16 Jan 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 16 JANUARYBrussels Daily
WTO condemns Argentinian import restrictions
The WTO Appellate Body confirmed that Argentina cannot any longer impose restrictive requirements on firms wishing to import goods into the country. The EU efforts to help European companies export to Argentina consequently proved fruitful. For more information on this subject please look here.
State aid: Commission publishes non-confidential version of decision to open an investigation into transfer pricing arrangements on corporate taxation of Amazon (Luxembourg)
Today, the Commission has published the non-confidential version of the decision taken on 7 October 2014 to open an in-depth investigation into transfer pricing arrangements on corporate taxation of Amazon in Luxembourg. The decision is available under the case number SA.38944 on the DG Competition website. A technical briefing on background, for accredited journalists only, will take place in Aquarium 4 (BERL) of the European Commission, directly after the midday press conference.
Ebola: EU steps up fight against Ebola with new research projects
The EU has acted decisively since the early stages of the current Ebola crisis and is today announcing its latest actions in the field of research. Eight research projects to develop vaccines rapid diagnostics tests are being funded with a total of €215 million. The projects are run under the new Ebola+ programme of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and funded jointly by the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry. €114 million come from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research funding programme, and the remaining €101 million from the pharmaceutical companies involved in the projects. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: “There is no vaccine or treatment against Ebola as yet, so we must urgently step up our efforts in Ebola research. With this funding from Horizon 2020 and our industry partners, we are speeding up the development of an Ebola vaccine as well as rapid diagnostic tests to aid heroic health workers. These are the tools we need to defeat Ebola once and for all.” In parallel, another project is now on site in Guinea to monitor the Ebola crisis and improve preparedness, planning, and operational effectiveness of future interventions in case of similar outbreaks or pandemics. The European Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control will in the next days also deploy four teams of French-speaking epidemiologists to support surveillance and response at community level. The full press release is available online.
A successful euro changeover in Lithuania
Lithuania’s changeover from the litas to the euro has been smooth and successful. As of today, it is no longer possible to make payments in Lithuanian litas, the 15 days dual circulation period having ended on 15 January. No major problems were encountered and banks, post offices and retailers coped well with the extra workload caused by the changeover process and the parallel handling of two currencies. According to a Commission survey, on Wednesday 14 January 2015, nearly nine out of ten citizens made cash payments in shops in euro only. Virtually all customers were getting their change in euro. About two out of three citizens polled said they carry only euro cash in their wallets. Read a full memo here
EU support for Georgia: Green light for new Financing Agreement and tailor made Facility for SMEs
During his visit to Georgia on 15-16 January, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations signed together with Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili a Financing Agreement worth €44.5 million for a new programme to help Georgia implement the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and promote the private sector development. Commissioner Hahn said: “This new programme is a clear signal of the EU’s determination to support Georgia with the implementation of the Association Agreement and the DCFTA which will facilitate Georgia’s economic integration into the EU market. Georgia has rightly recognised the need to promote small businesses as a way to foster a sustainable economic development and inclusive economic growth. We respond to this need with a Facility for SMEs which complements the new DCFTA programme and which is designed to meet the specific requirements of small and medium businesses”. Press release available here.
Eurostat – Annual inflation down to -0.2% in the euro area
Euro area annual inflation was -0.2% in December2014, down from 0.3% in November. This was the lowest rate recorded since September 2009. In December 2013 the rate was 0.8%. European Union annual inflation was -0.1% in December2014, down from 0.3% in November. A year earlier the rate was 1.0%. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Full Eurostat press release is available here.