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Daily News – 04.08.2010

EXME 10 / 04.08

Midday Express of 2010-08-04

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication

European Commission forecasts average crop production for 2010 in the EU despite extreme weather

Total cereal production in 2010 should be close to the average from the last five years. While the yield per hectare will be 5% above average, overall cultivated areas have decreased. This agricultural year has been marked by unusual scattered weather events ranging from severe rain shortage to floods. However, the impact of poor weather on crops in some areas of the EU has been offset in other areas. This forecast, published today by the European Commission, is based on analysis by the Commission's in-house scientific service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), using an advanced crop yield forecasting system.

Commission Statement after a joint Commission-IMF-WB mission to Romania

A European Commission services mission to Romania concluded that conditions for the third disbursement of the EU Balance of Payments assistance programme (EUR 1.2 bn) were met.

Self-employed workers to gain maternity and pension benefits under new EU law

Self-employed workers and their partners will enjoy better social protection – including the right to maternity leave for the first time – under new EU legislation that enters into force today. The Directive on self-employed workers and assisting spouses (Directive 2010/41/EU) repeals and replaces an earlier law (Directive 86/613/EEC) and improves the social protection rights of millions of women in the labour market, strengthening female entrepreneurship. At present only one in three entrepreneurs is a woman.

State aid: Commission closes formal investigation on state aid to Polish company PZL Hydral

The European Commission has closed the formal investigation procedure on state aid to PZL Hydral, a company which was specialised in civil and military aviation hydraulics. The Commission had concerns that the original restructuring plan, which was based on PLN 150 million of state aid (€36 million) would have infringed EU state aid rules (see IP/08/1308 and IP/08/1688). Subsequently, Poland substantially modified the plan as a result of the intervention of a private investor who will acquire the remaining business activity (PZL Wroclaw).Once acquired, the investor will provide additional PLN 65 million (€16 million) of investments. This will ensure the future industrial development of this company. Having evaluated the restructuring measures and in view of the changes to the original plan and abandoning some aid measures, the Commission concluded that the restructuring does not involve any state aid, because any financing is granted on market terms.

Concentration: la Commission autorise, sous réserve du respect de certaines conditions, le projet d'acquisition de Ratiopharm par Teva

La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, le projet d'acquisition de l'entreprise allemande de produits pharmaceutiques génériques, Ratiopharm, par l'entreprise israélienne Teva. La décision est subordonnée à la cession de quinze produits aux Pays-Bas et d'un produit en Hongrie. La Commission craignait qu'à la suite de l'opération, les parts de marché cumulées élevées des parties pour ces produits ainsi que leur puissance globale aux Pays-Bas ne nuisent à la concurrence sur ces marchés. Compte tenu de ces engagements, la Commission a conclu que l'opération n'entraverait pas de façon significative l'exercice d'une concurrence effective dans l'Espace économique européen (EEE) ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.

Volume of retail trade stable in euro area

In June 2010, compared with May 2010, the volume of retail trade1 remained stable in the euro area2 (EA16) and increased by 0.1% in the EU272. In May3 retail trade rose by 0.4% and 0.6% respectively. In June 20104, compared with June 2009, the retail sales index gained 0.4% in the euro area and 0.5% in the EU27.

Employment rate in the EU27 fell to 64.6% in 2009

The total employment rate1 for people aged 15-64 in the EU27 rose steadily from 62.4% in 20022 to 65.9% in 2008, but fell to 64.6% in 2009. The employment rate for women, which increased continuously from 53.7% in 20002 to 59.1% in 2008, dropped for the first time in 2009 to 58.6%. In contrast, the rate for older people, i.e. those aged 55-64, has continued to grow, reaching 46.0% in 2009, compared with 36.9% in 20002 and 45.6% in 2008. In 2009, 217.8 million resident persons in the EU27 aged 15 years or more had a job or a business activity.

Enregistrement de cinq dénominations de produits agricoles

La Commission européenne a ajouté cinq dénominations de produits agricoles et alimentaires à la liste des appellations d'origine protégées (AOP) et indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit du haricot italien "Fagiolo Cannellino di Atina" (AOP), du piment espagnol "Pemento de Herbón" (AOP), des fromages français "Mâconnais" (AOP) et tchèque "Olomoucké tvarůžky" (IGP) et de la pomme de terre allemande "Lüneburger Heidekartoffeln" (IGP). Les cinq dénominations s'ajoutent à la liste d'environ 900 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles. Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles sur l'internet à l'adresse:

Mergers: Commission clears the creation of the supermarket Balkan joint venture between Carrefour and Marinopoulos

The European Commission cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of the Balkan joint venture (JV) by Carrefour of France and Marinopoulos, which is mainly active in the supermarket sector in Greece and Cyprus. The Balkan JV will take over the operation of 4 supermarkets already functioning in Bulgaria and develop hypermarkets and supermarkets under the Carrefour brand in Bulgaria, Slovenia and other Balkan countries. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Mergers: The Commission clears the creation of a joint venture by Bertelsmann and Holtzbrinck

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EC Merger Regulation to the creation and acquisition of joint control of the joint venture Premium Vertriebs GmbH ("Premium") by Bertelsmann AG ("Bertelsmann") and Holtzbrinck GmbH & Co. KG ("Holtzbrinck"). Premium will be active in the distribution of all forms of books with a focus on digital publishing products, so called "e-books". Bertelsmann is an international media group headquartered in Germany and active in television, radio, publishing and other media and communication services. Holtzbrinck is an international media company headquartered in Germany and active in the publishing of books, newspapers and magazines, as well as electronic media and services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.


Merger: Commission approves acquisition of Greenstar by Montagu and Global Infrastructure Partners

The European Commission has authorised under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over Greenstar Holdings Ltd., incorporated in England and Wales and its subsidiaries (together "Greenstar Group"), by two investment companies, Montagu Private Equity LLP of the UK and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) of the US. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo on "Crop yield forecasts for 2010"

Memo on " Special Eurobarometer survey on humanitarian aid: Europeans care – and endorse the Commission's mandate"