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Daily News – 02.05.2012

EXME 12 / 02.05

Midday Express of 2012-05-02

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

SM Albert II en visite à la Commission européenne pour sa 2000ème réunion

La Commission européenne s ‘est réunie pour la 2000ème fois aujourd’hui. La première réunion de la Commission, qui existe sous forme actuelle depuis le 1er juillet 1967, eut lieu le 6 juillet 1967. Elle fut présidée par M. Jean Rey. A cette occasion, S.M. Albert II, Roi des Belges, rend une visite à la Commission. Le Président de la Commission européenne, José Manuel Barroso, s'entretiendra avec Sa Majesté. Un déjeuner de travail, avec tos les commissaires, suivra à 13h00. La discussion concernera les principaux thèmes de l'actualité européenne. Une exposition en l'honneur de la 2000ème réunion du Collège est aussi tenue au rez-de-chaussée du siège de la Commission européenne, Berlaymont (galerie du Président) du 25 avril au 7 mai. La table originale utilisée pour les réunions du collège dans les années 1960 sera entre autres présentée à l'exposition.

Digital Agenda: New strategy for safer internet and better internet content for children and teenagers

The Commission has set out a plan to give children the digital skills and tools they need to benefit fully and safely from the digital world. The internet was not designed with children in mind, but today 75% of children use the internet, a third of them on mobiles. The new strategy is to build up the market for interactive, creative and educational content online, in a partnership between the European Commission and Member States, mobile phone operators, handset manufacturers and providers of social networking services.

March 2012 - Euro area unemployment rate at 10.9% - EU27 at 10.2%

The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.9% in March 2012, compared with 10.8% in February. It was 9.9% in March 2011. The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.2% in March 2012, stable compared with February. It was 9.4% in March 2011. Eurostat estimates that 24.772 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 17.365 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in March 2012. Compared with February 2012, the number of persons unemployed increased by 193 000 in the EU27 and by 169 000 in the euro area. Compared with March 2011, unemployment rose by 2.123 million in the EU27 and by 1.732 million in the euro area.

Towards a jobs-centred approach to economic policy

Commissioner László Andor will give a speech this afternoon at the Employment Commitee, an advisory committee aimed at promoting coordination between Member States on employment and labour market policies. The Speech will underline that Europe needs a jobs-centred approach to emerge out of the economic crisis. The Employment Package adopted by the Commission on 18 April identifies the most effective ways and tools for a job-rich recovery, and should be at the core of a future EU Growth Agenda to be discussed in the next weeks. We must focus more than in the past on job creation and on the demand side of the labour market, as well as on the importance of investment in human capital. The Speech will be available online at 15h00

Council adopts new rules on collection of excise duties

Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta welcomes the adoption today by the Council of a regulation for new rules on administrative cooperation in the field of excise duties. The adoption of this regulation will make it easier to for Member States to control the movement of excise goods and speed up the collection of excise duties (see IP/11/1339).

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science to visit Rome

European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will travel to Rome tomorrow to discuss the Italian government's priorities in the areas of research and innovation, as part of the drive for competitiveness and jobs in Europe. During the one day trip, the Commissioner will meet President Giorgio Napolitano, Prime Minister Mario Monti and Education, University and Research Minister Francesco Profumo.  She will also present the European Commission's Horizon 2020 proposal for funding science and research after 2014 to Members of the Italian Senate and give a speech to members of ADITE, the Italian Association of Technology Districts.

EU atmospheric research project ready for take off

Climate scientists will launch a mission on May 4 to investigate the relationship between atmospheric chemistry and climate change from an airship above the skies of Europe. The European Commission-funded research project PEGASOS (Pan-European Gas AeroSOL Climate Interaction Study) involves twenty-six partners from fifteen EU member states. The project team will leave from Friedrichshafen in Germany and over 20 weeks fly across Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and France to measure the chemistry of the air. The project's findings are expected to provide a sound scientific basis to better fight climate change and improve air quality in Europe. More information: PEGASOS project:

Merger: Commission clears acquisition of Ahlsell by CVC Capital Partners

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Nybrojarl New 1 AB, the holding company for Ahlsell AB by CVC Capital Partners. CVC of Luxembourg, specialises in leveraged buyouts and advising and managing investment funds primarily in Europe, North America and Asia. Ahlsell of Sweden is active in the wholesale and retail distribution of installation products including heating and plumbing, electrical, tools (such as fasteners) and machinery and refrigeration products and the wholesale distribution of DIY products in several EU Member States. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure

