12 Jan 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 12 JANUARYBrussels Daily
Outcome of the International Ministerial Meeting on Charlie Hebdo, Paris, Sunday 11 January
Yesterday, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos participated in an International Ministerial Meeting on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, organised by the French Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve. Taking place at the French Ministry of Interior, the meeting brought together several European Ministers of the Interior as well as US and Canadian partners to discuss European and international efforts against terrorism. At the meeting, Commissioner Avramopoulos said: “We are gathered here today in order to express our solidarity to France, to the French people and to the families of the victims. We are here to declare our determination to move ahead in the spirit of solidarity in order to combat terrorism. We are united and determined. “Concluding the meeting, the Ministers adopted a joint declaration on the Fight against Terrorism. More information on the EU’s contribution to the Fight against Terrorism is available online.
Eurobarometer: As European Year for Development kicks off, new figures show increased EU citizens’ support for development
Today, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, presented a new Eurobarometer survey to mark the beginning of the European Year for Development. Figures show that the number of people who are in favour of increasing aid has gone up significantly, and Europeans continue to feel very positively about development and cooperation. 67% of respondents across Europe think that development aid should be increased – a higher percentage than in recent years, despite the economic situation. 85% believe that it is important to help people in developing countries. See Press Release.
For more information on the event calendar of the European Year for Development 2015, please visit http://europa.eu/eyd2015. The Special Eurobarometer can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb_special_439_420_en.htm#421
New prudential rules for banks and the insurance sector to become EU law
The European Parliament and the Council have given their backing to three new rules designed to bolster the resilience of Europe’s banking and insurance sector. These delegated acts will help promote high quality securitisation, ensure that banks have sufficient liquid assets in testing circumstances and introduce international comparability to leverage ratios. They will enable the financial sector to support the wider economy without jeopardising financial stability. EU Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “It is good news for investment in Europe that these new rules have been agreed. They strengthen the resilience of the financial sector but also support efforts to boost jobs, growth and investment. They recognise the diversity of our financial sector as well as the importance of certain financial instruments, especially high quality securitisation. By encouraging safe and transparent securitisation, they will make it more attractive for long-term investments.These first steps on the treatment of high quality securitisations will also be developed further as part of our work to stimulate growth through the development of a Capital Markets Union.” These rules on high quality securitisation will also support other growth-friendly initiatives, including the EU’s Investment Plan (see IP/14/2128) and the Capital Markets Union. The Solvency II rules will apply from 1 January 2016 and the detailed liquidity coverage requirement from 1 October 2015. To find out more, see IP/14/1119 and MEMO/15/3120.
Commission seeks views on spectrum use for wireless broadband
Radio waves know no borders and are an essential resource to develop innovative digital services for citizens. At the moment, the 700 megahertz band is mainly used for digital terrestrial television (mostly received via rooftop antennas and free-to-air) and wireless audio equipment. But these frequencies are also particularly well suited to provide wireless broadband at higher speeds and with better geographical coverage. In order to use the band in the most effective way across the EU, the European Commission is today launching a public consultation. Stakeholders are invited to give their views on the options proposed in the report presented by former Commissioner Pascal Lamy in September 2014. The consultation will run until 12 April 2015 and will help the Commission define a common position in the area of spectrum management. Breaking down national silos and developing a harmonised approach to radio spectrum between Member States is key to creating a European Digital Single Market, which is a priority for the Juncker Commission. Full text and public consultation in all EU languages.
State aid: Commission orders Cyprus to recover incompatible aid from national air carrier Cyprus Airways
On Friday 9 January, the European Commission announced that following an in-depth investigation, it had concluded that a restructuring aid package of over €100 million for Cyprus’ ailing flag carrier Cyprus Airways gave the company an undue advantage over its competitors in breach of EU state aid rules. Cyprus Airways therefore needs to pay back all incompatible aid received. In particular, the Commission found that Cyprus Airways had no realistic perspective of becoming viable without continued state subsidies. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Cyprus Airways has received large quantities of public money since 2007 but was unable to restructure and become viable without continued state support. Therefore, injecting additional public money would only have prolonged the struggle without achieving a turn-around. Companies need to be profitable based on own merits and their ability to compete and cannot and should not rely on taxpayer money to stay in the market artificially.” See press release.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of MHI Compressor International by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Corporation
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over MHI Compressor International Corporation (“MCO-I”) of the US by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (“MHI”) and Mitsubishi Corporation (“MC”) both of Japan. MCO-I is currently indirectly controlled by MHI. MHI is an international supplier of heavy industrial machinery. MC is involved in global trading activities. MCO-I manages the North American sales and marketing aspect of MHI group business in compressors, compressor trains and related after-sales services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because there are no overlaps between the companies’ activities. 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.7467.
Commission approves “Potjesvlees uit de Westhoek” as a new Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)
The Commission has approved (Official Journal) the addition of a new Belgian product to the register of Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs). “Potjesvlees uit de Westhoek” is a slightly sour preparation made of 3 types of white meats (chicken, veal and rabbit) in light jelly. Based on a household recipe used originally for dishes for summer fairs, Potjevlees is now produced throughout the year by local butchers in the Westhoek region of West Flanders, near the Belgian coast. The denomination will be added to the list of more than 1,250 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.