EXME 14 / 11.03
11 / 03 / 14
EU support to Ukraine – trade measures
The European Commission will adopt today a set of trade provisions to support Ukraine. This proposal is a concrete, tangible measure of support to Ukraine in the context of the package adopted by the European Commission last week. It will be presented by President Barroso and Commissioner De Gucht in Strasbourg at 15:00.
Press material (IP/14/250, MEMO/14/159) and President Barroso's speaking points (SPEECH/14/205) will be made available after the press point (which starts at 15:00h in room R3.1, Louise Weiss building, European Parliament, Strasbourg, transmitted via EBS).
European Commission takes action to safeguard the rule of law in the European Union and presents its vision for the future of justice and home affairs
Today the Commission is set to adopt a new framework for addressing systemic threats to the rule of law in EU Member States. Following experiences over the past years, it became clear that the EU's toolbox to deal with such threats had to be further refined, notably by complementing the possibilities of infringement proceedings and the so-called "nuclear option" of article 7 of the EU Treaty. Today, the Commission will also adopt its vision for the future of justice and home affairs beyond 2014.
Press material will be made available at the start of the press conference (starting at 14:30h in room R3.1 of the Louise Weiss building in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, transmitted via EBS) of President Barroso, Vice President Reding and Commissioner Malmström.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Australian Clermont coal mine by Glencore and Sumitomo
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over the Clermont joint venture of Australia, by GlencoreXstrata of Jersey and by Sumitomo of Japan. The Clermont joint venture produces and sells thermal coal. GlencoreXstrata is active worldwide in the sale of commodities and raw materials. Sumitomo is a global general trading company. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because of the limited overlap in the activities of the undertakings concerned on a market which is fragmented. 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.7158 .
The proposals to strengthen the European Union’s ability to respond to new psychoactive substances used as alternatives to illicit drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy were backed yesterday by an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) (51 in favour, 4 against). The new rules proposed by the Commission will equip the EU with a quicker and smarter system to help protect more than 2 million people in Europe who take pills or powders sold to them as ‘legal’. "Legal highs are not legal: they are lethal", said Vice-President Viviane Reding, "Drugs don't stop at national borders. In a borderless internal market, we need common EU rules to tackle legal highs.
On the occasion of the tenth European Day on Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism, Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said: "On the tenth anniversary of the Madrid bombing attacks, we express our sympathy and solidarity with all victims of terrorism, their families and friends. Our thoughts also turn towards all victims in the world. Victims and their families carry the scars of terrorist acts and need our continued and consistent support. Survivors of terrorist attacks and family members of victims who have lost their lives can also be important partners to address problems of security and to build a more resilient society. They are credible voices to challenge the violent extremists' narratives and they can be a precious help to counter the efforts of terrorists to recruit new members and to radicalise our youth. By doing so, they contribute to a more tolerant and open society".
Quality food products: "Höri Bülle" gets EU protection
The European Commission has approved the addition of a new quality farm product, the German " Höri Bülle " to the register of protected designations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs). "Höri Bülle" (PGI) is a red onion with a characteristic form and colour grown in the fertile Höri peninsula located at the western end of Lake Constance in Baden-Württemberg. "Höri Bülle" is an old regional variety which has been grown on the Höri peninsula for centuries. Its seeds are self-propagated and not commercially available. The denomination will be added to the list of more than 1,200 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.
The European Commission welcomes today's European Parliament vote on its proposal to update the trade regime for processed agricultural products (PAPs). PAPs are goods obtained through the processing of basic agricultural products, such as confectionaries, chocolates, pastas, bakeries, biscuits, spirits, soft drinks, etc. The EU is the world’s biggest exporter of processed agricultural products, with total value of €41.7 billion in exports. The new regulation will facilitate the trade of PAPS between the EU and non-EU countries. Its aim is to update the legal framework for the implementation of EU preferential trade agreements concluded with non-EU countries. It also provides for export refunds to be granted to some PAPs when market disturbances occur (for example a collapse in world agricultural product prices as a result of an abundant harvest).
Erasmus+, the EU's new funding programme for education, training, youth and sport, will be launched in Budapest tomorrow (12 March) by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and the country's Minister of Human Resources, Zoltán Balog. Erasmus+ will have a total budget of €14.7 billion over the next seven years – 40% more than under previous programmes. It will provide grants for more than four million people to study, train, gain work experience or volunteer abroad. Nearly 100 000 Hungarians are expected to receive Erasmus+ grants between now and 2020.
What Commissioners said
At the press conference following yesterday's Eurogroup, Vice-President Rehn stressed that the European economy was gradually strengthening, though numerous challenges remain and there should be no complacency. He gave an update on the assistance programmes for Cyprus, Greece and Portugal and explained how and why the Commission is working to help stabilise the economy of Ukraine.
Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner responsible for anti-fraud, welcomed Member States' formal adoption today of the Pericles 2020 programme to help protect the euro against counterfeiting. Commissioner Šemeta said: "The Euro is one of the EU's most valuable assets. So we must do all we can to protect it from criminal abuse. We also have to protect honest businesses and citizens from ending up with fake money in their pockets. Pericles 2020 will ensure that the authorities responsible for preventing, detecting and clamping down on euro counterfeiting are supported and well-informed, and can work together in an environment of mutual trust and information exchange."