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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 09 / 09 / 2016

Brussels, 9 September 2016

End of roaming charges in June 2017: Commission will redefine 'fair use policy'

A few days ago, the Commission's services started a consultation on the draft measures related to the end of roaming charges foreseen in June 2017. In light of the initial feed-back received, President Juncker has instructed the services to withdraw that text and to work on a new proposal.  For more than a decade, the Commission has been working hard to reduce roaming charges imposed on European travellers. Indeed, since 2007 roaming prices have decreased by more than 90% for calls, text messages and data. When the European Parliament and the Council agreed to the Commission's proposal to abolish roaming charges, they asked the Commission to define measures to prevent roaming services from being used for other reasons than periodic travelling (so-called "fair use policy"). A new proposal will be presented soon. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


Commissioner Jourová met European consumer organisations on the Volkswagen case

Yesterday, 31 consumer organisations from all over Europe came to Brussels on Commissioner Jourová's invitation to start working on solutions to better protect consumers in the context of the Volkswagen emissions case. This meeting is part of the Commission's efforts to ensure that EU consumers across the 28 Member States get a fair treatment in this case. Commissioner Jourová said: "This was an important first step and this cooperation will continue. I will discuss this with the Volkswagen Group and with enforcement authorities. I want to ensure consumers get a fair treatment." The meeting helped the European Commission to gather the information necessary to assess whether the relevant EU legislation is properly enforced and it gave consumer organisations the chance to exchange information and best practices to be more effective in dealing with this case. Commissioner Jourová has committed to discussing the results of yesterday's meeting with Volkswagen and the relative enforcement authorities in the coming weeks. This initiative follows previous calls of Internal Market and Industry Commissioner Bieńkowska for voluntary compensation of European consumers without the need for class action. For more information on the Commission's wider actions to make vehicles more environment-friendly and to restore consumer confidence in their cars, please consult the European Strategy for low-emission mobility as well as these FAQs on vehicle type approval. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 6225; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)


European Commission awards €485 million in grants to 325 early-career researchers

The EU's European Research Council (ERC) is awarding 325 early-career researchers with €485million worth in total funding which will enable them to set up their own research teams and pursue ground-breaking ideas. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Through these ERC 'Starting Grants', the EU attracts young research talent and keeps it in Europe. With the EU backing, these grantees will be able to pursue their best ideas, but also create quality jobs for more research staff who wish to work on the frontiers of science. Ultimately they will contribute to creating the most valuable resource Europe has: human capital." The funded research covers a wide range of topics,from physical sciences and engineering to life sciences, social sciences and humanities. The projects that have received funding include work on improving effectiveness of chemotherapy in cancer treatment, developing new sustainable ways of producing hydrogen fuel, and exploring citizenship law to better manage migration and uphold human rights. The grants are awarded under the 'excellent science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. More information can be found here. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)


Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Morrison Utility Services by First Reserve

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Morrison Utility Services Group Limited of the United Kingdom by FR XIII Foxtrot AIV, L.P. ("First Reserve") of the Cayman Islands. Morrison Utility provides infrastructure services to utility companies in the electricity, gas, water and telecommunications sectors. First Reserve is a global private equity and infrastructure investment group focused on investing in the energy industry. The Commission concluded that the proposed merger would raise no competition concerns because of the companies' negligible market shares and the significant number of competitors active in the European Economic Area in the markets concerned. 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.8178. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella- Tel.: +32 229 86801)


Mergers: Commission clears joint acquisition of Olenex joint venture by ADM and Wilmar

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the joint acquisition of Olenex B.V. ("Olenex") of the Netherlands by Archers Daniels Midland Company ("ADM") of the US and the Wilmar group of Singapore. Olenex will refine crude oil in four processing facilities, transferred to Olenex by ADM and Wilmar, in Germany and the Netherlands and sell bulk refined oil, packed refined oil and vegetable fats worldwide. ADM is a major multinational processor of oilseeds, corn, sugar, wheat and other agricultural commodities. Wilmar’s business activities include oil palm cultivation, oilseed crushing, edible oil refining, sugar milling and refining, specialty fats, flour and rice milling and oleo chemicals. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because the activities of ADM and Wilmar overlap only to a limited extent as regards the different types of bulk refined oil of vegetable or tropical origin. Furthermore, the overlaps are also moderate with respect to vegetable fats. 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.7963.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella- Tel.: +32 229 86801)


Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of a toll road concession in Mexico by CPPIB, OTPP and IDEAL

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Arco Norte of Mexico by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board (OTPP), both of Canada, together with current parent Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en América Latina (IDEAL) of Mexico. Arco Norte holds a concession for the exploitation, operation and maintenance of a toll road in Mexico known as the ‘Libramiento Norte de la Ciudad de México’. CPPIB and OTTP both manage and invest pension plan assets, while IDEAL manages and operates a portfolio of infrastructure assets in Mexico and in Panama. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because Arco Norte is only active in Mexico. 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.8173. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Angela Nardella- Tel.: +32 229 86801)


