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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 17/02/2016

Brussels, 17 February 2016

European Commission places 'Task Force for the Turkish Cypriot Community' under the direct management of President Juncker and Vice-President Dombrovskis

Today the European Commission has decided to transfer the 'Task Force for the Turkish Cypriot Community', the Commission's team in charge of the application of the EU Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot Community and of assisting the Turkish Cypriot to prepare for the reunification of Cyprus, to the Secretariat General's Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) which will coordinate all the Commission's efforts in facilitating the process for the reunification of Cyprus. The decision takes effect immediately and underlines the Commission's readiness to continue supporting actively the process at all levels. The 'Task Force for the Turkish Cypriot Community' was set up in 2004 and was part, as from 2014, of Directorate-General for Regional Policy. (For more information: Alexander Winterstein - Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

 

Transport infrastructure: Commission receives funding applications worth €13bn and invites project promoters to make use of Investment Plan

The European Commission and the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) have closed the second call for proposals of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), worth more than €7.6 billion to finance key transport projects in the European Union. 427 project proposals were received, totalling €12.96 billion of requested EU funding. An optimal use of CEF funding is an integral part of the Commission's Investment Plan and delivers on President Jean-Claude Juncker's agenda of growth and job creation. The applications having the highest European added value will be shortlisted. EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "I am glad that so many project promoters are eager to invest in efficient, intelligent and sustainable transportation. The Connecting Europe Facility may be the largest funding instrument ever dedicated to transport by the EU, it nevertheless cannot match this enthusiasm. I therefore encourage all applicants and other project promoters to also publish their project on the European Investment Project Portal to reach potential investors worldwide". The outcome of the calls will be published by summer 2016. More information is available here. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

The Commission approves new Protected Designation of Origin from The Netherlands

The Commission has approved the addition of a new product to the register of Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs). Cultivated in the Netherlands, 'Brabantse Wal asperges’ is a white asparagus with a slightly salted and non-bitter taste.  It is grown in the southwest of North Brabant Province, called the 'Brabantse Wal'. This area is the Netherlands' oldest growing area and up to the 1950s Bergen op Zoom was the Netherlands' largest asparagus-growing area. The 'Brabantse Wal asperges' are grown sustainably using fewer chemical plant-protection products than is customary. This denomination will be added to the list of over 1,320 products already protected. More information: webpages on quality products and DOOR database of protected products. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56 185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52 509)

 

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Procter & Gamble's beauty products businesses by Coty

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Procter & Gamble's beauty products businesses by Coty. The Commission concluded that strong independent players would remain active in all the concerned markets. Coty and Procter & Gamble ("P&G") are both US manufacturers of beauty products. Their main products are fragrances, colour cosmetics and skin & body products. The Commission investigated whether the acquisition would reduce competition and lead to higher prices for these consumer goods in Europe, in particular for fragrances and colour cosmetics. After its investigation the Commission concluded that competition in these markets would remain sufficiently strong to prevent price increases for European consumers. A full press release is available in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over RAC by CVC and Sphinx

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over RAC Group (Holding) Limited of the UK by CVC Capital Partners SICAV-FIS S.A. of Luxembourg and Sphinx Investment Pte Ltd of Singapore. RAC offers breakdown and other motor-related services in the UK and Ireland. CVC and Sphinx are investment companies holding investments in companies active in various industries. The companies' activities do not overlap. However, a vertical relationship arises from CVC's portfolio company Fraikin's activities in full fleet leasing and flexible vehicle contract hire services, which could be used by RAC for providing its motor breakdown services. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the companies' moderate positions and the number of strong competitors active on these markets. 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.7907. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over SSO by Mitsubishi and KKR

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over South Staffordshire Plc of the United Kingdom ("SSP") by Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan and KKR & Co. L.P of the United States. SSP provides regulated water services, such as the abstraction of water, the treatment of abstracted water and the distribution of water to users via a network of underground pipes, as well as non-regulated water services (water treatment, waste waters, water tankering, etc.) and related services. Mitsubishi Corporation is a global integrated trading company and KKR is a global investment firm. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because none of the KKR and Mitsubishi Corporation portfolio companies compete neither on the same market as SSP nor in related markets. 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.7929.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

State Aid: latest Scoreboard shows how State Aid Modernisation has cut red tape for unproblematic aid

The European Commission has updated its State Aid Scoreboard, which shows that in 2014 Member States (EU28) spent €101.2 billion, i.e. 0.72% of GDP, on state aid to manufacturing services, agriculture and fisheries. This is an increase of around €33 billion from 2013, reflecting Member States' increased awareness, following adoption of the 2014 Energy and Environmental Aid Guidelines, that renewable energy support involves state aid. The Member States also made extensive use of the possibilities offered by the 2014 modernisation of State aid rules, in particular the new General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). There was a significant increase in unproblematic aid measures that could be granted without prior Commission scrutiny – over nine out of ten state aid measures were registered under GBER. This reduced administrative red tape, giving Member States more responsibility for ensuring compliance with the rules and allowing the Commission to focus its attention on more distortive aid. The Scoreboard shows for the first time national spending on individual state aid schemes, as well as data on public support for renewable energy sources and on Structural Fund expenditure, where it was used to co-finance state aid measures. This increases transparency on public spending and promotes better aid. As of 1 July 2016, Member States will also be required to publish, for each state aid award above €500,000, the identity of the beneficiary, the amount and objective of the aid and the legal basis. This information will be available through the "Transparency Award Module" accessible on the Commission and Member State websites. The State Aid Scoreboard is available here. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

 

Eurostat: Production in construction down by 0.6% in euro area

In December 2015 compared with November 2015, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector fell by 0.6% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.1% in the EU28, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In November 2015, production in construction grew by 0.9% in the euro area and by 0.7% in the EU28. In December 2015 compared with December 2014, production in construction fell by 0.4% in the euro area and grew by 1.4% in the EU28. Average production in construction for the year 2015, compared with 2014, decreased by 1.0% in the euro area and increased by 0.8% in the EU28. A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietila – Tel.: +32 229 64950)

MEX/16/330


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