Daily News of 2014-01-27
European Commission - MEX/14/0127 27/01/2014
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EXME 14 / 27.01
27/ 01 / 14
Commissioner Füle visited Ukraine last Friday and Saturday on behalf of President Barroso and HRVP Ashton. "In my talks I conveyed the deep concerns of the EU about the latest developments and underlined the need to end the cycle of violence, to fight against impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations and to continue an inclusive national dialogue to find a way out of the crisis that threatens to further destabilise the country.", said Commissioner Füle. Read the Commissioner's full statement after the visit here .
The 32nd EU-Russia summit will take place on 28 January in Brussels. The EU will be represented by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, will also take part. Russia will be represented by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The summit will consist of a meeting among principals and key advisors in a format conducive to in-depth political discussion, followed by a working lunch in the same format. A press conference will be held at the end of the lunch.
Today the European Commission launched the 2014 edition of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, a competition to reward the most imaginative and successful initiatives from EU public bodies and public-private partnerships which support entrepreneurship, and small and medium sized enterprises in particular. The national level competition starts now, and in May the country winners will be selected to compete at international level. Participants' ultimate aim is to win a Grand Jury Prize in Naples in October.
Ahead of Data Protection Day on 28 January 2014, the Commission takes stock on progress made on the EU data protection reform exactly two years after the proposals were tabled. It also recalls the Commission's response to the latest surveillance revelations and developments in the U.S.. Vice-President Reding will deliver a key speech on data protection day, tomorrow at 11 CET at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) calling for "A new Data Protection Compact for Europe".
Today, the European Commission gave its green light to Greece's decision to join the 15 countries already participating in EU rules which allow international couples to select which country's law applies to their divorce or legal separation. The Regulation aims to give couples legal certainty and prevent a "rush to court" and forum shopping in divorces, while at the same time avoiding emotionally and financially costly proceedings. Vice-President Viviane Reding said: "It is very encouraging to see that yet another state is joining the enhanced cooperation that helps international couples going through a divorce. While free movement of people enables men and women from all over Europe to meet and fall in love, we have to ensure that there is legal certainty in case of a divorce."
Against the backdrop of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a new implementation report published today finds most EU Member States have not yet correctly implemented EU rules ( 2008 Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia) designed to tackle racist and xenophobic hate crimes. Vice-President Viviane Reding, in a speech on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, said: "Today, we have achieved peace between nations in the European Union. Yet another challenge remains: to continue the quest for tolerance within our own societies. Nobody should ever have to experience hate speech or hate crime. So today I am calling on all EU Member States to take action to fully transpose the EU Framework Decision and make sure it is applied on the ground."
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Duo Plast by VREP and SUDKB
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of joint control over Duo Plast AG by VR Equitypartner GmbH ("VREP") and Süd-Kapital-Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbh ("SUDKB") all of Germany. Duo Plast produces plastic films for packaging. VREP is a private equity investment firm financing especially small and medium-sized businesses. SUDKB is a private investment firm focusing on investments in expanding medium-sized companies active in Germany. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, because Duo Plast has no or negligible actual or planned activities within the territory of the European Economic Area (EEA). 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.7129 .
EU-US trade agreement: European Commission publishes EU negotiating position on financial services
The European Commission publishes today a non-paper clarifying its objectives for financial services in the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The EU proposes to establish, within the TTIP framework, a transparent and accountable process which would allow the two parties to work together towards strengthening financial stability. The objective is not to define (or re-define) the substance of international standards for financial regulation or to negotiate prudential rules. The objective is to create a workable platform for EU and US regulators to ensure that the EU and U.S. rules work together. As the global nature of financial services allows for transmission of risk, irrespective of national borders, the EU believes that this is the only way to ensure viable, sound and resilient financial markets in the future. This will also benefit financial operators thanks to greater interoperability of rules this avoiding market fragmentation and creating a more level playing field. The EU proposal offers the opportunity to lay the long-term foundations of an integrated and stable transatlantic financial market. The publication of this non-paper underlines the Commission's policy to strive for a maximum level of transparency in the TTIP negotiation process. It is the latest example of a number of position papers that the Commission has already made available to the broader public on its website . Further information: TTIP and Financial Services .
Commissioner Barnier welcomes trilogue agreement on e-invoicing in public procurement
Following Member States' endorsement (on 24 January) of the trilogue agreement on new rules for e-invoicing in public procurement, Commissioner Barnier said: "This agreement will contribute to eliminating barriers to cross-border public procurement. It will also ensure interoperability between national e-invoicing systems and, ultimately, a better functioning of the Single Market." (…) "E-invoicing is an important step towards paperless public administration (e-government) in Europe – one of the priorities of the Digital Agenda - and offers the potential for significant economic as well as environmental benefits. The adoption of e-invoicing in public procurement alone across the EU could generate savings of up to €2.3 billion." For full statement and background, see MEMO/14/59 .