European Commission appoints new Head of Representation in Copenhagen, Denmark

The European Commission has appointed Ms Stina Soewarta as the new Head of the European Commission Representation in Denmark. Ms Soewarta, a Danish national, who is taking up her duties on 16 September 2016, brings more than twenty years of European and International affairs experience to the post. She first joined the European Commission in 1998. In 2004, Ms Soewarta took up the position as a Member and, later, Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs (2004-2010). Since November 2012, Ms Soewarta has been working in the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development as Head of Unit for Communication. A complete press release for Ms Stina Soewarta is available online, also in DE, FR and DA. (For more information: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265)




Johannes Hahn meeting the new Serbian government in Belgrade

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will visit Belgrade on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 September. Meeting Mr Aleksandar Vučić, Commissioner Hahn will congratulate in person for his appointment as new Prime Minister of Serbia. The Commissioner will also meet the new Serbian Government, members of the Parliament as well as representatives of the business community and young entrepreneurs. The scope of the mission will be discussions on Serbia's EU accession process and regional co-operation, taking stock of progress made and setting out the ways forward. Ahead of the visit Johannes Hahn, said: "I look forward to going back to Belgrade to meet the new government of Prime Minister Vučić and continuing the excellent and trustful cooperation which we have established over the past years. EU commitment to Serbia's EU path is firm as demonstrated by the opening of four chapters in Serbia's accession process. Of course, difficult challenges lie ahead. This includes the rule of law agenda, where now Serbia needs to implement what it has foreseen in its action plans for chapters 23 and 24. I acknowledge and appreciate Serbia's active and constructive contribution to preserving peace and stability in the region as well as its helpful approach in dealing with the migration crisis." Photos and videos of the visit will be available on EbS (For more information: Maja Kocijancic – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Alceo Smerilli – Tel.: +32 229 64887)


European Commission to announce additional support to improve living conditions for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Greece

Tomorrow, at the Thessaloniki International Fair, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides will announce additional funding to under the EU Emergency Support Instrument, together with the Greek Alternate Minister for Migration, Ioannis Mouzalas. "The European Commission continues to put solidarity into action to better manage the refugee crisis. The new funding has the key aim to improve conditions for refugees in Greece, and make a difference ahead of the upcoming winter.  Over the past months, we have significantly contributed to restore dignified living conditions, in cooperation with the Greek government and humanitarian organisations.  Together, we will continue our work until our job is done", said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The new emergency support will come on top of the €83 million the European Commission has already provided earlier this year to international organisations and NGOs to address the most pressing humanitarian needs in Greece, including shelters, primary health care, psycho-social support, improved hygiene conditions as well as informal education and safe spaces for children and women. In urgent and exceptional circumstances such as the increased influx of refugees in Europe, the European Commission can fund humanitarian aid for people in need within the EU territory through the Emergency Support Instrument. Until 2018, €700 million of EU-funding will be made available via partner organisations, such as UN agencies, the Red Cross and non-governmental organisations. Commissioner Stylianides and Mr Ioannis Mouzalas will hold a press conference which will be broadcasted live on EBS tomorrow at 14:00. (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256)


Commissioner Navracsics to launch European Week of Sport in Košice

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, will be in Košice, Slovakia, tomorrow to officially launch the second edition of the European Week of Sport, the Commission's #BeActive campaign to promote sport and physical activity across Europe. Ahead of this event, he said: "At a time when inequalities, division and intolerance threaten to tear us apart, we need to use the potential of sport to build bridges. Sport helps create personal networks, it enables us to learn about and better understand each other and it is an important tool to promote and strengthen the values that underpin our societies, values such as mutual respect and dialogue." As in 2015, thousands of activities will be taking place in 31 participating countries – agenda available here. The Week is also an opportunity to put the spotlight on policy priorities. This year's flagship event will focus on good governance and integrity in sport and will take place in Brussels on 15 September. For more information on what the EU is doing for Sport, see Sport in the EU. During his visit to Košice, Commissioner Navracsics will also take part in a Citizens' Dialogue alongside Peter Plavčan, Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. The Dialogue’s themes will focus on education and culture, their role in fostering growth and jobs, and the future of the EU. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)


11-12 September: Commissioner Andriukaitis participates in G7 Health Ministers' Meeting in Kobe, Japan

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, will represent the European Union at the G7 Health Ministers Meeting in Kobe (Japan), from Sunday 11 to Monday 12 September 2016. This is one of the Ministerial meetings of the May 2016 G7 Ise-Shima Summit. It brings leaders from around the world together in Kobe to address the most pressing health problems facing the international community today. Discussions will revolve around three key topics: 1) reinforcing the global health architecture, 2) antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and research & development, and 3) attaining universal health coverage, focusing on population ageing. The meeting will end with closing remarks by the Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, and a joint press conference. The G7 summit is a forum that plays an important role in shaping global responses to global challenges, complementing the global economic coordination carried out by the G20. Last year's G7 summit was held in in Schloss Elmau, Bavaria (Germany) under German presidency. In accordance with the rotating presidency of the G7, next summits will be held in Italy (2017), Canada (2018), France (2019), and the USA (2020). For more information see here. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)


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