Daily News 03 / 02 / 2023

European Commission publishes analytical reports on Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia's alignment with the EU acquis

The European Commission has published its analytical reports assessing the capacity of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia to assume the obligations of EU membership. The reports provide a detailed analysis on where the countries stand with regard to their alignment with the EU acquis, the EU's body of common rights and obligations. The reports complement the Opinions on the three countries' applications for EU membership adopted by the European Commission in June 2022. The European Council granted a European perspective for the three countries and candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova, in line with the Opinions which specify a number of priorities to be addressed in this context.

In the reports, the Commission evaluated the level of approximation of the EU acquis on the basis of the replies to the questionnaires from the three applicant countries, as well as relevant information obtained in the framework of the intensive dialogues carried out over many years under the Association Agreements, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (AA/DCFTA), to assess their implementation. All three applicants were assessed on the basis of the same criteria and their own merits.

A press release with more information is available online.

(For more information: Ana Pisonero – Tel.: +32 2 295 43 20; Paloma Hall Caballero – Tel.:  +32 2 296 85 60)


State aid: Commission approves Croatian plans enabling €204 million of investments for expansion of Istrian Y motorway

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Croatian plan to prolong a concession agreement between Croatia and the company Bina-Istra for the operation and the expansion of Istrian Y motorway, a 145 km long motorway linking the Istrian region with the rest of Croatia.  

Since 1995, the motorway has been operated by Bina-Istra under a concession agreement. The Commission approved amendments and the  prolongation of the concession in June 2018 (SA.48472) and in August 2020 (SA.56832). The concession is set to expire in June 2039.

Croatia notified to the Commission its plans to prolong the concession until 2041 to allow Bina-Istra to engage in additional works worth €204 million. The prolongation will allow Bina-Istra (i) to build a second carriageway between the Učka tunnel/Kvarner portal and the Matulji interchange, on the north-eastern section of the motorway, and (ii) to complete the second carriageway of the north-western section.

The Commission examined the measure under EU State aid rules on services of general economic interest (‘SGEI'), which allow Member States, under certain conditions, to compensate companies that have been entrusted with public service obligations for the extra cost of providing these services, as well as under EU public procurement rules, in particular the EU Directive on the award of concession contracts (Directive 2014/23/EU). The Commission found that the measure is necessary and appropriate to ensure the safety of the motorway and to reduce traffic congestion. Moreover, the Commission concluded that the measure is proportionate as Bina-Istra will not be overcompensated, and it will not distort competition and trade between Member States. On this basis, the Commission approved the Croatian measure under EU State aid rules.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.103361 in the State aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. 

(For more information: Arianna Podesta – Tel.: +32 2 298 70 24; Nina Ferreira - Tel.: +32 2 29 9 81 63)


State aid: Commission approves amendment to Italian scheme to support companies in Friuli Venezia Giulia in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine

The European Commission has approved an amendment to an existing Italian scheme to support companies active in the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine. The amendment was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2022 and amended on 20 July 2022 and on 28 October 2022, based on Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU'), recognising that the EU economy is experiencing a serious disturbance.

The Commission approved the original scheme in August 2022 (SA.102721). Under the scheme, the aid takes the form of (i) limited amounts of aid; (ii) liquidity support in the form of guarantees; (iii) liquidity support in the form of subsidised loans; and (iv) aid for additional costs due to exceptionally severe increases in natural gas and electricity prices. Italy notified the following modifications to the existing scheme: (i) a budget increase by €240 million; (ii) an extension of the scheme until 31 December 2023; and (iii) an increase of the maximum aid ceilings, in line with the Temporary Crisis Framework as amended on 28 October 2022.

The Commission found that the Italian scheme, as amended, remains necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the amendment under EU State aid rules.

More information on the Temporary Crisis Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of Russia's war against Ukraine can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under case number SA.105004 in the State aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

(For more information: Arianna Podesta – Tel.: +32 2 298 70 24; Nina Ferreira - Tel.: +32 2 29 9 81 63; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 2 299 05 26)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of ITI by Skipjack and MOL

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control of International Transportation Inc. (‘ITI') by Skipjack Terminal Holdings (‘Skipjack'), both of the US, and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (‘MOL') of Japan.

