Daily News of 2013-10-11
European Commission - MEX/13/1011 11/10/2013
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EXME 13 / 11.10
11 / 10 / 13
President Barroso expressed the European Commission's sincere congratulations to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2013:
"The decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is a powerful recognition of the important role of the OPCW in curbing the use of chemical weapons. The EU is determined to assist in the destruction of the stock of chemical weapons. About 100 years ago, during World War I, Europe has experienced the suffering caused by the use of chemical weapons itself. Syria now demonstrates that these abhorrent acts are still not eradicated from human behaviour. The OPCW faces an unprecedented challenge in its current effort in Syria, where its joint mission with the United Nations is being actively supported by the European Union. The international community carries a collective responsibility to end the use of chemical weapons once and for all. The OPCW plays a key role in this collective effort, which the European Union fully supports, politically and by being the biggest contributor to OPCW (…)".
Read more about how the European Union used the 2012 Nobel peace prize award money under the EU Children of Peace Initiative .
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture between the Belgian telecommunications operator Belgacom and the bank BNP Paribas Fortis. The joint venture will allow consumers in Belgium to use their mobile devices to purchase goods or services, redeem coupons, or use their loyalty cards when visiting the mobile application of participating merchants. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise any competition concerns, in particular because the joint venture will face several credible actual or potential competitors in this growing market.
Monday 14 October will mark the opening of the fourth and final round of live, interactive online debates – this time on e-commerce - between citizens, businesses, organisations, and policy-makers in the framework of Single Market Month. The debates will run from Monday to Wednesday (14-16 October) on more than 100 ideas from 24 EU countries ranging from a proposal to allow unrestricted access to music, books and movies online across the entire European Union, to an initiative that would create a quick-reaction mechanism for cases of manufacturers, suppliers or distributors not fulfilling their obligations on delivery of goods across borders in the EU. Commission President José Manuel Barroso will hold the final live of chat of Single Market Month on 16 October. Join the debate at: www.yourideasforeurope.eu.
Quality food products: first Latvian food name protected at EU level
The European Commission has approved the request for registration of " Sklandrausis " into the list of Traditional Specialties Guaranteed, making this traditional Latvian pie the first Latvian food name protected at EU level. Usually eaten cold with tea or milk, "sklandrausis" is a round pie made out of firm rye-flour dough and filled with layers of boiled potato and carrot filling. The decision should be published in the next few days in the Official Journal of the European Union. The denomination will then 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
Today the European Commission starts a consultation with consumers, consumer protection organisations and businesses to see how best to strengthen consumer protection across borders. Interested parties have until 31 January 2014 to give their opinions on how the work of the pan-European network of consumer protection enforcement bodies can be improved. The main role of this network is to ensure that people across the EU enjoy equal rights no matter where they shop or whom they make their purchases from. The review is aimed to support the implementation of Commissioner Neven Mimica's top priority to improve the enforcement of consumer rights for Europe's 500 million citizens.
The European Commission has published advice received from external experts concerning which parts of telecoms markets could be regulated ex-ante by national telecoms regulators to address structural competition problems. The study advises that fewer markets should be included on the Commission's list than under current EU rules, and also finds that no new markets should be added.
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead
What Commissioners said
In a speech at the Aspen Institute in Prague, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht yesterday set out his vision on how the European Union and the United States should tackle the most important part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): the reduction of regulatory trade barriers that exist between the EU and the US. According to the Commissioner, three objectives need to be achieved: “We need to cooperate on future regulations to avoid unnecessary trade barriers, we need to look at ways to make existing regulations more compatible, and we need to support this work with the right institutions”. Such an institution could be a ‘Regulatory Cooperation Council’ that brings together the most important EU and US regulatory agencies and that could make TTIP a ‘living agreement’. At the same time, Commissioner De Gucht clarified that removing regulatory barriers does not mean a race to the bottom, as some criticise. “Nothing we will agree in TTIP will lower standards of protection.” The example of the EU’s Single Market shows that regulatory cooperation can mean the highest level of consumer, environmental and labour protection in the world as a result: “There doesn’t need to be a trade-off between high standards and open markets.”