Featured: Video #CROATIA: #Update ‘ Closes seven of its eight border crossings to #Serbia as huge surge of #refugees turned away from #Hungary ‘

#AceNewsReport – Sept.18: Croatia has closed seven of its eight border crossings with Serbia overwhelmed by a huge surge of refugees turned away by Hungary. PM said Croatia will not accept or accommodate asylum seekers any longer.

Some of the refugees appear to be stuck on the border between Croatia and Hungary. Reuters reported on Thursday that a convoy of more than 10 buses which was heading towards the Croatian city of Osijek was turned towards the Hungarian border. Refugees were offloaded at the Croatian border village Beremend, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. Hundreds of migrants were also witnessed on Friday at a petrol station by a road in the Croatian border town of Beli Manastir.

Scuffles between refugees erupted on Friday at the Croatian Beli Monastir train station as the people were boarding the trains bound for Zagreb. Some were injured and received first aid.

Some were injured and received first aid.

Dozens of refugees staged a silent sit-in protest at the Serbian-Hungarian border near the town of Horgos on Friday. They held placards which read: “We don’t have houses anymore. We will live here,” and “This is shame for Europe.”

LISTEN MORE:

The site was a scene of violence on Tuesday, when police used water cannon and teargas to push back refugees attempting to enter Hungary.

 

Milanovic said on Friday he has called a session of Croatia’s National Security Council. Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told N1 Television that “it’s a matter of time” before Croatia closes all borders.

Columns of asylum seekers were expected to turn to Slovenia, however the Interior Ministry said on Friday that Slovenia does not intend to open a corridor for the refugees heading to Western Europe to pass through.

“At the moment we have no basis on which we could form a corridor,” Interior Ministry state secretary Bostjan Sefic told reporters.

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#action-alert, #all-rights-reserved, #antonio-guterres, #arutz-sheva, #belgrade, #brussels, #david-cameron, #europe, #european-commission, #european-parliament, #european-union, #greece, #hungary, #italy, #refugee, #syria

MACEDONIA: ‘ Political Crisis continues as EU calls for Regime Change ‘

#AceNewsReport – MACEDONIA:June.14: Macedonia continues to go through a political crisis, after Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and the leaders of the four main political parties in Macedonia failed to reach an agreement on settling the crisis earlier this week.

' EU Calls for Regime Change in Macedonia '
‘ EU Calls for Regime Change in Macedonia ‘

Western media claims that Nikola Gruevski, the current Prime Minister of Macedonia, created the crisis that puts his government at risk, EUobserver reported.

Recently, Gruevski was accused of mass illegal surveillance, election fraud, as well as abuse of the country’s justice system and media.

Now the European Commission wants to send the government in Skopje a list of tough rule-of-law reforms. If Gruevski doesn’t react and there is no action taken by his government, the Commission will stop backing Macedonia’s EU entry talks, EUobserver said.

Macedonia has been a candidate country for EU accession since 2005. However, negotiations haven’t made any significant progress and there are many obstacles that stand in the way.

Gruevski and Zoran Zaev, the Macedonian opposition leader, agreed to hold early parliamentary elections in April 2016. However, the two politicians can’t agree when Gruevski must step down.

Zaev wants Gruevski to step down in October so that a technocratic government can prepare fair elections. According to Zaev, if Gruevski doesn’t step down, he will rig the new elections in 2016, EUobserver said.

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#albanians, #associated-press, #brussels, #european-commission, #european-union, #johannes-hahn, #nikola-gruevski, #prime-minister-of-the-republic-of-macedonia, #republic-of-macedonia, #skopje

‘ EC GIVES $4.9 MILLION OF HUMANITARIAN AID TO PEOPLE SEEKING REFUGE IN TURKEY FROM ISLAMIC STATE ‘

#AceNewsServices – October 12 – The European Commission has decided to give 3.9 million euro ($4.9 million) of humanitarian aid “to help meet the urgent needs of the thousands of people” who are seeking shelter in neighbouring Turkey to escape the Islamic State advance to the Iraqi town of Kobani, the European Commission said in a statement.

