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EXME 13 / 23.07


23 / 07 / 13

Joint G20 letter: Improving global confidence

In a joint letter to the 28 EU Heads of State and Government European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy inform about the key issues coming up for discussions at the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg on 5-6 September 2013.

They call on fellow G20 leaders to unite around a common purpose to improve global confidence and remain vigilant and proactive to support the global recovery and find the way to strong, balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth.

On the main priorities of the summit they stress that: 1) growth and employment need to be at the top of the G20 agenda; 2) financial reform needs to be completed; 3) tax avoidance and evasion need to be pushed forward and 4) the reform of the International Financial Architecture needs to be completed and progress be made with the work on development, anti-corruption and Energy.

They underline EU action in these fields and set out their views on what the G20 should do to make progress in all of these areas.

The European Commission President and the European Council President represent the European Union in the G20 leaders' process established in 2008 after a joint EU-US initiative. The European Union is a full member of the G20.

The Russian G20 Presidency has extended the media accreditation deadline to 1 August. See also MEMO/13/604 and G20 Presidency website .

The letter will be available shortly.

Consumer Scoreboard: more action needed for a true single market for consumers

2013 Consumer scoreboard shows progress in some areas with further efforts needed in others. The share of consumers engaging in domestic e-commerce grew from 38% to 41% with an increase in EU cross border purchases from 9.6% to 11% reflecting greater confidence in domestic on-line purchases. New legislation on Online dispute settlement and the Consumer rights directive will help boost confidence in on-line purchases. The Commission will also work to improve information available to consumers and business alike, for example, seven out of ten consumers do not know what to do when they receive products that they did not order and less than a third of retailers were aware of the law on how long consumers have to return defective products to be repaired.

Other news

Spring 2013 Eurobarometer: A greater dose of optimism

Today the European Commission has published the Spring 2013 Eurobarometer survey results. The First results report outlines Europeans’ perceptions of the current economic situation, their main concerns and trust in political institutions. It also covers their opinions on the crisis, the Europe 2020 strategy and issues related to EU citizenship. These results come during the 2013 European Year of Citizens, a year dedicated to improving awareness about the rights of European citizens.

EU and China step up cooperation in fighting counterfeiting in trade in alcoholic beverages

The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloș and the Minister of the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, Mr Zhi Shuping, signed today in Beijing a letter of intent regarding fighting counterfeiting and in trade in alcoholic beverages. The document states that both parties acknowledge the growing importance of bilateral trade in alcoholic beverages, realise the importance of origin identification and see the need to cooperate closely in combating counterfeiting in this sector. 

Cecilia Malmström welcomes new rules boosting Europe's defences against cyber-attacks

Yesterday the Council adopted EU rules to support the fight against cyber-crime, in particular large-scale attacks on information systems. Member States will have an obligation to comply with the new Directive and implement its provisions into national legislation within a maximum of two years. See also: MEMO/13/713

Europe suffering because most Member States are too slow delivering 4G mobile broadband spectrum

Member States have provided further evidence of why radio spectrum needs to be assigned with greater co-ordination across the European Union. Half the Union’s member states have requested to postpone the use of the 800 MHz band for wireless broadband due to exceptional reasons, missing the 1 January 2013 they had originally agreed to (see IP/10/540). The Commission reluctantly granted nine of the 14 requests today.

State aid: Commission welcomes Council adoption of revised state aid rules on block exemptions and procedures

The EU's Council of Ministers has formally adopted two European Commission proposals for revised regulations on state aid exemptions ( Enabling Regulation) and procedures ( Procedural Regulation). The new rules will contribute to the Commission's State Aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative. They will enter into force on the twentieth day following their publication in the EU Official Journal.

