Top PDF REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS on Competition Policy 2013 Commission staff working document accompanying the report (COM(2014) 249 final) SWD (2014) 148 final, 6 May 2014
Another significant transaction in the telecoms industry was the acquisition of most of Nokia's devices & services business (D&S) by Microsoft. The D&S business mainly produces and sells smartphones and feature phones. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise any competition concerns, in particular because there are only modest overlaps between the parties' activities and the links between Microsoft's mobile operating systems, mobile applications and enterprise mail server software with Nokia's smart mobile devices are unlikely to lead to competitors being shut out from the market. The Commission, however, is in the process of reviewing two transactions entailing a four-to- three consolidation between Mobile Network Operators ("MNOs"). They are active within the same Member States, namely Ireland and Germany. In the first case, on 1 October, Hutchison 3G UK notified to the Commission its intention to acquire sole control over Telefónica Ireland 125 and on 6 November, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation into that transaction. In the second case, on 31 October, Telefónica Deutschland notified to the Commission its intention to acquire sole control over KPN's mobile operations in Germany (trading as E-Plus) 126 and on 20 December, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation of the transaction. As those cases would result in the reduction in the number of players in markets (both the wholesale access market and the retail market) that are already very concentrated, the Commission will carry out in-depth investigations in the course of 2014.
The demographic changes with an ageing population and a shrinking working population continue to be a major challenge in the EU after enlargement. The tension between combining family and professional life, partly due to lack of child care and insufficiently flexible working conditions, appears to be contributing to the postponement of having the first child and to low fertility rates in most Member States. However, experience shows that Member States having comprehensive policies to reconcile work and family life for both men and women show higher fertility rates as well as higher labour market participation of women. The integration of a gender dimension into policies will contribute to attaining the overall Lisbon objectives. There is a need for new initiatives to increase employment in order to meet the challenge of an ageing society, including providing adequate pensions for women and men. Particular attention must be paid to mobilising the full potential of female employment and to boosting labour market participation of older women and immigrant women who have the lowest employment rates.
The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September 1995, was called to assess the implementation of the 1985 ‘Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women to the Year 2000’. The Beijing Conference gave a tremendous impetus for a renewed effort to bring about real equality between women and men. At the conference, the European Union spoke clearly and with a single voice, and acted as broker in some difficult and delicate areas of debate. The conference reaffirmed women's rights as human rights, and it especially worked to have the concept of mainstreaming incorporated in the conference’s agreed ‘Platform for Action’ as a key tool to achieve equality. Following the conference, the Council of Ministers undertook to review annually the European Union’s implementation of the Platform. The Commission has prepared reports on follow-up at Community level for the annual sessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. At the invitation of the Commission, representatives from the Member States of the EU and EEA, candidate countries, EU institutions, international organisations, gender equality
The auditors focussed particularly on specific requirements of the MAFA that were considered to present a higher degree of risk as regards: (i) the principles of sound financial management and, in particular, economy and cost-effectiveness; (ii) double funding or overlapping of funding; (iii) expenditure not eligible for Community co-financing under Sapard; (iv) eligibility criteria set out in the rural development programmes for each measure; (v) the extent and quality of controls; (vi) the changes in staff considered as “key personnel”; (vii) public procurement, and (viii) specific allegations.
The most recent phase of the Programme Tempus III, was adopted on 29 April 1999 for a period of six years from 1 July 2000. It concerns the eligible countries of the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia and the non-associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The CARDS Regulation of 5 December 2000 amended the Tempus III Decision to include the participation of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and sets out the framework for Community assistance to the Western Balkans. The Tempus programme is managed by the EuropeanCommission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture). Technical assistance is provided to the EuropeanCommission by the European Training Foundation. The EuropeanCommission works with a network of offices and officers in the Member States and partner countries.
