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EXME 13 / 02.12


02 / 12 / 13

EUROSUR enters into operation

Today the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) has become operational. EUROSUR will make an important contribution to saving the lives of migrants and it will also equip the EU and its Member States with better tools to prevent cross-border crimes, such as trafficking in human beings or trafficking in drugs. At the same time, EUROSUR will help detect and provide assistance to small migrant boats in distress, in full compliance with European and international obligations, including the principle of non-refoulement. EUROSUR is operational in 18 EU Member States at the southern and eastern external borders and the Schengen associated country Norway and an additional 11 countries (the 8 remaining Member States and 3 Schengen associated countries) will join EUROSUR as of 1 December 2014.

Other news

Tourism – a vital role for Europe and vice versa

Today, at around 12.15, President Barroso will hold a speech at the 17th tourism summit in Berlin. He will remind of the mutually beneficial effects of tourism and European integration, and stress in particular also the importance of the four freedoms of the Single Market for a flourishing tourism sector. He will also underline the economic importance of tourism and its role as an indicator of our growth performance and consumer confidence. He will draw attention to the fact that tourism resisted and is now recovering from the crisis better than most sectors. Last but not least, President Barroso will recall how the Commission aims at fostering the competitiveness of the tourism sector by creating a favourable environment for enterprises and for cooperation among Member States.

The speech will be broadcast live by EbS+ and available here after the delivery. See also: and official President Barroso's website .

EU imposes definitive measures on Chinese solar panels, confirms undertaking with Chinese solar panel exporters

The Council today backed the Commission’s proposals to impose definitive anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on imports of solar panels from China.  Duties will apply for two years as of 6 December 2013. In parallel, the Commission confirmed its Decision to accept the undertaking with Chinese solar panel exporters, which means that those Chinese exporters that participate in the undertaking continue to be exempt from paying any anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Elixia group and Health&Fitness Nordic by Altor Fund and Tryghedsgruppen

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Elixia group of Norway and Health&Fitness Nordic ("HFN") of Sweden by Altor Fund of the United Kingdom and Tryghedsgruppen of Denmark.  Altor Fund and Tryghedsgruppen are private equity funds. Elixia operates fitness clubs in Finland, Norway and Sweden.  HFN operates fitness clubs in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Following the parties' request, the Commission referred the Finnish and Norwegian parts of the transaction to the Finnish and Norwegian competition authorities respectively. The Commission assessed the remainder of the transaction, concerning Denmark and Sweden and concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns in Sweden, the only country where the activities of Elixia and HFN overlap. The Commission found in particular that the combined market shares of the merged entity in the relevant markets for the operation of fitness clubs will remain limited and that the merged entity will continue to face numerous competitors of similar size. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. The Commission's decision is without prejudice to the outcome of the investigations of the Finnish and Norwegian competition authorities. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.6982 .

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Invensys by Schneider Electric in automation and control sector

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Invensys of the UK by Schneider Electric of France. Both companies supply, in particular, automation and control systems. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise any competition concerns, because the activities of the two companies are complementary and the merged entity would continue to face several strong competitors in the affected markets.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Rothesay by Blackstone and Goldman Sachs

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Rothesay Life Limited and Rothesay Pensions Management Limited of the United Kingdom (together "Rothesay ") by Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs Group, both of the United States. Rothesay is currently solely controlled by Goldman Sachs and is active in the field of defined benefit pension risk transfers within the UK. Goldman Sachs is an investment banking, securities and investments management firm, active globally. Blackstone provides asset management and financial advisory services globally. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular due to the parties' limited combined market share in the relevant markets. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7044 .

EU announces €370 million of new support to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Just one day after the World Aids Day, the European Union will announce new support of €370 million for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria during the period 2014-2016, which represents an increase of €40 million compared to the current figures (for 2011-2013). The announcement will be made during an assembly of the Global Funds' donors in Washington, D.C. to announce their pledges. It is expected that contributions will increase considerably. European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, commented: "Huge progress has already been made in the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria but with millions of people still at risk of infection, the battle is far from being won. That is why we are going to increase our contribution to the Global Fund in the next three years.”

Animal Health: EU commits over €160 million to combat animal diseases and zoonoses in 2014

The EU has committed over €160 million to support eradication and monitoring programmes that aim to eliminate animal diseases and zoonoses and further strengthen the protection of human and animal health. Given the serious impact that animal disease outbreaks can have on human health, society, the economy and trade, the allocation of EU co-financing will continue to assist national authorities to put in place precautionary measures, disease surveillance and eradication programmes, at national and European level. Overall 142 programmes have been selected for EU funding: Bovine Tuberculosis (about €56 million); Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (about €42 million); Rabies (€27.5 million); Salmonellosis (about €17.5 million); Bovine Brucellosis (about €10 million); Classical Swine Fever (€3 million); Avian Influenza (€2.5 million); Bluetongue (€1.5 million); African Swine Fever and Swine Vesicular Disease in Italy (about €850.000). EU co-financing has resulted in a continuous decrease in the number of cases of diseases, such as Salmonellosis (the second most frequently reported zoonotic disease in humans) and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (a disease that affects the brain and nervous system of animals and humans). In 2014, the EU will increase the financial support to tackle Rabies (a fatal disease transmitted by animals to humans) and will continue to fund vaccination against Rabies in the neighbouring countries of Belarus, Ukraine and Russian Federation. For the same reason, the EU will for the first time also fund vaccination against Classical Swine Fever in Belarus. For more information:

President Barroso meets with the new Norwegian Prime minister

On 3 December, President Barroso meets the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, the new Norwegian Prime minister, in office since mid-October. They are expected to take stock of EU-Norway bilateral relations and to discuss global and regional issues.

The European Union and Norway have privileged co-operation ties. Norway joined the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1994 and the EEA Agreement covers most aspects of its relations with the EU. For instance, all relevant laws regarding the EU single market, except those dealing with agriculture and fisheries, apply to Norway. Norway also participates in a number of EU Agencies and programmes, albeit with no voting rights. Norway also contributes financially to the social & economic cohesion in the EU/EEA and the country holds, together with the EU, a regular political dialogue on foreign policy issues at ministerial and expert level.

The meeting will be followed by a press point at 9.30, at the Berlaymont. President Barroso’s speech will be made available afterwards.

With on-line sales booming before Christmas, consumers still face discrimination when buying services cross-border

Have you ever faced a surcharge for a hotel or hire car because of where you reside, been charged a different price in an on-line shop or been refused delivery of goods by a retailer abroad? If so you are far from alone reveals a new report by the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) which looks at these and other examples of discrimination. European consumers continue to face difficulties when buying services cross-border, in a recent Eurobarometer almost a quarter of those who were active online shoppers had experienced discrimination on the basis of residence or nationality.

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