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Daily News – 12.12.2018

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 12 / 12 / 2018

Brussels, 12 December 2018

Cohesion Policy: €71 million for better emergency care services in Bulgaria

€71 million from Cohesion Policy funds will finance better equipped, more efficient and more accessible emergency healthcare services in Bulgaria. With this new EU-funded project, all 237 emergency care facilities throughout the country will have improved infrastructure and emergency rooms with state-of-the-art medical equipment. The EU will also co-finance the purchase of 400 new ambulances equipped with modern communication and life-saving devices, allowing them to intervene rapidly and effectively, especially in more remote areas and for the most vulnerable groups of patients. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "Thanks to this EU-funded project, the quality and accessibility of healthcare in Bulgaria will improve significantly. This shows very clearly how Cohesion Policy can make a difference on the ground, to better protect our citizens." While guaranteeing quality and timely service to patients, the project will also contribute to improving cost efficiency of the entire system and will offer a better working environment for the medical personnel. (For more information: Christian Spahr – Tel.: +32 2 295 00 55; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

 

Euro Summit: Updates on deepening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union

The Commission has published a series of factsheets on issues related to deepening Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) ahead of the Euro Summit which will take place on Friday, 14 December 2018. The factsheets outline what has already been achieved, current discussions and the proposals on the table. A general factsheet provides an overview of the overall state-of-play of the EMU, while more detailed updates focus on the Banking Union; the Capital Markets Unionfurther strengthening the euro's role in the world; cooperation between the Commission and the European Stability Mechanism; and budgetary instruments for a stronger and stable euro area within the Union framework. All factsheets are available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt Tel.: +32 229 56153; Johannes Bahrke Tel.: +32 229 58615; Annikky Lamp Tel.: +32 229 56151; Letizia Lupini Tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

EU disburses €20 million in Macro-Financial Assistance to Georgia

The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has disbursed €15 million in loans to Georgia under the first instalment of its new Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme. The grant component of €5 million will be disbursed in the coming days, bringing the total amount of this instalment to €20 million. The disbursement will help Georgiacover part of its financing needs and support the implementation of economic reforms. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs said: “This disbursement is another demonstration of the EU's support for the people of Georgia. We will continue to support Georgia as it continues its programme of reforms designed to promote its economic transition and sustainable growth." Georgia's new MFA programme is worth up to €45 million in total. The European Parliament and the Council approved the new programme in April 2018. The previous two operations were each worth €46 million. This MFA disbursement is one element of the broader support the EU continues to provide to Georgia across a wide range of areas, including trade investment, research and innovation. This support and cooperation was discussed when members of the Government of Georgia, led by Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, met with President Juncker and the College of Commissionersin Brussels in November. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke– Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976; Annikky Lamp: +32 229 56151)

  

Online payment companies to help in the fight against tax fraud – Commission proposal

A Commission proposal linked to the fight against VAT fraud presented today would help to establish better cooperation between tax authorities and Payment Service Providers such as credit card and direct debit providers. More than 90% of European customers' online purchases involve a payment intermediary such as credit card and direct debit providers and data held by these companies can offer EU tax administrations a useful tool to control the VAT obligations on cross-border sales of goods and services. Rules proposed today establish quarterly information-sharing obligations for providers, which will allow Member State anti-fraud specialists (the 'Eurofisc' network) to exchange and analyse certain payment data received from the providers on cross-border sales. In turn, both EU and non-EU online sellers will be identifiable when they do not comply with VAT obligations. Similar provisions in place in some Member States and other countries have already shown how such cooperation can have a tangible boost in tackling fraud in the e-commerce sector. The measures, developed following intensive discussions with industry leaders and Member State tax authorities, will now be submitted to Member States in the Council for agreement and to the European Parliament for consultation. Today's announcement comes following related proposals to ensure the smooth running of the VAT system when it comes to online sales once an already agreed major overhaul comes into force in January 2021. More information on the Commission's work to fight VAT fraud and improve VAT revenue collection in Member States, including on today's proposals for Payment Service Providers, is available on the website. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183)

 

Capital Markets Union: European Commission levels the playing field between investment firms and trading venues

