06 Jan 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 06 JANUARYBrussels Daily
Commissioner Hogan vows to tackle supply chain profit-taking
Today, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan at the Irish Farmers Association 60th Anniversary in Dublin will vow to tackle the problems in the food supply chain which mean that consumers pay too much for groceries and farmers pay too much for inputs such as fertiliser, even at a time of falling oil and gas prices. He will say that he thought that the current scope of the EU Supply Chain Initiative was at present too narrow to deal with all relevant actors. Mr Hogan will say that he will work with his fellow Commissioners to improve the situation.
Kicking off the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU: Juncker Commission travels to Riga
On 7-8 January, the College of Commissioners will travel to Riga for its traditional visit to the incoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The rotating Presidency will be held by Latvia for the first time, from January until June 2015. The College of Commissioners and the Latvian government will discuss the priorities of the Latvian Presidency during a plenary session as well as in several “cluster debates” (for more information read the press release). Vice-Presidents and Commissioners will have bilateral meetings with Ministers and also engage in a dialogue with key stakeholders and Members of the Saeima, the Latvian Parliament. On 9 January, President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma will also kick-off the European Year for Development 2015 which will focus on setting a new course to ending poverty, promoting development and combating climate change for a sustainable post-2015 world. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said ahead of the visit: “A new year starts with a new Presidency of the EU ready to deliver results that matter to citizens. Latvia is holding for the first time the Presidency of the EU and I have been impressed by the preparations and the level of ambition I have seen so far. I look forward to discussing with our Latvian colleagues and friends in Riga how we can swiftly turn ambitions into action: boosting Europe’s competitiveness by improving the investment climate, delivering a borderless digital Europe and a strong European energy union, are our joint priorities. By working together, we will deliver.”
Antitrust: Commission sends statement of objections to the Lithuanian railway incumbent AB Lietuvos geležinkeliai
The European Commission has informed the Lithuanian railway incumbent AB Lietuvos geležinkeliai (“LG”) that it suspects the company of having limited competition on the rail markets in Lithuania and Latvia by removing a railway track connecting the two countries. Such behaviour, if established, would breach EU antitrust rules that prohibit the abuse of dominant market positions. The removal of this track may have prevented customers from using the services of other rail operators for the transport of freight between Lithuania and Latvia. The sending of a statement of objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. The full press release is available here.
State aid: Commission approves €58 million aid to Duslo a.s. for modernising ammonia production in Šal’a, Slovakia
The European Commission has found that Slovak plans to provide €58 million regional investment aid to Duslo a.s. is in line with EU state aid rules. Duslo, which forms part of the Czech conglomerate Agrofert, is located in Šal’a, Slovakia, and produces nitrogen (including ammonia), compound industrial fertilisers and other chemical products, such as rubber chemicals. The Commission concluded that the aid would further regional development objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.The full press release is available here.
Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of Betafence by CVC
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of fencing systems producer Betafence Holding NV, headquartered in Belgium, by the Luxembourg-based private equity group CVC Capital Partners. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns since there are no overlaps between the activities of Betafence and CVC or any of its portfolio companies. 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.7463.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Wärtsilä Switzerland by Wärtsilä Corporation and CSSC
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Wärtsilä Switzerland by the Finnish group Wärtsilä Corporation and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), ultimately controlled by the Chinese state. Wärtsilä Switzerland is currently solely owned by Wärtsilä Corporation, a provider of power solutions for the marine and energy markets. Wärtsilä Switzerland develops and licenses 2-stroke low speed marine engine technology. CSSC is the parent company of one of the largest shipbuilding conglomerates in China that, among other activities, manufactures marine-related equipment. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because Wärtsilä Switzerland has very limited activities in the European Economic Area (EEA). 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.7403.