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EXME 14 / 10.01


10 / 01 / 14

President Barroso and Vice- President Rehn in Riga to welcome Latvia's euro entry

President Barroso is in Riga today with Vice-President Olli Rehn, where they will participate in a number of meetings and events to celebrate Latvia's entry to the euro area. Latvia became the 18th member of the euro area on 1 January, bringing to 333 million the number of people now using the single currency.

While there, President Barroso will have a joint meeting with Mr Dombrovskis and European Council president Herman Van Rompuy to discuss Latvia's entry to the euro area and the economic situation in the EU and Latvia. This will be followed by a joint press conference at 15:30 CET (16:30 Riga). Vice President Rehn will deliver a lecture at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. In the evening, they will both participate in a solemn ceremony to mark the introduction of the euro in Latvia. The press statement and speeches will be available online, and the press conference will be broadcast live on EbS.

Latvians are spending their last lats

The euro changeover in Latvia is reaching its final stage. The lats will cease to be legal tender on 15 January 2014. On Wednesday 8 January, more than nine out of ten cash payments in shops were made in euro only (91 %) and all customers received their change in their new currency, which shows that the Latvian retail sector is properly supplied with euro cash. The Consumer Rights Protection Centre continues to carry out daily inspections to monitor that businesses respect the changeover rules and that prices are properly converted at the official conversion rate.

Mergers: Commission approves merger of Publicis and Omnicom in the advertising, marketing and communication sectors

The European Commission has authorised, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed merger of Publicis, an international advertising and communication group based in France, and Omnicom, a global advertising, marketing and corporate communication company headquartered in the US. The bidding nature of the markets, the presence of other large competitors, the relatively low barriers to entry, and the significant countervailing power of media vendors will ensure a level playing field in all the affected markets after the merger.

EU Mobility Scoreboard: more effort needed to promote studies and training abroad for students

The best public support systems for promoting and giving advice to higher education students about opportunities to study or train abroad are in Germany, Belgium, Spain, France and Italy, according to the first EU 'Mobility Scoreboard'. The Scoreboard is part of the European Commission's response to a call by Member States to remove obstacles to studying and training abroad as part of wider efforts to help young people gain the skills and experience they need to increase their employability. See also MEMO/14/7.

Hot tech: 7 Greek Start-Ups You Need To Know About!

Did you know that it’s Greek software which allows your smartphone to access Wi-Fi hotspots?

In a surprising twist to Greece’s economic story, Greek start-ups are giving the geeks of Silicon Valley a run for their money. That’s why Neelie Kroes’ StartUpEurope Tour is stopping off in Athens today.

Lithuanian «Žemaitiškas kastinys» gets protected as a quality product

The European Commission has approved the request for registration of " Žemaitiškas kastinys ", a traditional Lithuanian dairy product, into the list of Traditional Specialties Guaranteed. Made from heated, stirred and cooled sour cream, " Žemaitiškas kastinys " has a characteristic thick texture with a mild, slightly sour, flavour and sometimes hints of herbs and spices. The decision will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the next few days. The denominations will be added to the list of more than 1,200 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products.


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