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MEX 14 / 16.07
16 / 07 / 14
Today the European Parliament has voted in favour of the 4 replacement Commissioners Mr Katainen, Mr Dominik, Mr Nelli Feroci and Mrs Reicherts. Following the votes, President Barroso said: "I welcome the European Parliament's vote today on the appointment of the four Commissioners-designate. The four candidates bring valuable experience to the College and have all shown strong commitment to the European Union. I look forward to working with them". The President has also decided to appoint Mr. Katainen as Vice-President of the Commission.
President Barroso has already announced that he will allocate the portfolios as follows:
- portfolio of Economic and Monetary affairs to Commissioner-designate Katainen
- portfolio of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship to Commissioner-designate Reicherts (DG COMM has been attributed to Vice-President Šefčovič)
- portfolio of Financial Programming and Budget to Commissioner-designate Dominik
- portfolio of Industry and Entrepreneurship to Commissioner-designate Nelli Feroci
The Council must now formally proceed to agree with the President of the European Commission on the appointment of the candidates before the replacement Commissioners can take office. This is expected to happen before the end of this week.
President Barroso participates in the special meeting of the European Council
The European Council will convene for a special meeting this evening in Brussels. The meeting will start with an exchange of views with European Parliament President Schulz and will continue with a working session on the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East. President Barroso will brief the European Council on the trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia that have been hosted by the Commission and where respectively energy issues and the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with Ukraine were discussed. At dinner, Heads of State or Government will exchange views with Commission President-elect Juncker on the strategic agenda and the priorities for the EU over the next five years. European Council President Van Rompuy will also report back in light of his consultations in view of other appointments to be made. The special meeting of the European Council will be followed by a press conference with Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy in the European Council press room in the Justus Lipsius building (live transmission on EBS). Speaking points of President Barroso will be available shortly after the press conference on the Commission’s press release database .
President Barroso meets the new Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Mr Simões Pereira
President Barroso receives today 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.
International donors’ conference for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia
Under the motto "Rebuilding together", the European Commission hosts today a donors' conference in Brussels to mobilise further support to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in the aftermath of the recent floods. The aim of the conference is to collect pledges from donors for the countries' recovery. The conference will also contribute to stepping up co-operation over floods and natural disasters in the region, as well as operational coordination. Commissioners Füle and Georgieva as well as Prime Minister Bratušek from Slovenia and France's Foreign Minister Fabius will participate in this conference.
"Today I received the President of Serbia, Mr Nikolić, and the Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Izetbegović. I reiterated to them my sincerest sympathy to all those affected by the devastating consequences of the recent floods. I still bear in mind the scale of destruction I witnessed when I was in Obrenovac end of June – but also the courage and the determination of the citizens to rebuild.", said President Barroso ahead of the conference. "The holding of the donor's conference today, only two months after the disaster, is a sign of tangible European solidarity. The European Commission has been working hard to deliver support on the ground, and will continue to help – not only in the next weeks but also in the months and years to come."
Eurostat - International trade in goods - May 2014
The first estimate for the euro area (EA18) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world in May 2014 gave a €15.4 billion surplus, compared with +€14.6 bn in May 2013. The April 2014 balance was also +€15.4 bn, compared with +€14.2 bn in April 2013. In May 2014 compared with April 2014, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 0.6% and imports by 0.5%. These data are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The first estimate for the May 2014 extra-EU28 trade balance was a €0.6 bn surplus, compared with +€15.0 bn in May 2013. In April 2014 the balance was +€1.0 bn, compared with +€8.6 bn in April 2013. In May 2014 compared with April 2014, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 0.5% and imports by 1.4%.
