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Daily News – 20.12.2013

Daily News of 2013-12-20

European Commission - 20/12/2013

MEx 13 / 2012

DAILY NEWS

20 / 12 / 13

President Barroso at the European Council: "This is the beginning of the end of bank bail-outs. Banks not taxpayers will carry the cost for their own mistakes"

Speaking after the first session of the European Council, President Barroso stated that the unanimous political support reached between the Member States on the Single Resolution Mechanism "is a real breakthrough and shows the EU can make swift progress even when issues are complex and politically sensitive".

President Barroso said: "This is the beginning of the end of bank bail-outs. Banks not taxpayers will carry the cost for their own mistakes".

President Barroso also welcomed the decisions of the European Council on the security and defence: "We need a strong and credible Common Security and Defence Policy, so that Europe can play its full role on the world stage. This must be underpinned by a competitive and efficient security and defence sector." President Barroso's full speech after the first session of the European Council is available here . President's speech at the final press conference after the European Council, which you can watch live on EbS , will be available later.

Other news

State aid: Commission's new on-line state aid benchmarking tool shows less aid to banks

The most recent State aid Scoreboard, published today, shows that there was a sharp reduction in the outstanding guarantee support provided by Member States to the financial sector during the crisis.

The new State Aid Scoreboard can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/scoreboard/index_en.html

State aid: Commission's competition service consults on draft rules on state aid for research, development and innovation.

The European Commission's competition directorate-general has published today for public consultation a draft framework setting out revised conditions under which Member States can grant state aid for research, development and innovation activities (R&D&I). After having analysed the comments by stakeholders, the Commission envisages adopting a new framework in spring 2014.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Pompac group by Cordes & Graefe

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the Pompac group of France by Cordes & Graefe of Germany. Both, the Pompac group, which includes the companies operated by Comafranc SA, and Cordes & Graefe are active in the sale of building materials to professional customers, including heating, plumbing and electrical products. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the parties are mainly active in different geographic markets. While Cordes & Graefe focuses its business operations on Germany, the Pompac group is mainly active in France. The transaction 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.7107 .  

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Schmolz + Bickenbach by Renova Industries

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the intended acquisition of Schmolz + Bickenbach AG of Switzerland by Renova Industries Ltd of the Bahamas. Renova Industries produces, among others, silicomanganese and centrifugal industrial pumps. Schmolz + Bickenbach is active in the production and supply of various steel long products, including stainless bright bars and hot-work tool steel. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because the parties' activities do not overlap, their market shares are moderate and alternative suppliers are present. The transaction 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.6962 .  

Mergers: Commission clears joint venture between Austevoll and Kvefi

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Austevoll Seafood ASA of Norway and Kvefi AS of Norway. Both companies purchase pelagic fish (e.g. herring and mackerel) from fishermen, process it further and sell the processed fish to companies engaged in further processing of the fish for retail sale. They also sell pelagic fish offcuts and produce fishmeal, fish oil and fish protein concentrates (FPC). Moreover, they are active in salmon farming and processing. The joint venture will take over the European-based pelagic fish, fishmeal, fish oil and FPC activities of the parent companies. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, because several alternative suppliers to the joint venture would remain active on all relevant markets after the merger. Moreover, the Commission found that suppliers competing with the parties in fishmeal, fish oil and FPC would continue to have access to the necessary raw materials, because a sufficient number of alternative suppliers will remain on the markets after the transaction. The transaction 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.7035 .  

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Danish wind farm by E.ON and SEAS-NVE

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over E.ON Vind Sverige, a wind farm in Denmark, by E.ON Sverige of Sweden, controlled by E.ON, and SEAS-NVE of Denmark. E.ON is a global investor-owned power and gas company active in all levels of the energy and gas supply chain and related sectors. SEAS-NVE is a Danish consumer-owned energy company specialized in the delivery of energy and communications services to customers exclusively in Denmark. E.ON Vind Sverige will own and develop the RS2 wind farm, south of the Danish island of Lolland and sell electricity wholesale. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the parties' low combined market shares, the limited overlaps between the parties' activities and the presence of strong competitors on the relevant markets. 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.7121 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Altamira Santander by Apollo

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Altamira Santander Real Estate Distribución, S.A. ("Altamira Santander") of Spain, by Apollo EPF II Partnership, part of Apollo Management L.P. ("Apollo") of USA.  Altamira Santander provides debt recovery and real estate services in Spain. Apollo is globally active in portfolio investments. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise any competition concerns given the parties' moderate combined market positions resulting from the acquisition and the presence of number of competitors providing debt recovery in Spain. 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.7122 .

Autumn 2013 Eurobarometer: Growing Belief in Economic Recovery

According to the latest Eurobarometer survey results published today, Europeans are becoming slightly more optimistic about the economic situation in Europe. Over half of Europeans (51%) say that they are optimistic about the EU's future. Overall, 43% of citizens believe that the EU is heading in the right direction to emerge from the crisis and face new global challenges. Optimism is also on the rise as the number of Europeans saying that the impact of the crisis on employment has reached its peak is up by 4 percentage points.

Employment: EU Globalisation Fund pays €1.06 million to help 480 redundant workers in Italian region of Lombardia

The European Commission has paid €1.06 million from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 480 dismissed workers in the Italian region of Lombardia back into employment, following their redundancies in the information technology sector. The Commission proposed the payment to the EU's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on 28 June 2013 (see IP/13/620).

Commission reaction to European Maritime and Fisheries Fund talks

The European Commission regrets that, despite substantial progress, Parliament and Council could not agree on the few outstanding issues at yesterday's trialogue on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The Commission remains committed to facilitate an agreement between the co-legislators that is in line with the key objectives of the Commission's proposal to support the implementation of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy and the further development and implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy.

Avoiding counterfeit toys at Christmas: give the gift of safety

This Christmas, make sure you are not fooled into buying counterfeit and potentially dangerous toys. Designed to defraud and deceive, counterfeit products such as fake toys pose a threat both to European citizens and the European economy. Counterfeits’ inferior quality raises significant health and safety concerns, and their fraudulent business model puts thousands of jobs in jeopardy. To highlight the dangers of counterfeit goods, today in a toy shop in Rome, Vice President Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry will present the EU Stop Fakes campaign. EU rules for toys impose the highest safety requirements in the world. To ensure these laws are correctly implemented and effective we need to ensure they are applied in practice by reliable and trustworthy toy manufacturers and retailers; backed up by efficient market surveillance by Member States' authorities, and, importantly, that consumers know what to look for when they buy toys for children. If one or more of these elements is missing, dangerous toys may still reach our children.

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Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg, welcomes agreement on the revision of EU rules on Clinical Trials

"I welcome the agreement reached at COREPER today on the revision of the EU rules on clinical trials. I thank the Lithuanian Presidency for the progress on this important text for people's health and EU competitiveness. The agreement reached today makes the final adoption of this Regulation possible before the end of the European Parliament's current term. Clinical trials are indispensable for developing and improving medicines and ensuring that EU patients can have access to the most innovative and effective treatments, under high safety and ethical standards. The revised rules will ensure that the EU remains an attractive location for clinical research which is of vital importance for Europe's competitiveness and innovation capacity. I welcome that the new rules will take the form of a Regulation, which is directly applicable throughout the European Union."

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