EXME 12 / 06.09
Midday Express of 2012-09-06
News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne
2012 marks the twentieth year of the European Single Market, which was officially established on 1 January 1993. This anniversary provides an ideal opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the single market since its creation and on the challenges remaining to realise the potential of the Single Market to create new growth.
The European Union needs to overhaul its approach to improving literacy standards, according to a high-level group of experts set up by European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou to address the issue. One in five 15 year olds, as well as nearly 75 million adults, lack basic reading and writing skills, which makes it hard for them to get a job and increases their risk of poverty and social exclusion. The expert group's chair, HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, a long-time campaigner in the field, describes the report as a "wake-up call about the crisis that affects every country in Europe". The 80-page report includes a raft of recommendations, ranging from advice for parents on creating a culture of reading for pleasure with their children, to siting libraries in unconventional settings like shopping centres and the need to attract more male teachers to act as role models for boys, who read much less than girls. It also makes age-specific recommendations, calling for free, high-quality early childhood education and care for all, more specialist reading teachers in primary schools, a change of mind-set on dyslexia, arguing that almost every child can learn to read with the right support, and for more varied learning opportunities for adults, especially in the workplace.
TGDP decreased by 0.2% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.1% in the EU27 during the second quarter of 2012, compared with the previous quarter, according to second estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the first quarter of 2012, growth rates were 0.0% in both zones. Compared with the second quarter of 2011, seasonally adjusted GDP decreased by 0.5% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU27, after 0.0% and +0.1% respectively in the previous quarter.
The European Commission today launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar panels and their key components (i.e. solar cells and solar wafers) originating in China. EU Pro Sun, an industry association, claimed in its complaint lodged on 25 July 2012 that solar panels and their key components imported from China enter the European market at prices below market value. In terms of import value affected, this is the most significant anti-dumping complaint the European Commission has received so far: in 2011, China exported solar panels and their key components worth around €21 billion to the EU. The investigation will take 15 months in total, whereas it is possible according to trade defence rules to impose provisional anti-dumping duties within 9 months, provided there is sufficient prima facie evidence of dumping.
A strong employment agenda – pathway to economic recovery
The time has come to "give economic and monetary union a true employment and social dimension – an EMU 2.0" in the view of László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Speaking at the Jobs for Europe conference dinner, Andor will indicate that "we should work to set up a European unemployment benefit scheme, which is one of the stabilisers we urgently need as we re-develop the Economic and Monetary Union". Andor will also call for Member States to deliver strong National Job Plans as a key element of coordinated economic governance. He will underline that, given the current unacceptable levels of joblessness, greater political priority must be given to a jobs-focused agenda "to deliver new, sustainable jobs and to maintain or transform existing jobs". He will also point out that "In a slow growth scenario, we cannot simply wait for growth to create jobs - our economies will only pick up if there are enough people working, earning and spending". Labour market policy must therefore put more emphasis on the demand side of the economy, such as by reducing taxes on labour or supporting new hiring. He will warn that there are limits to adjustment through internal devaluation, and that wages play an important part in aggregate demand and thus in growth. Andor will highlight that social dialogue and the close involvement of social partners are crucial elements of successful employment policies. Other important elements include measures to combat labour market segmentation and youth unemployment, and to develop a genuine pan-European labour market. Andor will also underline that investment in people is essential to implement structural reforms and that strong budget for the European Social Fund in 2014-2020, representing at least 25% of Cohesion Policy of 84 billion EUR as per the Commission's proposal, is thus crucial for implementing the EU's new Compact for Growth and Jobs.
Autre matériel diffusé :
Speech by Commissioner L. Andor at the Conference dinner "Jobs for Europe: The Employment Policy Conference": "A strong employment agenda – the pathway to economic recovery" – under embargo until 21h00!