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Daily News – 02.03.2011

EXME 11 / 02.03

Midday Express of 2011-03-02

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

New impetus for internal market: Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators takes up operations in Slovenia

Energy Commissioner Oettinger and Prime Minister of Slovenia Borut Pahor will inaugurate tomorrow the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. ACER will help removing technical obstacles to cross-border energy trade, will coordinate activities of national energy regulators and will help solving possible conflicts between them. This will help increasing competition, ensuring fair prices for both consumers and companies. The opening of the agency coincides with the coming into force of the third energy package on internal market.

Pacific Islands and Climate change: Commission takes the lead to help with adaptation and fight poverty

Pacific islands are an alarming case of the adverse effects of climate change where rising sea levels have an impact upon every aspect of citizens' lives and hamper the economic development. Between 2 and 4 March 2011, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will launch a joint Action Plan on Climate Change during a High-Level Regional Conference on Climate Change in the Pacific in Vanuatu. He will call for an increase of international support for the Small Islands, notably to Pacific Islands. The Commissioner will also launch projects worth € 50.4 million and will announce new ones for €39 million for adaptation to climate change effects and poverty.

New European satellite navigation service increases aviation safety

Today the European Commission launched the EGNOS “Safety-of-Life” service for aviation. The EGNOS system enables precision approaches and renders air navigation safer as well as helps reducing delays, diversions and cancellations of flights. In addition the free-to-use technology allows airports to increase their overall capacity and cut operating costs. EGNOS also enables the planning of shorter, more fuel efficient routes which will reduce the CO2 emissions of the industry. EGNOS is a satellite-based augmentation system which improves the accuracy of GPS signals across Europe and is the precursor of Galileo, the global satellite navigation system being developed by the European Union.

Foot & Mouth Disease in Bulgaria: Commission partly lifts protection measures after successful implementation of EU rules

Using the new Comitology procedure for the first time, the European Commission decided yesterday to reduce the areas under restriction in Bulgaria due to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). The new 'Comitology Regulation', which entered into force on 1st March, lays down the rules on how Member States can exercise control of the Commission’s implementing powers.

'Youth on the Move' comes to Warsaw

'Youth on the Move', the European Union's flagship initiative aimed at helping young people to gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to make their first job a reality, will be presented at the Perspektywy 2011 education fair in Warsaw on March 3-5. The programme is an opportunity for young people to talk to others who have benefitted from grants and other support provided through the EU's education and employment programmes. A debate on education and employment, hosted by well known Polish journalist Maciej Orłoś, is scheduled for Friday, March 4 at 14.00. Speakers include Katarzyna Hall, Minister of National Education, Jan Truszczyński, the European Commission's Director-General for Education and Culture, MEP Danuta Hübner and Czesława Ostrowska, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The two Youth on the Move ambassadors in Poland, Jan Mela and Marta Sziłajtis-Obiegło, will also participate. Entrance to the Perspektywy fair is free; all Youth on the Move presentations and debates are open to all. For more detailed information (in Polish), please visit the Youth on the Move website.

Vice-President Kroes highlights potential of cloud computing at CeBIT

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes will today receive the "IT personality of the year" award from Germany's CHIP magazine at Europe's largest IT conference in Hannover. Addressing the theme of the CeBIT11 conference, Kroes will say that "cloud computing has the potential to transform IT provision into a real utility. It can really lift our competitiveness; be a revolution for small business. So let's get the privacy and security issues right, and let's make Europe 'cloud active'". The Commission is developing a Cloud Computing Strategy as part of the Digital Agenda for Europe, and funds several cloud research projects which will help grow the market for cloud services and Europe's cloud capabilities. See MEMO/11/128

Mergers: Commission approves the acquisition of Nortel's Multi-Service Switching business by Ericsson

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by Swedish company Ericsson over the Multi-Service Switching Business of Canadian Nortel Network Corporation. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Commission clears acquisition of sole control of Heijmans by Bouygues

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Bouygues S.A. of France of sole control of Heijmans UK Limited by way of purchase of shares. Bouygues is active in construction, telecommunications and media. Heijmans is active in property development, residential and non-residential construction, technical services and in the infrastructure sector. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Commission clears acquisition by Citigroup of sole control of MAL

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Citigroup Inc of the USA of sole control of Maltby Acquisitions Limited ("MAL") which holds all the share capital of EMI Group Ltd, both of the UK, by way of purchase of shares. Citi is a global financial services company. EMI is active in music recording, music publishing and online distribution of music. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Industrial producer prices up by 1.5% in euro area

In January 2011 compared with December 2010, the industrial producer price index rose by 1.5% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.4% in the EU27. In December 2010, prices increased by 0.8% and 1.2% respectively. In January 2011 compared with January 2010, industrial producer prices gained 6.1% in the euro area and 6.5% in the EU27. These figures come from Eurostat.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo Questions and Answers on the third legislative package for an internal EU gas and electricity market and ACERgas

Statement by Commissioner Malmström on the end of the RABIT operation and the launch of Operation Poseidon in Greece

Memo Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the e-book publishing sector

Memo Digital Agenda: how cloud computing can boost Europe's competitiveness

EU Justice Commissioner Reding challenges business leaders to increase women’s presence on corporate boards with “Women on the Board Pledge for Europe” - rediffusion

Statement of President Barroso following his meeting with the President of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbaeva - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Damanaki 'Discarding: Key challenge in Fisheries Policy Reform', Brussels - rediffusion