The organisational structure for euro adoption comprises the National Coordination Committee for Euro Changeover, the Coordinating Council, as well as eight Working Committees and two Task Groups. The Committee and the Council are chaired by the Government Plenipotentiary for the Euro Adoption in Poland and co-chaired by the Plenipotentiary of the Management Board of Narodowy Bank Polski. Overall, more than 30 institutions are involved in the
The mass media campaign has intensified since July 2014. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy, the Bank of Lithuania and the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority and other public institutions are regularly invited by national TV and Radio broadcasters and are frequently publishing articles in the Lithuanian newspapers. Moreover, television and radio companies as well as websites are also contributing to the campaign with high-quality, channel-formatted content informing the public in Lithuania about practical aspects of the euro changeover and the fair pricing campaign. In the media selection process, special attention is given to reaching vulnerable groups in remote areas, disabled people and national minorities. The first phase of the campaign seems already to have had a positive impact on the extent to which citizens feel informed about the euro as the awareness on the euro introduction has strongly improved as well as on certain practical concerns which have somewhat decreased (see results of the Eurobarometer 402 survey below).
At individual level, a positive impact was observed on both staff and learners who broadened their skills (including language proficiency), deepened their knowledge, developed a strong sense of networking across national boundaries and gained a stronger feeling of being European citizens. The mobility schemes, i.e. learning periods abroad, were the most successful in this respect. Mobility schemes have not only enhanced individuals’ skills but also induced progress at institutional level. Erasmus in particular has embedded mobility in university life and led to structural changes and modernisation in higher education in Europe. As a result of various types of partnership and project, improvements in teaching, learning and management and structural changes in curricula or systems were also observed, in particular in the work environment of the participants and at local level. There is less evidence of a broader impact on national education systems and the countries participating failed to make sufficient strategic use of the outcomes of the programmes to adapt their systems.
In a preliminary ruling concerning national court jurisdiction for disputes regarding EU agricultural aid 99 , the CJEU examined whether it is in accordance with Article 47 of the Charter if national jurisdictional rules confers all the disputes relating to decisions of a national authority responsible for the payment of agricultural aid under the common agricultural policy to a single national court. The CJEU looked into the length of proceedings before this specialised national court (in Bulgaria) and found that the average length of proceedings of six to eight months, in principle, does not appear excessive in the context of the single area payment scheme. The CJEU clarified that the fact that disputes are concentrated before the referring court allows that court to acquire specific expertise by ruling on issues relating to agricultural aid, thereby limiting the average length of the proceedings. In addition, a centralised court, specialising in agricultural aid, seems likely to ensure uniform practice throughout the national territory, thereby contributing to legal certainty. The CJEU noted that that a farmer who is challenging a decision of the national administration on agricultural aid, is not obliged to appear in person before this specialised court but can be represented by a lawyer, a relative or other persons. The CJEU concluded that Article 47 of the Charter does not preclude a national rule of jurisdiction conferring on a single court all disputes relating to EU agricultural aid, provided that court actions are not conducted in in less advantageous conditions to those under national aid schemes, and that jurisdiction rule does not cause individuals procedural problems, e.g. regarding the duration of the proceedings, such as to render the exercise of the rights derived from EU law excessively difficult.
As regards case law the important ruling in Deutsche Bahn v EuropeanCommission 43 on the right to private life by the General Court of 6 September 2013 has to be emphasised. Here the Court ruled that carrying out inspections of undertakings or associations of undertakings on the basis of a EuropeanCommission decision is not a violation of Article 7 of the Charter on respect for private and family life. It held that prior judicial authorisation of such inspections is not required, provided comprehensive judicial review is available after the inspection. By this ruling, the Court confirmed its established case law on the European Commission's powers of inspection of undertakings and associations of undertakings as laid down in Article 20 of Regulation 1/2003 (formerly Article 14 of Regulation No. 17). It pointed to the safeguards provided by Regulation 1/2003, namely the obligation to state the reasons on which an inspection decision is based, the need to act within certain limits when carrying out inspections (respect of right to privacy, Legal Professional Privilege, privilege against self- incrimination), the fact that the EuropeanCommission does not have the power to enforce its inspection powers by force, the fact that the EuropeanCommission must seek the assistance of national police or equivalent enforcement authorities to overcome assistance to an inspection, as well as the fact that the legality of the inspection decision may be challenged before the CJEU. It concluded that these safeguards had been duly respected in the case before it.