“Over 180,000 Syrians have been displaced to Turkey by the fierce fighting in Kobani.

This further adds to the impact of what is the biggest humanitarian crisis of our times.

We are directing urgently needed funds to help the humanitarian organizations on the ground deal with the massive influx of refugees,” said Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

#ANS2014

#european-commission, #humanitarian-aid, #islamic-state, #kobani, #turkey

CANADA: ‘ European Commission Draft Directive Removes Obligatory Labelling of Tar Sands Oil as Highly Polluting ‘

#AceNewsServices – CANADA – October 08 – The European Commission has proposed a directive that abandons obligatory labelling of tar sands oil as highly polluting, opening way for Canada’s sands crude imports and drawing criticism for putting oil producers’ interests above the environment.

' Alberta Tar Sands '

‘ Alberta Tar Sands ‘

In light of recent economic tensions with Russia and the EU’s energy dependence on its eastern neighbour, the European Commission has published a proposal, the text of which removes one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of Alberta exporting its oil sands crude to Europe.

The revised draft still has to be approved by EU member-states before being passed on to the European Parliament.

“The commission is today (Tuesday) giving this another push, to try and ensure that in the future, there will be a methodology and thus an incentive to choose less polluting fuels over more polluting ones like, for example, oil sands,” EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in a statement.

“It is no secret that our initial proposal could not go through due to resistance faced in some member states,” Hedegaard added. “I strongly recommend Member States to adopt this proposal and keep the safeguards that will allow cleaner fuels to be used in transport across Europe.”

The desire for a trade deal with Canada had been a factor in revising the draft said EU sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters.

Oil sands crude is more damaging to the environment as it emits more carbon over its life-cycle, but under the new draft that was EU will be counting it in the same category as conventional oil, opening way for larger imports from Canada.

The debate about labelling tar sands crude, in the EU started in 2009 when the block approved legislation aimed at cutting greenhouse gases from fuel by 6 percent by 2020, but failed to agree how to implement it.

The law is part of the EUs broader strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

Source:

#ANS2014

#alberta, #canada, #eu, #european-commission, #tar-sands

‘ Google Could Face Record Fine for Breaching EU Competition Rules ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – September 22 – Google could face a record fine for breaching EU competition rules, the European Commission’s competition chief has said, warning that its four year investigation into the US search engine could eventually rival the sixteen years spent investigating software rival Microsoft.

google-rankings

Presenting the Commission’s annual competition report in the European Parliament on Tuesday (23 September), Joaquin Almunia said that he had asked Google “to improve its proposals” or face a formal ‘Statement of Objections’, including a possible fine, if its latest offer did not go “in the right direction”.

Google faces a total of twenty complaints from its rivals, including Microsoft.

“Some of the twenty formal complainants have given us fresh evidence and solid arguments against several aspects of the latest proposals put forward by Google,” Almunia told MEPs.

“We now need to see if Google can address these issues and allay our concerns,” said Almunia, although he noted that “Microsoft was investigated for 16 years, which is four times as much as the Google investigation has taken, and there are more problems with Google than there were with Microsoft.”

#ANS2014

#brussels, #european-commission, #european-parliament, #google, #microsoft

BRUSSELS: ‘ Juncker Moves Top People into Place by Putting Mogherini’s HQ in Berlaymont ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – September 11 – The EU foreign relations chief is to move her office back to the European Commission to steer a cell of top officials on external policy.

The new commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, set out the plan in a “mission letter” to the foreign relations head, Federica Mogherini, published on Wednesday (10 September).

He said: “To liaise more effectively with the other members of the college, following your suggestion, you will have your headquarters in the Berlaymont, and the commission will put a cabinet of an appropriate size at your disposal, about half of which will be commission officials”.

English: Insignia of the European External Act...

