Daily News 19 / 04 / 2024

Commission disburses the second payment of €122 million to Estonia under the Recovery and Resilience Facility

Yesterday, the Commission disbursed to Estonia the second payment for €122.3 million in grants (excluding pre-financing) under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).

As for all Member States, payments made to Estonia under the RRF are performance-based and depend on the implementation by Estonia of the investments and reforms described in its recovery and resilience plan. On 18 December 2023, Estonia submitted to the Commission the second request for payment of €122.3 million under the RRF covering 15 milestones and 3 targets. These cover several reforms in areas such as digital public services, energy efficiency, the circular economy, transport and mobility, healthcare, long-term care, unemployment benefits and the gender pay gap. The payment request also covers investments in areas such as the digital transition, sustainable energy and transport, and healthcare.

On 12 March 2024, the Commission adopted a positive preliminary assessment of Estonia's payment request. The favorable opinion of the Economic and Financial Committee of the Council on the payment request paved the way for the Commission to adopt a final decision on the disbursement of the funds.

The overall recovery and resilience plan of Estonia will be financed by €953 million in grants. The amounts of payments made to Member States are published on the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard, which shows the progress made in the implementation of the RRF as a whole and of the individual recovery and resilience plans

This payment request will bring the funds paid out to Estonia under the RRF to 504.8 million, which correspond to 53% of all the funds in the Estonian plan, with 35% of all the milestones and targets in the plan fulfilled.

An interactive map providing examples of reforms and investments supported by the RRF is available online. More information on the Recovery and Resilience Facility payment claim process can be found in this Q&A document. More information on the Estonian Recovery and Resilience Plan can be found here.  

(For more information: Veerle Nuyts — Tel.: + 32 229-96302; Quentin Cortès – Tel.: +32 229-82613) 


Additional obligations for Very Large Online Platforms kick in for Pornhub, Stripchat and XVideos under the DSA

As of next week, adult entertainment platforms Pornhub, Stripchat and Xvideos will have to comply with the most stringent obligations under the Digital Services Act (DSA). These specific obligations include submitting risk assessment reports to the Commission, putting in place mitigation measures to address systemic risks linked to the provision of their services, complying with additional transparency obligations, including related to ads, and providing access to data for researchers.

These obligations apply to designated Very Large Online Platforms (i.e. online platforms with more than 45 million users in the EU) 4 months after the legal notification of their designation. For the three platforms at stake, these additional provisions will kick in on 21 April for Pornhub and Stripchat, and on 23 April for XVideos.

The DSA makes designated Very Large Online Platforms accountable for ensuring safer, more transparent online spaces. They must identify and address in an effective manner systemic risks, particularly when it comes to mitigating risks to the well-being of minors, amplification of illegal content, recommender systems, etc.

The Commission is carefully monitoring the compliance with DSA obligations by these platforms, especially concerning the measures to protect minors from harmful content and to address the dissemination of illegal content. If the Commission has suspicions of infringements of the DSA obligations, it will follow up with the appropriate steps, making use of the full DSA toolbox.

The Digital Services Act started applying to all online platforms (irrespective of their size) on 17 February 2024, who must since then comply with the general obligations, such as putting in place a user-friendly notice and action system, bans on targeted ads for children, and enhanced transparency reporting.

(For more information: Johannes Bahrke — Tel.: +32 2 295 86 15; Thomas Regnier — Tel.: +32 2 299 10 99)


Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Vifor over possible anticompetitive disparagement of iron medicine

The European Commission invites comments on commitments offered by Vifor to address competition concerns over the alleged disparagement of its closest - and potentially only – competing treatment in Europe for intravenous iron treatment, Pharmacosmos' Monofer.

Following the opening of a formal investigation in June 2022, the Commission preliminarily found that Vifor is dominant in several national markets for the provision of intravenous iron medicines, namely in Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands. The Commission is concerned that Vifor may have restricted competition in the market for intravenous iron treatment by illegally disparaging Monofer, an iron deficiency treatment by its closest competitor in Europe, Pharmacosmos. 

To address the Commission's competition concerns, Vifor has offered a number of commitments, which would be monitored by a monitoring trustee appointed by Vifor, who would report to the Commission for a period of 10 years.

The Commission invites all interested parties to submit their views on Vifor's proposed commitments within one month from the publication of a summary of the proposed commitments in the EU's Official Journal.

A press release is available online.

(For more information: Lea Zuber – Tel.: +32 2 295 62 98; Sara Simonini  - Tel.: +32 2 298 33 67)


Commission clears acquisition of Mercedes-Benz CPH by Van Mossel Automotive

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control of Mercedes-Benz CPH A/S of Denmark by Van Mossel Automotive International B.V. (‘Van Mossel Automotive') of the Netherlands. 

The transaction relates primarily to the sale of passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, and spare parts, as well as the provision of vehicle repair services. 

The Commission concluded that the notified transaction would not raise competition concerns, given the companies' limited market positions resulting from the proposed transaction. The notified 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.11473.

(For more information: Lea Zuber – Tel.: +32 2 295 62 98; Sara Simonini  - Tel.: +32 2 298 33 67)


Commission clears acquisition of Invenergy Renewables by CDPQ, Blackstone and Invenergy IRH

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control of Invenergy Renewables Holdings LLC (‘Invenergy Renewables') of the US by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (‘CDPQ') of Canada, Blackstone Inc. (‘Blackstone') and Invenergy IRH Holdings LLC (‘Invenergy IRH'), both of the US.

The transaction relates primarily to the renewable energy sector.  

The Commission concluded that the notified transaction would not raise competition concerns, given that the companies are not active in the same or vertically related markets. The notified 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.11484.

