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Daily News of 2014-07-15

European Commission - MEX/14/0715   15/07/2014

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EXME 14 / 15.07

DAILY NEWS

15 / 07 / 14

President Barroso meets the new Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Mr Simões Pereira

President Barroso will receive tomorrow in the Berlaymont the Prime Minister from Guinea Bissau, Domingos Simões Pereira. This visit is particularly important as it marks the return to normality of the relations between the EU and Guinea Bissau.

President Barroso and Prime Minister Simões Pereira will discuss development and assistance support, the need for a Security Sector Reform and Fisheries.

A joint press point will take place at the Berlaymont's VIP Corner at 13:30. At the end President Barroso's speaking points to the press will be made available through the usual channels.

Prime Minister Simões Pereira took office on 4th July following the legislative and presidential elections of April/May 2014. These elections were a major step to the restoration of constitutional order in the country and towards political stability. At this respect, note that the Council suspended the measures limiting EU cooperation with Guinea-Bissau, following the holding of free and credible elections.

Le président Barroso rencontre les leaders de la Bosnie et Herzégovine et de la Serbie avant la Conférence des donateurs

Le président Barroso rencontre demain, le 16 Juillet, le président de Bosnie-Herzégovine, Bakir Izetbegovic, et le président serbe Tomislav Nikolić, avant la Conférence des donateurs pour soutenir la récupération des inondations qui aura lieu l'après-midi. L'engagement de l'UE se penchera sur la dimension régionale de la phase de récupération après les inondations, la prévention des catastrophes naturelles et la protection civile.

La Commission organise cette conférence des donateurs pour mobiliser un soutien supplémentaire à la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Serbie. La conférence contribuera également à intensifier la coopération sur les inondations et les catastrophes naturelles dans la région, ainsi que la coordination opérationnelle. Les commissaires Štefan Füle et Kristalina Georgieva, le Premier-ministre slovène Alenka Bratušek et de Ministre des affaires étrangers Laurent Fabius y participeront également.

European Commission to tackle unfair practices in the food supply chain

The European Commission is set to adopt a communication today encouraging Member States to look for ways to improve protection of small food producers and retailers against the unfair practices of their sometimes much stronger trading partners. Before a food product reaches the consumer, many different market players (producers, processors, retailers, etc.) in the supply chain add to its quality and value. Due to developments such as increased market concentration, there are very different levels of bargaining power in the relations between the players in the supply chain. Whilst differences in bargaining powers are common and legitimate in commercial relationships, these imbalances can in some cases lead to unfair trading practices (UTPs). Press material will available after 14.00 CET IP/14/831 and MEMO/14/485 .

Making the most of Europe's traditional know-how: Commission to launch public consultation on the protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products

The European Commission will today launch a Green Paper consultation on a possible extension of geographical indication protection to non-agricultural products. In today’s globalised world, consumers are looking for ways to identify authentic, original products, and expect that the quality and specific features advertised actually correspond to reality. A geographical indication (GI) identifies goods as originating from a country, region or locality where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is linked to its geographical origin, for example Bordeaux wine, Murano glass or Parma ham. Agricultural products (e.g. cheeses, wines, meats, fruits and vegetables) from a specific geographical origin possessing certain qualities or made according to traditional methods may be afforded EU-wide GI protection (e.g. Parmesan cheese). However, non-agricultural products (e.g. ceramics, marble, cutlery, shoes, tapestries, musical instruments) do not to date enjoy unitary GI protection at EU level beyond national laws. Press material will available after 14.00 CET IP/14/832 and MEMO/14/486 .

Commission publishes cereals farm report on developments for 2004-2011

The 2010-11 period was good for cereal producers in the European Union, according to the EU cereal farms report 2013 published by the European Commission. Based on Farm Accountancy Data Network data, the report reviews developments in costs of production, margins and incomes in EU cereal farms between 2004 and 2011, as well as estimates of production costs and gross margins for 2012. One of the main observations put forward for 2010-2011 is that while grain prices were very high and yields about average, production costs climbed higher than ever. The gross margins obtained per hectare of cereals or per tonne of grain were much better than in their low point in 2009, but did not reach the high 2007 level because of the increased production costs. Gross margins in 2011 were nevertheless 36 % higher than the average for 2004-10. Estimates for 2012 showed a further improvement in the profitability of cereal crops.

Commissioner Piebalgs attends the Informal Development Council in Florence (Italy)

EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will take part in the Informal Development Council being held today in Florence. The main issues for discussion include: how the WORLD EXPO 2015 in Milan can contribute to the global debate on sustainability and food and nutrition security; the post-2015 framework (and especially the EU's further engagement in view of the United Nations General Assembly in September and  the UN Secretary General's report), the role of the private sector in development, and migration as a motor for development. In the margins of the meeting, the first-ever EU Trust Fund, to support to stabilisation and reconstruction of the Central African Republic, was signed. Footage of the signature ceremony are available here and press material is also online .

