Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Gemalto by Thales, subject to conditions

Source: European Union

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The importance of data security solutions to protect critical social, commercial or personal information is increasing. Today’s decision allows the creation of a strong European player in this market, while still ensuring that the merger will not prevent customers from continuing to enjoy fair prices and innovative products. This is because we have approved the deal subject to Thales’ offer of a strong remedy that will fully preserve competition on this important market.”
Today’s decision follows an in-depth investigation of the proposed acquisition of Gemalto by Thales. The proposed transaction would combine the activities of Thales and Gemalto in general purpose hardware security modules (HSMs). These data security products are dedicated hardware appliances running on encryption software to generate, protect, and manage encryption keys used to protect data in a secure tamper-resistant module.
Thales and Gemalto are the two largest manufacturers of general purpose HSMs, both in the European Economic Area (EEA) and at global level.
The Commission’s investigation
The Commission’s in-depth investigation looked into:
        the extent to which the companies are close competitors;
        the potential response of the merged entity’s competitors; and
        the ability of software-based solutions to reach the same security level as HSMs, and therefore compete with the latter.
During its in-depth investigation, the Commission gathered extensive information and received feedback from customers and competitors of Thales and Gemalto, as well as from other stakeholders.
Following the in-depth investigation, the Commission found that there are distinct product markets for (i) general purpose HSMs and (ii) payment HSMs, which are used to secure payment processing operations. The two products have different hardware and software requirements and are generally used to secure different types of operations.
As regards general purpose HSMs, the Commission found that the proposed merger would lead to very high combined market shares and would eliminate the competitive constraints that Thales and Gemalto currently exercise on each other. The Commission also found that cloud service providers offering cloud-based HSMs do not provide a strong competitive constraint on the market today and are not expected to do so in the near future. As a result, by reducing the number of players in the general purpose HSM market and by lowering the merged entity’s incentives to compete effectively, the transaction as notified was likely to lead to higher prices, less choice for customers and less innovation.
As regards payment HSMs, the Commission concluded that the proposed merger was unlikely to have an impact on the level of service or prices because Gemalto has a more limited role in the market. The Commission also found that the merged entity will continue to face significant competition from other players active in that market.

The proposed remedies
To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Thales offered to divest its global general purpose HSM business, marketed under the nShield brand, to a suitable purchaser, who will continue to develop the product. The purchase should have significant experience in a field closely related to HSMs and a good reputation among EEA customers.
The commitments fully remove the overlap between Thales’ and Gemalto’s activities on the market for general purpose HSMswhere the Commission had identified competition concerns.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The Commission’s decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.
Throughout its investigation, the Commission closely cooperated with other national competition authorities, in particular the US Department of Justice.

Companies and products
Thales, based in France, is a global group that designs and builds electrical systems and is active in aeronautics, space, ground transportation, defence and security systems.
Gemalto, based in the Netherlands, is an international digital security company active, among others, in mobile embedded software & products, smart cards, machine to machine communication (Internet of Things) and enterprise security.
Merger control rules and procedures
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 18 June 2018.
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation), and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
There are currently seven on-going phase II merger investigations: the proposed acquisition of VDM by Aperam, the proposed acquisition of Embraco, Whirlpool’s refrigeration compressor business, by Nidec, the proposed acquisition of certain Liberty Global assets by Vodafone, the proposed creation of a joint venture by Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp, the proposed acquisition of Aurubis Rolled Products and Schwermetall by Wieland, the proposed acquisition of Alstom by Siemens and the proposed acquisition of Solvay’s nylon business by BASF.
More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8797.
 

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Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition by Vodafone of Liberty Global’s business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania

Source: European Union

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “It’s important that all EU consumers have access to affordable and good quality telephone and TV services. Our in-depth investigation aims to ensure that Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s telecommunications businesses in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania will not lead to higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation in telecoms and TV services for consumers”.
In Czechia, Hungary and Romania, Vodafone is mainly active as a mobile network operator, and Liberty Global as a fixed telecommunications operator.
In Germany, Vodafone and Liberty Global operate non-overlapping coaxial cable networks (i.e., networks that cover different areas and regions). Vodafone is also active in areas where Liberty Global offers cable services via wholesale access to Deutsche Telekom’s xDSL network.

The Commission’s preliminary competition concerns
The Commission’s initial market investigation identified the following main concerns:
In Czechia, providers of standalone telecommunications services could be shut out from (i) the retail market for mobile telecommunications services, (ii) the retail market for Internet access services and (iii) the retail market for TV services, because of the converged products that the merged entity could offer.