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Swedish medical technology company Gambro by US rival Baxter, subject to conditions

The European Commission has authorised under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Swedish dialysis equipment manufacturer Gambro by US rival healthcare company Baxter. The clearance is conditional upon the divestment of Baxter's continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) business which serves patients suffering from acute kidney failure. The Commission had concerns that the transaction as originally notified would have reduced effective competition on this market. The commitments submitted by Baxter adequately address these concerns.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Multi Corporation by the Blackstone Group

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Multi Corporation of the Netherlands by the Blackstone Group of the United States. Blackstone is a global alternative asset manager and provides financial advisory services. Multi is active in the real estate sector in several countries, including in the European Union. Multi's main activity is real estate development. In addition, Multi is active to a limited extent in the renting of commercial real estate. Multi's portfolio consists mainly of shopping centres. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concern, in particular because the parties have very limited combined market shares. 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.6970 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Power-One by ABB

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Power-One Inc. of the United States by ABB Ltd., the ultimate parent company of the ABB group of Switzerland. ABB produces and supplies power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while limiting the environmental impact. Power-One is active in the manufacturing and provision of converters for renewable energy applications, power supply products and network power systems. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the limited to moderate combined market shares and the small increments resulting from the merger. Also, several strong competitors remain on the affected markets for renewable energy converters and clients have sufficient supply alternatives for these products. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register under the case number M.6945 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Dubai Aluminium by DUBAL Holding and MDCI

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) by DUBAL Holding LLC and MDC Industry Holding Company (MDCI), all of the United Arab Emirates. DUBAL is currently solely controlled by DUBAL Holding. DUBAL produces and sells aluminium products. MDCI and DUBAL Holding are investment companies. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the very limited overlap between the parties' activities and the presence of other competitors, which are not capacity constrained. 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.6975 .

Commission report: Latvia's preparations for euro adoption are well advanced, but further efforts necessary

The European Commission today adopted the twelfth regular 'Report on the practical preparations for the enlargement of the euro area'. The report focuses on Latvia, which will adopt the euro on 1 January 2014 following the Council's decision of 9 July 2013 that Latvia fulfils the necessary conditions. The report concludes that preparations in Latvia are overall well advanced, while recommending further efforts in some areas.

Nouvelle initiative contre les violences faites aux femmes en République démocratique du Congo

L’Union européenne vient d'approuver une initiative de 25 millions d'euros pour lutter contre les violences faites aux femmes en République démocratique du Congo (RDC). En dépit de plus d’une décennie d’engagement de la communauté internationale et du gouvernement congolais, ce type de violences reste considérable. Très préoccupée par la persistance des violences basées sur le genre dans ce pays, l'Union européenne a donc décidé de lancer un nouveau programme innovant et fédérateur. Le commissaire européen au développement, M. Andris Piebalgs, a déclaré: «Cette nouvelle action doit faire une différence dans la vie des femmes au Congo. Il n'est pas tolérable que tant de jeunes filles et de femmes soient encore victimes de violences impunies et privées d'accès à l'éducation. De manière plus générale, je ne conçois pas de développement durable sans la participation de toutes les personnes concernées dans nos pays partenaires, et les femmes sont au cœur de la croissance de l'Afrique.»

Future of Europe Debate: Vice-President Viviane Reding debates with citizens in Sofia

Today Vice-President Viviane Reding took part in a Citizens' Dialogue with over 250 citizens in Sofia (Bulgaria), to discuss the future of Europe. Today's event is the 25th in a series of Citizens' Dialogues that European Commissioners are holding all over the European Union together with national and local politicians and members of the European Parliament. The President of the Bulgarian Republic Mr. Rosen Plevneliev opened the debate. Vice-President Reding said: "As Bulgarian citizens are making their voice heard through protests on the street, this debate is timely but also necessary. My message will be clear: the Commission wants to lend a helping hand to Bulgaria to help fight corruption and organised crime and to assist in implementing judicial reforms. These steps are essential to rebuild trust and stability in the country."

What Commissioners said

Statement by Environment Commissioner Potočnik on the new Directive on Priority Substances in Water

Yesterday, the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament adopted a new Directive which will update the list of "priority substances" known to pollute water, adding 12 chemical pollutants to be monitored and controlled in EU surface waters. This is an important step towards improving the quality of our river, lake and coastal waters, which was welcomed by Commissioner Potočnik who called it “a much-needed update to the Union legislation on chemical pollutants in water”. Read Commissioner Potočnik’s full statement here .

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