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EXME 13 / 03.10


03 / 10 / 13

EU Solidarity Fund: Commission moves to help Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Romania after flood and drought disasters

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, has announced today a proposal by the EU Commission to allocate more than 360 million EUR to Germany in response to the serious flooding in late spring, May and June of this year. Neighbouring countries Austria and the Czech Republic who suffered lesser damages as a direct result of the floods will benefit from 21.6 million EUR and 15.9 million EUR respectively. In addition, Romania will receive more than 2.4 million EUR to help meet the costs for damage caused by the drought and forest fires in the summer of 2012. The support, under the European Solidarity Fund, still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council. Providing it is, it will help to contribute to the emergency costs incurred by the public authorities in these four member states. Commissioner Hahn stated: "This decision shows how Europe can act quickly to help fellow countries and regions get back on their feet after natural disasters. The European Solidarity Fund exists to give support to those countries when help is needed most to regain in getting back economic stability after natural disasters. The amount of funding proposed will enable Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Romania to recover - and provide normal living conditions for the citizens in the affected regions." More Information: Statement by Commissioner Hahn at the Midday Briefing; IP/13/907.

Crowdfunding in the EU – public consultation launched

The European Commission has today launched a consultation inviting stakeholders to share their views about crowdfunding: its potential benefits, risks, and the design of an optimal policy framework to untap the potential of this new form of financing. Whereas many crowdfunding campaigns are local in nature, others would benefit from easier access to financing within a single European market. But to make sure crowdfunding is not just a momentary trend that fades away, but rather a sustainable source of financing for new European projects, certain safeguards are needed, in particular to ensure people's trust. The ultimate objective of this consultation is to gather data about the needs of market participants and to identify the areas in which there is a potential added value in EU action to encourage the growth of this new industry, either through facilitative, soft-law measures or legislative action. The consultation covers all forms of crowdfunding, ranging from donations and rewards to financial investments. Everyone is invited to share their opinion and fill in the on-line questionnaire . The consultation will run until 31 December 2013.

Other news

August 2013 compared with July 2013 - Volume of retail trade up by 0.7% in euro area - Up by 0.4% in EU28

In August 2013 compared with July 2013, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade1 increased by 0.7% in the euro area2 (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU282, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In July3 retail trade gained 0.5% in both zones. In August 2013 compared with August 20124, the retail sales index fell by 0.3% in the euro area and rose by 0.3% in the EU28.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over DLH by Amvest, NPM Capital, DGH Participaties, Jopli Participaties and Erve Hulshorts Participaties

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over the Dutch home nursing company DLH B.V. and its subsidiaries ("DLH") by Amvest Vastgoed B.V., ultimately controlled by PGGM and AEGON, together with DLH's current controlling shareholders, namely DGH Participaties, Jopli Participaties and Erve Hulshorts Participaties, the management companies of three individuals who will manage DLH, and NPM Capital, ultimately belonging to SHV Holdings, a Dutch family company. All companies involved are based in the Netherlands. The joint venture DLH will be active in the development and operation of residential nursing units for elderly people with memory difficulties in the Netherlands. The Commission therefore assessed the effects of the proposed transaction on the market for residential nursing services and on the vertically related markets for the development and lease of real estate for use in the healthcare sector as well as the provision of rehabilitation tools to healthcare providers. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, given the limited market shares of the merged entity in any of the relevant markets. 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.7026 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Pon’s European material handling business by Reesink

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the European material handling business of Pon Holdings B.V. by Koninklijke Reesink N.V., both of the Netherlands. Pon’s European material handling business is composed of the two subsidiaries Pon Material Handling Europe B.V and Motrac Hydraulik GmbH as well as of Pon’s participation in Pelzer Fördertechnik GmbH, a joint venture between Pon and Linde Material Handling GmbH of Germany, part of the KION group. The material handling business' activity is mainly focused on the distribution of hydraulic components and systems for industrial, agricultural and shipping applications as well as the distribution of internal transport equipment and professional cleaning machines. Reesink distributes branded machinery and equipment, including machinery for agricultural, landscaping, construction and earth moving applications and professional cleaning machines. The activities of Reesink and the target overlap only for the supply of professional cleaning machines in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the combined market share and the increment in market share were modest. The transaction 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.7032 .

Digital Agenda: Bringing more women into EU digital sector would bring €9 billion annual GDP boost, EU study shows

A study carried out by the European Commission has shown that bringing more women into digital jobs could create a €9 billion annual GDP boost in the EU. The study suggests four concrete ways to encourage this change: improving the image of the digital industry; empowering women in the sector by offering clearer career paths; improving access to seed and venture capital programs for female entrepreneurs; and improving working conditions in the sector. Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes commented: "It is high time the IT sector … allowed women a chance to help the sector and Europe's economy benefit from their enormous potential".

