26 Sep 2014
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 26 SEPTEMBERBrussels Daily
President Barroso is today in Otawa to take part in the Canada – EU Summit. The joint press conference of the Summit will start at 6 pm Brussels time. President Barroso’s speaking points and the Summit Declaration will be published afterwards.
The summit is an opportunity to celebrate the successful end of negotiations on two EU-Canada treaties: the EU-Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) . The leaders will also discuss global issues including Ukraine, Syria and Iraq.
Ahead of the Summit, President Barroso said: “Canada is one of the European Union’s oldest and closest partners. And now that our negotiating teams have completed their work on both the CETA and the SPA we can really talk about a comprehensive strategic partnership.” (see IP/14/1045 and MEMO/14/540)
After the Summit, President Barroso will travel together with Prime Minister Harper to Toronto for a business event to be attended by some 700 business leaders from European companies based in Canada and from Canadian companies. Representatives from local politics and academia will also attend.
The European Commission has pledged over €11 billion to renew its support to reform efforts in the Western Balkans and Turkey for the next 7 years. This funding will be available through the new Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II).
“This renewed assistance is very good news for the enlargement region. It will help support those countries with a European perspective to implement reforms that will directly impact citizens, help them move forward on their path to the EU and build bridges with their neighbours”, said European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.
A room with a seaside view is a luxury for most. But when storms rage and waters rise, the same view can be terrifying. Two EU-funded projects are keeping people and their homes safe with the creation of an early warning system for coastal storms, and a system to help local authorities, builders and developers plan wisely. Coastal areas are particularly at risk from flooding, with the impact of high population densities, erosion and rising sea levels due to climate change increasing the likelihood of high waters. The damage can however be reduced if communities are able to prepare in advance for severe weather and potential floods, and if flood risk is considered when designing and building infrastructure and homes. This is where the MICORE and THESEUS projects come in.
Today the Commission further strengthened the protection of consumers, in particular babies and young children. It restricted the use of two parabens (Butyl and Propylparaben) and one more preservative – a mixture of Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) from leave-on products, to reduce skin allergens.
In this way, the Commission guarantees the maximum degree of consumer safety while at the same time making sure that the products European consumers use on a daily basis are free from pathogens.
The Commission decision follows an assessment by the independent Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), an advisory body which carried out a careful risk assessment of the substances before recommending their restriction or ban.
Erasmus +, le nouveau programme européen pour l’éducation, la jeunesse et le sport, est présenté ce lundi (29 septembre à 10:00) par Androulla Vassiliou, commissaire européen à l’éducation, la culture, le multilinguisme et la jeunesse, au cours de la conférence organisée à la Cité Universitaire Internationale (espace Adenauer) (Paris). Le programme dispose d’un budget total de 14,7 milliards d’euros, ce qui représente 40% de plus que les programmes précédents couvrant la période 2007-2013. Plus de quatre millions de personnes, soit presque deux fois plus que précédemment, obtiendront un soutien de l’UE pour étudier, se former, acquérir une expérience de travail ou faire du bénévolat à l’étranger d’ici 2020. Plus de 500.000 français devraient bénéficier de bourses dans le cadre d’Erasmus+ d’ici à 2020.
Conference: Protecting our societies and our citizens’ rights
What are the main future challenges to the EU internal security and how can EU actions contribute to better protecting European citizens’ rights and societies?
Ahead of the adoption in early 2015 of a renewed EU Internal Security Strategy ( IP/14/693), the Commission is organising on Monday (29 September) a high level conference with representatives from Member States, the European Parliament, international organisations, private sector, civil society and academia.
Participants will discuss ways to step up the EU’s response to threats common to all Member States such as organised crime, trafficking in human beings, terrorism, cybercrime, corruption, and other security challenges.
In addition, a public consultation has been launched in June. All interested actors have until 3 October 2014 to share their views.
Taking place in Brussels, at the Committee of the Regions, the conference will be web-streamed live on 29 September. Join ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/index_en.htm , from 09:00 to 17:00.
Today the European Commission published a handbook to help EU Member States take action against marriages of convenience between EU citizens and non-EU nationals in the context of EU law on free movement. The Commission prepared the handbook in close cooperation with Member States following requests by a number of EU countries for support in dealing with the phenomenon. “The right to free movement is a fundamental right, at the heart of EU citizenship. It is non-negotiable and this handbook will help strengthen and safeguard it,” said Martine Reicherts, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. “Member States need to be well equipped to intervene when marriage is misused to facilitate irregular immigration.”
Commission approves «Bulgarsko rozovo maslo» as a new Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)
The Commission has approved the addition of a new Bulgarian product to the register of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). «Българско розово масло» (Bulgarsko rozovo maslo) is an essential oil obtained by means of the steam distillation of flowers of the Damask rose (Rosa damascena Mill). The quality of ‘Bulgarsko rozovo maslo’ is guaranteed by compliance with the requirement that the rose blossoms be processed not later than 10-15 hours after they have been picked. About 3 500 kg of rose blossom is needed to obtain 1 kg of rose oil. The harvest takes place over a 20 to 30-day period and requires special skills: between several hours before daybreak and the early morning only blossoms with at least one open petal are picked with the sepals, without damaging the stem or the branches. The specific and distinctive characteristics of ‘Bulgarsko rozovo maslo’ are its rich aroma, its pale, yellowish-green colour, its very good fixative qualities, its long-lingering aroma, and its balanced composition of volatile substances and hydrocarbons. Its chemical characteristics are closely linked to the region’s geographical traits and set it apart from rose oils produced in other parts of the world. The Damask rose is traditionally grown in the Valley of Roses (Rozovata Dolina) in Central Bulgaria. The denomination will be added to the list of more than 1,200 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Spotless Group by Henkel
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Spotless Group SA (France) by Henkel AG & Co KGaA (Germany). Both companies are active amongst other things in the production of laundry and home care products. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns as the two companies’ product ranges are to a large extent complementary. In markets where the two companies have overlapping activities, such as the market for carpet cleaners in France where Henkel’s MiR brand competes with Spotless’ Eau Ecarlate and K2r brands, the Commission found that the merged entity will continue to face competition from a number of other branded products as well as retailers’ private labels after the transaction. Likewise in the market for metal polishes in Sweden, where Henkel’s Häxan brand has a strong position and Spotless is active with the Bistro brand, the Commission’s investigation confirmed the presence of a number of actual and potential competing alternatives that would continue to exert competitive pressure on the merged entity. Finally, the Commission’s investigation confirmed that bringing together the two companies’ product portfolios would not raise any competition concerns. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7351 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Schweizerische National-Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG by Helvetia AG
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Schweizerische National-Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG (“Nationale Suisse”) by Helvetia AG, both of Switzerland. The main activity of both Nationale Suisse and Helvetia AG is the provision of products and services in all insurance sectors (life, non-life, re-insurance) in several European countries. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, in particular because overlaps between the parties’ activities are very minor. 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.7384
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Lombard International Assurance and Insurance Development Holdings by Blackstone
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Lombard International Assurance S.A of Luxembourg and Insurance Development Holdings AG of Switzerland by Blackstone Group L.P. of the US. The two target companies mainly provide unit-linked life insurance and wealth-planning solutions in several European countries, Asia and Latin America. Unit link insurance combines an insurance service with an investment. Blackstone is a global asset manager and provider of financial advisory services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, in particular 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.7364