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EXME08 / 15.05


News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication

15 / 05 / 08

The European Commission has formally requested Spain to comply with its decision adopted in December 2007 under Article 21 of the EU Merger Regulation to withdraw the conditions imposed by the Spanish Energy Regulator (CNE) and later modified by the Spanish Minister of Industry and Tourism on the acquisition of the Spanish energy company ENDESA by ENEL of Italy and ACCIONA of Spain. This merger was cleared by the Commission under the EU Merger Regulation in July 2007 (see IP/07/1023). In December 2007, the Commission concluded that the Spanish conditions were contrary to EU law and requested Spain to withdraw them by 10 January 2008 (see IP/07/1858). Spain did not comply with the decision and the Commission opened infringement proceedings (see IP/08/164). Today's request by the Commission takes the form of a “reasoned opinion”, the second stage of infringement proceedings under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within one month the Commission may decide to refer Spain to the European Court of Justice.

Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, today visits Sardinia at the invitation of Mr Renato Soru, President of the Region. Her visit marks the start of the region's new Cohesion Policy programmes, which put innovation and combating climate change at the top of the agenda. She will visit projects set up with EU co-funding, and meet regional government and council officials, as well as representatives of civil society.

Le Commissaire au Développement et à l'Aide Humanitaire, Louis Michel, se félicite de la signature d'un accord de cessez-le-feu et de paix entre le gouvernement de la République centrafricaine et l'Armée Populaire pour la Restauration de la Démocratie (APRD) le 9 mai dernier à Libreville. Cet accord était un préalable pour la signature d'un accord de paix global et le lancement du dialogue politique inclusif en Centrafrique dans des conditions optimales.

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva today announced the launch of an EU- UEFA information campaign and helpline to advise fans travelling to EURO 2008 on their consumer rights and to provide support for those who run into problems. The campaign deals with consumer issues – from fake match tickets to transferring tickets in the case of illness, to air travel, roaming charges, EU health insurance and problems shopping abroad. An EU-UEFA online consumer leaflet setting out clear advice for fans travelling to the tournament is available from today at as well as on the European Commission website at A free phone consumers' rights helpline service will run – in all EU languages – throughout the tournament from June 1st 2008 - free phone supporters rights helpline 00800 6 7 8 9 10 11.

The European Union has decided to celebrate the achievements and potential of Europe's ocean and seas by declaring 20 May as a dedicated "European Maritime Day". The official launch ceremony will be held in Strasbourg, where Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Council President Janez Janša and the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering will sign a Joint Tripartite Declaration. European Maritime Day will provide an occasion to highlight the crucial role that oceans and seas play in the everyday life not only of coastal communities, but of all EU citizens, and for Europe's sustainable growth and jobs at large. Based on a proposal from the Commission, this dedicated Maritime Day will also encourage better stewardship of coastal zones, seas and oceans by all citizens and actors concerned.

Euro area annual inflation was 3.3% in April 2008, down from 3.6% in March. A year earlier the rate was 1.9%. Monthly inflation was 0.3% in April 2008. EU annual inflation was 3.6% in April 2008, down from 3.8% in March. A year earlier the rate was 2.2%. Monthly inflation was 0.4% in April 2008. These figures come from Eurostat.

Au cours du premier trimestre 2008, le PIB de la zone euro (ZE15) et celui de l’UE27 ont augmenté de 0,7% par rapport au trimestre précédent, selon les estimations rapides publiées par Eurostat. Au cours du quatrième trimestre 2007, le taux de croissance avait été de +0,4% dans la zone euro et de +0,5% dans l'UE27.

  • European Charter Conference - Facilitating life of small businesses!

How to make the life of small businesses easier? This will be the central topic of the conference on the European Charter for Small Enterprises, taking place in Bled/Brdo, Slovenia on 3-4 June 2008. Each year this conference presents the Member States’ most successful good practices to support Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) all over Europe. This year's conference tackles among other "better regulation for the benefit of SMEs'', "fostering the internationalisation of SMEs" and "entrepreneurship education". For example, the British Cleaning and Support services association will demonstrate how a whole sector now can save up to € 250 million in total thanks to the new health and safety risk assessment models from the government. The Swedish tax agency presents its successful electronic tax declaration for SMEs. Spain will give insight into its exemplary PIPE-programme which supported nearly 5000 small companies in internationalising their business. Germany will demonstrate how they set-up the one-stop-shop “Inter-Ned” with the Netherlands to foster cross-border business activities of their respective enterprises. Wales will explain how they reached their goal to activate more than 300 entrepreneurs to serve as role models to present the fascination of their job to annually 50.000 pupils in schools all over the country. Based on the successful experience of the existing SME Charter, the Commission looks to give a further push to the policy for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises with the presentation of a Small Business Act for Europe before summer. The conference is co-organised by the European Commission and the Slovenian Presidency. Registration and further information at the conference website:

  • Vice-President Verheugen to visit Russia 15-17 May

Shortly after the appointment of the new Russian government Vice President Günter Verheugen is going to Russia from Thursday May 15t until Saturday May 17 to meet with the reappointed Industry and Trade Minister, Viktor Khristenko. Both are keen to further strengthen the dialogue and economic cooperation between Russia and the European Union, including the EU-Russia Industrial and Regulatory dialogue. The discussions will be held in Russian Far East, in Komsomolsk on Amur. Both will also visit the Sukhoi aircraft factory in Komsomolsk, where the new Russian Superjet 100 is produced. Major EU aerospace companies are involved in the development of this regional aircraft and considerably invested in the plant. Vice President Verheugen and minister Khristenko will discuss the industrial development in Russia and how the EU and Russia can cooperate in this field. Vice President Verheugen will also meet with business leaders in Moscow to further encourage economic cooperation and practical steps towards Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is in the mutual interest of both partners.

