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Daily News – 29.10.2013

Daily News of 2013-10-29

Commission Européenne - 29/10/2013

EXME 13 / 29.10

DAILY NEWS

29 / 10 / 13

Eurostat new flagship publication: A comprehensive source of information to support the Europe 2020 strategy

Eurostat`s new publication: Green, Smarter, More inclusive? – Indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy, is the first of a new series of flagship publications. This publication helps to inform citizens about significant developments in the EU and within a major European policy framework. It analyses the longer-term trends in the headline indicators of the Europe 2020 strategy as well as giving insight to the driving forces behind them. It offers a comprehensive view of progress in European society. Walter Radermacher, Director General of Eurostat, presented today at 11h this publication as well as a number of new interactive tools which have been recently produced by Eurostat in order to facilitate the understanding of statistics by a larger public. You can watch the technical briefing here .

The European Commission takes initiative to reform public administration and boost economic growth

In many Member States, inefficient public administration remains one of the main obstacles to industrial competitiveness and economic growth. The Commission has made public administration reform one of its top five economic priorities for the last two years, as set out in the Annual Growth Survey.

To focus more closely on the issue, the Commission hosts today a high-level conference in Brussels to spur a debate on how public administrations across Europe can become more efficient and transparent. At the conference, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Vice Presidents Antonio Tajani and Maroš Šefčovič discussed with industry leaders, ministers, policy makers and advisers about how to make administrations across Europe more business-friendly.

The conference allowed them to exchange ideas and experiences about how such difficulties can be overcome. During the conference, Vice President Tajani also launched an award for best public procurement of innovative goods and services, the first award of this kind at the European level.

Read the speeches of President Barroso SPEECH/13/863 (available later) and Vice Presidents Tajani SPEECH/13/866 and Šefčovič SPEECH/13/864 .

Other news

EU confirms its support for West Africa's development and integration

EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will today announce new financial support for West Africa, during a round of discussions with Ministers and other authorities from the region on the priorities to be funded during the next 7 years (2014-2020). This support will amount to some €6.4 billion euros (subject to confirmation by the European Parliament and Council) and is expected to support investments that generate growth and job creation for the 300 million citizens of West Africa. Commissioner Piebalgs said: “Our new support reflects our ongoing commitment to investing in West Africa. But we want to see the region and its countries in the driving seat – I believe working together in such a partnership we can continue making major progress towards increased development and prosperity for this region.”

Commission publishes practical guidelines for businesses on new VAT rules

The Commission has today published practical guidelines to prepare businesses for the new VAT rules for telecoms and e-services, which will enter into force in 2015. The aim is to help businesses to be fully prepared on time for the change-over, whereby VAT will be charged where the customer is based, rather than where the seller is. A One Stop Shop will enable telecoms, broadcasting and e-services businesses comply with all of their VAT obligations in all Member States from their country of registration.

Second quarter of 2013: Household saving rate down to 12.8% in the euro area and 10.7% in the EU27

In the second quarter of 2013, the household saving rate in the euro area was 12.8%, compared with 13.1% in the first quarter of 2013. In the EU27, the household saving rate was 10.7%, compared with 11.1% in the previous quarter. These data come from a detailed set of seasonally adjusted quarterly European sector accounts released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union and the European Central Bank (ECB).

Second quarter of 2013: Business investment rate up to 19.2% in the euro area and 18.9% in the EU27

In the second quarter of 2013, the business investment rate was 19.2% in the euro area, compared with 18.8% in the first quarter of 2013. This rise was the result of a higher increase in investment (+3.2%) than in gross value added (+0.9%) while total stocks (materials, supplies and finished goods) fell. In the EU27 the investment rate was 18.9% in the second quarter 2013, compared with 18.8% in the previous quarter. These data come from a detailed set of seasonally adjusted quarterly European sector accounts released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, and the European Central Bank (ECB).

Commissioner Hedegaard to visit Bucharest for climate talks

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, will visit Bucharest on 30 October for talks with Romanian government ministers, business and civil society. She is expected to meet Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Rovana Plumb, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Daniel Chitoiu, Minister of Public Finance, and Maricel Popa, Secretary of State in the Ministry's Energy Department. Commissioner Hedegaard will also have a working lunch with business representatives and a meeting with environmental organisations.

