Daily News of 2014-08-29
European Commission - MEX/14/0829 29/08/2014
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EXME 14 / 29.08
29 / 08 / 14
la Commission européenne
President Barroso participates in the special meeting of the European Council
Tomorrow on Saturday 30th August the European Council will convene for a special meeting in Brussels. The meeting will start with an exchange of views with European Parliament President Schulz and President-elect Juncker and will continue with a session devoted to the appointment of a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and a new President of the European Council. Following that, President Barroso is expected to discuss with the Heads of State or Government, in the presence of High Representative Vice President Ashton, recent international developments including in Ukraine, Iraq and the Middle East. Regarding the situation in Ukraine, President Barroso this morning said in the context of a statement to various German media: "The situation in Ukraine affects Europe and the international community alike. This is a matter of grave and global concern. The EU's overall goal is to bring a solution to the crisis in Ukraine based on its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, as well as on strict adherence to international standards. At the same time, the EU has been very clear that recent Russian behaviour goes against international standards and principles. Russia needs to show a cooperative attitude and stop its active support to separatists through weapons and personnel. We need to continue our two-track approach: keeping the diplomatic channels open and maintaining pressure on Russia."
The special meeting of the European Council will be followed by a press conference with President Barroso and President 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 .
The European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with Hungary today, 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 €21.9 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020 (current prices, including European Territorial Cooperation funding and the allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative). Hungary also receives €3.45 billion for rural development and €39 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
Meeting between President Barroso and President Poroshenko, Saturday 30 August
On Saturday 30 August, President Barroso will meet Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Brussels. The objective of the meeting is to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the latest developments, upcoming elections and EU support.
A press point is scheduled to take place after their meeting, please follow EBS for exact timing and coverage of the press point.
The euro area (EA18) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.5% in July 2014, stable compared with June 2014, but down from 11.9% in July 2013. The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.2% in July 2014, also stable compared with June 2014, but down from 10.9% in July 2013. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat estimates that 24.850 million men and women in the EU28, of whom 18.409 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in July 2014. Compared with June 2014, the number of persons unemployed decreased by 41 000 in the EU28 and remained nearly stable in the euro area. Compared with July 2013, unemployment fell by 1.634 million in the EU28 and by 725 000 in the euro area.
European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented:
"Unemployment in Europe is slowly decreasing, but not at the pace needed to end the current unacceptably high unemployment levels, especially among young people. More efforts are needed from Member States, businesses, social partners and the EU to boost macroeconomic demand and to support job creation. Structural reforms, such as the Youth Guarantee, have a vital role in creating a sustainable and job-rich recovery. Europe needs significant numbers of new jobs to meet the 75% employment target of the Europe 2020 Strategy and to combat the social exclusion caused by unemployment."
Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.3% in August 2014, down from 0.4% in July, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, services is expected to have the highest annual rate in August (1.2%, compared with 1.3% in July), followed by non-energy industrial goods (0.3%, compared with 0.0% in July), food, alcohol & tobacco (-0.3%, stable compared with July) and energy (-2.0%, compared with -1.0% in July).
EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will represent the EU at the UN Third International Conference on Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), organised in Samoa from 1 to 4 September. The event, which takes place every 10 years, will aim to put in the spotlight the significant challenges that these small islands face, due to their small size, their isolation and their vulnerability to the effects of climate change. The Commissioner will confirm EU's renewed commitment to address the special needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS. Commissioner Piebalgs will be in Samoa until September 2, and he will take the opportunity to visit some of the EU-funded projects, aiming among other things to providing drinking water to the population.
Sign up for the EU Young Translators' Contest for schools
From 1 September, secondary schools can sign up to compete in Juvenes Translatores, the annual EU Young Translators' Contest, at ec.europa.eu/translatores . The registration period runs until 20 October and the online application form is available in all the EU's official languages. A total of 751 schools from all EU countries can take part. Schools can register pupils of any nationality born in 1997 (two to five students per school). The contest will be held on 27 November at the same time in all selected schools. Pupils will translate a one-page text from one official EU language into another – in principle, all 552 language combinations of the EU's 24 official languages are possible. This year the texts to be translated will focus on 'European identity'. After the contest, European Commission translators will mark the texts and select one winner per country. The winners will be invited to Brussels to receive their prizes in April 2015. For more information: Contest website , Facebook.com/translatores , Twitter: @translatores , DG Translation: ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation , Commissioner Vassiliou's website , Twitter @VassiliouEU
Emergency measures for perishable fruit & vegetables formally adopted
The Commission has today formally adopted the text of the Delegated Regulation relating to the 125 million EURO emergency market measures for perishable fruit & vegetables that were announced on August 18 ( IP/14/932). This text will be published in the Official Journal tomorrow. Introduced as an emergency measure to address the oversupply of these products on the EU market in the wake of the Russian restrictions of EU agricultural products announced on August 7, the measures provide for withdrawals (for free distribution or for other destinations e.g. composting) and green-harvesting/non-harvesting from August 18 until November 30, and will cover tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, sweet peppers, cauliflowers, headed broccoli, cucumbers, gherkins, mushrooms, plums, soft fruit, fresh table grapes, kiwifruit, apples and pears. In order to ensure that the funds are not all taken up by one or two sectors, the Commission has confirmed that there will be a limit of 82 million EURO for the amounts that can be awarded to the apples and pears sectors, and of 43 million EURO for the other sectors covered.
