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Daily News – 12.02.2013

EXME 13 / 12.02

Midday Express of 2013-02-12

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

First Commission report on progress by Kosovo towards visa liberalisation

The Commission presented today the first report on the progress achieved by Kosovo in fulfilling the requirements of the visa liberalisation roadmap. The Commission evaluated Kosovo’s progress in each block of the visa roadmap and made a set of recommendations for the Kosovo authorities in areas where more decisive action is needed to obtain visa-free travel for its citizens. The report also assesses the potential security and migratory impact of visa liberalisation with Kosovo

General Report on the Activities of the European Union 2012 now Online

Today the European Commission published the General Report on the Activities of the European Union 2012 which presents the actions taken to address all the challenges of the past year. Throughout 2012, the EU and the world have been faced with a series of challenges that required immediate and sustained responses: from tackling the economic crisis to promoting democracy, stability and prosperity in the Union's neighbourhood and other parts of the world. The General Report describes a year full of significant events, both in Europe and beyond. One of the highlights was the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union for its deep and abiding commitment to peace and the rule of law ever since its foundation. 2012 was also marked by a solid EU response to the economic and financial crisis with the establishment of the permanent European Stability Mechanism (with a firepower of 500 billion euro), a new Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (the so-called Fiscal Compact) now in place and with the agreement on a Single Banking Supervisor laying the first building blocks of a banking union. The year in review was also marked by a renewed debate on the future of the Union, on the deepening of economic and monetary union and on how the EU might move towards a deeper political union. The General Report on the Activities of the European Union is published every year and gives an account of the European Union's major initiatives throughout the year. It is published in 22 official languages and can be accessed online (there is also an e-book version available for tablets and smart phones):

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of industrial supplies distributor IPH by equity fund PAI

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Industrial Parts Holding S.A.S, a business-to-business (B2B) multi-specialist distributor of industrial supplies, by the private equity firm PAI partners S.A.S, both of France. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because there are no overlaps between the activities of IPH and PAI's portfolio companies. Moreover, many competitors in industrial supplies would continue to have a sufficient customer base after the merger. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available on the competition website, in the Commission's public case register under the case number M.6808 .

Quality agricultural products: Thai rice "Khao Hom Mali Thung Kula Rong-Hai" (ข้าวหอมมะลิทุ่งกุลาร้องไห้) receives protected status in the EU

The name "Khao Hom Mali Thung Kula Rong-Hai" (ข้าวหอมมะลิทุ่งกุลาร้องไห้) has been formally registered today as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for a paddy rice produced in the Thung Kula Rong-Hai area in north-east Thailand. When cooked, the rice's smell reminds that of the tropical pandanus tree's leaves and it has a slightly sweet taste. It has been added to the more than 1100 names of agricultural products and foodstuffs protected as PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) or PDO. It is the fourteenth non-EU product name receiving the protected status, following Columbian coffee, Indian Darjeeling tea, Vietnamese fish extract Phú Quốc and ten Chinese products. For more information on the European system for geographical indications, see

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