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EXME 14 / 27.08
27 / 08 / 14
High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton, Vice-President Günther Oettinger, responsible for energy, and Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht, represented the EU in Minsk yesterday in discussions with Russia and Ukraine with a view to creating a new political impetus towards finding a political, sustainable solution to the situation in Ukraine. They also discussed energy and economic aspects, along with the peace and security and humanitarian issues. Read their press remarks .
More information on the outcome of the meetings to follow shortly. Audiovisual coverage of this event available via EBS.
The European Commission has proposed an aid package worth nearly €47 million for Sardinia (Italy), Slovenia, Croatia and Kefalonia (Ionian Islands, Greece) after a series of natural disasters struck the regions in late 2013 and early 2014. Italy is set to receive €16.3m after serious flooding late last year, while Slovenia and Croatia will be granted up to €18.4m and €8.6m respectively to cover recovery operations costs after the severe ice storm in January-February 2014. Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, who oversees the Fund and signed today’s proposal, said. "The EU Solidarity Fund helps these countries get back on their feet after severe destruction of essential infrastructure and damage economic activity. These amounts are specific and targeted to help address the immediate and direct impact of natural disasters in the affected regions. In addition, the overall development of these regions is supported through the European Structural and Investment Funds which concentrate resources to boost overall competitiveness and growth by targeting important sectors in the regions."
Romanian-Moldavian gas pipeline becomes operational
Today, Vice-President Günther H. Oettinger, the Prime-Minister of Romania Victor Ponta and the Prime-Minister of the Republic of Moldova Iurie Leancă jointly participated in the opening ceremony of the Iaşi-Ungheni pipeline between Romania and Moldova. "This is a historic day", Vice-President Oettinger said. "We are celebrating that Moldova is directly integrated into the EU gas market. This will enhance its energy security and reduce its dependence from the only supplier it has now." The 42 km long gas pipeline is the first which enables Moldova to get gas directly from the EU and international markets. The Iaşi-Ungheni pipeline is the first stage of the project: with the construction of a compressor station in Romania and a 130 km long gas pipeline between Ungheni and Chisinau gas can be transported to the Chisinau region, the biggest gas consumer in Moldova. Once completed, the entire infrastructure project can cover more than half of Moldavian gas demand. The European Commission has supported the construction of the Iaşi-Ungheni pipeline with €7 million and has made available €10 million to extend the pipeline from Ungheni to Chisinau from the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument. Gas covers more than 60 per cent of Moldavian primary energy demand and to date Moldova has been fully dependent on imported natural gas from Russia. Moldova is a member of the Energy Community and has recently signed and ratified an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
Further information about the Energy Community is available online.
Mergers: Commission clears joint venture between Constellium and Tri-Arrows in automotive supply sector
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of the joint venture Quiver Ventures LLC by Tri-Arrows Aluminum Holding Inc., both of the US, and Constellium N.V. of the Netherlands. Quiver Ventures, based in Kentucky (United States), will manufacture aluminium flat-rolled products for automotive body-in-white (the stage in automotive design or automobile manufacturing in which a car body's sheet metal components have been welded together but before moving parts, the motor chassis sub-assemblies, or trim have been added and before painting), supplying finished products to automotive original equipment manufacturers in Canada, the US and Mexico. Constellium manufactures rolled and extruded aluminium and related products. Tri-Arrows manufactures and sells rolled aluminium can sheets in the US. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because Quiver Ventures will have no foreseeable activities within 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.7331 .
Yesterday the European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with the Czech Republic setting down the strategy for the best possible use of European Structural and Investment Funds throughout the country. The agreement paves the way for investing €22 billion of Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020. The Czech Republic receives a further €2 billion for rural development and €31 million for the fisheries sector. These EU investments will help fight social exclusion and tackle unemployment and boost and competitiveness and economic growth through support to innovation training and education in cities, towns and rural areas and promoting entrepreneurship. They will also help to develop an environmentally friendly and a resource-efficient economy. See also MEMO/14/331