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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 07-09-13

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <http://europa.eu.int>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] Nanotechnologies : la Commission premier investisseur public dans le monde
  • [02] Cereals : Commission proposes to set at zero the set-aside rate for autumn 2007 and spring 2008 sowings
  • [03] Antitrust : la Commission lance une consultation publique sur le projet de lignes directrices relatives au secteur du transport maritime
  • [04] Commission authorises restructuring aid to Polish metal tools manufacturer Bison Bial subject to conditions
  • [05] La Commission autorise deux projets d'aides R&D d'un total de €119 millions en faveur de la France
  • [06] Commission clears acquisition of Findomestic by Cetelem
  • [07] La Commission donne son feu vert au projet de création de Moneydirect, une entreprise commune entre Amadeus et Sabre
  • [08] Cohesion policy 2007-2013 : Commission approves jobs and growth-led strategy and priorities for Finland
  • [09] Toy Safety : Meglena Kuneva warns Member States and companies to "raise their game on enforcement of consumer safety law"
  • [10] Member States agree on Avian Influenza, Bluetongue and Classical Swine Fever measures
  • [11] Foot-and-Mouth Disease : UK confirms new outbreak ; disease control measures agreed
  • [12] Euro area and EU27 employment up by 0.5%
  • [13] Le débat sur la flexicurité passe la vitesse supérieure
  • [14] Moldova : Commission allocates €3 million of humanitarian assistance for victims of drought and plans further allocations
  • [15] EU-Ukraine Summit on 14 September in Kiev
  • [16] Joe Borg meets German fishermen's association
  • [17] Two years of Modern SME policy : what have we achieved?
  • [18] Le personnel de la Commission se remet en selle le vendredi
  • [19] EU celebrates its 6th European Mobility Week : 'Streets for People'
  • [20] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2007-09-13 Reference: MEX/07/0913 Date: 13/09/2007 EXME07 / 13.9

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communicationb

    13/09/07


  • [01] Nanotechnologies : la Commission premier investisseur public dans le monde

    Le 6e programme-cadre de recherche de l'Union européenne, avec €1,4 milliard alloué 550 projets dans le domaine des nanosciences et des nanotechnologies, représente un tiers du financement public total en faveur des nanotechnologies, ce qui en fait l'organisme de financement le plus important au monde dans ce domaine prometteur. Un rapport récent, consacré la mise en œuvre du plan d'action 2005 en faveur des nanotechnologies, montre l'importance stratégique de ces technologies, un domaine où l'Europe joue un rôle de premier plan, et la contribution qu'elles peuvent apporter la qualité de vie et au bien-être économique des Européens, notamment grâce des apports révolutionnaires dans des domaines cruciaux tels que les matériaux, l'électronique et la médecine. La Commission est engagée dans une démarche intégrée et responsable de développement des nanotechnologies qui prend en considération tous les aspects: sécurité, acceptation par la société, conséquences éthiques, etc.

    [02] Cereals : Commission proposes to set at zero the set-aside rate for autumn 2007 and spring 2008 sowings

    The European Commission today proposed to set at 0% the obligatory set- aside rate for autumn 2007 and spring 2008 sowings, in response to the increasingly tight situation on the cereals market. In the EU-27, a lower than expected harvest in 2006 (265.5 million tonnes) led to tightening supplies at the end of marketing year 2006/2007 and to historically high prices. Intervention stocks have shrunk from 14 million tonnes at the beginning of 2006/2007 to around 1 million tonnes now in September, mainly composed of maize held in Hungary. Reducing the set-aside rate from 10% to 0% is expected to increase output by at least 10 million tonnes. The future of the set-aside system will form part of the debate to be kicked off by the Communication on the CAP 'Health Check' in November. This will also address the issue of how to retain the environmental benefits which set- aside has brought. Setting the rate at zero does not oblige farmers to cultivate all their land. They can continue with voluntary set-aside and apply environmental schemes.

    [03] Antitrust : la Commission lance une consultation publique sur le projet de lignes directrices relatives au secteur du transport maritime

    La Commission européenne a lancé une consultation publique sur un projet de lignes directrices relatives l'application des règles de concurrence de l'UE au secteur du transport maritime. Il s'agit d'une étape intermédiaire dans la préparation des lignes directrices, qui devraient être présentées sous leur forme définitive en 2008. Ce projet de lignes directrices fait suite l'abrogation de l'exemption par catégorie en faveur des conférences maritimes et l'extension des dispositions d'application du droit de la concurrence (règlement n° 1/2003) aux services de tramp et de cabotage, décidées par le Conseil "concurrence" du 25 septembre 2006 (voir IP/06/1249, IP/06/1283 et MEMO/06/344).

