EXME 12 / 05.09
Midday Express of 2012-09-05
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Following the recent manipulation of LIBOR, the Commission has today launched a consultation inviting stakeholders to comment on possible new rules for the production and use of indices serving as benchmarks in financial and other contracts.
As part of its strategy for creating jobs and growth, the European Commission has launched an initiative to boost the recognition of skills and competences gained outside school or university. The Commission's proposal aims to increase job opportunities in particular for the young unemployed and those with few formal qualifications such as older and low-skilled workers. It also seeks to increase access to higher education, especially among mature students.
The European Commission has unconditionally approved, on the basis of the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed creation of a joint venture between Vodafone, Telefónica and Everything Everywhere in the field of mobile commerce in the UK.
In July 2012 compared with June 2012, the volume of retail trade fell by 0.2% in the euro area (EA17) and remained stable in the EU27. In June retail trade rose by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. In July 2012, compared with July 2011, the retail sales index fell by 1.7% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU27.
Proof of concept: EU funds help top researchers bring good ideas to market
The European Research Council (ERC) has today announced the results of its latest 'Proof of Concept' competition. 33 existing ERC grantees will be given top-up funding to bridge the gap between their 'blue sky' research and the earliest stage of market innovation. Worth up to € 150,000 each, the funding can cover activities such as establishing intellectual property rights, technical validation, market research or investigation of commercial and business opportunities. The ERC has allocated €4.8 million for this first set of grants, with a further call with a 3 October deadline bringing the total budget for this call to €10 million. The grantees are based across 15 European countries, and projects include a single vaccine pill to replace multiple vaccinations, or a revolutionary air traffic control system based on photonics. The funding is for up to one year per grant. For more information: http://erc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/press_release/files/erc_pr_2012_proof_of_concept_results.pdf - Twitter: @ERC_Research
Commission clears acquisition of German WMF by KKR
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of the German tableware and coffee machine maker WMF (Württembergische Metallwaren Fabrik) by the US private equity firm KKR. WMF manufactures a range of table- and kitchenware and small electric appliances for private households as well as hotel equipment and fully-automated coffee machines for professional use. KKR is a global investment firm, which offers a broad range of alternative asset funds and other investment products to investors and provides capital markets solutions for the firm, its portfolio companies and other clients. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears the creation of a JV between German Voith Paper and Japanese IHI Corporation
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control by Voith Paper and IHI Corporation over a newly created company to be known as Voith IHI Ecosolutions which will design, develop, and market fluidized bed combustion (FBC) boilers and boiler islands for energy generation. Voith Paper is active in the supply of equipment to the pulp and paper industry. IHI is an industrial conglomerate with a wide range of activities including aero engines and space operations, energy systems (including boilers) and industrial machinery. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
The European Commission has opened formal proceedings to investigate whether Gazprom, the Russian producer and supplier of natural gas, might be hindering competition in Central and Eastern European gas markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules. An opening of proceedings does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation; it only means that the Commission will treat the case as a matter of priority.
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