The European Commission presented today a new EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime, focusing on boosting law enforcement and judicial cooperation, tackling organised crime structures and high priority crimes, removing criminal profits and ensuring a modern response to technological developments. The Commission also presented a new EU Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings focusing on preventing the crime, bringing traffickers to justice and protecting and empowering victims.
In a press statement today, President von der Leyen, announced an agreement with BioNTech-Pfizer to accelerate the delivery of 50 million vaccine doses to the second quarter of this year, starting this month: "I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with BioNTech-Pfizer to, once again, speed up the delivery of vaccines. 50 million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines will be delivered in quarter 2 of this year, starting in April. This will bring the total doses delivered by BioNTech-Pfizer to 250 million doses in the second quarter. These doses will be distributed pro-rata to the population, among all the Member States."
NextGenerationEU – the temporary recovery instrument at the heart of the EU’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – will be funded by borrowing on the capital markets.
Musicians from all over Europe can apply for the European Online Orchestra to jointly perform a special version of the European anthem (Beethoven's "Ode to Joy") for Europe Day 2021. The deadline for musical submissions is 25 April. The piece will be presented on 9 May for Europe Day. The project is coordinated and organised by the world record holder of the largest online orchestra, Jens Illemann. He is a musician and music teacher from the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. For Europe Day, he has written an arrangement of the European anthem, combining classical music, swing and rock in a crossover style.
The European Commission has approved a €60 million Irish scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The scheme, which goes under the name of the “Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC)”, will be open to companies in all sectors, except financial institutions and companies operating in the primary production of agricultural products, fisheries or aquaculture sectors.
The European Commission disbursed today €2.47 billion to Ireland in the first financial support under the SURE instrument designed to provide assistence to national programmes for preserving employment during the pandemic.
In today's operation the Commisssion disbursed in total €13 billion to six EU Member States. Five other countries received funds: Czechia - €1 billion, Belgium - €2.2 billion, Spain - €4.06 billion, Italy - €1.87 billion and Poland - €1.4 billion. This is the the sixth instalment of financial support under SURE and the third disbursement in 2021.
The European Commission has presented an Action Plan for the development of organic production. Its overall aim is to boost the production and consumption of organic products, to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030, as well as to increase organic aquaculture significantly.
Today, the European Commission has introduced the principles of reciprocity and proportionality as new criteria to be considered for authorising exports under the transparency and authorisation mechanism for COVID-19 vaccine exports. This system has significantly improved the transparency of exports. Nevertheless, the objective to ensure timely access to COVID-19 vaccines for EU citizens is still not met.
The European Commission appointed today Ms. Barbara Nolan as Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Dublin. In this function, Ms Nolan will act as the official representative of the European Commission in Ireland under the political authority of President Ursula von der Leyen. She will take up her office on 16 May 2021.
The European Commission has approved a €45 million Irish scheme to support the beef sector in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework.
The public support, which will take the form of direct grants, will be open to farmers and companies active in the beef sector in Ireland.