Daily News of 2014-02-12
European Commission - MEX/14/0212 12/02/2014
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EXME 14 / 12.02
12 / 02 / 14
Just as cyber-security has climbed to the top of global security agendas in recent years, the topic of internet governance is also set to capture more and more political attention. Many governments are seeking to control the internet, and trust in the current US-based version of "multi-stakeholder" governance has been plummeting, especially in light of recent surveillance scandals. Today at the midday briefing, Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes is expected to say: "The next two years will be critical in redrawing the global map of Internet governance. Europe must contribute to a credible way forward for global internet governance. Europe must play a strong role in defining what the net of the future looks like.” VP Kroes will speak today at 12:00 in the European Commission's Berlaymont building press briefing room.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over INFOSEC by NEC and Mitsubishi
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over INFOSEC by NEC and Mitsubishi, all of Japan. INFOSEC is a provider of IT services specialized in information security, risk management solutions and services. NEC is a multinational provider of information technology services and products. Mitsubishi is a multinational company with operations in Global Environmental & Infrastructure business, Industrial Finance, Logistics & Development, Energy, Metals Machinery Chemicals and Living Essentials. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, mainly because INFOSEC will have no activity in 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.7159 .
The European Commission has concluded that the proposed reacquisition of Acciai Speciali Terni (AST) and Outokumpu VDM (VDM) by ThyssenKrupp AG (TK) is in line with the EU merger regulation. The reacquisition does not raise any competition concerns, since the merged entity will continue to face a number of credible competitors. This decision constitutes the final step in the implementation of the remedies which formed the basis for the Commission's 2012 conditional clearance of the acquisition by Outokumpu (OTK) of TK's stainless steel division, Inoxum (see IP/12/1185). The Commission had cleared the transaction subject to the divestment of AST on 7 November 2012 and approved TK as a suitable purchaser for AST on 13 January 2014. The Commission still had to assess the proposed reacquisition of AST and VDM under the EU Merger Regulation to make sure that this transaction would not itself raise any competition concerns. The proposed acquisition was notified on 8 January 2014.
Imagine that you are driving along, and a message is projected on your windscreen, warning you of an accident that has just happened around the next corner. This could soon be a reality thanks to new European standards which will allow cars of different makes to communicate with each other and with road infrastructures. Vice President of the Commission, Neelie Kroes, today welcomed this important step: "With this set of standards ready, connected cars are on the right track. Direct communication between vehicles and infrastructures will ensure safer and more efficient traffic flows, with great benefits for drivers, pedestrians, the environment and our economy. Europe should grab this opportunity to show its digital advantage, and get out in front in the race to develop the next generation of cars". See MEMO/14/105
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will announce €347 million of new EU support to Senegal for the period 2014-2020 during a visit to the country on 12-13 of February. The funds will be used to strengthen democratic governance, foster sustainable agricultural development and food security and invest in improved water and sanitation. Commissioner Piebalgs said: “We will help, for instance, with turning the agricultural sector into an engine of economic growth, as well as consolidating political stability, justice and security.” A sanitation and urban rehabilitation programme in the wider area of the capital of Dakar will be launched at the occasion of the Commissioner's visit. This project will contribute to improving the lives of 44,000 people in communities that are undergoing rapid urbanisation.
In December 2013 compared with November 2013, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 0.7% in both the euro area (EA17) and the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In November industrial production rose by 1.6% and 1.3% respectively. In December 2013 compared with December 2012, industrial production grew by 0.5% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU28. Average industrial production for the year 2013, compared with 2012, dropped by 0.8% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU28.
Tax Fraud: Commission looks at how VAT collection and administrative cooperation can be improved
Today the Commission adopted two reports which shed more light on problems linked to fighting Value Added Tax (VAT) fraud within the EU, and which identify possible remedies. The first report looks at VAT collection and control procedures across the Member States, within the context of EU own resources. It concludes that Member States need to modernise their VAT administrations in order to reduce the VAT Gap, which was around €193 billion in 2011. (see IP/13/844) Recommendations are addressed to individual Member States on where they could make improvements in their procedures. The second report looks at how effectively administrative cooperation and other available tools are being used in order to combat VAT Fraud in the EU. It finds that more effort is needed to enhance cross border cooperation, and recommends solutions such as joint audits, administrative cooperation with third countries, more resources for enquiries and controls and automatic exchange of information amongst all Member States on VAT. Both reports are part of the broad Commission Action Plan to fight against tax fraud and evasion (see IP/12/1325), and can be found online on the European Commission's Taxation and Customs Union website .
Two new Deputy Directors-General for Agriculture
The College has decided to appoint two new Deputy Directors-General in the Agricultural and Rural Development Directorate-General. Ms Monique PARIAT, a French national who is currently a Director in the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries DG, will be responsible for bilateral and multinational relations, as well as quality policy. Ms Pariat joined the Commission in 1987 and has worked in several other Commission departments as well, notably as a Director in both the Justice and Home Affairs DG, and the Agricultural and Rural Development DG. She studied at the Institut d'études politiques de Strasbourg, and the College of Europe in Bruges. This decision takes effect on 1 April 2014. The second appointment is Romanian national Mr Mihael DUMITRU, who will be responsible for rural development programmes, and general aspects of rural development and research. Mr Dumitru is currently a Director in the Agricultural and Rural Development DG, responsible for part of the rural development programmes. He was previously the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Romania. Mr Dumitru studied at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, and has an MSc from the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies in Chania, Greece, and a PhD from the Romanian Academy - National Institute for Economic Research in Bucharest. This decision takes effect on 16 February 2014.
What Commissioners said
Statement from the European Union on the agreement reached by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on a joint declaration and on the resumption of the negotiations
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, issued today the following statement:" The European Union welcomes the agreement announced today by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on a Joint Declaration, which lays a solid foundation for resumption of negotiations for a fair and viable comprehensive settlement of the long-standing Cyprus problem. This Joint Declaration should help them to swiftly address matters of substance and to achieve rapid results in the negotiations. President Barroso and President Van Rompuy congratulate and salute the courage the two leaders have shown in agreeing it." Read the full President's statement .