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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-06-24

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] Standard Eurobarometer 69, Spring 2008: Inflation and unemployment are major concerns for European citizens. Levels of trust in the EU Institutions remains stable, as does support for membership of the EU
  • [02] La Commission ouvre de nouvelles perspectives en matière de transport avec la région des Balkans occidentaux
  • [03] Commission goes to court over damages suffered from elevators cartel
  • [04] GDP per inhabitant varied by one to seven across the EU27 Member States
  • [05] Déficit de € 54 milliards du commerce extérieur de l'UE27 avec la Russie en 2007
  • [06] Europe to make researchers’ lives easier: launch of a user-friendly web portal for Researchers
  • [07] Commission clears acquisition of Forso by Sofinco and Saracen
  • [08] Happy birthday, EU Cohesion Policy! Looking back on the first 20 years
  • [09] Major boost for trade in goods between EU Member States
  • [10] Réforme de la PAC: la Commission se félicite de l’adoption du nouveau régime de soutien en faveur du coton
  • [11] "Ageing well": European Commission unleashes €600m for development of new digital solutions for Europe's elderly people
  • [12] Mergers: Commission approves takeover of Austrian retail chain ADEG by REWE Group, subject to conditions
  • [13] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2008-06-24 Reference: MEX/08/0624 Date: 24/06/2008 EXME08 / 24.06

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

    24/06/08


  • [01] Standard Eurobarometer 69, Spring 2008: Inflation and unemployment are major concerns for European citizens. Levels of trust in the EU Institutions remains stable, as does support for membership of the EU

    Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy, said: "These results reflect the current economic difficulties and show the need for the EU to continue with its policy agenda aimed at improving the quality of people's daily lives. Nonetheless, I am reassured that the level of trust in the EU remains high."

    [02] La Commission ouvre de nouvelles perspectives en matière de transport avec la région des Balkans occidentaux

    La Commission européenne a ouvert aujourd'hui les négociations sur la création d'une Communauté de transport avec la région des Balkans occidentaux. Cette première réunion, qui s’est tenue Bruxelles avec les Ministres des Transports de la région des Balkans occidentaux, sera suivie l'automne de réunions techniques en vue de conclure le traité instituant cette Communauté de transport en 2009.

    [03] Commission goes to court over damages suffered from elevators cartel

    The European Commission has filed cases with the Tribunal de Commerce in Brussels seeking compensation from four lifts companies for damages suffered from inflated prices for the installation and maintenance of lifts and escalators. In 2007 these companies were found by the Commission to have operated illegal cartels in several countries, in breach of EC Treaty rules on cartels and restrictive business practices (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/209&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/07/209). No final amount of the damage can yet be calculated, given the complexity and variety of contractual relations, but it is expected that expert assessments in the context of the court cases will help identify the total amount of overpayment suffered. The Commission's action covers claims for its own buildings and those of other EU institutions, both in Brussels and Luxembourg.

    [04] GDP per inhabitant varied by one to seven across the EU27 Member States

    Based on first preliminary estimates for 2007, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per inhabitant expressed in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) varied from 38% to 276% of the average across the EU27 Member States. GDP per inhabitant was around the EU27 average in 2007 in Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, the United Kingdom, Germany and France were between 10% and 30% above the average, while the highest levels of GDP per inhabitant in the EU were registered in Luxembourg4, Ireland and the Netherlands. Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Malta, Portugal and Estonia were between 10% and 30% lower than the EU27 average. Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland were between 30% and 50% lower, while both Romania and Bulgaria were about 60 percent below the EU27 average. These figures for GDP per inhabitant, expressed in PPS, are published by Eurostat. They cover the 27 EU Member States, the three candidate countries, three EFTA countries and two Western Balkan countries.

    [05] Déficit de € 54 milliards du commerce extérieur de l'UE27 avec la Russie en 2007

    Entre 2000 et 2007, les échanges de biens entre l'UE27 et la Russie ont presque triplé en valeur: les exportations ont progressé de € 23 milliards € 89 milliards, tandis que les importations ont augmenté de € 64 milliards € 144 milliards. En conséquence, le déficit du commerce extérieur de l'UE27 avec la Russie s'est accru, passant de € 41 milliards en 2000 € 54 milliards en 2007. Ce déficit accru a été dû aux importations d'énergie, qui sont passées de € 36 milliards en 2000 € 94 milliards en 2007. La part de la Russie dans le total du commerce extérieur de biens de l’UE27 a presque doublé entre 2000 et 2007. En 2007, la Russie comptait pour un peu plus de 7% des exportations de l'UE27 et 10% des importations de l'UE27. Elle était ainsi le troisième partenaire commercial de l'UE27, après les États-Unis et la Chine.À l’occasion du 21ème sommet Union européenne - Russie, qui se tiendra les 26 et 27 juin Hanti-Mansijsk en Russie, Eurostat publie des données sur le commerce entre la Russie et l’UE et sur leurs investissements mutuels.

