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EXME 13 / 29.05


29 / 05 / 13

European Commission presents the 2013 country-specific recommendations

Today the European Commission will adopt its annual set of policy recommendations to EU Member States. The recommendations are based on a detailed assessment of the economic, employment and budgetary situation in each country and on the policy plans they have submitted. Where required, the Commission will recommend further measures which Member States should adopt over the following year. Recommendations will be made to Member States that are not in a macroeconomic adjustment programme, and a separate recommendation will be made to the euro area as a whole. The recommendations will be endorsed by the European Council in June and formally adopted by the Council in July. Today, the European Commission will also present recommendations for certain Member States in Excessive Deficit Procedure and for those which underwent in-depth reviews in the context of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure. For further information: IP/13/463 , MEMO/13/458 and MEMO/13/463 (links will be available after the press conference).

Other news

Digital Agenda Electronics strategy: When the research boosts our industry competitiveness

The European Commission is today announcing 5 major projects, the first steps in putting into effect the European Electronics strategy of last week . The 5 so-called "Pilot lines" link up European manufacturers with technology companies, chip designers, researchers, and universities at the very earliest stages of product development so they can develop the kind of innovative microchips which will give European industry and products a competitive edge.

EU and Bangladesh: Working together to improve labour conditions for the Bangladeshi workers

Following recent disasters in the Bangladeshi garment manufacturing industry, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht met with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni yesterday afternoon. In a joint statement ( MEMO/13/469) they underlined their resolve work together with global buyers and brands to promote a fair, ethical and responsible supply chain management across the Bangladeshi garment industry to prevent similar tragedies repeating themselves in the future.  A meeting with representatives of European companies active in the region is planned to take place before the summer.

Two New Directors in Directorate General Research and Innovation

Maria Cristina Russo has been appointed Director "International Cooperation" in RTD.  Maria Cristina is currently Head of Unit in DG Health and Consumer Affairs in the Unit "Financial Services and Redress" where she deals primarily with Alternative and Online Dispute Resolution and bank accounts (transparency and switching), finalising the Commission's Communication and Recommendation on a "common approach towards European Collective Redress" and the monitoring of the implementation of the Consumer Credit Directive.  Prior to this she was Head of the Units "Strategic Objective Security and Justice", "Co-decision" and "Relations with the Council-Coreper I" in the Secretariat General.  Ms Russo was also previously a Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Philippe Busquin who had responsibility for research.  She joined the Commission in 1992 and started her work in former DG I A, in charge of external relations. Maria Cristina Russo acquired a Masters and a Research Masters with a thesis on "The protection of human rights in the community legal system" from the College of Bruges. She also studied for a Masters at the Luiss Unversity of Rome. Ms Russo has 3 sons aged 16, 14 and 11. This decision will take effect on 1 July 2013.

Kurt Vandenberghe has been appointed Director "Environment" in RTD. Mr Vandenberghe is currently Head of Cabinet to Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment.  He served the same role when Janez Potočnik was Commissioner for Science and Research. Prior to that, Mr Vandenberghe was Deputy Head of Commissioner Potočnik’s cabinet in charge of coordinating the research area and the research framework programmes.  He has also served as Member of Cabinet to European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. Kurt Vandenberghe joined the European Commission in 1996. He studied at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), the Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL), and gained a Master of Arts degree in International Relations at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (S.A.I.S.) in Bologna, Italy and Washington D.C., US.  He is co-founder and board member of the Flemish Foundation for Quality Journalism (Fonds Pascal Decroos voor Bijzondere Journalistiek) and the VZW Scriptieprijs.  He is married and has three children. The appointment will take effect on 1 July 2013.

Competition: Annual report shows how competition policy helps unlock potential of EU Single Market

The European Commission's 2012 report on competition policy shows that without an effective European competition policy, the internal market cannot deliver its full economic potential. Private barriers to trade and competition would risk replacing the public barriers to free movement that have been painstakingly dismantled. Subsidy races would risk wasting precious budgetary resources, distorting competition between companies established in different Member States.


1. Commission clears acquisition of five shopping centers in Austria and Italy by Allianz and SPAR

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control over a portfolio of five shopping centers by Allianz of Germany together with the current owner SPAR of Austria. Allianz is mainly an international insurance and financial services provider. SPAR is active in the retail of food and sports goods, real-estate and has shopping center activities in Austria and neighbouring countries. The joint venture will be active in the operation and management of three shopping centers located in Austria, namely Q19 (Vienna), SILLPARK (Innsbruck) and ATRIO (Villach), and two shopping centers in Padua, Italy, namely LE BRENTELLE and IPERCITY. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case M.6896

2. Commission clears Syniverse's acquisition of MACH, subject to conditions

Following an in-depth review, the European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Mach of Luxembourg by Syniverse of the US. The approval is conditional upon the divestiture of Mach's Data Clearing ("DC") services and Near Trade Roaming Data Exchange ("NRTRDE") services in the European Economic Area (EEA). These two types of services are technical steps of the roaming process enabling people to use their mobile phones while travelling abroad. Syniverse and Mach are the two largest providers of these services in the EEA and globally. After a preliminary investigation, the Commission had concerns that the transaction, as initially notified, would have allowed Syniverse to raise prices or to decrease the quality of these services. Indeed, the proposed merger would combine the first and the second largest supplier, creating a dominant player with virtual monopoly market shares. The commitments offered by Syniverse to divest a significant part of Mach's assets - in particular the entirety of Mach’s DC and NRTRDE businesses in the EEA - adequately address these concerns.

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