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Daily News – 05.03.2012

EXME 12 / 05.03

Midday Express of 2012-03-05

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

Catherine Ashton to visit northern Finland, Sweden and Norway to highlight importance of an enhanced EU policy towards the Arctic

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, travels to the Arctic region this week for high level talks with leaders from Finland, Sweden and Norway. Developments in the Arctic are of even more strategic, economic and environmental interest for the European Union now than when the first Communication on the region was issued in 2008. The High Representative's visit will feed in to preparation of a follow-up document, due to be adopted this spring. She will reaffirm the EU's interest in the Arctic region and discuss the EU's application for permanent observer status in the Arctic Council.

Commissioner Piebalgs visits Haiti: "The EU keeps delivering on its promises to help Haitians to build a better future"

Tomorrow, EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will arrive in Haiti for a two day visit of the country. In line with the EU's commitment to help Haiti's reconstruction in the long term, he will announce an aid package which will enable Haitians to better access functioning basic services, including health, education and security. The aid package also aims to invest in economic development by improving Haitian infrastructure and increasing its support to rebuilding the State's capacity to provide services to Haitians.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Commissioner Georgieva announces increased humanitarian aid for "forgotten crisis"

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, announced today she is scaling up funds for the plight of hundreds of thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as she arrived in the capital Kinshasa.

State aid: Commission approves reactivation of the German rescue scheme for financial institutions

The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a prolongation of the German rescue scheme for financial institutions until 30 June 2012. The scheme aims at maintaining stability in the German financial sector by permitting new applications for stabilization measures, using the instruments which ceased to be available in late 2010, such as recapitalisation of companies, risk assumption and guaranteeing of liabilities which will be made available to eligible financial institutions. While the scheme remains largely unchanged in comparison with the legislation which was introduced in October 2008, its application is substantially different as regards the remuneration and the conditions for recapitalisation measures and guarantees for liabilities. The Commission found the reactivation of the scheme, initially approved on 12 December 2008 and prolonged on 22 June 2009, 17 December 2009 and 23 June 2010 to be in line with its guidance on state aid to banks during the crisis (see IP/08/1495 , IP/08/1901 , IP/10/1636 and IP/11/1488), because they are well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission therefore concluded that the measures were compatible with Article 107(3) (b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Merger: Commission clears acquisition of Warsaw III by AXA REIM and CBRE PFCE Management

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition by AXA REIM of France and CBRE PFCE Management of the Channel Islands, of joint control over Warsaw III of The Netherlands. Warsaw III manages the Zlote Tarasy Complex located in Warsaw, consisting of a shopping centre and two office buildings. AXA REIM, is an asset fund manager, which provides various services in the real estate sector. CBRE PFCE Management, is a fund manager involved in the management of commercial property, property leasing, property sales, valuation and real estate investment. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Promotion of social entrepreneurship: Commission sets up experts group and calls for applications

The Commission services launched today a call for applications aimed at setting up an expert group on social entrepreneurship called "Groupe d'Experts de la Commission sur l'Entrepreneuriat Social" (GECES). The creation of this group was announced in the Commission's Social Business Initiative ( IP/11/1238) .Its mains tasks will be to follow up on the development and implementation of the measures envisaged in this initiative.

The GECES will be made of 70 members, including organisations and companies representing social entrepreneurs; representatives of organisations and companies from the banking and finance sector and individuals from the academic and research sector. It will be chaired by the Commission.

The consultation document and application details are available at:

Tax Policy under a Common Currency: Commissioner Šemeta opens the Brussels Tax Forum 2012

Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-Fraud and Audit, will today open the Brussels Tax Forum, where the topic for discussion this year is "Tax Policy under a Common Currency". The Forum, which brings together policy makers, experts and stakeholders from all over the world, will look at the tax policy challenges that fiscal consolidation and growth-enhancing reforms pose to countries belonging to a monetary union. Lazlo Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, will speak at the conference tomorrow. A press conference will take place today with Commissioner Semeta and Mrs Sharon Bowles MEP at 15h15 in the Charlemagne Building Room (Durieux Room), Rue de la Loi, Brussels.

January 2012 compared with December 2011 - Volume of retail trade up by 0.3% in euro area - Up by 0.4% in EU27

In January 2012 compared with December 2011, the volume of retail trade grew by 0.3% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU27. In December retail trade decreased by 0.5% and 0.2% respectively. In January 2012, compared with January 2011, the retail sales index remained stable in the euro area and rose by 0.7% in the EU27.

European Maritime Day 2012 : registration now open

This year's edition of European Maritime Day will be organised in Gothenburg, Sweden on May 21 and 22, 2012. The two-day conference is co-organised by the European Commission, the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, the Region Västra Götaland, and the City of Gothenburg. European Maritime Day is celebrated annually on 20 May since 2008. It was established jointly by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council, as part of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy. European Maritime Day is a celebration of Europe's maritime community. The seas and oceans, and the opportunities they offer, are at the heart of discussions. This year's theme is "Sustainable growth from oceans, seas and coasts: Blue Growth". Blue Growth is the EU's strategy to boost growth and jobs in the maritime and coastal economy. In line with the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy, Blue Growth is about helping Europe's maritime sectors be competitive and prosperous. Speakers include Commissioner Maria Damanaki, Swedish Ministers, the Secretary General of the IMO (International Maritime Organization) and other high-level participants, who will discuss solutions to foster new opportunities for businesses and for an economic environment that will contribute to a positive change in the sector. The conference will also host the official signature of the European Social Partners' Agreement on the ILO Convention 188 concerning work in the fishing sector. Various side-events and expositions will take place alongside the conference on Gothenburg's water front. The conference is open to the press, upon prior registration.

Registration is now open on the European Maritime Day website:

Enregistrement de deux dénominations de produits agricoles

La Commission européenne a ajouté deux dénominations de produits agricoles et alimentaires à la liste des indications géographiques protégées (IGP). Il s'agit, pour Chypre, de la confiserie "Koufeta Amygdalou Geroskipou" et pour la France, du "Melon de Guadeloupe". Les deux dénominations s'ajoutent à la liste de plus de 1000 produits déjà protégés en vertu de la législation sur la protection des indications géographiques, des appellations d'origine et des spécialités traditionnelles.

Des renseignements sur les produits de qualité ainsi que la liste des dénominations protégées sont disponibles sur l'internet à l'adresse:

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso at the final press conference of the Spring European Council – rediffusion

MEMO: The European Commission's humanitarian work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

MEMO on Tourism to become economic driver in 2012

SPEECH by VP Kroes on "From Crisis of Trust to Open Governing" conference in Bratislava