Europe signs its largest ever contract for ITER with GDF SUEZ Group and M+W Group

Fusion for Energy (F4E), the EU body managing Europe’s contribution to ITER, has signed its largest contract to date with GDF Suez Group and M+W Group to equip a number of the buildings, including the complex that will host the ITER machine, with infrastructure. The contract is expected to run for six years and its budget is approximately € 530 million. ITER is a first-of-a-kind international collaboration bringing together 50% of the world’s population and 80% of the global GDP. ITER will be the world's largest experimental fusion facility and is designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power. Europe will contribute almost half of the costs of its construction, while the other six parties (China, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA), will contribute equally to the rest. The site of the ITER project is in France. To read the press release and MEMO visit the F4E website . For more information contact aris.apollonatos@f4e.europa.eu

Innovative Medicines Initiative launches Call for proposals on flu vaccines

As the flu vaccination season gets underway, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is launching today a Call for proposals for a project to improve the development of new, more effective flu vaccines. Every year, pharmaceutical companies develop vaccines designed to combat the strains of flu most likely to be circulating the following winter. A challenge in vaccine development is accurately assessing the level of protection offered by a new vaccine. The goal of this project will be to improve and standardise existing tests and develop new ones to improve the evaluation of new flu vaccines. The project will have a budget of €12.2 million, half of which will come from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and half of which will come from in kind contributions by the large pharmaceutical companies taking part in the project. For more information on the 10th Call for proposals, including details of how to apply, visit http://www.imi.europa.eu/content/10th-call-2013-10

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Infrastructure Division of Harsco by CD&R

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Fund IX, L.P., controlled by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice ("CD&R"), of control over the Infrastructure Division of Harsco Corporation ("Harsco Infrastructure") of the United States. Harsco Corporation will retain a minority stake. CD&R is a US based private equity investment group with international activities in various sectors. Harsco Infrastructure provides construction services including scaffolding, formwork and shoring services as well as industrial services, primarily in the form of project engineering and equipment rental and installation. Some of CD&R’s portfolio companies are purchasing such services. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, given the limited market shares of the merged entity. 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.7049 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over the real estate business of Servihabitat Gestion Imobiliaria by TPG Opportunities and CaixaBank

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over the real estate business of Servihabitat Gestion Immobiliaria, S.L.U ("Servihabitat") by TPG Opportunities Partners, L.P., a private equity fund from the United States belonging to the TPG Group, and CaixaBank, S.A., a subsidiary of Caixa d'Estalvis I Pensions de Barcelona ("La Caixa"), one of Spain's biggest financial institutions. Servihabitat is currently a subsidiary of La Caixa, providing real estate and loan servicing. The Commission assessed the effects of the proposed transaction on the markets for real estate and banking activities. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because there are only limited overlaps 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.7030 .

What Commissioners said

Johannes Hahn: Driving the EU's Danube Strategy Forward

Hosting the 2nd Annual Danube Forum in Bucharest, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, stated: "We are celebrating a success today. Our report published earlier this year shows that the Strategy IS already bringing results. 400 projects have already been channelled, worth 49 billion euro. But clearly we need to ensure that the agreed objectives are followed up and translated into action. Member States must take into account the Danube Strategy as they plan the next generation of regional programmes. And looking further ahead, it is for the regions and states of the Danube to reflect together on what is needed in the longer term. The European Structural and Investment Funds will provide financing, but to ensure their most effective use, planning and investments need to be coordinated. The Commission can help with streamlining, but active involvement is needed of all members of the strategy, and of all parts of their government".

Vice-President Viviane Reding in Washington to speak about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Data Protection

Vice-President Viviane Reding will deliver a speech today at an event on "Towards a more dynamic Transatlantic area of growth and investment " organised by the Peterson Institute, SAIS and the EU Delegation in Washington D.C.. She will address the recent US-spying revelations; the future of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Data Protection. For more information: SPEECH/13/867 (will be available under EMBARGO upon request and online on RAPID at 03:00 AM 30 October).

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