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EXME 13 / 08.03
Midday Express of 2013-03-08
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, issued the following statement today: "Today we celebrate International Women’s Day. Women around the world are striving to shape the future of their countries, societies and families and to fight for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, free from fear and violence. Wherever I travel, I meet courageous women who are fighting for an equal role in the democratic future of their countries. They are an inspiration to me, the women of the European Union and women all across the world. I take the opportunity today to salute them."
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint-venture between Allianz SE and VW Financial Services AG. Allianz SE (Germany) is an international insurance and financial services provider. VW Financial Services AG (Germany) is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, and offers financial products, such as insurances. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because a number of strong competitors will remain active on the market.
The EU27 external current account recorded a surplus of 34.1 billion euro (1.0% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with a surplus of 24.7 bn (0.8% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with the fourth quarter of 2011, the deficit of the goods account turned into a surplus (+5.1 bn euro compared with -15.6 bn), while the surplus of the services account slightly increased (+36.9 bn compared with +35.7 bn) and the deficit of the current transfers account dropped (-19.1 bn compared with -22.8 bn). The surplus of the income account fell (+11.2 bn compared with +27.4 bn).
Commission clears acquisition of Vesta by Mercuria and Sinopec
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of Vesta Terminal B.V. of The Netherlands by Mercuria Energy Group Limited of Cyprus and China Petrochemical Corporation ("Sinopec") of China. Mercuria's activities focus on the trading of energy products, such as oil, natural gas or coal. Sinopec is mainly active in the exploration and production of oil and gas, the marketing and distribution of refined oil products in China and the sale of petrochemical products and oil. Vesta is active in the storage of petroleum products and biodiesel at terminals located at three European ports: Antwerp (Belgium), Flushing (The Netherlands) and Muuga (Estonia). The Commission's analysis focused on the vertical link arising between the storage activity of Vesta and the trading activity of Mercuria and Sinopec. The Commission concluded that it would not raise competition concerns as the volume of petroleum products stored at Vesta's facilities is very low when compared to the traded volumes. The case was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available under the case number M.6807 in the Commission's public case register on the competition website. Regular up-dates on competition news are available in the weekly competition news summary .
Commission approves the acquisition of aluminium producer AMAG Austria Metall by B&C Industrieholding
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Austrian aluminium producer AMAG Austria Metall by the Austrian company B&C Industrieholding (BCIH). BCIH is a holding company which manages shareholdings in industrial undertakings. BCIH holds controlling shareholdings in Lenzing AG, active in in the production of cellulose fibres, and in Semperit AG Holding, active in the production of gloves, hoses, structured industrial components, handrails and conveyor belts. AMAG is a manufacturer of primary aluminium and semi-finished aluminium products for different processing industries. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commissioner Vassiliou participates in EU Youth Conference in Ireland
The contribution of youth work to social inclusion and employability will be the focus of the EU Youth Conference, which takes place in Dublin from 11-13 March. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Frances Fitzgerald TD, Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, will open the event, which is part of an 18-month consultation on social inclusion between young people and policy makers. The event will also address the value of quality youth work. Youth work can, for example, provide non-formal or informal learning experiences for young people which will enhance their employability. This is particularly valuable for those who left school early, have low qualifications or are at risk of poverty and exclusion. Around 150 youth representatives from across Europe will provide feedback from discussions which have been taking place in their Member States. The aim is to produce joint recommendations and proposals which would then be presented to the Council. Commissioner Vassiliou will also announce plans for a review of the youth 'structured dialogue', which allows young people to help shape the policies which affect them most. Social inclusion of young people will continue to be the priority for Lithuania (second half of 2013) and Greece (first half of 2014) when they take up the reins of the EU Presidency. To find out more: Conference website , DG Education and Culture's youth website, Commissioner Vassiliou's website , Twitter @VassiliouEU
Vice President Neelie Kroes will deliver the keynote to Amsterdam’s “Women on Top” forum tonight, saying: “Today the only certainty is change. Today we can expect to live to 82 – that means women need to plan for a 50-year career. And yet women in the Netherlands earn only 82% of what men do: we work the first 59 days of the year for free! So 82 is the key number: it means you have to plan, you have to get skills, and you have to defend yourself if you are a woman.” “It is still too common for women to make their life choices, not on their own preferences, but on others' expectations.” “You should marry for love, not money. You should stay for love, not money.” “You should invest in yourself. So that one day you don’t wake up and find all the doors closed to you: children grown up, employers and partners looking for younger models; and yet stuck because of financial dependence.” “Every woman needs skills, including digital skills. No woman should feel too old, too incapable, or ‘too female’ to live the life she wants.” SPEECH/13/208 Embargo until 20:00 CET
Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht have joined forces to help secure a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement as part of global efforts to increase trade's contribution to development. The EU's support responds to demands from Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) for help to make the most of the deal, which could be agreed at the WTO's 9th Ministerial Conference in December 2013.
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