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Daily News – 03.04.2012

Midday Express of 2012-04-03

European Commission - 03/04/2012

EXME 12 / 03.04

Midday Express of 2012-04-03

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

The European Commission updates the European safety list of airlines subject to an operating ban

The European Commission has adopted today the 19th update of the European list of air carriers which are for safety reasons subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. Conviasa, an air carrier certified in Venezuela, was added to the list due to safety concerns. Following constructive consultations, Libyan authorities decided to adopt strong measures applicable to all air carriers licensed in Libya, which exclude them from flying into the EU until at least November 2012.

Antitrust: Commission opens proceedings against Motorola

The European Commission has opened two formal antitrust investigations against Motorola Mobility Inc. The Commission will assess whether Motorola has abusively, and in contravention of commitments it gave to standard setting organisations, used certain of its standard essential patents to distort competition in the Internal Market in breach of EU antitrust rules. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will examine the cases as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigations.

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into sale of Dexia BIL

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to ascertain that the conditions of the sale of Dexia BIL is conducted on market conditions and therefore does not contain any state aid element. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties the possibility to submit comments on the sale and increases legal certainty.

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into a Belgian protection scheme for shareholders of financial cooperatives

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether an extension of the Belgian deposit guarantee scheme, aiming at the protection of shares in financial cooperatives such as ARCO, is in line with EU state aid rules. At this stage, the Commission has concerns that the scheme may enable cooperatives to attract or maintain capital because of the State support. This would confer those cooperatives an advantage over their competitors and distort competition in the internal market. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments on the measures under assessment. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

February 2012 compared with January 2012 - Industrial producer prices up by 0.6% in euro area Up by 0.8% in EU27

In February 2012, compared with January 2012, the industrial producer price index rose by 0.6% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.8% in the EU272. In January prices increased by 0.8% and 0.6% respectively. In February 2012 compared with February 2011, industrial producer prices gained 3.6% in the euro area and 4.3% in the EU27.

Publication of the report on the third Review on the Economic Adjustment Programme for Portugal:

Today, the Commission publishes the report on the third review of the Economic Adjustment Programme for Portugal. This report provides an assessment of compliance with the terms and conditions of the programme. This assessment has been performed by staff from the European Commission (EC), in liaison with the European Central Bank (ECB). The troïka (EC/ECB/IMF) mission met with the Portuguese authorities in Lisbon during 15-27 February. The objectives of the programme are to restore sound public finances, improve competitiveness, and to put Portugal’s economy back on the path of sustainable growth and job creation. A copy of the report is available online at: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/occasional_paper/2012/op95_en.htm

Animal Health: Commission hosts international scientific seminar to discuss Schmallenberg Virus

Over 120 experts and scientists from around the world met in Brussels yesterday to attend a scientific seminar on the Schmallenberg virus (SBV). The one-day seminar was also attended by representatives from over 44 countries, including major partners such as Russia, US, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine. The event was an opportunity for an exchange of views on the approach being taken by the EU to tackle this newly detected virus, and also an opportunity to share and discuss the most up-to-date information and science, including a second report on SBV published by EFSA yesterday. Significantly, the results of the EFSA report, which was presented at the seminar, concluded that for all affected countries, the number of affected animals is very low in comparison with the total number of animals/herds. One of the main aims of the conference was to ensure transparency and dialogue with trading partners, in order to avoid any unnecessary or disproportionate trade restrictions being put in place. For more information on the seminar, and the presentations given: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/schmallenberg_virus/index_en.htm The EFSA report presented at the seminar can be found at: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/pub/261e.htm

Animal health: lifting the prohibition on imports of fresh poultry meat from Thailand and prolonging certain protection measures for avian influenza

The EU Member States today supported the Commission's proposal to lift the restrictions on import of fresh poultry meat from Thailand from 1 July 2012. The Commission had adopted protection measures in early 2004 to suspend imports into the EU of fresh poultry meat and other poultry products from Thailand following outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza of the H5N1 subtype (HPAI H5N1). In response to the original protection measures, Thailand implemented a rigorous policy to stamp-out the pathogen, including intensive surveillance and quick elimination of infected animals, and as a result successfully eradicated HPAI H5N1 from its territory. The HPAI H5N1 epidemic had started in South East Asia in mid 2003 and the virus spread in the following years to three continents including Europe, affecting overall more than 60 countries. The Commission adopted several protection measures to prohibit imports of poultry and poultry products from disease affected third countries, including Thailand, in order to avoid any risk of introducing the virus into EU poultry flocks, and any risk to human health. Commission experts carried out several inspection missions in Thailand during this period, to evaluate the measures which had been put in place to eradicate and to control the situation. The outcome of the last mission (March 2011) showed that Thailand can provide sufficient guarantees to comply with the EU import requirements for poultry meat. Given this favourable animal health situation which now prevails in Thailand, the Commission proposed to Member States to lift the prohibition of imports of poultry meat from Thailand. Today, at a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), the Member States supported the draft proposal.

Rediffusion

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Swedish maritime transport terminal Älvsborg by shipping conglomerate DFDS and terminal operator C.RO Ports

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Älvsborg, a roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden, by the shipping conglomerate DFDS and terminal operator C.RO Ports. The Commission's investigation confirmed that following the transaction alternative terminals remain for competing shipping lines and DFDS and CLdN, a shipping service provider belonging to the same owners as C.RO Ports, will continue to compete with each other on the shipping routes operated from Älvsborg.

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of French connector producer Deutsch by TE Connectivity

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the French company Deutsch by the US company TE Connectivity. Both are active in the production of electronic connectors. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the merged entity would continue to face a number of credible competitors and customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all markets concerned.

Autre matériel diffusé :

Information from the Spokeswoman of the European Commission: President Barroso meets Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen - rediffusion

Speech by Neelie Kroes "Active and healthy ageing: from strategy to implementation"

Speech by Commissioner Oettinger "The Helios project and the role of energy for Greek and European growth"

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