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Daily News of 2014-02-24

European Commission - MEX/14/0224   24/02/2014

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EXME 14 / 24.02

DAILY NEWS

24 / 02 / 14

7th EU-Brazil Summit. A strategic partnership

"Our bilateral economic relationship can be an important driver for growth and jobs on the two sides. I look forward to confirm our agreement on the Action Plan on Competitiveness and Investment, whose idea I launched on the occasion of our previous Summit", said President Barroso ahead of the 7th EU-Brazil Summit which took place in Brussels today. Besides European Commission President Barroso, European Council President Van Rompuy also represented the EU, while Brazil was represented by President Rousseff.

The Summit was an occasion to take stock on progress in the bilateral relationship, which has grown stronger since the establishment of the Strategic Partnership in 2007. Leaders discussed economic issues, including progress in the ongoing negotiations of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement. They also addressed global challenges (international cyber policy and internet governance, climate change, energy etc.) as well as the cooperation on sectorial policies. The Presidents exchanged views on regional issues in Latin America as well as on international security and peace questions.

A press statement is scheduled for 12:00 CET and will be transmitted on EbS+ . President Barroso's statement will be available afterwards.

For further information please see EU-Brazil fact sheet .

Latest developments on Ukraine

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton travelled to Kiev today to meet key stakeholders and discuss the support of the European Union for a lasting solution to the political crisis and measures to stabilise the economic situation.

As stated in the High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton's statement on 22 February , the EU follows the situation in Ukraine closely and calls on all sides to continue engaging in a meaningful and inclusive dialogue leading to a lasting solution of the crisis; to protect the unity and territorial integrity of the country; to strive to ensure a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all Ukraine's citizens.

Already on Friday 21 February, European Commission President Barroso and High Representative/Vice-President Ashton welcomed the agreement reached by the Ukrainian President and the opposition leaders and stressed that implementation is now key (see Statement by President Barroso on Ukraine and Remarks by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton).

Other news

January 2014 - Euro area annual inflation stable at 0.8% - EU down to 0.9%

Euro area annual inflation was 0.8% in January 2014, stable compared to December 2013. A year earlier the rate was 2.0%. Monthly inflation was -1.1% in January 2014. European Union annual inflation was 0.9% in January 2014, down from 1.0% in December 2013. A year earlier the rate was 2.1%. Monthly inflation was -0.9% in January 2014.

Employment: vacancy trends reveal growing North-South divide in EU labour market

Vacancy trends in the European labour market indicate a widening gap in job opportunities between Northern and Southern countries. The latest issue of the European Vacancy Monitor (EVM) reveals a shortage of labour supply in countries such as Austria, Denmark Sweden, Estonia and Latvia, while competition for jobs is increasing in countries such as Greece, Slovakia and Spain. The report also highlights the strengths and weaknesses in the recruitment markets of four Southern countries, and warns that more measures are needed to help young people find skilled jobs and, therefore, boost labour productivity. The Monitor confirms stagnation in labour demand in the EU in the second quarter of 2013, except for a small increase in the number of job vacancies in the public sector. Overall, recruitment fell by 4%, a larger decline than in the previous quarter. Hiring increased in less than half the countries over the period.

State aid: Commission approves restructuring of Cypriot cooperative banks

The European Commission has found recapitalisation and restructuring aid measures in favour of the Cooperatives Credit Institutions and their central body, the Cooperative Central Bank Ltd. (together "the cooperative banking sector") in Cyprus to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the measures will enable the cooperative banking sector to become viable in the long term without continued state support, while limiting the distortions of competition created by the aid. See also the overview of decisions and on-going in-depth investigations in the context of the financial crisis .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Veolia Transport Belgium by European Transport Holding and GIMV

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Veolia Transport Belgium of Belgium, by European Transport Holding of Luxembourg and GIMV of Belgium.  Veolia Transport Belgium provides services in the field of bus transport, including line traffic, school traffic, charter bus and personnel transportation. European Transport Holding is a subsidiary of the investment fund Cube Infrastructure Fund and its general partner belongs to the group Banques Populaires Caisses d'Epargne. GIMV is an investment company. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because European Transport Holding and GIMV do not have overlapping activities with Veolia Transport Belgium. 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.7157 .

New draft rules for State aids in agriculture, forestry and rural areas, now available for information and feedback

The draft new rules on State aids in the agriculture and forestry sectors and in rural areas (block exemption Regulation and Guidelines) have now been put online in all official EU-languages. The new rules have not yet been adopted by the Commission. These drafts are made public to inform institutions, public authorities, organisations, companies and citizens who can make comments by 24 March 2014. The revision aims at modernizing state aids and adapting them to the new Common Agricultural Policy. The documents can be accessed and comments can be submitted at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/stateaid/policy/index_en.htm

What 5G can do for you

By 2020 there will be more than 30 times as much mobile internet traffic as there was in 2010. But this will not be the same type of traffic as now - Internet usage will not only have grown thanks to the number of smartphones & tablets in use, but also because of the massive growth in machines and sensors using the Internet to communicate, and which require more efficient and ubiquitous technology to carry the data traffic. 5G is a new network technology and infrastructure that will bring the capacities needed to cope with this increased growth in the use of communication – especially wireless – technologies by humans and by machines. 5G won't just be faster, it will bring new functionalities and applications with high social and economic value.

Le Commissaire Piebalgs a participé à la table ronde des bailleurs de fonds du Sénégal à Paris

M. Andris Piebalgs, Commissaire européen chargé du développement, a représenté l'Union européenne à l’occasion de la réunion du Groupe Consultatif (la table ronde qui regroupe les principaux bailleurs de fonds du Sénégal) qui se tient les 24 et 25 février 2014 au siège de la Banque Mondiale à Paris. Lors de cette rencontre, le Sénégal présentera son Plan stratégique « Sénégal Emergent » (PSE) visant à l’émergence économique et au développement humain du pays à l’horizon 2035. Le Commissaire Piebalgs a effectué une visite officielle au Sénégal  les 12 et 13 février derniers, à l’occasion de laquelle il a annoncé l'octroi d'une nouvelle aide de l'UE de 347 millions d'euros au Sénégal pour la période 2014-2020, afin de renforcer la gouvernance démocratique, promouvoir un développement agricole durable et la sécurité alimentaire, ainsi que d'investir dans l'amélioration de l’accès à l'eau potable et des conditions d'hygiène. Ces différents programmes soutiendront directement les priorités identifiées dans le PSE.

Vous pouvez lire le discours prononcé par le Commissaire Piebalgs à cette occasion en ligne.

World Oceans Summit - Oceans delivering sustainability and growth

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, will next week speak at the World Ocean Summit in San Francisco where she will highlight the opportunities and challenges which come with unlocking sustainable growth from the world's oceans. Commissioner Damanaki will reiterate the European Commission's commitment to both economic sustainability and environmental sustainability in maritime policy. On 25th February Commissioner Damanaki will meet with the co-chairs of the Global Ocean Commission Mr David Miliband and Mr José María Figueres, the former President of Costa Rica. Following opening remarks by HRH the Prince of Wales and John Kerry, US Secrtary of State, Commissioner Damanaki will speak at the World Ocean Summit in a session entitled "The Ocean as the new Economic Frontier?"


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