Daily News of 2014-02-10
European Commission - MEX/14/0210 10/02/2014
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EXME 14 / 10.02
10 / 02 / 14
Today, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the launch of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) the first EC3 report will be published. It will evaluate how the EC3 has contributed to protect European citizens and businesses and what the main future online threats and challenges to be addressed are. Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said: "Criminal behaviour is changing fast, exploiting technological developments and legal loopholes (…) and we must be able to keep up with them. The expertise of the EC3 is helping us to fight this battle and boost European cooperation." On Tuesday 11 February, over 100 countries will celebrate Safer Internet Day which is all about a better Internet to encourage people of all ages to create good online content for youngsters. In one of thousands of events taking place, European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes will reward the creators of the best online content for kids and, together with INSAFE , she will launch a Youth Manifesto on how to make a better Internet based on ideas from young people. On Wednesday 12 February, the European Commission will present a proposal to strengthen Internet Governance – and firmly anchor it in fundamental freedoms and human rights. Internet Governance is the global arrangements for proper functioning of the internet, for example, making sure your website and web address are accessible from anywhere around the world, and that technical systems all work together. We want Europe to be the voice of a sustainable middle path for Internet Governance; the world’s honest broker.
The European Commission regrets that an initiative for the introduction of quantitative limits to immigration has been passed by this vote. This goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland. The EU will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole. In this context, the Federal Council's position on the result will also be taken into account. The Commission will organise a technical briefing this afternoon off-the-record (time tbc) on EU-Swiss relations as a whole. The purpose of this technical briefing is to factually clarify how Switzerland's relations are governed through a series of bilateral agreements with the EU.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Portuguese water company AGS by Marubeni and Innovation Network
The European Commission has found the acquisition of joint control over Administração e Gestão de Sistemas de Salubridade, S.A. (AGS) of Portugal by Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni) and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), both of Japan to be in line with the EU Merger Regulation. Marubeni is trading goods and services on a worldwide basis across many sectors. INCJ provides support services to businesses, IT and biotechnology and infrastructure-related sectors such as water supply on a worldwide level. AGS manages, operates and maintains water and wastewater facilities in Portugal and in Brazil. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, in particular because there are no overlaps between the activities of the parents and the target. 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.7136 .
Mergers: Commission approves Russian joint venture between Rudus East and Lujabetoni.
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Rudus East and Lujabetoni, both of Finland. Rudus East is produces and sells building materials in Finland and, through its subsidiaries, also in Estonia, Latvia and Russia. Lujabetoni is active in the manufacture of concrete and related construction products, installation and consulting. The joint venture will produce and supply ready-mixed concrete in the St Petersburg area in Russia. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the joint venture has no actual or foreseen 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.7062
Over 100 mayors and representatives of local authorities from around Europe will come together tomorrow - 11 February in Brussels to discuss the current challenges and opportunities around the free movement of citizens in the European Union. The Conference of Mayors, organised jointly by the European Commission and Committee of the Regions, aims to help local authorities pool ideas and share best practices in implementing free movement rules. This meeting is one of the five actions presented by the European Commission on 25 November 2013 to strengthen the right to free movement in the EU, while helping Member States to reap the positive benefits it brings. Vice-President Reding will be giving a press conference in the Committee of the Regions at 12:45 CET with António Costa, Mayor of Lisbon, which will also be diffused on EBS . The mayors' conference is open to press: journalists wishing to attend should contact Joshua.SALSBY@ec.europa.eu .
Eleven universities and technical institutes in less developed regions in Europe are to receive up to €2.4 million each in EU funding to boost their research capacity though the appointment of the first ever "ERA Chairs", Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, announced on Monday. The initiative aims to bridge Europe's innovation divide by attracting top academics to organisations so that they can compete with centres of excellence elsewhere in the European Research Area (ERA). See MEMO/14/92 .
EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will announce €195 million for Mauritania in the areas of food security, rule of law and healthcare for the years 2014-2020, during a visit to the country (10-11 February). Discussions are expected to focus in particular on ongoing cooperation between the EU and Mauritania in the areas of security, development and fishing. The Commissioner is also expected to underline the EU’s ongoing commitment to supporting the country on its path to growth and in the key role it has to play in security in the Sahel. Commissioner Piebalgs said: "Mauritania also has a vital role in helping to keep the Sahel region stable due to its location. There can be no development without security, and I would like to congratulate the country on all the work it is doing to make the country, and the wider region, more stable".
On the 26th September 2013, the General Court of the European Union delivered a ruling finding that the Commission failed to act on a GMO cultivation request which had been submitted twelve years ago in 2001. In line with this ruling, the Commission acted by referring the cultivation request to the Council of Ministers in November. It is up to the Ministers to take a position by qualified majority on this request. The European Food Safety Agency had already submitted a positive opinion on this request in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012, in all six positive opinions. This 2001 request falls under the "old" pre-Lisbon comitology procedure, which means that if the Council is not able to muster a qualified majority, either for or against the authorisation, then the Commission is obliged by law to grant the authorisation. On the eve of the General Affairs Council and one day before the 3 months deadline for an opinion by the Council expires, Commissioner Borg said: "Duty bound to comply with the ruling of the Court, the Commission has decided to send a draft decision of authorisation of the maize 1507 to the Council. Tomorrow the General Affairs Council will debate and vote on a Council proposal to authorise the GM maize variety 1507 and Ministers will be invited to take a position on this authorisation request. I want to thank the Greek Presidency for tabling this point and stress that the Court's decision on maize 1507 confirms the urgency of re-launching discussions on the cultivation proposal made by the Commission back in 2010. This proposal would give Member States more freedom to choose whether or not to restrict or prohibit GMO cultivation on their territory on grounds other than those relating to risks to health and the environment."
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič meets Romanian President
Vice-President Šefčovič today met Romanian President Traian Basescu as part of a one-day trip to Bucharest. On the agenda was the run-up to the European elections, economic governance and the Eastern Partnership. The Vice-President will also meet the Speaker of the Parliament, Mr Valeriu Zgonea, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Mr George Ciamba, and Minister of European Funds, Mr Orlando Teodorovici. He will also address members of the European Affairs Committees within the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, on the vital role national parliaments play in the European policy-making process.
László Andor: "Labour Mobility in the European Union – The Inconvenient Truth"
László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion will deliver a lecture on "Labour Mobility in the European Union – The Inconvenient Truth", today at the University of Bristol on at 17:00 UK time, 18:00 Brussels time. He will address all aspects of the free movement of workers from an EU perspective. This includes the advantages and challenges of free movement, its true scale, trends, influences on migration flows, the impacts on destination and source countries, the effects on welfare budgets, the legal framework and EU measures to ensure better outcomes for all concerned. The text of the lecture will be available later today.