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EXME 13 / 25.02

Midday Express of 2013-02-25

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Fighting evasion: Commission launches consultations on EU Taxpayer's Code and EU Tax Identification Number

Today the European Commission launched two public consultations on specific measures which could improve tax collection and ensure better tax compliance across the EU.

Oscar triumph for MEDIA-backed films Amour and Searching for Sugar Man

European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has paid tribute to the makers of EU-backed films Amour and Searching for Sugar Man after their success at last night's 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood . Austrian director Michael Haneke scooped the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with Amour, a moving portrayal of an elderly couple as they approach the end of their lives. Searching for Sugar Man, the true story of rock guitarist Sixto Rodríguez, who vanished into obscurity in the mid-70s only to be re-rediscovered working as a labourer, won Best Documentary Feature. The two winners were among six nominated films supported by the MEDIA programme for cinema, which have received € 2 million in EU funding to date.

Commissioner Malmström presents Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation with Georgia

Today in Tbilisi, Georgia Commissioner Malmström will hand the Action Plan for Visa Liberalisation over to Georgia's authorities. The presentation of the Action Plan represents a further step towards full visa liberalisation. It clearly sets out all technical conditions to be met by Georgia before the possible establishment of a visa-free travel regime.

Commissioner Andor: ensuring the sustainability of EU pension systems

"Tackling the challenges facing our pension systems calls for a holistic approach, involving labour market and taxation measures" said László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, at the conference 'Emerging Challenges in the Impact of Taxes on Pensions' organised by the European Social Insurance Platform on 25 February 2013. Increasing life expectancy and low fertility rates pose an ever growing challenge for public spending. In this context, Andor outlined the important role of sound taxation systems for effective and efficient social policies, including in the area of pensions. "Smart taxation provides a powerful tool to Member States to promote employment creation and social participation", he added. Andor recalled the Commission's White Paper on Pensions issued a year ago, which showed that Europeans need to both work more and longer and save more for their retirement. He also referred to the Social Investment Package released on 20 February by the Commission, which calls for more effective and efficient public spending. "The crisis has triggered a wave of pension reforms across Europe. This is necessary for enhancing the sustainability of pension systems in the longer term, and to help ensure adequate income for people after retirement ", Andor concluded. See SPEECH/13/155

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa by private equity firm Triton

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Triton, of Jersey, of Suomen Lähikauppa Oy, of Finland. Suomen Lähikauppa is active in the retail of daily consumer goods in Finland. Triton is a private equity investment firm. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because there are no overlaps between the activities of Triton and Suomen Lähikauppa. Although one of Triton's portfolio companies OBH Nordica AB, is active in the import of small domestic appliances which are also partly distributed through daily consumer goods retailers, the Commission concluded that sufficient alternative customers and suppliers would remain. More information will be available on the competition website, in the Commission's public case register under the case number M.6847.

Commission clears the acquisition of control by General Motors of parts of Ally Financial.

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by General Motors of parts of Ally Financial Inc. General Motors manufactures and supplies motor vehicles worldwide, while Ally Financial supplies automotive financing services, mainly in North America, Latin America and Europe. The transaction leads to the acquisition of sole control by General Motors of Ally Financials automotive financing business in Europe and Latin America. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn meets with industry in Paris

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science visits Paris today. She will meet with Philippe Varin, President of the industrialist group Cercle de l'Industrie and Chairman of the PSA Peugeot Citroën Managing Board. The aim of the meeting is to discuss the importance of investment in research and innovation, both at national and EU level, to strengthen Europe's competitiveness. The Commissioner will stress the important role of industry in EU-funded research programmes, including public-private partnerships. She will thank the Cercle de l'Industrie for its support for the Horizon 2020 research programme, which is currently being negotiated with the European Parliament and the Council as part of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). While in Paris, the Commissioner will also visit French research-intense companies, including Sanofi's Biolaunch Center in Vitry-sur-Seine and PSA Peugeot Citroën's R&D Center in Vélizy. Both companies are beneficiaries of EU research funding and among the biggest private R&D investors in Europe.

Autre matériel diffusé :

President Barroso on the result of the presidential elections in Cyprus - rediffusion

Memo ""A great and honest speech– need for a broad debate" - President Barroso's reaction to the Europe speech of German Federal President Joachim Gauck" – rediffusion

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway - rediffusion

Statement by President Barroso at the death of former Commissioner Bruce Millan - rediffusion

Memo "Joint Statement by High Representative/ Vice President Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Andris Piebalgs on the adoption of a "Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region" –rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner L. Andor: "Ensuring the sustainability of EU pension systems"

Speech by Vice-President O. Rehn: "The future evolution of the Economic and Monetary Union" - rediffusion

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