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European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 29 / 02 / 2016

Brussels, 29 February 2016

European Commission publishes EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

The European Commission today issued a Communication taking stock of its work to restore trust in transatlantic data flows since the 2013 surveillance revelations. The Commission also published a draft "adequacy decision" of the Commission as well as the texts that will constitute the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. This includes the Privacy Shield Principles companies have to abide by, as well as written commitments by the U.S. Government (to be published in the U.S. Federal Register) on the enforcement of the arrangement, including assurance on the safeguards and limitations concerning access to data by public authorities. Vice-President Ansip said: "Now we start turning the EU-US Privacy Shield into reality. Both sides of the Atlantic work to ensure that the personal data of citizens will be fully protected and that we are fit for the opportunities of the digital age." Commissioner Jourová added: "Protection of personal data is my priority both inside the EU and internationally. The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is a strong new framework, based on robust enforcement and monitoring, easier redress for individuals and, for the first time, written assurance from our U.S. partners on the limitations and safeguards regarding access to data by public authorities on national security grounds." Now, a committee composed of representatives of the Member States will be consulted and the EU Data Protection Authorities (Article 29 Working Party) will give their opinion, before a final decision by the College. A press release, a Q&A and a factsheet are available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

New survey shows highest support for development aid amongst EU citizens in 6 years

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, today presented the results from the EU's International Cooperation and Development Eurobarometer survey. Figures show that the vast majority of Europeans hold a positive view about the benefits of international cooperation and development. Almost three quarters of those participating in the survey agreed that development aid is an effective way to tackle irregular migration (73%) and 80% of Europeans believe that development is in the EU’s own interest. Following the announcement of the results, Commissioner Mimica said: “Eurobarometer results clearly show that EU citizens know about and value the importance of the EU's international cooperation and development. Almost nine out of ten respondents think that helping developing countries is important, while more than seven out of ten agree that tackling poverty in developing countries has a positive influence on EU citizens. So at a time when Europe is challenged to make the case of its relevance to its citizens, we should seize this opportunity and make sure that we show the results of what we do, the impact it has on the ground, the difference it makes to the lives of people and how it benefits Europe's values and interests." A press release is available online. (For more information: Alexandre Polack Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

 

Commission welcomes US reopening of its market to Dutch beef

The United States announced that it will lift its ban on beef from the Netherlands. This is a welcome step towards the re-opening of the US market, closed since the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak in the 1990s. After Ireland and Lithuania, the Netherlands is the third EU country to gain access to the US market since the BSE-related ban.  The opening of the US market to Dutch beef sends a positive signal to producers in other parts of the EU that are still waiting for the end of the disproportionately strict and lasting US trade restrictions.  EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström and Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan welcomed the reopening of the market in a press release available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185)

 

EU signs reciprocal short stay visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic passports with China

Today representatives of the European Commission, the Dutch EU Council Presidency, and the government of China will sign a reciprocal short stay visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic passports. This agreement will allow visa free travel to the EU for citizens of China holding a diplomatic passport for stays up to 90 days (within any 180-day period) as well as for EU citizens travelling to China and holding a diplomatic passport or an EU laissez-passer. The agreement will provisionally enter into force on the third day following the date of signature. It will not apply to the United Kingdom and Ireland. Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said ahead of the signature of the agreement: “This is an important agreement not only because it is the first international agreement between the EU and China in the field of Home Affairs but also because it represents an important step towards greater cooperation on issues of mutual concern, especially in the areas of migration and mobility.” (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Markus Lammert – Tel.: +32 229 80423)

 

Les films soutenus par l'Union européenne remportent un grand succès aux Césars et aux Oscars

