€200 million from EU funds for leveraging investments from EU development banks

The European Commission announced the allocation of €200 million to the Neighbourhood Investment Facility with the objective of leveraging investments from EU development banks. The planned investments will target energy and transport projects establishing infrastructure interconnections between the EU and neighbouring countries.

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The transfer of competences from national authorities to the European Rail Agency was discussed by the Council

EU ministers on Transport held a debate on the fourth railway package which mainly focused on the proposal for a recast of the 2008 directive on the interoperability of the EU rail system. According to the Council, ministers broadly acknowledged the need to increase the efficiency of the authorisation process. However, misgivings were expressed about the transfer of competences from national authorities to the European Rail Agency as proposed by the Commission.

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The European legislation that provides better protection for bus and coach travellers in the EU, enters into force

The European Commission reported that the Regulation that lays down travellers' basic rights, and imposes a number of obligations on bus and coach companies and terminal managers concerning their responsibility towards the passengers, just entered into force.

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In the field of rail transport, Hungary and Spain have failed to comply with their obligations under EU law

The European Commission welcomed the European Court of Justice (ECJ)'s judgments which confirmed that Hungary and Spain have failed to comply with their obligations under EU law in the field of rail transport. On the other hand, Austrian and German rail transport legislation complies with EU law ruled in favour of the European. Although the Commission respects the Court's interpretation of the current law, it remains convinced that a more effective separation between an infrastructure manager and other rail operations is essential to ensure non-discriminatory access for all operators to the rail tracks, and thus to stimulate growth in the rail sector.

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MEPs backed the proposal to suspend temporarily the EU CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for intercontinental flights

The Environment Committee at the European Parliament backed a proposal to suspend temporarily the EU CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for intercontinental flights, so as to enable International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to agree worldwide measures. The ETS will continue to apply to flights between EU airports.

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The proposed takeover of the Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus by Ryanair has been prohibited by the Commission

The European Commission announced the prohibition, on the basis of the EU Merger Regulation, of the proposed takeover of the Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus by the low-cost airline Ryanair. The Commission concluded that the merger would have harmed consumers by creating a monopoly or a dominant position on 46 routes where, currently, Aer Lingus and Ryanair compete vigorously against each other.

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€3786 million for GMES programme allocated in the proposed multiannual financial framework

The European Space Agency (ESA) welcomed the Council decision to secure the Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme (GMES) EU funding through 2020. Within the new multiannual financial framework, €3786 million was allocated for GMES. ESA highlights that this amount covers GMES Services, In-Situ Component (a network of sensors on the ground, at sea and in the air) and the Space Component, securing funding for the programme’s long-term operational phase.

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New LeaderSHIP 2020 strategy to increase the competitiveness of European maritime technology

The European Commission presented a strategy aimed at increasing the competitiveness of European maritime technology. The LeaderSHIP 2020 strategy's recommendations range from the wider use of EU instruments to foster new skills, competence and qualifications, to Public Private Partnerships for new maritime research, EIB funding opportunities and smart specialisation strategies in regional policy.

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