Daily News of 2013-12-10
European Commission - MEX/13/1210 10/12/2013
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EXME 13 / 10.12
10 / 12 / 13
As a tribute to Nelson Mandela, the College of Commissioners will observe a minute's silence today, at the start of the Commission meeting at 13:00. President Barroso will attend the State Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, where he will represent the European Commission.
On this occasion the President said: "It is with great emotion that I am in South Africa to honour Nelson Mandela, a global symbol of peace and reconciliation. /…/ I had the great privilege to meet Nelson Mandela on a number of occasions and like many others, I admired his example of selflessness, courage and wisdom. The world community owes a debt of gratitude to this great statesman and human being. The outpouring of emotion in Africa, Europe and all over the world on the passing away of Madiba is a testament to his influence across the globe."
European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor has welcomed the 9th December agreement by the EU's Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers on a so-called 'general approach' on the proposal for a Directive on the enforcement of the posting of workers. Commissioner László Andor said: "The Commission very much welcomes the general approach agreed by the Council today on new rules to enforce the safeguards against social dumping laid down in the posted workers Directive. There is an urgent need to reinforce the safeguards in EU rules to ensure that posted workers' rights are respected in practice, and to allow European businesses to operate with more legal certainly and transparency. I now urge the European Parliament and the Council to definitively adopt the Directive as soon as possible." See also MEMO/13/1103 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of controlling stake in Tri Marine by Bolton
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over the international Tri Marine group by Bolton International of Italy and Mr. Renato Curto. The Tri Marine group is currently solely controlled by Mr. Curto Bolton produces mass consumption products in different industries. In the food sector, Bolton is mainly active in the canned tuna and canned pelagic fish business with a focus on producing and marketing canned seafood to customers under popular brands such as Rio Mare, Saupiquet, Palmera and Calvo. Tri Marine is mainly active in the fishing, trading and processing of tuna and other pelagic fish for the canning industry. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the overlaps between the parties’ activities in the supply of round tuna and tuna loins and the wholesale of canned tuna were very limited. Furthermore, Bolton’s competitors in the production and marketing of canned tuna products would continue to have sufficient access to round tuna and tuna loins from Tri Marine’s competitors such as the international traders FCF of Taiwan and Itochu of Japan and several smaller competitors. The Commission also considered that the merged entity would continue to compete with strong vertically integrated competitors such as Thai Union Food of Thailand and Dongwon Industries of Korea. 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.7010 .
The European Commission welcomes today's judgement of the EU Court of Justice, setting aside a General Court ruling that had annulled a Commission Decision of December 2005 finding exemptions from excise duty on mineral oils used as fuel for alumina production granted by France, Ireland and Italy to be in breach of EU state aid rules (case C-272/12 P). This ruling clarifies the powers of the EU Courts to raise pleas of their own motion and, most importantly, confirms again the Commission's exclusive competence regarding state aid control in the EU and the objectivity of the concept of State aid.
On 12 December, European Commission President Barroso will be in Bogota. This is the first time that a President of the European Commission visits Colombia.
In the morning, the President will meet with the President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón. Their last meeting was held in the margins of the Cadiz Ibero-American Summit on November last year. The Presidents are expected to discuss the recent implementation of the EU-Colombia Trade Agreement, the solidarity and support of the EU to the peace of Colombia and the future of bilateral relations in the global context. A joint press conference (9:00 local time/15:00 Brussels time) follows the meeting of the Presidents, at the Palacio de Nariño.
Early afternoon (14:30 local time/20:30 Brussels time), President Barroso visits the headquarters of Benposta – Nación de Muchachos where he will officially deliver 500,000 euros under the "Niños de la Paz" initiative. Following the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize and in the spirit of Europe's global solidarity, the EU created the "Niños de la Paz" and dedicates the prize money for humanitarian projects to help children affected by conflict with education. One of the projects selected for funding addresses education in emergencies for children in Ecuador and Colombia affected by the internal conflict in Colombia.
Late in the afternoon (17:30 local time/23:30 Brussels time) President Barroso will deliver a speech at the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá (Chapinero) on "Europe and its challenges in the future".
