Daily News of 2014-02-18
European Commission - MEX/14/0218 18/02/2014
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EXME 14 / 18.02
18 / 02 / 14
After three rounds of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht is holding meetings with United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman in Washington D.C. to review progress since the talks started in July 2013. Ahead of the two-day talks Commissioner De Gucht said yesterday that the EU and the US made “steady progress” in the talks: “more steady progress than we normally have in a trade negotiation.” According to the Commissioner, the objective of TTIP was to ensure that the EU and the US can continue to play a leading role in world markets about norms and standard setting, “not in a ‘closed shop’ manner, but in an open way”. However, Commissioner De Gucht also underlined that Europe’s health and safety regulations as well as consumer protection need to be duly respected: “that’s not what we are going to negotiate about”.
After the meetings with USTR Froman, Commissioner De Gucht will hold a press conference at 18.45hrs CET (Brussels time) which can be followed live on EbS . The Commissioner will also hold a speech at the Atlantic Council afterwards.
State aid: Commission approves Polish credit union resolution
The European Commission has found a Polish scheme for the orderly wind-down of credit unions to be in line with EU state aid rules, and in particular with the 2013 banking communication (see IP/13/672 and MEMO/13/886). The objective of the scheme is to safeguard financial stability and minimise the use of taxpayer money, when a credit union becomes unable to meet regulatory requirements. It allows to provide aid for transferring part or all of the assets and liabilities of a failing credit union to an acquirer through a competitive process. This will help to achieve the maximum value for the transferred assets and liabilities, ensuring that the aid is limited to the minimum necessary to ensure an orderly winding-up and that no buyer gains an undue economic advantage through the acquisition of under-priced assets and liabilities. The scheme is valid until 30 June 2014. Beyond that date, the Commission will reassess the compatibility of the measure on the basis of the evolution of the economic and regulatory environment. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the reference SA.37425 .
Like in many regions in the European Union, companies in Wallonia have suffered a lot from the economic crisis over the last years and have only recently started to show signs of recovery. To help SMEs in Wallonia emerge from the downturn and help them participate in the next economic growth cycle, the European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani is travelling to La Louvière today with Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General of DG Enterprise and SME Envoy. They will be accompanied by 500 representatives of companies from 37 countries, many of them will participate in more than 800 bilateral meetings with SMEs from Wallonia to form new partnerships and discuss opportunities for collaboration in key sectors active in the region such as aeronautics, mechatronics, logistics and creative industries.
President Barroso to attend meeting of business leaders with President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel
On Wednesday 19 February President Barroso will travel to Paris for a meeting with the European Roundtable of Industrialists, hosted by French President François Hollande and attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The theme of the meeting is 'energy and industrial policies to restore Europe’s competitiveness, growth and employment'. The meeting will take place over dinner and will address climate and energy policies, unemployment, trade, competition and the single market – subjects which are also likely to come up at the next European Council on 20-21 March. A press statement will be issued before the meeting.