EXME 11 / 04.03
Midday Express of 2011-03-04
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The European Commission has closed an antitrust investigation concerning the digitisation of European cinemas after several major U.S. Hollywood film studios revised contract provisions relating to the financing and installation of digital projection equipment in cinemas. The Commission had concerns that the original provisions might hinder small film distributors from getting access to digital cinemas which could be in breach of the EU rules that prohibit restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the EU Treaty). The revised provisions facilitate the release of independent and art house films in the new state-of-the-art cinemas.
Women in the European Union earn on average 17.5% less than men during their lifetimes. This stark figure will be highlighted tomorrow during the first EU-wide Equal Pay Day. This day – 5 March – marks the extra number of days in 2011 that women must work to match the amount of money earned by men in 2010. The European Commission is committed to closing the gender pay gap and published an overall strategy for gender equality in September 2010 (see IP/10/1149 and MEMO/10/430). This year’s Equal Pay Day, which aims to raise awareness of the pay gap, comes ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March.
JRC report evaluating Greenhouse Gas effects of European livestock
The Commission has published a new report by the Joint Research Centre looking at the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) effects of European livestock. It was commissioned to provide an estimation of the net emissions of GHG generated by EU animal production on the basis of a life-cycle assessment. The calculations estimate a total Global Warming Potential (GWP) of European Livestock production of 661 Mio tons of CO2-eq – equivalent to 9.1%-12.8% of total EU emissions (2004), depending on the assumptions for emissions from land use and land use change. This is considerably lower than the estimated 18% figure for global production presented in the 2006 FAO report "Livestock's long shadow". Estimates per kg of meat show that the highest average net emissions are for ruminant meat (22.2 kg for beef and 20.3 kg per kg of sheep and goat meat), while the production of pork (7.5 kg) and poultry meat (4.9 kg) create significantly lower emissions due to a more efficient digestion process and the absence of enteric fermentation. Average EU emissions from milk are much lower - 1.4 kg of CO2-eq (cow's milk) and 2.9 kg (sheep & goat milk). The report also looks at the likely impact of Brazilian beef and poultry and New Zealand sheepmeat. In a hypothetical best case scenario, technological emission reduction measures are estimated to be able to reduce emissions from livestock production systems by 15-19%. The report is now available at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/analysis/external/livestock-gas/index_en.htm
Health Security in the EU : Commission launches a public consultation
Today, the Commission launches a consultation to gather stakeholders' views on possible actions to protect EU citizens more effectively against serious cross-border health threats. The overarching question is: What could the EU do to ensure a co-ordinated European response to infectious diseases and other serious cross-border health threats, such as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and environmental events? The consultation includes questions on preparedness planning, risk assessment, management of health threats and on how to better communicate with citizens and professional groups. In accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, the Commission has the competence to carry out actions that will support, coordinate or supplement the action of Member States for the protection and improvement of human health, particularly when it comes to monitoring and combating serious cross-border threats to health. EU legislation on action to prevent and control infectious diseases exists since 1998. However, this legislation does not cover cross-border health threats other than infectious diseases. The aim of this initiative, therefore, is to consider how to also address other cross border public health threats. Further details on the consultation can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/health/preparedness_response/consultations/preparedness_cons_02_en.htm Further information on Health Security in the EU can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/health/preparedness_response/policy/index_en.htm
Historical Aviation emissions
Aviation activities are included in the EU's emissions trading system from 2012, in accordance with Directive 2008/101/EC. On Monday 7 March at 12.00 CET, the European Commission will issue a decision and press release concerning the historical aviation emissions which will be used to calculate the number of aviation allowances to be available from 2012. The press release will indicate the historic aviation emissions figure, representing the average annual aviation emissions in 2004-2006 of all flights covered by the EU ETS to and from European airports. Based on this figure, it will also indicate the number of aviation allowances to be created in 2012 and the number of aviation allowances to be created each year from 2013 onwards.
GDP increased by 0.3% in the euro area1 (EA16) and by 0.2% in the EU271 during the fourth quarter of 2010, compared with the previous quarter, according to second estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. 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.
The European Union continues its swift response to the growing humanitarian crisis, caused by the continuing violence in Libya. From the border between Libya and Tunisia, where the humanitarian situation is compounded by the massive flow of people fleeing Libya, Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and Hungarian Minister of State for EU affairs Enikő Győri called on Member States to step up their efforts to provide urgent relief to the stranded refugees and to facilitate their passage home. During their visit, Kristalina Georgieva announced that the Commission will triple its aid: 30 million EUR will be provided to cater for the humanitarian needs, up from the 10 million EUR that was allocated earlier this week.
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