English: Insignia of the European External Action Service (EAS) ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Emblemet tilhørende Den europeiske avdeling for agering utad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He added that Mogherini will chair a new “Commissioners’ Group on External Action” that will meet “at least once a month”.

He listed seven portfolios that “have a strong external dimension”.

The list includes: neighbourhood and enlargement negotiations; trade; development; humanitarian aid; climate action and energy; transport; and migration.

He also said the commission will continue to run Mogherini’s human resources and will retain control over the vast majority of EU external budgets.

Mogherini’s predecessor, Catherine Ashton, moved her cabinet out of the Berlaymont, the commission HQ, across the road to the EU foreign service’s €12-million-a-year “Axa” building in 2012.

Her spokesman said at the time “it will facilitate contacts between the staff members … reinforce the team spirit and the corporate identity of the EEAS [the European External Action Service]”.

She was also meant to chair a group of commissioners with external-type dossiers. But it met just five times in five years and she did not go to any of the meetings.

EUobserver Reported: 

#ANS2014

#berlaymont, #commission-officials, #eu, #european-commission, #european-external-action-service, #federica-mogherini, #finance, #foreign-relations, #jean-claude-juncker

ROMANIA: ' Preparing Women Candidate for EU Commission '

#AceWorldNews – ROMANIA – August 31 – Romania is preparing a female candidate for the EU commission, while sticking to Dacian Ciolos as first option, prime minister Victor Ponta said.

The European Parliament has threatened to veto the new EU commission if fewer than nine members are female.

Only five other countries have nominated women so far.

By EUobserver

#ANS2014

#eu, #european-commission, #european-parliament, #romania

‘ Irish Judge Refuses Investigation into Facebook’s Alleged Sharing of Data from EU Users with NSA Timeline of Events ‘

#AceNewsServices – DUBLIN – June 18 – An Irish judge on Wednesday rejected an attempt by campaigners to force an investigation into Facebook’s alleged sharing of data from EU users with the U.S. National Security Agency.

High Court Justice Gerard Hogan, who has jurisdiction because Facebook’s European headquarters are based in Dublin, upheld an earlier decision by the country’s data protection commissioner to refuse to investigate.


​(EU Data not Compliant under Safe Harbour)

Ahead of the hearing, the campaign group europe-v-facebook indicated it planned to appeal any such decision.


​(Max Schrems, an Austrian Law Student)

(IrishExaminer) 30 April 2014 – The data protection commissioner was wrong to refuse to investigate a complaint that the Irish arm of Facebook could not permit the mass transfer of personal data to US intelligence services, it has been claimed.

Max Schrems, an Austrian law student behind a data privacy campaign group called Europe v Facebook, has brought a High Court challenge claiming Billy Hawkes wrongly interpreted and applied the law governing the mass transfer of personal data of Facebook users to the US National Security Agency when he rejected his complaint.


​He is asking Mr Justice Gerard Hogan to quash that decision and refer it back to Mr Hawkes for reconsideration. He says the commissioner’s decision was irrational and wants a preliminary reference on the matter to be made to the European Court of Justice.


​The commissioner, who found Facebook had acted within the terms of the EU-US data-sharing agreement called Safe Harbour, is opposing his action.


(Avoiding the Truth About Your EU Data)

According to Safe Harbour

The European Commission’s Directive on Data Protection went into effect in October of 1998, and would prohibit the transfer of personal data to non-European Union countries that do not meet the European Union (EU) “adequacy” standard for privacy protection. While the United States and the EU share the goal of enhancing privacy protection for their citizens, the United States takes a different approach to privacy from that taken by the EU.

In order to bridge these differences in approach and provide a streamlined means for U.S. organizations to comply with the Directive, the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission developed a “Safe Harbor” framework and this website to provide the information an organization would need to evaluate – and then join – the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program.

The U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner of Switzerland developed a separate “Safe Harbor” framework to bridge the differences between the two countries’ approaches to privacy and provide a streamlined means for U.S. organizations to comply with Swiss data protection law.

