19 Nov 2014
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 19 NOVEMBERBrussels Daily
Commissioner Malmström’s first speech on TTIP and Consumers
On 18 November, Commissioner for Trade Cecila Malmström participated in a conference at the European Parliament entitled “TTIP and Consumers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, where she said: “First, we can and we must negotiate an agreement that responds to European consumers’ needs and concerns. It cannot be bad or ugly. And second, we can only do that if we work cooperatively with all the different political forces and civil society organisations across our continent, and with our partners on the other side of the Atlantic.” See full speech
Orientation debate in College on Transparency Initiative
Today the College of Commissioners framed the Transparency Initiative which is at the core of President Juncker’s political guidelines. The discussion focused on the implementation of this initiative to assure more transparency when it comes to contacts between Commissioners, their Cabinets and Directors-General on the one hand and interest groups and individuals registered in the Transparency Registry on the other hand. This is already partly reflected in the working methods adopted by the European Commission on 12 November 2014, underlining that a commitment to transparency should characterise the work of all the members of the Commission. As of 1 December 2014, all Members of the Commission are expected to make public on the Commission’s website all contacts and meetings held with stakeholders and lobbyists.
€28 million package for Baltic Milk Producers
The European Commission yesterday confirmed its intention to adopt a €28m support package for milk producers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This new package will be the latest in a series adopted by the European Commission in response to the Russian ban on the importation of certain EU agricultural products. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said “I am very conscious of the significant impact that the Russian ban has had on dairy producers in the three Baltic countries given their exposure to the Russian market and the drop in prices. When we look at the share of national production previously exported to Russia and the drop in prices since the start of the crisis, we see that the dairy sectors in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have been particularly adversely affected. I am pleased, therefore, that the Commission intend to provide support in the form of a financial envelope for each of the three countries which will support those dairy farmers which, as a result of the Russian ban, are encountering liquidity problems in exceptional circumstances.” See press release
Commission proposes shortlisted names for Single Resolution Board Chair and Vice-Chair
The European Commission has today proposed a shortlist of candidates for the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Single Resolution Board (SRB), the European Resolution Authority for the Banking Union. The shortlists are (in alphabetical order): Chair Mr Luc COENE, Ms Elke KÖNIG, Mr Philippe MAYSTADT; Vice-Chair Mr Pentti HAKKARAINEN, Ms Arianne Joanne KELLERMANN, Mr Timo LÖYTTYNIEMI. The shortlists will now be transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council will also be informed. The Commission will then adopt a proposal for the appointment of the Chair and Vice-Chair in view of submitting it to the European Parliament for approval. Once the European Parliament has given its approval on the Commission’s proposal for each of the two functions, the Council (acting by qualified majority) shall adopt implementing decisions to appoint the Chair and Vice-Chair. This will be an important step towards making the Single Resolution Board, which is the second pillar of the Banking Union, operational. The shortlisted candidates were chosen though an open selection procedure following publication of vacancy notices on 10 July 2014. The Chair and Vice-Chair are appointed for a limited term; the Chair initially for a period of three years, renewable once for another five years; the Vice-Chair for a period of five years, non-renewable. Meanwhile, the nomination process for the other four members of the Board is on-going.
EU-Georgia sign financing agreement in support of regional development
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and Irakli Garibashvili the Prime Minister of Georgia meet in Brussels on 18 November and signed a Financing Agreement launching a new programme in support of regional development in Georgia. Following the Meeting, Commissioner Hahn said: “I am particularly glad to sign the financing agreement of the Programme ‘Support to Regional Development – Phase II’. As you know, Regional Policy is a crucial area for the EU. This policy has brought tangible results in areas such as transport networks and infrastructure, job creation, innovation and reduction of disparities between regions. Cohesion Policy has played a key role in the transformation of the EU Member States which have joined in 2004. This success story is something that the EU is happy to share with its neighbours. In the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative, we encourage policy dialogue and cooperation in the field of regional development. It is about sharing our experience and key elements of the EU cohesion policy, adapting it to the situation in Georgia. This €30 million programme we sign today will build upon results achieved through a first phase of the regional development programme implemented between 2011 and 2013. This long-term cooperation demonstrates the increasing maturity of the policy-making process in Georgia, which allows the EU to provide more in depth support based on foundations set earlier.”