    [06] Europe to make researchers’ lives easier: launch of a user-friendly web portal for Researchers

    In Brussels today, EU Science and Research Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, launched EURAXESS – Researchers in Motion, the new brand overarching four initiatives for researchers to promote their mobility and career development. EU Commissioner Janez Potočnik, and Philippe Busquin, Member of European Parliament, joined research partners from across Europe to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the European Researcher’s Mobility Portal – embedded in the new EURAXESS Web Portal. <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index_en.cfm">http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index_en.cfm

    [07] Commission clears acquisition of Forso by Sofinco and Saracen

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Forso Nordic AB (Forso) of Sweden by Sofinco SA of France, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crédit Agricole, and Saracen HoldCo AB (Saracen) of Sweden. Sofinco is active in consumer financing. Saracen is the holding company of Ford Motor Company car manufacturer. Forso provides financing and administrative services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [08] Happy birthday, EU Cohesion Policy! Looking back on the first 20 years

    The President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Vladimίr `pidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, take part in an event including a panel debate on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Cohesion Policy today in Brussels. The debate will look back on the policy's rationale and 20 years of achievement, as well as considering future issues and challenges. A special issue of PANORAMA magazine will be published this month to mark the anniversary. See DG Regional Policy's website for a new presentation on the policy's history: <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/policy/history/index_en.htm">http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/policy/history/index_en.htm

    Rediffusion

    [09] Major boost for trade in goods between EU Member States

    The internal market for goods in the European Union will get a major boost after the final approval by Member States today of a broad package of measures which removes the remaining obstacles in this field. It will bring particular benefits for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), who will no longer be discouraged from doing business outside their domestic markets. Existing market surveillance systems for industrial products will be strengthened and aligned with import controls. These measures will reinforce the role and credibility of CE marking. In addition, trade in goods which do not fall under EU-legislation will be improved. From now on a Member States that intends to refuse market access will have the duty to talk to the enterprise and to give detailed objective reasons for any possible refusal, making life for companies easier. The package of measures will have an impact on a large number of industrial sectors, representing a market volume of around € 1500 billion a year.

    [10] Réforme de la PAC: la Commission se félicite de l’adoption du nouveau régime de soutien en faveur du coton

    Mariann Fischer Boel, membre de la Commission chargé de l’agriculture et du développement rural, a salué aujourd’hui l’adoption par le Conseil de la réforme du régime de soutien communautaire en faveur du coton. Cette réforme maintient 65 % des aides «découplées» (c'est- - dire indépendantes de la production), les 35 % restant demeurant liés la production de coton, sous la forme de paiements la surface. Des programmes de restructuration nationaux sont mis en place pour faciliter la restructuration du secteur de l'égrenage et améliorer la qualité et la commercialisation du coton produit. Le nouveau régime remplacera le régime d’aide actuel, qui a été annulé par la Cour de justice le 7 septembre 2006.

    [11] "Ageing well": European Commission unleashes €600m for development of new digital solutions for Europe's elderly people

    By 2020, 25% of the EU's population will be over 65. To respond to this growing demographic challenge, the Council of Ministers approved today a Commission plan to make Europe a hub for developing digital technologies designed to help older people to continue living independently at home. The proposal, presented by the Commission on 14 June 2007, will provide some additional €150 million funding to a new European Joint Research Programme, resulting in a total investment of over €600 million. Through this new programme companies will be able to develop highly innovative digital products and services to improve the lives of older people at home, in the workplace and in society in general. Smart devices for improving security at home, mobile solutions for vital sign monitoring and user friendly interfaces for those with impaired vision or hearing – all of which will improve the quality of life of elderly people, their careers and families. The plan had already been approved by the European Parliament on 13 March in a first reading (Rapporteur: Neena Gill). 20 EU Member States, as well as Israel, Norway and Switzerland will participate in this Joint Research Programme.

    [12] Mergers: Commission approves takeover of Austrian retail chain ADEG by REWE Group, subject to conditions

    The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed takeover of ADEG of Austria by the German REWE Group, subject to conditions. Both parties are active on the Austrian retail and wholesale markets for everyday consumer goods. The Commission was concerned that the strength of the combined company in certain Austrian regions could lead to higher prices for everyday consumer goods in Austria. During the Commission's preliminary investigation REWE proposed to divest outlets in the relevant regions. These commitments removed the Commission's concerns and it therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

    [13] Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on "Aho Report" on EU High-Tech Research: A Wake-up Call for Innovation in Europe, says Commissioner Reding

    • Speech by Commissioner Rehn 'With patience and determination the EU can steer progress in the Western Balkans', Brussels

    • Speech by Commissioner McCreevy 'The EU Internal Market for Postal Services – creating it together', Brussels From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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