Eurostat: Preliminary flash estimate for the fourth quarter of 2017 – GDP up by 0.6% in both the euro area and the EU28 – +2.7% and +2.6% respectively compared with the fourth quarter of 2016
Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.6% in both the euro area (EA19) and in the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with the previous quarter, according to a preliminary flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the third quarter of 2017, GDP had grown by 0.7% in both zones.
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Investment Plan for Europe: Additional €30 million from the EU for micro-enterprises in Ireland over the next 5 years
The European Investment Fund (EIF) has signed a second agreement with Microfinance Ireland (MFI) to support 2,100 micro-entrepreneurs under the European Commission’sEU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), after the first one signed in 2015. As a result of the EU support, the EaSI guarantee provided by the EIF will enable MFI to provide an additional €30 million in loans to micro-borrowers including migrants and entrepreneurs over the next five years. European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: “Thanks to this new financial boost of €30 million from the EU, more than 2000 micro-entrepreneurs will get financial support to start up or develop their business. Considering that Microfinance Ireland already created 4000 jobs through loans to small businesses, we can safely say that these loans are an excellent means to boost jobs and growth, whereby the most vulnerable people in the labour market are not left behind.” This new financing agreement was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe. More information on the agreement can be found in this press release.
Agriculture: the Commission approves new geographical indication from the United Kingdom
The Commission has approved today the addition of a new product from the United Kingdom to the quality register of Protected Geographical Indications (PGI). ‘Traditional Welsh Caerphilly’, also called ‘Traditional Welsh Caerffili’ (both terms are protected) is a white, hard cheese with a mild slightly lemony taste. It is made in Wales from pasteurised or raw milk produced on Welsh farms and is actually the only native cheese of this region. The cheese is to be eaten young from 10 days old or can be matured for up to 6 months. During the 19th century dairy schools were established throughout Wales to educate cheese producers and to pass on the specific skills and knowledge required. This new denomination will be added to the list of over 1420 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Clean Energy Trading by BayWa
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Clean Energy Trading GmbH by BayWa r.e., both of Germany. Clean Energy Trading is active in the fields of direct marketing of electricity from renewable energy plants and the supply of electricity to end customers. BayWa is active in the fields of solar energy, wind energy, bioenergy and geothermal energy. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the overlaps between the companies are very limited and a number of strong players remain in the market after the merger. 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.8758.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of TMF by CVC
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of TMF Orange Holding B.V. (“TMF”) of the Netherlands by CVC Capital Partners SICAV-FIS S.A. of Luxembourg. TMF provides financial, legal and HR administrative services for corporate, alternative investment as well as private clients. CVC provides advice to and management of investment funds and platforms. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because there is no horizontal overlap between the companies’ activities. Moreover, despite the existence of a vertical relationship between CVC and TMF, their individual and combined market shares are well below 30%. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8715.
Humanitarian aid: €37.5 million for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran
The European Commission has announced today €37.5 million of humanitarian assistance to help people affected by conflict and natural disasters in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. “The assistance we are announcing today will reach those affected by the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, both within the country and across the region, many of whom face of extremely dire conditions. The EU’s commitment to the Afghan people remains unwavering. Incidents such as last week’s attack on a humanitarian organisation take innocent lives and threaten lifesaving support to those most in need. It’s fundamental that international humanitarian law is respected,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. The European Commission will provide €27 million for lifesaving supplies to the most vulnerable populations in Afghanistan. Afghans in Pakistan will benefit from humanitarian funding of €5.5 million. A further €5 million will support Afghan refugees in Iran. More information is available in the press release.
Commissioner King in The Hague
Commissioner King is in The Hague, the Netherlands today where he will meet Ms Kajsa Ollongren, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and Mr Ferdinand Grapperhaus, Minister of Justice and Security. Discussions will focus on issues relating to security, in particular information exchange, countering radicalisation and enhancing cybersecurity, following up on the progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union presented by the Commission last week. Later in the afternoon, Commissioner King will also visit the Netherlands Passenger Name Records platform.