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Midday Express of 2013-06-21

Commission Européenne - MEX/13/0621   21/06/2013

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EXME 13 / 21.06

DAILY NEWS

21 / 06 / 13

President Barroso holds talks with President Aliyev of Azerbaijan

President Barroso meets President Aliyev of Azerbaijan today. The discussions will focus on energy issues, namely on the progress achieved on the Southern Gas Corridor since the Joint Declaration of 2011, and on the development of EU-Azerbaijan relations in the context of the Eastern Partnership. The two Presidents will present their conclusions at the VIP corner at 12.00. President Barroso's speaking points to the press will be released afterwards.

President Barroso met Plamen Oresharski, Prime Minister of Bulgaria

Ahead of the European Council President Barroso met Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. European Commission President Barroso appealed to the Bulgarian political forces and society to come together for national consensus. Speaking to the press after the meeting President Barroso said: "We have prepared next week's European Council, namely the issue of youth unemployment, how to address it, and also the financing to the economy, especially SMEs." He explained that "we are now working at European level to mobilise all instruments and funds we have to support a return to sustainable growth - and I insist on the word 'sustainable', it has to be sustainable, if not it's not what our citizens need." The political situation in Bulgaria was also discussed during the meeting. Read the full statement and watch the video of the press point .

Other news

Will your city be the European Green Capital 2016?

The Commission has launched its search for the 2016 European Green Capital. The European Green Capital Award recognises cities that are at the forefront of environmentally-friendly urban living. The annual award is intended to inspire European cities to take action to become more attractive and healthy places to live, work and visit – cities that are “fit for life”. For the first time, cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants can apply for the title. Previously only cities with a population of 200,000 or more were eligible. The change means that the award is now accessible to over 400 cities across Europe.

Pensions: Commission welcomes Council agreement on pension portability to facilitate EU worker mobility

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor has welcomed the 20th June agreement by the EU's Council of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs on a general approach on the Commission's proposal for a Directive on improving the portability of supplementary pension rights.

Commissioner Andor commented: "The Council's endorsement of the proposed pension portability Directive is an important step towards ensuring that people can move to work in another Member State without losing their occupational pension benefits. People who exercise their right to free movement should not be penalised. This is important not only for the mobility of individuals, but also for the functioning of a genuine EU labour market. I now urge the European Parliament to adopt the Directive as soon as possible"

State aid: Commission approves the provisional restoring to former level of a guarantee of German bank HSH Nordbank

{0>Die Europäische Kommission hat die Wiederaufstockung der Garantie der Länder Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein zugunsten der HSH Nordbank von €7 Milliarden auf den ursprünglichen Rahmen von €10 Milliarden nach den EU-Beihilfevorschriften vorläufig genehmigt.<}0{>The European Commission has provisionally approved the restoring of the guarantee provided by the regions of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein in favour of HSH Nordbank from €7 billion to the original framework of €10 billion under EU state aid rules.<0} {0>Die Wiederaufstockung des Garantierahmens durch ihre Mehrheitseigner ermöglicht der Bank vor dem Hintergrund gestiegener Anforderungen an die Eigenkapitalausstattung und der anhaltenden Krise auf den Schifffahrtsmärkten die Sicherstellung dauerhaft adäquater Kapitalquoten.<}0{>The restoring of the guarantee framework to its former level by its majority shareholders will ensure that the bank has adequate capital ratios against a background of increased demands on the capital base and the ongoing crisis in shipping markets.<0} The Commission's approval is provisional pending a final decision.<0}

Mergers: Commission clears proposed joint acquisition of Virgin Atlantic by Delta and Virgin Group

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over Virgin Atlantic by Delta and Virgin Group. Delta will replace Singapore Airlines as a 49% minority shareholder in Virgin Atlantic, while Virgin Group will retain its 51% stake. Furthermore, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will enter into a fully integrated joint venture in order to bring together their passenger air transport operations on routes between the United Kingdom and North America. The Commission's investigation confirmed that in all markets the combined entity would continue to face competition from several strong competitors, notably British Airways and American Airlines.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of DELL Inc. by its founder Michael S. Dell

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of DELL Inc. by Michael S. Dell. Michael S. Dell is the founder, chairman and CEO of DELL, a multinational computer technology corporation which is based in the US and develops, sells, repairs and supports computing hardware (including PCs, workstations and servers, networking products and storage products), imaging solutions (including printers), mobility solutions, and displays, software and services. 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 number M.6912 .

Opening of the EU Sustainable Energy Week

Between 24 and 28 June 2013, an estimated 80,000 people across Europe will discuss energy efficiency and renewable energy during the eighth edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW). This year's event is dedicated to Finances under the theme "Financing and Sustainable energy". The European Commission is organising a high-level policy conference in Brussels with more than 40 different sessions taking place in the Charlemagne building and in the Committee of the Regions. Visit the EUSEW website for the full list of activities.

