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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-04-17

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <http://europa.eu.int>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of parts of GBI by Associated British Foods
  • [02] Eurobarometer survey reveals that EU citizens are not yet fully aware of their rights on data protection
  • [03] Danuta Hübner donne le coup d'envoi de la nouvelle politique régionale européenne en Estrémadure
  • [04] State aid: Commission prohibits Hungarian export-credit guarantee scheme
  • [05] State aid: Commission opens investigation into tax benefits for Hungarian steel producer Dunaferr
  • [06] Antitrust: Commission examines use of Insurance Block Exemption Regulation
  • [07] Consumers: Annual RAPEX Report shows rise in number of dangerous products being detected
  • [08] Commission cuts unnecessary administrative burdens in EU company law
  • [09] EU and Mexico broaden cooperation to include employment and social affairs
  • [10] Excédent de 0,8 milliard d’euros du commerce extérieur de la zone euro - Déficit de € 15,3 milliards pour l'UE27
  • [11] Construction output up by 1.2% in the euro area
  • [12] 46 businesses and NGOs take action to curb alcohol abuse in Europe
  • [13] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Activision by Vivendi
  • [14] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-04-17 Reference: MEX/08/0417 Date: 17/04/2008 EXME08 / 17.04

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communicationb

    17/04/08


  • [01] Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of parts of GBI by Associated British Foods

    The European Commission has opened a detailed investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of certain parts of GBI of The Netherlands by the UK-based company Associated British Foods (ABF). Both companies produce dry, compressed and liquid baker's yeast. The Commission's initial market investigation has indicated that the proposed merger raises serious doubts as to its compatibility with the Single Market because of possible competition problems in particular on the market for compressed bakers' yeast in Portugal, Spain and France, the Member States which referred the case to the Commission. A decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days (until 28 August 2008) to take a final decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or a significant part of it.

    [02] Eurobarometer survey reveals that EU citizens are not yet fully aware of their rights on data protection

    A recent Eurobarometer survey shows that 64% of EU citizens are concerned about data protection issues and feel that awareness and information on these topics are not yet satisfactory. Data controllers in private companies generally agree that the requirements of the data protection law are necessary in order to guarantee a high level of protection for consumers and the fundamental rights of citizens. However, half of them believe that legislation cannot cope with the increasing amount of personal information being exchanged.

    [03] Danuta Hübner donne le coup d'envoi de la nouvelle politique régionale européenne en Estrémadure

    La Commissaire européenne la politique régionale, Mme Danuta Hübner, lance aujourd'hui le nouveau programme conçu par la Communauté Autonome d’Estrémadure en Espagne pour la période 2007-2013, qui sera cofinancé par le Fonds européen de développement régional (FEDER). Malgré les grands progrès accomplis, l’Estrémadure fait partie des régions les moins avancées d’Espagne et continuera de faire l’objet d’un soutien prioritaire de la politique de cohésion dans les années venir. Mme Hübner est en visite ces 17 et 18 avril dans la région, l’invitation de M. Guillermo Fernández Vara, le Président du Gouvernement régional.

    [04] State aid: Commission prohibits Hungarian export-credit guarantee scheme

    The European Commission has decided that a planned scheme for providing short-term export credit guarantees to Hungarian exporting SMEs and their foreign clients is incompatible with EC Treaty state aid rules. Following an in-depth investigation, opened in July 2007 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/1134&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=fr">IP/07/1134), the Commission concluded that the proposed guarantee scheme would not meet the conditions of EU state aid rules on export credit insurance, as the risks to be covered were too wide. Therefore, the measure would constitute illegal export aid, which would distort trade within the EU's Single Market by giving Hungarian exporters an unfair competitive advantage compared to companies in other Member States.

    [05] State aid: Commission opens investigation into tax benefits for Hungarian steel producer Dunaferr

    The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules into an investment aid granted by Hungary to Dunaferr, the largest Hungarian steel producer, part of the Donbass/Duferco group. The Commission will investigate whether the subsidy is in line with EU state aid rules which prohibit investment aid for steel products. The opening of an in-depth investigation provides interested parties with the opportunity to comment on the measure. It does not prejudge the final outcome of the procedure.

    [06] Antitrust: Commission examines use of Insurance Block Exemption Regulation

    The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the functioning of the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (BER). The BER exempts from the Commission's ban on restrictive business practices (Article 81) certain co-operation agreements between insurance companies including the establishment of non-binding standard policy conditions, the exchange of statistical information for the calculation of risks and the creation of insurance pools.

