Daily News 04 / 08 / 2016

The EU imposes definitive anti-dumping duties on steel product from China and Russia

The EU today imposed definitive anti-dumping measures a steel product from China and Russia. These duties will be in place for five years and for the first time they will also be levied retroactively on imports registered during the two months that preceded the adoption of provisional measures on 12 February 2016. The product at stake is “cold rolled steel”, an industrial input for the packaging, white goods, general industry, automotive industry and the construction industry. The investigation was initiated on 14 May 2015 following a complaint submitted by the industry. The duties range from 19.7% to 22.1% for Chinese and from 18.7% to 36.1% for Russian companies.In the wake of the global steel overcapacity crisis, the Commission is applying the trade defence instruments to re-establish a level-playing field between EU and foreign producers. The EU currently has over 100 trade defence measures in place, 37 of them targeting unfair imports of steel products, 15 of which from China. 12 more investigations concerning steel products are still ongoing. The full details of the decision can be found here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

 

EU steps up aid for Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon as humanitarian crisis worsens

Today the European Commission has announced an additional €12.5 million in humanitarian aid to support people in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon as they face a deteriorating humanitarian crisis. €9 million will be provided to support people in Nigeria, €2 million in Cameroon and €1.5 million in Niger. The new funding comes as violence by the terrorist group Boko Haram from northern Nigeria has severely destabilised the Lake Chad region, causing the displacement of millions of people.”When travelling to the region last month, I witnessed the plight of people in the Lake Chad Basin. Millions have been displaced and the number of those struggling to find food is increasingly alarming. The situation in Nigeria is especially dramatic. As always, children are hit the hardest and we must urgently intervene to stop their suffering. This additional EU funding will focus on emergency assistance, primarily in the areas of food and nutrition, water and sanitation, and health. All efforts should be made to ensure that humanitarian organisations can safely reach those who need urgent help.”said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The EU aid announced today comes on top of the €58 million previously allocated to the Lake Chad Basin crisis, bringing overall EU humanitarian aid to over €70 million for the region in 2016. Read the full press release here (For more information: Nabila Massrali – Tel.: +32 229 69218; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

Commission publishes the first results of the “ePrivacy” public consultation

Today the European Commission has published the preliminary findings of the public consultation on the review of the ePrivacy Directive. This legislation applies to electronic communications services and needs to be adapted to the new General data protection regulation which will enable people to better control their personal data. A large number of responses came from citizens (38,5%) and more than a quarter of responses came from Germany, followed by the UK and Belgium. According to the preliminary findings, 83% of the individuals and civil society organisations who took part in the consultation agreed that there was a clear added value in having specific privacy rules for the electronic communications sector to ensure the confidentiality of electronic communications. In addition, 76% of individuals and civil society respondents believe that the scope of the rules should be broadened to cover the so-called over-the-top service providers (OTT) when they offer communications services such as VoIP or instant messaging. However, 76% of these groups also said that the ePrivacy Directive has not or has but to a limited extent achieved its objectives of ensuring full protection of privacy and confidentiality of communication. This was attributed to its scope being too limited, its rules leading to differences between Member States and too low compliance and enforcement. Industry and public authorities were more positive that the ePrivacy Directive has achieved its objectives; however 42% of industry respondents are against the scope of the rules being broadened to cover theOTT when they offer communications services such as VoIP or instant messaging. The review of the ePrivacy Directive is one of the key initiatives proposed under the EU Digital Single Market strategy. The Commission has committed to reviewing the EU’s privacy rules for electronic communications in order to reinforce trust and security in digital services, to ensure a high level of protection for people and a level playing field for all market players. The proposals are expected later this year, meanwhile the Commission will analyse the replies of the public consultation and publish its conclusions in the autumn. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

Mergers: Commission clears Vodafone/Liberty Global telecoms joint venture, subject to conditions; rejects referral request by Dutch competition authority