In Germany:
o   Vodafone and Unitymedia (Liberty Global’s subsidiary in Germany) currently compete against each other in areas served by Unitymedia via cable on the retail fixed telecommunications markets and on the retail TV markets. The Commission has concerns that the transaction would eliminate competition between the merging companies, reduce the number of players and limit the merged entity’s incentives to compete effectively with the remaining operators, both in areas already served by Unitymedia and in Germany as a whole.
o   The proposed transaction could eliminate competition between the merging companies in terms of investment in next generation networks
o   The transaction could substantially increase the bargaining power of the merged entity vis-à-vis TV broadcasters. This, in turn, could negatively impact these broadcasters’ ability to stay competitive and to invest.
At this stage, the Commission has not identified any specific competition concerns relating to the proposed merger for the Hungarian and Romanian markets.
The Commission will now carry out an in-depth investigation into the effects of the transaction to determine whether its initial competition concerns are confirmed.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 19 October 2018. The German Competition Authority requested a referral of the case on 7 November 2018 under Article 9 of the EU Merger Regulation. This referral request is pending.
The Commission now has 90 working days, until 2 May 2019, to take a decision. The opening of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
 
Companies and products
Vodafone, based in the UK, is primarily involved in the operation of mobile telecommunication networks and in the provision of mobile telecommunication services, such as mobile voice, messaging and data services. Some of its operating companies also provide cable television, fixed line telephony, broadband internet access and/or IPTV services. Within the EU, Vodafone is active in twelve Member States, including Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania.
Liberty Global, based in the UK, offers television, broadband internet, mobile and telephony services as well as mobile services. Liberty Global owns and operates cable networks offering TV, broadband and voice telephony services in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania. In Germany and Hungary, Liberty Global also provides mobile telecommunications services as a mobile virtual network operator. Liberty Global operates under the name Unitymedia in Germany and under the name UPC in Czechia, Hungary and Romania.

Merger control rules and procedures
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
However, as part of the current matter the Phase I deadline was extended by 10 working days following a request for a partial referral of the matter to the German competition authority, made by the latter under Article 9 of the Merger Regulation.
In addition to the current transaction, there are currently six on-going phase II merger investigations: the proposed acquisition of VDM by Aperam, the proposed acquisition of Whirlpool’s refrigeration compressor business by Nidec, the proposed creation of a joint venture by Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp, the proposed acquisition of Aurubis Rolled Products and Schwermetall by Wieland, the proposed acquisition of Alstom by Siemens and the proposed acquisition of Solvay’s nylon business by BASF
More information will be available on the Commission’s competitionwebsite, in the public case registerunder the case number M.8864.

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Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of MKM by KME

Source: European Union

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Copper products are a key input for many European companies. We have looked carefully at the proposed merger between KME and MKM and found that there are enough credible alternatives and relatively low barriers to entry in the markets where the two companies compete with each other. We can therefore approve this merger without conditions.”
Today’s decision follows an in-depth investigation of KME’s proposed acquisition of MKM.
The proposed transaction would combine KME and MKM, both active in the manufacturing and marketing of copper and copper alloy products, including rolled products made of copper and copper alloys, and copper tubes (including sanitary copper tubes). Rolled products are used as an input in a wide variety of applications, including electrical transformers, semiconductors, heat exchangers, and roofing materials. Sanitary copper tubes are used for drinking water installations, radiator connections, surface heating and cooling and sanitary gas installations.
 
The Commission’s investigation
KME and MKM mainly sell copper and copper alloy products, and compete with each other only in some market segments and geographical areas, in particular with regards to (i) pure copper rolled products in the European Economic Area (EEA) and (ii) sanitary copper tubes in some EU Member States. The Commission opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the overlaps in these two areas might result in price increase for customers.
For rolled products made of copper and copper alloys the investigation showed that the merged entity would not be able to increase prices because:
KME and MKM would have only a relatively low combined market share and will not be market leaders.
KME and MKM compete with each other essentially only in certain lower–end segments of the market, where a number of other vertically integrated competitors are also active and where barriers to compete for existing rolled products producers are relatively low.
As regards the segments in question, the merging companies’ competitors have substantial excess capacity, particularly in roofing copper, which is also a declining segment.
For sanitary copper tubes, the investigation also found that the merged entity would not be able to raise prices, because there is a large number of credible competitors in the EEA and in various Member States with significant free manufacturing capacity. These competitors would also be able to enter and expand across national borders into other national markets.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns in the EEA or any substantial part of it and cleared the case unconditionally.
 
