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EXME 14 / 18.08
18 / 08 / 14
In the context of Russian restrictions on imports of EU agricultural products and following on from last week’s Management Committee meeting discussion of the market situation, the European Commission is moving as from today to introduce support measures for certain perishable fruits & vegetables.
Commenting on the decision, Dacian Cioloș, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, stated: "Taking into account the market situation following the Russian restrictions on imports of EU agricultural products, with effect from today, I am triggering CAP emergency measures which will reduce overall supply of a number of fruit and vegetable products on the European market as and when price pressures become too great in the coming months. All farmers of the concerned products - whether in producer organisations or not - will be eligible to take up these market support measures where they see fit. Acting early will provide an efficient support to the price paid to producers on the internal market, help the market adjust and be cost effective."
On Thursday, 14th of August, President Barroso and President Putin spoke on the phone. As in the call on the day before with President Poroshenko and in the contacts earlier the same week with both the President of Russia and the President of Ukraine, the purpose was to discuss the situation in Ukraine and its overall context, including ways to de-escalate the current situation. It was agreed to hold consultations between the Presidents of Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission on the issues related with the implementation of the Association Agreement as well as on the supply of gas, in parallel with the efforts to stabilise the political and security situation. The concrete arrangements for these talks will be further discussed through the appropriate diplomatic channels.
The Commission held a very useful first exchange of views with Member State experts this morning on the potential impact of the Russian sanctions announced last week on imports of certain agricultural products.
Understanding the concerns of EU farmers across Europe, Commissioner Dacian Cioloș stated: "I have two announcements to make today. First, as of early next week, I will come forward with the next market stabilisation measure, targeting a number of perishable fruit and vegetable products which are now clearly in difficulty. This action will be proportionate and cost effective.
Secondly, this exceptional situation we face as a result of Russia's ban requires faster and better access to market data, sector by sector. That is why we are putting in place as of today a reinforced market monitoring mechanism to which all Member States will contribute. Meetings with Member States will take place on a weekly basis, for a period as long as necessary.
My message is again clear: I am prepared to propose EU wide measures as and when needed. Producers from across the EU can be reassured. We are following every sector and every market and as material risks emerge, I will act. Through the reformed Common Agriculture Policy we have the budgetary and legal instruments for European action together with the Member States; market confidence through European solidarity is the overriding objective."
The first estimate for the euro area (EA18) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world in June 2014 gave a €16.8 billion surplus, compared with +€15.7 bn in June 2013. The May 2014 balance was +€15.4 bn, compared with +€14.6 bn in May 2013. In June 2014 compared with May 2014, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 0.5% while imports rose by 0.5%. The first estimate for the June 2014 extra-EU28 trade balance was a €2.9 bn surplus, compared with +€8.6 bn in June 2013. In May 2014 the balance was +€0.5 bn, compared with +€15.0 bn in May 2013. In June 2014 compared with May 2014, seasonally adjusted exports fell by 0.3% and imports by 0.1%.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of GHD by Nordic Capital
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of GHD Verwaltung GesundHeits GmbH Deutschland ("GHD") of Germany by Nordic Capital Fund VIII of Jersey, part of Nordic Capital Funds ("Nordic Capital"). GHD is active, among others, in the production of ostomy products, the wholesale of medical devices and pharmaceuticals and the provision of medical devices and certain pharmaceutical products with associated services to non-hospitalised patients ("home care"), especially in Germany. Nordic Capital is a private equity fund with portfolio companies active in Europe in a wide range of sectors, including the production and sale of ostomy and wound care products. The parties' activities overlap in the manufacturing/sales of ostomy products in nine European Economic Area (EEA) countries. The transaction also creates vertical relationships between the manufacturing and sale of wound care products, upstream, and the downstream markets for the wholesale of medical devices/pharmaceutical products and home care in Germany. 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. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7323 .
The Commission has today repealed the measures adopted against the Faroe Islands in August 2013 following their unsustainable fishery on Atlanto-Scandian herring. The measures imposed at the time will now be lifted as of 20th August 2014.
The decision comes after it was agreed that the Faroe Islands would cease their unsustainable fishery and would adopt a catch limit for herring in 2014 at 40,000t. This level is considerably lower than the one the Faroes had adopted in 2013 and which, according to the current scientific assessments, does not put in jeopardy the conservation efforts of the coastal States sharing the stock.
However, the lifting of the measures does not represent a tacit agreement by the EU that 40,000t is the legitimate share of the stock for the Faroe Islands. It is merely indicative of the fact that the sustainability of the stock is no longer in jeopardy. The decision is also without prejudice to the consultations that will take place in the autumn among the five coastal States (Norway, the Russian Federation, Iceland, Faroe Islands and the EU) on the future sharing of the stock.
The lifting of the measures represents a clean slate in the EU's relations with the Faroe Islands, a country viewed as a potential strategic partner on pelagic fisheries in the north-east Atlantic. European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki intends to meet Mr Vestergaard, Minister of Fisheries of the Faroe Islands, to set the basis for a new era of cooperation.