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EXME 12 / 22.06
Midday Express of 2012-06-22
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
A total of €436 million of EU agricultural policy funds unduly spent by Member States is being claimed back by the European Commission today under the so-called clearance of accounts procedure. As some of these amounts have already been recovered from the Member States, the financial impact is somewhat lower at €426 million. This money returns to the EU budget because of non-compliance with EU rules or inadequate control procedures on agricultural expenditure. Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds. In order to take account of the financial pressures being felt by some Member States due to the financial crisis, the Commission has adopted a regulation allowing Member States under financial assistance to delay, on certain conditions, the reimbursement of disallowed funds for up to 18 months. This comes in addition to existing options to request that the reimbursement be spread over a limited number of years. The first Member State to apply for this facility is Greece.
Acting under the EU Merger Regulation, the European Commission has referred to the Spanish competition authority the proposed acquisition of joint control over Shell Aviation España S.L. (SAE) of Spain by Disa Corporación Petrolífera S.A. (Disa) of Spain and Shell. SAE is currently solely controlled by Shell. After a preliminary assessment, the Commission concluded that the proposed concentration would only affect certain Spanish markets and that the Spanish competition authority would therefore be best placed to examine it.
In 2011, price levels for consumer goods and services differed widely across Member States. Denmark (142% of the EU27 average) had the highest price level, followed by Sweden (128%), Finland (125%) and Luxembourg (122%). Price levels of 10% to 20% above the EU27 average were found in Ireland (117%), Belgium (112%) and France (111%), while the Netherlands (108%), Austria (107%), Germany and Italy (both 103%) and the United Kingdom (102%) had levels up to 10% above the average. Spain (97% of the EU27 average) and Greece (95%) were just below the average, while Cyprus (89%), Portugal (87%) and Slovenia (84%) were between 10% and 20% below. Price levels between 20% and 30% below the average were observed in Estonia (79%), Malta (78%), the Czech Republic (77%), Latvia (74%) and Slovakia (72%), and levels between 30% and 40% below in Lithuania (66%), Hungary (64%), Poland and Romania (both 60%). The lowest price levels were found in Bulgaria (51%).
European Union - Brazil dialogue on agriculture and rural development
The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş and the Brazilian Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Mendes Ribeiro Filho have signed today in Rio de Janeiro a Memorandum of understanding to establish a dialogue on agriculture. The objectives are to promote mutual understanding and bilateral technical cooperation in the field of agriculture and rural development and to strengthen the exchange of information for a timely and efficient resolution of any arising issues. "This memorandum opens the way to a structural dialogue of the European Union with Brazil, concentrated around themes of common interest for our agriculture and rural development policies. Sharing ideas, best practices, innovative solutions, creating a system of early notification of any rising issues, will bring benefits to our farmers and agri-food industry", stated Dacian Cioloş, EU Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development after the signature of the memorandum. The two sides agreed to share knowledge on sustainable agriculture, to exchange information on experiences and best practices in setting and implementing agricultural and rural development policies, to discuss on how to increase agricultural productivity and trade and to encourage innovation in farming. The document also foresees opening a debate on promotion and quality policies for agricultural products. Both sides will establish contact points, may decide to set up technical working groups and have yearly meetings. The first high level dialogue will take place in Brussels by the end of this year, or early 2013.
