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EXME 14 / 25.08
25 / 08 / 14
News from the European Commission’s Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
Following the failure on Friday August 22nd to inject Galileo satellites 5 and 6 into the correct orbit, the European Commission has requested Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide full details of the incident, together with a schedule and an action plan to rectify the problem.
According to initial information from Arianespace, the problem involved the upper stage of the launcher, as a result of which the satellites were not injected into the required orbit.
Commissioner Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, commented “The problem with the launch of the two Galileo satellites is very unfortunate. The European Commission will participate in an inquiry with ESA to understand the causes of the incident and to verify the extent to which the two satellites could be used for the Galileo programme. I remain convinced of the strategic importance of Galileo and I am confident that the deployment of the constellation of satellites will continue as planned.”
Discussions with Russia and Ukraine: Minsk meeting, 26 August
As announced last week, High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton, Vice-President Günther Oettinger, responsible for energy, and Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht, will represent the EU in Minsk on 26 August for discussions with Russia and Ukraine with a view to creating a new political impetus towards finding a political, sustainable solution to the situation in Ukraine.
Lead by HR/VP Ashton, the EU will look at discussing the wider political and security concerns, and reiterate the EU’s concerns about the security and humanitarian situation in Eastern Ukraine in particular.
The EU is ready to exchange views with Russia and Ukraine on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine association agreement, including the deep and comprehensive free trade area, and explain once again why this agreement is positive for the whole region. Commissioner de Gucht will lead on these discussions.
The EU will want to prepare the continuation of energy talks in a trilateral format in September. The aim remains to find a solution to the gas dispute under moderation of the Commission as set out once again in the Council Conclusions of 15 August. Vice-President Oettinger will lead on these discussions.
(for more information: M. Kocijancic – Tel. +32 229 86570 – Mobile +32 498 98 4425; M. Holzner – Tel. +32 229 60196 – Mobile +32 498 98 2280; I. Valero Ladron – Tel. +32 229 64971 – Mobile +32 498 96 4971)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of JP Morgan Chase’s commodities trading business by Mercuria
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control of the physical commodities trading business of JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) of the USA, by Mercuria Energy Group Limited (Mercuria) of Cyprus. Mercuria is active in the trading of energy products, including crude oil and refined petroleum products, natural gas (including LNG), power, coal, biodiesel, vegetable oils and carbon emissions. Mercuria also provides storage facilities for petroleum products. JPM’s commodities business (JP Morgan Commodities) comprises its activities in the physical trading of crude oil and petroleum products, natural gas, thermal coal, power, emission rights and various base metals. It also provides warehousing services with respect to exchange-traded base metals. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the overlaps between the parties’ activities and increments in market shares brought about by the transaction are limited, and due to the presence of a number of strong players remaining on the markets after the merger. 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.7317 .
Expert Group meeting of 22 August provided the Commission and Member State experts with a further chance to discuss elements relating to the impact on EU markets of the Russian import restrictions announced two weeks ago, discussing administrative elements for the measures already announced and looking at the latest market situation.
President Barroso is in Vietnam today and tomorrow, where he had a bilateral meeting and a press conference with Prime Minister Dung. They discussed the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations, development cooperation and South China Sea/East Sea-related issues. The President also witnessed a joint signing ceremony of trade-related assistance grants, which are related to a EUR 2.3 million EU funding to six business associations and research institutes under the project ” EU-MUTRAP “, a successful example of trade-related assistance. In the afternoon, President Barroso will pay courtesy calls on the President Truong Tan Sang and the General-Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong. Afterwards, at 12.35 Brussels time, President Barroso will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the National Economics University. On 26 August, a wreath laying ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum closes the programme in Hanoi. Straight after President Barroso leaves for Ho Chi Minh City, where he will meet representatives of the EU business community. In the late afternoon he will pay a short courtesy call on the Chair of Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan.
What Commissioners said
Following media reports that 18 illegal immigrants drowned after their boat sank en route to Italy yesterday, Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström issued the following statement: “I am appalled by these new tragedies at sea and I express my condolences to the victims and their families. I also thank the Italian authorities for the huge efforts put in place to assist and rescue thousands of migrants over the last days. The European Commission remains committed to help Italy in its efforts. To this aim, I will meet next Wednesday in Brussels Minister Alfano in order to better define priorities and provide assistance. I also reiterate my call to Member States to provide assistance to Mediterranean countries facing increased migratory and asylum pressure, in particular by resettling people from refugees’ camps outside the EU.”