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Daily News – 01.06.2010

EXME 10 / 01.06

Midday Express of 2010-06-01

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

Environnement: la Commission européenne et l'Agence européenne pour l’environnement présentent deux nouveaux instruments pour lutter contre la perte de biodiversité

Lors de la session d'ouverture de la conférence de la Semaine verte à Bruxelles, qui a eu lieu aujourd'hui, deux nouveaux instruments visant à lutter plus efficacement contre la perte de biodiversité ont été présentés. Il s'agit de BISE, le système d'information européen sur la biodiversité, un nouveau portail web qui centralisera toute l'information concernant la biodiversité européenne. L'Agence européenne pour l'environnement et la Commission européenne ont également défini un «niveau de référence en matière de biodiversité» à l'intention des responsables politiques, fournissant un tableau complet de la situation actuelle en matière de biodiversité. Le niveau de référence permettra d'évaluer les progrès accomplis grâce aux nouveaux efforts déployés en matière de lutte contre la perte de biodiversité et de définir et mesurer avec précision les évolutions après 2010.

Environment: Europe's largest annual conference on biodiversity opens in Brussels

Today sees the opening in Brussels of Europe's largest annual conference on environment. This year's event, coinciding with the International Year of Biodiversity, will concentrate on the immense variety of species and ecosystems that make up the extraordinary web of life on our planet. Green Week 2010 will address the current state of biodiversity and nature, offering potential solutions to the current alarming rates of loss in some 30 sessions. The conference will also see the launch of the Business and Biodiversity platform, a new initiative to raise awareness about the business arguments for protecting biodiversity. With more than 3000 participants from EU institutions, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, public authorities, the scientific community and academia attending, Green Week 2010 is a unique opportunity for key opinion leaders, the general public and the media to learn and exchange experience and good practice.

La Commission alloue 3 millions d'aide humanitaire pour faire face aux conséquences de la tempête tropicale Agatha au Guatemala, El Salvador et Honduras

La Commission Européenne a approuvé aujourd'hui une aide humanitaire d'émergence de 3 millions d'Euros pour faire face aux conséquences de la tempête tropicale Agatha, qui a entraîné la mort d'au moins 95 personnes et l'évacuation de plus de 65 000 autres, à la côte pacifique de l'Amérique Centrale. Agatha est la première tempête tropicale de la saison des ouragans du Pacifique et a apporté d'intenses pluies sur le Guatemala, le Salvador et le Honduras, provoquant des inondations et des glissements de terrain. L'aide approuvée aujourd'hui permettra de venir en aide à 100.000 personnes dans ces trois pays.

Telecoms: Commission report on national telecoms regulation shows more competition but no Single Market

A European Commission report released today shows that EU telecoms markets have become more competitive thanks to the Commission's guidance in the consultation and review process known as the 'Article 7 procedure', whereby national telecoms regulators inform the Commission in advance of their plans to regulate parts of their national telecoms markets. As a result, citizens and businesses enjoy greater choice of services and cheaper prices. However, the report also indicates that a single EU telecoms market is still far from reality, which is why the Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe ( IP/10/581) calls for swift and consistent enforcement of existing telecoms rules and indicates that the Commission intends to propose appropriate steps to reduce the cost of the absence of a Single Market in telecoms services. Problems include different national regulatory approaches to tackling competition issues, such as regulating access to fibre networks. Today's report also warns that regulatory uncertainty could hamper the roll out of investment-intensive infrastructure projects like Next Generation Access (NGA) networks, one of the flagships of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

EU to reaffirm its commitment to Western Balkans at Sarajevo meeting

Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, and Commissioner for Enlargement Štefan Füle will on Wednesday, June 2, participate in the European Union-Western Balkans High Level Meeting in Sarajevo. The main objective of the meeting – where EU Foreign Ministers and Foreign Ministers from Western Balkans countries will also participate – is to reaffirm the EU’s commitment to Western Balkans and its European perspective.

The European Commission allocates €2 million for humanitarian aid in Mongolia

The European Commission is providing €2 million to address the urgent humanitarian needs in Mongolia. At least 600.000 people are at risk after this year's "Dzud", which involved one of the coldest winters on record, leading to the loss of a significant number of human lives and more than 10 % of the country's livestock. Given that one third of the country's population are nomadic herders who depend entirely on livestock for a living, the government declared a national disaster. The funding will be channelled through the Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and will be used to cover food needs, restoration of livelihoods and psychological support for the vulnerable population. All Commission-funded humanitarian projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and/or the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. For more information on Commission's humanitarian aid:

Bringing European values to the Internet of Things

Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes today called for a "thorough and transparent debate" about the challenges of developing the Internet of Things, the next internet revolution, in her speech to a Brussels conference. Kroes also announced the establishment an Expert Group of stakeholders to move that debate forward. The emerging Internet of Things refers to the billions of chips, sensors and other objects that are being connected to the internet to deliver, for example, better weather information, energy readings and traffic flow. Examples include the 850 000 smart electricity meters installed in Sweden and the eCall system to automatically alert emergency services when a vehicle has been involved in a serious road accident. "In the future it may be possible to every person and everything to be connected wirelessly from virtually any position on earth. That is not a development that should be taken lightly. There is great potential in the Internet of Things, but also serious privacy and ethical issues. How we develop these networks should depend on our values, not on the technology", Kroes said. See SPEECH/10/279

