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07 / 10 / 13
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, will visit on Wednesday the island of Lampedusa. The visit will take place in the spirit of European support and solidarity expressed by the Commission following last week's tragic events. It will offer the opportunity for President Barroso to pay tribute to the many victims who have tragically lost their lives trying to reach the European shores and to express solidarity and gratitude to the authorities and people on Lampedusa. The Commission, within its competencies and resources, continues fully committed to work on further measures and concrete actions that can be taken at European and national level to address the plight of the refugees and the difficulties of the Member States affected, including through joint action with third countries. The President will discuss this with the Italian authorities on this occasion.
More than 5,500 regional and urban representatives are in Brussels today for the 2013 European Week of Regions and Cities – OPEN DAYS 2013. It coincides with a crucial moment for all EU regions as fundamental reforms to future EU Regional Policy are finalised.
Commission President, José Manuel Barroso will launch the four-day event in the European Parliament at 15:30 with a keynote speech on how the next generation of investments under the policy can get Europe back on the path to growth, creating jobs and boosting competitiveness. Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, who co-hosts the event with Ramón Luis Valcárcel, President of Committee of the Regions, underlined the “real opportunity to invest in future growth and prosperity” offered by the reformed policy. “This is about targeting investments but at the same time building on the individual strengths of our cities and regions.”
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of fruit juice bottler Pride Foods (trading under the name Gerber Emig) of the UK by Dutch rival Refresco. The clearance is conditional upon the divestment of one of Gerber Emig's production and bottling plants in Germany. The parties are both active in the production and bottling of non-carbonated soft drinks (NCSDs) to retailers and in contract manufacturing branded NCSDs for brand owners in a number of European Economic Area (EEA) Member States. The Commission's concerns related to private label bottling in France, Germany and Belgium. The commitments offered by Refresco address these concerns.
Mergers: Commission clears joint venture for mobile infrared devices between DSM and Maastricht UMC-Holding
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of Device Company B.V., a joint venture that will be jointly controlled by DSM R&D Solutions B.V. and Maastricht UMC-Holding B.V. The newly created joint venture will develop and commercialize mobile infrared devices that could be used, among others, to detect illegal drugs in law enforcement operations. DSM R&D Solutions B.V. is part of Koninklijke DSM N.V., which is active in human and animal nutrition, health, and the development of various materials such as polymers. Maastricht UMC-Holding B.V. creates and holds legal entities aimed at commercializing scientific discoveries made in the health, nutrition and life sciences fields. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because the activities of the joint venture do not overlap with those of its two parent companies. 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.6979 .
A European Commission proposal guaranteeing the right of all citizens in the EU to be advised by a lawyer when facing criminal proceedings has been formally adopted today, after approval was given by the Council of Ministers. This is the third Directive in a series of proposals – all of which have now been adopted – to guarantee minimum rights to a fair trial anywhere in the European Union. "This law is a victory for justice and a victory for citizens' rights in the European Union," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU's Justice Commissioner.
"Bamberger Hörnla" recognized as a Protected Geographical Indication
The European Commission has approved the addition of the German potato " Bamberger Hörnla / Bamberger Hörnle / Bamberger Hörnchen " to the list of Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs). The "Bamberger Hörnla" is an "old country variety" of potato grown in the Franken region and with a characteristic shape: small, finger-like and slightly curved into a crescent.
The denomination will be added to the list of more than 1,100 products already protected by the legislation on protection of geographical indications, denominations of origin and traditional specialties. More information on quality products as well as the list of protected denominations are available at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm
The European Commission is publishing a blueprint to help micro-enterprises and small businesses in Europe’s regions grow by using digital technologies. To ensure funding allocated to SMEs to enhance their e-commerce and ICT capacities is spent quickly and in full, innovation vouchers worth up to €10,000 will be made available for purchasing and learning to make use of digital (ICT) services. Such ICT innovation voucher schemes are being piloted in the Spanish Region of Murcia and Extremadura.
Monday 7 October will mark the opening of a third round of live, interactive online debates – this time on banks - between citizens, businesses, organisations, and policy makers in the framework of Single Market Month . The debates will run from Monday to Wednesday (7-9 October) on 140 ideas from 27 EU countries ranging from a proposal to create a single European consumer protection authority for all financial services, to an initiative that would regulate multicurrency mortgages across the EU. Join the debate at: www.yourideasforeurope.eu . See IP/13/914 and MEMO/13/804 .
Short term agricultural market report: cereal production up, milk output to rise.
A good grain harvest in the EU and worldwide is likely to relieve the tight cereals and oilseeds market situation seen in the past year, especially for animal feed, according to the Commission's Autumn 2013 Short-Term Agricultural Outlook published today. In the livestock sectors, the decline in EU production of beef and pig meat in 2013 is forecast to be partly offset by an increase in poultry meat production with scope for continued growth in exports. For the dairy sector, after relatively high prices induced by strong global demand and tight world supplies, EU output has increased since the summer with improved weather conditions and is expected to increase in the year ahead. The Outlook report, published three times a year, is based on contributions from the Commission's market experts. For more details, see http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets-and-prices/short-term-outlook/index_en.htm
The Regional yearbook 2013, published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, presents regional statistics from a wide range of fields, giving a more detailed and diverse picture of the EU than national level data. It also enables an analysis, for example, of how the financial crisis has affected regions across the EU. It indicates, among other things, in which regions employment, population and GDP have decreased the most and in which there have been increases. It also shows how poverty has affected the population differently depending on whether they live in a densely or more thinly populated area.
A look into the crystal ball: What will EU justice policy look like in 2020? This is the theme of a Europe-wide debate the European Commission has launched today. The starting point for the discussion is a package of five discussion papers presented by the Commission covering European civil, criminal and administrative law, as well as the rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU. The Commission's papers and the preliminary input will then be discussed at a European forum on the Future of EU Justice Policy on 21 – 22 November in Brussels. Vice-President Viviane Reding said: "We have to construct a European area of Justice which is complete and solid. Citizens and businesses will only reap the full rewards of our internal market if they are confident that their rights are protected everywhere."
The European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, is on a visit Nicaragua (6 - 7 October) in the context of the debate on the new EU-Nicaragua cooperation for the period 2014-2020. The EU's cooperation strategy for the coming years, drawn up in collaboration with the Nicaraguan government, will focus on education, economic and trade development and adaptation to climate change. The EU plans to allocate approximately €204 million, pending approval by the European Parliament and the European Council. Commissioner Piebalgs stated: 'I am pleased that my first visit to the country will be made in the context of a new cooperation cycle and that the cooperation strategy has been established with the active participation of the government and key sectors in Nicaragua. Together we will share the challenge of increasing the impact of our actions, focusing on the sectors where the population is in most need of our support.' Further information: IP/13/915
What Commissioners said
US Trade Representative Michael Froman informed EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on Friday evening that due to the on-going furlough, the US Administration was not in a position to send to Brussels officials from USTR and US Government agencies to maintain the planned second round of negotiations in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), initially scheduled for this week (7-11 October 2013) in Brussels. Commissioner De Gucht stated that “the US side has promised to provide us with further information as soon as is feasible on when and how further occasions for engagement - including negotiation rounds - can be scheduled.” The Commissioner also reiterated the clear commitment of both the EU and the US to TTIP. “The cancellation of next week's negotiation round in Brussels is clearly unfortunate but let me underline that it in no way distracts us from our overall aim of achieving an ambitious trade and investment deal between Europe and the US which will bring real economic benefit to people on both sides of the Atlantic.” All press events related to the EU-US trade talks scheduled for this weeks are cancelled.