MEx 14 / 11.07
11 / 07 / 14
EU-Ukraine-Russia political-level consultations on Association Agreement implementation
The European Commission, Ukraine and the Russian Federation will meet this afternoon in Brussels for political-level consultations on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, signed on 27 June. This follows President Barroso's discussions with President Poroshenko and President Putin mid-June. The delegations will be led by European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, and Russian Minister for Economic Development, Alexey Ulyukaev. The trilateral meeting will take place after a series of bilateral meetings.
A press point with Commissioner De Gucht will take place in the VIP corner at the end of the trilateral meeting (tentative time: between 17:30 and 18:00). This will be transmitted live on EBS. Audiovisual and photo coverage of the beginning of the meetings will also be available in the course of the afternoon.
Home Affairs: Philippe Fargues, Director of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC), presents the MPC Report on stereotypes in the migration and asylum area in the presence of Commissioner Cecilia Malmström
The report titled “Is what we hear about migration really true? Questioning eight stereotypes", carried out and published by the Migration Policy Centre, based within the European University Institute in Florence, re-thinks eight migration stereotypes in the light of research findings. The report examines eight common stereotypes on migration and asylum, like ''we don't need migrants''; ''migrants steal our jobs'', or ''economic migrants are trying to cheat our asylum systems''. The assessment of these stereotypes in the light of empirical evidence helps better understanding that, for example, Europe’s population projections show a dramatic trend of decrease and ageing that, in the absence of immigration, will translate into an unprecedented reduction in Europe’s demographic weight in the world, the unsustainability of its welfare systems, the ageing of its skills. The Report also illustrates that low-skilled migrants have their place in Europe’s labour markets. They allow for the employment of natives in highly-skilled occupations and compensate for shortages of low-skilled workers in industries where they are needed. During the presentation of the Report, Commissioner Malmström said: ''Migration is an area that will define how Europe will evolve in the coming years. We have to set our policies based on facts and evidence, not on impressions and myths. Countering stereotypes on migration and recognising the contribution migrants bring to our societies demands strong political leadership. We have to act to counter xenophobic and racist influence on political agendas in EU countries. Europe cannot afford to ignore the benefits of immigration and to undermine Europe’s recovery from the crisis''. The Report (that represents the view only of the authors) is available online at: http://www.migrationpolicycentre.eu/migration-stereotypes/
The European Commission has adopted today the national Operational Programme for the implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) in Italy.
Under this Programme, Italy will mobilise €1.5 billion from various sources, including €1.1 billion from the European budget (Youth Employment Initiative and the European Social Fund), to help young people to find a job.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented "I warmly congratulate Italy for giving priority to tackling youth unemployment. Italy's programme implementing the Youth Employment Initiative is very ambitious: it should reach over half a million young Italians currently out of employment, education or training. This reflects the urgency of giving every young person a real chance in the labour market".
The European Commission has proposed to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 280 workers made redundant in the food and beverage service sector in Aragón (Spain) to find new jobs. The funds requested by the Spanish authorities, amounting to €960,000, would help former workers from small and medium-sized businesses. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for approval.
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: "Workers in the Spanish away-from-home food sector have been hard hit by the economic crisis. The Spanish labour market is particularly difficult, but the proposed support from Europe's Globalisation Adjustment Fund would help the workers who lost their jobs to find new opportunities".
The European Commission has decided to launch a formal investigation into the possible manipulation of statistics in the region of Valencia (Comunidad Valenciana), Spain. The Commission is not calling into the question the accuracy of statistics in Spain. The investigation will examine whether deliberate or seriously negligent misreporting of expenditure in the region caused Spain's national debt and deficit data to be misrepresented over several years. This is the first time that the Commission draws on its new powers under the "Six Pack" economic governance legislation to investigate suspected manipulation of a Member State's debt and deficit data. If manipulation is confirmed, the Commission may apply appropriate sanctions. The opening of an investigation, however, does not prejudge the outcome. See IP/14/822 and MEMO/14/477 .
The heads of 16 West African states today decided to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, in a move welcomed by President José Manuel Barroso and EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht. The agreement represents a step towards a privileged economic partnership with West Africa, taking into account the differences in the level of development between the two regions. West Africa accounts for 40% of total trade between the EU and all the ACP regions. The EU will complement the market opening effort of the West African partners with a development assistance package of at least €6.5 billion for West Africa during 2015-2020.
Commission consultation on the potential economic consequences of country-by-country reporting under the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV)
The European Commission services have launched a consultation on the potential economic consequences of country-by-country reporting (CBCR) under Directive 2013/36/EU (Capital Requirements Directive IV). The purpose of this consultation is to collect information and obtain input from all interested stakeholders on the potential economic consequences of public disclosure by banks and investment firms, on a country-by-country basis, of their profit and loss before tax, tax on profit or loss and public subsidies received. These new tax reporting rules are foreseen in Directive 2013/36/EU, together with the obligation for the Commission to prepare a report on this matter which it should present to the European Parliament and the Council by 31 December 2014. The consultation will run until 12 September 2014 and its responses will be taken into account in the preparation of the report.
