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EXME 14 / 07.08
07 / 08 / 14
The European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with Bulgaria setting down the strategy for the optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds throughout the country. Today’s agreement paves the way for investing €7.6 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020 (current prices, including European Territorial Cooperation funding and the allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative). Bulgaria also receives €2.3 billion for rural development and €88 million for fisheries and the maritime sector. The EU investments will help tackle unemployment and boost competitiveness and economic growth through support to innovation, training and education in cities, towns and rural areas. They will also promote entrepreneurship, fight social exclusion and help to develop an environmentally friendly and a resource-efficient economy. See also MEMO/14/331
Do you want to track how much ozone, black carbon and other pollutants you are exposed to when out cycling or walking? This is possible with an app – AirProbe – combined with a small sensor box. Partners from Belgium, Germany, Italy and the UK have developed this system to increase people’s awareness of their environment. More than 300 people in Antwerp, Kassel, Turin and London participated in the first tests. A similar app related to noise pollution – WideNoise – has already been used by more than 10,000 people and was at the centre of a study around Heathrow airport. Data collected is available to all, citizens, authorities and scientists so that they get a better picture of our environment. European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes says: "Thanks to new technologies we are now firmly in the era of citizen science where everyone can create, collect and share data for the common good."
Consultation on the impact of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the European Union
The European Commission today launched a public consultation on the impact of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the European Union. All citizens and organisations are welcome to give their views on important aspects, such as the conditions all new IFRS should satisfy to become EU law as well as the costs and benefits which are usually associated with IFRS. In particular, the Commission aims to examine whether the adoption of IFRS improved the efficiency of EU capital markets by increasing the transparency and comparability of financial statements. IFRS are international accounting standards used by companies in more than 100 countries to prepare their financial statements. In the EU, Regulation 1606/2002 has required since 2005 all publically traded companies to prepare their consolidated financial statements according to IFRS. The Commission will report to the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on the ongoing evaluation of Regulation 1606/2002 by the end of this year. The consultation will close on 31 October 2014.
State aid: Commission approves reduced aggregates levy for Northern Ireland
After an in-depth investigation opened in July 2011, the European Commission has found that a reduced aggregates levy for Northern Ireland was in line with EU state aid rules. The aggregates levy is an environmental tax in the United Kingdom, levied on commercially exploited virgin aggregates. A lower tax rate is applicable in Northern Ireland. The Commission considered the reduction of the aggregates levy in Northern Ireland in line with the applicable Environmental Aid Guidelines, because the full levy would have led to an excessive cost burden on the companies and a proportional tax level is nevertheless maintained. The Commission first approved the Northern Ireland aggregates levy exemptions in 2004 (see IP/04/614). This decision was annulled by the EU General Court in 2010 (case T-359/04). The Commission has now adopted a new decision confirming the compatibility of the measure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website in the public case register , under the case number SA.34775 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Minimax Viking by Intermediate Capital Group and Kirkbi
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Minimax Viking GmbH (MVG) of Germany by Intermediate Capital Group plc (ICG) of the United Kingdom and Kirkbi of Denmark. MVG is active in the manufacture and supply of fire suppression and related detection and control systems and offers system integration, which comprises system engineering, project management, installation and commissioning as well as after-sales services such as inspection, maintenance and repair services. MVG also manufactures portable fire extinguishers and supplies and installs equipment for fire trucks. ICG is active in the financial sector, providing mezzanine finance, leveraged credit and minority equity. Kirkbi is the holding and investment company of the Kirk Kristiansen family. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the parties' moderate combined market positions 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.7325 .