07 Jul 2014
Daily Commission Newsbrief – 07 July 2014Brussels Daily
Tomorrow, on 8 July, the EU institutions and member states, Ukrainian government and international donors will gather for a High Level Meeting in Brussels to discuss the key priorities and support for Ukraine going forward. “The European Union has been providing wide ranging political, financial and technical assistance to Ukraine’s domestic reform process. Other international donors have also been very active. We will meet on 8 July, together with the Ukrainian government, to ensure effective coordination of our common efforts” said European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso.
The meeting will be organised by the European Commission services in cooperation with the European External Action Service and will be chaired by Štefan Füle Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.
Latest short-term agricultural outlook: very good cereal harvest and increased meat and milk production expected
Prospects for 2014 indicate an above average EU cereal harvest for the second year in a row (and a record level of cereal exports for marketing year 2013/14), according to the Commission’s Summer 2014 Short-Term Agricultural Outlook published today. Given the export performance, only a partial recovery of the cereal stock-to-use ratio is expected. After two years of tight supply, EU meat production is expected to grow again. The mild economic recovery in the EU raises the prospect of increased meat consumption, but meat exports are seen as likely to decline, with pig and poultry meat being the most affected sectors, following growing uncertainty in some of the most important trade partners. Milk deliveries in the EU were at an all-time high in the first four months of this year. Nevertheless, milk prices remained firm and largely above last year given strong export demand, especially for milk powders. Over the whole year, the expected milk production increase is close to 3%.
Directive 2012/17/EU on business registers: first set of obligations transposed by Member States
Directive 2012/17/EU on the interconnection of business registers entered into force on 7 July 2012. Member States have had two years to adapt their national laws to introduce the first set of provisions in the Directive, including a new obligation on business registers to make available documentation submitted by limited liability companies normally within 21 days of receipt. Ensuring that information about companies is always up to date is one of the main objectives of this Directive. From today, business registers will also have to make available information on the rules in their national law, according to which third parties can rely on certain company documents. The second set of provisions in the Directive requires a Business Registers Interconnection System (BRIS) to be established. The technical details of this system will be adopted through an implementing act which will be prepared by the Commission by 7 July 2015. Member States will then have another two years to transpose the remaining rules and make the necessary preparations for connecting to the new system. When the Directive is fully transposed, BRIS will make it easy to access information on EU companies via the e-Justice or other national portals. In addition, it will facilitate electronic communication between registers in relation to cross-border mergers and branches of companies registered in other Member States.
Over 70 000 counterfeit goods were seized during a major Joint Customs Operation (JCO) code-named “ERMIS”. The Operation focussed on postal and courier mail traffic, to identify fake products shipped through small consignments. JCO ERMIS was carried-out by the Greek Customs Administration and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), and also involved customs experts from the Commission, Member States, FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The results of this operation were unveiled at a debriefing meeting in Athens and are published across Europe today.
Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimica is sharing today his views as to the need for greater co-operation in enforcing consumer rights across the Single market at the conference “EU Cooperation for enforcement of consumer legislation” organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council. “Strict enforcement is key. Consumer rights that exist on paper only do not help consumers. Effective enforcement of consumer legislation is essential in turning rights on paper, into tangible benefits for consumers in practice. We must create a framework that will allow us to tackle widespread infringements which concern several or even all EU countries at the same time. In this context we must also carefully reflect on what should be the role of the Commission – first as a coordinator, but also in helping identify malpractices, and in deciding on the common EU-level mechanisms that would best address such malpractices,” Commissioner Mimica said. His thoughts are triggered by the report on the functioning of the Consumer Protection Cooperation network brings together the national authorities in charge of enforcing European consumer laws and the European Commission, published on 1 July 2014.
The European Commission has presented a proposal setting specific rules on working time for the inland waterway transport sector.
László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion commented: “Good working conditions and adequate rest periods adapted to working on inland waterways are essential for the health and safety of crews and shipboard personnel, and thereby for safety of transport. As over 75% of inland waterway transport takes place across more than one Member State it makes sense to agree rules at EU level, and representatives of employers and workers are best placed to draft them. As an own initiative of the European sectoral social partners, the agreement on working time in inland waterway transport is an excellent example of successful social dialogue. The European Commission respects the role of social partners and is committed to promote EU social dialogue.”
Today, the European Commission is launching an EU-wide interconnection of national insolvency registers by linking up databases from seven Member States. This first interconnection will serve as a one-stop shop for businesses, creditors and investors looking to invest in Europe. It will help business leaders and entrepreneurs carry out the same checks as they would when investing in their home country and will also support creditors looking to follow up insolvency cases taking place in another EU Member State – thanks to information being available at one web address: the European e-Justice Portal . “Access to cross-border insolvency information is crucial for a well-functioning internal market and European area of justice,” said Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice. “Businesses are essential to creating prosperity and jobs and if we want investors to place their money in other European countries, insolvency information must be easily accessible, multilingual and transparent.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Segezha Pulp and Paper Mill by Sistema
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of JSC Segezha Pulp and Paper Mill and LLC Derevoobrabotka-Proekt, both of Russia, by Sistema JSF Corporation (‘Sistema’) of Russia. The target companies are active, among others, in the manufacture and supply of kraft paper and paper sacks as well as in other wood-related products such as wood pulp, fibre boards and timber products. Sistema is an equity investment group investing in various sectors of the economy. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because Sistema’s and the target companies’ activities do not overlap. The operation 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.7140 .
What Commissioners said
On 3-4 July, the College of Commissioners travelled to Rome for its traditional visit to the incoming Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In a joint press conference with Prime Minister Renzi, President Barroso said:“We fully support the Italian Presidency, which has established a clear set of goals, that we very much welcome, namely the need for reform, both at home and in the European Union. And we need this new enthusiasm.”