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Midday Express of 2009-06-22

Commission Européenne - MEX/09/0622   22/06/2009

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EXME09 / 22.06

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

22 / 06 / 09

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of SN Airholding (SNAH), the holding company of the Belgian commercial airline SN Brussels Airlines, by Deutsche Lufthansa AG of Germany. The decision is conditional upon the implementation of a set of remedies, offered by Lufthansa to alleviate the Commission's competition concerns. In January 2009, the Commission opened an in-depth inquiry to further investigate the potential impact of the proposed transaction on passenger transport on a number of routes between Belgium and Germany and Belgium and Switzerland (see IP/09/129). The in-depth investigation confirmed that the transaction, as originally notified, would have raised competition concerns on the routes Brussels-Frankfurt, Brussels-Munich, Brussels-Hamburg and Brussels-Zürich. To address these concerns, Lufthansa submitted a set of remedies, offering an efficient and timely slot allocation mechanism that would allow new entrants to operate flights on each of the four routes where the Commission had concerns. In the light of the commitments, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

The European Commission has launched a public consultation to determine whether International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) should be adopted in the EU. According to an independent study also published today, the benefits of adoption would outweigh the costs. Interested parties are invited to respond to the consultation by 15 September 2009.

The European Commission today made a payment of €2.7 million from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF) to Spain. The money will help some 600 workers made redundant as a direct result of production in the automotive sector being shifted to countries outside the EU (Morocco, Turkey and Taiwan), increased imports of cars and their components into the EU and reduced EU market share in production of motor vehicles.

Les 22 et 23 juin, la Commission européenne organise à Bruxelles un évènement majeur dont l'objectif est d'étudier l'incidence du changement climatique sur l'emploi. Rassemblant environ 300 décideurs politiques et experts, cette dernière édition du Forum «Restructurations» abordera des questions comme le nombre de pertes et de créations d'emplois dues au changement climatique, la manière dont les compétences et les qualifications doivent évoluer et le rôle que doivent jouer les partenaires sociaux pour apporter leur aide.

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a measure adopted by Finland to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on export firms. The Commission found the measure to be in line with its Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (see IP/08/1993). In particular, the measure requires market-oriented remuneration and tackles the problem of the current unavailability of short-term export credit insurance cover in the private market. The Commission authorised the measure until 31 December 2010.

The overall tax-to-GDP ratio in the EU272 was 39.8% in 2007, a slight increase from 39.7% in 2006. The EU27 tax ratio, which stood at 40.6% in 2000, fell to 38.9% by 2004 and then started to rise. The overall tax ratio in the euro area (EA16) was 40.4% in 2007, and also rose slightly from 40.3% in 2006. Since 2000, taxes in the euro area have followed a similar trend to the EU27, although at a slightly higher level. In comparison with the rest of the world, the EU27 tax ratio remains generally high, exceeding those of the USA and Japan by some 12 percentage points. However, the tax burden varies significantly between Member States, ranging in 2007 from less than 30% in Romania and Slovakia (both 29.4%) and Lithuania (29.9%), to a little less than 50% in Denmark (48.7%) and Sweden (48.3%). Since 2000, significant changes in tax-to-GDP ratios have taken place in several Member States. The largest falls were recorded in Slovakia, where the overall tax burden dropped from 34.1% in 2000 to 29.4% in 2007, and Finland (from 47.2% to 43.0%). The highest increases were observed in Cyprus (from 30.0% to 41.6%) and Malta (from 28.2% to 34.7%). This information comes from the 2009 edition of the publication Taxation trends in the European Union issued by Eurostat and the Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union. This publication compiles tax indicators in a harmonised framework based on the European System of Accounts (ESA 95), allowing accurate comparison of the tax systems and tax policies between EU Member States.

  • Commission clears acquisition of De Post-La Poste by CVC and Belgian State

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Belgian universal postal services operator De Post-La Poste by CVC Capital Partners SICAV-FIS S.A. (CVC) of Luxembourg and the Belgian State. CVC is a private equity company The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • State aid: Commission approves prolongation of the Slovenian guarantee scheme for credit institutions

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a six month prolongation of a Slovenian guarantee scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 12 December 2008 (see IP/08/1964), to be in line with its Guidance Communication on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495). In particular, the extended measures are limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Slovenian economy and as such are compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty.

  • State aid: Commission approves prolongation of German guarantee scheme for credit institutions

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a six month prolongation of a German guarantee scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 12 December 2008 (see IP/08/1966), to be in line with its Guidance Communication on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495). In particular, the extended measures are limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the German economy and as such are compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty.

Rediffusion

La Commission européenne a, en vertu des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'État, donné son feu vert à une augmentation de 10 milliards € du budget alloué au régime adopté par l'Autriche pour aider temporairement les entreprises à faire face à la crise économique actuelle, régime qui avait été initialement autorisé le 20 mars 2009 (voir IP/09/454). L'Autriche a notifié cette modification dans le but de pouvoir accorder des garanties publiques à de grandes entreprises sur la base de la mesure de droit national intitulée «Unternehmensliquidätsstärkungsgesetz». L'augmentation de budget satisfait aux conditions du cadre temporaire de la Commission pour les aides d'État destinées à favoriser l'accès au financement dans le contexte de la crise économique et financière actuelle (voir IP/08/1993), puisqu'elle est limitée dans le temps et ne s'applique qu'aux sociétés qui n'étaient pas en difficulté au 1er juillet 2008. Elle est donc compatible avec l'article 87, paragraphe 3, point b), du traité CE, qui autorise les aides visant à remédier à une perturbation grave de l'économie d'un État membre.

Ahead of World Refugee Day (20 June), the European Commission has allocated €8 million in humanitarian aid to help vulnerable people in Kenya, including Somalis in the Dadaab refugee camp. Dadaab is now the largest refugee camp in the world. The funds are channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the direct responsibility of Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Speech by President Barroso 'Statement at European Council Press Conference', Brussels

• Discours par Commissaire Spidla 'Forum Restructurations

Impact du changement climatique sur l'emploi', Bruxelles

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

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

GlaxoSmithKline/Stiefel Laboratories


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