The European Commission has today adopted new transparency requirements for investment firms, including systematic internalisers. Systematic internalisers are investment firms which are allowed to trade outside trading venues. The adopted rules introduce minimum share price variation ("tick size increments") when investment firms quote prices in shares and other equity-like instruments. Up to now, systematic internalisers were allowed greater flexibility in pricing shares. They will continue to enjoy such flexibility when trading larger orders, but for standard trade sizes, they will be bound by the same rules as trading venues. The tick size, or minimum price variation, is the smallest increment permitted in quoting or trading a security. Tick size rules have a significant impact on the trading costs for investors and on overall market quality, as they improve price formation and simplify the trading environment. Today's Commission Delegated Regulation under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) is based on a Regulatory Technical Standards submitted by European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Today's rules are part of the Commission's broader policy to ensure the level playing field between systematic internalisers and trading venues. The Delegated Regulation will be in force after one month unless the European Parliament and the Council object to it. More information here(For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

Une Europe qui protège: la Commission salue l'adoption de règles plus strictes pour empêcher les cybercriminels de nuire

Hier, le Parlement européen et le Conseil ont dégagé un accord politique sur la proposition de la Commission visant à renforcer les règles de lutte contre la fraude et la contrefaçon des moyens de paiement autres que les espèces, tels que les cartes bancaires, chèques, paiements mobiles et monnaies virtuelles. Élément important parmi les moyens supplémentaires fournis à l'UE pour lutter contre la cybercriminalité, ces nouvelles règles aideront les États membres à réprimer les cybercriminels tout en améliorant l'aide apportée aux victimes de la fraude aux paiements en ligne.  Se félicitant de cet accord, le commissaire pour la migration, les affaires intérieures et la citoyenneté, Dimitris Avramopoulos, a déclaré: "Nous construisons une Europe plus sûre au service de nos concitoyens – en ligne et hors ligne; nous honorons cet engagement. Ces nouvelles règles nous aideront à réprimer ceux qui volent nos concitoyens en pratiquant la fraude en ligne, et à faire en sorte que ces derniers soient mieux protégés." Le commissaire en charge de l'Union de la sécurité, Julian King, a quant à lui déclaré: "Il est d'une importance cruciale de renforcer l'effet dissuasif pour lutter contre la cybercriminalité: les acteurs de la cybersphère aux pratiques malveillantes doivent savoir qu'ils s'exposent à de graves conséquences. L'accord conclu dote les États membres d'un outil plus performant pour lutter efficacement contre la fraude en ligne, et dissuade vigoureusement les cybercriminels potentiels."La directive doit à présent être formellement adoptée par le Parlement européen et le Conseil. Un communiqué de presse et une fiche d'information sont disponibles en ligne. (Pour plus d'informations: Natasha Bertaud – Tél.: +32 229 67456; Kasia Kolanko – Tél.: +32 229 63444)

 

Exchange of criminal records: Agreement reached on improving the existing European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) with regard to convicted third country nationals

Yesterday, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the Commission's proposal to create a central ECRIS-TCN system to improve the exchange of criminal records information regarding convicted non-EU-citizens and stateless persons through the existing European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).  The proposal was presented as part of the European Agenda on Security to strengthen the fight against terrorism and cross-border crime. Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "Criminals act across borders, so our law enforcement authorities need to be able to also smoothly cooperate across Europe to catch these criminals. The new system to exchange criminal records will make this exchange faster, and include also third country nationals to the database. Judges, prosecutors or the police will be better equipped to cooperate and fight crime across the EU. This will make Europe a safer place for all of its citizens." The new system will consist of an up-to-date central database containing identity information (criminal records and fingerprints) of third country nationals and stateless persons convicted. The database will be available online and authorities will be able to easily search with a hit/no-hit search mechanism: a hit will identify the Member States from which full criminal records information of a particular person can be obtained. The new system will also be interoperable with other EU databases managed and developed by the eu-LISA agency. More information on the European Criminal Records Information System is available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.:+32 229 5865)

 

The Commission welcomes the political agreement on a proposal to enhance the role of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER)

