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Daily News of 2014-02-14

European Commission - MEX/14/0214   14/02/2014

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EXME 14 / 14.02

DAILY NEWS

14 / 02 / 14

President Barroso discusses Moldova with President Băsescu of Romania

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso today meets with the Romanian President Traian Băsescu. The main topic of their meeting will be Moldova, in particular the EU's commitment to sign the Association Agreement with Moldova. The two Presidents will also talk about Romania's economic situation. The progress still to be made by Romania regarding the independence of the judiciary and the implementation of anti-corruption measures, as highlighted in the Commission's latest Cooperation and verification mechanism report, will also be discussed. A press point with President Barroso and President Băsescu will take place today at 13:30. President Barroso's speaking points will be made available afterwards.

Preparation of Economic and Finance Ministers Council

Vice president Rehn, Commissioner Barnier and Commissioner Semeta will participate in the EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers meeting, which will take place in Brussels on 18 February. Banking union ranks high on the agenda as the timetable is tight to reach a final agreement on the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) before the end of the current parliamentary term. The SRM would complement the single supervisory mechanism, which the ECB is actively setting up, as the quarterly report to be presented to the Council shows. The meeting will also be an occasion to take note of the outstanding files on the financial regulation agenda. On the economic governance front, the Council will have a further exchange of views on two markers of the 2014 European semester: the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) and the Alert Mechanism Report (AMR), adopted by the Commission last November. The Council is also due to adopt a recommendation on the budget discharge for 2012. Finally, the Ministers will also work on the preparation of the upcoming G20 meeting in Sydney.

New EU support for renewable energy and governance in Cape Verde

During his first ever visit to the country EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, announced €55 million of new support for Cape Verde during the period 2014 – 2020. The funding will focus specifically on the areas of the fight against poverty, sustainable and inclusive growth and good governance. The Commissioner will take part in a seminar on renewable energy, during which he will announce a new instrument on energy cooperation which will cover the whole of Africa. The European Union will provide the expertise (sharing best practice and providing training, for example) required to achieve Cape Verde’s ambitious energy target of providing 50% renewable energy in the electricity mix by 2020. Commissioner Piebalgs said: “Energy in Cape Verde is crucial, for education and healthcare, for growth, tourism and even for the supply of water. In short, renewable energy is the country’s main route towards growth and development." The Commissioner will visit the Cabeolica Wind farm project, which was the first large-scale wind project in Africa and has already achieved impressive results; increasing the country’s share of renewable energy to 25 per cent in one go.

Horsemeat: Commission sets out recommendation for launching second round of EU-wide DNA testing plan

A Commission Recommendation on a coordinated control plan to carry out a series of DNA tests in EU Member States was endorsed yesterday by experts meeting at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain. This is the second time the Commission is coordinating such a control plan to find out if horsemeat is still being fraudulently added to products labelled as beef. The first round of testing that was carried out in 2013 revealed that approximately 4, 6 % of products sampled contained undeclared horsemeat. Although there have not been any public health implications in connection with this food fraud, there has been a very clear reaction from consumers following this scandal that controls need to be stepped up. It will be up to each EU Member State to set up their timetable. Testing will be carried out during the spring and the Commission will collect and publish the results of these EU-wide tests by end July 2014.

Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 17th February 2014

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of February 2014 will take place in Brussels on 17th February 2014. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Health Commissioner Tonio Borg and Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş. There are no Fisheries points at the agenda of the Council. A press conference will be held at the end of the meeting, around 19.30. The public debates and the press conference can be followed by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu .