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint venture in the Netherlands by mobile telecom operator Vodafone and cable company Liberty Global. The decision is conditional on Vodafone divesting its consumer fixed line business in the Netherlands. Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “The telecoms market is of strategic importance for our digital society. I am pleased that we have been able to approve the creation of the joint venture between Vodafone and Liberty Global in the Netherlands. The commitments offered by Vodafone ensure that Dutch consumers will continue to enjoy competitive prices and good choice.” The Commission had concerns that the proposed transaction would have eliminated the benefits brought to the Dutch telecoms market by Vodafone’s recent entry. The divestment offered by Vodafone fully addresses these concerns, allowing the Commission to clear this telecoms merger in Phase I. In parallel, the Commission has also rejected a request to refer the assessment of the transaction to the Dutch competition authority. A full press release is available in EN, FR, DE and NL. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Voith Industrial Services by Triton

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Voith Industrial Servicesof Germany by Triton Fund IV of the United Kingdom.  Voith provides a wide range of technical services in the automotive, engineering and energy-petrochemicals sectors. Triton is a private equity investment firm, dedicated to investing in European-based businesses in a variety of sectors. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of its very limited impact on the market structure. In particular, there are limited overlaps between the activities of Voith and the companies in the portfolio of Triton. 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.8081. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

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Daily News 15 / 07 / 2016

Interventions du Président Jean-Claude Juncker suite aux attentats à Nice, France

Suite aux attentats de hier soir à Nice, le président de la Commission européenne Jean-Claude Juncker a déclaré: “Je suis très touché et affligé par la terrible épreuve qui vient de toucher la belle ville de Nice en ce jour de fête nationale.” Le président a également adressé une lettre au président de la République française Francois Hollande, réaffirmant l’engagement de la Commission européenne à être aux côtés de la France et des autres États membres pour lutter contre le terrorisme à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur de l’Union européenne, en écrivant “Notre détermination reste aussi ferme que notre unité.” Dans une lettre adressée au président du conseil régional de Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Christian Estrosi, il a exprimé sa plus grande solidarité envers les victimes, leurs familles et tous les Niçois et Niçoises aujourd’hui dans le deuil. Le Président Juncker et les leaders participant actuellement au Sommet Asie-Europe à Oulan-Bator ont également publié une déclaration commune sur le terrorisme international, condamnant les attentats récents en Europe, Asie et ailleurs. En outre, Le Président Juncker s’est réuni avec le Président du Conseil européen, M. Donald Tusk, ainsi que le Premier ministre du Japon, M. Shinzō Abe pour une conférence de presse pendant laquelle ils ont déclaré: “L’acte terroriste, qui fut lâche et barbare, qui a frappé la ville de Nice pendant la nuit m’a profondément choqué, attristé, affligé”. Intervenant à la session plénière de l’ASEM à Oulan-Bator ce matin le président Juncker a poursuivi: “Ce qui s’est passé à Nice est la négation de tout ce en quoi nous croyons, de tout ce qui nous réunit.” (Pour plus d’informations: Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)

 

Energy: EU invests €263 million in energy infrastructure

Today EU Member States agreed on the European Commission’s proposal to invest €263 million in key European energy infrastructure projects. The lion’s share of the investment will support the building of gas infrastructure in the Baltic Sea region as well as supporting the electricity sector across Europe. Nine projects were selected following a call for proposals under the EU funding support programme the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The selected priority projects aim to increase energy security, connect the isolated EU Member States to the wider European grid and contribute to the Energy Union objectives of affordable, secure and sustainable energy.The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Well-connected energy infrastructure is essential to achieving the Energy Union. This EU support will help fill existing gaps in energy infrastructure, putting us on the path to a truly connected European energy market. This is necessary to strengthen the security of energy supply and a more efficient use of the energy resources and integration of renewables into the grid.” With a total of €800 million available for grants under Connecting Europe Facility – Energy in 2016, the second 2016 call for proposals with an indicative budget of €600 million is currently ongoing and will close on 8 November. Under the Connecting Europe Facility, a total of €5.35 billion was allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period of 2014-2020. Read entire press release in EN, FR and DE. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)

 

EU steps up humanitarian aid for victims of Boko Haram in Africa’s Lake Chad region

