Daily News 26 / 06 / 2023

NextGenerationEU : La Commission approuve les plans révisés pour la reprise et la résilience de la France et de Malte, avec chapitres REPowerEU

La Commission a adopté aujourd'hui une évaluation positive des demandes de la France et de Malte visant à modifier leurs plans et à y ajouter des chapitres REPowerEU.

Le plan de la France représente désormais près de 40.3 milliards d'euros de subventions (contre 39.4 milliards d'euros) et couvre 24 réformes et 73 investissements. Le plan modifié met nettement davantage l'accent sur la transition écologique, en consacrant 49,5 % (contre 42,4 % dans le plan initial) des fonds disponibles à des mesures qui soutiennent les objectifs climatiques. L'ambition numérique du plan français reste élevée : le plan consacre désormais 21,6 % (pratiquement inchangé par rapport aux 21,4 % précédents) de son enveloppe totale pour soutenir la transition numérique. Un communiqué avec plus d'informations de presse est disponible en ligne. De plus amples informations sur le plan français pour la reprise et la résilience sont disponibles ici.

Le plan de Malte s'élève désormais à 328 millions d'euros sous forme de subventions (contre 316.4 millions d'euros) et couvre 31 réformes et 16 investissements. Le plan modifié de Malte met nettement davantage l'accent sur la transition écologique, en consacrant 68,8 % (contre 53,8 % dans le plan initial) des fonds disponibles à des mesures qui soutiennent les objectifs climatiques. L'ambition numérique du plan maltais reste élevée. Le plan consacre désormais 26,2 % (contre 25,5 %) de son enveloppe totale au soutien de la transition numérique. Un communiqué de presse est également disponible en ligne. De plus amples informations sur le plan maltais pour la reprise et la résilience sont disponibles ici.

Le Conseil disposera à présent de quatre semaines pour adopter les propositions de la Commission approuvant les plans révisés. De plus amples informations sur le processus de révision des plans pour la reprise et la résilience sont disponibles dans ce document question-réponses.

(Pour plus d'informations: Veerle Nuyts — Tél.: + 32 2 299 63 02; Tommaso Alberini — Tél: + 32 2 295 70 10)


NextGenerationEU: Commission endorses Ireland's revised recovery and resilience plan

On 22 May, Ireland had requested to modify its plan with targeted amendments to two measures. The Commission's positive assessment of that request was adopted today.

The first measure to be amended aims at encouraging private investment in energy efficiency through a guarantee scheme. Ireland has requested to postpone the completion date of two milestones linked to this measure, due to unforeseen technical hurdles. The second measure to be amended aims at increasing the supply of social and affordable housing. Ireland has requested to postpone the completion date of three targets linked to this measure, due to delays in the construction process and other implementation issues.

Under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) Regulation, a Member State can request a revision of its plan in limited and well-defined cases, including where objective circumstances make specific milestones or targets no longer achievable within the original timeline.

The Commission considers that objective circumstances justify the amendments requested by Ireland. Following an assessment of the revised plan against the criteria set out in the RRF Regulation, the Commission concluded that the Irish plan still complies with them and that its overall ambition is not affected by the amendments. The Council will now have four weeks to adopt the Commission's proposal approving the revised plan.

More information on the Irish recovery and resilience plan can be found here. More information on the process concerning the revision of recovery and resilience plans can be found in this Q&A.

(For more information: Veerle Nuyts — Tel.: + 32 2 299 63 02; Tommaso Alberini — Tel: + 32 2 295 70 10)


Water: New EU common quality standards to improve use of treated water for irrigation enter into force

Today, new standards for the safe reuse of treated wastewater in agricultural irrigation, the Water Reuse Regulation, are entering in force across most of the EU. The regulation sets common minimum water quality requirements for the safe reuse of treated urban wastewater in agricultural irrigation, to facilitate the uptake of this practice. The new rules will help farmers gain access to more sources of safe water for irrigation, essential in the context of recurrent droughts, and increase transparency. They will also help preserve the water resources needed by the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The rules will now apply in all Member States except those that have decided to make use of a regulatory opt-out clause (see this map showing water reuse is or not allowed).

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginius Sinkevičius, said: “Water is a precious resource that is becoming more and more scarce. Just as we are increasingly reusing other materials and rare commodities, urban wastewater can be successfully treated with the available technologies. That opens many possibilities for farmers who can use such reclaimed water safely for irrigation. With these new standards, consumers and farmers can be confident in the quality and safety of agricultural produce irrigated with reclaimed water”.

While water reuse is already successfully deployed in some Member States and in other parts of the world, only 2.4 % of the total treated urban wastewater is being reclaimed and reused in the EU. It varies widely between Member States, as some Member States reuse as much as 89% of treated wastewater, while most use very little or none at all.