2012 witnessed a significant step on the path towards making assistance to the Enlargement countries more strategic and accession-driven as an integral part of the Enlargement strategy. The legal and strategic planning framework that the Commission has proposed for delivering pre-accession assistance from2014 onwards will reinforce its link with the political monitoring and reporting by putting in place a framework aiming for tangible results, achieving the desired impact and rewarding performance. This will contribute to increasing even further the added value of EU funds allocated to the Enlargement countries by creating stronger incentives for the transformation of their societies, legal systems and economies, for the mutual benefit of the European Union and of IPA beneficiary countries and their citizens. Status of Implementation of IPA financial assistance per country at 31 December 2012 of total committed funds (2007 – 2012):
At Community level, the Mechanism works closely with ECHO, both on site and at headquarters, to ensure a comprehensive European emergency response to sudden disasters. Commission operating procedures already emphasise and will continue to reinforce synergies and complementarities between EC humanitarian assistance and civil protection, building on their specific roles and comparative advantages. Work already initiated on joint lessons learned and operational linkage from planning to implementation phase will be furthered to ensure a proper joined-up response whenever the two instruments are mobilised for the same disaster.
• Deliver decent health care. The strengthening of national health systems and capacity, including the improvement of health infrastructures and the provision of essential, universal and equitable health services is key and requires sustained financing. The EU is developing a coherent and coordinated response to the crisis in human resources for health, which will support the needs identified in the NEPAD Health Strategy. The EU is also supporting the replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with a view to maximising benefits for Africa. In addition, the EU is contributing to the development of new drugs and vaccines against communicable diseases, inter alia through the European and Developing countries Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP). In response to the Council’s request, xxvii the Commission should, together with the Member States, develop a roadmap on possible joint action based on the European Programme for Action to confront HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. xxviii The EU should, in this context, promote synergies and provide a coherent and coordinated response to the three diseases across relevant policy areas. xxix In this sense, the Commission intends to put forward a Communication on combating HIV/AIDS within the European Union and the Neighbouring countries later this year. The EU has been at the forefront of international efforts to ensure access to essential medicines for developing countries. These efforts contributed to the adoption of the Doha Declaration on TRIPs and public health in November 2001, which confirms the right of WTO members to use flexibilities in the TRIPs Agreement, including issuing compulsory licenses of pharmaceutical products, for reasons of public health.
Member States used the EuropeanSocial Funds to enhance support to the unemployed, to keep workers in employment and to help the most vulnerable facing structural barriers to labour market integration. They used flexibility in the ESF adjusting operational programmes, modifying them where necessary, and used the simplifications proposed by the Commission to improve the effectiveness of the fund. ESF programmes also provide financial support for long-term EU social inclusion objectives, underpinning the recovery and social cohesion. The crisis emphasises the need to support citizens at a time of major budget constraint. This highlights the EU agenda for more effective and efficient social inclusion and social protection, pursuing access for all, adequacy and sustainability; which is a long term concern of the Social OMC. Short-term responses should be consistent with structural reforms needed to modernise socialpolicy, prevent lasting damage to the economy and society and prepare for long-term challenges, such as ageing.
