Daily News 18 / 06 / 2015

Preparation of the Economic and Finance Ministers Council (ECOFIN)
On 19 June in Luxembourg, Vice-President Dombrovskis, Vice-President Katainen, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Hill will participate in the EU’s Council of Economic and Finance Ministers. On the legislative front, the Ministers are due to agree on the final text for a Regulation on the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) as agreed in the final trilogue on 28 May. The European Parliament plenary vote on the Regulation is due to take place on 24 June, allowing the EFSI to be operational by September as planned. The Council will exchange views on the implementation of the draft 2015 country-specific recommendations, which the Commission adopted on 13 May. Ministers will discuss the proposal for a mandatory automatic exchange of tax rulings presented by the Commission in March this year. The Council will discuss the future work on this file. The Commission will present its Action Plan for Fair and Efficient Corporate Taxation which was adopted yesterday by the College. Also on the agenda is a general approach on the Commission’s proposal on structural measures improving the resilience of EU credit institutions.Ministers will discuss the implementation of national transposition measures for the legal instruments underpinning the Banking Union. In particular, the Commission will call on Ministers to accelerate the implementation of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) into their national laws. Finally, Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on the European Commission’s project for a Capital Markets Union. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 2 295 61 53; Vanessa Mock +32 2 295 61 94)
 
June infringement package: Commission acts for full and proper implementation of European law for the benefit of citizens and businesses
In order to help citizens and businesses to benefit fully from the opportunities the internal market provides, the European Commission continuously engages with and, if necessary, initiates infringement procedures against Member States who do not respect European law. As part of its monthly package of infringement decisions, the Commission has decided today to refer four Member States to the European Court of Justice: Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania. In addition, the Commission will send 18 reasoned opinions to 12 Member States: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as 44 letters of formal notice including for Germany with regards to the introduction of a new road charging scheme for private vehicles (‘PKW-Maut’). A summary of the other key decisions, as well as the contact details of relevant Spokespersons, can be found in the Fact Sheet and in the relevant press releases (IP/15/5195, IP/15/5196, IP/15/5197, IP/15/5198, IP/15/5199,IP/15/5201).
 
EU-funded research project secures new breakthrough in fight against Ebola
A major contribution to eradicating Ebola has been made by the EU-funded EVIDENT project. The team of scientists has confirmed that the Ebola virus mutations in the recent outbreak have been fewer than feared. These findings, published today in the prestigious journal Nature, mean that the diagnostic tools and treatments currently being developed should be effective in fighting the outbreak, given the lower degree of virus mutations. The EVIDENT project, supported with € 1.7 million from the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding programme, has mapped the genetic evolution of the Ebola virus. It is part of the larger EU-funded European Mobile Laboratory (EMLab), which was the first rapid response diagnostics unit deployed to the outbreak epicentre in Guinea. Welcoming the project’s success, Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: “In the fight against infectious diseases, we have to know our enemy. Effective treatments can only be designed if we know exactly how the Ebola virus mutates. Thanks to EU research funding, the breakthrough study by the EVIDENT project has made a huge step towards eradicating the deadly impact of Ebola. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa showed the entire world that we need to invest more resources into research to fight epidemics.” More information is available here. (For more information contact Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 299 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 299 87278)

EU further supports Ukraine’s reform agenda and its economic recovery
Today, on the occasion of his visit to Kyiv, Commissioner Hahn has signed with Minister of Economy, Mr Abromavicius, a financing agreement worth €55 million for the programme ‘EU Support to Ukraine to Re-launch the Economy (EU SURE)’. With this programme, the EU’s grant allocation for this year alone is set to amount to around €200 million and it is a further sign of the unprecedented support made available to a non-EU country in such a short period of time, in a variety of grants and loans. In addition, also today the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will ratify the “Memorandum of Understanding” for the third macro-financial assistance package from the European Union, amounting to €1.8 billion. “Today’s ratification by the Ukrainian Parliament of the Memorandum of Understanding for the new EU macro-financial support is a clear sign of the commitment of Ukraine to its reforms path”, said Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue. “The measures included in the Memorandum, in particular on the fight against corruption and on the reform of its public administration, are key for Ukraine to become a secure and prosperous state, despite the conflict in the East of the country. We are now working towards disbursing the first payment of EUR 600 million in the coming weeks.” European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, said: “I am glad to sign the financing agreement for the 2015 special measure in support of private sector development and economic recovery. This programme will support the development of SMEs across Ukraine and early recovery of those regions most affected by the conflict. The package will help to set up Business Support Centres in 15 regions. We hope this can help launch new businesses and contribute to a new start for people who have had to leave their homes due to the conflict.” A press release is available online. (For further information:Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 66430; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)
 