In the context of the European Green Deal, both the Circular Economy Action Plan and the new EU Climate Adaptation Strategy refer to wider use of treated wastewater as a way to strengthen the EU's ability to respond to the increasing pressures on water resources. It is also in line with the Water Action Agenda adopted at the UN 2023 Water Conference, with particular focus on access to sufficient water of good quality and adaptation to climate change.

More information is available in this news item.

(For more information: Adalbert Jahnz – Tel.: +32 2 295 31 56; Daniela Stoycheva – Tel.: +32 2 295 36 64)


SME Fund extended to support Ukrainian businesses

As of today, Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the opportunity to apply for funding through the 2023 Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund. The SME Fund is a Commission initiative, implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). It will present Ukrainian businesses with an unprecedented opportunity to access funds to their intellectual property.

Commissioner responsible for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “The extension of the SME Fund to Ukrainian businesses is another step towards Ukraine's successful integration in the Single Market. The financial aid in the field of intellectual property provides valuable support for Ukrainian innovative SMEs, which will play an important role in rebuilding the economy.”

The 2023 SME Fund is aimed at supporting innovation and entrepreneurship among small and medium-sized businesses. The financial support provided by the Commission and the EUIPO to Ukraine-based SMEs will include: trade mark and design protection within the European Union (national, regional, EU level) for 75% of the fees up to a maximum of €1,000; patent protection or related activities within the European Union (for national patents and European patents including for unitary patents) for 75% of the fees up to a maximum of €1,500; and plant variety protection at European level for 50% of the fees to a maximum of € 225.

Earlier this year, a ground-breaking agreement was reached  between the European Commission and Ukraine, allowing the latter to participate in the activities financed by the European Union under the Single Market Programme (SMP). The agreement provides Ukraine with support to businesses, facilitating access to markets, favourable business environment, sustainable growth and internationalization. This newly-announced addendum builds upon that agreement and opens up avenues for increased collaboration and economic growth.

(For more information: Sonya Gospodinova – Tel.: +32 2 296 69 53; Federica Miccoli – Tel.: +32 2 295 83 00)


EU Energy Platform: Commission launches second round of demand pooling for joint gas purchases

Today, the Commission is launching the second opportunity for European companies to register their gas purchase needs via the AggregateEU mechanism, in view of jointly purchasing gas on the international market. 

As recently announced by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, this second exercise builds on a successful first tender, in which almost 11 billion cubic meters of aggregated European gas demand has been matched with offers by reliable suppliers.
In this second round, European companies have from 26 June to 3 July to respond to the call for gas demand aggregation. The collective demand will then be put out to tender on the global market from 7 to 10 of July so that international suppliers can submit their offers to supply European customers. Prospective buyers will be able to submit their demand for gas to be delivered between August 2023 and March 2025, an extended period compared to the first round.

Vice-President Šefčovič said: “The EU Energy Platform on joint gas purchasing is working well and shows Europe at its best. Joining forces is key to guarantee stable and affordable gas supplies to the EU market, for the benefit for our businesses and citizens. As we enter a crucial stage of the storage refilling season, I encourage both buyers and suppliers to make the best use of this new marketplace ahead of the winter.”

Demand aggregation and joint purchasing of gas is a flagship initiative under the EU Energy Platform, which was created to boost the diversification of EU gas supplies after Russia invaded Ukraine and the EU collectively decided to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports. 

(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)


Hydrogen: Commissioner Breton takes part in Electrolyser Summit and Clean Hydrogen Alliance Forum

Commissioner responsible for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, attends the second edition of the Electrolyser Summit which takes place today and the 6th Clean Hydrogen Alliance Forum, which will take place tomorrow.

The Electrolyser Summit is attended by 44 CEOs and high-level representatives of the Electrolyser Partnership, who met to present the progress made to achieve the objectives of the  Joint Declaration signed in May 2022.  The members of the partnership had announced that they have already planned manufacturing capacity of 21GW by 2025, which is approaching ahead of time the 25GW objective in the Joint Declaration. This commitment shows that in the EU there are the right conditions to become an electrolyser manufacturing powerhouse in line with the Net Zero Industry Act objectives.  

At the summit, companies announced their plans to construct or expand manufacturing facilities, including following the successful awarding of state aid through the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI). Overall, this could lead to 21GW capacity by 2025, reflecting the expected demand outlook in Europe and globally.

Tomorrow, the 6th Forum of the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance will be joined by over 200 CEOs of businesses and organisations from the entire hydrogen value chain.

