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Daily News – 06.10.2009

EXME09 / 06.10

MIDDAY EXPRESS

News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

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

06 / 10 / 09

In the occasion to the Open Days (5-8 October 2009) the European Commission will present within a thematic workshop a powerful online interactive instrument to help cities present their Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP) and to facilitate their evaluation. Mayors and local authorities participating at this workshop next Tuesday 6th October will find out “How do cities prepare their SEAP and Inventory of Emissions” by learning how to use the new online template. The Covenant of Mayors is going from strength to strength with more than 700 signatories and the number of Supporting Structures reaching 33.

The European Commission today adopted a decision setting out the essential technical specifications and requirements needed to launch a European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) which will enable road users to easily pay tolls throughout the whole European Union (EU) thanks to one subscription contract with one service provider and one single on-board unit. EETS will be available on all infrastructures in the entire Community such as motorways, tunnels and bridges where toll can be paid using on-board equipment. EETS will eventually limit cash transactions at toll stations, thereby improving traffic flow and reducing congestion.

La Commission européenne a réservé aujourd'hui un accueil favorable au premier rapport annuel du comité de l'Espace européen de la recherche (ERAB) intitulé «Préparer l’Europe à une nouvelle Renaissance – vision stratégique de l’ Espace européen de la recherche». Ce rapport décrit dans quelle direction, dans l’intérêt de l’Union européenne et du monde entier, l’Espace européen de la recherche doit progresser d’ici à 2030. L’ERAB est un groupe consultatif de haut niveau mis en place par la Commission afin de la conseiller sur la réalisation de l'Espace européen de la recherche. Il est présidé par le Professeur John Wood et se compose de 22 membres reconnus des cercles scientifiques, universitaires et économiques. – EMBARGO 15h00 CET

The European Commission has invited comments from interested parties on the commitments offered by Svenska Kraftnät (SvK), the Swedish transmission system operator, following the Commission's concerns that SvK might have breached EC Treaty antitrust rules on the abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82). The Commission's concerns relate to the Swedish electricity transmission market, and in particular that SvK is limiting the amount of export transmission capacity available on electricity interconnectors situated along Sweden's borders, with the objective of relieving internal congestion on its network. This would appear to favour consumers in Sweden over consumers in neighbouring EU and EEA Member States by reserving domestically produced electricity for domestic consumption. To alleviate these concerns, SvK has offered to subdivide the Swedish transmission system into two or more bidding zones and to manage congestion in the Swedish transmission system without limiting trading capacity on interconnectors. If the result of the market test is positive, the Commission may adopt a decision under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003, making the commitments legally binding on SvK.

More women are needed in business. This week, 130 successful European businesswomen are kicking off a campaign to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs and start their own companies. Appointed by Commissioner Vladimír Špidla yesterday evening in Stockholm, these successful business women will act as Entrepreneurship Ambassadors.

Today in Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Joe Borg, will receive the Elisabeth Mann Borgese award from the Government of Schleswig-Holstein for outstanding achievements for the seas. This prize is awarded every year in recognition of figures whose work has contributed to protecting and preserving the oceans and seas. Mr Borg gets the prize for his efforts to contribute to the creation of an Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU. During his visit in Germany, the Commissioner will also participate in the launch of the Skysails pilot project in Hamburg – the first of its kind to test the installation of a wind propulsion system on board a fishing vessel.

  • State aid: Commission approves prolongation of the Italian recapitalisation scheme for credit institutions

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a prolongation until 31/12/2009 of an Italian recapitalisation scheme for credit institutions. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 23 December 2008 (see IP/08/2059) and modified on 20 February 2009 (see IP/09/302), to be in line with its guidance on support measures for banks during the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495 and IP/08/1901). In particular, the extended measures meet the relevant criteria of appropriateness, necessity and proportionality. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Italian economy and as such are compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty.

  • Commission clears acquisition of TÜVTURK and Adana by Bridgepoint

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Adana İçel Hatay Araç Muayene Hizmetleri Yapım ve İșletim A.Ș (Adana) of Turkey by Bridgepoint Capital Group Limited (Bridgepoint) of the UK. It has also cleared the joint control by Bridgepoint and two of the existing parent companies TÜV SÜD of Germany and Doğuș Holding A.Ș. ofTurkey of TÜVTURK Kuzey Tașıt Muayene İstasyonları Yapım ve İșletim A.Ș (TÜVTURK Kuzey), TÜVTURK Güney Tașıt Muayene İstasyonları Yapım ve İșletim A.Ș (TÜVTURK Güney) and TÜVTURK İstanbul Tașıt Muayene İstasyonları Yapım ve İșletim A.Ș (TÜVTURK İstanbul), all three of Turkey. Bridgepoint is a private equity investor in companies active in a wide range of sectors including financial services, healthcare and media. TÜVTURK Kuzey and TÜVTURK Güney hold concession rights for the provision of vehicle inspection services in Turkey. TÜVTURK Istanbul and Adana are sub-contractors of TÜVTURK Kuzey and TÜVTURK Güney respectively for the provision of vehicle inspections in Turkey. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Rediffusion

Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, today informed agriculture ministers that a High Level Expert Group on Milk will begin work next week to discuss medium and long-term arrangements for the dairy sector given the expiry of milk quotas on 1 April 2015. The Commissioner told a lunch meeting of ministers that the HLG will study whether new arrangements should be put in place which can further contribute to stabilising the market and producers' incomes, reducing price volatility and enhancing market transparency. The Commissioner also briefed ministers on the most recent package of proposals the Commission is preparing to support the dairy market and gave an update on the market situation, which shows that prices for dairy products are picking up.

Since its launch in 1987, the Erasmus programme has helped 2 million students carry out a part of their studies or a work placement in another European country. 31 students (one per country participating in Erasmus), have now been chosen to symbolically represent the 2 millionth student. They were honoured at a conference taking place on 5-6 October in Lund, Sweden. During this conference, stakeholders are discussing the way forward for the Erasmus programme and more broadly debate the issue of opening up opportunities to all young people to go abroad for learning purposes.

La Commission a autorisé, en application des règles du traité CE relatives aux aides d'État, une mesure prise par la France visant à limiter les conséquences préjudiciables de la crise financière actuelle sur les entreprises exportatrices. La Commission a conclu que cette mesure satisfaisait aux conditions énoncées dans son cadre temporaire pour les aides d'État destinées à favoriser l'accès au financement dans le contexte de la crise économique et financière actuelle (voir IP/08/1993). La mesure en question vise notamment à résoudre le problème de l'impossibilité d'obtenir actuellement une couverture d'assurance-crédit à l'exportation à court terme sur le marché privé. La Commission a autorisé la mesure jusqu'au 31 décembre 2010.

  • Autre matériel diffusé

• Opening speech by Commissioner Samecki at the Open Days 2009, Brussels

• Opening Remarks by Commissioner Fischer Boel at the Informal Agriculture ministers' gathering on milk, Brussels

• Speech by President Barroso 'Global challenges, European responses' at the Open Days 2009 opening session, Brussels

• Speech by Commissioner Kroes 'Progress for Europa - How Competiton policy creates a better Europe' – in Dutch only

• Discours du Commissaire Borg 'La France au cœur du processus de réforme', Paris