This website also provides the information an organization would need to evaluate – and then join – the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor program.

(Guardian) 30 September 2011 – Facebook is to be investigated by the Irish privacy regulator into how it handles users’ data across Europe.

In the next fortnight the Irish data protection commissioner will launch a wide-ranging privacy audit of the social network after complaints about how Facebook tracks its users on-line.

The Irish regulator will conduct the audit on behalf of authorities in 27 European states, including the UK.

The commissioner expects to complete the report before the end of the year, a spokeswoman for the regulator said.

Data Protection Information

#ANS2014

#european-commission, #european-court-of-justice, #european-union, #facebook, #max-schrems, #national-security-agency, #united-state, #us-national-security-agency

` Lithuania Last Baltic Nation Joins the Euro ‘

#AceBreakingNewsEUROPEAN UNION – Press Release – June 04 – Lithuania, the last Baltic nation outside the currency union, has been finally given green light to join the euro area, after its bid was turned down 8 years ago. The country could adopt a single currency on January 1, 2015.

The European Commission and the European Central Bank acceptedLithuania’s application on Wednesday.

“Lithuania’s readiness to adopt the euro reflects its long-standing support for prudent fiscal policies and economic reforms.

That reform momentum, driven in part by Lithuania’s EU accession ten years ago, has led to a striking increase in Lithuanians’ prosperity: the country’s per capita GDP has risen from just 35% of the EU28 average in 1995 to a projected 78% in 2015,” Olli Rehn, the European Commission Vice-President responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, said in the statement.

The ECB looked at eight European Union countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and Croatia. Only Lithuania met all the criteria to join.

The ECB looked at eight European Union countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and Croatia. Only Lithuania met all the criteria to join.

The Council will make a final decision on the matter in the second half of July, after EU officials and state heads meet at the European Council from June 26-27.

Then the council will also agree on a set conversation rate for Lithuania’s currency the litas to the euro.

In order for a country to adopt the euro, it needs to tie its currency to the euro for a two-year period, as well as keep debt below 60 percent of GDP and inflation within 1.5 percentage points of the three lowest rates among the euro zone.

The European Commission said Lithuania’s key stumbling block of inflation has been overcome.

Europa: PRESS RELEASE: 04/06/14 

RT News

#ANS2014

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` Lithuania President Dalia Gyrbauskaite Wins Second Term in Office ‘

#AceWorldNews – LITHUANIA – May 26 – Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite won a second term in run-off elections on Sunday. Grybauskaite, 58, a former European Budget Commissioner and former minister of finance, attracted 57.9 percent of the votes in the nation of 3 million, Reuters reported.

The electoral commission said Zigmantas Balcytis, a social democrat supported by Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, received 40.1 percent.

The Lithuanian president appoints government ministers, judges, the head of the central bank and the Lithuanian delegate to the European Commission.

The head of state, however, needs the approval of parliament or the prime minister for most appointments.

#ANS2014

#european-commission, #lithuania, #lithuanian

` Russian Energy Minster and EU Energy Commissioner Meet in Berlin Agenda Urkraine Gas Debt ‘

#AceWorldNews – EUROPEAN COMMISSION – May 19 – Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger met at the European Commission agency in Berlin on Monday.

They were there to decide on a date and place for the second round of three-party negotiations on Ukrainian debt for Russian gas.

Delegations from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union held the first round of talks in Warsaw on May 2 but failed to come to an agreement.

The gas price for Ukraine rose to $485.50 (€353.94) per 1,000 cubic metres starting from April 1 after Russia annulled two discounts earlier granted to the country.

According to Gazprom, Ukraine’s outstanding gas debt to Russia as of April 30 amounted to $3.5bn (€2.5bn).

RT

#ANS2014

#russia, #berlin, #european-commission, #european-union, #gazprom, #russian, #ukraine, #warsaw

#AceWorldNews BRUSSELS May 07 The European Commission will…

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – May 07- The European Commission will hold a joint session with representatives of the Ukrainian parliament-appointed authorities in Brussels on June 13 to discuss a range of issues concerning the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the commission’s president said on Wednesday.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that the issue of energy security in Ukraine would be the priority on the agenda of the planned session next month.