Commission adopts National Roma Integration Report for 2015
This year the annually published Commission report on Roma Integration shows that Member States continue to make progress in regards to Roma integration, but that further efforts are necessary. First Vice-President Timmermans said: “Equal treatment and fundamental rights are at the very heart of the European project. Roma have faced a long history of exclusion. In Europe, no one must face discrimination on account of their ethnic or racial origin. It is time we step up our efforts to fight anti-Gypsyism, and promote the full inclusion of Roma.” The Commission is dedicating significant funds to the issue, as Marianne Thyssen explained: “We have made more than €90 billion available to promote social inclusion and fight discrimination from 2014 to 2020. I urge all Member States to act at national, regional and local levels to make full and efficient use of the funds and help the Roma community gain better access to jobs, education, housing and healthcare.” Věra Jourová said on the current situation: “Member States are starting to move in the right direction, we need more concrete results – especially at local level. Member States have to fight discrimination of Roma more actively and focus on elimination of hate crime and harmful stereotypes. We want to see Roma being treated in schools, at their workplace, in housing and healthcare, just like other EU citizens.” A press release is available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: + 32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: + 32 229 58659)
 
New, simplified system makes EU data for fisheries easily available
Today the Commission has adopted a proposal to upgradeand simplify the EU framework for collecting, managing and using data for fisheries. The data is crucial to improve the scientific advice necessary for the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy. The most promising development is that in the future, data will be easily and readily available to anyone who needs it, whereas currently, the data can only be obtained upon request. This creates an unnecessary burden for the research institutes and leaves much of the data underused. In short, with this new system, the Commission aims to focus more on the accessibility of the data, rather than on the details of fisheries policy implementation, which will be left to the Member States to decide. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: “If our extensive knowledge and data on EU fisheries is not accessible to all, the objective for sustainable management of our resources will not be possible. With this new simplified system, we can reinforce our coordination both at regional level and with existing EU-wide policies”. Additional information can be found here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Iris Petsa – Tel.: +32 229 93321)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of IKKS by LBO France
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of IKKS Group by LBO France Gestion, both of France. LBO France is a private equity business which manages several funds holding shares in small and mid-sized companies active in various sectors, including in the retail clothing business. IKKS produces and distributes clothes and accessories for men, women and children. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the overlaps between the companies’ activities were very limited. 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.7640. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission approves Dr. Oetker’s acquisition of Coppenrath & Wiese
The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Conditorei Coppenrath & Wiese GmbH & Co. KG by Dr. August Oetker KG, both of Germany, pursuant to the EU Merger Regulation. Dr. Oetker is, among others, a manufacturer, seller and distributor of food products, including frozen pizzas and ambient cakes and desserts. Coppenrath & Wiese also manufactures, sells and distributes frozen products and more specifically frozen cakes, gateaux, desserts and rolls. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the companies’ activities are complementary and their overall market shares are limited. 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.7598. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Tonopah Solar Energy by PSP, OTTP and TSI
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Tonopah Solar Energy Holdings I LLC of the US by Tonopah Solar Investments, LLC (“TSI”) of the US and Public Sector Pension Investment Board (“PSP”) and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (“OTPP”), both of Canada.  Tonopah Solar Energy Holdings operates a solar thermal generation plant in Nevada, US. PSP is one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers. OTTP is an investment fund active in a number of asset classes. TSI currently manages Tonopah Solar Energy Holdings. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because it has no effect on competition in the EU Internal Market. 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.7629. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)
 