In the opening session, Commissioner Breton will exchange views on the progress towards deploying large-scale clean hydrogen projects with representatives of the Alliance's six roundtables that cover hydrogen production, hydrogen transmission and distribution and its applications in energy, industry, mobility, and buildings. Participants will discuss the impact of the Commission's proposal on the Net-Zero Industry Act, of the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework and of the EU Delegated Acts on Renewable Hydrogen on the 840-plus projects in the Alliance pipeline. They will also touch upon the Hydrogen Bank, which aims to make renewable hydrogen more competitive, thus accelerating the deployment of projects while reducing the EU's dependence on fossil fuels.

The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance was created by the Commission in 2020. It brings together more than 1,700 organisations involved in deploying clean hydrogen in Europe. The agenda of the Forum is available here.  The meeting will be web streamed here.

(For more information: Sonya Gospodinova – Tel.: +32 2 296 69 53; Federica Miccoli – Tel.: +32 2 295 83 00)


Fonds européen de défense : l'UE investira 832 millions d'euros dans 41 projets industriels de défense

La Commission a annoncé aujourd'hui les résultats des appels à propositions 2022 dans le cadre du Fonds européen de défense (FED), d'un montant de 832 millions d'euros de financement de l'UE en faveur de 41 projets communs de recherche et développement dans le domaine de la défense dans l'Union européenne.

Les projets sélectionnés contribueront à développer davantage les capacités de défense haut de gamme de l'UE dans des domaines critiques tels que le combat naval, terrestre, aérien, l'espace et le cyber. Par exemple, dans le domaine naval, le projet E-NACSOS portera sur un nouveau standard collaboratif de défense antiaérienne et antimissile. Dans la catégorie aérienne, le projet REACTII améliorera la résilience et la gestion de la guerre électronique. Dans le domaine spatial, le projet ODIN'S EYE II, s'appuiera sur les progrès de l'alerte précoce des missiles spatiaux et rassemblera l'industrie de 14 États membres de l'UE et de la Norvège pour accroître la capacité européenne dans ce domaine. Le FED contribuera également directement à la cyberdéfense dans trois projets spécifiques de recherche et développement.

Le résultat des appels 2022 réaffirme que le FED contribue à l'autonomie stratégique de l'UE et à la création d'une base technologique et industrielle de défense européenne plus compétitive et intégrée. Le succès de cette deuxième année d'appels FED montre que le programme est adapté à son objectif, compte tenu du large périmètre géographique des entités sélectionnées, de la forte implication des PME, du bon équilibre entre la recherche et le développement capacitaire et le soutien des technologies de rupture pour la défense.

Plus d'informations sont disponibles dans un communiqué de presse et les fiches techniques sur les projets sélectionnés.

(Pour plus d'informations : Sonya Gospodinova – Tel.: +32 2 296 69 53; Flore Boutier - Tel.: +32 2 296 60 43)


Scientific partnerships: Joint Research Centre and Sweden's Research Institute collaborate to strengthen European sustainable development

Today, the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen European competitiveness and sustainable development through joint research and innovation in areas such as cities and buildings, future-oriented industrial policy, and innovation for sustainability. The cooperation also aims at strengthening scientific research on circular economy – for example: reuse, repair, and recycle everyday products, crucial to achieve the goals of the green transition. The MoU enters into force today for a period of five years.

Scientific partnerships, like the one launched today, contribute to a stronger European innovation capacity. The partnership will allow RISE and the JRC to integrate their expertise and to build on existing collaboration in the context of the New European Bauhaus and the European Technology Transfer Offices (TTO) Circle, launched by the JRC in 2011.

Tomorrow, the JRC will hold a seminar in Stockholm on the New European Bauhaus to celebrate the numerous initiatives organised in the past six months of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The seminar will bring together practitioners from the creative and artistic sector, policymakers, industries, and the public. The New European Bauhaus aims to accelerate and facilitate the green transition by transforming living spaces and behaviours. The initiative aims at engaging citizens in the green transformation and has a community of more than 1,000 members from all EU Member States and beyond, with a large network of active members in Sweden.

(For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 2 295 86 15; Flore Boutier - Tel.: +32 2 296 60 43)


Agriculture: la Commission approuve « Lesachtaler Brot » d'Autriche et « Pită de Pecica » de Roumanie comme nouvelles indications géographiques

Aujourd'hui, la Commission a approuvé l'ajout du « Lesachtaler Brot » d'Autriche et de la « Pită de Pecica » de Roumanie dans le registre des Indications Géographiques Protégées (IGP).

