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Daily News – 01.08.2014

EXME 14 / 01.08


01 / 08 / 14

High-Representative/Vice-President Ashton's statement on the shelling of an UNRWA school and a market in Gaza

"We condemn the shelling of an UNRWA school in Gaza and of a market in Shuja'iyeh.

It is unacceptable that innocent displaced civilians, who were taking shelter in designated UN areas after being called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes, have been killed. These incidents must be investigated with immediate effect.

We are deeply concerned at the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza and reiterate that all sides must meet their obligations and immediately allow safe and full humanitarian access for the urgent distribution of assistance. The humanitarian imperative must be respected and the civilian population protected in accordance with International Humanitarian Law. The dignity and rights of all those in need of humanitarian assistance must be respected and protected."

President-elect Juncker to visit Athens, Greece

Jean-Claude Juncker's first official visit to an EU Member State as President-elect will be to Athens, Greece on 4 August 2014. In Athens, President-elect Juncker will meet with the Prime Minister of Greece, Antonis Samaras.

Ahead of the visit, President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker said: "My priority as Commission President is jobs, growth and investment and I am pleased to be going to Greece to discuss these priorities with my friend and colleague Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. I want to send a message of hope and optimism by recognising the efforts of the Greek people and the Greek government in reforming their country."

Other news

Vice-President Michel Barnier welcomes major milestone for the internal payments market with the migration to SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area)

Today marks the point at which all credit transfers and direct debits in euro are now made under the same format: SEPA Credit Transfers (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debits (SDD).

Vice President Michel Barnier said “Today, a big part of the Single Euro Payments Area has become reality. In all euro countries citizens have now available a common and simple way to pay at home and across borders: SEPA credit transfers (SCT) and SEPA direct debit (SDD). Faster and safer transfers between bank accounts in the euro area will benefit the European economies at large. Completing the migration of payments to SEPA today is a real success. Only six months ago, when we decided to postpone the end-date for migration to SEPA, the percentage of payments which had migrated to SEPA was much lower. The transition period granted by EU legislators in February had the expected effect on the market: giving some relief to the community while keeping enough pressure to ensure a continued migration.” SEPA makes all electronic payments in the euro area easy: fast and secure transfers between bank accounts anywhere in the euro area and it contributes to the further harmonisation of retail payments in the internal market.

State aid: Commission approves Greek financing of ELTA for transitory period (2013-2015) for universal postal service; opens in-depth investigation for 2016-2020

The European Commission has found direct subsidies granted by Greece to the state-owned postal incumbent Hellenic Post (ELTA) for the delivery of the universal service during a two-year or three-year transitory period (from 2013 until 2014 or 2015) to be in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission has concluded in particular that the grants only compensate ELTA for the extra costs of carrying out public service obligations. However, the Commission has concerns that the compensation fund mechanism to be established for the following five-year period may unduly favour ELTA over competitors in the areas where the universal service applies and has therefore opened an in-depth investigation. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives Member States and interested parties an opportunity to submit comments and does not prejudge the result.

Commission supplies emergency consignment of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine to Algeria and Tunisia

The European Commission is sending, as an emergency response, a total of 1,1 million doses of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccines to the Algerian and Tunisian authorities, in support of the FMD control campaign carried out following the spread of a new strain of the virus. The European Commission is responding to a request from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) who asked for urgent assistance to supply a high quality vaccine for a vaccination campaign against the FMD epidemic due to the lack of available options to obtain in due time vaccines from other sources. The vaccine is formulated from the antigen stocks stored in the EU antigen bank. The shipment is due to be delivered within the next two weeks. The vaccine will be used to immunise cattle, sheep and goats. The European Commission is supporting the eradication programme since this highly contagious viral disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals represents a threat to the EU's FMD free status and in particular to its Mediterranean Member States. The EU does not allow imports of live susceptible animals from Algeria and Tunisia or any of their products. Persons travelling from those countries to the EU are prohibited from bringing in their luggage any meat and milk products as they may harbour the virus. For more information on FMD:

Quality food products: Two new Bulgarian products get EU protection

The European Commission has approved the addition of two new quality farm products from Bulgaria to the register of protected designations of origin (PDOs), protected geographical indications (PGIs) and traditional specialties guaranteed (TSG). These are " File Elena " ("Филе Елена", TSG), a dried raw meat product made from pork tenderloin originating from the town of Elena in northern Bulgaria, in the foothills of the Elena Balkan mountain range ; and " Lukanka Panagyurska " ("ЛУКАНКА ПАНАГЮРСКА", TSG), a very popular sausage made from fresh beef and fresh pork according to a traditional method. The denominations will be added to the list of more than 1,200 products already protected. For more information: see webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Clece by ACS

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over CLECE, S.A. (CLECE) by ACS Actividades de Construcción y Servicios, S.A. (ACS), both of Spain. CLECE is currently jointly controlled by ACS and Mercapital. CLECE provides services in several sectors, including cleaning, real-estate and facilities management, environment and logistics, social care, catering and airport handling. ACS is the parent company of the ACS group, which is mainly active in the building (public and private works), environment, industrial services and transport infrastructure concession sectors. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns as it will not significantly affect the structure of the market. 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.7324 .