Companies and products
KME, a European industrial group based in Germany, is active in the manufacturing and marketing of copper and copper alloy products, including rolled copper and copper alloy products, and copper tubes. KME operates several production sites in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the US and China.
MKM, also based in Germany, with one plant there, is a manufacturer of intermediate and semi-finished products made from copper and copper alloys. MKM manufactures copper wire, pre-rolled strip, rolled products and tubes.

Merger control rules and procedures
KME notified its proposed acquisition of MKM on 4 June 2018.
This transaction is one of two mergers in the rolled copper and copper alloys products sectors. The Commission examines each case on its own merits. In line with its case practice, the Commission assesses parallel transactions according to the so-called “priority rule” – first come, first served.
Pursuant to the priority rule based on the date of notification, the Commission assessed the KME / MKM transaction on the basis of the market situation existing before the notification of the parallel Wieland / ARP / Schwermetall transaction. The Commission’s investigation of the latter merger is ongoing.
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
There are currently six on-going phase II merger investigations: the proposed acquisition of VDM by Aperam, the proposed acquisition of Embraco, Whirlpool’s refrigeration compressor business, by Nidec, the proposed aquisition of certain Liberty Global assets by Vodafone, the proposed creation of a joint venture by Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp, the proposed acquisition of Aurubis Rolled Products and Schwermetall by Wieland, the proposed acquisition of Alstom by Siemens and the proposed acquisition of Solvay’s nylon business by BASF.
More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8909.

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Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Houghton by Quaker, subject to conditions

Source: European Union

Quaker and Houghton are both active globally in the development, production and marketing of industrial lubricants. In particular, both companies are active in the supply of rolling oils.
Rolling oils are particular types of metal working fluids used in the production of metals, such as aluminium and steel. They are specifically designed for the particular metal being produced (for example, aluminium or steel) and the rolling operations involved in the production process (hot rolling or cold rolling). These products play a critical role, since they have a direct impact on the quality of the metals produced. Customers of rolling oils produce aluminium and steel for various industries, including automotive, aerospace, and food and beverage.
The Commission’s investigation
The Commission was concerned that the takeover, as originally notified, would lead to a loss of competition in the markets for the supply of certain rolling oils in the European Economic Area (EEA).
In particular, the Commission’s market investigation found that the EEA markets for the supply of (i) Aluminium Hot Rolling Oils (“AHRO”), (ii) Steel Hot Rolling Oils (“SHRO”), and (iii) Steel Cold Rolling Oils (“SCRO”) are highly concentrated, and that Quaker and Houghton closely compete on these markets.
These rolling oils are based on complex product formulations, which are adjusted to the specific needs of the mills where they are used. Therefore, it is particularly difficult for customers to switch suppliers and the barriers to entry are high.
In light of these elements, the Commission considered that the proposed acquisition would have likely led to higher prices and reduced quality of the products and services provided to customers.
The proposed remedies
To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Quaker offered to divest Houghton’s EEA businesses for AHRO, SHRO and SCRO.
Quaker has chosen to divest all EEA product formulations (formulations are customer and often plant specific) to Total SA, of France, on a global basis. The Commission will still assess whether Total has the ability (i.e. expertise, financial resources etc.) and incentives to be an active competitor of the merged entity on a lasting basis.
The remedy package includes all the necessary assets for Total to operate the business, as well as the transfer of the required technical and commercial personnel. In parallel, the merged entity will get a licence-back to use the divested formulations outside the EEA. 
These commitments fully remove the overlap between Quaker’s and Houghton’s activities on the markets where the Commission had identified competition concerns.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.
Companies involved
Quaker Chemical Corporation, headquartered in the US, is a global provider of process fluids, chemical specialty products and technical expertise to a wide range of industries, including steel, aluminium, automotive mining, aerospace, tube and pipe, cans and others.
Global Houghton, Ltd., headquartered in the US, is a global provider of specialty chemicals, oils and lubricants. It serves a wide variety of sectors, including steel, aluminium, aerospace, automotive, food and beverage, machinery and equipment, and others.
Merger control rules and procedures
The transaction was initially notified to the Commission on 2 February 2018 and subsequently withdrawn. The transaction was notified again to the Commission on 19 October 2018.
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the MergerRegulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II). This deadline is extended to 35 working days in cases where remedies are submitted by the parties, such as in this case.
More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the Commission’s public case register under the case number M.8492.
 