Today's deal means that six out of the eight legislative proposals of the 2016 Clean Energy for All Europeans package have been politically endorsed by the co-legislators, after the agreements on the Governance of the Energy Union proposal, the revised Energy Efficiency Directive, the revised Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Regulation on Risk Preparedness. It is clear progress and momentum towards completing the Energy Union and combatting climate change are well under way. The Juncker Commission, working under its political priority "a resilient Energy Union and a forward-looking climate change policy", is delivering. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "Today's deal is another important achievement in our transition to a clean and secure energy system. ACER, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, will have an enhanced role in the energy market and in the area of security of supply. This Regulation will adapt the Agency's competences to the new challenges the electricity sector is facing, for example in the context of increased regional cooperation. We are now approaching the finishing line tocomplete the Clean Energy for All Europeans proposals before the end of this year. With the completion of the Package, we will be on the right path towards the Energy Union".The complete statement is available online. (For more information Anna-Kaisa Itkonen- Tel: +32 229-56186 and Lynn Rietdorf – Tel: +32 229-74959)

 

State aid: Commission finds no aid in €1.1 billion extension of Athens International Airport concession

The European Commission has authorised Greece, under EU State aid rules, to extend by 20 years the concession granted to the Athens International Airport S.A. (AIA) to operate Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos, against the payment of an increased fee. Under EU rules, a concession for the commercial operation of infrastructure can be considered free of State aid if it is awarded on terms that a private company operating under market conditions would also have accepted when granting a concession for similar assets. The Commission found that the initial value of the extended concession proposed by AIA, amounting to €484 million, was based on financial and business parameters that were not in line with market conditions, and the extension of the concession on these terms would have constituted State aid. Following exchanges between Greece and the Commission, the fee to be paid by AIA to Greece was significantly increased to €1,115 million. In the light of this increased price, the Commission found that the extended concession involves no State aid because AIA will pay an adequate market fee to continue operating Athens International Airport. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The Commission has found that the €1.1 billion fee that will be paid by AIA for the 20 year extension of the Athens airport concession corresponds to a market price. This means that AIA will not benefit from any State aid in the form of an unduly low fee for the concession. The Commission cooperated actively with the Greek authorities to reach this positive result, which is one of the most important economic transactions under the Greek privatisation programme." The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, EL(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

State aid: Commission clears Italian rescue aid to Condotte d'Acqua

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Italian plans to grant a €190 million State guarantee to Italy's third largest construction company, Condotte d'Acqua S.p.A. in Amministrazione Straordinaria (“Condotte”).  The company, which employs over one thousand people and is active in the construction sector, including infrastructure works such as roads and high-speed railways, is experiencing financial difficulties due to internal and external factors, in particular the economic context of construction companies involved in public works, which put Italian construction companies under financial strain. On 30 November 2018, Italy notified the Commission of plans to grant a temporary €190 million guarantee on loans and bonds for Condotte. This will allow the company to meet its liquidity needs for the next six months at an appropriate interest rate. The Commission assessed the plans under the Commission's rescue and restructuring guidelines, which allow Member States to support companies in difficulty, provided in particular that the public measures are limited in time and scope and contribute to an objective of common interest and found that: (i) the planned aid is necessary to allow Condotte to keep operating and avoid disrupting the ongoing public infrastructure projects. If Condotte were to exit the market abruptly, it would be difficult for a competitor to step in immediately to fully replicate Condotte's role without risking further delays in infrastructure projects; (ii) Condotte plays an important role in the construction sector not only because of the large number of direct jobs it provides but also because of the much larger number of indirect jobs and commercial links it sustains with subcontractors and suppliers; and (iii) the company's liquidity needs over the next months are based on reasonable assumptions. Italy also committed to notify to the Commission the end of the State guarantee, the liquidation of the company or a restructuring plan within six months. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules as it will allow Condotte to keep operating and prevent delays to public infrastructure projects, while the short duration of the measure will reduce the distortion of competition potentially triggered by the State support to a minimum. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: "Many companies would be impacted and many jobs would be lost if Condotte abruptly exited the market. The Italian rescue aid that the Commission has approved today will allow Condotte to continue its work and avoid immediate delays to important infrastructure works, whilst giving the company's administrators time to return the company to viability." The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, IT. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

State aid: Commission approves €50 million compensation to release the 700 MHz band for 5G mobile telecommunication networks in Germany

The Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, German plans to compensate the direct costs incurred by operators of digital terrestrial TV-signal transmission (“DTT”) to migrate from the 694-790 MHz frequency band (the "700 MHz band") to lower frequencies. This migration follows a Decision of the European Parliament and the Council in 2017 that imposed the release of the 700 MHz band from DTT use by June 2020, to allow the deployment of 5G mobile telecommunication services. The 2017 Decision provides that Member States should ensure the availability of the sub-700 MHz band for DTT until 2030 and may compensate the direct costs incurred by DTT operators for the spectrum migration. The Commission assessed the aid measure under EU State aid rules and found that the aid of €50 million is limited to the costs that are strictly necessary for the migration, and has no significant impact on trade and competition. Furthermore, the measure will contribute to the EU's objective of introducing 5G mobile services, while keeping DTT services available for consumers. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the State Aid Register under the case number SA.47258 once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti - Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

Antitrust: new guidance to facilitate access to Commission files

The European Commission has published two new guidance documents to facilitate access to the Commission's files on a case, by companies subject to antitrust proceedings. Companies' access to the information that the Commission is looking at during an investigation is a fundamental procedural step in antitrust cases. It allows the companies that receive Statements of Objections to ensure their rights of defence. The first document published today contains guidance and templates for the use of voluntary "confidentiality rings" for access to file purposes.  A confidentiality ring is a negotiated disclosure procedure through which a restricted circle of individuals is given access to confidential information contained in the Commission's file. Confidentiality rings facilitate the access to file procedure for companies subject to investigation, third parties and the Commission, protecting both the rights of defence and confidential information and speeding up the access to file procedure. The second document published today is an updated version of the 2012 guidance document on business secrets and other confidential information. It provides up-to-date case law references and improved practical information for companies claiming confidentiality in antitrust proceedings. These two new documents are part of the Commission's continued work to increase the transparency of competition procedures and guarantee due process and companies' rights of defence. In 2015, the Commission published Best Practices on Data Rooms as well as Guidance on confidentiality claims for the process of preparing public versions of its decisions. In 2016, it also published Recommendations for the use of electronic document submissions. All relevant documents for access to file and publication purposes are available on DG Competition's website(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Spectrum Brands' batteries and portable lighting business by Energizer, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Spectrum Brands' batteries and portable lighting business by Energizer. Energizer and Spectrum Brands are two of the world's main manufacturers and suppliers of consumer batteries. They sell their batteries under the Energizer, Varta and Rayovac brands in the European Economic Area (EEA). On the basis of its preliminary investigation, the Commission was concerned that the proposed transaction, as originally notified, would have significantly reduced competition for several types of branded batteries and portable battery chargers. The merged entity would have become by far the largest supplier (and in some cases, the only supplier) of those products in a number of EEA markets, with limited constraints from competitors. The Commission was therefore concerned that the proposed acquisition would harm competition and lead to increased prices and reduced choice for consumers. To address the Commission's competition concerns, Energizer offered: (i) to divest Spectrum Brands' Varta business and (ii) to enter into an exclusive supply and licence agreement with the purchaser of the Varta business for the sale of Rayovac-branded hearing aid batteries to mass retailers in EMEA. These commitments remove the overlap between the companies' activities in each of the national markets for which the Commission had concerns. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments. The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, IT. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition by Vodafone of Liberty Global's business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess Vodafone's proposed acquisition of Liberty Global's business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned the takeover may reduce competition in Germany and Czechia. In Czechia, providers of standalone telecommunications services could be shut out from (i) the retail market for mobile telecommunications services, (ii) the retail market for Internet access services and (iii) the retail market for TV services. In Germany, the Commission has concerns that the transaction (i) would eliminate competition between the merging companies, reduce the number of players and limit the merged entity's incentives to compete effectively with the remaining operators, both in areas already served by Unitymedia and in Germany as a whole; (ii) could eliminate competition between the merging companies in terms of investment in next generation networks; (iii) could substantially increase the bargaining power of the merged entity vis-à-vis TV broadcasters. The Commission will now carry out an in-depth investigation into the effects of the transaction to determine whether its initial competition concerns are confirmed. The German Competition Authority requested a referral of the case on 7 November 2018 under Article 9 of the EU Merger Regulation. This referral request is pending. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 2 May 2019, to take a decision. The opening of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "It's important that all EU consumers have access to affordable and good quality telephone and TV services. Our in-depth investigation aims to ensure that Vodafone's acquisition of Liberty Global's telecommunications businesses in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania will not lead to higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation in telecoms and TV services for consumers". The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Houghton by Quaker, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Houghton by Quaker, both producers of industrial lubricants. In particular, both companies are active in the supply of rolling oils, which are particular types of metal working fluids used in the production of metals, such as aluminium and steel. The Commission was concerned that the takeover, as originally notified, would lead to a loss of competition in the markets for the supply of certain rolling oils in the European Economic Area (EEA). In particular, the Commission's market investigation found that the EEA markets for the supply of (i) Aluminium Hot Rolling Oils (“AHRO”), (ii) Steel Hot Rolling Oils (“SHRO”), and (iii) Steel Cold Rolling Oils (“SCRO”) are highly concentrated, and that Quaker and Houghton closely compete on these markets. In light of these elements, the Commission considered that the proposed acquisition would have likely led to higher prices and reduced quality of the products and services provided to customers. To address the Commission's competition concerns, Quaker offered todivest Houghton's EEA businesses for AHRO, SHRO and SCRO, to Total SA, of France, on a global basis. The Commission will still assess whether Total has the ability and incentives to be an active competitor of the merged entity on a lasting basis. These commitments eliminate the Commission's concerns in relation to the proposed acquisition. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments. The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of MKM by KME

