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EXME 13 / 02.09
02 / 09 / 13
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of certain refinery assets of Shell Deutschland Oil GmbH located in Hamburg/Harburg (Germany) by Nynas AB of Sweden. The Commission’s in-depth investigation showed that a closure of the Harburg refinery assets is the most likely scenario in the absence of the proposed transaction. This would significantly reduce the production capacity in the European Economic Area (EEA) market for naphthenic base and process oils, which are used in a variety of products (e.g. industrial rubber, adhesives, fertilisers), and for transformer oils ('TFO'), which are used to insulate power transformers. The closure would lead to higher prices for European consumers.
Between 2004 and 2012, the European Union (EU) financial support has helped more than 70 million people in developing countries gain access to drinking water and more than 24 million people to improved sanitation facilities. Around 9 out of 10 people now have access to drinking water. The EU has contributed actively to this achievement. In all, the EU has allocated a total of almost €2 billion (€1 919 billion) to the water and sanitation sectors in 62 countries over the period 2008-2013.
Commission approves restructuring aid for Banco Comercial Português (BCP) Group
The European Commission has approved the restructuring plan of Banco Comercial Português (BCP) Group, following an agreement reached with the Portuguese authorities in July (see IP/13/738). The Commission concluded that the restructuring plan was in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the restructuring plan is suitable to make sure the institution is viable in the long term without continued state support, ensures a sufficient contribution by the bank and its owners to the cost of restructuring and minimises distortions of competition. According to the restructuring plan, the group will improve the profitability of domestic operations, in particular by reducing staff numbers and the size of its branch network; it will strengthen its business model; and will contribute to ensure continued lending to the Portuguese economy. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.34724 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News .
Global efforts to battle trade protectionism need to be reinforced to help shield the fragile economic recovery across the world. In a report released today, the European Commission identified about 150 new trade restrictions introduced over the last year, whereas only 18 existing measures have been dismantled. A total of almost 700 new measures have been identified since October 2008, when the European Commission started monitoring global protectionist trends. Trade protectionism is an important point on the agenda of the G20 Summit taking place in Saint Petersburg on 5 and 6 September 2013.
Don't miss your chance to enter EU Young Translators' Contest for schools
Secondary schools can now register for the annual EU Young Translator Contest (‘Juvenes Translatores’) at ec.europa.eu/translatores. The registration period runs until 20 October and the online application form is available in all official EU languages, which for the first time include Croatian. The contest, now in its seventh year, will be held on 28 November at the same time in all selected schools. It is open to pupils of any nationality born in 1996 and more than 750 schools can take part. The pupils (2 to 5 per school can enter) translate a one-page text in any of the 552 language combinations of their choice from among the EU’s 24 official languages. 2013 is the European Year of Citizens, so the texts to be translated for this year’s contest will focus on the benefits of EU citizenship for people, whether as private individuals, consumers, residents, students, employees or political representatives. European Commission translators mark the texts and select one winner per country. The winners will be invited to Brussels to receive their prizes in April 2014. For more information: Contest website, Facebook.com/translatores, Twitter: @translatores, DG Translation, Commissioner Vassiliou's website, Twitter @VassiliouEU.