EIT launches the work on new innovation models

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is launching today a broad and thorough discussion on new models for innovation, which it will promote through its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). A conference in Barcelona brings together stakeholders from higher education, research, business and other innovation actors to officially mark the start of the first three KICs, and to engage in a practical debate on how to deepen and accelerate cooperation in innovation. "With the EIT's Knowledge and Innovation Communities we are starting a new era in innovation cooperation in Europe. The communities are based on a truly novel concept of integrating all knowledge actors crucial for innovation - business and research but very importantly also higher education. I am convinced that by promoting and advancing the KICs' cooperation models, the EIT can bring a significant change to Europe's knowledge and innovation landscape" said Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou who is responsible for the EIT within the European Commission. Martin Schuurmans, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board, further highlighted the pioneering role of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities: "Our thinking does not begin at the research-to-product phase but starts much earlier by focussing also on entrepreneurial skills and risk-taking attitudes. The KICs will promote a holistic view of innovation, leading to new products, services, and business models. We believe the KICs can be icebreakers in advancing entirely new ways of thinking and working together for the benefit of a more innovative and entrepreneurial Europe." The three first KICs were designated after a competitive selection process by the EIT Governing Board in December 2009 and are to become fully operational in the course of the year. They are expected to deliver first tangible results in the coming months, starting notably with new educational programmes for the autumn semester. The three designated KICs have been chosen in areas of major relevance for today's society, namely climate change mitigation and adaptation ("Climate-KIC"), future information and communication society ("EIT ICT Labs") and sustainable energy ("KIC InnoEnergy") The results of the conference will also prepare the ground for a broader public consultation leading towards the Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA), the EIT's core strategy document which is due by the end of 2011.

Commission clears joint control of R Cable by CVC and Caixanova

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the joint control of R Cable y Telecomunicaciones of Spain by CVC of Luxembourg and Spanish savings bank Caixanova. CVC is a global private equity and investment advisory firm. Caixanova is a private savings bank. R Cable provides telecommunication and audiovisual services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

European Commission holds hearing on cross-border debt recovery

Today someone who owes money can swiftly move funds from a bank account in one EU country to another, leaving the lender with little or no chance of blocking their bank accounts to get the debt paid. Only 37% of cross-border debts are recovered in the EU, making it harder to take advantage of the Single Market. The European Commission wants to make it as easy to enforce a judgement abroad as easy as at home by making it easier for businesses to recover debts. The Commission held a public hearing today on facilitating cross-border debt recovery, during which it consulted businesses, small- and medium-sized businesses, consumers and judicial authorities. The hearing will contribute to an impact assessment, with the aim of a Commission proposal by early 2011.

Euro area unemployment rate at 10.1%

The euro area (EA16) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.1% in April 2010, compared with 10.0% in March. It was 9.2% in April 2009. The EU271 unemployment rate was 9.7% in April 2010, unchanged compared with March. It was 8.7% in April 2009.Eurostat estimates that 23.311 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 15.860 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in April 2010. Compared with March 2010, the number of persons unemployed increased by 25 000 in both the EU27 and the euro area. Compared with April 2009, unemployment went up by 2.400 million in the EU27 and by 1.275 million in the euro area. These figures are published by Eurostat.


Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Unilever's proposed takeover of Sara Lee Household and Body Care Business

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the planned acquisition by Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever of the body and laundry care businesses of Sara Lee Corp of the United States. The Commission’s initial market investigation indicates potential competition concerns on several product markets, including deodorants, skin cleansing and fabric care products. The decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation.

Telecoms: Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) established in Riga

European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has welcomed the decision of EU Telecoms Ministers today that the Office of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC Office) will be based in Riga, Latvia. The timely setting up of this Office will allow BEREC to advise the EU institutions on their work to ensure a robust and competitive Single Telecoms Market will be important to further many of the actions foreseen by the Digital Agenda for Europe ( IP/10/581). The BEREC Office will work closely with telecoms regulators and the Commission to ensure the further development of consistent regulatory practice in the telecoms sector across Europe.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo Telecoms: how the Article 7 consultation and notification mechanism works: frequently asked questions (see also IP/10/644)

Speech by Commissioner Andor 'Out of the crisis with social dialogue', Brussels

Speech by Vice-President Tajani at The Small Business Act for Europe & European Enterprise Awards 2010, Madrid – in Spanish only

Speech by Vice-President Kroes ' Bringing European values to the Internet of Things', Brussels

Speech by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn 'Tapping Research and Innovation for Jobs and Growth: Strengthening EU-US Cooperation in Research, Innovation and Science', Washington – EMBARGO 18h00 CET

Speech by Commissioner Šemeta 'Presentation of anti-fraud and audit agenda', Brussels – en rediffusion