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Daily News – 29.08.2012

EXME 12 / 29.08

Midday Express of 2012-08-29

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus by Ryanair

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation (phase II) under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus by the low cost carrier Ryanair, which was notified to the Commission on 24 July 2012. Both are major players in the Irish passenger air transport services market.

Seabed mapping: new opportunities for blue growth and jobs in seas and oceans

The oceans and seas that surround Europe offer new opportunities for growth and jobs to meet the Europe 2020 goals. To best tap this potential, we need to know more about what is happening under the sea. The European Commission is proposing to create a digital seabed map of European waters by 2020 by collecting all existing data into one coherent database accessible to everyone. In a Green Paper on "Marine Knowledge" adopted today the Commission launches a consultation as to how this could be achieved. It poses a number of questions such as "how can ongoing efforts in Member States be incorporated into a common EU effort?", "how can new cheaper observation technologies be developed?" and "how can the private sector contribute?" The consultation will be open till 15 December 2012.

Fisheries: EU and Norway to stop discarding in the Skagerrak

According to a new proposal by the European Commission, the EU and Norway are to harmonize technical and control measures for fisheries in the Skagerrak to ensure long-term sustainability of fish stocks. Significantly, the proposal features an obligation to land all catches of certain fish species – to stop the practice of discarding. The new rules spell out how the ban will work in practice, specifying for instance that undersized fish may not be used for human consumption, except for charitable purposes. The obligation to land all catches will enter into force in two stages: some species (cod, haddock, pelagic species like herring and mackerel) will be covered from 1 January 2013, the rest (mainly flat fish and species like sandeel or Norway pout) as from 1 January 2015. New technical measures agreed with Norway are also being introduced. Today's initiative was prompted by the revocation of an agreement dating back to 1966, which allowed Swedish, Danish and Norwegian vessels to fish up to 4 nautical miles from each other's coasts whilst remaining under flag-state jurisdiction. With the 1966 agreement revoked, the vessels will have to comply with coastal-state jurisdiction, which is why EU and Norwegian rules must be harmonised. Though the only EU countries that can fish within 4 miles of the Norwegian coast are Denmark and Sweden, the new measures will apply to all EU Member States having fishing rights in the Skagerrak, i.e. also vessels from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

EU seeks start of discussions on new global climate treaty and raising short-term ambition at Bangkok talks

The next round of United Nations climate change negotiations takes place in Bangkok from 30 August to 5 September. The informal session at official level forms part of preparations for the annual UN ministerial conference on climate change which will be held at the end of November in Doha, Qatar. The Cyprus Presidency of the Council and the European Commission will negotiate on behalf of the European Union and its member states. In Bangkok the EU is looking for the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action to start substantive work following agreement on its agenda and co-chairs on the final day of the previous talks held in Bonn in May. The Durban Platform has been established to draw up a new global climate agreement to be adopted by 2015 and to take effect from 2020. The Platform should also identify ways to achieve more ambitious emission reductions before 2020 in order to keep the goal of holding global warming below 2°C within reach. Substantive work in Bangkok should cover both aspects of the Platform's mandate. Regarding the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol starting on 1 January 2013, the EU wants the Bangkok meeting to clarify options for resolving the outstanding issues, such as the length of the commitment period and key rules that will govern it, so that these can be finalised in Doha. The EU will also be looking for greater clarity on how to terminate the existing working group on "long-term cooperative action" in Doha – in line with the provisions of the Durban Platform - and on options for taking forward any issues that require further work in other fora in the UN climate negotiations. The EU delegation will give a press briefing on 5 September at 1400 local time (0900 CEST) which will be webcast live and on demand at .

Commission clears the creation of a JV in the photovoltaic electricity sector in Italy

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by CDC Infrastructure, VEI Capital, Foresight Solar and Adenium Solar Energy of joint control of ForVEI S.r.l, of Italy. ForVEI is a joint venture of VEI Capital and Luxco 2 active in the photovoltaic electricity sector in Italy. VEI Capital is an investment fund active in a number of sectors ultimately controlled by Sparta Holding. Luxco 2 is indirectly jointly controlled by Foresight Solar VCT PLC (UK), which invests in companies seeking to generate solar electricity, and Adenium Solar Energy Company Limited (UK) active in clean energy and alternative energy-related sectors. CDC Infrastructure, a wholly owned subsidiary of the French Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, has investments in infrastructure assets. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

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