Brussels Daily
27 Nov 2014


Brussels Daily

The EU’s economic governance explained

Detailed information on the European semester process is available here, in preparation of tomorrow’s press conference by Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen on the launch of the European Semester, the joint employment report and the autumn’s economic surveillance. The press conference will take place on Friday 28 November at 11:00 CET in the Commission’s press room and will be live broadcast by EBS. 


Mergers: Commission approves space and defence joint venture between Airbus and Safran, subject to conditions

The European Commission has concluded that the proposed creation of a joint venture for space launchers, satellite subsystems and missile propulsion between Airbus Group N.V. of The Netherlands and Safran S.A. of France is in line with the EU Merger Regulation. Both Airbus and Safran are active in the aerospace and defence industries. The Commission had concerns that the joint venture could have shut out Airbus’ competitors or limited their access to certain supplies, as well as transmitted strategic information to Airbus. The decision is conditional upon the exclusion of Safran’s activities in electric satellite thrusters from the joint venture, as well as on certain supply assurance commitments. See full press release

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Alliance Automotive Group by Blackstone and Alliance Industries

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Alliance Automotive Group of France by the Blackstone Group of the US and Alliance Industries of Luxembourg. Alliance Automotive Group is a wholesale distributor of automotive spare parts with both trading and distribution activities. The Blackstone Group is an investment management firm whose portfolio companies include Gates Worldwide Limited of the US, which manufactures spare parts for the automotive sector. Alliance Industries is a financial holding company. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because the parties are not active in the same markets. Moreover, the vertical relation between Gates’ supplies of automotive belts and Alliance Automotive Group’s subsequent resale of those belts is unlikely to allow the merged entity to shut out competitors or customers given the parties’ limited market positions. The operation 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.7401.

Commission reports on the state of the Schengen area

Today the Commission adopted its sixth Schengen ‘health check’, a biannual overview on the functioning of the Schengen area. The report provides a clear account of the state of the Schengen area, to ensure a coherent interpretation and implementation of the common rules amongst all Schengen participating countries. Each year millions of European citizens make use of the possibility to travel freely to visit friends and family, make business trips or visit other Schengen countries as tourists. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “The creation of an area without internal border controls is one of the greatest achievements of European integration, and a major driver for Member States’ growth and prosperity. But European institutions and Member States have to remain vigilant over the functioning of the Schengen area be ready to respond to any challenges it faces.” In 2013 the EU adopted rules to protect free movement and make the Schengen governance more efficient (MEMO/13/536). The Commission’s biannual reports are the basis of a regular a debate in the European Parliament and in the Council. They contribute to the strengthening of political guidance and cooperation between the Schengen countries. See the sixth biannual report


EU launches the first projects of the PanAfrican programme

The European Commission has approved the first 12 projects, for a total amount of €107 million, under its new PanAfrican programme, which will foster Africa’s integration process at continental level – the first ever EU programme in development and cooperation that covers Africa as a whole. The projects launched will notably support migration, higher education and research and infrastructure, as well as public finance management and the development of statistics. Overall, the PanAfrican Programme will fund activities in a broad range of areas and offer new possibilities for the EU and Africa to work together. More information is available online.


Statement by Commissioner Hill on the agreement reached by the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on European long term investment funds

On the day of the presentation of the EU Investment plan, the European Parliament and the Council reached agreement on the Commission proposal for a new long term fund framework that will boost investment in Europe’s real economy. Yesterday Commissioner Hill said in a statement: “Today’s agreement gives us another tool in our fight to boost investment and growth in Europe. European long term investment funds (ELTIFs) will help to match long term projects and companies which want to grow with the investment they need. As an element of the Capital Markets Union, they will also support the EU’s Investment Plan.”ELTIFs will bring together all types of investors who are willing to give their money to projects and companies that need long term finance and watch their investments grow over the coming years. As such ELTIFs could also play a role in providing a complementary vehicle for delivering public or private/public investments. See full statement

World AIDS Day 2014: EU Health Commissioner, Andriukaitis in Rome to attend a ministerial conference on fight against HIV/AIDS

Speaking today at the Ministerial Conference “Fighting against HIV/AIDS ten years after the Dublin Declaration” organised by the Italian Presidency in Rome, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis said: “Despite considerable progress in the fight against the HIV/AIDS, it continues to cause much suffering to people in Europe and around the world. According to the latest figures released by the European Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control (ECDC) today, there were 29 000 new HIV infections in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) in 2013. In the EU, almost half (47%) of infections are diagnosed late, which reflects low testing rates often caused by fear of discrimination. Early diagnosis is of utmost importance as a person who receives antiretroviral therapy early on will have a better health outcome and be less likely to transmit HIV to others. As Commissioner for Health, I am committed to fight HIV/AIDS and I am committed to doing everything in my power to help fight AIDS and to improve the lives of our citizens who suffer from AIDS. I will particularly focus on reaching out to the unreached, breaking down any remaining barriers to prevention and treatment and strengthening the fundamental rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.”

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