|Eurostat: Euro area unemployment at 8.3%
The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 8.3% in June 2018, stable compared with May 2018 and down from 9.0% in June 2017. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since December 2008. The EU28 unemployment rate was 6.9% in June 2018, also stable compared with May 2018 and down from 7.6% in June 2017. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since May 2008. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat estimates that 17.105 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 13.570 million in the euro area, were unemployed in June 2018. Compared with May 2018, the number of persons unemployed increased by 4 000 in the EU28 and by 14 000 in the euro area. Compared with June 2017, unemployment fell by 1.657 million in the EU28 and by 1.146 million in the euro area. A Eurostat press release is available here.
Eurostat: Preliminary flash estimate for the second quarter of 2018 – GDP up by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.4% the EU28 – +2.1% and +2.2% respectively compared with the second quarter of 2017
Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.4% in the EU28 during the second quarter of 2018, compared with the previous quarter, according to a preliminary flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the first quarter of 2018, GDP had grown by 0.4% in both the euro area and the EU28. Full text available here
The European Commission has approved most of the electricity contribution reductions granted to electricity intensive companies in France in 2003-15. These measures helped towards achieving the EU’s climate and energy objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
The Commission has, however, asked France to recover the part of these reductions (estimated at less than €50 million) exceeding the levels permitted under EU State aid rules. More information here
Mergers: Commission approves Total Produce’s acquisition of Dole, subject to conditions
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition by Total Produce of joint control over Dole. Total Produce is a leading fresh produce distributor in the EU. Dole is a producer, marketer and distributor of fresh fruit and vegetables with activities in the EU and worldwide. Both companies own production facilities for bagged salads in Sweden. On the basis of its preliminary investigation, the Commission was concerned that the transaction, as originally notified, would have significantly reduced competition in the market for the supply of bagged salads in Sweden. In particular, the Commission was concerned that the combined entity would not have faced sufficient competitive pressure from Salico, the only other significant player that would have remained in the market. The Commission found that no competition concerns would arise with respect to all other products where the companies’ activities overlap. To address the Commission’s competition concerns, the companies offered to divest Dole’s bagged salads business in Sweden, Saba Fresh Cuts AB. These commitments fully address the Commission’s concerns as they remove the entire overlap between the companies’ activities in the supply of bagged salads in Sweden. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns in the EU. A full press release is available here
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Northwester2 by Parkwind and Summit Tailwind
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Northwester2 NV by Parkwind NV and Summit Tailwind Belgium NV, all based in Belgium. Northwester2 is currently owned by Parkwind and the Korys/Colruyt Group of Belgium. Northwester2 holds a domain concession and the necessary licenses to build and operate an offshore wind farm in the Belgian Exclusive Economic Zone in the North Sea. Parkwind is an investment and development vehicle company of the Korys/Colruyt Group and PMV of Belgium active in the market for the generation and wholesale of electricity in Belgium. The Korys/Colruyt Group is predominantly active in the retail of daily consumer goods. PMV is an independent investment company controlled by the Flemish Region. Summit Tailwind is a special purpose vehicle company, held by the Sumitomo Corporation of Japan. Sumitomo Corporation is an integrated trading company which provides a comprehensive range of goods and services around the world. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the negligible actual and foreseen activities of Northwester2 within the European Economic Area. 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.8970.