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Daily News – 18.07.2013

EXME 13 / 18.07


18 / 07 / 13

President Barroso pays tribute to Nelson Mandela at the 6th South Africa-EU Summit

President Barroso is today in South Africa to attend the 6th South Africa-EU Summit, which takes place on Nelson Mandela's International Day.

In the morning, President Barroso pays tribute to Mandela's legacy by joining NGO Stop Hunger Now in distributing food for those in need in the Freedom Park in Pretoria.

Afterwards, President Barroso, the President of the Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of South Africa Jacob Zuma will meet at the 6th South Africa-EU Summit. The South Africa-EU Summit will provide an opportunity to strengthen the strategic relation between the EU and South Africa and to discuss job creation, economic growth investment and skills. Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs and Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht will also be attending the Summit. A joint press conference with the three Presidents takes place at 14:00 and will be broadcasted on EbS+ . President Barroso's press statement will be available after delivery. See also IP/13/694 and MEMO/13/686 for more information on the Summit and EU-South Africa relations.

Other news

Antitrust: Commission sends statement of objections to ARA for suspected abuse of dominance on Austrian waste management markets

The European Commission has informed Altstoff Recycling Austria AG ("ARA") of its preliminary view that ARA may have abused its dominant position on the markets for the management of packaging waste (mainly packaging made of plastic and metal) in Austria by hindering competitors to enter or expand on these markets. Such conduct, if established, would harm competition and customers in violation of EU antitrust rules. The sending of a statement of objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

EU and the US extend scientific co-operation on standards and measurements

To help reach the goal of having compatible standards across both sides of the Atlantic, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on Wednesday 17 July agreed to expand their current scientific co-operation to 10 different areas. The JRC-NIST Implementing Arrangement is particularly relevant in the light of the currently negotiated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TTIP aims to remove tariffs and unnecessary regulation and facilitate trade and investments on the other side of the Atlantic. Once in place, the free trade agreement will save millions of euros to companies and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The JRC-NIST Implementing Arrangement encompasses 10 (non-exhaustive) areas related to standards and measurements. Environment and climate, energy, transport and security feature high on the collaborative research agenda. Healthcare and clinical measurements, food safety and nutrition, as well as nanotechnology will be subject of the development and harmonisation of methods, indicators and documentary standards. Besides reference materials in a range of areas, the co-operation will include research on civil engineering structures and emerging Information and communication technologies (ICT), as well as marine optical radiometry.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of gas transmission system operator Net4gas by investment groups Allianz and Omers

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Net4gas of the Czech Republic by Allianz Infrastructure Luxembourg, part of the Allianz Group of Germany, and Borealis of the Netherlands, owned by Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System "OMERS" of Canada. Net4gas is the gas transmission system operator in the Czech Republic. Allianz is an investment and management company for direct infrastructure investments for the Allianz Group, an international financial services company, active worldwide in offering insurance and asset management products and services. Borealis is a worldwide infrastructure investor owned by OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension funds. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, because the parties' activities do not overlap. Moreover, the proposed transaction would create no vertical relationships between the parties' activities. 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.6925 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture TCAC by TCC and UTC

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture Toshiba Carrier Air Conditioning (TCAC) of China by Toshiba Carrier Corporation ('TCC') and United Technologies Corporation ('UTC'). The joint venture is active in air-conditioning products. The Parties' activities have only a very limited overlap within the EEA and their combined market share is low. 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.6937 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Alpinvest by Carlyle

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over AlpInvest Partners B.V. of the Netherlands by the Carlyle Group of the United States. Carlyle already holds a controlling stake in AlpInvest. Carlyle provides alternative asset management services through the management of funds in several areas including corporate private equity, real assets, global market strategies and solutions. Alpinvest provides fund management services, in particular fund investments, co-investments, secondary fund investments and investments in mezzanine debt. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because it would not significantly alter the market structure. 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.6965 .