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Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Spectrum Brands’ batteries and portable lighting business by Energizer, subject to conditions

Source: European Union

Energizer and Spectrum Brands are two of the world’s main manufacturers and suppliers of consumer batteries. They sell their batteries under the Energizer, Varta and Rayovac brands in the European Economic Area (EEA). Their product portfolios include household batteries (such as AA and AAA), specialty batteries (such as batteries for cameras or watches) and hearing aid batteries.
The Commission’s investigation
On the basis of its preliminary investigation, the Commission was concerned that the proposed transaction, as originally notified, would have significantly reduced competition in a number of EEA countries, specifically in the branded product markets for:
        disposable household batteries;
        rechargeable household batteries;
        specialty batteries;
        hearing aid batteries (specifically those sold to mass retailers, such as supermarkets or electronics stores); and
        portable battery chargers.
The merged entity would have become by far the largest supplier (and in some cases, the only supplier) of those products in a number of EEA markets, with limited constraints from competitors. The Commission was therefore concerned that the proposed acquisition would harm competition and lead to increased prices and reduced choice for consumers.
The proposed remedies
To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Energizer offered:
To divest Spectrum Brands’ Varta business. More specifically, this entailed the divestment of Spectrum Brands’ entire activities in Varta-branded and unbranded household and specialty batteries, chargers and portable lighting, in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA), which includes more than 100 countries. 
To enter into an exclusive supply and licence agreement with the purchaser of the Varta business for the sale of Rayovac-branded hearing aid batteries to mass retailers in EMEA. This provides the purchaser with the opportunity to develop its own hearing aid battery business by the end of the supply period via a re-branding strategy.
These commitments remove the overlap between the companies’ activities in each of the national markets for which the Commission had concerns.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.
Companies and products
Energizer, based in the US, manufactures and markets consumer batteries sold under the Energizer and Eveready brands, as well as branded portable battery chargers and lighting products.
Spectrum Brands, based in the US, is a diversified consumer goods company. Its consumer battery and portable lighting business supplies consumer batteries under the Varta and Rayovac brands, as well as private label batteries. It also sells portable chargers and portable lighting products.
Merger control rules and procedures
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 19 October 2018.
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II). This deadline is extended to 35 working days in cases where remedies are submitted by the parties, such as in this case.
More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the Commission’s public case register under the case number M.8988.

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A Europe that Protects: Commission welcomes the adoption of stronger rules to stop cyber-criminals

Source: European Union

An important element of the EU’s scaled up response to cybercrime, the new rules will help Member States to crack down on cyber-criminals while better assisting victims of online payment fraud. 
Welcoming the agreement, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Migration and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “We are building a safer Europe for our citizens – offline as well as online, and today we deliver on this commitment. These new rules will help us crack down on those who steal from our citizens through online fraud, and ensure that our citizens are better protected.”
Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “Strengthening deterrence is crucial to tackling cybercrime – malicious cyber actors need to know that they face serious consequences. Today’s agreement gives Member States a stronger tool to effectively fight online fraud, and provides a forceful disincentive to would-be cyber-criminals.”
Fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment is an important source of income for organised crime, often enabling other criminal activities such as terrorism, drug trafficking and trafficking in human beings. The new rules will boost Member States’ capacity to deter, prosecute and sanction cyber-criminals:
Expanded scope of offences: non-cash transactions carried out with any kind of payment instrument, whether physical such as bank cards, or virtual such as mobile payments, are now included in the scope of offences. Stealing and misappropriation of payment credentials, as well as the further sale and distribution of those credentials will also be criminalised;
Harmonised rules on penalties: the new rules set minimum penalties ranging from 1 to 5 years. This will stop “forum shopping”, such as when criminals choose a jurisdiction with more lenient penalties, and will also facilitate cooperation between national authorities by clarifying which activities are considered as crimes;
Stronger protection of victims: victims of non-cash fraud will now have better access to information, advice and support to limit consequences of identity theft;
Greater cross-border cooperation: dedicated national contact points and the involvement of Europol will improve exchange of information and cross-border cooperation;
Better reporting: financial institutions and other private entities will report on relevant crimes to law enforcement authorities.
Next steps
The Directive will now have to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. Once it enters into force Member States will have 2 years to transpose the rules into national legislation.
Background
Technological developments, such as the increasing use of mobile payments or virtual currencies, have brought about substantial changes in the area of non-cash payments and the increase in online fraud. It is estimated that the criminal market for payment card fraud may be profiting from at least €1.8 billion per year.
The current rules on criminalisation of non-cash payment fraud are set out in the Council Framework Decision (2001/413/JHA) dating back to 2001. It has become clear that those rules no longer reflect today’s realities and do not sufficiently address new challenges and technological developments such as virtual currencies and online payments. In order to ensure that crimes committed with new methods of payment can be effectively deterred and prosecuted, President Juncker proposed to update the existing rules in his 2017 State of the Union Address. Today’s agreement on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment follows the agreement reached yesterday by the EU negotiators on the Cybersecurity Act, reinforcing the mandate of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity and establishing an EU framework for cybersecurity certification – the key elements of the EU’s scaled up response to cybercrime presented by the Commission in September 2017.
For More Information
Factsheet: Combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment
Press Release: State of the Union 2017 – Cybersecurity: Commission scales up EU’s response to cyber-attacks
Questions and Answers: State of the Union 2017: The Commission scales up its response to cyber-attacks

