Daily News of 2013-10-28
European Commission - MEX/13/1028 28/10/2013
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EXME 13 / 28.10
28 / 10 / 13
President José Manuel Barroso is today in Geneva to meet the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Peter Mauer. The two Presidents discussed the situation in Syria, in Central African Republic, and in the Horn of Africa. The cooperation between ICRC and the European Commission was addressed as well. This is the second time President Barroso and President Maurer meet. Their first meeting was held in December 2012, in Brussels. A media stakeout of the two Presidents took place this morning at the Humanitarium New Building. The press statement of President Barroso will be available later on Rapid.
Today President Barroso is also visiting the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
At 5 pm, the University of Geneva’s Global Studies Institute will bring together 700 of its alumni of European studies - among them President José Manuel Barroso, who graduated in Geneva in 1985. The President will deliver a speech on the future of Europe titled "Quels visages pour l'Europe dans 50 ans?" and will pay tribute to Denis de Rougemont, founder of European Studies in Geneva.
The European Commission has allocated another part from the recent package of €400m to deal with the consequences of the Syria crisis. This newest allocation is aimed at providing assistance to the population inside Syria, Syrian refugees and host communities living in Jordan, as well as Syrian students in Europe. In total, it amounts to €85 million.
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, commented on this support: "This is yet another step to show that we not only promise help but actually deliver it. We continue to stand by the Syrian people. In our funding we focus on providing education to the children in the region but we also provide basic services to all those affected by the crisis; both inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries that are under enormous pressure as a result of the bloodshed and influx of refugees.”
The EU and its Member States are the biggest donor of assistance in response to the Syrian crisis, both in Syria and in neighbouring countries. In total, the EU has so far mobilised over €1.9 billion in relief and recovery aid from both the Commission and Member States.
For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/neighbourhood/country-cooperation/syria/syria_en.htm
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of certain European subsidiaries of Campbell Soup by private equity firm CVC
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of certain European subsidiaries of Campbell Soup (the 'target') by CVC of Luxembourg. The target produces and sells various types of packaged foods, including instant dry soups. CVC is active, through investment funds it manages, in various sectors of the economy, including retailing and distribution of various products. One of CVC's portfolio companies is the vending machine services provider Autobar. Autobar's vending machines also distribute instant dry soups. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the parties' activities do not overlap, the merged entity will have moderate market shares and will be constrained by the presence of a number of alternative instant dry soup and vending machine service providers. The operation was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7028 .
The European Commission has today set up an expert group to work on safe and fair terms for cloud computing contracts, on the basis of an optional instrument. The objective is to identify best practices for addressing the concerns of consumers and small companies, who often seem reluctant to purchase cloud computing services because contracts are unclear. The Expert Group is part of the Commission’s push to enhance trust in cloud computing services and unlock their potential for boosting economic productivity in Europe. "At the European Council last week, EU leaders called for action to help create a single market for cloud computing. The Commission is delivering its bit. Making full use of the opportunities presented by cloud computing could create 2.5 million extra jobs in Europe and add around 1% a year to EU's Gross Domestic Product by 2020,” said Vice President Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.
The European Commission has formally asked the Spanish telecoms regulator (CNMC) to withdraw or amend its proposal setting the regulated prices which the dominant operator, Telefónica, can charge other operators who want to sell broadband services based on Telefónica's network.
Third European Citizens' Initiative hits one million signatures, organisers claim
Just days before the 1 November deadline, organisers of a third European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) are claiming success. Stop Vivisection calls on the EU to present a proposal to end live animal experimentation. Organisers claim they have collected more than one million signatures, and secured a minimum number of signatures in at least seven Member States, as required by the ECI legislation. Indeed, signatures have apparently been collected in all 28 Member States, with national thresholds met in 10 Member States. Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: "Although the signatures must still be verified, I would like to congratulate the organisers on this great achievement. The fact that three very diverse ECIs now appear to have succeeded proves that this important instrument for citizens' democracy is working as hoped, and sparking genuine pan-European debates on issues that are important to citizens." The other ECIs apparently to reach one million signatures are the Right2Water initiative, whose organisers believe 'water is a public good, not a commodity', and One of Us, which seeks to end EU financing of activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos.
Stop Vivisection website: http://www.stopvivisection.eu/
What Commissioners said
Vice-President Šefčovič will today underline the important role that national parliaments play in European decision-making at the 50th plenary of the inter-parliamentary grouping known as COSAC. The meeting, bringing together European scrutiny committees from all national parliaments in the EU, is being hosted by the Lithuanian parliament, or Seimas, in Vilnius. Vice-President Šefčovič will say: "The work that each chamber or Parliament is doing in EU matters – be it mandating and scrutinising its government, adopting implementing measures of EU directives, checking proposals in relation to subsidiarity or commenting under the political dialogue – is hugely important for the proper functioning of the EU. Likewise, the European Parliament has its unique function as co-legislator and scrutiniser at EU level." He also updated the parliamentarians on progress towards the Europe 2020 goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.