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of MKM by KME. KME and MKM mainly sell copper and copper alloy products, and compete with each other only in some market segments and geographical areas, in particular with regards to (i) pure copper rolled products in the European Economic Area (EEA) and (ii) sanitary copper tubes in some EU Member States. The Commission opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the overlaps in these two areas might result in price increase for customers. For rolled products made of copper and copper alloys the investigation showed that the merged entity would not be able to increase prices because (i) KME and MKM would have only a relatively low combined market share and will not be market leaders; (ii) they compete with each other essentially only in certain lower–end segments of the market; (iii) the merging companies' competitors have substantial excess capacity, particularly in roofing copper, which is also a declining segment. For sanitary copper tubes, the investigation also found that the merged entity would not be able to raise prices, because there is a large number of credible competitors in the EEA and in various Member States with significant free manufacturing capacity. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns in the EEA or any substantial part of it and cleared the case unconditionally. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Copper products are a key input for many European companies. We have looked carefully at the proposed merger between KME and MKM and found that there are enough credible alternatives and relatively low barriers to entry in the markets where the two companies compete with each other. We can therefore approve this merger without conditions." The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Gemalto by Thales, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Gemalto by Thales. The proposed transaction would combine the activities of Thales and Gemalto in general purpose hardware security modules (HSMs). Thales and Gemalto are the two largest manufacturers of general purpose HSMs, both in the European Economic Area (EEA) and at global level. The Commission's in-depth investigation looked into: (a) the extent to which the companies are close competitors; (b) the potential response of the merged entity's competitors; and (c) the ability of software-based solutions to reach the same security level as HSMs, and therefore compete with the latter. Following the Commission's in-depth investigation and as regards general purpose HSMs, the Commission found that the proposed merger would lead to very high combined market shares and would eliminate the competitive constraints that the companies currently exercise on each other. As regards payment HSMs, the Commission concluded that the proposed merger was unlikely to have an impact on the level of service or prices. To address the Commission's competition concerns, Thales offered to divest its global general purpose HSM business, marketed under the nShield brand, to a suitable purchaser, who will continue to develop the product. These commitments eliminate the Commission's concerns in relation to the proposed acquisition. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The importance of data security solutions to protect critical social, commercial or personal information is increasing. Today's decision allows the creation of a strong European player in this market, while still ensuring that the merger will not prevent customers from continuing to enjoy fair prices and innovative products. This is because we have approved the deal subject to Thales' offer of a strong remedy that will fully preserve competition on this important market.” The full press release is available online in EN, FR, DE, NL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears joint venture by CapMan, NH-Amundi and Green Investment Group

