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EXME 13 / 27.06
27 / 06 / 13
Political agreement on the EU's future budget
Following their meeting this morning at the Commission headquarters, President Barroso, President Schulz and Irish Taoiseach Kenny announced a political agreement on the European Union's future budget 2014-2020.
President Barroso underlined that this was possible because all sides have gone the extra mile and said: "This is a good deal for Europe, for European citizens and for the European economy." He pointed to the main elements of the agreement: more flexibility on both payments and commitments, frontloading of expenditure linked to youth employment, research, education and SMEs as well as the possibility to increase the aid for most deprived people. He also stated that the deal confirms the agreement reached for the 2013 amending budget. He finally pointed out that the Compact for Growth discussed at today's European Council cannot exist without a fund for growth and concluded: "Our fund for growth is the European budget" and thanked the representatives of the other institutions for their true European spirit. The deal will now be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for formal endorsement.
The European Council in Brussels this afternoon will discuss practical measures to get Europe growing again. President Barroso will call for a new consensus on how to combat youth unemployment and increase financing for the economy. President Barroso has put a number of ideas on the table and will call for an ambitious approach from the European Council on these issues.
Specifically, the Commission proposes that the €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative should be frontloaded so that it is committed in 2014 and 2015 rather than over the seven-year period of the next budget.
One of the biggest obstacles to recovery is the lack of normal lending to the real economy, especially SMEs. The Commission believes that more can be done by working with the European Investment Bank, and President Barroso will put concrete ideas on the table on how to do this.
Having a business friendly environment is also an important part of the mix. The Commission has adopted a communication to address the Top 10 most burdensome pieces of EU legislation, as identified by SMEs. The communication details the action taken or to be taken to address each of them.
Finally, ambitious implementation of the June 2012 Compact for Growth and Jobs is needed to secure the recovery. Member States should fully commit to making this happen. Further information is available here .
The European Parliament, the EU Council of Ministers and the European Commission have reached an agreement on reforming the common agricultural policy (CAP) post 2013. "I am delighted with this agreement which gives the Common Agricultural Policy a new direction, taking better account of society's expectations as expressed during the public debate in spring 2010. This agreement will lead to far-reaching changes: making direct payments fairer and greener, strengthening the position of farmers within the food production chain and making the CAP more efficient and more transparent. These decisions represent the EU's strong response to the challenges of food safety, climate change, growth and jobs in rural areas. The CAP will play a key part in achieving the overall objective of promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth", said Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. For more information on IP/13/613 and MEMO/13/621
Finance Ministers deal for restructuring and resolving failing banks
Following this morning’s broad political agreement by Finance Ministers on rules for restructuring and resolving failing banks ( IP/12/570), Commissioner Barnier welcomed the deal allowing to start negotiations with the European Parliament (MEMO/13/601). He underlined the importance of these rules for protecting taxpayers from having to bail-out banks in the future. He also noted that the fundamental principles and provisions in the Commission’s proposal have been accepted by Member States. The Compromise paves the way for a comprehensive and credible framework for the resolution of the banks of the 27 Member States, which protects the integrity and the unity of the single market. The text also brings clarity on how the costs of resolution will be shared. With the introduction of the bail-in in particular, bank losses must be covered by private bank investors and the banking sector as a whole to the furthest extent possible.
From 1 July 2013, the European Union's Roaming Regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36%, making it much cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails and update social networks while travelling across the EU. Data roaming will now be up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared to 2007. During this period the volume of the data roaming market has grown 630%. These two trends mean both consumers and mobile operators have significant new opportunities thanks to EU efforts.
Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "The EU has to be relevant to people’s lives. The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all. This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market".
