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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 13 / 03 / 2015

Brussels, 13 March 2015

Rail Passenger Rights: Protection of passengers in EU still far from reality, shows Commission report

A new report on rail passengers' rights and obligations published today by the European Commission reveals that only four EU Member States have fully applied the Regulation on rail passenger rights, while 22 Member States have granted exemptions to varying degrees. Cyprus and Malta have no railways. The report also stresses that the application of extensive exemptions have led to an uneven level of legal protection for both passengers and the rail industry in the European single market. Looking ahead, the findings show that only one more Member State intends to fully apply the rules, without making use of the exemptions. A level playing field for railway undertakings and a high level of protection for passengers in the EU is not yet a reality. Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport, said: "The protection of passengers when travelling in Europe is a cornerstone of European transport. If Member States don't change anything, travellers won't fully benefit from their rights. Therefore this modern piece of legislation, in favour of Europeans, risks becoming an empty shell." Rules on rail passengers' rights apply, in principle, to all rail passenger services in the EU. However, the Regulation allows Member States to grant exemptions to certain domestic services. (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Joshua Salsby – Tel.: +32 229 72459)                   

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of automotive components manufacturer TRW by rival ZF, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of the global automotive component manufacturer TRW of the US by its rival ZF Friedrichshafen of Germany under the EU Merger Regulation. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of TRW’s businesses in the design, manufacturing and sale of chassis components. The Commission had concerns that the deal as notified could have led to price increases for chassis components because the few remaining players in this market would have been unable to sufficiently constrain the merged entity. The commitments offered by ZF address these concerns. A full press release is available online. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of ESSO's French fuel distribution business by Irish DCC Energy

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the French retail motor fuel distribution business of ESSO SAF of France by DCC Energy of Ireland. DCC Energy is present in various industries, such as healthcare, environment or food and beverage, but is not active in fuel distribution. The target business operates a motor fuel distribution chain under the Esso brand in France. It consists of 272 retail service stations, 48 motorways service stations (toll and non-toll) and 67 service stations. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because there are no overlaps between the companies' activities. 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.7508.  (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)




Statement by Commissioner Christos Stylianides as Syria crisis enters its 5th year

This week the crisis in Syria enters into its fifth year. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides says in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we mark yet another tragic anniversary of the Syria crisis. The humanitarian situation inside Syria is worsening every day. A staggering 12.2 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in the country – nearly one third more than a year ago". Commissioner Stylianides reiterates the EU's solidarity with the people of Syria and says that the upcoming annual pledging conference for the Syria crisis at the end of the month will be a test of the international community's commitment. (for more info: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Irina Novakova, +32 2 29 57517)

Commissioner Vestager delivers keynote speech on EU merger control – Thoughts on merger reform and market definition

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, has delivered a keynote address yesterday at the Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht on EU merger control and potential reforms. She said that she would take the time and care to design an effective system to deal with control of minority shareholdings "otherwise we risk adding too much red-tape". Commissioner Vestager also reminded that EU merger control defends "competition in the Single Market, not the competitors that do business in it". (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)




Agriculture and Fisheries Council on Monday 16 March 2015

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting will take place in Brussels on 16 March 2015. The Commission will be represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan and by Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis. Commissioner Hogan will present the state of play of the dairy market a few weeks before the end of the milk quotas due on 31 March 2015. Ministers will also discuss the proposal for a regulation on organic farming (public session) and will share their priorities and best practices on the simplification and implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Commission will also brief the Council on a plant bacterium currently affecting olive trees (Xylella fastidiosa). The Presidency will invite Ministers for a lunch to informally exchange views on international agricultural trade issues. A press conference will be held at the end of the meeting around 18.00. The public session and the press conference can be followed by video streaming. (for more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56 185; Enrico Brivio – Tel: +32 229 56 172)

Southern Gas Corridor: Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič attends opening ceremony of gas pipeline TANAP in Turkey

Vice-President for Energy Union Šefčovič will travel to Turkey on 16-17 March. Together with Turkish President Erdogan and Azeri President Aliyev, Vice-President Šefčovič will attend the opening ceremony for the Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline (TANAP) – a symbolic laying of the pipeline to mark the start of the construction works. TANAP will be a central part of the Southern Gas Corridor which will connect the gas fields in the Caspian Sea region with the gas consumption markets in the EU. By the end of 2019, TANAP will be transporting 16 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey and Europe from the Shah Deniz II gas field in Azerbaijan which contains one of the largest gas deposits in the world. Enhancing security of energy supply and diversification of supplies are at the heart of the Commission's Energy Union Strategy launched on 25 February. Vice-President Šefčovič will also meet Turkish Energy Minister Yildiz to discuss energy cooperation between the EU and Turkey. (for more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel: +32 229 52589)

Energy Union: Becoming the world leader in renewable energy

European renewable energy companies employ over a million people, with a turnover of 130 billion euro. The EU is well on track to meeting its target of having 20% of energy consumption come from renewable sources by 2020. This positive trend is reinforced under the recently launched Energy Union Strategy, which will enable delivering on President Juncker's commitment of making the EU the world leader in renewables: Weneed to strengthen the share of renewable energies on our continent. This is not only a matter of a responsible climate change policy. It is, at the same time, an industrial policy imperative if we still want to have affordable energy at our disposal in the medium term.” The Commission's Conference EU leading on renewable energy policy - Delivering on 2020 targets and beyond which takes place in Brussels on 17 March aims at addressing the contribution of renewable energies to sustainability, security and competitiveness. EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will open the event that particularly focuses on the policy and legal frameworks for renewables and technological innovation for renewables industry. Registration: Follow on twitter under Hashtag: #EUleadingRES (for more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)



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