The official said the European Commission continues its work on resolving the situation with energy security in Ukraine, taking into account a recently held trilateral meeting in Poland’s Warsaw.

The meeting in Warsaw on May 2 involved representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the European Union and focused on issues of the Russian natural gas transit via Ukraine as well as on Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia.

#ANS2014

#russia, #brussels, #european-commission, #european-union, #poland, #ukraine, #warsaw

` Citizen’s of Moldova with Bio-Metric Passports will No Longer Require a Visa to Enter EU from Monday’

#AceWorldNews – MOLDOVA – April 27 – All citizens of Moldova with biometric passports will no longer need to be in possession of visas to enter and travel around the European Union from Monday, according to a European Commission statement.

The EU is making steps towards forging stronger ties with eastern European states in response to the Ukraine crisis, with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine all seeking stronger Eastern Partnership links with the bloc, which would facilitate stronger trade and business ties without full EU membership being granted.

#ANS2014

#eu, #european-commission, #european-union, #georgia, #moldova, #ukraine

` Group of Eight will not meet until ` Russia ' changes its policy towards ` Ukraine ' according to Cameron '

#AceWorldNews – LONDON – March 26 – The Group of Eight will not meet until Russia changes its policy towards Ukraine, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday, March 26.

The leaders of the seven most industrialised nations (G7) have agreed to hold their next meeting in Brussels in June.

They refused to go to Russia’s Sochi for a G8 summit because of the Ukraine crisis.

Cameron earlier threatened to exclude Russia from the Group of Eight if it refused to cooperate on de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine.

Speaking at a meeting of the EU heads of state or government on March 6, Cameron stressed that “illegal actions committed by Russia cannot pass without a response.”

“And if Russia does not rapidly engage in direct talks with the Ukrainian government to find a solution to this crisis, we have been clear that we will go further,” Cameron warned, adding that the leaders had tasked the European Commission to start work on additional measures, including travel bans and asset freezes.

Ace News Services

#ANS2014

#ace-news-services, #british-prime-minister-david-cameron, #eu, #european-commission, #g7, #g8, #group-of-eight, #london, #russia-3, #sochi, #ukraine, #ukrainian

` Political Section of the `Ukrainian-EU Association Agreement ‘ was signed at two-day Summit ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS, March 21. – The political part of the Ukrainian-EU Association Agreement was signed in Brussels on Friday on the sidelines of the two-day EU summit.

The first to affix their signatures to the document were the chairmen of the European Council and the European Commission, Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso.
After them, the agreement was signed by Arseny Yatsenyuk appointed by the Supreme Rada as Ukrainian prime minister, and after him, by the heads of the 28 states and governments of the European Union.

The association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and the member states was originally planned to be concluded at the Eastern Partnership summit on November 28-29, 2013, in Vilnius.

However, a week before, the Ukrainian cabinet headed by Nikolai Azarov suspended the preparation for the signing.

After the decision, the opposition started mass protest demonstrations, which developed into violent clashes with police and led to the change of power in Ukraine.

#ANS2014

#brussels, #european-atomic-energy-community, #european-commission, #european-council, #european-union, #supreme-rada, #ukraine, #ukrainian, #ukrainian-eu-association-agreement, #vilnius

` G7 calls on Russia to stop changing status of Crimea ‘

#AceWorldNews – BERLIN – Leaders of the countries making up the Group of Seven (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the US), along with leaders of the European Council and the European Commission, have called on Russia “to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea”.

A joint statement issued on Wednesday said Russia would face sanctions otherwise that would be taken “individually and collectively.” TASS

The signatories repeated the West’s claims that the referendum on self-determination, which the people of Crimea are expected to have next Sunday, is a “deeply flawed process which would have no moral force” because of the alleged presence of Russian forces in the region.

