EU-China Summit – Brussels, 29 June 2015

The 17th bilateral summit between the European Union and the People’s Republic of China will take place in Brussels on Monday 29 June 2015. The EU will be represented by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. China will be represented by Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council. High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogherini will also participate, as will Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. Marking the 40th anniversary of EU-China diplomatic relations, this will be the first visit by Premier Li to the EU in his current capacity and the first Summit with China for the Presidents of the Council and the Commission since they took office. This Summit will provide the first opportunity to review the implementation of the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation (‘Agenda 2020’) at the highest level and to set priorities to take forward the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the years to come. The Summit will also provide an opportunity to discuss key international and regional issues and to identify opportunities for the EU and China to work together to address these effectively. President Juncker will also speak at the Business Summit and the Urbanisation Forum taking place on the side of the Summit. In addition, an Innovation Dialogue will be taking place in parallel. For more information see summit page; EU-China relations; EU-China trade. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Eamonn Prendergast – Tel.: +32 229 98851)

European Commission marks International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June marks the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1987 as a reminder of the goals agreed by UN Member States to create an international society free of drug abuse. To highlight the occasion, today the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions (EMCDDA) launched an analysis on “Drugs policy and the city in Europe” that looks at 10 European capitals with a dedicated drug strategy: Berlin, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lisbon, Prague, Madrid, Stockholm, Vienna and Warsaw. The report focuses on four topics: urban spaces and drug use; business and recreational drug use; city-level drug policies; and the coordination and funding of city-level policies. Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “Around one million seizures of illicit drugs are reported annually in Europe, while the Internet is increasingly becoming a new source of drugs supply. We need to join forces at international, EU, regional and local levels to address the drugs challenges, prevent drug use, treat addicts and disrupt drug trafficking. We also need a fast and effective EU system for addressing the challenges of new psychoactive substances and I hope that Parliament and Council will be able to make progress on the negotiation of the Commission’s proposals.” In September 2013, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal that will enable the EU to act swiftly and more effectively in addressing the challenges of new psychoactive substances. As part of the legislative process, the proposal is now under discussion by the Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Moreover, on 4 June 2015 the EMCDDA issued the European Drug Report 2015: Trends and Developments. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020)

The Commission approves ‘Obazda’/‘Obatzter’ as a new Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)

The Commission has approved the addition of a new German product to the register of Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs). ‘Obazda’/‘Obatzter’ is a Bavarian cheese product made with ripe cheese (mainly Camembert and/or Brie), butter, paprika powder and salt. The name ‘Obazda’/‘Obatzter’ describes the production method, namely the crushing and mixing of various ingredients to produce a spread. In Bavarian dialect the term ‘obatzn’ is used for this. It has a long tradition in Bavaria and has accordingly become an integral part of the Bavarian beer garden culture. The denomination will be added to the list of more than 1,200 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Nordic Cinema by Bridgepoint 

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Nordic Cinema Group Holding AB of Sweden by Bridgepoint Advisers Group Limited of the United Kingdom. Nordic Cinema Group is a cinema operator active in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. Bridgepoint is a private equity group. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because Bridgepoint is not active in the same markets as Nordic Cinema Group or in any related markets. 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.7647. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

EUROSTAT: EU trade with China significantly up in 2014 for both goods and services

Except for the drop recorded in 2009 following the financial crisis, the value of European Union (EU)imports of goods from China has significantly increased over the last decade, from €129.2 bn in 2004 to a peak of €302.5 bn in 2014. Exports, which did not decline in 2009, have more than tripled over the period 2004-2014 to hit €164.7 bn last year. The EU trade deficit with China, continuous during the whole period, decreased between 2010 and 2013, before growing again in 2014 to -€137.7 bn. China is the second most important EU trading partner behind the United States, accounting for 14% of total extra-EU trade in goods in 2014 (compared with 9% in 2004). Over this 10-year time period, the share of China in extra-EU imports increased from 12.6% in 2004 to 18.0% in 2014, and its share in exports almost doubled (5.1% in 2004 vs. 9.7% in 2014). A press release is available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56185; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)


Fifth meeting of the Informal Eastern Partnership dialogue in Minsk

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Alain Le Roy, Secretary General of the European External Action Service are to take part in the fifth Informal Partnership dialogue to be held on 29 June in Minsk. The meeting is hosted by Belarus and brings together Ministers and high level officials of the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine). This Informal EaP dialogue meeting will present an opportunity for Commissioner Hahn, Secretary General Le Roy and Foreign Ministers of the partner countries to engage in informal discussions, to reflect on the results of the Riga summit and discuss how to take the Partnership forward across the agreed areas of cooperation. It will also be an opportunity to discuss foreign policy issues of common interest. The meeting in Minsk will also allow Commissioners Vella and Hahn, together with representatives of the Latvian Government, currently holding the Presidency of the EU Council, to meet the respective Environment Ministers of the six EaP partner countries and discuss areas of common interest and shared challenges on environment, including the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements. The informal Eastern Partnership dialogues are held twice a year and hosted in turn by the EaP partner countries. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Enrico Brivio Tel.:+32 229 56172; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430)

Climate diplomacy: Commissioner Arias Cañete to attend UN Assembly High-Level Event on climate change in New York

On 29 June, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will be in New York for a High-Level Event on Climate Change convened by President of the United Nations General Assembly, Sam Kutesa The event aims to provide impetus for an ambitious global climate agreement in Paris this December. Participants include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres, and French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius. On the occasion of the EU-China summit taking place in Brussels at the same time, Commissioner Arias Cañete will have a meeting in New York with China’s Special Representative on climate change Xie Zhenhua to advance EU-China climate cooperation. Commissioner Arias Cañete willalso participate in an informal ministerial roundtable chaired by the Secretary-General and in a panel debate on ‘Mobilizing political momentum for ambitious actions on mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation’. During his visit, the Commissioner will meet with Ministers from Egypt, Brazil, Maldives and South Africa, as well as Héla Cheikhrourou, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, and Mogens Lykketoft, Presidential nominee for the UN General Assembly. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)


Commissioner’s weekly activities