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Agenda prévisionnel du Premier ministre du mardi 11 décembre au vendredi 14 décembre 2018

Source: Government of France

11 décembre 2018 – Note aux rédactions

Mardi 11 décembre 2018
08h30 Petit-déjeuner de la majoritéHôtel de Matignon15h00 Questions d’actualité au GouvernementAssemblée nationale16h00 Réunion de mobilisation du secteur bancaire présidée par le Président de la République en présence de M. Bruno LE MAIRE, ministre de l’Économie et des Finances et de M. Gérald DARMANIN, ministre de l’Action et des Comptes publicsPalais de l’Elysée19h30 Réception avec les parlementaires de la majoritéPalais de l’Elysée
Mercredi 12 décembre 2018
09h30 Entretien avec le Président de la RépubliquePalais de l’Elysée10h00 Conseil des ministresPalais de l’Elysée15h00 Questions d’actualité au GouvernementAssemblée nationale16h30 Réunion de mobilisation des entreprises présidée par le Président de la République en présence de M. Bruno LE MAIRE, ministre de l’Économie et des Finances, de M. Gérald DARMANIN, ministre de l’Action et des Comptes publics et de Mme Muriel PÉNICAUD, ministre du TravailPalais de l’Elysée19h30 Intervention à l’occasion des 30 ans de Villes de FranceParis21h00 Dîner au Gala de la Chambre de commerce franco-israélienneParis
Jeudi 13 décembre 2018
09h30 Entretien avec Mme Jacqueline GOURAULT, ministre de la Cohésion des territoires et des Relations avec les collectivités territoriales et de M. Julien DENORMANDIE, ministre auprès de la ministre de la Cohésion des territoires et des Relations avec les collectivités territoriales, chargé de la Ville et du LogementHôtel de Matignon11h00 Entretien avec Mme Muriel ROBINHôtel de Matignon15h00 Questions d’actualité au GouvernementSénat16h30 Entretien avec Mme Muriel PÉNICAUD, ministre du TravailHôtel de Matignon17h30 Entretien avec M. Christophe CASTANER, ministre de l’IntérieurHôtel de Matignon
Vendredi 14 décembre 2018
Journée Comité des signataires de l’Accord de NouméaHôtel de Matignon11h30 Entretien avec M. Stéphane SAINT-ANDRÉ, président du PRGHôtel de Matignon13h00 Déjeuner avec Mme Florence PARLY, ministre des Armées et les chefs d’Etat-MajorHôtel de Matignon

Agenda prévisionnel de M. Édouard PHILIPPE Premier ministre – du mardi 11 décembre au vendredi 14 décembre 2018

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Intervention à l’occasion des « 30 ans de Villes de France »

