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Daily News – 01.07.2009

Midday Express of 2009-07-01

European Commission - 01/07/2009

EXME09 / 01.07

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

01 / 07 / 09

À partir d'aujourd'hui, l'envoi d'un SMS depuis l'étranger dans l'Union européenne ne vous coûtera pas plus de 0,11 €. C'est presque trois fois moins que l'ancien coût moyen en Europe, qui s'établissait à 0,28 € (hors TVA). Le coût d'un appel effectué en itinérance dans l'Union ne dépassera pas 0,43 € par minute; celui d'un appel reçu, 0,19 €. Dorénavant, les appels sortants en itinérance ne seront plus facturés à la minute mais à la seconde, dès la 31e, tandis que les appels entrants seront facturés dès la première seconde. Les vacanciers et les voyageurs d'affaires peuvent aussi naviguer sur la Toile, télécharger des films ou envoyer des photos avec leur téléphone mobile sans crainte de voir leur facture s'envoler, grâce à l'instauration de tarifs de gros plafonnés à 1 € par mégaoctet (Mo) téléchargé. Toutes ces mesures devraient réduire une nouvelle fois le coût de l'itinérance, de 60 %, et accroître l'utilisation du téléphone mobile. Les premières mesures de l'Union européenne en matière d'itinérance datent de 2007. Elles avaient alors permis de réduire le coût des appels vocaux en itinérance de 70 %.

Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner will address regional development Ministers from the Visegrád Group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic) and Slovenia in the Polish coastal city of Sopot tomorrow (2 July). The Commissioner's speech will focus on the achievements of the policy over the past five years and its future direction. The Visegrád 4+ Group meets regularly to discuss Cohesion Policy issues. The five countries have been allocated €135 billion from the Structural and Cohesion Funds in 2007-2013, which equates to 39% of the total Cohesion Policy budget over the seven-year period.

The European Commission has just awarded almost 10,000 new grants to be funded by the Erasmus Mundus programme in the academic year 2009-2010. 8,385 students and academics will come to study or teach in Europe, and 1,561 Europeans will spend periods at partner institutions in countries outside Europe.

  • Commission clears acquisition of Itinere Chilean Assets by Atlantia, SIAS and Acciona

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of five Chilean toll motorways (Operación y Logística de Infraestructuras; Litoral Central; Vespucio Sur; Gestión Vial and Autopista Nororiente), collectively known as Itínere Chilean assets, by Società Iniziative Autostradalie Servizi S.p.A. (SIAS) of Italy , Atlantia s.P.a. of Italy and Acciona S.A. of Spain. SIAS is active in motorway management, construction and road transport in the goods sectors. Atlantia operates toll motorways in Italy and abroad. Acciona operates infrastructure, energy, water and concession services in Spain and abroad. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

  • Rice agreements are working well, says Commission report

The Commission has just published a report that reviews the operation of the rice agreements concluded in 2004 and 2005 with Thailand, India and Pakistan and the USA. The report's purpose is to enable the impact of import flows of different types of rice onto the Community market to be assessed. It concludes that the agreements have met their purpose, in that rice imports have only grown when needed to meet increased EU consumption. Contrary to earlier fears, the EU rice industry has not been undermined by any growth in imports of milled rice. The report is available at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets/rice/index_en.htm

  • The hunt is on for Europe's best inventors

The European Commission and the European Patent Office (EPO) have been presenting the highly regarded European Inventor Award since 2006 to honour the finest minds behind commercially successful inventions. The public proposal phase for the 2010 Award is now open, and it closes on 12 September 2009. Anyone can put forward deserving inventions which are patented by the EPO. Prizes offering prestige rather than material reward will be presented at a ceremony in Madrid next April. Information and entry forms are available at www.epo.org/european-inventor.

Rediffusion

The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules a rescue aid loan of €50 million in favour of Quelle GmbH which will be granted by the German Federal State and the Länder of Bavaria and Saxony. The Commission has concluded that the aid complies with the conditions of the EU guidelines on rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty (see IP/04/856) because it takes the form of a loan and is limited in time.

The European Commission has temporarily approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a package of measures that the Belgian authorities intend to grant to KBC Group N.V. First, the Commission authorised a recapitalisation amounting to €3.5 billion, which is in line with its Guidance Communications on state aid during the current financial crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). Second, the Commission has granted temporary clearance to the impaired asset relief, with final approval dependent on the result of an in-depth investigation. Whilst some of its provisions are in line with Commission guidance on the treatment of asset relief measures (see IP/09/322), other provisions (including valuation of the portfolio) require further in-depth analysis before a final decision can be taken. Both measures were approved for six months on condition that Belgium submits to the Commission an in-depth restructuring plan for KBC Group within 3 months.

Louis Michel, Commissaire européenne au Développement et à l'aide humanitaire, a exprimé sa préoccupation au sujet de la crise en cours au Niger.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Memo EU cuts the cost of texting and mobile data services abroad – Frequently Asked Questions

• Speech by Commissioner Ashton 'The role of trade policy in fostering economic growth', London

A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

SHV/ERIKS

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