Also, the referendum “would have no legal effect”, and therefore the G7 countries would not recognize its outcome.

#ANS2014

#berlin, #britain, #canada, #crimea, #european-commission, #european-council, #france, #g7, #germany, #italy, #itar-tass, #japan, #russian, #us

” French Law issues a `Decree’ forbidding farmers from planting `Genetically Modified Maize in the Immediate Future”

#AceNewsServices says that a `French Law‘ issues a `Decree’ to temporarily ban `GMO Maize’ from being Planted while government drafts a “Comprehensive Law’ to ban the practice nationwide.

sayno2gmo

sayno2gmo

The French government issued a decree Monday forbidding farmers to plant genetically modified maize in the immediate future while the government drafts a comprehensive law that will attempt to ban the practice nationwide.

French officials maintain that GM crops constitute a serious environmental risk, despite a senior court striking down two national prohibitions on GM maize (corn) in recent time. GM opponents were also frustrated recently by the European Union, which failed to agree on whether or not to ban a new strand of GM-maize. The lack of consensus makes it more likely that the EU Commission will approve its cultivation.

Genetically modified crops have drawn the attention of much of the international community because they are scientifically produced to resist herbicides. Yet little independent research has studied at what cost that modification does to humans who ingest those same crops.

Among the most commonly cited causes for concern is the skyrocketing resistance to antibiotics, although increased toxicity in food and lower nutritional values are also considered factors.

GM maize has been no exception to the controversy, with many scientists and environmentalists decrying the unconventional food as an unsafe and unnecessary replacement to standard corn.

 

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#Google : `Anti-Trust Commission Obtains Comparable Display of Specialised Search Rivals’

#AceNewsServices says `Antitrust: Commission obtains from Google comparable display of specialised search rivals’

google-rankingsThe European Commission has obtained an improved commitments proposal from Google in the context of the ongoing antitrust investigation on on-line search and search advertising.

In its proposal, Google has now accepted to guarantee that when it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services (see also MEMO/14/87). This principle will apply not only for existing specialised search services, but also to changes in the presentation of those services and for future services.

Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, said: “My mission is to protect competition to the benefit of consumers, not competitors. I believe that the new proposal obtained from Google after long and difficult talks can now address the Commission’s concerns. Without preventing Google from improving its own services, it provides users with real choice between competing services presented in a comparable way; it is then up to them to choose the best alternative. This way, both Google and its rivals will be able and encouraged to innovate and improve their offerings. Turning this proposal into a legally binding obligation for Google would ensure that competitive conditions are both restored quickly and maintained over the next years.”

PDF : Google had already made significant concessions regarding the other concerns raised by the Commission:

  • Google will give content providers an extensive opt-out from the use of their content in Google’s specialised search services if they so wish, without being penalised by Google.
  • Google will remove exclusivity requirements in its agreements with publishers for the provision of search advertisements; and
  • Google will remove restrictions on the ability for search advertising campaigns to be run on competing search advertising platforms.

An important aspect of the proposal is that Google’s compliance with these commitments would be supervised by an independent monitoring trustee. The commitments would cover the European Economic Area (EEA) for 5 years.

The Commission will in the coming period inform the complainants in this case of the reasons why it believes Google’s offer is capable of addressing the Commission’s concerns. The complainants will then have the opportunity to make their views known to the Commission before the Commission takes a final decision on whether to make Google’s commitments legally binding on Google.

Background on the Commission’s concerns

In March 2013, the Commission formally informed Google of its preliminary conclusion that the following four types of business practices by Google may violate EU antitrust rules prohibiting the abuse of a dominant position (Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European UnionTFEU):

(i) The prominent display, within Google’s web search results, of Google’s own specialised web search services as compared to competing specialised web search services (i.e. services allowing users to search for specific categories of information such as restaurants, hotels or products). First, users are not aware of the promotion of Google’s services within the search results. Second, competitors’ results that are potentially as relevant are significantly less visible and even sometimes not directly visible to users – they are more difficult for the user to find, for instance because the user has to scroll down the screen to see them or has to go to a subsequent search results web page. The Commission is concerned that this practice unduly diverts traffic away from Google’s competitors in specialised search towards Google’s own specialised search services, by reducing the ability of consumers to find a potentially more relevant choice of specialised search services.

