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Daily News – 01.03.2012

EXME 12 / 01.03

Midday Express of 2012-03-01

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Commission proposes faster access to medicines for patients

Medicines should enter the market faster. With this intention the European Commission has proposed today to streamline and reduce the duration of national decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines. In the future, such decisions should be taken within 120 days for innovative medicines, as a rule, and for generic medicinal products within only 30, instead of 180 days today. Commission also proposes strong enforcement measures in case the decisions do not comply with the time limits, as these are often exceeded by Member States. The new Directive represents an important simplification measure and shall repeal and replace the longstanding Directive from 19891, which no longer reflected the increased complexity of the pricing and reimbursement procedures in the Member States.

Antitrust: Commission opens proceedings against MathWorks

The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether The MathWorks Inc., a U.S.-based software company, has distorted competition in the market for the design of commercial control systems by preventing competitors from achieving interoperability with its products. The Commission will investigate whether by allegedly refusing to provide a competitor with end-user licences and interoperability information, the company has breached EU antitrust rules that prohibit the abuse of a dominant position. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will examine the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

Antitrust: Commission closes investigation in pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Nycomed

Brussels, 1 March 2012 - The European Commission has ceased its antitrust investigation into the pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Nycomed. The investigation focused on suspected individual or joint action to delay the market entry of generic medicines. Such behaviour if established would have been contrary to EU antitrust rules that prohibit restrictive business practices and the abuse of a dominant market position (Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU – TFEU).

Commission welcomes Greek commitment to ensure independent and reliable statistics

The Commission has adopted a Decision approving Greece's Commitment on Confidence in Statistics, which was endorsed by the Greek Parliament and signed by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos. The Communication 'Towards robust quality management for European Statistics' adopted by the Commission in April 2011, outlined the need to improve the governance of European statistics and invited all Member States to sign up to 'Commitments on Confidence in Statistics'. The Greek commitment is the first one signed by a Member State. The Commission also intends to propose an amendment to the EU Regulation on Statistics, requiring all Member States to sign similar Commitments on Confidence in the future.

European Commission appoints new Head of Representation in Brussels

Today, Mr. Joseph Jamar takes office as Head of Representation in Brussels. Mr. Jamar is currently the Head of the Commission Representation Office in the Netherlands. His entire professional career has focused on communication and in particular on ways to strengthen communication with citizens. He launched several innovative projects such as the European SME Week, the Netd@ys, the Youth on the Move campaign and the European Job Day. He was also responsible for two European Years: Lifelong Learning in 1996 and Workers' Mobility in 2006.

European Commission appoints new Head of Representation in The Hague

Today, Mr. Andy Klom takes office as the new Head of Representation in The Hague. Mr. Klom is currently the Head of the European Commission Representation in Wales. He brings to his new post knowledge and experience of working in the EU institutions as well as a sound background in EU external relations, media and communication.

European Commission appoints new Head of Representation in Slovenia

Today, Ms Nataša Goršek Mencin takes office as the new Head of Representation in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ms. Goršek Mencin has until now been the head of the European Parliament Information Office in Slovenia, a post where she has developed strong communication and management skills. She brings to her new post knowledge and experience of EU institutions as well as a sound background in media and communication and the creative industries.

Euro area unemployment rate at 10.7% - EU27 at 10.1%

The euro area1 (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7% in January 2012, compared with 10.6% in December 20114. It was 10.0% in January 2011. The EU271 unemployment rate was 10.1% in January 2012, compared with 10.0% in December 20114. It was 9.5% in January 2011

Euro area inflation estimated at 2.7%

Euro area1 annual inflation is expected to be 2.7% in February 2012 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It was 2.6% in January 20123.

Commissioner Vassiliou to visit Tunisia on 1-4 March

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, visits Tunisia on 1-4 March. During her visit she will meet the Minister for Education, Abdellatif Abid, the Minister for Culture, Mehdi Mabrouk, the Minister of Labour, Abdelwaheb Mâatar and the Minister for Youth and Sport, Tarak Dhiab. Their discussions will focus on how EU funding can boost Tunisia's education reforms. EU support for youth, education and training in Tunisia and the wider region is provided through EU programmes such as Erasmus Mundus , Youth in Action and Tempus . Since 2004, more than 1000 Tunisian students, academics and other young people have benefitted from EU support totalling more than €18 million for education and training opportunities abroad. The Commission has also more than doubled the number of education and teaching grants available for young people and university staff from the 'Arab Spring' countries to encourage opportunities for individuals who are seen as key for strengthening democracy (see IP/11/1558). Commissioner Vassilou is one of several high-level representatives from the EU to visit Tunisia since the Arab Spring uprising last year as part of the EU's support for political reforms. To find out more: DG Education and Culture ; Commissioner Vassiliou's website ; Twitter @VassiliouEU .

Vice President Kroes and Luigi Gambardella, Executive Board Chairman of European Telecoms Network Operators (ETNO) have issued a statement on their shared commitment to EU ICT research following a meeting today

"Information and Communication Technology is responsible for half of Europe's productivity growth and a quarter of our GDP growth. ICT is therefore at the heart of our economy. ICT research and development also plays a large and growing role in overall European research – constituting already 25% of business R&D. In the recent past, an initial €120 million EU investment enabled today's 3G mobile market - now worth €250 billion. Further public investment in ICT research and development, as outlined in the Commission's ambitious Horizon 2020 proposals, would enable further successes like this. Horizon 2020 is therefore key to Europe's future competitiveness and tackling our essential social challenges - these investments will help create tomorrow's jobs and growth."

Commissioner Piebalgs in Madrid to discuss his "Agenda for Change" in EU development policy

On Friday, 2 March, Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will be in Madrid to meet with the Spanish authorities following the change of government. He will meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr. José García-Margallo y Marfil, Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Latin-America, Mr. Jesús Manuel Gracia Aldaz and members of the Parliamentary Committee on Development Cooperation. He will discuss about the new orientations of EU Development policy as stated in the Agenda for Change and the Spanish Development policy.


European Commission plans to ease legal burden for cross-border successions move an important step forward in the European Parliament

European Commission proposals to ease the legal burden when a family member with property in another EU country passes away moved an important step closer to final approval following a vote today in the leading European Parliament committee.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso ahead of the European Council (PAH, MG, SOC) – rediffusion

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Lucas Papademos, Greek Prime Minister – redifussion

Memo "Faster access of patients to new medicines – Revised Transparency Directive"

Memo "Ireland: European Commission gives green light for €5.8 billion payment following successful completion of fifth review of financial assistance programme"

Speech by Commissioner Karel De Gucht "ACTA State of Play" – rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Dalli: "Strengthening EU legislation on tobacco products"

Discours par le Commissaire Barnier: "Vers un vrai marché unique des retraites professionnelles pour plus de choix et des retraités mieux protégés"

1 :

Directive 89/105/EEC, relating to the transparency of measures regulating the prices of medicinal products for human use and their inclusion in the scope of public health insurance systems [1989] OJ L40/8