EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 04 DECEMBER

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EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS - 04 DECEMBER
04 Dec 2014

EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 04 DECEMBER

Brussels Daily

Climate Action: Commissioner Arias Cañete ahead of the Lima climate

Ahead of the UN climate change conference on 1-12 December in Lima, Peru, Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, is coming to the Commission’s press room today; his intervention can be watched live on EBS. See press release  and  fact sheet with further information.

 

Research:  Boost in R&D investments vital to keep EU companies at global forefront

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, today presents the 2014 edition of the industrial R&D investment scoreboard. R&D investment by companies based in the EU grew by 2.6% in 2013, despite the unfavourable economic conditions. Commissioner Moedas said: “That is good news, but more is needed to keep up with our competitors. With public resources limited, attracting private R&D investment is even more essential.” The sector with the highest R&D investment in Europe is the automobile industry, with Volkswagen leading the global ranking for the second year in a row. See press release and fact sheet are available online. The press conference will be broadcase live on EBS.

 

OTHER NEWS

EU-Syria: €180 million to deal with crisis and spill-over in Lebanon and Jordan

The European Commission today adopted a package worth €180 million to deal with the effects of the Syrian crisis in the country itself, as well as in Lebanon and Jordan, who are currently hosting around 1.1 million and 630,000 refugees respectively. This package deals with the longer-term development needs of the refugees and internally displaced persons. It addresses in particular the education of children and young adults, in line with the UNICEF-sponsored “No Lost Generation” Initiative as well as measures to improve the resilience of the refugees as well as the communities hosting them through economic development activities. Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn stated: “The EU stands by the Syrian people who need all the help they can get in this terrible crisis, as well as the Lebanese and Jordanian people who are under huge pressure in hosting such a high number of refugees. With these funds, 2.5 million children in the region will be given a chance to receive education and to prepare themselves for the time when peace is restored and their skills will be needed to rebuild Syria. I had the opportunity to discuss these matters with the Prime Minister of Lebanon during his visit to Brussels earlier this week.” Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission said: “Today, the EU cannot simply watch the suffering of Syrian people without acting. We are ready and willing to bring a continued support to the people of Syria and to the neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. It is time for things to change. We are determined to play our role to the full and bring a lasting political solution to this regional crisis”. See press release.

Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Pometon for suspected participation in a steel abrasives cartel

The European Commission has informed Pometon S.p.A. that it suspects the company of having colluded with competitors on the pricing of steel abrasives in the European Economic Area (EEA), in breach of EU antitrust rules. Steel abrasives are loose steel particles used for cleaning or enhancing metal surfaces in the steel, automotive, metallurgy and petrochemical industries. The sending of a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. The full press release can be found here.

Mergers: Commission approves the creation of several joint ventures between Santander and Peugeot

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over several newly created joint ventures by Santander Consumer Finance, S.A., (“SCF”) of Spain and Banque PSA Finance S.A. (“Banque PSA”) of France. SCF is the consumer finance arm of the Santander Group. Banque PSA, a subsidiary of Peugeot Group, offers loans and leases related to motor vehicles produced by Peugeot. The joint ventures will offer automotive financing solutions as well as related services, such as insurance, in several EU Member States and in Switzerland. The Commission assessed in particular an overlap in the companies’ activities for motor vehicle lending in Spain. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the moderate position of the companies on this market and the presence of other strong players that exercise competitive constraint on the merged entity. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available on the competition website, in the Commission’s public case register under the case number M.7369.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Samancor by Anglo American and BHP Billiton.

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Samancor of South Africa, Australia and Switzerland by Anglo American of the United Kingdom and BHP Billiton of the United Kingdom and Australia.  Anglo American and BHP Billiton are two global diversified mining groups producing iron ore, coal, aluminium, manganese and nickel, copper, petroleum and other natural resources. Samancor produces manganese ore and manganese alloys from production sites in South Africa and Australia. While both BHP Billiton and Anglo American are already shareholders in Samancor, the latter is currently solely controlled by BHP Billiton. Through the proposed transaction, Anglo American will acquire additional voting rights in Samancor, so that Samancor will be jointly controlled by BHP Billiton and Anglo American. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because there are no overlaps between the companies’ activities, except for activities of the parent companies which are outside the scope of the joint venture. 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.7399.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of remaining shares in domestic appliances producer BSH by Robert Bosch

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the remaining shares in BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH by its shareholder Robert Bosch GmbH, both of Germany. BSH produces domestic electric appliances such as stoves, refrigerators and dish washers. Robert Bosch is a supplier active, among others, in the following fields: the automotive industry, consumer goods such as power and gardening tools and energy and building technology. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because prior to the present transaction Robert Bosch had already joint control over BSH together with Siemens AG. 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.7425.

Eurostat: Record number of air passenger transport in 2013

In 2013, 842 million passengers travelled by air in the EU28, a rise of 1.7% compared with 2012. Looking back over a longer period, air passenger transport fell to 753 million passengers in 2009 following the financial crisis. Since then it has steadily risen. In 2013, intra-EU transport represented 43.3% of total air passenger transport in the EU28, followed by extra-EU transport (38.6%), while national transport accounted for fewer than 1 in every 5 passengers (18.1%). See press release. 

STATEMENTS

Commissioner Andriukaitis welcomes provisional political agreement on GMO cultivation

In a statement on the provisional political agreement on the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) agreed yesterday by the European Parliament and the Council, Commissioner Andriukaitis said: “I am glad to announce that yesterday evening the European Parliament and the Council have reached a provisional political agreement on the draft legislation on GMO cultivation. The proposal, still subject to confirmation by Coreper and by the plenary of the European Parliament, will give Member States the possibility to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their territory, without affecting the EU risk assessment. The agreement, if confirmed, would meet Member States’ consistent calls since 2009, to have the final say on whether or not GMOs can be cultivated on their territory, in order to better take into account their national context and, above all, the views of their citizens.” Read the full statement.

Commissioner Hogan at the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development meeting

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan gave a speech yesterday at European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development meeting (COMAGRI) for the first time after his hearing. Commissioner, in front of MEP’s, gave an overview of his simplification agenda, of the state of play regarding market stabilisation measures and of the enormous opportunities on the world market for European product, on the progress of the various Rural Development programmes and the importance of addressing shortcomings in the food chain


ANNOUNCEMENTS

EU supports Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration path

On Friday 5 December, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission and Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the visit they will meet leaders of BiH institutions, leaders of the political parties and members of the civil society to discuss reforms and the EU integration process of the country. “After the recent elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is now an opportunity for the country to start moving again on the reform track in order to respond to the expectations of the people and proceed on its EU path. During the visit we will engage with the new leadership of the country to understand if there is political will to launch a process that will get the country back on track. If the new leadership of BiH is ready to engage on a reform agenda, the EU is also ready to engage,” said HRVP Federica Mogherini ahead of the travel to Sarajevo. Commissioner Hahn added: “We are visiting the country to reiterate the EU’s support to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration path and reaffirm our commitment to advance the country’s EU perspective. At the same time, Bosnia’s elected leaders must now deliver, in the interest of their citizens – especially on economic reforms.”

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