General Information

Daily News 27 / 04 / 2015

Road safety: Commission streamlines restrictions on drink driving

Together with speeding, running traffic lights and the failure to use seat-belts, drink driving is one of the four “big killers” causing 75% of road fatalities. To fight drink driving, the Commission today introduces a new system to facilitate the application of the so called “alcohol-interlocks” across Member States. These devices prevent the car engine to start unless the person has no alcohol in the blood. In several Member States, drink driving offenders might retain the right to drive, but can only use cars equipped with alcohol-interlocks. Currently, the national applicable rules vary and cannot be enforced across Member States. Today’s streamlining initiative is an important step for rules on “alcohol-interlocks” to become more uniform across the EU. This is a key contribution to further improving road safety. Additional background is available here. (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Joshua Salsby – Tel.: +32 229 72459).

EUROSTAT: Labour Force Survey 2014: Almost 10 million part-time workers in the EU would have preferred to work more, two-thirds were women

Among the 44.1 million persons in the European Union (EU) working part-time in 2014, 9.8 million were under-employed meaning they wished to work more hours and were available to do so. This corresponds to 22.2% of all part-time workers and 4.5% of total employment in the EU in 2014. The large majority of part-time workers being underemployed in the EU were women (67%). Alongside the economically active population, 11.6 million economically inactive persons aged 15-74 in the EU had in 2014 a certain attachment to the labour market and could be considered as a potential additional labour force, equivalent to 4.8% of the EU labour force. Among them, 9.5 million were available to work but not seeking, such as discouraged job seekers, and 2.2 million seeking work but not immediately available, for example students seeking a job to start after graduation. The majority of this almost 12 million total potential additional labour force in the EU in 2014 were also women (57%). A EUROSTAT press release is available online. (for more information: Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764)

Investment Plan for Europe: Vice-President Katainen takes the roadshow to Luxembourg

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, is in Luxembourg on Monday as part of his roadshow to promote the Investment Plan for Europe. Vice-President Katainen will meet with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the Committees of Economic Affairs and Foreign and European Affairs at the national parliament as well as European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer. Vice-President Katainen will also speak at a round table discussion on the Investment Plan and engage in a debate with students at the University of Luxembourg. Vice-President Katainen said: “It is great to be in Luxembourg to thank Prime Minister Bettel in person for his country’s contribution of €80 million to the Investment Plan. I am also glad to meet with EIB President Hoyer to congratulate him on the first projects to be chosen for financing through the Investment Plan which they announced last Wednesday. We promised to deliver fast, and we are keeping our promise”. Follow the roadshow in detail on Twitter. (for more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Siobhan Bright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of certain Lafarge and Holcim assets by CRH

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of several assets of Holcim of Switzerland and of Lafarge of France by Irish building materials manufacturer CRH. The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns, in particular because the merged entity will continue to face sufficiently strong competition after the merger and customers will have alternative suppliers in all markets concerned. The proposed transaction concerns assets worth several billion euros which Holcim and Lafarge committed to divest to gain the Commission clearance of their merger in December 2014. The transaction was notified to the Commission on 18 March 2015. More information is available on the competition website, in the Commission’s public case register under the case number M.7550. A full press release is available in EN FR DE. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Pepe Jeans by M1 Fashion and LVMH

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Pepe Jeans S. L. of Spain by M1 Fashion Limited of British Virgin Islands and LVMH-Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.E. of France.  Pepe Jeans sells luxury fashion under the Hackett brand and denim fashion under the Pepe Jeans brand. M1 Fashion belongs to an investment group owning, amongst others, the Façonnable brand. LVMH, controlled by Groupe Arnault, is active in the production and sale of luxury goods. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the overlaps between the activities of Pepe Jeans, M1 Fashion and LVHM 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.7568. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs by Berkshire Hathaway

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs (DLMV) of Germany by Berkshire Hathaway of the United States. DLMV is active in the retail distribution of motorcycle clothing, spare parts and supplies through stores located in Germany and Austria. Berkshire Hathaway is a multinational conglomerate with subsidiaries active in property and casualty insurance, freight rail transportation, utilities and energy, finance, manufacturing, services and retailing. One of Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiaries, Brooks Sports, is active in the retail and wholesale distribution of performance running shoes and related sports apparel. Another subsidiary, Fruit of the Loom, manufactures basic clothing products, including sports and casual wear. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise any competition concerns, because the overlaps between the activities of DLMV and Berkshire Hathaway are very 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.7590. (for more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel. +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)



High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini visiting coast of Sicily in context of migration crisis, travelling to New York and Washington

On Monday 27 April, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini will be on board of the Navy ship San Gusto with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. They will assess the situation off the coast of Sicily, and help ensure European solidarity for the efforts undertaken to save the lives of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea. HRVP Mogherini will then travel to New York on Tuesday to meet with key UN interlocutors and international partners to discuss this crisis. On Wednesday, HRVP Mogherini will be in Washington where she will have a meeting with US Secretary of State, John Kerry. A Press release is available online (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Nabila Massrali – Tel.: +32 229 69218- Eamonn Prendergast – Tel.: +32 229 98851)

Commissioner Mimica holds high level dialogue with UNDP

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark are holding a high-level policy dialogue today in Brussels. They discussed current development challenges and priorities as well as collective actions needed to advance sustainable development for all countries and people. The discussions are very timey since the Millennium Development Goals expire at the end of 2015 and a new set of sustainable global goals will be agreed at a summit in New York in September.  Commissioner Mimica stated:  “Together with partners like UNDP, the EU has been working to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. 2015 offers an opportunity we cannot miss to tackle the interlinked challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in an integrated and balanced way. The agenda should also be rights-based and address issues such as justice, governance and peaceful societies.” (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229 92256)

Financial Services: Joint Conference of the European Commission and European Central Bank on financial integration and stability

The annual joint conference of the European Commission and the European Central Bank takes place today in Brussels. It aims to take stock of the recent developments in the financial sector and in particular of the role of the Banking Union in creating a safer and sounder financial sector for the single market. Speaking at the conference, Jonathan Hill, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, highlighted the need to refocus financial integration on growth and jobs (SPEECH/15/4861): “Building a stronger single market in capital is a key part of our overall effort to boost jobs and growth. Its purpose is to provide more opportunities for savers and investors to be linked to growth. By helping to increase investment, by making it easier for businesses to grow, it should drive growth in the whole European economy”. Other keynote speakers include: Danièle Nouy, Chair of the Supervisory Board, Single Supervisory Mechanism, and European Central Bank Vice-President Vítor Constâncio. Today’s conference also examines how the recently launched Capital Markets Union can contribute to a more inclusive, competitive and resilient financial system (IP/15/4433; MEMO/15/4434). The Commission is today also publishing its annual review on the evolution of the financial system (EFSIR). The European Central Bank is presenting its review on “Financial integration in Europe”. (For more information: Vanessa Mock – Tel.: +32 2 295 61 94; Maud Scelo – Tel.: +32 2 298 15 21)