Operators are free to offer cheaper rates, and some have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or offer a roaming-free area region across one section of Europe or another.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over CMA CGM by FSI, Merit and Yildirim
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over CMA CGM, a French company active in the sector of maritime shipping services, by the French Fonds Stratégique d'Investissement ("FSI"), the Turkish joint stock company Merit Corporation and the Lebanese holding company Yildirim Holding. FSI is controlled by the French public group Caisse des dépôts et consignations ("CDC") which in parallel indirectly co-controls SNCM. Both CMA CGM and SNCM provide short-sea roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping services on the Marseilles – Tunis and Marseilles – Algiers/Mostaganem/Oran lanes. Ro-Ro is a shipping service carried out with vessels that take on cargo via a loading ramp fitted as part of the vessel. The Commission's investigation found that the transaction would not raise competition concerns due to SNCM's limited market position and the presence of several credible competitors. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. The decision on this transaction is without prejudice to any future state aid investigations. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.6917 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Yadicán by Telefónica and Círculo
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Yadicán by Telefónica Móviles España S.A.U. (TME), controlled by Telefónica S.A., and Círculo de Lectores S.A., all of Spain. TME is active in the provision of IT services. Telefónica is an integrated operator in the telecommunications sector that provides communication, information and entertainment solutions in Europe and Latin America. Círculo is a joint venture between the German publisher Bertelsmann and the Spanish publisher Planeta, whose main activity is the operation of a Spanish language book club which sells books and e-books, and, to a lesser extent, other multimedia products (such as CDs, games and DVDs) to its members. Yadicán is currently solely owned by Círculo. It is active in the commercialisation of Spanish language e-books via the internet in Spain through its recently launched e-book sales platform. The e-book activities of Booquo, Círculo's original online store, will also be transferred to Yádican. Yádican will launch an improved online e-book club in Spain based on a subscription model using a technological platform developed by TME. Through the proposed transaction, TME will acquire a 50% stake in Yadicán. TME and Círculo will therefore have joint control over Yadicán. 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.6692 .
The Federal Government of Somalia and The European Union (EU) are to co-host "The New Deal For Somalia Conference" in Brussels on 16 September 2013. The international conference will endorse the "New Deal Compact" that will commit the Somali people and their international partners to a set of key priorities and new support for the reconstruction of Somalia over the next 3 years. The Conference is set to build on the momentum of progress and change in Somalia, supported by the recent international conferences on the country.
Conference on Sustainable Energy in Africa: Promoting access to energy for all
EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, has today announced that the EU will scale up its commitment to supporting sustainable energy in Africa. As he explained, blending operations (mixing grants and loans) with EU Member States for infrastructure projects in the energy sector in Africa will begin by the end of June. The initiative is part of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) programme, which also earmarked 400 million euros from the EU for energy-related actions through blending in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective of the blending operations is to help leverage concrete investments in energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency infrastructure ranging from 4 billion euros to 8 billion euros. The EU-Africa Chamber of Commerce "Sustainable Energy in Africa Conference" will bring together officials from the EU and Africa, with representatives from the African and European private sector, and sustainable energy experts to discuss the current energy challenges in Africa. More than 625 million people in Africa still lack access to modern energy services. For more information on the SE4ALL click here , and here for more details on the conference.
What Commissioners said
"Lobbying isn't just about big business trying to impose its agenda on the lawmakers, although this is the perception many people have." Vice-President Šefčovič said at the opening of an OECD conference on lobbying in Paris this morning. "Nowadays, lobbying can come from everyone: from religious groups to law firms, think tanks to NGOs, from cities to trade unions, industry associations to advocacy groups. It represents – and should represent - the whole diversity of our societies." But, he added: "decision makers and the public must know who is active in lobbying or advocacy, on what grounds, on whose behalf and with which means. That is why we have introduced such a framework, a system that aims to enhance transparency by providing direct information to citizens about interest representation, and binding all those involved in these activities to follow a common code of conduct that is subject to close and constant scrutiny."
"Ensuring that Roma children and young people have access to inclusive quality education is vital to Roma’s integration into society and an open labour market in Europe. Supporting and empowering individuals through the various stages of life and tackling disadvantage as early as possible are central to building an inclusive society", said Commissioner László Andor at the European Platform for Roma Inclusion today. "Easing the transition from school to the labour market represents another crucial social investment. Getting young people into the labour market is a prerequisite for growth and ensuring that a whole generation does not go to waste. I call on the Member States, in proportion to the size and situation of their Roma population, to ensure that Roma young people should be regarded as among the key target groups for their Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans" said Andor.