    [04] Commission authorises restructuring aid to Polish metal tools manufacturer Bison Bial subject to conditions

    Following an in-depth investigation (IP/06/1846), the European Commission has concluded that a €8.2 million aid to Bison Bial, Poland, is compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules provided that certain conditions are respected. The Commission found that the restructuring plan is sufficient to restore the firm's viability provided that the investment programme announced is fully implemented. However, the Commission considers that, without appropriate safeguards, the aid could lead to undue distortions of competition. The metal tools and fixtures manufacturing sector has excess capacity and the aid might result in shifting the difficulties and the burden of adjustment to more efficient firms and workers operating without aid. To avoid this, Bison Bial must sell, by the end of 2009 one of its production divisions that generates 13% of the company's revenues.

    [05] La Commission autorise deux projets d'aides R&D d'un total de €119 millions en faveur de la France

    En vertu des règles CE sur les aides d’Etat, la Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas soulever d'objection envers les soutiens financiers en France que l'Agence de l'Innovation Industrielle va octroyer deux programmes de recherche et développement : "NanoSmart" et "HOMES". La Commission a pris ces deux décisions l'issue de l'examen approfondi prévu par le nouvel encadrement communautaire des aides la recherche, au développement et l’innovation (voir IP/06/1600). Le programme NanoSmart relève du domaine des nanotechnologies et permettra l'amélioration des performances de composants microélectroniques et optoélectroniques. NanoSmart est mené par l'entreprise SOITEC en partenariat avec le centre de recherche CEA-LETI. Le programme HOMES vise des gains d'efficacité énergétique dans les bâtiments. Il associe Schneider Electric 15 autres entreprises et centres de recherche. Les financements publics s'élèvent €80 millions pour Nanosmart et €39 millions pour HOMES.

    [06] Commission clears acquisition of Findomestic by Cetelem

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Findomestic Banca S.p.A. (Findomestic) of Italy, currently under the joint control of Cetelem and Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze S.p.A. (CRF) of Italy by Cetelem S.A. of France, controlled by the Groupe BNP Paribas S.A. (BNPP) of France. Cetelem provides consumer credit and other financial services to consumers both in France and internationally. BNPP is active in retail, investment and private banking. Findomestic provides consumer credit in Italy. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [07] La Commission donne son feu vert au projet de création de Moneydirect, une entreprise commune entre Amadeus et Sabre

    La Commission européenne a approuvé, en application du règlement sur les concentrations de l'UE, la création, par Amadeus (Espagne) et Sabre (Etats- Unis), de Moneydirect, une entreprise commune de plein exercice qui opérera dans le domaine des systèmes de traitement et de compensation des paiements. Les deux sociétés mères fournissent aussi des services électroniques de distribution de voyages l'industrie du tourisme par l'intermédiaire d'un système mondial de distribution (SMD). La Commission a conclu que l'opération n'entraverait pas significativement une concurrence effective dans l'Espace économique européen ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci.

    [08] Cohesion policy 2007-2013 : Commission approves jobs and growth-led strategy and priorities for Finland

    Finland has reached agreement with the European Commission on a jobs and growth-led framework for investing EU funding worth €1.6 billion 2007- 2013. Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner and Employment and social affairs Commissioner Vladimír `pidla agreed the plan and priorities for Cohesion policy 2007-2013, set out in the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF).

    [09] Toy Safety : Meglena Kuneva warns Member States and companies to "raise their game on enforcement of consumer safety law"

    In a speech to the European Parliament on 12 September in Brussels, European Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva set out the Commission's plans for a two month review of toy safety and consumer product safety control mechanisms. She said that she believed that "the key to the success of any legal instrument lies in its effective enforcement," and she issued a strong warning to Member States and to companies to "raise their game on enforcement at national and local level". Ms Kuneva stressed that there would be no compromise on consumer safety. "The rules must be applied from the assembly line to the checkout till." She made it very clear that, "should the risks require it, I will not hesitate to go further and use the full range of tools available under EU product safety law from checks to controls." During her speech, the Commissioner appealed to MEPs who will take a critically important vote on market surveillance in the coming months (Review of the New Approach Package) not to back proposals which would water down the existing regime of consumer product safety surveillance. "We cannot risk at this time to take a step backwards," she said. Commissioner Kuneva will report back to the College of Commissioners with preliminary conclusions of her review by November.

