Other available languages: none
EXME 14 / 03.06
03 / 06 / 14
On 4-5 June 2014, a G7 summit will take place in Brussels. The summit will be hosted by the European Union, represented by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
On the agenda will be the situation in Ukraine and the relations with Russia as well as other foreign policy topics, the global economy, trade, energy security, climate change and development.
The two-day meeting will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday 4 June and end on Thursday 5 June around 3 p.m. A pre-summit press conference by President Barroso and President Van Rompuy is scheduled for 4th of June 3 p.m. in the European Council.
Originally a G8 summit was scheduled to take place in Sochi (Russia) in early June under Russian presidency. At their meeting 24 March in The Hague , the G7 leaders (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission) decided to meet in Brussels on 4-5 June 2014 in the G7 format instead.
Upon the announcement of the official results of the 25 May elections in Ukraine, President Barroso and President Van Rompuy sent a message of congratulation to Mr Poroshenko on his election as President. "The conduct and the outcome of the elections underlined the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to democracy and prosperity, unity and stability", wrote the Presidents. "Today we want to express our confidence that, working together with the Ukrainian Government, and on the basis of an inclusive national dialogue, you will be able to carry forward the political reforms, including at constitutional level, and economic modernisation that your country is calling for."
The Commission adopted today the first Operational Programme with France to use the available funding from the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) to tackle youth unemployment. France will receive 620 million from the YEI and the European Social Fund (ESF) to help young people not in employment, education or training to find a job, in those regions with youth unemployment rates over 25%. It is the first programme adopted in the EU for this €6 billion initiative covering 20 Member States. "I warmly congratulate France for making use of the possibility to launch a programme for youth employment ahead of all other programmes to be co-financed by EU funds in 2014-20. The Youth Employment Initiative will directly benefit around one million young French people currently out of employment, education or training", Commissioner Andor commented.
The euro area (EA18) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.7% in April 2014, down from 11.8% in March 2014, and from 12.0% in April 2013. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.4% in April 2014, down from 10.5% in March 2014, and from 10.9% in April 2013. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat estimates that 25.471 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 18.751 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in April 2014. Compared with March 2014, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 151 000 in the EU28 and by 76 000 in the euro area. Compared with April 2013, unemployment fell by 1.167 million in the EU28 and by 487 000 in the euro area.
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.5% in May 2014, down from 0.7% in April, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, services is expected to have the highest annual rate in May (1.1%, compared with 1.6% in April), followed by food, alcohol & tobacco (0.1%, compared with 0.7% in April), non-energy industrial goods (0.0%, compared with 0.1% in April) and energy (0.0%, compared with -1.2% in April).
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Skandia Inc. by Cinven in insurance sector
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of five companies belonging to the Skandia group, providing life insurance in Austria and Germany, by Heidelberg Leben Holding AG, a German insurance company controlled by Cinven, a UK private equity group. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the very low combined market shares resulting from the transaction. 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.7248 .
Mergers: Commission clears joint venture between SPC and Cargill in biotechnology sector
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the proposed creation of Golden Compound GmbH, a joint venture to be jointly controlled by SPC Sunflower Plastic Compound GmbH ("SPC") and Cargill GmbH ("Cargill"), all of Germany. SPC develops and markets processes and technologies to produce biomaterials. Cargill is part of the Cargill group which provides products and services to the foodstuff, agricultural, financial and technical industry. Golden Compound will produce and market sunflower plastic compounds in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, based on a technology by SPC. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, because Golden Compound has no, or only negligible, current or planned activities within the territory of 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.7235 .
Robotics contributes to Europe's strong position in global manufacturing. But the potential of robotics goes far beyond the factory: robots can help nurses in hospitals; they can inspect dangerous power plants; and they can carry out laborious jobs on farms. This new public-private partnership launched today is expected to create over 240,000 jobs in Europe, and increase Europe’s share of the global market to 42% (a boost of €4 billion per year). Speaking from the Automatica 2014 conference in Munich, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "Robots do much more than replace humans – they often do things humans can’t or won’t do; and that improves everything from our quality of life to our safety. Integrating robots into European industry helps us create and keep jobs in Europe.” See also MEMO/14/386 .
European Commission publishes study on criminal sanctions in the Member States
The European Commission has today released a study on criminal sanctions in the Member States. The study analyses criminal sanctions available under national law for drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud with no cash means of payment, child pornography and facilitating illegal entry. It reveals that Member States provide for very different sanctions for these serious crimes, with the effect that some crimes are punished much more leniently in some Member States than in others. It recommends that the EU introduce common minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences, as well as minimum rules on the sanctions applicable to these crimes (for example the minimum duration of imprisonment). This will take away the incentive and possibility for criminals to choose the Member State with the most lenient sanctioning system as a "safe haven". The study is available online
Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn kicked off the 5th Annual Forum of the EU Baltic Sea Strategy (EUSBSR) today in Turku, Finland. Tackling challenges from competitiveness to climate change and from energy to education, countries around the Baltic Sea are stepping up their cooperation in the fifth year since the launch of the Strategy. Prime Ministers and Ministers of the eight EU Member States (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) as well as over 1,000 representatives from the private sector, regional businesses and civil society are attending the two days' forum. On the first day of the conference, Commissioner Hahn addressed the ministers and audience, calling for more focus to build on the successes of the strategy so far: "The Baltic region has been the pioneer of the Macro-Regional approach. And it is already reaping results. But you need to continue to explore how to maximise your cooperation . More efforts are needed e.g. in the areas of energy cooperation and the coordination of transport policies in order to improve Europe's energy security and to boost growth."
The full speech is available online .
Commission’s statement after the trilateral meeting on energy security
Following receipt of payment of 786 million USD by Gazprom from Naftogaz, a trilateral meeting on energy security between EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan took place in Brussels on Monday 2 June. Real progress has been made. Intensive discussions led to a bilateral meeting between the CEOs of Gazprom and Naftogaz who discussed key commercial issues for a settlement of the ongoing gas supply questions. The CEOs of Gazprom and Naftogaz have developed an approach in which both companies will further consult and continue talks in the next days. Once these talks have led to a consolidated package proposal, both parties will report back to their ministers, with the aim to meet again in the trilateral format without delay. It was agreed that as long as these talks are ongoing: there will be no interruption of delivery; there will be no prepayment for gas deliveries for June and no party will go to Stockholm for arbitration.
László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, said: "Unemployment continues to decline in the EU's 28 Member States as a whole as well as in the euro area, which is encouraging. However, many new jobs are precarious, and we are far from ensuring that every person has a real opportunity in the labour market. That's why we need to continue determined support for a job-rich recovery, through greater efforts at EU level and within the Member States. Conditions for investment need to improve further, with a strong focus on investment in human capital. The EU finally has to turn a vicious circle into a virtuous one, where more people can work, earn, spend and thereby create demand for other people's work too. By shifting taxation away from low-paid labour, hiring can be made easier and household incomes can be boosted. Member States also need to keep up their efforts to strengthen their public employment services and to deliver a Youth Guarantee for everyone under 25. The Country-Specific Recommendations proposed by the Commission on June 2nd show the way forward for individual Member States. EU Structural and Investment Funds, including the European Social Fund , will provide financial support to help implement these recommendations. The preparation of Member States' Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes to determine how the Structural and Investment Funds will be spent in 2014-20 is progressing steadily." Full details of the Commission's review of Member States' implementation of the Youth Guarantee as part of the European Semester are available here .