01 / 08 / 13
A new European Commission study has found that people are flocking to use Wi-Fi internet and the trend is set to continue. 71% of all EU wireless data traffic in 2012 was delivered to smartphones and tablets using Wi-Fi, possibly rising to 78% by 2016. The surprising results show how the cheaper cost to consumers of using Wi-Fi hotspots is changing behaviour, and the study recommends extra spectrum be made available across the EU to support this rising demand.
Staff teams from the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Nicosia during July 17-31 for the first quarterly review of Cyprus’s economic program, which is supported by financial assistance from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the IMF. The program’s objectives are to restore financial sector stability, strengthen public finance sustainability, and adopt structural reforms so as to support long-run growth, while protecting the welfare of the population. This statement provides an overall assessment of the implementation of the programme, which is on track. It also specifies the main progress (e.g in the financial sector) and difficulties faced by Cyprus. Finally, it concludes on information on the review’s next steps.
Staff teams from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC), and the World Bank visited Bucharest during July 17–31. The mission has reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on an economic program that could be supported by a 24-months Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF, subject to approval by IMF Management and the Executive Board, and Balance of Payments (BoP) assistance from the European Union, subject to approval by the EU Economic and Financial Committee. The authorities intend to treat the arrangements as precautionary. A new economic program would build on the achievements of the previous programs that reduced large external and fiscal imbalances and advanced structural reforms, including the introduction of a new regulatory and pricing framework in the energy sector.
The European Commission has endorsed the proposal of the Dutch telecoms regulator (ACM) concerning fixed and mobile termination rates. This proposal will bring termination rates – the fees operators charge each other to deliver calls from other networks - down to levels comparable with most other Member States. Since termination rates ultimately influence call prices paid by end users, and Dutch consumers already pay amongst the highest prices for phone calls in Europe, ACM's decision will have a positive effect on consumers and businesses in the Netherlands, while helping to create the conditions for a telecoms single market.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of the Maisons du Monde Group by Bain Capital Investor
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the Maisons du Monde Group, a French retailer of decoration items and furniture, by US investment firm Bain Capital Investors, LLC. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the parties' activities do not overlap and are not vertically linked. 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.6986 .
Mergers: Commission approves joint-venture between Lotte Chemical Corporation and Versalis
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture by Lotte Chemical Corporation of Korea and Versalis of Italy. Lotte Chemical Corporation produces an extensive range of petrochemical products, including plastics, synthetics and basic chemicals. Versalis produces and markets a wide portfolio of petrochemical products, and sells licenses relating to its technologies and know-how. The newly created joint venture will produce and market elastomers outside the European Economic Area (EEA), mainly in the Far East. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the parties' activities have a different geographic focus and their market shares would remain low after the transaction. 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.6929 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over Springer Science + Business Media by BC Partners
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Springer Science + Business Media of Germany by the UK-based investment fund BC European Capital IX, ultimately controlled by BC Partners Holdings. Springer Science + Business Media publishes academic and professional books and journals in the scientific, technical and medical fields, distributed also through its content and distribution platform SpringerLink. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise any competition concerns, in particular because the parties' activities do not overlap. The operation 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.6972 .
Commission approves prolongation of Portuguese guarantee scheme
The European Commission has authorised, under EU State aid rules, the prolongation until 31 December 2013 of a guarantee scheme for credit institutions in Portugal. The Portuguese guarantee scheme was initially approved on 29 October 2008 (see IP/08/1601) and prolonged in February 2010 (see MEX/10/0222), in July 2010 (see IP/10/997), in January 2011 (see MEX/11/0121), in June 2011 ( MEX/11/0630), in December 2011 (see MEX/11/1221), in June 2012 (see MEX/12/0627) and in December 2012 (see MEX/12/1217) . The Commission found the prolongation of the measures to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/11/1488). In particular, the extended measures is well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission therefore concluded that it represents an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Portuguese economy and is as such compatible with the internal market pursuant to Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Comprehensive and far-reaching trade deals between the EU and Colombia ( IP/13/749) as well as between the EU and Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama ( IP/13/758) are applied as of today. The trade agreements will open up markets for goods, public procurement, services and investment on both sides which will contribute to creating a stable business and investment environment based on predictable and enforceable trade rules.