Commission challenges Finnish telecoms regulator

The European Commission has opened a Phase II investigation under the powers of Article 7 of the Framework Directive against the telecoms regulator in Finland (FICORA), following the latter's plans to deregulate the wholesale markets for fixed voice call termination rates (FTRs). The Commission now has two months to discuss the case, in close cooperation with the body of European regulators (BEREC), to make it compliant with EU law. The Commission may, at the end of the extended investigation period, either lift its reservations or demand that FICORA withdraws the proposed measure.

EU research road show to start in Romania

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will travel to Romania Oct. 3 and 4. She will participate in the first of a series of events in EU Member States to launch Horizon 2020, the EU's next research and innovation programme. While in Bucharest, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will meet Prime Minister Victor Ponta, open an exhibition showcasing Romanian research, and present Horizon 2020 to a conference of research and innovation stakeholders ahead of the launch of the first calls for proposals in December. She will also visit the country's nuclear physics research centre in Magurele, home of the future Extreme Light Infrastructure facility being financed partly from EU structural and investment funds. A full list of future Horizon 2020 national launch events can be found here .

CLIMATE ACTION: Connie Hedegaard participates in ministerial meetings to prepare Warsaw climate conference

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, will take part in informal international ministerial consultations in Warsaw on 3-4 October to prepare this year's UN climate change conference, which Poland will host in its capital next month. The agenda covers key issues for the conference, including core elements of the new global climate agreement to be adopted in 2015, how to raise the ambition level of global action to combat climate change, and institutional arrangements for dealing with loss and damage caused by climate change impacts in developing countries. The ministerial consultations will be preceded by discussions between ministers and high-level business representatives on potential business opportunities the transition to the low-emission economy, climate finance and climate technologies.

Mark the date: 26-27 November will be a milestone in the vision on development beyond 2015

This year's European Development Days (EDD13) will focus on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the need for a strong common European position to addressing global poverty and sustainable development after 2015.  The topic is very timely as 2015 (the MDGs target date) is fast approaching, and also in the light of last week's UN Special Event in New York on the MDGs. Remarkable progress has been achieved in the fight against poverty thanks to the MDGs, but a lot remains to be done.  EDD13 will provide a unique opportunity for stakeholders, donors and key players in development to come together to contribute to the EU vision for development, post-2015. This year's high-level event will host Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, José Maria Neves, Prime Minister of Cape Verde, Joyce Banda, President of Malawi, and many others, including several EU Commissioners. The event will take place in Brussels on 26 -27 November in Brussels. Journalists can register now, by clicking here . Further information:

Significant new EU development assistance foreseen for Central America

Supporting security and the rule of law, disaster management and the fight against climate change, will be among the priorities for EU Development Assistance in the period 2014-2020. EU funds will be made available to that end, as well as to improve regional integration across Central America, as announced by European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. Speaking ahead of an official visit to the region, during which the Commissioner will visit Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, he outlined that support for 2014-2020 to Central America is expected to be around €900 million. Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: "Central America is now on average a medium-low income region, but there are still real differences amongst the different countries. In line with the recent Agenda for Change - the EU’s blueprint to refocus our aid to make it as effective as possible - we are determined to make sure our support reaches those countries, and sectors, which need it most. This way we are ensuring that our aid to the region will be better targeted and more efficient." Further information IP/13/900

République de Madagascar: l'Union européenne va observer les élections présidentielles

En réponse à l'invitation des autorités de la République de Madagascar, l'Union européenne a décidé de déployer une Mission d'observation électorale pour les élections présidentielles qui se tiendront le 25 octobre prochain. La Mission d'observation électorale de l'Union européenne (MOE UE) est placée sous la responsabilité de Mme Maria Muñiz, Membre du Parlement européen, arrivée à Antananarivo le 2 octobre, qui lancera officiellement la mission lors d'une conférence de presse le 3 octobre.

What Commissioners said

High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Štefan Füle express concerns over pressure on opposition, civil society and media in Azerbaijan

The High Representative and the Commissioner are concerned about some recent developments in Azerbaijan that have an impact both on the pre-election period and the general human rights and political freedoms situation in the country. While acknowledging the generally peaceful pre-election environment and the good technical preparation of the elections, the EU notes with concern the continued pressure on a number of opposition activists, civil society and independent media, including intimidation, arrests on dubious charges, detention and sentencing without proper respect for international standards or the rights of the accused.

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