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Daily News

28 / 02 / 2017

 

 

European Reference Networks: 900 medical teams to connect across Europe for the benefit of patients

European Reference Networks (ERNs) are unique and innovative cross-border cooperation platforms between specialists for the diagnosis and treatment of rare or low prevalence complex diseases. 24 thematic ERNs, gathering over 900 highly specialised healthcare units from 26 countries, will begin working together on a wide range of issues, from bone disorders to haematological diseases, from paediatric cancer to immunodeficiency. Joining up of EU's best expertise on this scale should benefit every year thousands of patients with diseases requiring a particular concentration of highly specialised healthcare in medical domains where the expertise is rare. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: "Today, on European Rare Disease Day, I am particularly pleased to launch the European Reference Networks. As a medical doctor, I have too often been witness to tragic stories from patients with rare or complex diseases who were left in the dark, sometimes unable to find an accurate diagnosis and receive a treatment. I have also seen my colleagues struggling to help because they lack information and opportunities to network. These Networks will connect the considerable EU knowledge and expertise that is currently scattered between countries, making this initiative a tangible illustration of the added value of EU-collaboration. I am very confident that ERNs can light the way for rare disease patients, leading them to potentially life-saving and life-changing breakthroughs". On 1 March the newly established European Reference Networks (ERNs) will start their work. A full press release in all languages as well as a MEMO are available online. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Aikaterini Apostola - Tel.: +32 229 87624)

 

European Commission imposes definitive anti-dumping duties on imports of heavy steel plates from China

The Commission has decided to impose definitive anti-dumping duties on imports of heavy steel plates from China.  The Commission's investigation found Chinese companies to be heavily dumping their products on the EU market.  The investigation revealed dumping margins of between 120% and 127%. This unfair competition is causing material injury to the EU producers.  Most of the injury indicators clearly show a negative trend, in particular profitability and return on investments. Chinese exports of heavy steel plates will therefore be taxed with anti-dumping duties ranging from 65% to 73%. The duties are the same as those imposed provisionally in October and are at the level of the injury margin, based on the lesser duty rule. The Commission has responded forcefully and quickly to unfair competition, while at the same time ensuring that the rights of all interested parties have been protected.  The definitive measures announced today will help protect EU steel producers from the damaging effects of Chinese dumping. The Commission opened its investigation in February 2016. In line with the EU's 'Steel Communication' of March 2016, the Commission has managed to impose both provisional and definitive measures well ahead of the usual legal deadlines. The EU currently has an unprecedented number of trade defence measures in place targeting unfair imports of steel products, with a total of 41 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, 18 of which are on products coming from China. More information is available in today's EU official journal. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Axel Fougner - Tel.: +32 229 57276)

                                                           

L'UE va prolonger les financements qu'elle accorde à l'EFRAG, un groupe consultatif clé dans le secteur financier

La Commission européenne a salué aujourd'hui l'accord qui permet de continuer à financer le Groupe consultatif européen pour l'information financière (EFRAG), un organisme qui joue un rôle important dans l'élaboration des normes comptables au niveau international et veille à ce que les intérêts de l'Europe soient pris en compte au cours de ce processus d'élaboration des normes. Conformément à l'accord conclu entre la Commission, le Conseil et le Parlement européen en trilogues, l'UE versera entre 2017 et 2020 une contribution annuelle d'environ 3,4 millions d'euros, ce qui représente environ 60% du budget actuel de l'EFRAG. Le reste est financé par les membres du groupe tels que les représentants des organismes nationaux de normalisation et des organisations de parties prenantes au niveau européen. Il est maintenant essentiel d'aboutir rapidement à une adoption définitive de ce projet de règlement qui permettra d'assurer la continuité opérationnelle de l'EFRAG. (Pour plus d'information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 229 56194; Letizia Lupini - Tel.: +32 229 51958)

 

Commission invites citizens and organisations to give their views on Erasmus+

The European Commission has today launched a public consultation to seek views on Erasmus+, the EU's flagship programme for education, training, youth and sport (2014-2020), as well as its predecessor programmes (Lifelong Learning, Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus and other international higher education programmes). The results of the consultation will feed into the mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+ which is due to be finalised by the end of 2017. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: "We are assessing how effective Erasmus+ is in achieving its objectives, and how efficient in terms of costs. The programme is vital in enabling young people in particular to lead independent lives as engaged citizens. And stakeholders' views have an important role in shaping the future of this EU success story beyond 2020." Young people, students, teachers, youth workers, athletes, staff, employers, organisations and other interested parties can submit their contributions by 31 May 2017. The mid-term evaluation will be based on various sources and data collection tools including surveys of participants, case studies, interviews, social media analysis as well as this consultation. Erasmus is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. More information on Erasmus+, the current programme, can be found here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Joseph Waldstein – Tel.: +32 229 56184)

 

Concentrations: la Commission autorise l'acquisition, par NKT, des activités d'ABB en matière de câbles à haute tension et d'accessoires pour câbles