(ii) The use by Google without consent of original content from third-party web sites in its own specialised web search services.

(iii) Agreements that oblige third party web sites (“publishers”) to obtain all or most of their online search advertisements from Google.

(iv) Contractual restrictions on the transferability of online search advertising campaigns to rival search advertising platforms and the management of such campaigns across Google’s AdWords and rival search advertising platforms.

The Commission considers that these practices can harm consumers by reducing choice and stifling innovation in the fields of specialised search services and online search advertising.

Procedural background

Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) prohibits any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or a substantial part of it in so far as it may affect trade between Member States. Article 54 of the EEA Agreement contains the same prohibition for the territory of the EEA Contracting Parties (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

The Commission opened the investigation in November 2010 (see IP/10/1624). In the context of this investigation, the Commission is looking into 18 formal complaints against Google’s business practices.

In March 2013 the Commission formally informed Google of its preliminary conclusions, raising four antitrust concerns. Google proposed a detailed text of commitments to address the four concerns on 3 April 2013. The Commission sought feedback from stakeholders on these commitments through a market test launched on 25 April 2013 (see IP/13/371). The Commission then informed Google that additional improvements to its commitments were required to adequately address the Commission’s concerns. Google offered changes to its commitments in October 2013 (see SPEECH/13/768). The Commission sought feedback on Google’s revised commitments from complainants and other relevant market participants and, after taking into account that feedback, informed Google that its proposal of October 2013 was not yet sufficient to fully address the Commission’s competition concerns. Google has now submitted a second improved offer.

Article 9 of the EU’s Antitrust Regulation (Regulation 1/2003) allows the Commission to end antitrust proceedings by making commitments offered by a company legally binding. Such a decision does not conclude on whether EU antitrust rules have been infringed but legally binds the company to respect the commitments. If the company breaches these commitments, the Commission can impose a fine of up to 10% of its annual worldwide turnover, without having to find an infringement of the antitrust rules.

 

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#EU: “Report Indicates 99 pct of Greeks Believe Corruption is Widespread”

EU report indicates 99 pct of Greeks believe corruption is widespread

Almost all Greeks believe that corruption is widespread in their country, according to a report compiled by the European Commission.

Relying on figures from the Eurobarometer surveys, the report indicates that 99 percent of Greeks thins that graft is widespread. This is the highest figure in the European Union, where the average is 76 percent.

In Greece, 63 percent of residents say they are personally affected by corruption, which is equal highest with Spain.

Across the EU, 73 percent of respondents said that bribery and the use of connections is the easiest way of obtaining public services. In Greece, the figure is 93 percent.

Also, 67 percent of Europeans feel the financing of political parties is not transparent enough. In Greece, it is 86 percent that believes this.

 

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#acenewsservices, #eurobarometer, #european-commission, #european-union, #greece, #greek, #political-corruption, #spain, #transparency-international

#AceNewsServices says according to Huffposts Matt Sledge he…

#AceNewsServices says according to {Huffposts Matt Sledge} he says ::Tugs on shirt collar with finger:: Yeeeeeeeeesh: “The latest revelation from #Edward- Snowden that British spies targeted a European Commission official could create another headache for negotiators in ongoing talks over a United States-E.U. trade agreement. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement would ease regulatory barriers across the Atlantic — but tech companies worry Europe will push for ‘digital protectionism,’ such as a requirement to store European citizens’ data on servers in Europe.” [HuffPost’s Matt Sledge]

#edward-snowden, #mattsledge, #atlantic, #europe, #european-commission, #huffpost, #protectionism, #trans-pacific-partnership-tpp, #us-european-trade-deal