European Commissioners underline importance of sustainable and inclusive agriculture in fighting poverty
The European Commission organised a joint high-level event at the Rio Summit of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, outlining the important role that sustainable agricultural practices and development policies can play to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection. "About 500 million smallholdings of less than 2 hectares provide a living and food for 2 billion people in Asia and in Africa. Imagine what even a small gain of productivity multiplied by half a billion could mean for food security at global level. Increasing agricultural productivity needs long term commitments, followed steadily by national governments, private sector as well as international donors. Sustainable agriculture is not a luxury but a necessity. It concerns us all, whether we live in Europe, or on any other place on Earth", stated Dacian Cioloş, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development in the opening of the event. "Agriculture and food security are pivotal in driving growth. There is an obvious link between our natural resource base and lifting people out of poverty. Addressing poverty is about access to safe drinking water, sufficient, healthy and nutritious food, sustainable energy and a safe and healthy environment. The green economy cannot take off unless crucial resources such as water, energy and land are well managed and sustainable economic activity in these areas is allowed to prosper. That is why sustainable agriculture is a top priority in the European Union's Agenda for Change", underlined Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development in his key note speech. The event provided an opportunity for prominent speakers, from Brazil to the African Union, to share and debate experiences on policies to promote sustainable agriculture and development. Together with the two EU Commissioners, speakers included Rhoda Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union, Pepe Vargas, Brazilian Ministry of Agrarian Development, Elisabeth Atangana, President of the Pan-African Farmers' Forum (PAFFO) and Andre Leu, President International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). Read the full speech of the EU Commissioner Ciolos here: SPEECH/12/480 ; Read the full speech of Commissioner Piebalgs here: SPEECH/12/476 ; More on sustainable agriculture and development here: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/index_en.htm,%20http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/events/rio-side-event_en.htm
EU and Norway agree on increased energy cooperation
Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger and Norwegian Minister for Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe agreed today in Brussels to develop further the energy co-operation between Norway and the European Union. The meeting marked the 10th annual EC – Norway Energy Dialogue and confirmed the mutual interest in close and comprehensive consultations on key energy issues. Norway is a major exporter of oil and gas to the EU, and through the EEA Agreement part of the EU internal market. Both parties welcome the recent agreements by the relevant TSOs to develop electricity connections between Germany and Norway and between the UK and Norway. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/international/bilateral_cooperation/norway_en.htm
Commission clears acquisition by Bertelsmann and Klingel of joint control stake in Bidmanagement
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Bidmanagement by Klingel and Bertelsmann, all Germany-based companies. Bidmanagement is active in the development and sale of online advertising bidding optimisation software, mainly in Germany. Klingel is a mail order and store retailer with a focus on women's and men's fashion, shoes, jewellery, living, and household. Bertelsmann is an international media group. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears the acquisition of Samsung Mobile Display by Samsung Electronics
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Samsung Mobile Display Co., Ltd. ("SMD", South Korea) by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd ("SEC", South Korea). SEC is active in the design, development, manufacture and sale of a wide range of products in the area of electronics and information technology. In particular, SEC produces mid-to-large thin film transistor liquid crystal displays (“TFT LCD”) for TVs and monitors, digital information applications and notebook PCs.SMD is active in the development, manufacture and sale of TFT-LCD and organic light emitting diodes (“OLED”) panel displays that are used as information transmitting display systems for mobile equipment such as cellular phones, digital cameras and portable media players. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears acquisition by JSC Transmashholding and Tognum AG of joint control over a newly created full-function joint venture ("the JV").
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by JSC Transmashholding and Tognum of joint control of over a newly created full-function joint venture ("the JV") of the Russian Federation. The JV will develop, manufacture and sell diesel engines in the Russian markets and designated export markets. JSC Transmashholding is a Russian holding active in development, manufacturing and sale of electric locomotives, diesel locomotives, passenger cars, metro cars and diesel engines for industrial, marine and railway applications, in Russia and designated export markets. Tognum is a German company active in development, design, manufacture, supply and service of diesel and gas engines, generator sets for off-highway applications (such as industrial applications, power generation and marine applications) and complete propulsion systems for various applications. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears acquisition of Technicolor Broadcasting Services business by Ericsson
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Ericsson, company based in Sweden, of the Technicolor Broadcasting Services business, namely three subsidiaries of the France-based company Technicolor (formerly Thomson SA and Thomson Multimedia). Ericsson is a provider of equipment, technology and services to mobile and fixed network telecom operators, including 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies. The Technicolor Broadcasting Services business consists in the provision of managed broadcasting services for the media and entertainment industry. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commissioner Vassiliou to visit Morocco, 23-26 June
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, visits Morocco on 23-26 June. During her visit she will meet Minister for Culture Mohamed Amine Sbihi, Secretary General for Higher Education Abdelhafid Debbarhi, and the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Yousef Amrani.. The Commissioner will also visit the Mohammed V University and representatives of projects which have benefited from EU support. Discussions will focus on how EU funding through programmes such as Tempus, Erasmus Mundus and Youth in Action can best support cooperation in education and cultural policies. Since 2004, more than 1200 Moroccan students, academics and other young people have benefitted from EU support for education and training opportunities abroad. The Commission has more than doubled the number of education and teaching grants available for countries involved in the 'Arab Spring' (see IP/11/1558). Morocco will also receive €580 million in EU funding in 2011-2013 to support social policies, economic modernisation, good governance, human rights and environmental protection. This represents a 20% increase compared with 2007-2010.
Autre matériel diffusé :
Speech by Vice-President J. Almunia: "Restructuring the banking sector in the EU: A State aid perspective", Conference on State Aid in the Banking Market – Legal and Economic Perspectives - rediffusion