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EXME 13 / 14.10
14 / 10 / 13
Today, the European Commission has adopted a list of some 250 key energy infrastructure projects. These "projects of common interest" (PCI) will benefit from accelerated licensing procedures and may have access to financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility, under which a €5.85 billion budget has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period 2014-20. EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger said: "We have to make sure that our limited funds are used wisely and that EU money goes where it can create most benefits to European consumers. With this list of energy infrastructure projects and their accompanying benefits we also hope to attract more investors." Once completed, the projects will help Member States to integrate their energy markets, enable them to diversify their energy sources and help bring an end to the energy isolation of some Member States. They will also enable the grid to uptake increasing amounts of renewables, and consequently help reduce CO2 emissions. More information here: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/infrastructure/strategy/2020_en.htm
This evening will see another set of "trilogue" talks on the final details of reform to the EU's Cohesion Policy. With most elements now in place, the end of the negotiations is in sight. Agreement is vital. The reforms transform the policy into an investment tool for the EU to carry out many of its key aims - creating jobs and growth, tackling climate change and breaking energy dependence. The package also includes common rules for all the EU investment funds and without a deal, approval of the EU budget 2014-2020 cannot go ahead. Join experts of DG REGIO and members of Regional Policy Commissioner Hahn’s cabinet for a “off the record” briefing in BERL pressroom at 15:00. For more information see MEMO/13/878 on “Refocusing EU Cohesion Policy for Maximum Impact on Growth and Jobs: The Reform in 10 points”.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Domestic & General Group Holdings by CVC
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Domestic & General Group Holdings ("D&G") of the United Kingdom by CVC Capital Partners SICAV FIS S.A. of Luxembourg. D&G provides extended warranties for domestic appliances outside the manufacturer's original warranty. CVC advises and manages investment funds. The funds managed by CVC solely or jointly control a number of companies, among which Acromas Holdings Ltd, the owner of AA Group and Saga. AA Group and Saga both provide out-of-warranty repair services, and I particular protection plans for boiler and central heating systems. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, and in particular because the overlaps between the parties' activities in the market for out-of-service warranty repair services for domestic appliances are limited. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition , in the public case register under the case number M.7040 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Lotos Tank by BP Europa and Grupa Lotos in Polish fuel sector
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Lotos Tank of Poland by BP Europa, an indirect subsidiary of BP plc of the United Kingdom, and Grupa Lotos of Poland. Lotos Tank is currently wholly owned by Grupa Lotos. BP is the ultimate parent of a group of companies active in the exploration, development and production of oil and gas, in the refining, manufacturing and marketing of oil products and petrochemicals and in the development of renewable energies. Grupa Lotos is the ultimate parent of a group of companies active in the production and processing of crude oil and in the wholesale and retail of petroleum products. Lotos Tank is active in the wholesale and into-plane supply of jet fuel in Poland. The Commission found that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because BP Europa is not active in the market for the wholesale and retail supply of aviation fuel in Poland The case was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition in the public case register under the case number M.6987 .
In August 2013 compared with July 2013, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 1.0% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.5% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In July industrial production fell by 1.0% and 0.6% respectively. In August 2013 compared with August 2012, industrial production dropped by 2.1% in the euro area and by 1.6% in the EU28.
Annual inflation in the G201 was 3.0% in the year to August 2013, down from 3.2% in the year to July 2013. The G20 aggregate reflects diverging patterns among the world’s largest economies. India, Argentina, Indonesia and Turkey experienced the highest annual inflation rates (equal to or above 8.0%) in August 2013, while Japan, France, Canada and Italy had the lowest annual inflation rates (between 0.9% and 1.2%). In August 2013, annual inflation slowed in Turkey (8.0%, down from 8.6% in July), the United States (1.5%, down from 2.0%) and Germany (1.6%, down from 1.9%), and more moderately in Brazil (6.1%, down from 6.3%), India (10.7%, down from 10.8%) and China (2.6%, down from 2.7%). In contrast annual inflation picked up in Indonesia (8.8%, up from 8.6%) and Japan (0.9%, up from 0.7%), while it remained stable in Russia (6.5%), South Africa (6.4%), Mexico (3.5%) and Italy (1.2%). Annual inflation fell in both the EU28 (1.5%, down from 1.7%) and the EA17 (1.3%, down from 1.6%).
Europe's Common Agricultural Policy: Taking care of our roots
The European Commission is launching today a communication campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of agriculture in our daily lives – and the role that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) plays in supporting it. EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Cioloş said: "This campaign is an opportunity to highlight how present the fruits of farmers' work are in our everyday life. Behind the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the countryside we enjoy, there is often the hard work of a farmer. Following the political negotiations on CAP reform, we hope to show how this truly European policy will continue playing a major role in the future, not only in providing food, but also in maintaining our natural resources and preserving a vibrant rural life – and that it makes sense to reward farmers for these broader benefits they provide for society." Under the new CAP's signature "Taking care of our roots", the campaign will be progressively rolled-out over 2013-2014 in all EU member States, with events, audio-visual material and on-line publications.
Vigorous enforcement action by the EU Member States and the European Commission has significantly increased compliance with EU consumer protection rules. 80% of websites inspected as part of an EU wide “sweep” on the sale of digital content downloads of music, games and software) are now compliant. This compares to only 50%at the time of the initial sweep in 2012. Action continues against the remaining non-compliant sites. "Sweeps" fall within Consumer Policy Commissioner Neven Mimica's priority to ensure the effective enforcement of consumer protection rights, on and off line across the European Union.
Women on Boards: Share of Women up to 16.6% as European Parliament Committees vote on Commission proposal
Today the European Parliament's Committees on Legal Affairs (JURI) and Women's Rights & Gender Equality (FEMM) are set to vote on the proposal by the European Commission to address the gender imbalance on company boards in Europe. The vote coincides with a new report on women in decision-making, which will be released today by the Commission and which gives an overview of the current situation and trends for the representation of women and men in economic decision-making, in politics, public administrations and in the judiciary. The Commission will also release today a mid-term review of its broader gender equality strategy for equality between Women and men (2010-2015). See also: IP/13/943 and MEMO/13/882 (links will be active once the vote has taken place).
On 15 October Vice-President Reding will participate in the 33rd Citizens' Dialogue, along with 350 citizens in Stockholm. She will be joined by the Swedish Minister for EU Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson, Member of the European Parliament Olle Ludvigsson and Lord Mayor of the City of Stockholm, Margareta Björk. The Citizens' Dialogue will take place on Tuesday, in the Stockholm City Hall from 13:00 to 15:00 CET. It will be broadcast live on Swedish national TV. Questions are welcome via Twitter using the hashtag #EUDeb8 and the whole debate can be followed live via webstream . "Sweden is a world leader in promoting innovation: ABBA, Volvo, Ikea or meatballs - they all originated in Sweden and have become great hits in Europe. "I am looking forward to hearing the ideas of Swedish citizens and their views and expectations on the future of our Union. Maybe it's time for another Swedish innovation that will be exported to Europe!", said Vice-President Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.