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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 22/01/2016

Brussels, 22 January 2016

EU joint mission to Turkey: together to discuss common challenges

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini together with Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides will pay an official visit to Turkey. Commissioner Stylianides will arrive in Turkey this weekend, and will visit EU funded humanitarian aid projects assisting mainly refugees from Syria and Iraq in the regions most affected by the crisis. During the visit, HR/VP Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn will attend the High-Level Political Dialogue Meeting with the Turkish counterparts, in Ankara. The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the common challenges ahead as key partners and strategic allies in the region. In addition to dialogue with the authorities, HR/VP Mogherini and Commissioners Hahn and Stylianides will also meet with the representatives of the four main political parties and civil society representatives. HR/VP Mogherini and Commissioner Stylianides will then travel to the South East of Turkey to meet representatives of the many religious and ethnic communities living together in the region. Videos and photos of the visit will be available on EbS. (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229-86570; Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229-90677; Alceo Smerilli - Tel.: +32 229-64887, Daniel Puglisi Tel.: +32 229-69140)

 

Commissioner Hogan welcomes improved market access to India for EU apple exports

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan welcomes the announcement on the improved access to the Indian market for EU apple exports: "Improved access to the Indian market represents another positive step in finding alternative markets for EU producers, in light of the ongoing difficult market situation. Our efforts to break down any barriers to our agricultural exports and to open markets to our producers are ongoing, as part of the diplomatic offensive we are leading in 2016". While all access points were closed to apples imports since September 2015 with the exception of one port, as of this week, European producers can get their apples into the Indian market through the sea ports and airports in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Cochin, as well as the airport in Delhi. The importation of apples is also allowed through India’s land borders. The Indian market has huge potential. EU exports of apples to India amounted to only around 7,000 tonnes in 2014, mainly from Italy, France and Belgium. Although provisional figures for 2015 show a considerable increase to around 11,000 tonnes, India has the potential to absorb a higher share of EU exports given its moderate domestic apple production (around 1.5 million tonnes in 2013, similar to Italy). While the Russian embargo on EU agri-food products lasts, European producers continue to actively seek alternative markets with the support of Member States and the European Commission. In this context, Poland reached an agreement with India and the first Polish apples entered the market in April 2015. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

European Commission awards €20 million in top-up grants for most promising innovation projects

Today, the European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 135 grants in the third round of its €20 million Proof of Concept competition, which awards the most promising innovation projects by existing ERC grantees with up to €150 000 in funding. Announcing the grants at the a press conference about attracting talent to Europe at the World Economic Forum in Davos EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Carlos Moedas said: "There can be no sustainable environment for European innovation without scientific excellence. Proof of Concept grants help researchers bridge the divide between academia and the market. They support the frontier science that leads to innovation with real-life applications, creating new opportunities for European jobs and products." The grants, which can be used to establish intellectual property rights, or look for business opportunities, will seek to develop such innovative products like customised cancer treatments based on DNA information, develop super-hard graphene fibres weaved by bionic silkworms, and support the restoration of medieval architectural processes. More information can be found in the ERC press release. The press conference in Davos will start at 12:30 and will be web-streamed here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of UniCarriers Holdings by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of UniCarriers Holdings Corporation ('UCHC') of Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. ('MHI') of Japan. MHI is a multinational engineering, electrical equipment and electronics company active amongst others in the production and sale of forklifts and warehouse equipment in the European Economic Area (EEA). UCHC is a holding company active in the development, manufacture and marketing of forklifts, containers carriers, transfer cranes and forklift engines. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition raises no competition concerns, as the companies' market shares are very low in the markets where their activities overlap. The operation was examined under the simplified merger procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7880. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of TEN by Engie and REC

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Transmisora Eléctrica del Norte S.A. (TEN) of Chile by Engie S.A. of France and Red Eléctrica Corporación S.A. (REC) of Spain. Engie is a global energy player active in the areas of  electricity, natural gas and energy services. REC operates the national electricity grid and power transmission system in Spain and is also active in some countries in South America. TEN has currently no activity on the market but will develop and operate an electricity transmission line in Chile. The companies' activities do not overlap. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns. 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.7889. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of HRA Pharma by Astorg Asset Management and Goldman Sachs. 

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of HRA Pharma, a French company that develops and sells pharmaceutical products and devices in women health and endocrinology sectors, by Astorg Asset Management, a private equity investment firm and Goldman Sachs, a global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns, given that there are no overlaps between the activities of HRA Pharma on the one hand and the activities of portfolio companies controlled by Astorg and Goldman Sachs, on the other hand. 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.7887. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

GMOs: Commission withdraws authorisation of 4 GMOs for food/ feed uses

The Commission has withdrawn today the authorisation of 4 GMOs for food/feed uses, MON863 maize, MON863xMON810xNK603 maize, MON863xMON810 maize and MON863xNK603 maize. These GMOs have not been cultivated worldwide since 2011 and their commercial phase out is completed, therefore the company has asked for their withdrawal. For more information, see here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

Eurostat: Government debt fell to 91.6% of GDP in euro area

At the end of the third quarter of 2015, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA19) stood at 91.6%, compared with 92.3% at the end of the second quarter of 2015. In the EU28, the ratio decreased from 87.7% to 86.0%. This decrease in the EU28 government debt to GDP ratio is driven by exchange rate fluctuations of non-euro area Member States against the euro. Compared with the third quarter of 2014, the government debt to GDP ratio fell in the euro area (from 92.3% to 91.6%) and in the EU28 (from 86.9% to 86.0%). A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151

 

Eurostat: Seasonally adjusted government deficit down to 1.8% of GDP in the euro area

In the third quarter of 2015, the seasonally adjusted general government deficit to GDP ratio stood at 1.8% in the euro area (EA19), a decrease compared with 2.2% in the second quarter of 2015. In the EU28, the deficit to GDP ratio stood at 2.3%, a decrease compared with 2.6% in the previous quarter.A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151)

 

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