EUROSTAT: 185 000 first time asylum seekers in the EU in the first quarter of 2015
During the first three months of 2015, 185 000 first time asylum seekers applied for protection in the European Union (EU), almost stable compared with the last quarter of 2014 but up by 86% compared with the first quarter of 2014. In particular, the number of Kosovars rose considerably to reach almost 50 000. They represent the main citizenship of first time asylum applicants in the EU over the first quarter 2015, ahead of Syrians and Afghans. A press release is available here. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020)

EUROSTAT: Annual growth in labour costs up to 2.2% in euro area
Hourly labour costs rose by 2.2% in the euro area (EA19) and by 2.5% in the EU28 in the first quarter of 2015, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2014, hourly labour costs increased by 1.2% in the euro area and by 1.5% in the EU28. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The two main components of labour costs are wages & salaries and non-wage costs. In the euro area, wages & salaries per hour worked grew by 2.2% and the non-wage component by 2.1%, in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the annual changes were +1.1% for wages & salaries and +1.3% for non-wage costs. In the EU28, hourly wages & salaries rose by 2.4% and the non-wage component by 2.6% for the first quarter of 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2014, annual changes were +1.4% and +1.7% respectively. A press release is available here.(For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)
 
EUROSTAT: Euro area and EU28 job vacancy rates at 1.7%
The job vacancy rate in the euro area (EA19) was 1.7% in the first quarter of 2015, down from 1.8% recorded in the previous quarter but stable compared with the first quarter of 2014, according to figures published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The job vacancy rate in the EU28 was also 1.7% in the first quarter of 2015, stable compared to the previous quarter but up from 1.6% in the first quarter of 2014. A press release is available here. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)
 
 
STATEMENTS
Discours du Premier Vice-Président Timmermans à la Cérémonie de Commémoration de la Bataille de Waterloo
Aujourd’hui le Premier Vice-Président Frans Timmermans a représenté la Commission à la Cérémonie de Commémoration de la Bataille de Waterloo. Il a dit: “Cette bataille sanglante, qui s’est déroulée il y a deux cents ans, a eu des répercussions qui vont bien au-delà d’une communauté. Elle a changé et influencé l’Europe toute entière… What happens in one part of Europe affects us all; what happens in one century continues to have an impact in the next. This was true 200 years ago, this is still true today.” Le discours du Premier Vice-Président est disponible ici, en version originale et avec une traduction complète en anglais. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Commissioner Oettinger at the Digital Assembly in Riga
Commissioner Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, will speak today at 14:00 at the Digital Assembly in Riga (web streamed here). This two-day event is co-organised by the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU and the Commission. The Digital Single Market Strategy, presented by the Commission in May, is at the heart of the discussions. Several announcements have been made during the event: the EU Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs gets bigger with four new national coalitions in Belgium, Cyprus, the Netherlands and the UK, and with new pledges from organisations and companies such as the BBC and Google (more information); new data on the digital performance of Member States (notably on broadband) has been published (Digital Agenda Scoreboard); and a Europe-wide competition for a European Broadband Award has been launched (further information available here). (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: + 32 229 67083; Marie Frenay – Tel.: +32 229 64532)
 
Commissioner Stylianides to visit Nigeria
European Commissioner Christos Stylianides, responsible for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, will be in Nigeria on Friday 19 June to assess the humanitarian consequences of terrorist activities inflicted by Boko Haram. He will meet with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. On his visit, Commissioner Christos Stylianides said “I will assess the humanitarian needs and express EU solidarity with the people who are suffering from the violent conflict in particular in the north-east Nigeria. It has displaced 1.5 million people within the country and forced over 230 000 people to flee to the neighbouring countries.” (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

Commissioner Hogan in Edinburgh, Scotland, for the Royal Highland Show
Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, is today and tomorrow (18-19 June 2015) in Edinburgh, Scotland at the occasion of the Royal Highland Show. With over 1000 exhibitors, the Royal Highland Show is Scotland’s annual farming and rural life event. In addition to visiting the Show, Commissioner Hogan will speak at various events, including a presidential seminar with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, Secretary State for Scotland, the Rt. Hon David Mundell, MP, and President of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, the Rt. Hon the Lord Michael Forsyth. Commissioner Hogan will also visit the Scottish Parliament and address the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)
Source: Business & Finance

You May Also Like