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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 24 / 02 / 2015

Brussels, 24 February 2015

EU funded Ebola treatment delivers encouraging results

The fight against Ebola has moved one step closer to an effective treatment against the disease. Thanks to EU funding from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) last night announced encouraging evidence that the antiviral drug favipiravir might be an effective treatment against early Ebola disease. Welcoming the announcement by INSERM researchers, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: "I am excited about the encouraging results of one of our EU-funded projects to tackle Ebola. We have preliminary evidence that the antiviral drug 'favipiravir' may be effective against early Ebola disease. If these results are confirmed by the ongoing clinical trial, it will be the first-ever treatment to be deployed against this deadly disease during the current outbreak." Read the full statement online. A factsheet on this EU funded project is also available online. (for more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Bratoz – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

Investment Plan for Europe: roadshow arrives in the Czech Republic

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness travels to Prague today. Vice-President Katainen will meet Mr Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic, and Mr Andrej Babiš, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister for Economics. He will also hold meetings with Members of the Czech Parliament and key stakeholders. Together with Ms Karla Šlechtová, Minister for Regional Development, Vice-President Katainen will visit Lasak, a research-intensive company that used EU financial support to build its research and development centre for dental implantology and tissue regeneration. Vice-President Katainen said: "I welcome the Czech government's clear expression of support for the Investment Plan. The unlocking of public and private funds under the Plan will contribute to addressing the current investment gap in the Czech Republic." (for more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153, Siobhan Bright - Tel.:+32 229 57361)

How digital is your country? Find out in the new EU Digital Index

How many citizens go online to watch videos or use public services? How many smaller businesses sell over the internet? How many homes have high-speed broadband? The answers to these questions – and 30 more – will be revealed today through the new EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). This tool provides a ranking of countries according to their digital performance. It shows progress to be made and actions to be taken to create a fully-fledged Digital Single Market – one of the top priorities of the Juncker Commission. The Index will be presented this afternoon at the Digital4EU forum in Brussels. Both Vice-President Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, and Commissioner Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, will give keynote speeches at the event (coverage by EbS). Press material, including factsheets per country, will be published at 14.40 here. (for more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Marie Frenay – Tel.: +32 229 64532) 

Mergers: Commission clears Liberty Global’s acquisition of controlling stake in De Vijver Media, subject to commitments

Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation Liberty Global's acquisition of a stake in the Belgian media company De Vijver Media NV (“De Vijver”). The decision is subject to commitments. The Commission had concerns that, after the transaction, De Vijver would refuse to license its channels to TV distributors that compete with Telenet, a cable company controlled by Liberty Global. The commitments address these concerns by obliging De Vijver to license its channels – Vier, Vijf and any other similar channel it may launch – to TV distributors in Belgium under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. A press release is available here. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso +32 229 80100, Carolina Luna +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into General Electric's proposed acquisition of Alstom's energy businesses

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether General Electric's (GE) proposed acquisition of the Thermal Power, Renewable Power & Grid businesses of Alstom is in line with the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission’s preliminary investigation indicates potential competition concerns in the market for heavy-duty gas turbines which are mainly used in gas-fired power plants. The transaction would bring together the activities of GE, the world's largest manufacturer of heavy-duty gas turbines, with those of Alstom, eliminating one of the three main global competitors to GE in this market. The opening of an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 8 July 2015, to take a final decision. A press release is available here. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso +32 229 80100, Carolina Luna +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Cargill and ADM's proposed industrial chocolate merger

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed acquisition of the industrial chocolate business of Archer Daniels Midland ("ADM") by Cargill is in line with the EU Merger Regulation. Both US-based companies supply industrial chocolate as well as fat-based coatings and fillings. The Commission’s preliminary investigation showed potential competition concerns in the supply of industrial chocolate to customers in Germany and the UK. The proposed transaction could eliminate an important competitor and reduce the choice of suitable suppliers in already concentrated markets, which could lead to price increases. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 8 July 2015, to investigate the proposed acquisition in-depth and determine whether these initial concerns are correct. The opening of an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. A press release is available here. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso +32 229 80100, Carolina Luna +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears Daimler and Kamaz joint venture in the Russian and Belarussian automotive sector

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by Daimler AG, of Germany, and Kamaz OJSC, of Russia. Daimler is active in the development, manufacture and distribution of automotive products (mainly passenger cars, trucks, vans and buses). Kamaz is active in the production of trucks, trailers, tractors, chassis, engines, power units, and multifunctional armoured vehicles. The joint venture will be active in the production of light-duty and heavy-duty trucks and in the welding and painting of truck cabins. The Commission's investigation found that the proposed acquisition will not raise any competition concerns, because the joint venture will only be active in Russia and Belarus. The Commission examined the operation 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.7497. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso +32 229 80100, Carolina Luna +32 229 68386)

Eurostat: Annual inflation down to -0.6% in the euro area

Euro area annual inflation was -0.6% in January 2015, down from -0.2% in December. This was the lowest rate recorded since July 2009. In January 2014 the rate was 0.8%. European Union annual inflation was -0.5% in January 2015, down from -0.1% in December. A year earlier the rate was 0.9%. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In January 2015, negative annual rates were observed in twenty-three Member States. The lowest annual rates were registered in Greece (-2.8%) and Bulgaria (-2.3%). Positive annual rates were recorded in Malta (0.8%), Austria and Romania (both 0.5%), Sweden (0.4%) and the United Kingdom (0.3%). Compared with December 2014, annual inflation fell in almost all Member States, except Cyprus, Malta and Sweden. The largest upward impacts to euro area annual inflation came from restaurants & cafés and rents (+0.14 percentage points each) and tobacco (+0.07 pp), while fuels for transport (-0.77 pp), heating oil (-0.24 pp) and telecommunications (-0.05 pp) had the biggest downward impacts. A Eurostat press release is available online. (for more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

First Vice-President Timmermans visits Parliament and Ministers in Berlin

On Tuesday 24 February, Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans travels to Berlin. At around 10.30 there will be a joint press point following a meeting with Thomas de Maizière, Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany. At 13.30, he gives a keynote speech to the conference 'Investment, growth and employment - our way to a strong Europe'. First Vice-President will Timmermans also meet Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Minister of Finance, Heiko Maas, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, Peter Altmaier, Chief of Staff of the Chancellery and Federal Minister for Special Affairs, Norbert Lammert, President of the Bundestag, and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Sustainable Development. (for more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602)

Commissioner Mimica to attend the EU - Overseas Countries and Territories Forum

European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will attend the 13th EU-Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) Forum in British Virgin Islands (25-27 February). At this annual meeting he will engage with OCT partners in dialogue over issues of mutual interest, notably concerning regional cooperation and the sustainable use of natural resources. Ahead of the Forum, Commissioner Mimica said: “The objective of the Forum is to enhance policy dialogue in areas of mutual interest with the EU Overseas Countries and Territories. Our partnership has the potential to deliver more in terms of focus and results - an approach we are pursuing with EU development policy as a whole. With regional allocations more than doubled under the new European Development Fund, we will have a great opportunity to undertake large-scale projects and to make best use of the funds available, fostering competitiveness, innovation and green growth.” In addition to participating in the Forum, the Commissioner will also hold a series of meetings with Member States' and OCT representatives. (for more information: Catherine Ray - Tel.: +32 229 69921, Sharon Zarb - Tel.: +32 229 92256)

MEX/15/4484

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