(for more information: A. Polack - Tel. +32 229 90677 - Mobile +32 460 79 0677)

Commission raises serious doubts about Lithuanian Regulator's proposal for fixed termination rates

On 14 July, the European Commission has opened an investigation over the Lithuanian telecoms regulator’s plans for fixed termination rates. The proposal which differs substantially from the Commission's recommended approach is not compliant with EU telecoms rules. Termination rates are the rates telecom operators charge each other to deliver calls between networks, and each operator has market power over access to customers on its own network. The Commission is particularly concerned that, if the new plan is introduced, fixed call termination rates in Lithuania will remain at a much higher level compared to the other EU Member States. Higher termination rates will ultimately be paid by fixed and mobile phone users in Lithuania and by users calling from other EU Member States. The Commission has now three months to discuss the draft measures with the Lithuanian regulator RRT, in close cooperation with the Body of European Regulators (BEREC), to make them compliant with EU law. The Commission may at the end of the extended investigation period either lift its reservations or issue a set of recommendations addressed to RRT.

EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement to enter into force

The European Commission welcomes Morocco’s ratification of a Fisheries Protocol which is set to open the door for European vessels to go back fishing in Moroccan waters after a pause of more than two years. The European Union and Morocco had concluded the 4-year fisheries deal in December 2013, however its entry into force was pending ratification by Morocco. Now that both sides have concluded their ratification procedure, EU vessels will receive certain fishing rights in Moroccan waters in return for financial assistance by the EU to develop the Moroccan fishery sector. The protocol is the second most important of its kind and belongs to a new generation of fisheries agreements after the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy, placing a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability, economic profitability and international legality. European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "I am glad that this protocol can finally enter into force: our fishermen have been waiting for this day for more than two years.(…)"

Eurostat - Indicators of economic globalisation

The globalisation of the world economy creates new needs for statistics. Therefore, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes today a set of economic globalisation indicators. These identify five aspects of economic globalisation: international trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), employment and value added of multinational enterprises as well as internationalisation technology. All in all, twelve indicators are included in this framework, of which four are shown in this News Release. One of the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy is to have an “industrial policy for the globalisation era”, which means to support the development of a strong and sustainable industrial base to compete globally. Reliable indicators of economic globalisation and its impact on the EU economy are essential for the effective implementation of this policy.

Concentrations: La Commission autorise l'acquisition du Groupe Steria par Sopra Group.

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement de l’UE sur les concentrations, l'acquisition du Groupe Steria SCA par Sopra Group SA, les deux ayant leurs sièges sociaux en France. Le Groupe Steria fournit des services de transformation et de gestion de systèmes informatiques ainsi que des services informatiques de transformation de processus métiers. Sopra Group offre des services informatiques et d'édition de logiciels. L'opération donne lieu à un chevauchement des activités des deux entreprises sur le marché des services informatiques en France, en Allemagne, en Belgique, au Luxembourg et au Royaume Uni. La Commission a conclu à l'absence d'effets anticoncurrentiels du fait de la présence limitée des deux entreprises sur les marchés de l'édition de logiciels et de l'offre de services informatiques. L'opération a été analysée selon la procédure simplifiée. Des informations supplémentaires sont disponibles sur la page concurrence du site internet de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d'affaire M.7267 .

Mergers: Commission clears joint venture between Russian Machines and Fritzmeier for cab design and production

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Russian Machines RM, ultimately controlled by Basic Element, both of Russia, and Fritzmeier Auslandsholding GmbH & Co. KG, ultimately controlled by the Fritzmeier Group, both of Germany. The joint venture will be active in Russia and possibly other CIS countries in the design and production of cabs to be used in construction equipment, agricultural machinery, forklifts and other vehicles. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns since the joint venture will have no activity in the EU. The operation 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.7271 .

Mergers: The Commission clears acquisition of Bank Gospodarki Żywnościowej by BNP Paribas Fortis

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the Polish Bank Gospodarki Żywnościowej S.A. ("BGZ") by BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV ("BNP") of France. BGZ is a universal bank with a focus on financing agriculture, the food sector and regional infrastructure only in Poland, while BNP is part of the BNP Paribas Group, an international capital group of banking and financial companies with a worldwide presence. 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.7181 .

Mergers: Commission approves creation of a joint venture by Bekaert and Maccaferri

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Bekaert of Belgium and Maccaferri of Italy. Bekaert is active worldwide in steel wire transformation and coating. Maccaferri, a subsidiary of S.E.C.I. S.p.A., is active worldwide in the area of environmental engineering. The JV will be active in the sale and distribution of various underground and tunnelling products, including reinforcement solutions for underground concrete construction applications. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the JV has negligible activities within the 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.7190

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Flint Group by Goldman Sachs and Koch Industries

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Flint Group GmbH of Germany by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and Koch Industries, Inc., both of the US. Goldman Sachs is a global investment banking, securities and investment management company. Koch Industries is active in manufacturing, trading and provides services in various industries, among others in the oil and gas industry, and the chemicals industry. Flint manufactures printing inks and other printing consumables. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, given the parties' moderate combined market positions resulting from the proposed transaction and the presence of a number of strong players on the market. 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.7255 .  

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Rautaruukki by rival SSAB, subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Rautaruukki ("Ruukki") of Finland by rival SSAB of Sweden. Both companies produce and distribute carbon steel and steel construction products. The clearance is conditional on the divestment of five businesses in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The Commission had concerns that the merger, as initially notified, would have significantly reduced competition on the markets for certain carbon steel products in the Nordic countries, as well as for stainless steel and profiled steel construction sheets in Finland. The divestments address these concerns.


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