EU and Cape Verde agree on new 4 year Protocol to Fisheries Partnership Agreement
The European Union and Cape Verde have agreed on a new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Cape Verde. The four-year Protocol will replace the current Protocol which expires on 31 August 2014. It will allow 71 EU vessels to fish for tuna and other highly migratory species in Cape Verdean waters. In return, the Union has increased its financial contribution and will pay Cape Verde €550 000 per year for the first two years of application and €500 000 per year for the final two years of application. Half of the yearly financial contribution is paid for access to the resource and the other half is earmarked for promoting sustainable management of fisheries in Cape Verde, including reinforcement of control and surveillance capacities, and for supporting the local fishing communities. The new protocol is fully in line with the principles of the recent reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), such as clauses on transparency and respect of human rights and an increase in the contribution paid by vessel owners to fish in Cape Verdean waters. It also provides for measures to improve the sustainability of fishing activities such as a reduction in long-liner fishing capacity, a monitoring mechanism for shark catches and a ban on fishing within 18 nautical miles of the shore for surface-long-liners and purse seiners. Both parties committed to respect fully all recommendations made by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The Member States with a main interest in the new Protocol are Spain, Portugal, and France. For further information on the EU's Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Cape Verde
The future of UHF spectrum in Europe
On Monday at 11.30 there will be a press point at the VIP corner with Vice President Kroes and Pascal Lamy, where Mr Lamy will present his report on the future of Ultra High Frequency spectrum (that is, the 700 Megahertz band). Mr Lamy, a former European Commissioner for Trade, and former Director General of the World Trade Organisation, worked with a High Level Group on the report, and on Monday will present it in his name to Vice President Kroes. The report comprises three main elements which would enable the EU to meet its broadband targets, as well as ensuring stability for broadcasters.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of the Pulp, Paper and Packaging Business of the Rank Group by Oji Holdings Corporation and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition by Oji Holdings Corporation of Japan ("Oji") and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan ("INCJ") of joint control over the Pulp, Paper and Packaging Business of Rank Group Limited of New Zealand. Oji is active in the production and the sale of pulp and paper products. INCJ is a public-private partnership controlled by the Japanese state, which provides financial, technological and management support for next-generation businesses. The Pulp, Paper and Packaging Business of the Rank Group consists of a number of companies and assets – all located outside the EEA – that are active in the pulp, paper and packaging business. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the Pulp, Paper and Packaging Business of the Rank Group has very limited activities in 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 case number M.7338 .
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of MICROS by Oracle
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of MICROS Systems Inc. by Oracle Corporation, both from the US. MICROS is a provider of hardware and software specifically tailored to the needs of the retail and hospitality industries. Oracle develops and sells hardware, such as servers, and software, including enterprise applications software (EAS), database software and operating systems. Both Oracle and MICROS are active in the supply of software for the retail industry. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the combined market share of MICROS and Oracle is limited and many strong competitors would remain after the acquisition. 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.7334 .
Commissioners' weekly activities
Upcoming Commission activities for the weeks ahead
President Barroso attended yesterday the Western Balkans summit in Berlin, preceded by a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Merkel. At a joint press conference with Chancellor Merkel and the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, President Barroso reiterated the European Union's commitment to the European perspective of all Western Balkan countries and support for the accession process. "Our common goal is clear: We want to see the Western Balkan countries to ultimately join the European Union. This is in our joint political, economic and geo-strategic interest", he said. The President stressed also that "further accessions depend on our partners own speed of reforms". Regional integration and cooperation are key to make accession faster and easier: "Politically they create stability, and practically they remove obstacles. They also improve the conditions for economic and social development by fostering a positive and predictable business environment. This is what matters to all citizens of the Western Balkans".
A week after the EU lifted its trade measures against the Faroe Islands on herring and mackerel, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki received the Minister of Fisheries of the Faroe Islands, Mr Jacob Vestergaard, in Athens today. At a press point held after their meeting, Commissioner Damanaki made clear that “the herring dispute is over” which was “good news for all sides”. Over the past year, the EU and the Faroe Islands had disagreements about the sustainable management of mackerel, Atlanto Scandian herring and blue whiting in the North East Atlantic. As a consequence of the disproportionate catch limits unilaterally adopted by Faroe Islands for herring in 2013 which put in danger the sustainability of the stocks, the Commission responded with a prohibition to import herring and mackerel from the Faroe Islands in August 2013. This summer, the Faroe Islands agreed to end their unsustainable fishery, which led the EU to lift its measures. Commissioner Damanaki stated that she agreed with the Minister that sustainable fisheries in the North-East Atlantic was a “common objective” of both sides. Future catch limits would have to be agreed among all five coastal states involved in this fishery in the North-East Atlantic.