Daily News of 2014-01-24
European Commission - MEX/14/0124 24/01/2014
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24 / 01 / 14
Commissioner Füle in Kiev today
Commissioner Füle is travelling today to Kiev on behalf of President Barroso and HRVP Ashton. Commissioner Füle will meet President Yanukovich, representatives of the Ukrainian government, opposition leaders and civil society representatives. This follows President Barroso's phone conversation with President Yanukovich yesterday [ MEMO/14/53 ], in which President Barroso stressed that the use of force is not the answer to the political situation in Ukraine, and highlighted the EU's readiness to assist in the political dialogue and in the de-escalation of the situation. In this context, HRVP Ashton will also travel to Kiev next week [ Statement ].
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Vice President Neelie Kroes brought CEOs from across the global economy together at the World Economic Forum in Davos today to expand a successful year-old coalition that is delivering digital training opportunities and jobs. The Davos Declaration, which was discussed today, foresees the creation of 100,000 additional traineeships by the end of 2015. Since March 2013, 42 partner organisations have filled an extra 2,200 new digital jobs, 5,277 extra internships and apprenticeships and delivered training courses for an extra 269,000 people, fulfilling pledges they made to the EU’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. President Barroso said: "The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs uses the economies of scale we have at the EU level to bring qualified people and innovative employers together. This is European integration in practice." Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: "I meet so many young people with initiative, who are desperate for opportunity. And I see companies in desperate need of workers with digital skills. The Coalition matches the two together, and helps thousands of people to build their lives. Changing lives is worth every minute and euro invested."
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Scout24 by Hellman & Friedman
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Scout 24 Holding of Germany by Hellman & Friedman Corporate Investors VII of the US. Scout24 operates through its subsidiaries a number of online platforms and marketplaces for professional and private customers which are predominantly used in German-speaking countries or regions. The business activities of Scout24 comprise the real estate online marketplace ImmobilienScout24, the car online marketplace AutoScout24, the dating platform FriendScout24 and the online portal FinanceScout24, which provides finance price comparison services for Germany. Hellman & Friedman Corporate Investors VII is one of the investment funds controlled by the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC and is active in long-term investments of equity capital in growing markets. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because there are no overlaps or vertical relationships between the activities of the companies controlled by Hellman & Friedman and the activities of Scout 24. 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.7126 .
In January 2014, the DG ECFIN flash estimate of the consumer confidence indicator improved markedly in both the EU (-8.8 after -10.9 in December 2013) and in the euro area (-11.7 after -13.5 in December 2013). The euro area indicator has surpassed its long-term average of -13.3 for the first time since July 2011.
Commissioner Damanaki to launch new campaign to promote sustainable fishing
On Monday 27 January, Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will launch the European Commission's 'Inseparable' campaign to promote sustainable fishing across Europe at an event in Hamburg's International Maritime Museum, co-hosted by the city's mayor, Olaf Scholz. The event builds on the momentum of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy which came into force in January 2014.
The overall objective of the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is to make fishing sustainable. This message is taken up as the core principle of the Inseparable campaign which provides practical information to European consumers and other market actors on how they can eat, buy, and sell sustainable fish. Speakers at the event include Ulrike Rodust, who led the European Parliament's negotiations during the CFP reform discussions, and Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary Secretary of State, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Germany. The event will be attended by representatives from industry, non-governmental organisations, consumer groups, academics, chefs and other key stakeholders. The campaign's hub will be online through a dedicated website - http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/inseparable/en - and through social media including twitter (@inseparableeu) and Facebook.
From 2002 to 2012, EU28 international trade in goods with Russia was characterised by a strong increase and a continuous deficit. Both exports and imports rose continuously up to 2008, fell significantly in 2009, then recovered to reach new annual peaks in 2012. EU28 exports to Russia rose from 34.5 billion euro in 2002 to 123.4 bn in 2012, and imports grew from 65.2 bn in 2002 to 215.0 bn in 2012. As a result, the EU28 trade deficit with Russia increased from 30.7 bn in 2002 to 91.6 bn in 2012.
Barcelona, Espoo, Grenoble, Groningen, Malaga and Paris are the six cities shortlisted for the first European Capital of Innovation award, or iCapital ( IP/13/808). An independent panel of experts has agreed on the six finalists for the €500000 prize. The money will go to the city building the best “innovation ecosystem” - connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business - with a view to helping the city scale up its efforts in this field. The winning city will be announced at the Innovation Convention 2014, Europe’s premier innovation event which will take place in Brussels on 10 and 11 March (#euic2014).
Vice-President Rehn and Commissioner Barnier will participate in the EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers meeting, which will take place in Brussels on 28 January. At this first such meeting under the Greek Presidency of the Council, Economic and Finance Ministers will discuss the priorities of the Council in the field of economic and financial affairs for the first half of 2014. Thanks to the important milestones met last December on the banking union front, Europe is well on the way to finalising the implementation of its financial regulation agenda. This would ensure that we are learning all the lessons of the financial crisis and implementing the G20 commitments. Ministers will take stock of on-going work on current legislative proposals. On the economic governance front, the Council will be called on to adopt a Council Recommendation to correct the excessive deficit of Croatia. The Council Regulation will also exchange views on the implementation of the Compact for Growth and Jobs following the last European Council meeting in December.
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead
What Commissioners said
President Barroso has thanked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for supporting the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework, saying that the EU's targets should send a strong signal to the rest of the world. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told journalists at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday that the "European Union has set a standard that all need to follow". At a joint press conference with Mr Ban and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, President Barroso responded by saying: "First of all, Secretary-General, thank you so much for your kind words of support, that are, for us, a great encouragement. Indeed, the European Union continues to be a pioneer for global climate action." He added: "This is a powerful signal to the rest of the world and shows that we are beyond the debate where you had to either be 'green' or a defender of industry. So I call on all our partners globally - on developed countries, emerging economies, the developed world, and especially on big emitters - to come with us and to respond to the clear appeal of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon." President Barroso said he would be attending the UN climate summit in September, hosted by the Secretary-General. "I applaud his leadership on the climate cause and, I can tell you, I know President Kim of the World Bank is a very strong ally. I thank him as well," President Barroso said. "Addressing climate change is not simply an option, it is a must! And it is in the interests of everyone - environmentally, economically and politically."