Le « Lesachtaler Brot » est un pain fabriqué à partir d'un mélange de 2/3 de farine de seigle et de 1/3 de farine de froment, auquel sont ajoutés de l'eau, du sel de table, et des épices, ainsi que, pour la fermentation, du levain préalablement préparé appelé « Dampfl ». Il est cuit exclusivement sous la forme d'une miche ronde où se trouve au milieu un triangle qui contient en son centre un cercle ovale symbolisant un œil. Il est produit dans la région de Lesachtal, une haute vallée alpine située dans le sud-ouest du Land de Carinthie. La tradition de la culture boulangère dans la Lesachtal et sa bonne réputation remontent loin dans le passé. La population paysanne attachait beaucoup d'importance au pain, non seulement en tant que précieuse source d'énergie, mais également dans le contexte religieux chrétien. Ce caractère religieux transparaît encore aujourd'hui dans le symbole de l'« œil de Dieu » laissé sur la partie supérieure de chaque miche de « Lesachtaler Brot » avant la cuisson.

La « Pită de Pecica » est un produit de la boulangerie cuit au four, produit dans la région de Pecica, en Roumanie. Le produit doit sa notoriété aux preuves historiques de son ancienneté, transmises par tradition orale, rassemblées et consignées dans des revues et des livres, afin d'être conservées pour les générations futures. La tradition de fabrication de ce pain, la préparation de la pâte, la méthode de pétrissage et le mode de cuisson se sont transmis de génération en génération. La préparation du levain avec de l'« eau de pită », le temps et le mode de pétrissage, la fermentation de la pâte, le façonnage, l'enfournement, le mode de cuisson et la spécificité du four expliquent pourquoi la « Pită de Pecica » est renommée et appréciée.

Ces nouvelles dénominations seront ajoutées à la liste des 1634 produits agricoles déjà protégées. La liste de toutes les indications géographiques protégées se trouve dans la base de données eAmbrosia. Plus d'informations sont disponibles en ligne sur les systèmes de qualité et sur notre portail GIView.

(Pour plus d'informations : Miriam Garcia Ferrer – Tél.: +32 2 299 90 75; Thérèse Lerebours – Tél.: +32 2 296 33 03


Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Renfe over possible anticompetitive practices in online rail ticketing in Spain

The European Commission invites comments on commitments offered by Renfe to address competition concerns over its alleged refusal to supply full content and real-time data to rival ticketing platforms operating in the Spanish online passenger rail ticket distribution market.

On 28 April 2023, the Commission opened a formal investigation over concerns that Renfe may have restricted competition in the Spanish market for online rail ticketing services by refusing to provide third-party ticketing platforms with: (i) full content concerning its range of tickets, discounts and features; and (ii) full real-time data related to its passenger rail transport services.

The Commission preliminarily found that Renfe is dominant in the Spanish markets for: (i) passenger rail transport services,where it operates as a passenger rail carrier; and (ii) online distribution of passenger rail tickets, where Renfe operates via its website, apps and mobility platform (i.e. dōcō).

To address the Commission's competition concerns, Renfe has offered the following commitments: (i) to make available to third-party ticketing platforms all the current and future content and real-time data displayed on any of its own online channels; (ii) to make available all its current content or real-time data by, at the latest, 29 February 2024, with some limited exceptions; (iii) to inform third-party ticketing platforms at the same time as its own platform dōcō about Renfe's decision to include any new content or real-time data and technical specifications; and (iv) to require third-party ticketing platforms a maximum monthly average Look-to-Book ratio (‘L2B') of no less than 140, if any L2B is imposed at all.

The commitments offered by Renfe would remain in force for an indefinite period.

The Commission invites all interested parties to submit their views within six weeks from the publication of a summary of the proposed commitments in the EU's Official Journal. The full text of the commitments will be available on DG Competition's website.

A press release is available online.

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






Vice-President Šuica and Commissioner Reynders at the first General Assembly of the EU's Children's Participation Platform

Today and tomorrow, Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, and Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, are participating in the first General Assembly of the EU Children's Participation Platform (CPP). Following up on the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, the Commission is now launching the CPP in partnership with the European Parliament and child rights' organisations, aiming to involve children more closely in democratic discussions and decision-making processes in the EU. Speaking at the opening session this morning, Vice-President Šuica said: “Child participation in policy making is not only a right, it is becoming a real necessity. It is essential to strengthen our democracies. For present and future generations”. A video-recording of her speech is available here. Commissioner Reynders will speak at the closing session tomorrow at +/- 16.00 CEST. His speech will be live-streamed here. More information on how the CPP works, how it keeps children safe and who can participate to it is available here. On the same website, children can take part in the consultation – in any EU language – that the Commission is running to get their ideas on how to better protect them from violence.

(For more information: Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229 86500; Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tommaso Alberini – Tel.: +32 229 57010; Marajke Slomka – Tel.: +32 229 82613)



Tentative agendas for forthcoming Commission meetings

Note that these items can be subject to changes.


Upcoming events of the European Commission

Eurostat press releases