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed creation of a joint venture, Cloud Snurran, by CapMan plc of Finland, NH-Amundi Asset Management Co. Ltd. ("NH-Amundi") of Korea and Green Investment Group ("GIG") of the UK. The joint venture will develop, construct and operate an onshore wind farm in Sweden. CapMan is an investment and specialised asset management undertaking. NH-Amundi is an asset management company, which provides investment trust and mutual fund management for all types of investments. GIG specialises in green energy principal investment, project delivery and portfolio management and related services. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because of the limited overlaps between the companies' activities. 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.9143. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears a new joint venture by Bergé and GEFCO España

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a new joint venture by Bergé Automotive Logistics, S.L. (“BAL”), a subsidiary of Bergé y Cía, S.A. of Spain, and GEFCO España, S.A.  of Spain, which is ultimately controlled by the Russian state-owned rail company RZD. The newly created joint venture will integrate and manage the finished vehicle logistic businesses and assets of BAL and GEFCO España in Spain. BAL provides logistics services to the automotive industry and is especially active in dealing with domestic flows. GEFCO España provides logistic services to a variety of industries, including integrated logistics services to the automotive industry, dealing especially with international flows. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to raise competition concerns because there would remain sufficient competition in the market and the companies' customers (car manufacturers) will continue to enjoy buyers' power. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8881. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears the creation of joint venture combining Solenis and BASF's global paper and water chemicals business

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over a newly created joint venture combining Solenis and BASF's global paper and water chemicals business ("BASF DOM") by BASF SE ("BASF") of Germany and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Inc. ("CD&R") of the US.  BASF DOM supplies wet-end paper chemicals and water treatment chemicals. Solenis, a portfolio company of CD&R, is a specialty chemical company providing process and water solutions. The joint venture will also be active in these sectors. .Following its market investigation, the Commission concluded that, although the proposed transaction may lead to horizontal and vertical overlaps, it would not give rise to competition concerns. This is because of the number of rivals remaining in the market, the differences in the business models of Solenis and BASF DOM, the existing vertical relationships between BASF and Solenis, and the fact that Solenis represents only a minimal share of the demand for BASF's products. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8950. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Eurostat: La production industrielle en hausse de 0,2% dans la zone euro ainsi que dans l'UE28 (Octobre 2018 comparé à septembre 2018)

En octobre 2018 par rapport à septembre 2018, la production industrielle corrigée des variations saisonnières a augmenté de 0,2% tant dans la zone euro (ZE19) que dans l'UE28, selon les estimations d'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. En septembre 2018, la production industrielle avait diminué de 0,6% dans la zone euro et de 0,4% dans l'UE28. En octobre 2018 par rapport à octobre 2017, la production industrielle a augmenté de 1,2% dans la zone euro et de 1,3% dans l'UE28. Un communiqué de presse complet est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tél.: +32 229 87278)

 

Eurostat: Protection sociale en 2016: la part du PIB de l'UE consacrée à la protection sociale légèrement en baisse, ratios les plus élevés en France, en Finlande et au Danemark

En 2016, les dépenses de protection sociale dans l'Union européenne (UE) se sont établies à 28,2% du PIB, légèrement en baisse par rapport à 28,4% en 2015, selon les données d'Eurostat, l'office statistique de l'Union européenne. En 2016, les deux principales sources de financement de la protection sociale au niveau de l'UE étaient les cotisations sociales et les contributions publiques provenant des impôts, représentant respectivement 55% et 40% des recettes totales. La moyenne de l'UE continue de masquer de fortes disparités entre les États membres. En 2016, les dépenses de protection sociale s'élevaient au moins à 30% du PIB en France (34%), en Finlande et au Danemark (32% chacune) ainsi qu'en Autriche, en Belgique, en Italie, en Suède et aux Pays-Bas (30% chacun). En revanche, les dépenses de protection sociale étaient inférieures à 20% du PIB en Roumanie, en Lettonie et en Lituanie (15% chacune), en Irlande (16%), en Estonie et à Malte (17% chacune), en Bulgarie et en Slovaquie (18% chacune) ainsi qu'en Tchéquie, à Chypre et en Hongrie (19% chacun). Un communiqué de presse complet est disponible ici. (Pour plus d'informations: Christian Wigand – Tél.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tél.: +32 229 67094)

 

 

 

 

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)

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