Colombia is a principal partner for the EU in Latin America. The EU’s relations with Colombia are built on political dialogue, trade, and development cooperation, and cover a wide range of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues, whilst also helping to address the legacies of its internal armed conflict.
President Barroso visits Panama
On 13-14 December, President Barroso travels to Panama.
This two days visit starts with a bilateral meeting with President Martinelli in Panama City. The two presidents will discuss EU-Panama bilateral relations and trade issues. They will also discuss public security, a major concern for the region. After the meeting there will be a signature ceremony of the EU-Panama agreement on security (scheduled at 10:45 local time/16:45 Brussels time). A press conference of the Presidents is scheduled at 11 am local time.
On 14 December, President Barroso participates in the 42nd Summit of SICA (Sistema de Integración Centroamericano) in Buenaventura, with six Central American countries with whom the EU has concluded its first ever region-to-region association agreement (Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala), plus two other SICA members, Belize and Dominican Republic, that belong to the group of ACP countries. President Barroso's participation in the SICA summit follows those of President Obama in May 2013 and Mexico's Peña Nieto last February. At the beginning of the Summit, President Barroso will be invited to make a speech. In the evening, there will be a ceremony with a public statement by President Martinelli in which he will announce that the EU has been granted the status of observer to SICA.
On the same day, President Barroso will also visit the works of expansion of the Panama Canal scheduled to be completed by 2015. The expansion aims to double the cargo going through the canal which was first opened in 1914. The international trade and the maritime industry will benefit directly from the expansion through lower shipping costs, and global consumers will eventually benefit from the greater capacity and efficiency of the Panama Canal. The project is also expected to bolster Panama’s strategic positions as a transhipment hub and business centre for much of Central and South America. A consortium led by Spanish company Sacyr Vallehermoso (SVO.MC) and Italy’s Impregilo (IPGI.MI) is executing part of the expansion works.
President Barroso’s speeches will be made available after delivery.
Foreign Affairs Council on Development issues
A foreign affairs Council on Development issues will take place on 12 December in Brussels. The Council will first debate the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development and poverty eradication. Ministers will take stock of work at UN level on a framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The Council is also due to discuss financial aspects and will adopt conclusions on financing poverty eradication and sustainable development beyond 2015. In addition, the Council will debate policy coherence for development, on the basis of the EU's 2013 report on policy coherence for development. Finally, the Council will be briefed about the implementation of the agenda for change and debate development cooperation in the Great Lakes region. More details on this can be found in MEMO/13/1121 .
A technical briefing will be organised at 14:00 today, on the 10th December in the Council. The invitation can be found here .
In 2012 in the EU27, flows of money sent by migrants to their country of origin, usually referred to as workers' remittances, including both extra-EU27 and intra-EU27 flows, amounted to 38.8 billion euro. Almost three quarters of this total went outside the EU, with extra-EU27 flows of 28.4 bn and intra-EU27 flows of 10.3 bn. Over the last four years, workers' remittances have been stable at around 28 bn for extra-EU27 flows and 10 bn for intra-EU27 flows. Among the Member States, the outflow of workers' remittances in 2012 was highest in France (8.8 bn euro, of which 69% were extra-EU flows), Italy (6.8 bn, 84% extra-EU), Spain (6.6 bn), the United Kingdom (6.3 bn, 78% extra-EU) and Germany (3.1 bn, 63% extra-EU). These five Member States accounted for more than 80% of total worker’s remittances of the EU27.
What Commissioners said
During his opening speech at the New Narrative for Europe conference yesterday in Milan, President Barroso also made the following remarks on the current situation in Ukraine: "European Union has the right and the duty to stand by the people of Ukraine in this very difficult moment, because they are giving to Europe one of the greatest contributions that can be given.(…) When we see in the cold streets of Kiev, men and women with the European flag, fighting for that European flag, it is because they are also fighting for Ukraine and for their future. Because they know that Europe is not just the land of opportunity in terms of economic development, because they have seen what happened in Poland or what happened in the Baltic countries, but also because Europe is the promise of hope and freedom. And I think the European Union has the right and the duty to stand by the people of Ukraine in this very difficult moment, because they are giving to Europe one of the greatest contributions that can be given. Watch the video of the statement .