28 Jul 2014
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 28 JulyBrussels Daily
In its conclusions on Ukraine of 22 July, the Foreign Affairs Council requested “the Commission and the EEAS to finalise their preparatory work on possible targeted measures and to present proposals for taking action, including on access to capital markets, defence, dual use goods, and sensitive technologies, including in the energy sector.” In line with this request, on 24 July the Commission presented to the Council a document outlining a number of measures that could be taken in the areas set out by the Council conclusions and the procedure that should be followed to adopt the relevant legal instrument, and the Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) exchanged view on the basis of this preparatory work last Thursday and Friday. Given the broad agreement on the Commission’s approach, the European Commission tabled the necessary legislative proposals in all areas identified by the Council on Friday, 25 July, and President Barroso issued the following statement:
“The final decision now lies with the EU’s Member States, but I believe that this is an effective, well-targeted and balanced package providing the flexibility to adjust our reaction to changes on the ground. I hope that Member States will agree on this package of restrictive measures next week. I recall that these measures are not an end in themselves, but a means to achieve a negotiated and political solution to the crisis – which remains the EU’s firm priority. I call on Russia to take decisive steps to stop the violence and genuinely engage in peace plan discussions.”
It is now for Member States to agree on the Commission’s proposals. The Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) is due to go through the legislative proposals on Tuesday, 29 July.
Every summer millions of Europeans descend upon the continent’s airports on their way to sunshine and adventure. As airport users explode in number, so does the cost and environmental footprint of running an airport. Did you know that airports consume as much energy as small cities? That is why European researchers have used Commission funding to develop a new software and sensor system to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs by 20% in airports. Pilot testing is taking place in Rome’s Fiumicino and Milan’s Malpensa. The new system, called CASCADE, will save these Italian airports at least some 6000 MWh, which equates to 42,000 tons of CO2 and €840,000 a year. Vice-President Neelie Kroes says: “I travel often in my job, and I believe 100% that our airports need to become smarter and greener.”
Mergers: Commission approves Apple’s acquisition of US headphone maker and music streaming business Beats
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music. Beats Electronics was established in 2008 and designs, develops and sells audio products such as headphones and audio speakers. Beats Music was spun out of Beats Electronics in 2013 and offers a music streaming service in the United States and Australia, allowing consumers to receive (“stream”) music on their mobile device or computer against a monthly or yearly fee. Beats Electronics and Apple both sell headphones in the European Economic Area (EEA). The Commission concluded that the combination of the two businesses did not raise competition concerns because the combined market share of Apple and Beats Electronics is low. In addition, Apple and Beats Electronics are not close competitors because the headphones they sell differ markedly in functionality and design. Moreover, even after the transaction, a large number of global competitors such as Bose, Sennheiser and Sony would remain. The Commission also examined the transaction’s likely effects on the distribution of digital music to consumers. Both Apple and Beats Music are active in this field. Apple offers a music downloading service through iTunes and Beats Music offers a music streaming service, although it is currently not available in the EEA. The Commission concluded that Apple faces several competitors in the EEA such as Spotify and Deezer, making it implausible that the acquisition of a smaller streaming service that is not active in the EEA would lead to anticompetitive effects. The Commission also concluded that the transaction would not give Apple the ability and incentive to shut out competing streaming services from access to iOS, Apple’s operating system for mobile devices. It based this conclusion, amongst others, on the fact that Apple was already active in the distribution of digital music before the merger. Hence, the merger would not change Apple’s ability or incentive to block access to its iOS.