Copyright: Representatives of the European art market commit to improving how the author resale right is managed

On 17 February representatives of collecting management organisations, authors and art market professionals (art dealers, galleries, auctioneers) will sign up to "Key Principles and Recommendations on the management of the Author Resale Right", under the auspices of EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier. This document is the result of a European Commission-led dialogue with stakeholders to improve the administration of the author resale right. Under these key principles, concrete aspects of how the resale right operates in the European single market will be improved, and notably the transparency of the collection and distribution of resale right and the information of artists and dealers on the existence and functioning of this right. The resale right is an artist’s right to receive a royalty based on the resale price of an original work subsequent to the first transfer of the work by the artist, when the resale involves a professional dealer. The resale right is intended to ensure that creators of original works of art (graphic and plastic works, sculpture, paintings, etc.) share in the economic success of their works. Its application was partially harmonised by the Resale Right Directive ( Directive 2001/84/EC) which has been fully implemented in all Member States. In a Report of December 2011 the Commission proposed to establish a stakeholder dialogue, tasked with making recommendations to improve the system of resale right collection and distribution in the EU. Furthermore, in its Resolution of 20 November 2012 , the European Parliament called on the Commission to work closely with the stakeholders. To register to the event, please contact Ms Nathalie Minsart at: nathalie.minsart@ec.europa.eu . For more information: Resale right .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control of Trader Media by Apax Partners

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control of Trader Media Group Limited ("Trader Media"), by Apax Partners LLP ("Apax"), both of the United Kingdom.  Apax provides investment advisory services to a series of private-equity funds. Trader Media is active in the provision of automotive classified advertising through online platforms. Trader Media is currently jointly controlled by Apax and the Guardian Media Group Plc. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because Trader Media is already jointly controlled by Apax and there are only very limited overlaps between the activities of Trader Media and the portfolio companies controlled by Apax. 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.7173 .  

Flash estimate for the fourth quarter of 2013 - Euro area GDP up by 0.3%, EU28 up by 0.4% - +0.5% and +1.0% respectively compared with the fourth quarter of 2012

GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the third quarter of 2013, GDP grew by 0.1% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.5% in the euro area and by 1.0% in the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2013, after -0.3% and +0.2% respectively in the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter of 2013, GDP in the United States grew by 0.8% compared with the previous quarter (after +1.0% in the third quarter of 2013). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP rose by 2.7% (after +2.0% in the previous quarter). Over the whole year 2013, GDP fell by 0.4% in the euro area and rose by 0.1% in the EU28.

First estimate for 2013 - Euro area international trade in goods surplus 153.8 bn euro - 49.9 bn euro surplus for EU28

The first estimate for the December 2013 euro area (EA17) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world gave a 13.9 billion euro surplus, compared with +9.8 bn in December 2012. The November 2013 balance was +17.0 bn, compared with +12.5 bn in November 2012. These data are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The first estimate for the December 2013 extra-EU28 trade balance was a 8.2 bn euro surplus, compared with -2.4 bn in December 2012. In November 2013 the balance was +3.1 bn, compared with -3.0 bn in November 2012. During 2013, euro area trade in goods recorded a surplus of 153.8 bn euro, compared with +79.7 bn in 2012. The EU28 recorded a surplus of 49.9 bn in 2013, compared with a deficit of 115.0 bn in 2012.

Electronics industry submits plan to make Europe a global leader in micro and nano-electronics

Electronics industry CEOs who make up the Electronic Leaders Group (ELG) have told European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes that Europe can capture up to 60% of new electronics markets, and double the economic value of semiconductor component production in Europe within the next 10 years, in a plan delivered to the European Commission today. Ms Kroes said: "I want Europe in the driver’s seat. The sector wants to be back in the driver’s seat. So my message is this: we are going to make Europe the place to make and buy innovative micro and nano-electronics.” The ELG will now work on transforming these ideas into concrete actions by June 2014. See MEMO/14/106 .

New opportunities to work with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) launches a selection process today to set up two new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), with partners from higher education, research and business. The two KICs will focus on innovation for healthy living and active ageing, and on raw materials – sustainable exploration, extraction processing, recycling and substitution. The application process is open until 10 September. Following an independent evaluation of the proposals, guided by specific selection criteria , one KIC in each field will be designated. The EIT is part of the EU's Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation.

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