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EXME 13 / 03.09
03 / 09 / 13
Today Commissioner Georgieva made a statement on 2 million refugees fleeing Syria stressing: "Today it was confirmed that the number of refugees who have fled from the war in Syria into neighbouring countries has reached the appalling milestone of two million. More than half of all those refugees are children. The number has doubled in the short period from 16th March 2013, and has now reached this tragic figure. Trying to visualise what this means, just think of four times the number of citizens of Manchester or Lyon or just over the population of Warsaw.
Tragic and cruel as it is, the truth is that with violence becoming ever more ferocious, brutal and inhumane, the tide of refugees is bound to continue to rise. And increasingly the civilian population is at the eye of the target.
Once again, I call for the fighting to cease and for a political solution to be found urgently. Until that time – and it may be further from our reach than ever before - I reiterate my plea to all parties to abide by International Humanitarian Law and to protect civilians and those helping them to survive".
The European Commission has today started the search for the first European Capital of Innovation, or iCapital. The prize will reward the city which is building the best “innovation ecosystem”, connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business. Given that 68% of the EU population now lives in urban areas, it is these areas that will contribute the most to making Europe more innovative. Cities foster innovation in their own provision of services, but the key is to create the right environment for others to innovate and to allow the public and private spheres to connect. An independent panel of experts will select the winner in spring 2014, with the city chosen receiving €500000 towards scaling up its efforts. The deadline for applications is 3 December 2013.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of two water companies by Aqualia and Mitsui
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Severomoravské vodovody a kanalizace Ostrava ("SmVaK") and Aqualia Infraestructuras Inženýring ("AII"), both of the Czech Republic, by Aqualia Gestión Integral del Agua S.A. of Spain and Mitsui & Co Ltd of Japan. Aqualia, AII and SmVaK are active in the water sector. Mitsui is engaged in various industrial markets, inter alia iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, electronics, chemicals and energy-related commodities. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, as the overlaps between the parties were very limited. The transaction 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.6989 .
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Alliance Medical group of companies by M&G Investment Management Limited, a subsidiary of the international insurance group Prudential plc. Alliance Medical mainly provides imaging goods and services to healthcare providers. M&G is the investment management division of Prudential plc in Europe. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the parties' activities do not overlap on any market. 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.7002 .
The European Commission has approved a plan to orderly wind down the Austrian bank Hypo Group Alpe Adria (HGAA). The Commission found that the plan presented by the Austrian authorities is compatible with EU state aid rules. Together with the approval of the plan, the Commission cleared both the aid hitherto granted to HGAA and additional aid possibly required for the wind-down.
The European Commission, together with a consortium of ten European companies led by Shell, launches today the PETROBOT project, which will develop robots which can replace humans in inspections of pressure vessels and storage tanks widely used in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry.
In July 2013, compared with June 2013, industrial producer prices rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In June prices remained stable in both zones. In July 2013, compared with July 2012, industrial producer prices rose by 0.2% in the euro area and by 0.7% in the EU28.
What Commissioners said
Neelie Kroes will today open up the "Future Internet Labs" – giving Europe's entrepreneurs the tools to create new digital solutions – free of charge. In time those tools could underpin smarter cities with better transport and energy networks, cloud computing, security and privacy online, or "big data" applications that help science, healthcare, and the economy. Noting that platform-based business models had been a big asset for American tech company success, Neelie Kroes expressed hope that in future more of those ideas could also come from Europe – and maybe even the next Facebook. Addressing entrepreneurs at London's Campus Party, Neelie Kroes said, "This is a great opportunity for Europe. And now it's over to you. You know the problems we face in our cities and in our societies. You have the tools and the talent to do something about it. And now we're giving you these essential extra ingredients for innovation."