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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 01 / 04 / 2015

Brussels, 01 April 2015

EU-Ukraine: Commission welcomes Council's approval of additional €1.8bn assistance

The Council of the European Union has approved the Commission's proposal for new macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Ukraine. Only a few days after the European Parliament's approval last Wednesday, this paves the way for swift disbursement of up to €1.8bn in medium-term loans in 2015 (€1.2bn) and 2016 (€600m). The Commission yesterday also decided to disburse a final tranche of €250m under MFA 1, which is expected to take place still this month. The new MFA comes on top of what the EU is already contributing via the State Building contract in terms of humanitarian and technical assistance and in terms of project assistance. In the course of 2014, the Commission disbursed €1.36bn in support of Ukraine under existing MFA programmes. (for more information: Annika Breidthardt - Tel. +32 229 56153, Johannes Bahrke - Tel. +32 229 58615)

Italy: Commission restarts payments under the Operational Programme for the region of Calabria

The European Commission has notified Italy that EU payments under the Operational Programme for the region of Calabria for the programming period 2007-2013 can now restart. The Commission will proceed with a payment of 796 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) between now and the end of April. Commissioner Corina Creţu, in charge of Regional Policy, said: "This is excellent news and I welcome the efforts made by the Italian authorities to take the necessary corrective measures in the programme. The payments to the Operational Programme for Calabria can now restart, for the direct benefits of the Italian people and the regional economy. I will have the pleasure to congratulate the authorities personally during my visit to the region on 23 April." (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

New rules on labelling the origin of fresh meat apply

New rules on the labelling of fresh, chilled or frozen meat (from sheep, goats, pigs and poultry) will apply from 1 April 2015. The rules require the label to indicate the country which the animal was "reared in" and "slaughtered in". If animals were born, raised and slaughtered in the same country, then the label can simply state the "origin" country. Agreed by Member States in December 2013, the new rules were required under the Food Information for Consumers Regulation of 2011. They reflect the consumer interest above all in the place where animals are farmed while avoiding a major additional burden and costs for the supply chain. (for more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)

Mergers: Commission approves joint venture between Holtzbrinck and Springer Science + Business in publishing sector

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed joint venture between Holtzbrinck Publishing Group of Germany, and Springer Science + Business Media G.P. Acquisition SCA (SSBM) of the Netherlands. Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, controlled by Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH & Co. KG of Germany, is an international media company active in trade publishing, education and science, newspaper and magazines, as well as electronic media and services. SSBM, ultimately controlled by BC Partners Holdings Limited of the UK, is the parent company of SSBM Group, active mainly in the publishing of academic journals and books. The joint venture will combine all the activities of SSBM and its subsidiaries and most of the activities of Holtzbrinck’s business division Macmillan Science and Education. The parties' activities overlap mainly in the market for the provision of academic publishing and, marginally, in the markets for scientific online databases and workflow tools, marketing and communication as well as publishing related services. 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 in academic publishing as well as in the other related markets. The case 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.7476. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of MWV's European tobacco and packaging operations by AR Packaging

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the European tobacco business and the general packaging folding carton operations of MeadWestvaco Corporation's ("MWV") of the US by the AR Packaging Group of Sweden. AR Packaging produces folding carton packaging and flexible packaging on a global level. AR Packaging will acquire two Austrian subsidiaries of MWV as well as assets held by a Czech subsidiary of MWV. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of the moderate combined market positions resulting from the proposed transaction. 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.7513. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Delta Lloyd by investment fund Apollo

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Delta Lloyd of Germany by Apollo of the US. Apollo invests, through affiliated investment funds, in companies and corporate debt all over the world. Delta Lloyd, a subsidiary of Delta Lloyd N.V., provides life insurance and leases commercial real estate. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the companies' activities only overlap in a minimal manner in the real estate rental market in Germany. 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.7546(for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of German fuel wholesaler by Varo Energy Germany

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over GEKOL Mineralölhandel of Germany by Varo Energy of the Netherlands. Varo Energy is an existing joint venture between Vitol of the Netherlands and the Carlyle Group of the US. It is active in the refining of oil and the wholesale and storage of refined oil products in various EU Member States, including Germany. GEKOL is mainly active in the wholesale of jet fuel and various other refined oil products in Germany. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, as the parties' individual and combined positions on the relevant markets are very small and subject to strong competition. 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.7547. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Energy Union Dialogue: Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič visits Prague on 1 and 2 April

Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will be travelling to Prague today. During his visit he will meet with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and Minister of Industry and Commerce Jan Mládek. He will deliver a keynote at the European Energy Forum with energy stakeholders, representatives of the civil society and non-governmental organisations in the energy sector. The visit to Prague will be the first of a series of "Dialogues" on theEnergy Union that the Vice-President will hold in Member States. Ahead of the visit, Vice-President Sefčovič said: "The Energy Union integrates various EU policies including energy, transport, industry, research and innovation, regional policy and other policies. The Commission will cooperate with stakeholders on the implementation of the 15 actions to achieve more sustainable, secure, competitive and affordable energy for both – Czech citizens and companies". On 25 February, the Commission outlined its “Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy” delivering on this top priority set out in President Juncker's political guidelines. The Strategy underlines that the governance process of the Energy Union should involve an energy dialogue with stakeholders to inform policy-making and support active engagement in managing the energy transition. More information is available on the Commission’s website on the Energy Union. (for more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

Duty schedule for the Spokesperson's Service

From 2 to 6 April 2015, the Commission operates a duty roster. The duty schedule for the Spokesperson's Service and mobile phone numbers of the Spokespersons in charge is available on the Commission's website.

 

MEX/15/4736

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