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Daily News – 03.03.2011

EXME 11 / 03.03

Midday Express of 2011-03-03

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

Europe's social dialogue vital to overcoming crisis says new report

Dialogue between workers' and employers' representatives and between governments has been crucial in helping to shape Europe's response to the crisis. The involvement of workers and employers (the social partners) in negotiation and consultation has helped companies and workers adapt to change and their contribution has, in particular, helped to minimise job losses in Europe according to a new report published today by the European Commission. Strong social dialogue led to responses such as the introduction or extension of short-time working schemes in a number of EU countries and sectors. The social partners are also playing an important role in the successful implementation of the EU's 'Europe 2020' strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Commission wants to ease car registration for citizens across EU

Have you ever tried to register your car in another Member State? Or to register in your country a car you bought abroad? What should be a simple procedure often turns into a bureaucratic nightmare, with cumbersome re-registration formalities and paperwork. Member States require that cars that are permanently on their territory to be registered via local authorities and according to national rules that are applied in an uncoordinated manner across the EU. With the aim of simplifying this, the European Commission has launched today a public consultation to identify the main difficulties encountered by EU citizens and companies when moving a car bought and registered in one Member State to another. The consultation will provide insight into the views of citizens and other stakeholders on car registration issues and shape actions to remove yet another obstacle to the free movement of goods and services.

Radio must not be left behind in the digital revolution

Addressing the Association of European Radio (AER) on the occasion of their 20th anniversary in Brussels today, Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda called for radio not to be "left behind in the digital revolution". She said that new radio services risked lagging behind if the sector is too complacent. "We were not complacent about broadband when "dial-up" was considered by some as "good enough". We were not complacent about mobile phones when fixed line telephones seemed to be the norm for all. And we cannot be complacent about radio's future now", she said. Currently, there is no clear consensus on digital radio standards and timing for rolling-out this technology in most Member States is still to be decided. Neelie Kroes called for a "mobilisation of the sector to reach consensus and embrace the Digital Single Market" SPEECH/11/141

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn to visit Germany on Friday 4 March and speak on Smart Growth

Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will visit Germany on 4 March. She will at 15h15 deliver the keynote speech at launch conference of the "Strengthening Efficiency and Competitiveness in the European Knowledge Economies " research programme at the Centre for European Economic Research (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung GmbH) in Mannheim. The Commissioner's core message will be: "We need smart fiscal consolidation…..we cannot risk our future growth and competitiveness by cutting back now on investment in education, research and innovation…….investment in these areas has the potential to create more wealth and jobs than it costs." She will add that "the Commission is committed to a smart EU budget to support the Europe2020 strategy which has research and innovation at its core. This is the only kind of budget that we can justify to taxpayers." In her speech she will also pay tribute to Germany's consistently strong innovation performance, which puts it in the top group of EU countries in the recent Innovation Union Scoreboard (see IP/11/114 , MEMO/11/56). She will explain how Germany can be both a key contributor and a main beneficiary of the Commission's Innovation Union initiative, endorsed by Heads of State and Government at the European Council on 4 February (see MEMO/11/72). She will point to studies showing that implementing the Innovation Union could boost EU GDP by over 8% and create six million jobs by 2025. The Commissioner will also note that German applicants are among the most successful in the 7th Research Framework Programme, with 15.6% of EU grant holders, receiving €2.6 billion in FP7 grants. The Commissioner will during her day in Germany also visit the headquarters of Robert Bosch GmbH at Gerlingen-Schillerhöhe near Stuttgart, lunch with German Federal Education and Research Minister Annette Schavan and tour the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg.

Vice-President Tajani visit to Paris

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani is on an official visit to Paris where he will give a speech at the Conference "Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (OECD), participate in the UNESCO Awards 2011 and meet with MEDEF President. On 4 March, Tajani will meet with Eric Besson to discuss about industrial policy and the role of SMEs. He will meet then with the Director General European Space Agency (ESA) to discuss about Galileo and EGNOS service. Tajani was yesterday in London and Coventry for an official visit where he met with members of the UK Government, the Director of the Warwick Manufacturing Group, representatives of the University of Coventry, students and SME starts up. For more details on the visit, see the Vice President’s diary

Automatic recognition of professional qualifications extended to specialists in medical oncology and medical genetics

Today's Commission Regulation amending the Professional Qualifications Directive ( Directive 2005/36/EC) extends automatic recognition of qualifications to specialists in medical oncology and medical genetics. For the professionals concerned, moving to another Member State to work will become much simpler as they can move in the knowledge that no aptitude test or probation period can be imposed on them. Nor will their training be compared with the training requirements of the host Member State. This Regulation will also facilitate the free movement of certain health professionals trained in Austria (mainly nurses) and will enter into force as of the date of its publication in the Official Journal. See also

