Daily News of 2013-10-18
European Commission - MEX/13/1018 18/10/2013
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EXME 13 / 18.10
18 / 10 / 13
The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will today reach a compromise on the key elements of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This trade agreement, according to President Barroso, will "provide significant new opportunities for companies in the EU and in Canada by increasing market access for goods and services and providing new opportunities for European investors. It will be the basis for gaining a strong foothold in the North American market and so provide a catalyst for growth and the creation of jobs in Europe." Once this highly ambitious and far-reaching trade agreement is implemented, it will increase a two-way bilateral trade in goods and services by 23% or €26 billion, fostering growth and employment on both economies. The overall benefits of the agreement are expected to raise the level of the EU’s annual GDP by approximately €12 billion a year. A press statement is scheduled for 13:30. A press release and a facts and figures of the EU-Canada Free Trade deal will be available at the same time. President Barroso's press statement will be available after delivery.
Samedi 19 Octobre - Le Président Barroso rencontre Mme Aung San Suu Kyi à Bruxelles
Le samedi 19 Octobre Président José Manuel Barroso rencontrera Mme Aung San Suu Kyi, Secrétaire générale de la Ligue nationale pour la démocratie au Myanmar et Députée à la chambre basse du parlement birman. Ils échangeront leurs vues sur le processus de transition économique et démocratique au Myanmar, ainsi que sur les relations entre l'UE et le Myanmar. La réunion aura lieu au siège de la Commission européenne, et un bref point de presse est prévu samedi à 17h30 au 13ème étage de la Commission. Afin d'être escorté, la presse est invitée à se rendre à la réception du Berlaymont au plus tard à 17h10.
The European Commission has accepted a request from Spain to assess under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Holcim's cement operations in Spain by rival Cemex. The Commission concluded that the transaction threatens to affect competition within Spain and that the Commission is the best placed authority to assess the potential cross-border effects of the transaction. The Commission will now ask Cemex to notify the project.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Northern Offshore Gas Transport by PGGM, EBN and GDF Suez
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Northern Offshore Gas Transport ("NOGAT") by PGGM, EBN, all of the Netherlands, and GDF Suez of France. NOGAT operates the Northern Offshore Upstream Gas Pipeline System, which transports and treats natural gas from offshore gas fields in the North Sea. PGGM is a Dutch pension fund. EBN and GDF Suez are active in the energy sector across the value chain. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because prior to the present transaction PGGM had no activities in the energy sector and NOGAT is already currently controlled by EBN and GDF Suez. 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.7039 .
Credit availability for non-financial businesses in the euro area is now at its lowest point since the beginning of the credit crunch, according to the latest figures from the European Central Bank . Small and medium sized enterprises, on which the EU relies for 85% of new jobs in the private sector, are particularly badly affected by this decline as they cannot invest or extent their businesses as long as conditions for credits remain so difficult. Therefore, the European Commission is taking action to rapidly bridge the market gap in the provision of SME financing by providing €3.5 billion of additional funding for SMEs each year from 2014 to 2020, using the new Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs programme (COSME). For COSME to be successful is it vital that an effective partnership between EU institutions and the financial organisations that provide SMEs with access to credit is created. This is why Vice-President Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, will launch today in Rome a series of events - the "EU Access to Finance Days" - to explain how COSME's new financial instruments will work and to encourage reputable financial market operators to become COSME intermediaries.
Water pollution caused by nitrates has decreased in Europe over the past two decades, but agricultural pressures are still putting water resources under strain. The latest Report on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive reveals that nitrates concentrations are slightly decreasing in both surface and groundwater and sustainable agricultural practices are more widespread. Although the overall trend is positive, nitrates pollution and eutrophication – the excess growth of weeds and algae that suffocates life in rivers and seas – are still causing problems in many Member States and further action is needed to bring the waters in the European Union to a good status within a reasonable timescale.
Every year, around 10 million tonnes of litter end up in the world's oceans and seas. Plastic waste in particular forms 80 % of the enormous waste patches in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with fatal consequences for numerous sea species. How can we address this problem? The Commission aims to develop a reduction target for marine litter and has launched a public consultation on the subject.
Just a few months ahead of the entry of the country in the Eurozone, the Latvian Commissioner Andris Piebalgs travelled to his country of origin to host the 35th event in a series of Citizens' Dialogues. Together with the Latvian Defence Minister Dr Artis Pabriks, Commissioner for Development has today discussed with about 200 Latvians in Riga how they imagine the future of Europe. As each debate, it has been centred on three main themes: the economic crisis, citizens' rights and the future of Europe. "This is an extremely interesting moment in Latvia as we are about to swap the lat for the euro, 10 years after voting to become part of the EU. What citizens think is more important than ever and I am looking forward to the debate in Riga", said Commissioner Piebalgs. To watch the debate, click here .
Fish Love comes to Brussels
Celebrities from the world of arts and entertainment such as Sir Ben Kingsley, Greta Scacchi and Kenzo amongst others are posing with their favourite fish to make the case to preserve fish for the future. An exclusive pre-view of the new collection of photos will be unveiled by Commissioner Maria Damanaki and actress Greta Scacchi on Monday 21 October at 13h00 in the Berlaymont exhibition hall, 1st floor. Press is invited to attend this event, see the new collection of photos and speak to the celebrities present on why they have joined Fishlove to save the seas. The Berlaymont exhibition will be on from 21 October to 12 November. 'Fishlove' is an ongoing photographic project that invites global celebrities to raise awareness of how unsustainable fishing practices are destroying the marine environment. The movement calls for legislators and policy makers to choose the path towards a sustainable future for our seas and oceans. See more at www.fishlove.co.uk
More needs to be done to encourage 'media literacy' among children, according to Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. This will be her main message when she visits 'Cinekid', the world's largest media festival for children, in Amsterdam on 21 October. Media literacy, which is the ability to understand and evaluate different types of media and communication, including interactive media, newspapers, films and images, is a fundamental competence in today's knowledge economy. Commissioner Vassiliou will be joined at the Cinekid festival by Jet Bussemaker, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science.
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead
What Commissioners said
“Many people seem to think that this Commission is already finished. That nothing will really happen now. We waited for the German elections, now we wait for the European elections, and then for the new Commission to be nominated. Well, as far as I'm concerned, this Commission's mandate finishes on the 1st of November next year and we will continue our work. I will continue my work. The planetary boundaries don't care about elections. In the next year we will review the targets in our waste legislation, we will carry out a fitness check on waste legislation, we will specifically address sustainable food and sustainable buildings, and we will take stock of the actions and initiatives we have taken so far to achieve the milestones that we set in the Roadmap for Resource Efficiency. All of these elements will feed into a coherent package on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy which we will deliver before next summer.”