ITI is the holding company of TraPac LLC, which operates marine container stevedoring services at terminals in California, US. Stevedoring services consist in the loading and unloading of a ship's cargo. Skipjack is a special purpose vehicle ultimately controlled by Macquarie Asset Management of Australia, a global provider of assets management services. MOL is active in the provision of marine transportation, warehousing and cargo handling services, among other activities.

The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given its lack of impact on the market in the European Economic Area. 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.11001.

(For more information: Arianna Podesta – Tel.: +32 2 298 70 24; Maria Tsoni – Tel.: +32 2 299 05 26)






Journée internationale de la tolérance zéro à l'égard des mutilations génitales féminines : la Commission exige l'éradication de ce crime qui viole les droits de l'homme

Dans la perspective de la Journée internationale de la tolérance zéro à l'égard des mutilations génitales féminines (MGF), le 6 février, le haut représentant /vice-président Josep Borrell, les vice-présidentes Vĕra Jourová et Dubravka Šuica, et les commissaires Helena Dalli et Jutta Urpilainen, ont réaffirmé conjointement la détermination sans faille de l'Union européenne à éradiquer les MGF dans le monde et ont fait la déclaration suivante :

« Les mutilations génitales féminines constituent une violation des droits de l'homme et une forme de violence à l'égard des femmes et des filles. Elles n'ont pas d'effets bénéfiques sur la santé et causent des dommages aux femmes et aux filles tout au long de leur vie.

Ces mutilations touchent plus de 200 millions de personnes dans le monde, dont 600 000 vivent en Europe, selon les estimations. Nous devons agir résolument pour apporter des changements, éradiquer cette pratique, si nous voulons atteindre la cible ‘zéro mutilation génitale féminine' (cible 5.3) des objectifs de développement durable dans le délai imparti, c'est-à-dire d'ici à 2030.

Pour mettre un terme aux mutilations génitales féminines, il est essentiel de transformer les normes sociales et de genre par l'établissement de partenariats avec les hommes et les garçons. L'UE soutient le programme conjoint FNUPA-UNICEF sur l'élimination des mutilations génitales féminines à hauteur de 18,5 millions d'euros depuis 2016, 1 758 coalitions d'hommes et de garçons ayant été créées. »

La déclaration complète avec plus d'informations sur la lutte contre les mutilations génitales féminines est disponible en ligne.

(Pour plus d'informations : Christian Wigand - Tél.: +32 2 296 22 53 ; Katarzyna Kolanko - Tél.: +32 2 296 34 44 ; Cristina Torres Castillo - Tél.: +32 2 299 06 79)






Commissioner Simson in Azerbaijan to co-chair the 9th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council

Today, Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, is in Baku, Azerbaijan, to co-chair the 9th Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council with the Azeri Minister of Energy, Paviz Shahbazov, and in the presence of Azeri President, Ilham Aliyev, and Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis. Her opening speech is available online. At the end of the meeting, the Commissioner will hold a press conference with the Minister which you can watch on EbS. A joint press release will also be published here.

At the height of the energy crisis last year, the Southern Gas Corridor proved to be a crucial source of piped gas supply to the EU, with deliveries increasing by more than 40%, from around 8 billion cubic meters in 2021 to 11.4 in 2022. In a Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Partnership in the Field of Energy signed last year, the EU and Azerbaijan committed to work together to double the capacity of the SGC to deliver at least 20 billion cubic metres to the EU annually by 2027. This project forms part of the REPowerEU Plan, which is the EU's roadmap to get rid of Russian fossil fuel imports as soon as possible. 

In Baku, the Commissioner will also attend the first meeting of the steering committee of the Agreement on Strategic Partnership in the field of Green Energy Development and Transmission between the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania. Last year, President von der Leyen participated to the signature event in Bucharest. 

Today, Commissioner Simson will hold bilateral meetings with several representatives of the Azeri government, including President Aliyev; Minister of Energy, Parviz Shahbazov; and with Economy Minister, Mikayil Jabbarov. She will also meet bilaterally with the Turkish Minister for Energy and Natural Resources, Fatih Dönmez.

(For more information: Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 2 295 86 02; Giulia Bedini – Tel: +32 2 295 86 61; Ana Crespo Parrondo – Tel.: +32 2 298 13 25)




Calendrier – Déplacements et visites des commissaires pour la semaine à venir


Liste des points prévus à l'ordre du jour des prochaines réunions de la Commission

Veuillez noter que ces informations sont données sous réserve de modifications.


Prochains événements de la Commission européenne

Eurostat: communiqués de presse