Ce weekend a été faste pour les films financés par le programme Europe Créative – MEDIA. Sur les 22 prix remis lors de la cérémonie des Césars en France, 15 sont allés à des films ayant reçu un soutien européen. Mustang, un film dramatique germano-franco-turco-qatari réalisé par Deniz Gamze Ergüven, et Marguerite de Xavier Giannoli font partie des plus récompensés. Le Petit Prince de Mark Osborne, également soutenu par MEDIA, a décroché le César du meilleur long métrage d'animation. De l'autre côté de l'Atlantique, Le Fils de Saul du réalisateur hongrois László Nemes a remporté l'Oscar du meilleur film en langue étrangère, et Amy, unrécit sur la vie de la chanteuse Amy Winehouse réalisépar Asif Kapadia, a reçu l'Oscar du meilleur documentaire. Ces différentes œuvres ont été soutenues par l'Union européenne pour leur distribution (doublage, sous-titrage, promotion, etc.). Le Vice-Président de la Commission européenne Andrus Ansip, chargé du marché unique du numérique, et le Commissaire Günther H. Oettinger, chargé de l’économie et de la société numériques, ont déclaré : "Quelle fierté de voir ces films récompensés au sein de l'Union européenne et au-delà. Nous adressons nos plus sincères et chaleureuses félicitations aux lauréats. Nous nous engageons à continuer à soutenir la diversité culturelle, l'excellence et la créativité cinématographiques en Europe, pour qu'elles brillent de plus belle à l'ère du numérique". Le programme MEDIA fête ses 25 ans cette année. Il a investi 2,4 milliards d'euros dans des œuvres audiovisuelles depuis 1991. En parallèle, la Commission est en train de réviser les règles européennes encadrant le droit d'auteur et les services audiovisuels afin de les adapter au mieux aux changements apportés par les évolutions numériques (voir stratégie pour un marché unique du numérique). Plus d'informations sur les films soutenus par MEDIA récompensés aux Césars et aux Oscars sont disponibles ici. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Marie Frenay - Tel.: +32 229 64532)

 

Eurostat: Euro area annual inflation down to -0.2%

Euro area annual inflation is expected to be -0.2% in February 2016, down from 0.3% in January, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Looking at the main components of euro area inflation, services is expected to have the highest annual rate in February (1.0%, compared with 1.2% in January), followed by food, alcohol & tobacco (0.7%, compared with 1.0% in January), non-energy industrial goods (0.3%, compared with 0.7% in January) and energy (-8.0%, compared with -5.4% in January). A Eurostat press release is available here. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

 

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into ASL's acquisition of Arianespace

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Arianespace by Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) under the EU Merger Regulation.  The Commission has concerns that the proposed transaction may result in less innovation and higher prices in the satellite and launch service markets.  Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "A competitive space industry has a crucial role in strengthening the EU's industrial base and boosting our global competitiveness. The Commission therefore needs to make sure that all players in the space industry continue to have strong incentives to innovate". Overall, the Commission is at this stage concerned that the transaction might lead to higher prices, less customer choice and a reduction in research and development efforts in the satellite, launcher and launcher equipment and launch services markets. The Commission will now investigate the transaction in-depth in order to determine whether its competition concerns are confirmed. A full press release is available in EN, FR, DE and NL.  More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7724. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Austrian meat producer Huber by Swiss rival Bell

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of H.L. Verwaltungs-GmbH ('Huber') of Austria by Bell AG, belonging to the Coop Group, both of Switzerland. Huber produces, processes and distributes chicken and turkey meat, primarily in Austria, Southern Germany and Switzerland. Bell is active in the production, processing and distribution of meat products, sea-food and convenience products in Switzerland and in several countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). After the transaction Bell will increase its business activities in Austria and Germany. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of the minor overlaps between the companies' activities in the EEA and the low increments resulting from the transaction in the markets where their activities overlap. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7924. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission finds Netto's acquisition of the property of a supermarket falls outside EU merger control