The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on the latest of a series of EU Macro-Regional Strategies, set to take shape in 2015. The EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) covers some 70 million people in 7 countries – 5 of them EU Member States (Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia) and 2 non-EU countries (Liechtenstein and Switzerland), all-in-all covering some 48 regions. The call for submissions aims to tap into the opinions of relevant stakeholders and to gather their ideas in order to ensure that the Strategy is realistic in its starting point, appropriate in its objectives and responsive to the real needs of inhabitants of the Region.European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn commented: "This is the first stepping stone to a strategy that should be specifically tailored to the needs of the Alpine macro‑region. The Alpine countries have a long and successful tradition of working together to deal with the precise challenges of this part of Europe and the people who live there. Rather than re-inventing the wheel or duplicating existing cooperation structures, this strategy should complement what it is already being done. It is the fourth strategy of its kind in Europe and we have learnt from experience the importance of political commitment and focusing on just a few strategic areas to guarantee the success of the macro-regional approach." See also: Public Consultation – Have your say
As part of the European Commission's efforts to help reduce childhood obesity, the Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), has published the first comprehensive report on school food policies in Europe. It shows that European countries acknowledge the important contribution of school food to children's health, development and performance at school. All the countries studied (28 European Member States + Norway and Switzerland) have guidelines for school food, although these vary considerably. National measures aimed at promoting healthy diets in schools range from voluntary guidelines, for example for menus and portion sizes, to complete bans, including on marketing, of vending machines and sugar-sweetened drinks.
European Union sets import duty above zero for maize, sorghum and rye
The European Commission has today announced that the import duty on maize, sorghum and rye is to be set at 5.32 EUR/tonne as of today. The decision is based on the basic Regulation and comes in response to the situation on the world markets for maize and the resulting low prices. Import duties for those cereals are set on the basis of individual world reference prices and according to an automatically triggered mechanism. Individual tariff quotas are not affected by the measure. Following a forecast of world maize production in 2014 estimated by the International Grains Council at as much as 963 million tonnes, i.e. the second highest after last year's record level, the carry over of world stocks of maize at the end of the 2014/2015 marketing year should increase by 13 million tonnes to reach 180 million tonnes, the highest level in 5 years, including in the main exporting countries and in particular in the United States. As a result of this forecast of a bumper harvest of maize in 2014 worldwide, but particularly in the United States, world market prices for maize fell sharply and as at 1 July 2014 stood at 203 $/tonne FOB (free on board) U.S. Gulf, a price not seen since August 2010. As at 1 July 2013, the quotation was 304 $/tonne. See also MEMO/14/488
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Kion Group by Weichai Power
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of Kion Group AG ("Kion") by Weichai Power Co. Ltd. ("Weichai"). Kion is a German manufacturer of forklift trucks, warehouse handling equipment and other industrial trucks. Weichai is a Chinese automotive and equipment manufacturing company controlled by the Shangdong Heavy Industry Group. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns as Weichai is not active in any markets in which Kion is active. 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.7169 .
Senior management appointments
The Commission has appointed six new senior managers. Mr Guillaume LORIOT becomes Director 'Markets and cases V: Transport, Post and other services' in the Competition Directorate-General. Mr Loriot, who is French, is currently Deputy Head of Cabinet of Vice-President Joaquín Almunia. The date of effect of this decision will be determined later. Also appointed Director is Mr Nicola DE MICHELIS, who will be responsible for 'Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development and Northern Europe' in the Regional and Urban Policy Directorate-General. Mr De Michelis, an Italian national, is currently Deputy Head of Cabinet to Commissioner Johannes Hahn. The date of effect of this decision, too, will be determined later. A third Director appointment concerns Mr Diego CANGA FANO. Mr Canga Fano, who is Spanish, will today (16) become the Director responsible for 'Multilateral relations, quality policy' in the Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate-General. He was previously Head of Cabinet of former Vice-President Antonio Tajani. Another new Director for the Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate-General from today is German national Ms Josefine LORIZ-HOFFMANN. Ms Loriz-Hoffmann was previously a Head of Unit in the same DG, responsible for the environment, forestry and climate change. A third Director appointment for the Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate-General is Mr Georg HAEUSLER, who is currently Head of Cabinet to Commissioner Dacian Cioloş. Mr Haeusler, who is Austrian, will be responsible for management of resources when he takes up his new duties, at a date to be determined later. Finally, Mr Kenneth DUCATEL has been appointed Principal Adviser - Chief Information Security Officer in the Informatics Directorate-General. Mr Ducatel is British, and currently serves as Head of Unit in the same DG, responsible for software & services, and cloud computing. This decision takes effect on 1 September 2014.