Daily News 14 / 09 / 2015

Statement by the European Commission following the temporary reintroduction of border controls by Germany

Yesterday the European Commission issued a statement underlining that Germany’s decision to reintroduce border controls, particularly at the German-Austrian border, is a temporary measure. This exceptional possibility in case of a crisis situation is foreseen in and regulated by the Schengen Borders Code – such is the current situation in Germany. Prima facie, Germany’s decision appears to be covered by the rules. The Commission will now closely monitor the situation and keep the European Parliament and the Council fully informed, as foreseen in the Schengen Borders Code. The objectives of our efforts must be to help ensure that we can go back to the normal Schengen system of open borders between Schengen Member States as soon as feasible. As President Juncker said in his State of the Union speech: “The free movement of people under Schengen is a unique symbol of European integration. However, the other side of the coin is a better joint management of our external borders and more solidarity in coping with the refugee crisis”. The full statement is available in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Milica Petrovic – Tel.: +32 229 63020)

EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism helps Hungary cope with refugee influx

Last Friday (11 September 2015) Hungary activated the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism which will allow it to benefit from material support to help cope with the influx of refugees and asylum seekers. The European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is working closely with the Hungarian authorities and the other participating states in the Mechanism to coordinate a swift response to the request. At this stage, several EU Member States including Denmark, Bulgaria and Slovenia have already offered material support such as blankets, bed linen and tents, which have been accepted by the Hungarian authorities. “The EU and its Member States stand in full solidarity with Hungary at this time of need. We are in close contact with the relevant authorities in Budapest and will coordinate the swift delivery of material support offered by Member States,” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. A factsheet on the Civil Protection Mechanism is available here. (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of GPG by KIA and GNF in energy sector

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Global Power Generation S.A.U (“GPG”) of Spain by the Kuwait Investment Authority (“KIA”) of Kuwait and by Gas Natural SDG, S.A. (“GNF”) of Spain. GPG owns and operates several power plants, mainly in Latin America. None of them are located in the European Economic Area (EEA). GPG also provides various support services to power plants and in this sector has a marginal presence in the EEA. The KIA manages certain sovereign wealth funds for the State of Kuwait, including in the infrastructure sector. GNF is a holding company of a leading group of electricity and gas companies, active both in Spain and internationally. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because the companies’ are not active in the same markets. Also, even if they are active on related markets, their competitors will continue to have a significant number of alternative suppliers. 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.7633. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mahindra & Mahindra

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery Co. Ltd. (“MAM”) by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (“MHI”), both of Japan, and Mahindra & Mahindra Limited of India. MAM manufactures and sells agricultural equipment. MHI produces heavy machinery, while Mahindra manufactures utility vehicles and agricultural equipment. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns as the activities of MAM in the European Economic Area (EEA) are limited. 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.7755. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

EUROSTAT: Industrial production up by 0.6% in euro area

In July 2015 compared with June 2015, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 0.6% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.3% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In June 2015 industrial production decreased by 0.3% and 0.1% respectively. In July 2015 compared with July 2014, industrial production increased by 1.9% in the euro area and by 1.8% in the EU28. A Eurostat press release can be found here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietilä – Tel.: +32 229 64950)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on Energy Union Tour to Bulgaria

Tomorrow, 15 September, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič will bring the Energy Union Tour to Bulgaria. During his visit to Sofia, the Vice-President will meet with representatives of the Bulgarian government and parliament as well as prominent stakeholders to discuss the benefits of the Energy Union to Bulgaria as well as to listen to national concerns. He will meet President Plevneliev, Prime Minister Borissov, the members of the Parliament’s Energy Committee, and various companies and associations who play a role in Bulgaria’s energy transformation. Embarking upon the 12th country of his Tour, Vice-President Šefčovič said: “The Energy Union holds a promise to energy producers and consumers in every EU country and to our common environment. But given its strategic geographic location, Bulgaria will also see the benefits of connecting the EU and our Western Balkan partners”. Follow the Energy Union Tour on the Vice President’s blog, as well as on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development to visit East Africa this week

European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will travel to Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda (14 – 19 September). This will be the Commissioner’s first visit to these three African countries. During the visit, the Commissioner is expected to outline the EU’s new €1.8 billion Emergency Trust Fund, set up to address the root causes of migration, promote work opportunities in Africa (especially for young people and women in local communities) and counter radicalisation and extremism. Ahead of his visit, Commissioner Mimica said: “This is my first visit to these three countries and my message will be clear: Africa is on the move, with people and the economy enjoying unprecedented opportunities for growth. I can confirm that the EU, a long term partner to the region, is committed to doing all it can to continue to help boost trade and support to these East African countries on their path to growth. After all, it is clear that there can be no development without growth and jobs.” A press release is available online. (For more information: Alexandre Polack Tel.: +32 229 90677; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

Commissioner Bieńkowska visits the United States

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, is on an official visit to the United States from 14-16 September.During her two-day visit to Washington DC the Commissioner will deliver a speech at the Atlantic Council, a think-thank, on the importance of transatlantic economic partnership and the opportunities of a European single market that is open to the world. Commissioner Bieńkowska will meet with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Mr Michael Froman and Secretary of Commerce Ms Penny Pritzker, as well as representatives of American and European industry and trade associations to discuss the opportunities of the EU-US economic cooperation.In North Carolina she has also been invited to visit the Siemens Healthcare Centre and the Research Triangle Park. The transcript of the speech given at the Atlantic Council will be available online here at 20:00 CET. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Heli Pietilä – Tel.: +32 229 64950)

Commissioner Jourová launches public consultation on 2016 Citizenship report at the Conference on EU Citizenship and Justice in Luxembourg

Commissioner Jourová today opened the Conference on EU Citizenship and Justice in Luxembourg. In her speech she underlined the importance of freedom of movement in the EU: “With an increasing number of EU citizens travelling, working, doing business or retiring in another Member State, free movement is a right that needs to be safeguarded and promoted. It is the right Europeans cherish the most and associate most closely with EU citizenship.” The Commissioner also stressed the Commission’s focus on concrete actions to simplify the daily lives of mobile citizens: “The Commission will continue to develop a European area of justice, in order to help citizens tackle legal difficulties they may face, such as cross-border divorces or child custody.” Commissioner Jourová called citizens and stakeholders to participate in the online consultation on EU Citizenship launched today. Gathering the experience and ideas of EU citizens on how to simplify the exercise of their rights will constitute the basis of the 2016 Citizenship report. See full speech here(For more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Melanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

Commissioners Navracsics and Moedas to address Parliament’s open doors day for scientists

Tomorrow, Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport as well as the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, will take part in the launch of the Science meets Parliaments event, which gathers scientists from all over Europe, MEPs and representatives of national parliaments to improve collaboration and mutual understanding between the worlds of science and policy making. Speaking ahead of the event, the Commissioner said: “Social exclusion, inequalities, climate change – these are just some of the challenges facing European policy-makers today. Sound scientific evidence is needed to tackle them. That is why it is crucial that we bring scientists and policy-makers together, so they can learn to better understand and work with each other. I hope we can put Science Meets Parliaments on the map as an annual event – in Brussels and across Europe – that helps to achieve this important goal.” Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, will also address the participants, saying: “What policymakers need from scientists and vice-versa is much the same. We need positive, meaningful working relationships based on trust and mutual accountability.” The event, which will take place at the European Parliament, will also launch the 2015 edition of the MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme. It can be followed live on EP TV and via twitter #EUsci4PARL. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083, Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)