The Commission has concluded that the transaction by which UK supermarket discount chain Netto plans to acquire the freehold property of a former supermarket store located in the United Kingdom from Morrisons does not amount to a concentration within the meaning of the EU Merger Regulation. Netto is a joint venture between the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's and the Danish supermarket chain Dansk Supermarkd. Netto re-entered the United Kingdom market in 2014 after having exited in 2010. The property to be acquired was operated as a supermarket by Morrisons, who closed the business in November 2015. Netto plans to re-open it under the Netto brand. The Commission found that the target cannot be considered as a business with a market presence to which turnover can be attributed. This is because the proposed operation is limited to the transfer of the freehold property of the target and involves no transfer of any other tangible or intangible assets, goodwill or employees. The proposed operation is therefore outside the scope of EU merger control. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7940.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Tican by Tönnies

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Tican of Denmark by Tönnies of Germany.  Both companies are active in the operation of slaughterhouses and in meat processing. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because of the limited changes to the market structure in the markets where Tican and Tönnies activities overlap. 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.7868. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Tafisa by Arauco and Sonae

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Tableros de Fibras S.A. ('Tafisa') of Spain by Celulosa Arauco y Constitución S.A. of Chile, together with Sonae Indústria SGPS SA of Portugal. Tafisa is currently solely controlled by Sonae Indústria. The companies manufacture notably wood-based boards and other wood-based products. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the companies' moderate combined market positions and the fact that Arauco is mainly active in South America. 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.7898. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič addressing the Ukrainian Energy Forum on 1 March

On Tuesday 1 March Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will travel to Ukraine to participate in the Ukrainian Energy Forum in Kiev, the 7th annual meeting of the Ukrainian and international energy communities. At the Forum the Vice-President will give a keynote speech on EU – Ukraine energy partnership as well as hold several meetings with the Ukrainian politicians and business representatives. He will meet President Petro Poroshenko, the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, minister of Energy and Coal Industry, Mr Volodymyr Demchyshyn and Members of Parliament. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen - Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

Commissioner Bulc in Montreal and Washington D.C. to discuss international aviation

Two weeks after a visit to Singapore where she met with ASEAN Transport Ministers to present the new Aviation Strategy and promote international efforts to curb aviation emissions, EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc is conveying a similar message in Montreal and Washington D.C. today and tomorrow. In Montreal, she will meet with Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu and Ms Fang Liu, respectively President of the Council and Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). She will then address the ICAO Council where she will express the commitment of the Commission to a safe, competitive and sustainable aviation sector. Building on the momentum of the multilateral deal on CO2 standards for aircraft reached earlier this month, she will also invite all parties to work together in view of the adoption of a global market-based measure to mitigate aviation emissions. She will further discuss the matter with the White House and the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. on 1 March. Other items on the agenda of her Washington D.C. meetings include a presentation of the Aviation Strategy adopted by the Commission in December 2015 and a discussion on the state-of-play of the implementation of the EU-US "Open Skies" Agreement. (For more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Alexis Perier - Tel.: +32 229 69143)

 

Commissioner Jourová on official visit to Romania

Today, Commissioner Jourová is visiting Bucharest to meet Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș and Justice Minister Raluca Alexandra Prună to discuss several topics, including the Romanian justice reform, the European Public Prosecutor's office and the justice contribution to the Digital Single Market. With Minister of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly, Claudia-Ana Costea, she will discuss priorities in the area of gender equality. She will also meet high level representatives of the judiciary, as well as Members of the Romanian Parliament. Finally, she will participate in a roundtable with NGOs working on Roma policy. (For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

Vice-President Katainen takes the Investment Plan roadshow to the United States

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen is in the United States from 29 February to 3 March to present the Investment Plan for Europe and to discuss jobs and growth. While there, the Vice-President will meet with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, Members of Congress and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. The Vice-President will speak at roundtables and events organised by the International Institute of Finance, the US Chamber of Commerce, the European American Chamber of Commerce and the Atlantic Council. He will also speak to students at Princeton University. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: + 32 229 57361)

MEX/16/443


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