“Galileo is improving the life of EU citizens by allowing smartphones to navigate more efficiently and accurately, and by helping emergency services reach accident sites much faster than before. With this successful launch, the Galileo constellation is reinforced and on the right track to full operational capability by 2020.”Said Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
One year after Europe’s satellite navigation system Galileo started offering initial services to public authorities, businesses and citizens, four additional satellites were successfully launched into orbit yesterday, bringing the constellation to 22 satellites. The successful operation took place with a European launcher Ariane 5 from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Galileo is a key component of the Commission’s Space Strategy, which focuses on fostering new services, creating business opportunities, promoting Europe’s leadership in space and maintaining Europe’s strategic autonomy. The high-precision global satellite navigation system already supports emergency operations, provides more accurate navigation services, offers better time synchronisation for critical infrastructures and ensures secure services for public authorities. A growing number of companies and innovative start-ups are using Galileo data and enabling their devices, including thenew versions of iPhones (find out if your device is Galileo-enabled). Once the constellation is completed, it will improve in-car navigation and mobile phone signals, help road and rail transport become safer and act as a catalyst for R&D and high-tech job creation around Europe.
On Monday 11 December Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy will launch a Platform for Coal Regions in Transition.
This Platform is one of the elements of the Coal and Carbon-Intensive Regions in Transition Initiative, a key action from the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package. The aim of the Platform is to assist Member States and regions in their efforts to modernise their economies and prepare them to deal with the structural and technological transition in coal regions. The EU’s commitment to a clean energy transition is irreversible and non-negotiable. In this shift to a modern and clean economy the goal of the Commission is to ensure that no regions are left behind when moving away from an economy driven by fossil fuels. The Platform will facilitate the development long-term strategies in coal and carbon intensive regions to boost the clean energy transition by bringing more focus on social fairness, new skills and financing for the real economy. To this end the Commission will bring together European Union officials, national, regional and local stakeholders involved in the transition to help them foster partnerships and learn from each other’s experiences. The Platform’s activities will initially focus on coal regions,with the aim to expand to carbon-intensive regions in the future. The launch takes place on the eve of the “One Planet Summit” convened by the French President Emmanuel Macron to mark the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate. At the summit, the Commission will reconfirm its commitment for a forward-looking climate policy and show that the EU is leading the fight against climate change by example and through action. The Platform launch event on Monday in Strasbourg is open to media and will take place at the Hemicycle of the Regional Council of the Grand Est Region in Strasbourg, see full programme. More information is available on the website of the Energy Union and forward-looking climate change policy.
The EU and Japan reached this morning an agreement on the final details of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
“The finalisation of the negotiations on the EU-Japan EPA demonstrates the powerful political will of Japan and the EU to continue to keep the flag of free trade waving high, and sends a strong message to the world. Beyond its considerable economic value, this Agreement is also of strategic importance. It sends a clear signal to the world that the EU and Japan are committed to keeping the world economy working on the basis of free, open and fair markets with clear and transparent rules fully respecting and enhancing our values, fighting the temptation of protectionism. The EU-Japan EPA is one of the largest and most comprehensive economic agreements that either the EU or Japan have concluded so far. This EPA will create a huge economic zone with 600 million people and approximately 30 percent of the world GDP, and it will open up tremendous trade and investment opportunities and will contribute to strengthening our economies and societies. It will also strengthen economic cooperation between Japan and the EU and reinforce our competitiveness as mature yet innovative economies.” President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister Abe agreed.
The deal has now been endorsed by Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and welcomed in a joint statement by President Juncker and Prime Minister of Japan Abe. The conclusion todaybuilds on the political agreement in principle reached during the EU-Japan Summit on 6 July 2017. Following a legal check and translation into all EU languages, the Commission will submit the text agreed today for the approval of the European Parliament and EU Member States. The aim is to have the agreement in place before the end of the current mandate of the European Commission in 2019.
“Cultural heritage is at the heart of the European way of life. It defines who we are and creates a sense of belonging. Cultural heritage is not only made up of literature, art and objects but also by the crafts we learn, the stories we tell, the food we eat and the films we watch. We need to preserve and treasure our cultural heritage for the next generations. This year of celebrations will be a wonderful opportunity to encourage people, especially young people, to explore Europe’s rich cultural diversity and to reflect on the place that cultural heritage occupies in all our lives. It allows us to understand the past and to build our future.” Said Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, who officially launched the Year today.
