New rules guaranteeing the right to presumption of innocence and the right to be present at trial apply since 1 April
New EU rules guaranteeing that anyone accused or suspected of a crime is innocent until proven guilty apply since Sunday 1April. The rules will also better protect peoples’ right to remain silent and right to be present at their trial. It will ensure people across the EU always benefit from these procedural rights, which are currently not protected in the same way in every Member State. Commissioner Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “9 million people face criminal proceedings across the EU every year. Presumption of innocence is a fundamental right and must be respected in practice everywhere in Europe. Every citizen must always be guaranteed a fair trial. I call on all Member States to implement the rules as quickly as possible.” The directive ensures that public authorities and judicial decisions are prohibited from making any public references to guilt, before the person is proven guilty. It also gives people the right to remain silent. In case the right to be present at trial is breached, people have the right to a new trial. This directive is part of a package of six laws providing common minimum standards on procedural rights of suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings. The procedural rights package ensures people have common rights whether they are accused or suspected in their home country or elsewhere in the EU, and allows for better judicial cooperation across the EU. More information on procedural rightsis available online and in the factsheet.
Supporting refugees in Greece: €180 million in emergency support
The European Commission has announced new funding of €180 million for aid projects in Greece, including to scale up the flagship ‘Emergency Support to Integration & Accommodation’ (ESTIA) programme which helps get refugees into urban accommodation and out of camps and provides them with regular cash assistance. The funding comes as Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides met today with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens. “Our humanitarian programmes for refugees in Greece are a clear and loud signal of European solidarity. We continue to deliver on our strong commitment to help refugees in Greece live more secure, normal and dignified lives, and facilitate their integration into the local economy and society. Our ESTIA programme is achieving real results to change people’s lives for the better. I pay special tribute to the Greek citizens and mayors who have welcomed refugees in their municipalities with great empathy and care,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. Launched in July 2017 with the UN Refugee Agency, ESTIA is the biggest EU aid operation in the country and works in line with the Greek government’s ‘out of camps’ policy. So far it has created more than 23,000 urban accommodation places and set up a cash assistance scheme serving more than 41,000 refugees and asylum seekers. Six other contracts have been signed with NGOs to address pressing humanitarian needs. Overall, the European Commission has mobilised over €1.5 billion of support for Greece to help manage the humanitarian situation, migration and the external borders, through various kinds of funding. The press release is available here.
EU pledges €107.5 million to address urgent needs of Yemeni civilians
As the crisis in Yemen continues to worsen, the European Union has pledged €107.5 million in new funding for 2018 to help civilians most in need across the country. The announcement was made at the High Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen held in Geneva today, bringing total EU funding to Yemen to €438.2 million since the beginning of the crisis in 2015. Speaking at the event in Geneva today, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides said: “The European Union is committed to assist those affected by the conflict in Yemen. To save lives on the ground, all parties to the conflict must ensure safe, unhindered and continuous humanitarian access to all affected communities in Yemen. Facilitating commercial imports through all ports of Yemen is essential. A political solution is a matter of urgency to bring an end to this conflict which has caused millions to suffer.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica added: “Yemen continues to suffer from the devastating effects of conflict. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Yemeni people. The EU will help people survive and also support them on a path to resilience, recovery and self-reliance. We will support vulnerable communities and the internally displaced in particular, equipping them with sustainable livelihood tools to weather the current crisis.” Read the full press release here.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of TDC by Macquarie Group
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of TDC of Denmark by the Macquarie Group of Australia via DK Telekommunikation ApS. TDC provides communications as well as television and home entertainment solutions primarily to residential and business markets in Denmark and Norway. Macquarie Group is a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there are no horizontal overlaps or vertical relationships between the activities of the companies. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competitionwebsite, in the public case register under the case number M.8843.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Monnet by Apollo and JSW
The European Commission has approved,under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Monnet Ispat and Energy Limited (“Monnet”) by JSW Steel Limited, both of India, and Apollo Capital Management L.P. of the US. Monnet is active in mining and in the manufacture and sale of primary steel and sponge iron, steel and ferro-alloys. JSW is active in mining and in the manufacturing and sale of iron and steel products in India and abroad. Apollo is a private equity firm. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given that Monnet has no, or negligible, actual or foreseen activities within the European Economic Area. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8840.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition by PPF of sole control over Skoda Transportation, VUKV, Skoda Investment, Bammer Trade , JK and Satacoto
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over Skoda Transportation a.s., VUKV a.s., Skoda Investment a.s. and Bammer Trade a.s., all four of the Czech Republic, Jokiaura Kakkonen (“JK”) of Finland, and Satacoto Ltd. of Cyprus, by PPF Group N.V. of the Netherlands. Skoda Transportation is engaged in the production, development, assembly, reconstruction and repairs of railway and subway vehicles, trams, trolleybuses and electric buses, and related services. VUKV is active in the development, research and testing of rail vehicles and their parts, and related services. Skoda Investment is involved in the renting of property and the granting of licences for the SKODA trademark and is also active, via its subsidiaries, in photovoltaic power generation, IT and telecommunications technology. Bammer Trade is involved in the repair of public transportation vehicles. JK is engaged in the renting of production facilities. Satacoto is a holding company which is active, via its subsidiary, in the production of electric motors and generators, and the renting of real estate. PPF is a multinational finance and investment group focusing on financial services, consumer finance, telecommunications, biotechnologies, retail services, real estate and agriculture. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the negligible overlaps between the companies’ activities in the European Economic Area. 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.8780.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Saeta by Brookfield Group
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Saeta Yield, S.A. of Spain by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (“Brookfield Group”) of Canada. Saeta Yield is active in the generation and wholesale supply of renewable energy. Brookfield Group operates a diversified portfolio of assets that generate electricity from renewable sources, which consist of hydroelectric and wind power facilities in North America, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Europe. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the very limited overlaps between the activities of Brookfield Group and Saeta.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.8834.