    [10] Member States agree on Avian Influenza, Bluetongue and Classical Swine Fever measures

    A number of European Commission Decisions on animal disease control measures were backed by the Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health on 12 September. Member States agreed to a new restriction zone for Germany, following another outbreak of avian influenza, to extend the Bluetongue restriction zone due to new outbreaks, and to prolong protection measures against Classical Swine Fever for Romania and Bulgaria.

    [11] Foot-and-Mouth Disease : UK confirms new outbreak ; disease control measures agreed

    The European Commission was informed by the UK authorities on 12 September of a new outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in Surrey, approximately 50 km north of the outbreaks which occurred in August. At the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, the UK delegation updated the Commission and Member States on the disease situation and outlined the measures taken in response to the outbreak. In line with the measures foreseen under EU legislation (FMD Directive 2003/85/EC), all animals on the infected holding are being culled and a 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been established around the premises. Stringent movement restrictions and biosecurity measures are being applied in these zones. In addition, a movement ban on all ruminants and pigs has again been imposed across Great Britain. The Standing Committee adopted an emergency decision today confirming these measures and extending the categorisation of Great Britain as a high risk area until 15th October 2007, subject to review. This means that live animals susceptible to FMD cannot be dispatched from Great Britain, nor can their products. The only exception is for products which have been treated in a way which inactivates the virus (e.g. heat-treatment), which were produced before the restrictions applied or with materials sourced from outside the restriction zone. Likewise, no live animals can be sent to Great Britain from other Member States. Live animals and animal products will still be allowed to be dispatched from Northern Ireland to other Member States, so long as they carry the appropriate health certificate and the responsible veterinary authority in the country of destination is given 3 days advance warning. In response to this outbreak, the Standing Committee also agreed to suspend the draft Decision voted yesterday (see MEX/07/0911), which, once adopted by the Commission, would have enabled normal trade to resume to and from Great Britain. The Commission will remain in close contact with the UK authorities to monitor the development of this latest outbreak over the coming days. For more information, see:

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/fmd_uk_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/fmd_uk_en.htm

    [12] Euro area and EU27 employment up by 0.5%

    The seasonally adjusted number of persons employed in the euro area (EA13) rose by 0.5% (776,000 persons) during the second quarter of 2007, according to provisional national accounts estimates published by Eurostat. During the same period, the number of persons employed in the EU27 grew also by 0.5% (1,010,000 persons). In the first quarter of 2007, growth rates were +0.6% in the euro area and +0.4% in the EU27.

    [13] Le débat sur la flexicurité passe la vitesse supérieure

    Pour la première fois, les ministres européens vont discuter aujourd'hui des propositions de la Commission européenne pour convenir d'une approche commune de la flexicurité (des stratégies combinant la flexibilité et la sécurité pour les travailleurs et les entreprises) dans le cadre d'une conférence majeure organisée Lisbonne par la Présidence portugaise de l'Union européenne. Représentants des travailleurs et des employeurs, ONG et experts participeront aussi cet événement. Les conclusions de la conférence seront une source d'inspiration pour les principes communs que les dirigeants européens devront adopter en décembre sur la flexicurité.

    [14] Moldova : Commission allocates €3 million of humanitarian assistance for victims of drought and plans further allocations

    Following a severe drought in Moldova, especially districts in the South, the European Commission has allocated €3 million in humanitarian aid for the country's most vulnerable farmers and rural people as a short-term measure. The funds will cover the distribution of fodder and feedstuffs for livestock. The support is channelled through ECHO, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department, under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. In the medium and long-term, the Commission plans to assist Moldova with further budgetary support under the responsility of Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Nearly €40 million will become available to the Moldovan state budget in the next six months.

    [15] EU-Ukraine Summit on 14 September in Kiev

    On September 14 European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will travel to Kiev for the annual EU-Ukraine Summit. Also representing the EU will be Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, for the EU Presidency, External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and High Representative Javier Solana. The Summit, hosted by Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko, takes place just two weeks before early parliamentary elections. It is an occasion to take stock of the positive developments in EU-Ukraine relations since the last Summit, the progress on the new Enhanced Agreement and an opportunity for the EU to underline its support for the continuing political and economic reforms in Ukraine.

