Brussels Daily
06 May 2015


Brussels Daily

A Digital Single Market for Europe: Commission sets out 16 initiatives to make it happen

The Internet and digital technologies are transforming our world – in every walk of life and in every line of business. Europe needs to embrace these digital opportunities to create new sources of jobs and growth on our continent. This is why the European Commission has made the creation of a Digital Single Market one of its top priorities and unveils today its detailed plans to make it happen. The Digital Single Market Strategy includes a set of targeted actions to be delivered by the end of next year. It is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) maximising the growth potential of the digital economy. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today, we lay the groundwork for Europe’s digital future. I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups. I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe.” Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger present the Strategy today at 12:00 CET in the Commission’s press room, with live broadcast on EBS. A press release, a video as well as different factsheets are available online (Why we need a Digital Single Market; Country Sheets). 

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Irish credit union restructuring scheme

The European Commission has found the prolongation until 31 October 2015 of an Irish scheme aimed at restructuring credit unions to be in line with EU state aid rules on the restructuring of banks during the crisis (see also MEMO). The objective of the scheme is to underpin the stability and long-term viability of credit unions and the credit union at large. Restructuring involves merging weaker and stronger credit unions, providing, if necessary, a capital injection to make up any shortfall in the capital reserve requirements of the merged credit union. Stabilisation involves assisting fundamentally viable credit unions that have temporarily slipped below the regulatory reserve requirements. The scheme will have a budget of € 250 million to support mergers and a budget of € 30 million to stabilise specific credit unions that will be funded via a sector levy. The scheme is valid until 31 October 2015. The Commission found in particular that the measure ensures that the beneficiaries become viable in the long-term through restructuring or merging with sound credit unions and that they contribute to the cost of restructuring. Moreover, the impact on competition is mitigated by the fact that a credit union may only do business with customers fulfilling its membership criteria, for example members drawn from a common location or profession. The Commission had first authorised the scheme in 2014. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the reference SA.41371. 

Read full edition: Daily News 06 – 05 – 2015

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