Comenius: School partnerships boost teaching quality and pupils' skills

On 3-4 May, teachers from more than 150 schools across Europe will gather in Brussels to discuss how teaming up with schools in other countries can help to boost teaching quality and pupils' skills. The European Union invests more than €140 million a year through the Comenius programme in support of partnerships involving around 11 000 schools in 33 European countries (the EU countries plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). Comenius, a part of the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme, is the main European funding scheme for schools, from pre-school to secondary level. It also offers grants to teachers and future teachers, supports pupil exchanges and research on teacher training. The conference will showcase 20 Comenius projects in workshops and an exhibition , presented by schools from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Portugal, Cyprus and Norway. The Go on, employ ME! project, for instance, run by Belfast Boys’ Model School in Northern Ireland, together with partner schools in Spain, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Norway, aims to raise awareness among young people about job opportunities in the EU and to improve their understanding of other Europeans coming to work in their country. The TACCLE project , which involved organisations from Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, created a handbook to help less computer-savvy teachers to integrate ICT in their teaching. To find out more: Conference website ; The Comenius programme ; DG Education and Culture ; Commissioner Vassiliou's website ; Twitter @VassiliouEU

L'Union européenne soutient le renforcement du système judiciaire en République démocratique du Congo

La Commission européenne intensifie les efforts qu'elle déploie depuis plusieurs années pour le renforcement du secteur de la Justice en République Démocratique du Congo (RDC) à travers un programme destiné à favoriser l'accès de la population à la Justice: le Programme d'Appui au Renforcement de la Justice (PARJE). D'une durée de quatre années, ce programme a été défini en collaboration étroite avec le Ministère de la Justice. D’un budget total de près de 18M€, est cofinancé par le Fonds européen de développement (10M€), la Suède (environ 6M€) et la Belgique (2M€). Il consolide ainsi le partenariat que la Commission a établi avec les pays membres de l'Union européenne dans le domaine de la Justice et de la Gouvernance. La composante essentielle du projet est de renforcer les capacités du Ministère principalement en matière de personnel à travers le recrutement de nouveaux agents et une meilleure qualification du personnel existant. Les autres volets du programme, visent à améliorer la proximité des services judiciaires auprès des citoyens. Il est notamment prévu d'organiser des audiences foraines afin "d'amener" la justice dans les zones reculées ainsi que d'appuyer les réseaux d'assistance légale aux plaignants. Texte intégral du communiqué de presse :

EU creates new Caribbean and Pacific Investment Facilities to support key investment in infrastructure

On 30th April 2012 the EU decided, in cooperation with partner countries of the Caribbean and Pacific regions, to launch the Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF) and the Investment Facility for the Pacific (IFP) region. Both facilities respond to the need to invest in key infrastructure, to make the regions competitive in global markets and boost potential for economic growth and reducing poverty, and to address climate change challenges. The IFP is particularly designed to respond to the challenges countries in the Pacific region face in financing climate change sensitive and "green" investments. With a total allocation of €50 million, they will allow the EU to support a number of key projects in the Caribbean and Pacific regions. The main priorities for the CIF (€40 million) are interconnectivity, energy infrastructure, transport, environment, climate change adaptation and mitigation, social services infrastructure and support for private sector development, in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The IFP's focus (€10 million)) on climate change sensitive and "green" investments includes the areas of transport, energy, telecommunications, water and sanitation, as well as actions adapted to climate change or reducing the impact of natural hazards. Full text of the press release:

Commissioner Damanaki presents Common Fisheries Policy Reform in Estonia

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, will be in Tallin, Estonia, on May 3, 2012 to discuss the on-going reform of the Common Fisheries Policy with the Estonian government. The Commissioner will participate in a meeting with the Estonian Parliamentary Committee for Agriculture and Fisheries on the topic of CFP Reform. Ms Damanaki will also have a bilateral meeting with Ms Keit Pentus, Estonian Minister for Environment, responsible for natural resources management. The new EU fisheries policy will aim at preserving fish stocks at sustainable levels for the benefit of current and future generations by managing fisheries in a responsible, science-based way. Regionalisation of the policy making is an important aspect of the reform and Commissioner Damanaki will put emphasis on finding solutions for the Baltic Sea during her visit.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo "Preparation for the Extraordinary Economic and Financial Council of Ministers, 2 May 2012" - rediffusion

Memo "Remarks by High Representative / Vice President Catherine Ashton at the end of her South East Asia visit, Bangkok, Thailand" –rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Andor: "Towards a jobs-centred approach to economic policy" – EMBARGO UNTIL 15:00 CET