    [07] Consumers: Annual RAPEX Report shows rise in number of dangerous products being detected

    The number of dangerous products removed from the EU market rose by 53% in 2007 compared to in 2006, the Commission's annual report on the Rapid Alert System (RAPEX) reveals today. This rise from 1 051 notifications in 2006 to 1 605 last year shows that Member States' surveillance capacities are improving year on year, and that European consumers are better protected today than ever before. Toys were by far the most notified product category in 2007, confirming that child safety is a top-ranking priority for market surveillance authorities, although motor vehicles, electrical goods and cosmetics also featured prominently in the RAPEX system.

    [08] Commission cuts unnecessary administrative burdens in EU company law

    The European Commission is moving quickly to deliver on its 2008 programme to cut administrative costs. Only one month after the presentation of a list of 11 Fast Track Actions (FTA) on 10 March 2008 (<a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/08/152&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=fr">MEMO/08/152), the Commission today has approved proposals for four of these measures which will make life easier for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by cutting the following burdens on enterprises. Companies will no longer need to publish business data in the national gazettes and they can (re-)use translations certified in one Member State when opening branches in other Member States. In the accounting area, parent companies with no material subsidiaries no longer need to prepare consolidated accounts. Furthermore medium-sized companies can be exempted from providing detailed data in the annual accounts. Altogether it is estimated that today’s cuttings are likely to generate significant benefits of over €600 million especially for SMEs.

    [09] EU and Mexico broaden cooperation to include employment and social affairs

    Vladimír `pidla, EU Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Commissioner, will today travel to Mexico to start a new EU-Mexico dialogue on employment and social policy. The two sides will share knowledge and experiences on common challenges such as combating poverty and improving social cohesion. It is the first time the EU and Mexico extend cooperation to the social field and is a follow-up to the Association Agreement concluded in 1997.

    [10] Excédent de 0,8 milliard d’euros du commerce extérieur de la zone euro - Déficit de € 15,3 milliards pour l'UE27

    D’après les premières estimations pour le mois de février 2008, la zone euro (ZE15) a enregistré un excédent du commerce extérieur de 0,8 mrd d’euros avec le reste du monde, comparé -1,6 mrd en février 2007. Le solde enregistré au mois de janvier 20082 était de -11,0 mrds, contre - 7,3 mrds en janvier 2007. En février 2008, par rapport janvier 2008, les exportations corrigées des variations saisonnières ont augmenté de 2,0%, tandis que les importations ont baissé de 0,4%. Les premières estimations du solde des échanges extra-UE27 pour le mois de février 2008 indiquent un déficit de 15,3 mrds d’euros, contre -17,5 mrds en février 2007. En janvier 20082, le solde était de -31,2 mrds, contre -26,0 mrds en janvier 2007. En février 2008 par rapport janvier 2008, les exportations corrigées des variations saisonnières ont progressé de 3,3%, tandis que les importations ont reculé de 0,7%. Ces données sont publiées par Eurostat.

    [11] Construction output up by 1.2% in the euro area

    In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production grew by 1.2% in the euro area (EA15) and by 2.2% in the EU27 in February 2008, compared with the previous month. In January, production increased by 2.5% in the euro area and by 1.6% in the EU27. Compared with February 2007, output in February 2008 rose by 4.3% in the euro area and by 5.0% in the EU27. These first estimates are released by Eurostat.

    Rediffusion

    [12] 46 businesses and NGOs take action to curb alcohol abuse in Europe

    EU Commissioner for Health, Androulla Vassiliou welcomed the commitments made by 46 businesses and non-governmental organisations to curb alcohol abuse at the European Alcohol and Health Forum in Brussels, today. This initiative brings together stakeholders to commit to concrete actions. To date, the forum has received a total of 78 commitments from companies and health groups ranging from midwives and doctors associations, European temperance societies, public health NGOs to Heineken International, Bacardi- Martini and Moët Hennessy to retailers including the Delhaize group and Ahold N.V.

    [13] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Activision by Vivendi

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Activision Inc., a US publisher of game software, by Vivendi S.A. of France. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area ("EEA") or any substantial part of it.

    [14] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on Eurobarometer survey measures perceptions amongst European data controllers

    • Memo on Eurobarometer survey reveals that EU citizens are not yet fully aware of their rights on data protection

    • Memo on Cross-border Territorial Cooperation: Spain – Portugal

    • Memo on Questions and Answers: Product safety activities and follows up on the 2007 stocktaking exercise

    • Memo on Questions and answers on the Rapid Alert System for non-food consumer products (RAPEX)

    • Speech by Commissioner Vassiliou on 'Curbing Alcohol Abuse in Europe', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner Hübner on 'Cohesion Policy and Natura 2000: friends or foes?', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner Dimas on 'Natura 2000 an Opportunity for or an Obstacle to Development'

    • Speech by Commissioner Rehn on 'Civil Society at the Heart of the EU's Enlargement Agenda', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner Fischer Boel on 'Paths to success for young farmers', Greece

    A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Sofinco/Agos From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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