22 Dec 2014
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 22 DECEMBERBrussels Daily
Passenger rights: Eurobarometer survey shows one in three EU citizens are aware of their rights when travelling
The European Commission released today the results of a new Eurobarometer survey on passenger rights. Nearly one third of EU citizens are aware of their rights and obligations when buying a ticket to travel (31%), although 59 % said to be unaware of them according to the survey. The results also show a very high level of satisfaction among passengers who need assistance due to a disability or reduced mobility: 81% of them were happy with the assistance received. Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said: “Citizens are my number one priority when it comes to European Transport and I want to ensure that they are aware of their rights when travelling. It is important that rights don’t only exist on paper. Today’s survey shows that progress has been made, particularly for persons with a disability or reduced mobility, but clearly more can be done. However let’s not forget that all EU citizens are covered by passenger rights under EU law wherever and however they travel – this is already a brilliant achievement for our Union. Now, our priority will be to make sure all Europeans know their rights when they travel. Let’s work together to achieve this!” For more detailed information click here. Video message from Commissioner Bulc on passenger rights.)
EU to support agriculture sector and improve education in Cambodia
The European Union has announced new funding of total €410 million under its bilateral cooperation with Cambodia over the period 2014-2020 to continue its support to Cambodia’s progress. The funds will help to strengthen agriculture and natural resource management, provide better education and implement governance and administration reforms. Cambodia has achieved outstanding socio-economic progress over the past 10 years. The majority of the population lifted out of poverty however remains highly vulnerable. The EU has therefore decided to increase its support to Cambodia to help the country’s ambitions to further reduce poverty, to promote equitable and sustainable growth and to enhance good governance, democracy and the rule of law. In addition to this bilateral programme, Cambodia will continue receiving support under other EU thematic and regional instruments and programmes. More details are available here.
EU increases humanitarian aid for South Sudan
The European Commission is increasing its life-saving assistance to South Sudan by €7.78 million, bringing its 2014 relief aid for one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises to more than €117 million. The new funds will provide shelter, water, hygiene and protection to the people affected by the conflict. They will also help South Sudanese refugees in Sudan. In addition, the Commission supports the overall refugee response in the Horn of Africa with around €50 million, which includes aid to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. Humanitarian funding from the EU – its Member States and the European Commission – for South Sudan stands at over €273 million in 2014. The conflict in South Sudan has resulted in the death of tens of thousands and the displacement of two million people. More details are available here.
EU releases emergency funds for humanitarian assistance to Libya
The European Commission is giving €2 million in emergency funding to assist scores of Libyans who have been forced to flee their homes because of worsening violence in the country. The funding will provide essential humanitarian assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict. It will be used to provide food, shelter, medical assistance and psycho-social support. The approaching winter will also increase the need for warm clothing, heaters and insulated shelter. “It is clear that there are huge needs and the emergency aid we are providing can be a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable families caught up in the conflict,” said the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. See press release.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Nutreco by SHV
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Nutreco by SHV, both of the Netherlands. Nutreco is active in the production, sale and distribution of nutritional products for fish and livestock animals, under brands such as Trouw and Skretting. SHV operates worldwide in energy distribution (SHV Energy), cash-and-carry wholesale (through Makro stores in South America), heavy lifting and transport activities (Mammoet), mechanical engineering components and industrial services (ERIKS), oil and gas (Dyas), and private equity (NPM Capital). The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the activities of SHV and Nutreco 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.7471.
Mergers: Commission approves IMS Health’s acquisition of parts of Cegedim, subject to conditions
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of part of the customer relationship management and strategic data business of Cegedim S.A. of France by IMS Health of the US. The decision is conditional upon IMS’ commitment to divest parts of its primary market research business and to grant third party access to the structure underlying its sales tracking data, the so-called “brick structure”. The Commission had concerns that the proposed transaction could lead to less choice and higher prices for customers of standardised primary market research services. Also, the Commission had concerns that IMS Health could refuse to give access to its “brick structure” to its competitors. This would have prevented IMS Health’s competitors from competing effectively on the market. The commitments address these concerns. The full press release is available here.
Culture: Europe’s historical sites up for the European heritage label
Today, sixteen historically and culturally important sites around Europe have been recommended to receive the European Heritage Label (EHL). The label celebrates the cultural diversity of the continent and highlights a sense of a shared European belonging. A series of information and educational activities related to the sites will also be organised. The sites have been selected by an independent panel set up by the European Commission, and are spread across 10 Member States. They include sites in Germany (Sites of the Peace of Westphalia in Münster and Osnabrück; Hambach Castle); Greece (the Heart of Ancient Athens); Spain (Archive of the Crown of Aragon; Residencia de Estudiantes); France (Abbey of Cluny; Robert Schuman’s House); Hungary (Pan European Picnic Memorial Park); Italy (Museo Casa Alcide De Gasperi); Lithuania (Kaunas of 1919-1940); Poland (Union of Lublin; the May 3 Constitution of 1791; the historic Gdańsk Shipyard; Portugal (General Library of the University of Coimbra, Charter of Law of Abolition of the death Penalty); and Slovenia (Franja Partisan Hospital). The Commission will formally nominate the sites in February 2015. More information about the EHL and the sites can be found here.