bruttosozialproduktes gestalten, dies wird nicht möglich sein.
Et puis, Monsieur le Président, nous avons parlé de l’élargissement. Je suis très déçu de la décision ou de la non-décision du Conseil européen. La Macédoine du Nord et l’Albanie étaient en droit d’attendre qu’on ouvre les négociations avec ces pays-là, qui ont fait de grands efforts. C’est une lourde erreur de ne pas avoir ouvert les négociations avec ces deux pays.
C’est une lourde erreur parce qu’elle frappe deux pays. Au cœur, c’est une lourde erreur parce que si l’Union européenne donne l’impression de faire des promesses et de ne pas les respecter, personne ne nous respectera à travers le monde.
Subscribe to PICANTE via Email
Follow us on Facebook
Shortages of Low-Skill, Middle-Skill, and High-Skill Workers Causing Revenue Declines and Other Headaches for Employers, TrueBlue’s Latest Study Finds
Law Firm of Estey & Bomberger Reports: Uber Says Nearly 6,000 Rapes, Sexual Assaults Occurred in Two-year Period
Best’s Market Segment Report: AM Best Maintains Global Reinsurance Market Outlook at Stable
Play harnesses ADVA timing solution for 5G-ready mobile network
Japan’s Friendship Ties Programs JENESYS 2019 ASEAN Inbound Program 15th Batch
Alfresco Wins 2019 Aragon Research Innovation Award for Content Management
Mark Your Calendars! Best Buy Unveils 12 Days of Deals
Chorus.ai Wins 2019 Aragon Research Innovation Award for Conversational AI
The 3rd HK Store of “A Happy Pancake” Finally Opens!!
Dynatrace Announces Pricing of Follow-On Offering By Selling Stockholders
Interview with Branislav (“Banne”) Gjorcevski (CEO at IT Labs)
Burrelles Announces Corporate Partnership With Talkwalker to Provide Social Listening Services to Clients
List of iPhone, AirPods, iPad, MacBook & Apple Watch Black Friday Deals (2019): The Top Apple Watch 5, iPhone 11, XS, MacBook Pro & iPad Pro Sales Compared by Save Bubble
Venture Capital Investment in FinTech: A Visualisation
6 Tips For Keeping Your Carpet Super Clean
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Smashes Children In Need Fundraising Target Thanks to Bespoke Donation Solution
Pourquoi le standard PCI DSS est-il incontournable pour fiabiliser les transactions en ligne dans le secteur du tourisme
The Best iMac & Mac Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals (2019): List of Apple Mac & iMac Mini, Pro Savings Shared by The Consumer Post
Investors’ confidence in P2P lending is growing in Europe
Here’s the Best Android Smartphone Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2019 Deals: List of Moto, OnePlus, LG, HTC, Pixel & Galaxy Cell Phone Sales Listed by Consumer Walk
Follow our Tweets
Beauty and Lifestyle7 days ago
Is It Safe To Drive On CBD?
Business Wire6 days ago
HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear & PSVR Cyber Monday Deals (2019): Top VR Headset Sales Researched by The Consumer Post
IT7 days ago
Rovio Entertainment Corporation: Repurchase of own shares on 29 November 2019
Business Wire7 days ago
Garmin Black Friday 2019 (ForeRunner, Fenix, Vivosmart, Instinct, etc) Smartwatch Deals Listed by Deal Answers
Business Wire6 days ago
Monitor Cyber Monday Deals (2019): Top Samsung, Acer, ASUS, HP, G-Sync & LG Monitor Sales Researched by Consumer Articles
IT7 days ago
CORRECTION: MOBI724 Global Solutions (TSX-V: MOS) Announces Q3 2019 Financial Highlights
IT7 days ago
VirtualArmour Reports Q3 2019 Results; Services Revenue Exceeds Product Sales Revenue For First Time
IT7 days ago
StrongPoint ASA: 500 Cash Guard units to BULLION it