Source: Government of France

11 décembre 2018 – Note aux rédactions

M. Édouard PHILIPPE, Premier ministre,interviendra à l’occasion des « 30 ans de Villes de France »Mercredi 12 décembre 2018Paris, 7èmeLe Premier ministre participera à la rencontre organisée par Villes de France, qui regroupe les villes de 15 000 à 100 000 habitants à l’occasion des 30 ans de l’association.Il en profitera pour revenir sur les actions engagées par le Gouvernement en faveur de ces villes et le grand débat national annoncé par le Président de la République.
Déroulé prévisionnel :
19h30 Arrivée du Premier ministreMaison des Polytechniciens, 12 rue de Poitiers – 75007 ParisToute presse accréditéeDiscours du Premier ministrePool TV + Pool photos + radios + rédacteurs
Dispositif presse :
▪ Merci de bien vouloir vous accréditer avant le mercredi 12 décembre à 15h00 à l’adresse suivante : communication@pm.gouv.fr et de bien vouloir communiquer votre numéro de carte de presse et vous munir de celle-ci ainsi que d’une pièce d’identité.▪ Les journalistes accrédités sont invités à se présenter au plus tard à 19h00 à la Maison des Polytechniciens, 12, rue de Poitiers, 75007 Paris.▪ Une note de précision de pool sera envoyée ultérieurement.POOL TV : TF1Conseiller en charge : Julie CREUSEVEAUContacts : 01 42 75 50 78/79 – 01 42 75 80 15 – communication@pm.gouv.fr

Note aux rédactions – M. Édouard PHILIPPE Premier ministre – 30 ans de Villes de France – 12.12.2018

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Meeting with Russia’s Sport Minister Pavel Kolobkov

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

11 December 2018

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is in favor of removing a cap on Belarusian players in team sports in Russia. This topic was discussed at the meeting of the head of state with Russia’s Sport Minister Pavel Kolobkov on 11 December.
“I would like to thank you for your efforts to eliminate differences between Belarusian and Russian athletes. It seems that an ice hockey issue was solved, but I think that we need to do it in other sports. Some time ago I told the president [Vladimir Putin] that we should not be afraid of what other states will think. If they want to have equal rights, they should join the UnionState of Belarus and Russia,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The president praised the achievements of Russian athletes at recent international competitions and added that if Belarusian athletes are not there he is always rooting for Team Russia. “Your athletes were great. They showed their true character and defeated Norwegians in ski sports. I hope they will show such good results at in the future,” the head of state said.
The meeting also focused on the joint use of sports facilities for the training of Belarusian and Russian athletes, including during the preparations for the Olympic Games in Japan. Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that Russian athletes can train in Belarus at any time if necessary.

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Meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Belarus Peter Dettmar

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

11 December 2018

Belarus is interested in developing relations with the European Union, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Belarus Peter Dettmar on 11 December.
The head of state remarked that he traditionally meets with foreign ambassadors in order to realize the prospects of developing relations with crucial partners.
“Germany is such a partner for us. I do not want to conceal anything although I can be criticized by known forces and scribblers once again. Germany is an interesting country for us because Germans, first of all, understand us. Secondly, this is a high-tech, strong country, and we are interested in investments and technologies. We also have other interests, and I am going to discuss them with you today,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The president encouraged the ambassador to have a sincere and open conversation and to forget about diplomatic formalities for a while. “Please tell me what Germany wants from Belarus. What does Germany dislike in Belarus?” the head of state wondered. “And I will tell you openly what Belarus wants to get from Germany and from the European Union. Germany is a leading country, a stronghold of the European Union, if you want, its main guardian. The European Union would not exist without Germany, it is our neighbor. Our major principle is to maintain normal relations with neighbors.”
Alexander Lukashenko added that Belarus can meet Germany halfway on certain questions, but not on all of them. “I just want to say that Germany (and Germans understand it) should not compel us to make a choice. And Americans understood it. I have recently talked to the U.S. assistant secretary of state and he told me that they do not want to compel Belarus to choose between the East and the West. We are who we are. It has been determined by God, and they should not push us from side to side. In keeping with our national interests and the interests of our neighbors we will build our peace-loving policy. We will never become a hotbed of tension in Europe,” the president said.
“We do not need any more wars. Maybe that is why Germany is always trying to settle conflicts by peaceful peaces in different places. We want this too. Therefore, we will never pose problems for the European Union, including Germany. And we want the same form Germany. We want Germany to understand us, to make certain steps to meet us,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.
The head of state mentioned a few problems in trade relations between the countries. “You have built a ‘fence’ and do not let anyone even approach it. This invisible economic fence is even worse than Trump’s border wall with Mexico. We would like to finally break this fence. If the European Union is so committed to the market economy, why is it trying to fence in?”
Peter Dettmar, in turn, remarked that he had already spent eight years in Belarus as a diplomat. The year 2018 has become the most productive and important year in the political and economic relations of Belarus and Germany.

MIL OSI