    [16] Joe Borg meets German fishermen's association

    European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, will attend the German Fisheries Day on Friday 14 September in Eisenach, Thuringia. Commissioner Borg will address the annual meeting of the German Association of Fishermen and Anglers where he will tell the national and regional fisheries representatives about the current priorities of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of particular interest to German fishermen. After the annual meeting, Mr Borg will visit an innovative trout farm in the region. In his speech, Mr Borg will compliment both the recent German Presidency for reaching agreement on a number of important policy initiatives and German fishermen for their active involvement and participation in discussion in various stakeholder groups. He will highlight the key actions the EU is taking to improve the overall sustainability of European fisheries and aquaculture. The reform of the CFP and recent developments such as greater consultation of interested parties, a shift to long-term management of fisheries resources, more emphasis on control and enforcement of fisheries measures, have started to show results but efforts must be kept up, the Commissioner will say. The application of the maximum sustainable yield approach to fisheries management and market measures such as eco-labelling will also help make fisheries sustainable. Commissioner Borg will update the fishermen's representatives on the new Maritime Policy for the EU which is due to be presented by the Commission on 10 October. The package will set out the Commission's proposals on how to achieve sustainable and competitive development of the EU's maritime sectors through a joined-up and coherent approach.

    <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/index_en.htm + <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/">http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/

    [17] Two years of Modern SME policy : what have we achieved?

    Early October, the European Commission will present a mid-term review on its policy for small and medium sized enterprises (SME's), launched two years ago. Before finalizing the review, Vice President Günter Verheugen invited key SME stakeholders to a conference in Brussels tomorrow to share views on progress achieved in the five main areas of the Modern SME policy (cutting red tape, improving SMEs' access to markets, promoting entrepreneurship and skills, improving SMEs' growth potential and strengthening dialogue and consultation with SME stakeholders) and to discuss possible improvements, including how to help SMEs become active actors in shifting the European economy towards more environment-friendly production and services. Among the conference speakers are Mr Manuel Pinho, Minister of Economy and Innovation, for the Portuguese presidency, Ms Edit Herczog, MEP, Mr Henri Wagener, President of the Bakers' Federation of Luxemburg, Mr Janko Burgar, acting Director-General, Ministry of Economy, Slovenia and Ms Françoise Le Bail, SME Envoy, Deputy Director-General, DG Enterprise, European Commission. The conference "SMEs – key for delivering more growth and jobs tomorrow" is open to the press and will take place in the Charlemagne building, from 9.30am–1pm.

    [18] Le personnel de la Commission se remet en selle le vendredi

    En allant travailler vélo, le personnel de la Commission européenne montre le bon exemple. Il ne s'agit pas de révolutionner les trajets domicile lieu de travail, mais seulement de se rendre au travail vélo une fois par semaine — le vendredi. Chaque vendredi, le personnel sera encouragé se mettre en selle pour le "Friday Bikeday". La Commission contribue ainsi rendre le dernier jour de la semaine plus sain, plus vert, plus décontracté — et probablement plus rapide! "Friday Bikeday" est une initiative des ministres de l'environnement et de la mobilité de la Région de Bruxelles Capitale, avec la participation des travailleurs et employeurs des secteurs public et privé.

    [19] EU celebrates its 6th European Mobility Week : 'Streets for People'

    Over 133 million people in more than 1,324 towns and cities across Europe and in other parts of the world will have the chance to benefit from initiatives promoting safe and environmentally sustainable urban mobility during European Mobility Week 2007 from 16 to 22 September. Inspired by European Mobility Week, China will be holding its first-ever nationwide Public Transportation Week, including a Car-Free Day, at the same time with 108 cities participating. This year's theme, 'Streets for People', encourages local authorities to give more space on roads to non- or less- polluting forms of transport such walking, cycling, using public transport and car-sharing. Supported by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Environment, European Mobility Week promotes a lasting shift towards sustainable mobility since participating towns and cities have to introduce at least one permanent measure, such as a new cycle lane or public transport service.

    [20] Autre matériel diffusé

    Antitrust : Draft Guidelines for maritime transport - frequently asked questions

    Speech by Meglena Kuneva : "Governance of global product safety" to European Parliament IMCO Committee (12/09)

    La politique de mobilité pour les déplacements du personnel de la Commission

    Preparation of Eurogroup and Informal Economic and Finance Ministers Council, Porto 14 and 15 September

    Speech by Franco Frattini : "Enhanced mobility, vigorous integration strategy and zero tolerance on illegal employment: a dynamic approach to European immigration policies" at High-level Conference on Legal Immigration (Lisbon)

    Speech by Charlie McCreevy : "Simplification of the business environment for companies" at public event on Better Regulation/Simplification of Company Law with the Portuguese Ministry of Justice (Lisbon)

    Discours du Président José Manuel Barroso : "Das Saarland: eine europäische Geschichte" au Goethe Institut (12/09) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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