La Commission européenne a autorisé sans condition, en vertu du règlement de l'UE sur les concentrations, le projet d'acquisition, par NKT, des activités d'ABB en matière de câbles à haute tension et d'accessoires pour câbles électriques. Lors de son enquête, la Commission a examiné les effets qu'aurait sur la concurrence le retrait d'un concurrent du marché et la question de savoir si, en conséquence de l'opération, les acteurs restants seraient plus susceptibles de coordonner leurs comportements concurrentiels. Dans le cadre de son enquête, la Commission s'est concentrée sur les activités des parties se chevauchant dans le secteur des câbles électriques à haute tension, en particulier les câbles électriques sous-marins en courant alternatif  et les câbles électriques sous-marins en courant continu.  La Commission a conclu que l'entité issue de la concentration continuerait d'être confrontée à une concurrence effective en Europe. Un communiqué de presse est disponibles en ligne en EN, DE, FR, SV et DA. (Pour plus d'information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Mentor Graphics by Siemens

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Mentor Graphics, of the US, by Siemens, of Germany.  Mentor Graphics provides electronic hardware and software design solutions, consulting services and support to electronic, semiconductor and systems companies. Siemens offers a wide range of products and services, including a broad portfolio of software and solutions to support manufacturing companies in enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of their manufacturing processes and reducing the time to market of their products. The parties' activities overlap in the market for the provision of product life cycle management (PLM) software. PLM software allows companies to develop and optimize new products (from product design and simulation, to manufacturing and maintenance service) on an entirely virtual basis. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the parties' moderate combined market positions resulting from the proposed transaction and the mostly complementary nature of their PLM software offerings. 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.8315. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526) 

 

Mergers: Commission clears the creation of a market research joint venture between KKR and GfK Verein

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over GfK SE ("GfK") of Germany by KKR & Co. LP. ("KKR") of the United States of America and GfK-Nürnberg Gesellschaft für Konsum-, Markt- und Absatzforschung e.V ("The GfK Verein") of Germany. GfK is a global market research company. KKR is a global investment firm which offers a broad range of alternative asset management services to public and private market investors. The GfK Verein is a non-profit organization carrying out fundamental research in close cooperation with scientific institutions. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because the companies are not active on the same or on 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.8349. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of AIG Target Portfolio by Fairfax

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the insurance businesses of American International Group, Inc. ("AIG") in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia ("AIG Target Portfolio") by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited ("Fairfax"). AIG, headquartered in the United States, is active in property and casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, mortgage insurance and other financial services. The AIG Target Portfolio is engaged in non-life insurance and reinsurance in Central and Eastern Europe. Fairfax, headquartered in Canada, is active in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, and investment management. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the overlaps between the companies' activities are limited. 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.8290. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Tsoni - Tel.: +32 229 90526)

 

STATEMENTS

 

Vice-President Ansip calls on Mobile World Congress for better coordination to develop 5G

Vice-President Andrus Ansip delivered today a keynote speech on the Mobile World Congress 2017, where he accentuated the need of close cooperation and commitment from all EU Member States to make the Digital Single Market a reality. The Vice-President for the Digital Single Market focused in his speech on 5G connectivity, where the goal is to set up 5G technology in the EU by 2020 and have full deployment along transport paths by 2025. The success of 5G action plan is tightly connected to the harmonisation of the high-quality band 700 MHz for wireless broadband, on which the EU has already reached a political agreement, and rapid progress on the proposed telecoms reform aiming to offer a more attractive regulatory environment that will foster investments in top-quality infrastructure across the EU and will ensure better coordination of spectrum. "For full coordinated deployment of 5G across the EU, we need three main things: vision, speed and cooperation," said the Vice-President, and added that "we rely on EU countries to support our telecoms industry and the broad digitisation of industry. I urge them to do so – and to start cross-border 5G trials. We can - and should - be a front-runner." The Vice-President explained that if Europe is to remain a credible force in this global race, our industries should also move fast to deploy and trial 5G capabilities as of 2018, which is crucial for the digitisation of European industry. "Telecommunications are the backbone of Europe's Digital Single Market. They are the foundation for it to function fully and efficiently," elaborated Vice-President Ansip, adding that "the revolutionary part is that 5G has the potential to transform how people live, work, play and communicate. This is not only about more speed and bandwidth for mobile. It is about building the communication platform to power the digital revolution." Additionally, he called for better global coordination and cooperation on 5G. The Vice-President's full speech is available here. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund - Tel.: +32 229 50698)

 

Commissaire Jourová  donnera  un discours à l'occasion des 10 ans de l'Agence des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne

Věra Jourová, Commissaire à la justice, aux consommateurs et à l'égalité des genres, donnera un discours lors de la célébration des 10 ans de l'Agence des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne. Pour marquer cette occasion, elle a dit: "L'Union européenne est fondée sur des valeurs communes. L'Union européenne représentera toujours les valeurs démocratiques fondamentales, la liberté, la tolérance et l'état de droit. Nous fêtons aujourd'hui les 10 ans de l'Agence des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne qui a beaucoup travaillé à la promotion des droits fondamentaux dans l'Union européenne. Je suis néanmoins inquiète, qu'en Europe et au-delà, nos libertés démocratiques fondamentales ne soient aujourd'hui remises en question. Nous savons tous où l'isolationnisme et le nationalisme nous a menés dans le passé. Je reste convaincue que la protection des droits fondamentaux et de l'état de droit demeure la seule solution." La cérémonie sera présidée par le directeur de l'agence, Michael O’Flaherty, avec la participation, entre autres du président autrichien, Dr Alexander Van der Bellen. Le discours entier sera disponible en ligne vers 18h. (Pour plus d'infomations: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 6225; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)

 

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)