The European Commission has today announced €58.2 million in humanitarian aid to support the populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa. The funding brings the overall EU humanitarian aid package for the Sahel region to over €203 million in 2016. “A full-scalehumanitarian crisis has been fuelled by violence in a fragile region. The EU is committed to supporting those displaced and affected by the violence of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin. Our support will target the most vulnerable in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger where more than two and a half million people have been displaced by the terror of Boko Haram alone. Our aid will help provide food, shelter, clean water, and healthcare, as well as protection to the displaced and the host communities. Everything must be done so humanitarian aid workers can deliver lifesaving assistance safely and urgently access those in need” saidCommissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides who is currently on a visit to the region. The violence inflicted by the terrorist group Boko Haram from northern Nigeria has destabilised the entire Lake Chad region, causing large scale displacements of people.A full press release is available here. A map showing the funding is available here (For more information: Alexandre Polack – Tel.: +32 229 90677; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229 69140)

 

EU adopts decisions to recognise equivalence and adequacy of US auditor oversight authorities

The European Commission has today adopted two decisions recognising the equivalence and adequacy of the US auditor oversight authorities. These decisions extend the current agreement, which expires on 31 July 2016, by a further six years. Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: “I welcome the extension of both decisions as it provides a strong basis for continued cooperation between the EU and the US. Both partners share the objective of promoting confidence and protecting investors. The auditor oversight authorities are committed to strengthening their cooperation further in order to achieve even greater mutual reliance in the future.” For more information on the new audit rules, see our memo. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini – Tel.: +32 229 51958)  

 

Mergers: Commission clears ice cream joint venture between PAI Partners and Nestlé

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of Froneri, a joint venture by PAI Partners of France and Nestlé of Switzerland. Froneri will manufacture and market ice cream products in and outside of Europe, and frozen food products in Europe. PAI Partners will contribute to Froneri its ice cream business, operating as R&R. Nestlé will contribute its ice cream business in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Philippines, Brazil and Argentina and part of its frozen food business in Europe. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because R&R and Nestlé are not close competitors in the European Economic Area ice cream markets and will continue to face competition from Unilever and several other ice cream manufacturers. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case registerunder the case number M.7946.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

 

Mergers: Commission approves the acquisition of joint control over Novy by BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, Sofindev and DHAM

The Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Novy International NV by BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity Belgium NV, Sofindev IV NV and DHAM NV, all of Belgium. Novy is the holding company controlling the Novy Group which is active in the design, manufacture and marketing of high‑end kitchen appliances. BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equityis a branch office of BNP Paribas dedicated to private equity and mezzanine financing. Sofindev is a private equity firm, investing in Belgian small and medium sized enterprises. DHAM is the holding company of the Colruyt group which is mainly active in the retail of daily consumer goods, but is also involved in other activities including foodservice, fuel retail and wholesale of daily consumer goods. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because Novy’s activities do not overlap with those of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity and Sofindev and their portfolio companies, nor with those of the Colruyt Group. 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.8094.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Komel – Tel.: +32 229 61175)

 

EUROSTAT: Mai 2016 – Excédent de 24,6 mrds d’euros du commerce international de biens de la zone euro, Excédent de 6,4 mrds d’euros pour l’UE28

D’après les premières estimations pour le mois de mai 2016, les exportations de biens de la zone euro (ZE19) vers le reste du monde se sont établies à 167,4 milliards d’euros, en hausse de 2% par rapport à mai 2015 (164,3 mrds). Les importations depuis le reste du monde ont quant à elles été de 142,8 mrds d’euros, en recul de 2% par rapport à mai 2015 (146,0 mrds). En conséquence, la zone euro a enregistré en mai 2016 un excédent de 24,6 mrds d’euros de son commerce international de biens avec le reste du monde, contre +18,3 mrds en mai 2015. Le commerce intra-zone euro a augmenté à 139,4 mrds d’euros en mai 2016, soit +1% par rapport à mai 2015. Un communiqué de presse EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172; Axel Fougner – Tel.: +32 229 57276)

 

EUROSTAT: Le taux d’inflation annuel de la zone euro en hausse à 0,1%

Le taux d’inflation annuel de la zone euro s’est établi à 0,1% en juin 2016, contre -0,1% en mai. Un an auparavant, il était de 0,2%. Le taux d’inflation annuel de l’Union européenne s’est établi à 0,0% en juin 2016, contre -0,1% en mai. Un an auparavant, il était de 0,1%. Ces chiffres sont publiés par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne. Un communiqué de presse EUROSTAT est disponible en ligne.(For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Audrey Augier – Tel.: +32 229 71607)

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