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Daily News of 2014-05-02

European Commission - MEX/14/0502   02/05/2014

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EXME 14 / 02.05

DAILY NEWS

02 / 05 / 14

March 2014: Euro area unemployment rate at 11.8%, EU28 at 10.5%; Commissioner Andor's comments

The euro area (EA18) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.8% in March 2014, stable since December 2013, but down from 12.0% in March 2013. The EU281 unemployment rate was 10.5% in March 2014, stable compared with February 2014, but down from 10.9% in March 2013. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat estimates that 25.699 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 18.913 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in March 2014. Compared with February 2014, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 66 000 in the EU28 and by 22 000 in the euro area. Compared with March 2013, unemployment decreased by 929 000 in the EU28 and by 316 000 in the euro area.

"Big disparities remain across Europe, not only in terms of jobs available but also in terms of working conditions", commented Commissioner László Andor. "Boosting job creation and tackling inequalities must and will be the absolute priorities of European policy-makers over the coming months and years. We need more investment, based on greater confidence in a strengthened Europe. We need courageous monetary and fiscal policies and structural reforms", he continued. "But the ultimate factor that will determine Europe's economic future is whether we can hold together and further strengthen our Economic and Monetary Union, or whether we let weaker members of the EU and of our societies drift away. We either prosper together, by having stronger bonds between Member States, or we face the risk of decline due to ever greater economic imbalances, social inequalities and political instability."

World Press Freedom Day:  European Commission supports pilot projects on media freedom

European Commission support for journalists in the area of media freedom and pluralism comes into the spotlight on World Press Freedom Day, Saturday 3rd May. Four special projects launched earlier this year are receiving around €800,000, thanks to a budget earmarked by the European Parliament. They play a critical role in protecting both the right to free expression as guaranteed by the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights and the media's instrumental role in safeguarding democracy.

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Olam by Temasek

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Olam International Limited (Olam) by Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited (Temasek), both of Singapore. Olam manages and processes agricultural products and ingredients, including edible nuts and spices, confectionary and beverage ingredients, food staples and packaged foods and industrial raw materials. In addition, it provides commodity financial services to third parties. Temasek is an investment company, whose portfolio covers a broad spectrum of industries, including financial services, telecommunications, media and technology, transportation and industrials, consumer and real estate, energy resources and life sciences. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because none of the portfolio companies controlled by Temasek have activities that overlap with or are upstream or downstream of those of Olam 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.7227 .

Preparation of Economic and Finance Ministers Council

On 6 May in Brussels, Vice-President Kallas and Commissioner Šemeta will participate in the meeting of the EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers. On the agenda are two important legislative proposals: first the Council will try to reach political agreement on closing an important loophole in the Parent-Subsidiary Directive which has been used by some companies to escape taxation. Second the Greek Presidency will present a state of play of the work on the common Financial Transaction Tax.On the non-legislative activities front, the Council will be informed of the outcome of the main the Spring Meetings that took place recently in Washington, where discussions focused mainly on the global economy and G20 growth strategies and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Further, the Council is expected to adopt conclusions that endorse the Commission's findings emerging from the In-Depth Reviews (IDR) carried out into 17 Member States' economies.

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