Eurostat Quaterly balance of payments

Second estimate for the first quarter of 2013 - EU27 current account surplus 29.1 bn euro 32.4 bn euro surplus for trade in services. The EU27 external current account recorded a surplus of 29.1 billion euro (0.9% of GDP) in the first quarter of 2013, compared with a deficit of 1.5 bn (0.0% of GDP) in the first quarter of 2012, according to a second estimate released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Building EU-Mongolia relations on agriculture and rural development

The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloș will visit Mongolia, 18-21 July 2013 to discuss prospects for increasing cooperation with the Mongolian authorities in the fields of sustainable agriculture, food security and rural development. In terms of agriculture, Mongolia faces challenges related to self-sufficiency, environmental degradation and desertification. Rapid urbanisation and the growing mining sector have also brought important changes in the Mongolian nomadic culture. Building on the experience that the EU and EU member states have with addressing similar issues, the visit will focus on how to best answer these challenges. See also IP/13/714 .

EU and China together explore the benefits of green growth

Business opportunities from resource efficient production is the focus of today’s visit to China by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Environment. Green growth is now high on the political agenda for the EU and China – both are interested in achieving sustainable growth while maintaining and improving the state of their respective environments. The global market for green goods and services is currently estimated at around €1 000 billion per annum, and this is expected to double by 2020. This year the European Union and China are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and “Green Growth” has been proposed both as a key topic for the upcoming EU-Summit and for this Mission for Growth. (cfr MEMO/13/697).

(for more information: C. Corazza - Tel. +32 229 51752)

EU re-opens its market to Myanmar/Burma

As of tomorrow, 19 July, Myanmar/Burma is set to benefit once again from so-called 'Everything But Arms' preferential trade regime which will grant duty-free and quota-free access to the European market for all products except for arms and ammunitions. The trade preferences for Myanmar/Burma will be applied retroactively as of 13 June 2012. The EU’s trade preferences had been suspended in 1997 as a result of the country's serious and systematic violations of core international conventions on forced labour. The EU will bring the country back under the special, advantageous trade arrangement after the country's recent internationally recognised efforts to improve the political, social and labour environments. The Commission believes that the commercial preferences have the potential to make a huge difference to the country's economic development. Myanmar/Burma exports to the EU were worth €164 million in 2012 and consisted mainly of clothing.

What Commissioners said

Speech Andor at G20 Labour ministers in Moscow

"Effective employment and social investment policies play a critical role in spurring growth and competitiveness and preventing macroeconomic imbalances - all of these are badly needed in Europe", EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Lásló Andor, will say in a speech in front of the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers in Moscow today. Andor will further stress the importance of putting job creation high on the G20 leader's agenda, prior to the next summit in St. Petersburg in September. "Creating quality jobs, in particular for young people, and tackling the social consequences of the crisis are therefore among our top priorities. We must avert the economic, social and political damage that may stem from high youth unemployment or inactivity", he will add. ( Speech/13/647 EMBARGO : 16:30)

Commissioner Potocnik, during EU-China Green Growth mission: “The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives”

“If there are 7 billion frogs in one pond then it is time to consider together how to avoid drinking it dry. With a global population of 7 billion, we must start thinking about how to tackle the looming crisis of en ever-increasing population combined with finite resources. China, one of the EU major trading partners, will be a key player is the necessary global transformation to more resource efficient production and products. Both the EU and China recognise that our future economic growth needs to be green. We share the same vision: Environmental protection and economic growth must go hand in hand. The emphasis on environmental protection by China’s new leadership creates a very good basis for closer cooperation. And it is our companies – Chinese and European – that will provide the solutions to do this and respond to these promising markets. This cooperation can easily be translated into new market opportunities for businesses in both countries. Green growth offers an opportunity to most sectors of the economy, from the building industry to the food sector, from transport to energy production and also for the services sector and tourism. The potential for new partnerships with Chinese companies is huge in all sectors.