The celebrations for the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage are kicking off at the European Culture Forum in Milan.The European Year of Cultural Heritage will put the spotlight on Europe’s wealth of cultural heritage, showcasing its role in fostering a shared sense of identity and building the future of Europe. The purpose of the European Year of Cultural Heritage is to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage. Thousands of initiatives and events across Europe will provide the possibility to involve citizens from all backgrounds. The aim is to reach out to the widest possible audience, in particular children and young people, local communities and people who are rarely in touch with culture, to promote a common sense of ownership. A press release, Q&A, and a Spotlight brochure are available online. The Commission has also published today a special Eurobarometer on Cultural Heritage as well as 28 country specific factsheets on the results.
The European Commission has authorised the prolongation of the Greek guarantee scheme for credit institutions until 31 May 2018 under EU State aid rules.
The liquidity situation of the Greek banks is gradually improving. Therefore, the scheme is used significantly less. In this context, the Commission has found the prolongation of the guarantee scheme to be in line with the 2013 Banking Communication, which sets out the rules on State aid to banks during the crisis. This is because the prolonged measure is targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. In line with the 2013 Banking Communication, the Commission is authorising guarantee schemes on banks’ liabilities for successive periods of six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly. The scheme is available for banks with no capital shortfall. The Greek guarantee scheme was initially approved in November 2008 and has been prolonged several times since then, the last time in July 2017.
The European Commission is launching a Knowledge Gateway on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention to support the implementation of health policies across the EU.
Speaking at the launch event at the Commission’s Joint Research Centre site in Ispra, Italy, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “People’s dietary habits and lifestyle have an important impact on their health and quality of life. This is why I strongly encourage Member States and stakeholders to focus more on promoting good health. However, sometimes it can be complicated both for policy-makers and for the general public – we are so often presented with authoritative ‘facts’ on what constitutes good nutrition or proper physical activity and we have to navigate through a sea of misinformation, opinions, prejudices, and myths to find the truth. Hence, I am delighted to launch today the Health Promotion and Prevention Gateway a ‘one-stop shop’ for independent and reliable information to help promote good health and prevent disease. I hope that it will become a reference point for public health policy-makers – in all sectors and at all levels – as well as a source of clear and reliable information for ordinary citizens.”
The web portal provides reliable, independent and up-to date information on topics related to the promotion of health and the prevention of non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre which co-developed the Knowledge Gateway, added: “This tool was created with and for decision-makers in EU Member States working in the area of public health. Hundreds of research papers, multiple data sources and policy examples were digested and turned into short reference guides on key policy topics which summarise the most important facts for policy makers. The information is tailored to the needs of national policy making bodies and presented in a user-friendly format. This will help to formulate health policies based on rigorous and objective assessment criteria.” The launch of the Gateway follows the call for a healthy lifestyle made in Tartu, Estonia, on 22 September, which sets out a roadmap for promoting healthy lifestyles in Europe, particular amongst children, over the next two years.
“The commitment and leadership shown by all parties have made it possible to reach this historic agreement. It will fill an important gap in the international ocean governance framework and will safeguard fragile marine ecosystems for future generations.” Said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.
The European Union, together with partners engaged in Arctic matters (Canada, China, the Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States), last night succeeded in reaching an international agreement to prevent unregulated commercial fishing in the Arctic high seas. That is, until sufficient scientific information to support the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks in the region is available. The Arctic region is warming at almost twice the global average rate, causing a change in the size and distribution of fish stocks. As a result, the Arctic high seas potentially become more attractive for commercial fisheries in the medium to long term. However, until present, most of the Arctic high seas were not covered by any international conservation and management regime. The agreement, reached in Washington DC at the fifth and final round of negotiations, will be a first step towards the creation of regional fisheries management organisations for the Central Arctic Ocean, to ensure that any future fishing is carried out sustainably. The agreement is fully in line with the European Union’s long-standing position – emphasised recently at the EU-hosted Our Ocean Conference in Malta in October – that no commercial fisheries should begin in the Arctic high seas before a science-based and precautionary management regime is in place. Sound stewardship of the high seas has a prominent place in the EU’s Arctic policy and Ocean Governance policy, as regards a responsible approach towards utilizing Arctic marine resources, while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.