  • DG Environment holds one-day event on Climate Adaptation White Paper

The European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment is hosting a one-day stakeholder workshop in Brussels on May 16 as part of the progress towards a White Paper on adaptation to climate change to be adopted by the Commission this autumn. The workshop will include a review of the consultation response to the Green Paper and assess preparations for the impact assessment and progress with the preparation of the White Paper. The participants will thus have an opportunity to influence the development and content of the White Paper. The White Paper follows a Green Paper on the same subject adopted in June last year, examining climate change impacts in Europe and the case for action and policy responses in the EU. That Paper focuses on the role of the EU and the leadership it could provide, but takes account of the prominent role of Member States, regional and local authorities in any efficient adaptation strategy. The Paper was met with widespread support. The conference will take place in the Commission's Borschette Conference Centre, Brussels, starting at 0930. The workshop is open to pre-registered participants only. For more details see: Climate adaptation stakeholder event and Green Paper on adaptation to climate change.

  • Civil protection: EU-ALBIS 2008, a large-scale cross-border flood simulation, kicks off in Germany and the Czech Republic

Germany and the Czech Republic are staging a large-scale civil protection exercise to simulate a cross-border flooding emergency. The exercise will be held between 16 and 18 May 2008. Emergency response units will react to a number of different scenarios including flood protection, bridge building, salvage, rescue, and the construction of an oil barrier. German and Czech tactical units and command centres will be involved, as will the European Commission's Monitoring and information Centre (MIC), which is activated within the framework of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism. EU Albis 2008 aims to improve cross-border skills for the teams from the two countries, test national warning systems and improve EU co-ordination in the event of a similar emergency. Spring floods are common in various parts of central and eastern Europe, and the Elbe was particularly badly affected in 2002 and 2006. This exercise is a simulated recreation of the floods of those years. The European Commission is co-financing 75% of the exercise with a contribution of €149 957. For more information, see: European civil protection exercises – EU-Albis 2008 -

  • Commission clears acquisition of Samsung Techwin European distribution activities by Samsung Electronics

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Samsung Opto-Electronics GmbH of Germany, SamsungOpto-Electronics France S.A.S and Samsung Opto-Electronics UK, which are all subsidiaries of Samsung Techwin Co., Ltd of Korea, by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd of Korea. Samsung Electronics designs, develops, manufactures and distributes products in the area of electronics and information technology. The target companies all distribute digital cameras. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commission clears acquisition of SSC Brazil by ArcelorMittal and Gonvarri

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Gonvarri Brasil Produtos Siderúrgicos SA (SSC Brazil) of Brazil by ArcelorMittal of Luxembourg and Gonvarri of Spain. ArcelorMittal manufactures and sells a wide range of steel products including flat carbon steels, long carbon steels and stainless steels. Gonvarri is active in steel processing and distribution and the design, development and manufacture of metal parts for motor vehicles. SSC Brazil processes and distributes steel in Brazil. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commission clears acquisition of T.A.R.M.A.C. Aerosave by EADS and Sita France

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of T.A.R.M.A.C. Aerosave SAS of France by EADS NV of The Netherlands and Sita France SA, controlled by the French Suez group. EADS is active in aerospace, defence and related services. Suez manages public utilities in the field of electricity, natural gas, energy services, water and waste management. T.A.R.M.A.C. Aerosave is active in aircraft storage, aircraft decommissioning and spare parts recovery. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Commission clears joint venture between ČEZ and MOL

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of a newly created company constituting a joint venture by ČEZ, a.s. (ČEZ) of the Czech Republic and MOL Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari Nyilvánosan Működő Részvénytársaság (MOL) of Hungary. ČEZ is an integrated energy conglomerate. MOL is an integrated oil and gas company. The joint venture will develop gas-fired power generation plants and related gas infrastructure in Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Memo on Italy - Operational Programme 2007-2013: Sardinia Regional Operational Programme

• Memo on Questions and Answers: EU-UEFA campaign to inform EURO 2008 fans about their rights

• Speech by Commissioner Ferreo-Waldner 'Die EU und ihre östlichen Nachbarn -Sicherheit und Wohlstand durch Vernetzung', Berlin

• Speech by Commissioner Almunia '10 years of Economic and Monetary Union: time for assessment', Brussels

• Speech by Commissioner Borg 'Building a common vision of the oceans and seas', Lisbon

A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

Nordic Capital / CPS Color

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