(For more information: Lea Zuber – Tel.: +32 2 295 62 98; Sara Simonini  - Tel.: +32 2 298 33 67)





President von der Leyen to participate to the opening of the Hannover Messe

This Sunday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will deliver a speech at the opening ceremony of the Hannover Messe, one of the world's largest trade fairs for industry, which will take place between 22 and 26 April. The President will speak alongside Chancellor Scholz and the Prime Minister of Norway Støre, the partner country of this year's edition of the industry fair.

This year will mark the EU's third and largest presence at the Hannover Messe yet. Throughout the week, the EU will host panels and presentations at the 500m2 exhibition stand in hall 12. Visitors of the EU stand will be able to learn more about various aspects of the EU's industrial policy through interactive screens, meeting EU policy experts and receiving tailor-made advice in a dedicated support corner.  In the programme of the event, there is also a high-level conference on the topic of ‘Investing in EU industry' organised in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The event will bring together high-ranking EU and Member State policymakers, the EIB Group, representatives of industry and trade-unions for an exchange on relevant industry topics.  

Live stream and more information are available here

(For more information: Johanna Bernsel – Tel.: + 32 2 298 66 99; Federica Miccoli – Tel.: +32 2 295 83 00)


Le vice-président exécutif Šefčovič est au Canada pour les négociations sur le traité des Nations unies visant à lutter contre la pollution plastique mondiale

Du 21 au 22 avril 2024, le vice-président exécutif Šefčovič sera à Ottawa, au Canada, pour représenter l'Union européenne lors du quatrième cycle de négociations sur un nouveau traité, juridiquement contraignant des Nations unies, concernant la pollution plastique mondiale. Ces négociations devraient s'achever d'ici la fin de l'année.

Depuis le début des négociations en 2022, l'UE a coordonné les efforts, menés conjointement avec ses alliés et partenaires, afin d'obtenir un soutien en faveur d'un traité mondial efficace. Lors de cette réunion, le vice-président exécutif exprimera la position déterminée de l'UE en faveur d'un accord appelant à une réglementation mondiale pour lutter contre la pollution plastique à la source, et notamment en faveur d'une approche globale du cycle de vie des plastiques, avec l'interdiction de certains produits et l'amélioration de la conception des produits.

Le vice-président exécutif chargé du Pacte vert pour l'Europe, Maroš Šefčovič, a déclaré : « La protection de la santé humaine et de l'environnement est un objectif instrumental sur lequel le nouveau traité mondial sur les plastiques devrait s'appuyer. Il doit transformer la façon dont les produits en plastique sont conçus, produits, utilisés et recyclés. J'en appelle à tous pour unir leurs forces dans la lutte contre la pollution, ce qui permettra également de faire face aux crises du climat et de la biodiversité auxquelles le monde est actuellement confronté. »

L'adoption d'un instrument juridiquement contraignant pour mettre fin à la pollution plastique est une priorité essentielle du plan d'action de l'UE en faveur de l'économie circulaire, dans le cadre du Pacte vert pour l'Europe. Les négociations de ce quatrième cycle se poursuivront jusqu'au 29 avril, et une cinquième session en novembre-décembre de cette année devrait permettre de parvenir à un accord sur le texte final du traité.

En marge de la réunion, le vice-président exécutif Šefčovič rencontrera bilatéralement Steven Guilbeault, ministre canadien de l'Environnement et du Changement climatique ; Inger Andersen, Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations unies et directeur exécutif du programme des Nations unies pour l'environnement; et Jose W. Fernandez, Sous-secrétaire américain à la croissance économique, à l'énergie et à l'environnement, ainsi que des acteurs de l'industrie du plastique.

De plus amples détails sont disponibles ici, ainsi que dans le calendrier du vice-président exécutif.

(Pour plus d'informations: Adalbert Jahnz – Tél.: + 32 2 295 31 56; Tim McPhie – Tél.: +32 2 295 86 02; Maëlys Dreux – Tél.: +32 2 295 46 73; Ana Crespo Parrondo – Tél.: +32 2 298 13 25)


Commissioner Wojciechowski leads EU agri-business delegation to China

Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski will visit China from 21-27 April 2024, leading a senior EU agri-food business delegation aiming to grow European food and beverage exports in this key market. His visit, the first by an Agriculture Commissioner since 2019, reflects the importance of strengthening EU-China agri-trade relations by increasing awareness of the high quality and safety of EU products. The business delegation comprises 72 business leaders, representing EU agri-food companies and organisations from 17 EU countries, as well as 4 EU associations. The main sectors represented are beverages, confectionary, dairy and cheese, fruit and vegetables, meat, and olive oil.

On Monday, 22 April, he will deliver a keynote speech at an event for Geographical Indications. In the afternoon, the Commissioner will host an official dinner with the participation of Chinese Government Officials, EU Business Delegates, and other key stakeholders. On Wednesday, 24 April, the Commissioner will attend the Opening ceremony of the Anuga Select China fair, a globally important food and beverage exhibition.

The second part of his visit will focus on political engagements in Beijing. He will hold several bilateral meetings, including with Tang Renjian, Minister of Agriculture & Rural Affairs; Wang Wentao, Minister of Commerce; Minister Yu Jianhua, Head of the General Administration of Customs of China; and Shen Changyu, Commissioner of the Chinese National Intellectual Property Agency. A visit to an organic farm on the outskirts of Beijing will provide fresh perspectives on sustainable agricultural practices.

You can find more information online.

(For more information: Olof Gill – Tel.: +32 2 296 59 66; Myrto-Amaryllis Lappa – Tel.: +32 2 299 70 98)




Calendrier - déplacement 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