Quarterly Report on the Euro Area
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs has published its latest edition of the Quarterly Report on the Euro Area, featuring in-depth analysis of topical economic issues. In this edition, staff economists explore the multiple dimensions of economic convergence and discuss potential policy implications. In addition, the report looks at the effects of uncertainty on the euro area economy and the long-term effects of the economic and financial crisis on the labour market. Staff economists also examine recent housing market dynamics in Europe and present an analysis of the effect ECB’s asset purchase programmes have had on capital flows. See Also Volume 16, No3 (2017) of the QREA is now available online here. More information here
EU-Chile trade talks: Commission releases its proposals and reports about progress
In keeping with its commitments on transparency, the Commission has today published 18 EU initial textual proposals which set out the EU’s position in specific areas of the negotiations for a new, modernised trade agreement between the EU and Chile. The Commission also published a report of the second round of talks that took place in Santiago (Chile) from 15 to 19 January 2018. These were the first substantive discussions on trade following the launch of talks in November last year. The negotiating teams covered a broad range of issues such as the facilitation of customs procedures, trade in services, investment, competition, rules of origin, and intellectual property. Although the negotiations are still in the early stages, thanks to a positive engagement on both sides, the teams were able to make good progress in most of the areas. The negotiators agreed to meet again soon although no precise dates have yet been agreed. The documents published today are available on a dedicated webpage. More information about EU-Chile talks is available here.
Strategy for the Western Balkans: EU sets out new flagship initiatives and support for the reform-driven region
The Commission adopted today a strategy for ‘A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans’, as President Jean-Claude Juncker announced in his 2017 State of the Union address confirming the European future of the region as a geostrategic investment in a stable, strong and united Europe based on common values. The Strategy spells out the priorities and areas of joint reinforced cooperation, addressing the specific challenges the Western Balkans face, in particular the need for fundamental reforms and good neighbourly relations. A credible enlargement perspective requires sustained efforts and irreversible reforms. Progress along the European path is an objective and merit-based process which depends on the concrete results achieved by each individual country. Today, the European Commission announced six flagship initiatives – specific actions that the EU will take over the next years to support the transformation efforts of the Western Balkans in areas of mutual interest. These range from initiatives to strengthen the rule of law, reinforced cooperation on security and migration, expanding the EU Energy Union to the Western Balkans or lowering roaming charges and rolling out broadband in the region. The Strategy also underlines the need for the EU to be prepared to welcome new members once they have met the criteria. ThePresident of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker stated: “Investing in the stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans means investing in the security and future of our Union. Although there will be no further enlargements under this mandate, today the European Commission is charting the European path ahead for the Western Balkans. With strong political will, real and sustained reforms, and definitive solutions to disputes with neighbours, the Western Balkans can move forward on their respective European paths. Whether this is achieved will depend on their objective merits. The European Commission will be rigorous but it will also be fair. I will travel to each of the countries of the Western Balkans at the end of this month with a clear message: keep reforming and we will keep supporting your European future.“More information is available in ourpress release, MEMO and factsheets, as well as on the dedicated webpage EU-Western Balkans Strategy: A credible enlargement perspective. The read-out of the College meeting by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn will be retransmitted live on EbS.
Safer Internet Day: The European Union celebrates the annual Safer Internet Day. Over 140 countries join together to create a better and safer online environment. This year Commissioner Gabriel will launch the #SaferInternet4EU initiatives. More information available on factsheet and here
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Gas Natural Vendita Italia by Edison
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Gas Natural Vendita Italia by Edison S.p.A., both of Italy. Gas Natural Vendita Italia, currently owned by Gas Natural Fenosa Internacional SA., is active in the supply of electricity and natural gas in Italy. Edison S.p.A., a subsidiary of Electricité de France S.A., is active at various levels of the supply chain for electricity and natural gas mainly in Italy. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns as the companies have a limited position in the market where their activities overlap and other strong competitors would remain in the market after the merger. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8701.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture by Ivanhoe and QuadReal
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over the newly created joint venture Logos India Logistics Venture Pte Ltd of Singapore by Ivanhoe Cambridge (“Ivanhoe”) and QuadReal Property Group (“QuadReal”), both of Canada. The joint venture will invest in real estate in India. Ivanhoe is a global real estate investor and a subsidiary of the Canadian fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. QuadReal is also a global real estate investor and a subsidiary of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given that the joint venture has no actual or foreseen activities within the European Economic Area. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8774.
Commissioner Navracsics visits Sweden
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will be in Eskilstuna, Sweden, tomorrow, 7 February, to deliver a keynote speech at the first edition of a four-day policy convention on art and culture taking place in different locations throughout Sweden, Folk och Kultur (People and Culture). The Commissioner will be highlighting the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and the activities taking place in Sweden during the Year, as well as the role of culture in the New Narrative for Europe initiative. He will also underline the important role of Swedish stakeholders in other EU culture policies and programmes. The event provides an opportunity to bring together different sectors in Sweden, focusing on art and culture, but also involving other parts of the public and private sectors, media, academia and citizens. During his visit, Commissioner Navracsics will also meet Minister for Culture and Democracy of Sweden, Alice Bah Kuhnke. More information on the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the results of a Special Eurobarometer on the Year with national factsheets for each EU member state are online.