EU Investment Offensive: Commission and EIB launch fi-compass, a new advisory service on financial instruments
On 19 January, the European Commission, in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB), is launching fi-compass, a new advisory service on financial instruments under the European Structural and Investment Funds. It will form a key component of a “one stop shop” advisory hub, to be launched in the summer as an important part of the EU Investment Plan. The work to deliver the Investment Plan is moving fast. Just 50 days after President Juncker announced plans for an EU investment offensive, the Commission has already launched a legislative proposal for the European Fund for Strategic Investments to mobilise at least €315 billion in private and public investment across the European Union. With the launch of fi-compass, the Commission and European Investment Bank are now moving quickly to deliver on the technical arm of the Investment Plan – with an advisory hub to provide necessary financial and technical support. This platform will be an important enabler for Member States to make use of financial instruments under the European Structural and Investment Funds, as Cohesion policy will play a central part in reaching the objectives of the Investment Plan, in terms of strategic and fruitful investments, job creation and sustainable growth. This new fi-compass platform will be launched during a two-day conference attended by European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen responsible for Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu, and European Investment Bank Vice-President Wilhelm Molterer. They will join Member States and regions at this high-level conference to exchange experience and best practice on the design and use of these instruments. The full press release is available online. Vice-President Katainen delivered a speech at the conference which is also available online.
Mergers: Commission clears two Japanese electricity joint ventures
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of two joint ventures by Oji Green and Itochu Enex, both of Japan. Oji Green is active in the sale of pulp and wood products, plantation and energy business. Itochu Enex sells energy-related products, such as petroleum products, gas and electricity, as well as vehicles and related products, such as vehicle fuels. The two joint ventures will respectively produce and sell electricity in Japan. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, because the joint ventures will not be active within the European Economic Area. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’scompetition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7468.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Neovia by Rhône Capital and Goldman Sachs
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Neovia Logistics, LLC by Rhône Capital, LLC and the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., all of the United States. Rhône Capital is a private equity firm. Goldman Sachs is a global investment banker. Neovia provides logistics and supply chain services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the companies’ activities do not overlap. 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.7472.
EUROSTAT: Production in construction down by 0.1% in euro area
In November 2014 compared with October 2014, seasonally adjusted production in the construction1 sector fell by 0.1% in the euro area (EA18) and by 0.2% in the EU28, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In October 2014, production in construction grew by 1.1% and 0.5% respectively. In November 2014 compared with November 2013, production in construction grew by 2.2% in the euro area and by 2.5% in the EU28. Eurostat press release available here.
The EU and Morocco strike a deal on the protection of Geographical Indications
The European Union and Morocco have concluded negotiations on an agreement to mutually protect their Geographical Indications (GIs) on Friday, 16 January. Through this agreement Morocco and the EU will ensure high level protection for their respective GIs for food products. Also aimed at promoting and fostering trade relations in agricultural products and foodstuffs produced in Morocco and the European Union, the text of the agreement was initialled today at chief negotiator’s level. The press release is available online.
Commissioner Mimica in New York for start of post-2015 negotiations
On 19 and 20 January, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will attend the first session of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda in New York and have a series of bilateral meetings with UN partners, including President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, and Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson. The post-2015 development agenda will address the challenges of both eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development. There will be a series of monthly negotiation sessions in New York until the end of July, to prepare the outcome of a major UN Summit that will take place in September 2015.