Study mandated by the Commission shows positive impact of energy efficiency on property values

On 20 June 2013, the Commission published a study on "Energy performance certificates in buildings and their impact on transaction prices and rents in selected EU countries" . The study shows a positive impact of the Energy Performance Certificate under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive ( Directive 2010/31/EU) on sales and rental prices indicating that better energy efficiency is rewarded in the market. In one of the first studies of its kind to include an analysis of residential markets in Europe, it was found that higher energy ratings result in substantially higher sales or rental values of buildings on average in most of the Member States that were analysed.

Commission calling for experts to identify safe and fair contract terms to boost cloud computing

The European Commission has launched today a call for applications for experts to work on identifying safe and fair contract terms for cloud computing services. This move is part of the Commission’s push to enhance trust in cloud computing services and unlock their potential for boosting economic productivity in Europe.

Consumer price levels - Price levels of food ranged from 61% of the EU27 average in Poland to 143% in Denmark in 2012

In 2012, the price level of a comparable basket of food and non-alcoholic beverages was more than twice as high in the most expensive EU27 Member State than in the cheapest one. Denmark had the highest price level for food and non-alcoholic beverages in the EU27 in 2012, at 143% of the EU27 average, followed by Sweden (124%), Austria (120%), Finland (119%), Ireland (118%) and Luxembourg (116%). The lowest price levels were observed in Poland (61%), Romania (67%), Bulgaria (68%) and Lithuania (77%). These data come from a report issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The results refer to the survey on food, beverage and tobacco prices carried out in 2012 in the 37 participating countries. This survey covered a total of approximately 500 comparable products.

First Head of European Commission Representation in Croatia appointed

The European Commission has appointed His Excellency Ambassador Branko Baričević as the first ever Head of the European Commission Representation in the Republic of Croatia. He will take up office on 1 July 2013. For more information: IP/13/581 ; See also MEMO/13/593 detailing the institutional implications of Croatian accession.

Agriculture Council (Luxembourg), 24 - 25 June 2013

The Agriculture Council meeting of June will take place in Luxembourg starting on June 24, under the presidency of Mr Simon Coveney, Irish Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş. A delegation of MEPs, headed by EP Agriculture Committee Chairman Paolo De Castro, will also be present in Luxembourg. Political trilogues (between the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission) will take place – all with a view to moving closer to a political agreement on CAP Reform.. The public debates of the Council's formal sessions and the press conferences can be followed by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu .

June 2013: Flash Consumer Confidence Indicator

In June 2013, the DG ECFIN flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator improved sharply in both the euro area (-18.8 after -21.9 in May 2013) and the EU (-17.5 after -20.2 in May 2013).

Calendar

Commissioners' weekly activities

Top News

Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead

What Commissioners said

On the way to the next Council, President Barroso met Austrian Chancellor Faymann

President Barroso met yesterday Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann in Vienna to discuss the preparations of the June European Council, the economic situation and the on-going reforms in Europe. On the next European Council the President said: "One meeting alone will not solve Europe's problems – but we can make several decisions that will affect people's lives and improve our prospects of confidence, of a return to better times", the President said. Read the full statement and watch the video of the press conference .

Remarks by Vice-President Olli Rehn at Eurogroup press conference

At the press conference following last night's Eurogroup, Vice-President Olli Rehn welcomed the political agreement reached on direct recapitalisation of the Eurozone's banks through the European Stability Mechanism. He said, "This is another milestone in breaking the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns. We must remove the uncertainty that has been hanging over the banking system in Europe for too long, to reinforce confidence and get credit flowing to where it is needed for the sake of sustainable growth and job creation."

He underlined the need for affordable credit by Europe's SMEs, particularly in southern Europe. The Commission has worked closely with the European Investment Bank to address this problem. "We have prepared a joint report for the next European Council setting out concrete options for restoring normal lending to the real economy, and creating an incentive for private sector lending to SMEs". He called for a very high level of ambition by EU Member States to support this very important initiative.

He also congratulated Latvia for the Eurogroup's endorsement of the Commission's and the European Central Bank's convergence reports, paving the way for Latvia to join the euro area on 1st January 2014.

Finally, on Portugal and Ireland, he said that an agreement to extend the loan maturities for these two countries will further enhance their prospects for a sustainable return to market financing as they exit their programmes. He said, "A successful exit from EU-IMF programme of economic reform and adjustment will benefit not only Ireland and Portugal, but the entire euro area".

Commissioner Karel De Gucht: "EU and China are now engaged to work towards an amicable solution on solar panels"

At their annual EU-China Joint Committee that took place in Beijing today, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht took stock of the EU-China trade relations with Chinese Commerce Minster Gao Hucheng. The Commissioner stated afterwards that "launching negotiations on an investment agreement as soon as possible is a priority for Europe", but added that "a future agreement must cover improved access to the Chinese market". In that spirit, the Commissioner mentioned market access barriers in a number of sectors, including financial and telecommunication services. The two sides also took stock of preparations for the WTO Ministerial in Bali later this year. On the solar panel talks, the Commissioner emphasised that "both sides are now engaged in a sincere way to work towards an amicable solution" and confirmed that the EU wishes to "find a negotiated settlement as quickly as possible". Full speaking points:  MEMO/13/599 . Press conference available at Ebs .


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