Regarding the Landfill Directive, whereas its strict requirements are often transposed into national law and measures are taken to reduce biodegradable waste going to landfill, the number of non-compliant landfills that are still in operation remains a matter of concern. Another serious problem is the overall rate of landfilling, whilst some Member States have shown that reduction to near zero rates is feasible, several others largely depend on this least favourable waste management option. This requires particular attention in view of the policy priority of the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe to virtually eliminate landfilling. As regards the 2006 WFD, available statistics, the number of infringement cases, previous implementation reports and the Commission's own studies show a continuous deficit in implementation and enforcement. Concerns remain about the proper implementation of the waste management hierarchy, even in its three-step version, with a high degree of dependence on landfilling leading to untapped recycling and recovery potentials, although some progress could be observed during this reporting period. The most important barriers to better implementation on Member State level include the lack of commitment and resources for implementation control and enforcement, in combination with structural, institutional and constitutional constraints 13 . Tackling these obstacles, as well as adding stronger national inspections and better knowledge about waste management would bring major improvements. The waste management hierarchy has been modified in Directive 2008/98/EC on waste with a stronger emphasis on prevention, re-use and recycling. The introduction of new recycling and recovery targets into this Directive will be an important factor to drive towards better use of materials contained in waste instead of disposing them. At the same time, the revised Directive allows Member States to depart from the hierarchy where this is justified by life- cycle thinking on the overall impacts of the generation and management of waste. This will allow Member States to take a broader approach towards identifying and implementing waste management options that deliver the best outcome for the environment 14 .
Available statistical evidence at EU level on poverty and social exclusion still does not cover some of the most exposed groups. The NAPs/inclusion highlight that immigrants, ethnic minorities and the Roma, people with disabilities, the homeless, victims of people trafficking, people in or leaving care institutions and subsistence farmers face very particular risks. Also important is the concentration of disadvantage in particular communities and geographic areas, both urban and rural, where people are confronted with deep-seated factors of exclusion that tend to be transmitted across generations. The years immediately preceding the set-up of the new strategy have witnessed a trend reduction in the level of relative poverty, with the average for the EU (15 Member States) declining from 18% in 1995 to 15% in 2000. This can be attributed to a large extent to the significant improvement of the labour market situation. There is now the clear risk that the recent economic slowdown, accompanied by rising unemployment and fewer job opportunities, puts more people at risk of poverty and social exclusion and worsens the position of those who are already affected.
The second set of questions aims to assess the changes in cultural and social perceptions that the Erasmus participants experienced. These changes were measured through the following indicators: tolerance, respect for other cultures and development of intercultural skills. Each question starts with the formula, thanks to my experience abroad, in order to measure the causal relationship between the Erasmus experience and the changes. Also for this set of questions, more than 90% strongly agree or tend to agree with the statements formulated. In particular, thanks to the experience abroad, they can tolerate the behaviour and values of other individuals better without compromising their own values (Q6). Also, they feel more comfortable if confronted with different values and other people's way of life (Q7). They feel more tolerant and respectful of other cultures (Q8). Moreover, they learned how to interact with people of different nations and became more open to cultural issues and foreign humour (Q9). Finally, they have a more positive social and cultural perception of other people with backgrounds different from theirs (Q10).
India is changing, dramatically and fast. Its democracy is healthier and more vibrant than ever, as the recent general elections demonstrated. India is increasingly engaging with other players on the world stage and has made great progress in foreign and domestic policy issues. In recent years, the relationship with the European Union (EU) has developed exponentially in terms of shared vision, goals, and challenges. This Communication identifies the challenges, opportunities and expectations for international, economic and development policies between the EU and India. It suggests areas for future strategic co-operation and a streamlining of the institutional architecture. The full analysis and the detail of proposals contained in this Communication are set out in the attached Commission Services document.
-Transboundary movements of spent fuel and radioactive waste between France and third- party countries involve mainly spent-fuel processing operations, that are performed at the La Hague Plant on behalf of Belgian, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese and Swiss customers. Most transboundary movements between European countries are made by rail. Sea routes are used for Japan bound shipments, since suitable port infrastructures meeting the required nuclear-safety level have been built at both ends of the itinerary. No significant incident compromising safety, security or radiation protection has been notified in recent years during those shipments (art 27).