|Eurostat: Annual inflation down to 1.1% in the euro area
Euro area annual inflation rate was 1.1% in February 2018, down from 1.3% in January. In February 2017, the rate was 2.0%. European Union annual inflation was 1.3% in February 2018, down from 1.6% in January. A year earlier the rate was 2.0%. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. A Eurostat press release is available here.
Eurostat: Annual growth in labour costs at 1.5% in euro area
Hourly labour costs rose by 1.5% in the euro area (EA19) and by 2.3% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the third quarter of 2017, hourly labour costs increased by 1.6% and 2.2% respectively. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. A Eurostat press release is available here.
Eurostat: Job vacancy rate at 2.0% in both euro area and EU28
The job vacancy rate in the euro area (EA19) was 2.0% in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 1.9% recorded in the previous quarter and from 1.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to figures published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the EU28, the job vacancy rate was 2.0% in the fourth quarter of 2017, stable compared with the previous quarter, but up from 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016. A Eurostat press release is available here.
Startup Europe connects European ecosystems and supports scale up expansion
Over 200 founders, policy makers and project managers will attend the very first Startup Europe “Campfire” in Paris next Monday 19 March. This Campfire will see the official launch of the new Startup Europe for Growth projects whose aim is that startups and tech entrepreneurs achieve market success. The event itself will focus on new opportunities for startups and on the role of governments on, for example, unlocking access to markets for founders through policy, collaboration and partnerships. The Startup Europe Campfire is also the excellent moment to announce the 2018 edition of the European Maker Week that will take place on 12-19 May. On this occasion, Vice-President Andrus Ansip in charge of the Digital Single Market said: “The Maker Movement represents a new way of allowing people – anyone – to become an entrepreneur, using the right technology even without specific training. Its approach to creativity will help build bridges between innovators and small and medium-sized enterprises, in turn helping Europe’s startups to grow, expand and succeed. I am sure that this year’s European Maker Week will be another success story, I wish the makers of Europe success – and fun”. During the upcoming European Maker Week, key stakeholders in each local community will be able to discuss the role of the Maker Movement in areas such as education, entrepreneurship, workforce development, manufacturing, community revitalisation and community-based problem solving. They can already register their events. The European Maker Week is an initiative promoted by European Commission and implemented by Maker Faire Rome in collaboration with Startup Europe. A factsheet on Startup Europe is available here and you can find more information here.
Banking regulation: Commission launches consultation on the finalisation of Basel III
Today the Commission Services are launching an exploratory consultation on the last piece of banking regulatory reform that was launched at international level during the financial crisis and which was agreed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in December 2017. The consultation aims to gather views from interested parties on the potential impact that amendments may have on the EU banking sector and the wider economy, as well as to highlight possible implementation challenges. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “EU banking regulation must provide a foundation for a stable banking system that supports the European economy. International cooperation in this matter is crucial to ensure financial stability and a level playing field for banks globally. The measures that were agreed by the Basel Committee represent the last major piece of the regulatory reform that was launched in the wake of the financial crisis. It is now essential that all major jurisdictions implement all elements of this agreement. The Commission will now carry out a thorough and detailed impact assessment and today’s targeted consultation is the first step.” The implementation of this agreement in the EU would require amendments to current banking regulations, in particular the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR). Before considering such amendments, the Commission will carry out a thorough impact assessment, in accordance with its Better Regulation agenda. The results of this consultation will inform the Commission’s overall assessment. Respondents are encouraged to provide as much evidence as possible using this link.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Diamond Transmission Partners by Diamond Transmission Corporation and Infrared Capital Partners
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Diamond Transmission Partners BBE (Holding) Limited by Diamond Transmission Corporation Limited (“DTC”) and Infrared Capital Partners Limited (“IRCP”), all of the UK. Diamond Transmission Partners is an offshore transmission owner for the ‘Burbo Bank Extension offshore windfarm, active in the transmission of electricity from this windfarm to the UK’s national electricity transmission system. It is currently solely controlled by DTC, a holding company with activities in the electricity transmission sector. IRCP is an infrastructure investment management company active in financial advice and managing investments on behalf of investment funds. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there are no overlaps between the companies’ activities. 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.8728.
Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of Maersk Product Tankers by APMH Invest and Mitsui
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Maersk Product Tankers A/S of Denmark by APMH Invest A/S of Denmark and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. of Japan. Maersk Product Tankers A/S is active in the maritime tramp vessel sector for the transport of liquid bulk products, specifically refined oil products and certain chemicals. APMH Invest A/S is a holding company with interests in banking, infrastructure and financial investments in fixed income and securities. Mitsui & Co., Ltd is pursuing business that ranges from product sales, worldwide logistics and financing through to the development of major infrastructure and other projects. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the limited impact it would have on the market. 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.8697. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Schoeller Allibert by Brookfield and Schoeller Industries
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the joint acquisition of Schoeller Allibert of the Netherlands by Schoeller Industries, also of the Netherlands and Brookfield, of Canada. Schoeller Allibert is a manufacturer of returnable plastic packaging for material handling. Schoeller Industries belongs to the Schoeller group and is active in returnable packaging solutions, supply chain systems and intellectual property services. Brookfield is a global asset manager. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the limited overlaps between the companies’ activities and the presence of several alternative competitors. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8795.
Commissioner Avramopoulos in Niger for Ministerial Conference Against Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos is in Niamey, Niger today to participate in the Conference Against Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking with Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs of countries from the European Union, the Sahel region, West Africa and North Africa. Participants include delegations from France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Libya, Mali and Mauritania. Hosted by the Nigerien Minister of Interior, the conference is an opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation on migration and follow-up to the leaders meeting held in France in August 2017. A joint statement will be issued this afternoon and will be available here.
Vice-President Katainen in Helsinki, Monday 19 March
Vice-President Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, travels to Helsinki, Finland, on Monday 19 March. He will visit the EPIQUS Social Impact Bond Project in Vantaato with journalists. The project, which is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), provides fast-track integration training and job-matching for migrants and refugees. Also during his visit, the Vice-President will attend a hearing by the Finnish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee on “Multiannual Financial Framework Post 2020 – reforming the framework programme on research and innovation”. In addition, Vice-President Katainen will meet Mr Samu Konttinen, CEO of F-Secure and Mr Mikko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer of F-Secure to discuss cyber threats, dual-use products and F-Secure strategy. He will meet Mr Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of both F-Secure and the Nokia Board of Directors, to discuss artificial intelligence. The Vice-President will also meet with Mr Petteri Orpo, Minister of Finance, and Mr Jyri Häkämies, CEO Confederation of Finnish Industries. Furthermore, he will deliver a keynote address at a seminar on the Future of European Defence, organized by the Advisory Board for Defence Information, where he will present EU defence cooperation and its future.