Commission clears acquisition of CaixaSabadell Vida by Aegon and Unnim

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of CaixaSabadell Vida, a Spanish life insurance and pension product company, by Aegon, a Dutch group active in asset management, insurance, pension and related products and Unnim, a Spanish banking and insurance group. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Commission clears acquisition of Alpinvest by Carlyle and Stichting Administratiekantoor AlpInvest

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of AlpInvest, a Dutch fund management firm, by Carlyle, a US asset management firm and Stichting Administratiekantoor AlpInvest, a special purpose investment vehicle created by certain managers of AlpInvest. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Commission clears acquisition of DPWA by Citigroup, PSP and DP World

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by Citigroup, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board ("PSP") and DP World Limited of joint control of DP World Australia Limited ("DPWA"). DPWA is active in the development and operation of ports, management of container terminals and container parks and stevedoring in Australia. Citigroup is a global financial services group. PSP is a Canadian crown corporation established to invest the net contributions from public sector pension plans. DP World is an international maritime operator providing cargo handling and logistics services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

La Commission approuve l'acquisition de STMC6 par EDF et ATIC Services

La Commission européenne a autorisé conformément au Règlement Concentrations de l'UE l'acquisition du contrôle conjoint de Société du Terminal MC6 par EDF Trading Logistics et ATIC Services, parce que l'opération n'entrave pas de manière significative l'exercice d'une concurrence effective dans l'Espace Economique Européen ou une partie substantielle de celui-ci. Nouvellement créée, la société STMC6 se verra transférer l’exploitation du Terminal MC6 situé dans le Grand Port Maritime du Havre ainsi que les outillages y afférents. EDF Trading Logistics est une filiale d'EDTF, spécialisée dans les services logistiques de produits de vrac sec et de fioul, elle-même filiale du groupe énergétique EDF. ATIC Services est active dans le secteur de la logistique maritime. La transaction a été examinée selon la procédure simplifiée.

Euro area GDP up by 0.3% and EU27 GDP up by 0.2%

GDP increased by 0.3% in the euro area (EA16) and by 0.2% in the EU27 during the fourth quarter of 2010, compared with the previous quarter, according to second estimates released by Eurostat. In the third quarter of 2010, growth rates were +0.3% in the euro area and +0.5% in the EU27.Compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 2.0% in the euro area and by 2.1% in the EU27, after +1.9% and +2.2% respectively.

Volume of retail trade up by 0.4% in euro area

In January 2011, compared with December 2010, the volume of retail trade rose by 0.4% in the euro area2 (EA17) and by 0.6% in the EU27. In December 2010 retail trade fell by 0.4% and 0.3% respectively. In January 2011, compared with January 2010, the retail sales index increased by 0.7% in the euro area and by 1.9% in the EU27. In January 2011, compared with December 2010, “Food, drinks and tobacco” gained 0.1% in the euro area, but fell by 0.3% in the EU27. The non food sector rose by 0.6% and 1.3% respectively. Among the Member States for which data are available, total retail trade increased in nine and declined in nine. The highest increases were observed in Slovenia (+4.6%), Lithuania (+4.3%) and Bulgaria (+2.1%), and the largest decreases in Estonia (-4.2%), Latvia and Malta (both -1.7%). These first estimates come from Eurostat.


The Commission adopted today an interim report on the progress made by Croatia in the area of judiciary and fundamental rights

The interim report on judiciary and fundamental rights (Chapter 23) assesses progress made so far by Croatia and identifies areas where further substantive efforts are still needed. It sets out clearly what Croatia needs to do to meet the closing benchmarks.

Commissioner Štefan Füle signed today a Memorandum of Understanding on the National Indicative Programme for Ukraine

European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood policy Stefan Füle signed today a Memorandum of Understanding on the National Indicative Programme for Ukraine for €470 million Euros for the period of 2011-13.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Memo on Industrial Relations in Europe 2010 report

Speech by Vice-President Kroes 'Radio must not be left behind in the digital revolution', Brussels

Speech by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn 'Innovation in the Transatlantic Relationship: Unlocking the Potential of a 21st Century Economy', Brussels

Speech by Commissioner Andor 'The future of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund', EP, Brussels

Speech by Commissioner Piebalgs 'Climate change: don't forget the Pacific. For a stronger EU-Pacific joint action', Vanuatu – EMBARGO 01h00am CET

Speech by Vice-President Reding 'Croatia on the Way to EU Membership: Challenges and Expectations', Zagreb

Statement by President Barroso on the situation in North Africa - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Füle on the Interim Report on Reforms in Croatia in the field of Judiciary and Fundamental Rights (Negotiation Chapter 23) – rediffusion

Remarks by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton after meeting Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - rediffusion

Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following the Signature of the Memorandum of Understanding on the National Indicative Programme for Ukraine - rediffusion

Update on transitional measure: EU ETS registries of Bulgaria, Ireland and Norway to resume operations on 4 March - rediffusion