Employment: Commission report shows increased wage growth and swifter transitions from unemployment to employment
Today, the Commission published its yearly report on Labour Market and Wage Developments in Europe. This year’s edition confirms the positive labour market trends that have been witnessed in the EU. EU employment has surpassed pre-crisis levels with more than 235 million people at work. Unemployment which now stands at 7.6% is also approaching levels prior to the recession. In addition, the report shows that it has become easier for unemployed people to find a job, and that wages increased in almost all Member States – in the euro area they rose by 1.2% in 2016. On the other hand, more flexible working arrangements have brought advantages to both firms and individuals, but have led in some cases to a divide between workers holding different types of contracts, with people in temporary employment and self-employment being less well protected. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: “More and more people in Europe are able to find a job and we witness the highest employment level ever recorded. Europe is reaping the benefits of targeted policy reforms. At the same time we need to address further challenges. We must ensure fair working conditions and protection for all workers, independent of their employment status. On the basis of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which we launched on 26 April, we are working to modernise the rules on employment contracts and social protection to achieve better working and living conditions across the EU.” More information can be found in the press release online. The report is available here.
Investment Plan in Portugal: inauguration of Mecachrome titanium manufacturing plant in Évora
After receiving support from the Investment Plan for Europe, Mecachrome Aeronáutica today inaugurated its new plant for manufacturing titanium parts for aircraft engines in Évora, Portugal. The European Investment Bank has provided the Mecachrome group with a €40 million loan aimed at supporting the modernisation and expansion of its production capacities for advanced aero engine and aero structure components. The project will create 300 new jobs in Portugal. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “The Investment Plan for Europe is once again supporting an innovative project in Portugal with a €40 million loan. Using cutting-edge technology, this new environmentally-friendly factory in Évora will create 300 permanent jobs in Portugal and it will be a leading manufacturer of titanium parts for aircraft engines in Europe. I am proud that Portugal is making full use of the Juncker Plan: it is now ranked second out of 28 in total investment mobilised relative to GDP.” For more information and the latest Investment Plan results see the Investment Plan website.
Bulgaria joins the European cooperation on high-performance computing
Bulgaria became today the tenth Member State to sign the EuroHPC declaration on high-performance computing (HPC). The initiative aims at joining efforts to make world-class HPC infrastructure available across the EU. Bulgarian Minister for Education and Science, Krasimir Valchev signed the declaration this morning in Sofia, Bulgaria in the presence of Commissioner Gabriel in charge of Digital economy and society. Commissioner Gabriel said: “I am very pleased to welcome Bulgaria in this bold European initiative. High-performance computing is pervasive in our daily lives: from personalised medicine to weather forecast, cybersecurity and to cars and planes simulation and design. Access to HPC resources is essential for public and private users. As no Member State has the capacity to develop such computing power quickly and on their own, strong cooperation and support at European level is a must.” The EuroHPC declaration was originally launched and signed in Rome in March 2017 during the Digital Day by France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Belgium signed the declaration in June 2017 and Slovenia in July 2017. Other Member States are expected to join soon, as the top HPC infrastructure has the potential to significantly upraise industry competitiveness and EU’s innovation capacity. Switzerland has also promised to join the European common effort to deploy world-class high-performance computing infrastructure capable of at least 1018 calculations per second (so-called exascale computers). More details are available here.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of FTE by Valeo, subject to conditions
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of FTE by Valeo, both automotive equipment suppliers. The decision is conditional on the divestment of Valeo’s passive hydraulic actuators business to the Italian car parts supplier Raicam. More information here
Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Abertis by Atlantia
The Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Abertis by Atlantia, both leading companies in toll road and infrastructure management. The Commission examined the impact of the proposed transaction on the markets where the companies’ activities overlap, mainly: (i) the management of toll motorway concessions; (ii) the provision of electronic toll services, in which Atlantia’s Telepass system is a strong player; and (iii) the provision of equipment and services for intelligent transport systems. Additionally, the investigation looked at the effect of the transaction on a number of related markets, in particular food services on motorway service areas, given that Atlantia’s largest shareholder Edizione is also the majority shareholder of food services provider Autogrill. The Commission concluded that the merged entity would continue to face effective competition in the relevant markets. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Together, Atlantia and Abertis would be the largest toll motorway operator not only in Europe but also in the world. We can approve the transaction because our analysis under EU merger control found that the European markets for motorway concessions will remain competitive”. A full press release is available in here
Mergers: Commission clears joint acquisition of Tata Technologies by Warburg Pincus and Tata Motors
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control of Tata Technologies of India, by Warburg Pincus of the US and Tata Motors of India. Tata Technologies supplies outsourced engineering and product development IT services to the global manufacturing industry. Warburg Pincus is a global private equity firm active in a variety of sectors through its portfolio companies. Tata Motors is active in the automobile industry. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the absence of horizontal overlaps or vertical links between the activities of the companies. 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.8607.
First Vice-President Timmermans hosts a Citizens’ Dialogue in Siracusa, Italy
This afternoon at 17.00-18.30, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans will take part in a Citizens’ Dialogue in Siracusa, Italy. This is the second Dialogue Mr Timmermans has organised in Siracusa, after promising last summer at the end of his previous Dialogue to come back for a follow-up discussion with local citizens. Today’s event will be streamed live online here. A short video with highlights of the First Vice-President’s previous Citizens’ Dialogues is available here. During his trip to Sicily, the First Vice-President will also visit the Pozzallo Hotspot, and meet with Mr Giancarlo Garozzo, Mayor of Siracusa and other local representatives to discuss the results of citizens’ projects, supported by the Commission, on identification of best practices in hospitality and integration of migrants in Campania, Calabria and Sicily.
Migration and security: Commissioners Avramopoulos and King attend G6 meeting in Sevilla
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King will participate in the G6 meeting of Ministers of Interior in Sevilla, Spain on Monday together with the Interior Ministers of Spain, France, Italy and Poland and the State Secretary of the German Ministry of Interior. The Minister of Interior of Morocco will also participate in the meeting. Discussions will focus on cooperation in the fight against terrorism and on migration.