Brussels Daily
11 Nov 2014


Brussels Daily

Ebola experts supported by EU-wide platform: a new initiative on Ebola, as Commissioners prepare to visit affected region

EU Ebola Coordinator Christos Stylianides and Commissioner for Health, Vytenis Andriukaitis will start their four-day visit to the countries most affected by the Ebola epidemic. This is a sign of the political commitment of the European Commission to help bring to an end the Ebola epidemic which has already claimed more than 5000 lives. Just ahead of the mission, today Commissioner Andriukaitis launched a new platform enabling the rapid exchange of information on the treatment and prevention of the Ebola virus disease. The online platform ‘Ebola Communication Platform for Clinicians’ brings together the hospitals and physicians, recognised as reference centres for the treatment of Ebola patients, from across the European Union. The aim of this network is to support preparedness and response against Ebola by linking together expertise on treatment of Ebola patients between health care specialists. This will be of particular value in sharing experience in case persons suffering from Ebola are hospitalised in the European Union. The World Health Organization is associated with this platform which was developed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The setting up of this network was endorsed by the Foreign Affairs Council on the 20th of October. Between 12 and 16 November, the Commissioner for Humanitarian aid and the Commissioner for Health will visit Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The purpose of the mission is to get first-hand assessment of the greatest needs, see how priorities need to be adjusted and determine how Europe can continue to deal with the Ebola challenge in a coordinated way. In their meetings with national leaders, aid agencies, humanitarian workers and Ebola survivors, Commissioner Stylianides and Commissioner Andriukaitis are expected to reconfirm the EU’s commitment to a strong, coordinated action in the fight against the deadly disease. For further information on Ebola, please visit theEuropean Commission’s DG Health website. To learn more about the EU’s response to the epidemic, check the website of DG ECHO.


Employment: Commission proposes €33,5 million from the Globalisation Fund to help former workers in France, Greece and Poland to find new jobs

The European Commission has proposed to provide France with €25.9 million, Greece with €6.4 million and Poland with €1.2 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help redundant workers respectively from Air FranceFokas department stores and Fiat Auto Poland to adapt their skills and facilitate their transition into new jobs. The proposals concern a total of 5,263 workers (3,886 Air France, 600 Fokas department stores, 777 Fiat Auto Poland). EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen commented: “Many sectors and industries in Europe are going through major structural changes, as a consequence of globalisation. The European Globalisation Fund is a concrete expression of European solidarity. It will continue to help Member States to re-integrate people who have lost their job into the labour market and support them to adapt their skills. Through this fund, we are accompanying workers who experience hardship in the difficult transition to new jobs and I have the intention to maximize its performance during the coming years.” Since starting operations in 2007, the EGF has received 130 applications. Some €536 million has been requested to help more than 116,000 workers. In 2013 alone, it provided more than €53.5 million in support. The Fund continues during the 2014-2020 period as an expression of EU solidarity. Press releases with detailed information are available online.




Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of two Polish insurance companies by Aviva Group and BZ WBK

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of two Polish insurance companies by the Aviva Group of the UK and BZ WBK of Poland. The two insurance companies are BZ WBK-Aviva Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń Ogólnych S.A., active in life insurance in Poland and WBK-Aviva Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń na Życie S.A., active in non-life insurance in Poland. The Aviva Group is an international insurance group that is also active in long term savings and fund management. BZ WBK is a Polish bank part of the Santander group, a Spanish group of banking and financial companies, active internationally. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the companies’ moderate combined market shares on the markets concerned. 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.7404. 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Lakeside 1 by TDR Capital

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Lakeside 1 Limited by the private equity fund TDR Capital LLP. Lakeside 1 Limited is active in the market of housing development and community regeneration services in the UK under the trading names ‘Keepmoat’ and ‘Keepmoat Homes’. TDR Capital, which is also based in the UK, has invested in several sectors, including gyms and health clubs (David Lloyd Leisure), vacant property services, modular construction (Algeco), pubs and restaurants, debt purchasing (Lowell Group), logistic pallet return and life assurance. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns due to the companies’ very limited market shares in areas where their activities could be considered to overlap. The case 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.7411.




Commissioner Avramopoulos on “Fundamental Rights: the Pillar for EU Migration Policy”

On 10 November 2014, at the “Fundamental Rights and Migration to the EU” Conference hosted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU in Rome, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “The EU Plan that we intend to develop to counter migrant smuggling will focus both on dismantling of the criminal networks, through reinforced intelligence sharing, investigation capacities, and prosecution, and on prevention, through information campaigns about the dangers of being smuggled to the EU and enhanced cooperation with third countries. This last point, namely the cooperation with third countries, is of key importance. We need to continue to strengthen our policy dialogue with countries of origin and transit. These dialogues need to be matched with financial and operational support, to demonstrate real achievements and build trust amongst stakeholders. […We also intend to reinforce and expand Regional Development and Protection Programmes in North Africa and in the Horn of Africa in order to stabilise refugee populations in transit countries and improve the situation of people in need of international protection on their way to Europe.” The full speech is available online.

Climate and Energy Commissioner Arias Cañete on the EU’s role as global leader in Climate Action

At the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said: “The climate is changing, and, as it does, its effects are becoming more and more apparent for the everyday lives of our citizens, households and businesses. The IPCC scientific findings are clear enough in this regard. But they also provide a message of hope, as underlined by the Fifth Assessment Report. This message is clear: it remains within our power to tackle climate change and limit global warming to less than 2°C. We have a choice and we must have the political courage to act now, with ambition and collectively. This needs to be our common political commitment in the coming months and years, and I am confident that I will be able to also count on you to show that the European Union maintains its global leadership on climate action. Our action on the 2030 framework and its further development will steer, in my view, international action. The EU must set a global example in terms of climate action. Our determination must be seen as an invitation to other major international players to come forward with their intended greenhouse gas reduction contributions.” The full speech is available online.



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