European Commission welcomes European Court of Justice ruling in ClientEarth’s case against the UK government over its failure to tackle air pollution
The European Commission welcomes today’s ruling of the European Court of Justice, following the referral by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom of four questions regarding the interpretation and application of the Air Quality Directive in the UK, including Greater London. The case was brought by NGO ClientEarth, which took the UK government to Court, claiming it was in breach of its legal duty to ensure limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution (NOx) were met. The Commission is now looking closely at today’sruling, which appears to confirm the duty of all EU Member States to protect European citizens and deliver on air quality standards within a reasonable time. It is now for the UK Supreme Court to apply the interpretation of the Air Quality Directive to the case before it.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of PalaisQuartier by RREEF and of MyZeil by RREEF and ECE
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of PalaisQuartier by RREEF Spezial Invest GmbH, both of Germany, and the joint acquisition of the shopping centre MyZeil, which is part of PalaisQuartier, by RREEF and ECE Projektmanagement GmbH & Co. KG, also of Germany. RREEF, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Bank Group, manages property funds in Germany and invests in property worldwide. ECE is a manager and consultant company of commercial property. PalaisQuartier is a property portfolio consisting of a shopping centre (MyZeil), a car park, office buildings, catering services, event facilities and a hotel. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the companies’ moderate market positions resulting from the transaction and the presence of a number of strong players in the German real estate market. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7416.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of DL Germany and DL Italy by MAPFRE
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Direct Line Versicherung Aktiengesellschaft of Germany (“DL Germany”) and Direct Line Insurance S.p.A. of Italy (“DL Italy”) by MAPFRE S.A. of Spain. MAPFRE is a global insurance and reinsurance company. DL Germany and DL Italy concentrate their activities on non-life insurance products (mainly motor insurance), in Germany and Italy respectively. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the companies’ moderate combined market shares on the markets concerned. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case registerunder the case number M.7431.
September 2014 compared with August 2014: Production in construction down by 1.8% in euro area
In September 2014 compared with August 2014, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector fell by 1.8% in the euro area (EA18) and by 0.9% in the EU28, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In August 20143, production in construction grew by 0.7% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU28. In September 2014 compared with September 2013, production in construction fell by 1.7% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU28.
High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Mimica attend High Level Partnership Forum for Somalia in Copenhagen
High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, and European Commissioner for International Co-operation and Development, Neven Mimica, will attend the High Level Partnership Forum for Somalia in Copenhagen. The event will be co-chaired by the President of Somalia, the Federal Government of Somalia and the UN and is hosted by Denmark. This will be the first high level meeting taking stock of progress since the EU-Somalia Conference in Brussels (16 September 2013), which endorsed the Somali Compact, agreeing on a partnership framework that looks ahead to elections in Somalia in 2016. Significant progress has taken place in the past months which should not be hindered by the current political tensions. The EU has engaged comprehensively in providing support to the post-transition process, the security gains and the overall New Deal process and programmes. Inclusive politics and dialogue remain the main avenue to address Somalia’s challenges. The Copenhagen conference should provide renewed impetus to the political process and signal our joint commitment to a stable and Federal Somalia.The meeting will be an excellent opportunity to discuss the best ways to move forward a complex political process and restate our support to a Somali-driven state building processes that the EU has consistently supported.
Commissioner Hill visits Paris on Thursday, 20 November
Commissioner Jonathan Hill will be travelling to Paris this week for the first trip of his mandate as Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. During his visit he will meet Emmanuel Macron, Minister of the Economy; Michel Sapin, Minister for Finance; Steven Maijppr, Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority; representatives of the French Banking Federation; Henri de Castries, Chairman of Axa; Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Secretary General of the President of France; Jean Pisani-Ferry, Commissioner General for Policy Planning; and Philippe Leglise-Costa, Secretary-General of European Affairs in the office of the Prime Minister.
Energy and Climate Commissioner Arias Cañete attends Atlantic Council Energy & Economic Summit in Istanbul
This Thursday 20 November Energy and Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will deliver keynote remarks at the Summit’s opening in addition to participating in a plenary session on “Critical Sources of Energy Supply Demand in the 21st Century.” The Atlantic Council has been a nonpartisan institution devoted to promoting transatlantic cooperation and international security. In the margins of the Summit Commissioner Arias Cañetewill also bilaterally meet with the Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, US Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz and IEA’s Chief Economist Fatih Birol.More information on the site of the Atlantic Council Energy & Economic Summit.