Under the motto "Rebuilding together", the European Commission will host a donors' conference in Brussels on 16 July to mobilise further support to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the aftermath of the recent floods. The aim of the conference will be to collect pledges from donors for the countries' recovery. The conference will also contribute to stepping up co-operation over floods and natural disasters in the region, as well as operational coordination. The conference will be co-organised with France and Slovenia.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of July 2014 will take place in Brussels on 14th July 2014. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, and the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş. A press conference will be held at the end of the discussions. The public debates and the press conference can be followed by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over Argos Group Holding by Reggeborgh
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control over the Argos Group Holding by Reggeborgh Invest B.V., both of the Netherlands. Argos Group Holding is currently jointly controlled by Reggeborgh and AEG Invest B.V. of the Netherlands. Argos Group Holding trades and supplies petroleum products. Reggeborgh has no activity in this sector or in vertically related markets, except for its current joint control interest in Argos Group Holding. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7216 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Deoleo by CVC
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Deoleo, S.A. ("Deoleo") of Spain by CVC Capital Partners SICAV-FIS, S.A. ("CVC") of Luxembourg. Deoleo is active in the supply of oils and other products such as table olives, vinegars and sauces. CVC advises and/or manages investments on behalf of investment funds. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns as CVC is not active in any markets in which Deoleo is active. 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.7286 .
Mergers: Commission approves joint venture between Cargill and Copersucar in the trading of sugar
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Cargill, Incorporated of the US and Copersucar S.A. of Brazil. Cargill produces food and offers agricultural and risk management products and services. Copersucar is a privately held company, with its capital held by 24 production groups, that are active in sugar and ethanol production in Brazil. The joint venture will be active in trading sugar worldwide. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because of the limited overlaps between the merging parties' activities in 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.7242 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Endemol by Apollo Management
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Endemol Holding BV (“Endemol”) of the Netherlands by Apollo Management L.P. ("Apollo"), of the United States. Endemol produces and distributes multiplatform entertainment in more than 30 countries. Apollo manages a number of investment funds that invest in companies involved in various businesses throughout the world. The activities of Endemol overlap with those of a portfolio company of Apollo, CORE Media Group, in the markets for the licensing and acquisition of audio-visual TV content in several Member States. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, given the parties' limited combined market shares. 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 .7279 .
State aid: Commission approves amendments to Bavarian broadband support scheme
The Commission has approved amendments to a scheme for the deployment of next generation access (NGA) broadband networks in currently underserved areas in Bavaria. This scheme was initially approved by the Commission in November 2012 (see IP/12/124 0). The Commission's analysis has shown that the amended scheme is in line with EU state aid rules, and in particular the Commission's Broadband Guidelines adopted in December 2012 that facilitate well-designed public interventions targeted at market failures and ensure open access to state funded infrastructure (see IP/12/1424). The main purpose of the amendments was to simplify the procedures and to bring the scheme into line with the Commission's new Broadband Guidelines. The approved amendments include, in particular, an extension of the geographical scope of the scheme to all underserved areas (NGA white areas) in Bavaria, and abolishing process requirements that were deemed unduly burdensome based on past experience. Furthermore, in line with the requirements under the new Broadband Guidelines that public investment must provide a so-called "step change", i.e. significantly improve broadband services, it is clarified that download and upload speeds that supported networks need to reach should be double of services previously available.
What Commissioners said
Female Commissioners call for Member States to nominate more women in new College
Female EU Commissioners have signed a letter supporting a call by President-Designate Jean-Claude Juncker for Member States to nominate at least 10 women for the next Commission.
The letter, addressed to Mr Juncker, states that the European Union is committed to making continual progress towards gender equality and that such progress demands an increase, not a decrease, in the number of female Commissioners.
It concludes: "You deserve a flying start – and with 10 or more female Commissioners in your team you will get it."
The new Commission President, once approved by the European Parliament, is responsible for deciding how the portfolios in the new mandate will be attributed.
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, emphasised at a conference hosted by the Prince Charles Charity Trust on 10 July in London how the new Common Fisheries Policy helps drive the maritime economy in a sustainable way. Bringing fish stocks back to healthy levels alone will increase incomes for fishermen in the long term. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) can help fishermen to buy more selective gears to better target the species they want to catch and to save time and fuel costs. But Commissioner Damanaki also stressed that EU funding is not enough: “We also need private investment and initiatives. We want to move away from traditional grants and subsidies towards new alternatives such as revolving funds, loans, guarantees or venture capital funds”. The Commissioner sees encouraging bottom-up projects evolve, such as local groups using EU funds to use fish or farmed algae for the pharmaceutical or cosmetic industry. “These solutions are the ones that create jobs and improve the quality of life for the people along Europe’s coasts.”
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead